Philodendron Plowmanii: #1 Top Care Tips

Philodendron Plowmanii is a rare variety of Philodendron which features massive leaves.  It rarely blooms, but its main attraction is the showy leaves with varying shades of green contrasted sharply by the creamy coloration of the veins. In optimal conditions, Philodendron Plowmanii can reach a height of 8ft.

Philodendron Plowmanii which originates from central and South America is most often grown indoors as a house plant. It can create an impressive feature if its stems are supported as it gets taller. The leathery heart-shaped leaves look almost artificial in their dramatic contrasting perfection. If you do manage to secure a Plowmanii as part of your Philodendron collection, there are some things you can do to keep it looking impressive.

Philodendron Plowmanii

For such rare and spectacular species, the Plowmanii requires surprisingly little care to remain lush and healthy. Once the basics are in place and with some regular feeding, it will thrive and continue to reward you with slow but steady growth.

Before acquiring a philodendron like the Plowmanii for your home, it is essential to remember that all species of this plant family are considered toxic to humans and pets. This is because they contain calcium oxalate crystals that irritate the mouth and esophagus. While you may be eager to own one of these rare gems, you may need to carefully plan where you will be able to show it off safely.

If you are fortunate enough to own a Philodendron Plowmanii, there are some species-specific basic elements that you should keep in mind.  If you get all of these right, all that you will still have to do is ensure that your Plowmanii has ample space to grow and display its gorgeous giant leaves.

Philodendron Plowmanii

Light

Like many philodendrons, Plowmanii cannot tolerate intense direct light. It is, therefore, best kept in filtered light or partial shade. Its huge leaves can quickly get scorched and damaged if exposed to the direct sun.

Besides keeping your Plowmanii out of direct sunlight, it is highly tolerant of most other light conditions. It does well as a pot plant in most house sections, even in rooms with lower light conditions. If you have your tropical giant in an area where it is frequently exposed to direct sunlight, add a curtain or screen filter to the window or move the plant.

If you can keep your Plowmanii outside, it will need a sheltered shaded spot. It can also do well under the dappled light canopy provided by other plants, but keep in mind that this Philodendron can reach 8ft in height if conditions are favorable. What you may plant will, in time, be unrecognizable as the tiny original plant so ensure that you keep its final size in mind when planning.

Soil

Plowmanii should be planted in soil that has a high percentage of organic material that can retain moisture. However, moisture does not mean wet, and the roots must never become water-logged. 

As a tropical aroid species from the Araceae family, Plowmanii will do well in chunky bark-based potting soil rich in organic matter. Find a mix that features sphagnum peat moss and perlite so that you can be confident that moisture will not be retained around the roots.

Plowmanii is also a Philodendron species that does well in soilless mediums like sphagnum moss or perlite. Soilless mixes are available readymade from garden centers and have become popular with container gardeners. This potting material is cleaner, and drainage is far more efficient than conventional potting soil mixes.

The most important factor when selecting soil for your Plowmanii is that it needs to be free draining. Root rot can set in very quickly and spell disaster for your beautiful giant Philodendron. Take care to avoid clay, sand, or wet soil materials. Whatever soil medium you decide to use, your Plowmanii will do better if the pH of the mixture is between the range of 5 and 6, which is slightly acidic.

Related: Philodendron Pedatum: Growing The Oak Leaf Philodendron

Temperature

Philodendrons are lush tropical plants which means that they are not tolerant of cold. Plowmanii, with its huge velvety green leaves, has evolved to soak up every available beam of light from dark spaces under a warm, humid canopy. It is therefore not possible to grow them outdoors in areas where winters are cool.

The ideal temperature range in which Plowmanii can thrive is 55F – 85F. You can keep your precious plants in a shaded spot outside during the warmer months, but bring them in as soon as the temperatures start declining below 60F.

Philodendron Plowmanii

Humidity

Lack of humidity can be a problem for inside plants, so try not to keep your plant near any heating or cooling units, fans, or vents. Humidity levels must remain between 40-60%, and humidifiers work well to regulate this.

You can also increase the humidity level around the plant by regularly lightly spritzing the leaves with clean water. Spraying them with a fine mist of water also serves to keep them looking fresh. However, take care not to add additional water to the roots.

An attractive and cost-effective way to increase the humidity for your Plowmanii is to place it on a pebble tray. You can add to the tropical effect by making the plant the centerpiece on a tray of water and natural stones. Just be careful that the bottom of the pot is not making contact with the water and that drainage through the plant’s potting medium is free-flowing at all times.

Fertilizing

If your plant is potted in a good quality potting material, it won’t be very demanding in terms of fertilizer. However, during the growing season, you will see an increase in the growth rate if you provide additional nutrients.

Your Plowmanii can benefit from an organic time-released fertilizer or a good quality liquid fertilizer about three times a year. Be sure to follow the dilution instructions on the liquid fertilizer carefully to prevent burning the roots and apply 6 inches away from the base of the plant.

Repotting

Plowmanii is a slow grower, but its growth is steady and prolonged. If it is well cared for, these plants can reach an impressive size. The plant may quickly outgrow the pot it is in, and you may even spot roots sprouting from the bottom irrigation holes. Fortunately, moving the plant to a bigger pot is straightforward and well tolerated by the plant.

Even if the plant is not visibly pot bound, it is a good idea to repot and add soil annually as it assists with drainage and refreshes nutrients that are available to the plant. Repotting should be done during the growing season.

How Often Should I Water A Plowmanii?

Philodendron Plowmanii a small rooted stalk

How often you need to water your Plowmanii depends on the temperature and environment. The plant needs to always be in moist soil, but never to overwater. Let the top of the ground feel dry to touch before adding water.

During warm summer months, you will need to water more often than when it is cool. In summer, you may have to water twice a week to keep the soil damp. In winter, you can usually decrease the frequency of water to around once a week.

It is a good idea to keep a misting spray near the plant and if you are in doubt, just lightly mist the leaves and roots rather than water more frequently than you need to and possibly kill your precious Philodendron.

Propagation of Philodendron Plowmanii

The Plowmanii can be propagated using the same methods as most other Philodendron species. The most common methods used are water propagation and soil propagation.

You can follow instructions on how to propagate these plants here.

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Problems To Look Out For

Like any houseplant, Plowmanii is susceptible to some common issues and pests.  These can be serious if they are left unchecked.

  • Aphids – you can keep aphids away by regularly misting your Plowmanii with insecticidal soap or applying neem oil. These tiny insects can cause tremendous damage by attaching themselves to the plant and feeding on new growth. They also quickly spread to all neighboring plants, so if you notice an infestation, be sure also to treat all surrounding plants.
  • Erwinia Blight – A common disease for Philodendrons and can quickly be fatal if not urgently treated. You will recognize the condition by the development of yellow lesions and droopy leaves starting at the base.

      Regular cleaning and a temperate environment are the best prevention for this disease. If your plant is affected, immediately isolate it and prune off the yellow leaves using sterile equipment. Then fertilize and provide optimal conditions for the plant to return to good health.

  • Yellowing Leaves – The first likely cause is that the plant is receiving too much water. Allow the soil to dry out slightly before you water it again.

    The second cause might be a condition called Chlorosis Conundrum, which results from a magnesium deficiency. It can be remedied by drenching the soil in a solution of 1 teaspoon Epsom salts to one gallon of water.
  • Temperature Trauma – If your Plowmanii plant gets exposed to temperatures below its optimal range, it may develop brown blotches. Immediately relocate your plant to a warmer environment where the temperature will remain above 55F
  • Leaf Spot – If the plant leaves develop dark lesions with a yellowish outline, your Plowmanii has leaf spot. Immediately stop misting the plant if you are doing so and only provide water to the base of the plant. Move it in a hot environment above 70F.

Conclusion

The Plowmanii is an unusual and impressive member of the Philodendron family. It is not readily available, so you are fortunate if you own one of these magnificent plants. Although the Plowmanii is a rare variety, it does not require more than the usual care of other Philodendron houseplants. The giant leaves are the main attraction of this plant.  Ensuring that it receives sufficient nutrients and stays in the ideal environment will ensure that it remains a showstopper in any plant collection.

References:

https://bloomscape.com/plant-care/how-to-increase-the-humidity-for-your-houseplants/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terrestrial_plant

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philodendron

https://plantophiles.com/plant-care/philodendron-plowmanii/