Are you looking to fill a huge space with an extraordinary tropical plant? Look no further. The Philodendron bipinnatifidum will deliver. It also goes by the name of Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum, Philodendron selloum, and horsehead philodendron. Although it is not a very popular houseplant, it definitely deserves more exposure because of its beautiful vivid green leaves and vigorous growth.
The Vivid Green Leaves of the Philodendron Bipinnatifidum
As a part of the family Araceae, this easy-to-grow philodendron is characterized by its large deeply lobed leaves and is a vining plant variety. Though harder to find for sale than some other more common philodendron varieties, the Philodendron Selloum makes for a perfect statement houseplant. It is known for its fabulous, showy, wide, and welcoming leaves that have the feel of a tropical jungle.
The Perfect Houseplant For Filling up Larger Spaces
The philodendron selloum, or tree philodendron, is native to South America but also grows outdoors on the East and Gulf coasts of the United States. Indoors this easy-care, self-heading philodendron takes up a lot of space, often spreading 5ft. or more with 2ft.-3ft. leaves. The dark green, shiny leaves are large and deeply lobed. The Philodendron bipinnatifidum does grow a trunk as it matures, but the huge drooping leaves usually hide it.
Similar to the Monstera Deliciosa
Monstera deliciosa and Philodendron bipinnatifidum look very similar to immature plants and are in the same family of plants, the Araceae or aroid family. However, as they grow their physical differences begin to show. Monsteras have splits in the leaves, called lobes, and holes or windows, called fenestrations. They also have deeply lobed leaves but do not have fenestrations, as the Monstera does. The margins (outside edges) of the lobed leaves are loved as well, whereas the margins of Monstera are smooth. They both grow aerial roots which are adventitious roots that grow out of the stems that they use to climb. Both of these plants go by the common name Split-leaf Philodendron but only one is truly a Philodendron.
How to Care For Your Philodendron Bipinnatifidum
Like most other plants in the Philodendron genus, Philodendron bipinnatifidum enjoys a mild climate that is neither too hot nor too cold, and neither too bright nor too dark—it likes to be in just the right place. The ideal indoor environment provides moderate or diffused natural light. Artificial indoor light sources that can be left on for a significant period of time work, but natural, moderate light is best. For best results, place your plant in an area with moderate lighting, mild indoor temperatures, and comfortable airflow. Avoid extremes of any kind.
Give it Plenty of Light
Philodendron bippinatifidums usually grow in full sun. If you were looking for a plant that will tolerate that south window of yours, this Philo is the one. Although they are said to adapt to full shade, expect the leaves to turn a darker green color if you don’t give it enough light. With lower light conditions, the plant will not grow as well and as fast, and you won’t be seeing any flowering or particularly showy leaves. Although it is recommended to regularly turn all of your plants to give them light from all sides, this is especially important with Philodendrons bipinnatifidums because of their trunks. They will turn and bend towards the light source, so make it a habit to turn the pot every time you water to avoid oddly shaped trunks.
The Philodendron Bipinnatifidum Loves Water
This Philodendron also has unique requirements for water. While you might be used to letting the soil dry out between watering with your other Philodendrons, keep in mind this one likes more water. Ideally, you should try to keep the soil barely moist at all times. The keyword here is moist, not soggy. This can be achieved by watering the plant so that the water runs through the drainage holes at the bottom of the plant.
How to Fertilize Your Plant
The plant should be fertilized around once every few weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) with light fertilizer. As you are getting to know the plant, this will become easier. It is always a good idea to start with less fertilizer initially and increase the amount if you notice the leaves getting paler.