Philodendron Bipennifolium – Detailed Plant Care

These large-leafed Philodendrons will turn an ordinary house with plants into an indoor jungle. This rare, tropical species from South America has gorgeous foliage, is easy to grow and requires little maintenance – the perfect house plant!

Philodendron bipennifolium is a climber that grows long, trailing vines. It looks fantastic growing up a moss pole or spilling from a hanging basket. If you live in a warm enough climate, you can even grow this adaptable plant in a shady area of the garden. They bring an exotic flair to any space.

We can look at Philodendron bipennifolium’s native habitat and growing conditions to learn how to keep these plants happy in our home or garden. They require warmth, humidity, regular water, and just the right amount of light to thrive. This is a guide to these beautiful plants and their care.

How To Identify A Philodendron Bipennifolium?

Philodendron bipennifolium, AKA the Fiddleleaf or Horsehead Philodendron, has large, luscious green foliage. The leaves are multi-lobed, and some are shaped like violins, butterflies, or horses’ heads. This is where the plant gets its common names.

The unusually shaped foliage is leathery and thick, with a glossy appearance. Its stems are long, thin, and green, each bearing an exotic leaf. The young leaves are lighter green. As they mature, they turn darker.

As a hemi-epiphyte, it grows aerial roots to absorb moisture from the air and help the plant secure itself to surrounding trees.

Philodendron Bipennifolium

Origin Of Philodendron Bipennifolium

This plant naturally occurs in the tropical jungles of South America. It ranges from Bolivia to Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.

They are adapted to growing in warm, humid, and crowded conditions, amongst many other plants. There is a lot of competition for resources amongst plants in the jungle.

Because they grow beneath the rainforest canopy, they are adapted to growing in lower light levels. Philodendron bipennifolium climbs up trees, wrapping itself around the trunks in search of light.

Characteristics Of Philodendron Bipennifolium

Philodendron bipennifolium has large, arrow-shaped leaves, typical of plants in the Aroid family. Their bright, glossy, green leaves have an irregular shape, giving them a funky, wacky look.

Growth Form

It is a climbing, vining Philodendron that grows aerial roots to attach itself to whatever it is growing up against. A moss pole, bamboo stake, or trellis can be used.

Growth Rate And Size

Philodendron bipennifolium is a fast-growing plant, particularly during spring and summer. Its growth slows down during winter when temperatures are lower.

They the vines can reach up to 7 feet, and the leaves get really long – between 10 to 18 inches!

Related: Philodendron Black Cardinal Care Guide

How To Care For Philodendron Bipennifolium

Caring for this rare tropical Philodendron is very simple. Do not let its price tag convince you that it is more complicated to care for than any other Philodendron.

Just follow these basic guidelines, and your Philodendron bipennifolium should grow happy and healthy.

Soil And Potting

If you get the soil type right for these plants, you are sure to have success. Drainage is the most important factor. Water should be able to flow freely through the soil so that the roots do not remain in saturated conditions for long periods.

The best potting mix for growing Philodendrons is a 50/50 combination of organic potting soil and perlite, with a few handfuls of bark chips and coco peat.

The organic matter will hold enough moisture to sustain the plant, and the perlite aerates the soil, so that excess water can drain away quickly.

You can also grow this plant without any soil using LECA clay balls instead! These slowly release water to the plant and prevent root rot. LECA is a fantastic medium for hemi-epiphytic plants.

The pot you choose should have drainage holes at the bottom. While plastic and clay pots both work, terracotta pots are more porous and wick moisture from the soil. This is great for Philodendrons.

Support

Because this is a climbing, vining plant, you should give it a moss pole, bamboo, stake, trellis, or a beautiful piece of driftwood for support. It will wrap around the structure, covering it.

If you do not give it support, the vines will trail over the sides of the pot. They look wonderful in hanging baskets.

Philodendron Bipennifolium

Light

Philodendron bipennifolium has moderate light requirements – not too much and not too little. This species is happiest in bright, indirect light.

Direct sunlight can burn the foliage, and too much shade causes the growth to become leggy and stretched out.

