Philodendrons are a popular houseplant grown for their stunning foliage. One thing that makes this plant so well loved is its relatively low maintenance requirements.
But that doesn’t mean you don’t have to provide the plant with basic care, such as implementing a proper philodendron watering schedule. While this may seem like such an easy task, poor water management can quickly cause your philodendron to suffer and may even prove fatal to your plant.
Let’s dive into how to properly water philodendrons so that you have an indoor garden filled with healthy and happy houseplants.
How do I know when to water my philodendron?
Philodendrons should be watered when the top few inches of soil are dry. To test the moisture level of the soil, simply insert your finger into the top 1 to 2 inches. If it feels moist, wait a few more days and then test the soil again, making sure to only water when it feels dry.
If the plant has been underwatered for some time, it will begin to experience wilting and your philodendron’s growth rate will slow. The foliage will also start to brown and feel crispy. You may even notice the stems starting to turn brown, limp, and dry.
Overwatering is another potential problem that can occur when you water philodendrons. This is usually much more serious than underwatering, and is one of the leading causes of houseplant decline. Thankfully, overwatering is completely preventable by simply not over watering your plants.
How often should I water my philodendron?
You should water philodendrons about once a week, although this frequency can vary depending on the time of year, the size of the plant, and the temperature and humidity levels where you live. This is why you should check the moisture of the soil before watering.
The amount of watering is decreased during the winter. That is, as a general rule, you should water philodendrons once a week during the spring and summer months, and then reduce this amount to once every 10 to 14 days during the fall and winter months.
As mentioned, you should always check the moisture level of the soil before watering the plant.
This will greatly reduce the chance of you overwatering the plant, and go a long way to keeping your philodendron healthy and happy for years to come.
Should my philodendron watering schedule change in winter?
The philodendron watering schedule is typically reduced in the winter as this is when the plant is in its dormant period. This period is when the plant rests and isn’t actively growing, which means it doesn’t need as much water or nutrients as when it’s in its growing period.
In most cases, you will reduce your philodendron watering to once every 10 to 14 days during the winter. With that said, since several factors can affect how often you water the plants, even in the winter, it is always a good idea to feel the top few inches of soil. If the soil feels dry, water the philodendrons.
However, if the soil still feels moist, wait for a couple of days and then check again. Only water philodendrons when the soil feels dry and always check how dry or wet the soil is before watering. This may seem like an inconvenience, but it will go a long way to preventing overwatering.
Does a philodendron need a lot of water?
Philodendrons are not as heavy drinkers as some other houseplants, such as begonias, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to regularly hydrate this plant. How much you need to water will depend on the time of year, size and age of the plant, and temperature in the room.
With that said, however, you also want to take care not to overwater the plant as this can lead to fungal diseases, such as root rot in your philodendron. A good general rule of thumb is to water philodendrons once a week and water them deeply until it runs out of the pot’s drainage holes.
How much water should I water my philodendron?
Philodendrons grow best when they receive a good soak once every week or so during the spring and summer months. When it’s hot and dry, consider misting the plant’s foliage once or twice a week as well. During the winter months, reduce the watering frequency to once every 10 to 14 days.
The actual amount of water to give to your philodendron will vary as well, depending on the size of the plant and its age. However, you should always water philodendrons deeply, to the point that the water runs out of the drainage holes in the pot.
What does an overwatered philodendron look like?
Overwatering your philodendron can cause serious issues that can be fatal to the plant. The most common symptoms that you are overwatering a philodendron are wilted and yellow leaves, limp stems, soggy soil, and an unpleasant musty odor. As the overwatering continues, the roots start to brown or blacken and rot can set in.
Unfortunately, the symptoms associated with overwatering, such as wilted, yellowing leaves on your philodendron, look similar to the symptoms associated with underwatering.
The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is to look at and feel the soil. If the soil is dry, the plant is underwatered, while soggy soil indicates the philodendron is overwatered.
FYI: Both underwatering and overwatering can cause serious problems for the philodendron. Out of the two, however, overwatering is far more serious and can kill the plant much quicker than underwatering. To make matters worse, overwatering is more difficult to fix, so be careful.
How to fix an overwatered philodendron
If you have only overwatered the philodendron once or twice, you can typically fix the problem by allowing the soil to dry out before watering the plant again. If, however, the overwatering has been going on for an extended period of time, you will need to repot the philodendron in fresh soil.
Repotting a philodendron will require carefully sliding the plant out of its pot and removing all the soil from around its roots. Use a pair of pruning shears to remove any dead, damaged, brown, or black roots.
Repot the plant in a clean pot with fresh potting mix, ideally using the best soil for philodendrons so it thrives.
Keep in mind that trying to fix an overwatered philodendron is a difficult task if root rot has already set in. There is no cure for root rot and once it has occurred, most gardeners have to discard the infected plant and start fresh.
Thankfully, you can prevent this problem by simply not overwatering a philodendron in the first place.
How to prevent an overwatered philodendron?
Even though overwatering philodendrons is a serious problem, it is easy to prevent. The first thing to do is ensure your philodendron is growing in the right type of soil. Since philodendrons are susceptible to overwatering, you will want a soil that drains well while still holding onto the proper amount of moisture.
A soil mixture containing 1 part potting mix, 1 part perlite, 1 part orchid bark, and 1 part peat moss is the ideal growing medium for philodendrons. It is a good draining soil that will allow the philodendrons’ roots to grow and stretch.
The second way to prevent overwatering is to just not water philodendrons too much. While this may seem like an easy task, you would be surprised at how many gardeners overwater their houseplants. Always let the soil dry out a little before you water philodendrons.
What are the signs of an underwatered philodendron?
When a philodendron is underwatered, it will start to show a wide array of symptoms, including stunted growth, and droopy or wilted leaves. These leaves may also start to turn yellow or brown, develop crispy edges, and even fall off the plant.
In addition to your philodendron’s leaves curling or otherwise looking pretty sad, the stems can also start to feel dry and brittle, and the entire plant will look sick and unhealthy. You will also see the dry soil start to pull away from the philodendron’s pot.
The good news is that you can typically fix an underwatering problem fairly easily and the plants usually bounce back in a few days. But not properly watering the philodendron does put undue stress on the plant, which can make it susceptible to pests and diseases. That is why it is important to try to keep your plant properly hydrated.
How to fix an underwatered philodendron
Fixing an underwatered philodendron is not nearly as difficult as fixing an overwatered one. In fact, an underwatered philodendron will typically bounce back rather quickly by just giving the plant a good soak. From there, make sure to keep a closer eye on it going forward so as to water it more frequently.
To soak your philodendron to help it recover, use a large tub or container that can hold the philodendron and fill it with lukewarm water. Submerge the plant up to its soil line in the water and let it soak for 20 to 30 minutes. After the allotted time, lift the plant out of the water and allow the excess water to drain out of the pot.
After you have provided the plant with a good soak, make sure to regularly check its soil and water whenever it feels dry.
Try to also refrain from allowing the philodendron to go underwatered again as this can open the plant up to stress and more serious problems. That said, one good point is that the issue is nowhere near as problematic as overwatering the plant.
Do philodendrons like to dry out between watering?
Philodendrons do like their soil to dry out a bit between waterings. That said, you shouldn’t allow it to stay dry for too long as these plants can grow quickly, which means they need to absorb a good amount of moisture.
A good general rule of thumb is to water philodendrons once every week during the spring and summer, and then once every 10 to 14 days in the fall and winter.
Even if you have your philodendron watering schedule all planned out, you should still feel the top few inches of soil before watering. This helps prevent incorrect watering.
After all, there are many factors that can affect whether or not the philodendron needs water, and some of these factors can change from one day to the next.
Thankfully, checking the soil moisture level is a rather simple process that only requires one of your fingers. To begin, insert your finger one to two inches into the philodendron’s soil. Only water philodendrons when the soil feels dry.
Are philodendrons sensitive to tap water?
Philodendron plants are not necessarily sensitive to tap water and can usually do just fine with this type of water. That said, if you live in an area with high amounts of chlorine in the tap water, consider allowing the water to sit out overnight before watering your plant.
That way, any chlorine in it will evaporate and make the water safer for your houseplants.
If you don’t want to use tap water, rain water will also work well for philodendron watering. Other options include distilled water and filtered water.
You can also supplement some of the waterings with water from a freshwater aquarium, which can add beneficial nutrients to your plants.
No matter which you choose, make sure to only water the philodendron when the top few inches of soil are dry. Never water if the soil is soggy or moist as this will increase the chance of overwatering the plant, which can then lead to fungal diseases.
Does the temperature of the water matter when watering philodendrons?
The temperature of the water does matter when it comes to watering houseplants, including philodendrons. Water that is too hot or too cold can shock the plants, causing damage to their roots. For the best results, the water temperature should be 62 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
This temperature is usually considered room temperature, and can typically be achieved by letting the water sit out on the counter for a few hours before watering the plants.
What time of day should I water philodendrons?
The best time of day to water philodendrons is during the morning. This gives the plants enough time to absorb all the water before the sun gets too harsh and too hot. This is especially during the summer months when the sun’s rays are usually much hotter.
No matter what time of day you decide to water philodendrons, make sure to water at the base of the plant and not above it. When you water above the plant, not only are you wetting the leaves, which can cause problems, but you are also opening the philodendron up to fungal and bacterial diseases.
Should I water philodendrons from above or below?
It is better to water philodendrons at the base of the plant. This is because fungal and bacterial spores and pathogens can lurk in the soil waiting for water to splash them up onto the leaves, causing hard-to-treat plant diseases. By watering the philodendron below, you greatly reduce the chance of these diseases.
While watering from above may seem like the easier option, it is not the best choice for houseplants such as philodendrons. The potential risks for diseases far outweighs any benefits you would see from watering overhead. That is why you should only water at the base of the philodendron.
Do philodendrons like to be misted?
Philodendrons can benefit from regular misting when the temperatures are high and humidity levels are low. If, however, you keep the philodendron in a room where temps fall between 70 and 80 degrees and humidity levels are at 60 percent or above, you probably won’t need to mist the plant.
Wiping the leaves down with a soft damp cloth can help keep the foliage clean and dust free. Depending on how dusty the area is, you may have to wipe the leaves once every few weeks. Wiping the philodendron leaves is more about keeping your houseplant looking its best and less about hydrating the plant.
Should I wipe philodendron leaves?
Wiping philodendron leaves isn’t a requirement, but it can help to remove dust, dirt, and debris from building up on the plant’s foliage. If you do decide to wipe its leaves, make sure to do so carefully to prevent damage to the plant. Additionally, use a soft, non-abrasive cloth that is damp, not soggy.
Wiping the leaves with a cloth that is dripping wet can make the plant’s soil way too soggy, and increase the risk for diseases infecting the philodendron.