Easily found in gardens, growing on trees, and even in pots inside houses, the philodendrons are plants from the genus Philodendron, a word that comes from Greek and means: philo – love, and dendron – trees.
These plants receive this name precisely because of their characteristics when found in nature, as they grow supported by tree trunks and can reach great heights. Many people believe that because they use trees as support, they are parasitic plants. But this is wrong! The philodendrons and the trees have a harmonic relationship, without any burden or damage to the trees. Those plants only use the trees as support for their adventitious roots, since they are vines and have such roots to “hold on” to surfaces.
There are more than 400 species within the genus Philodendron, and they are native to tropical and subtropical forests of Latin America, with high humidity in the air, mild temperatures, and areas with intense natural light filtered through the canopy. Philodendrons belong to the Araceae family, which also includes anthuriums, aloccasias, peace lilies, meadow lilies, and several other plants that have similar spike-shaped inflorescence.
Some Philodendron species you need to know about
Philodendron hederaceum: known as the pendant philodendron, it is a fast-growing plant with several different cultivars, such as the lemon philodendron, the green philodendron, the philodendron brasil, and the philodendron micans, with dark, velvety leaves.
Philodendron gloriosum: it has large and very velvety leaves, and is widely used in shady gardens.
Philodendron martianum: this is the famous Pacová, widely used indoors because it appreciates shade or semi-shade environments.
Philodendron erubescens: it is also known as purple philodendron, for its purplish and dark leaves, and has cultivars with different shades, such as philodendron erubescens pink princess.
Philodendron bipinnatifidum: often found in gardens in full sun, this philodendron is often confused with the Adam’s rib, because of its outlined and jagged leaves. It is popularly known as Guaimbê.
Care of the philodendrons
Light: philodendrons are shade, semi-shade, and some species can also be grown in full sun. In general, a place with good natural light is ideal for philodendrons indoors, with a few hours of sun in the morning or late afternoon.
Water: philodendrons are plants that appreciate high humidity in the air, so spray water around your plants to cool them down, especially on hot, dry days. Watering can be frequent, but always be careful not to soak the substrate or leave water accumulated in the vase, pot, or pot holder.
Pets and children: in spite of being very ornamental and beautiful, philodendrons are toxic plants if ingested. Therefore, care must be taken when children and pets have access to these plants.