Water

It is critical to water these plants well on a regular basis but to let the growing medium dry out between watering.

Depending on the growing conditions, you should water a Philodendron bipennifolium once every week or two. Once a month is usually more suitable during winter.

Bottom watering is a great method for hydrating these plants. Let the whole pot soak in a shallow tub of water for 10 to 15 minutes and then remove it, allowing the excess water to drain off.

To prevent overwatering your Philodendron bipennifolium, always check the soil moisture before you water. Use a soil probe or simply your finger to judge the moisture level.

Temperature And Humidity

These tropical plants need warmth to thrive. They are happiest in the range of 65°F – 85°F (18°C – 29°C) is ideal for them. Put them in a room where the temperature says relatively stable and avoid putting the plant near a draft or a radiator.

Philodendrons are not able to tolerate cold below 50 °F (10°C) or frost. The leaves may turn yellow, and parts of the stem may turn brown and soft from temperature shock.

These plants love a high humidity environment. It benefits them to use a humidifier, or to mist the leaves during the day. You can also put a saucer filled with water and pebbles below the pot to boost the humidity in the root zone.

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How To Maintain A Philodendron Bipennifolium?

These are hassle-free plants to maintain. With the right growing conditions and watering regime, they should only need occasional upkeep.

This is how to look after these plants long term:

Wipe Leaves

Lots of dust accumulates on houseplants. Light must penetrate the leaves for the plant to photosynthesize. Dust on the leaves blocks some light, stressing the plant over time.

Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe the leaves clean on a monthly basis. This will keep the plant happy and healthy.

Fertilizing

These fast-growing plants will use up the readily available nutrients in the pot relatively quickly. They will benefit from a feed every 6 to 8 weeks during the growing season.

Use an organic liquid fertilizer instead of a chemical fertilizer. These can cause fertilizer burn that stunts plant growth.

Pruning

To keep the plant looking neat and growing in the shape you would like, prune off any old, dead, or undesirable foliage in spring.

Use a sharp, clean pair of secatuers or scissors to prune. This prevents infecting the cuts.

Repotting

Every 2 or 3 years, a Philodendron bipennifolium’s growth slows down because its roots have reached the maximum capacity of the pot. The plant essentially starts to strangle itself, so you need to repot it!

When you repot a Philodendron, you should replace the potting soil and move it into a larger pot. The new pot should be an inch or two larger than the old one and should have adequate drainage holes.

Holding a Philodendron Bipennifolium

Propagating a Philodendron Bipennifolium

The great thing about this rare Philodendron is that it is super easy to propagate! You could make a few new plants for yourself, or to share with friends or family who are plant enthusiasts.

There are two methods to propagate a Philodendron:

  • Air layering
  • Rooting stem cuttings in water, soil, or LECA

It is important to always use a sharp, sterile instrument when you take cuttings.

Watch this video that explains in detail how to propagate Philodendrons.

Pests And Diseases Affecting Philodendron Bipennifolium

While Philodendron bipennifolium is generally a healthy, fuss-free plant, it can develop problems with pests and diseases, especially is we cut corners in caring for it.

If these plants are overwatered, they are prone to a fungal disease known as root rot.

Insect pests may also find their way to your Philodendron, especially during spring. Aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and brown scale can be an issue.

Thankfully, these pests are not difficult to deal with. They can simply be wiped from the stems and leaves using a cotton ball soaked in 70% alcohol.

Giving your plant a regular spray with a neem oil solution works well to ward off pests.

Conclusion

Philodendron bipennifolium is a charming plant that looks wonderful growing in our homes. If you are lucky enough to get your hands on this rare variety, take good care of it and propagate it to make more plants.

This species is simple to grow and maintain, even for inexperienced plant parents. As long as it gets warmth, light and enough water, it will thrive for many years.

References:

https://plantly.io/plant-care/philodendron-bipennifolium/

https://www.plantindex.com/philodendron-bipennifolium/

https://gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/philodendron/fiddleleaf-philodendron-care

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyvQlESsoz0