Philodendron help

TuckamoreMarch 22, 2013

hello all,

Im new to this site but I already have quite a collection of houseplants.

I have a heart shaped philodendron that Ive had for about 2 years and its longest vines are about 12-15ft. Leaves range in size from an inch to 6". It has been thriving and growing like a weed in a hanging pot in the corner of my living room where 2 windows meet. It gets lots of light but not in the direct path of the sun itself.

The problem...lately it has started to turn yellow on quite a few leaves and they have begun to drop off. i haven't changed the watering schedule or anything. Do I need to re-pot perhaps?

I have more questions about philodendrons but I'll start another post to keep things simple.


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wndy_gardenweb(USDA z4b)

Hello again Tuck,

Philodendron scandens is one of my favorite plants--I actually just picked up one (after not having one for years) a week ago. Tiny little thing, but I have big dreams for it! Anyhow, sorry to hear your plant is turning yellow.

I'm not an expert, or even close, others here know a lot more than I do, so hopefully they will correct me if I am wrong. Yellowing, I believe, is often caused by over watering, but from what I understand, cold temperatures can also damage plants this way (50F or below, though I doubt this is what is hurting your plant).

I couldn't find a reference stating that salt buildup caused leaves to yellow and drop, but, if you haven't repotted for two years (and who knows how long the plant has been in that pot before that), that could be a problem. Do you "flush" the soil out now and then to remove salt buildup? Over time salts from tap water (I use filtered water, but I think it still causes buildup.. there's lime in it, anyway). People here seem to recommend 2-4 times a year watering your plant somewhere where it can drain really well (shower/outside), water it once to get the soil all wet and dissolve the salts... then water several times after that to leach it out of the soil. Even if that is not causing the yellowing (again, I couldn't find a source saying salt buildup would do that), it won't hurt, and can only help.

You mentioned you didn't change your watering schedule. What do you mean by "schedule" -- do you mean an actualy schedule ("once a week") or just the way you water ("when I check the soil at X", it feels dry and needs watering").

The amount of water your plant takes in will change, so checking the soil is the best way to do it.

Fast-draining soils will need to be watered more often, but house plants usually seem to enjoy those soils (you're less likely to get root rot with them) more than your standard super-peaty came-with-the-plant soils.

You mentioned the plant is 12-15' long. That means water has to go from the roots all the way to the end of the plant. I'm not sure if this matters... anyone here know? If the roots cannot support that much foliage, then the plant will drop leaves, from what I understand.

Where is the yellowing occurring? All over the plant? Near the roots? Near the far end of the plant?

I'm sure others will have more to say, and better answers. But I think repotting would be an excellent idea, regardless.

Here's a link to a thread about container soils, which will be useful to you when you repot:

Good luck! :-)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 2:43PM
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Thanks again!

My plants leaves seem to be a bit pale, some have yellow at the edges... they even seem thin (if that makes any sense). i have no set schedule for watering, I just test the soil as I always have.

I have never flushed this plant but could easily do so if that would help.

I only have four vines that I let grow, the other I keep cutting back to keep the plant thick.

I am leaning towards root bound but I am unsure...


    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 2:59PM
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Wndy...when you said you were new, I 'assumed' you meant new to GW AND plants, but you're too familiar with greens, and make excellent suggestions for a beginner. You're definately not a novice to indoor gardening. :)

Tuckamore. Leaf thinning can be caused by too much heat or icy conditions, though I doubt your house is freezing.
What temperature is your plant room?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 5:29PM
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Temp. is about 18-20C normally. There are about 25 other plants (many different types) in that room which are doing great.

I will add that all the new growth has decreased in size from a few inches to one..

So temp hasn't changed, amount of water hasn't changed, amount of light has increased a bit with spring setting in but it has always been in its current location.

I have never flushed this particular plant and it has not been re-potted but I am wary about re-potting a plant before its time.

Ill add a pic once I figure out how lol

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 5:41PM
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20C is normal. So, leaves aren't thinning from too much heat or cold. Hmm.

All new growth decreased on Philo or all 25 plants??

Would you say your Philo is furthest from a light source compared to other plants?

Do you fertilize? If so, how often? What type of fertilizer? Not the brand. NPK?

I doubt lack of flushing is the problem, but if you fertilize often, flushing doesn't hurt.

In order to post pics, first register with Photo Bucket or Flickr. Or have you already done so?

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 6:14PM
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All my other plants are doing great, including other philos. which I have grown from cuttings from the plant in question.

The one in question is of equal distance from light as some other plants but its the only one with decreased leaf size. In fact theres a Tradescantia zebrina right beside it that is thriving and putting on tonnes of new growth.

I fertilizer app. every 6 weeks or so (so, meaning a bit more) with food 8-7-6 and have done so for years with great success.

Do you think it could be root bound?


    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 6:31PM
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wndy_gardenweb(USDA z4b)

aww, thank you Toni! I've been on/off with houseplants since about 2000, but only recently have been reading a lot about them. The first houseplant I bought was a banana, and the second, I think was probably a majesty palm... needless to say, they didn't last long! I really like the forums here--I'm learning a lot!

Tuck, I think that's a good guess. Repotting it wouldn't hurt, and will give you a chance to inspect the roots. A search on GW for repot, soil medium, and so forth should give you some good info on the best way to go about it. :-)

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 8:27PM
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dellis326 (Danny)

To insert a single image you can just upload it directly from your computer. Click on the browse button and select the image from your files. Highlighted below.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2013 at 11:34PM
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Hard to see in this pic, but the edges of the leaves are pale

Does this help ID my problem?

Dont know why it appears sideways, its right on my computer...

Also, how do I add more than one pic per post?


    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:00AM
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In this pic you can see the size and location of my plant.

It has been here for over 2 years and has always done great.

Any help is greatly appreciated!


    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:02AM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

If it continues to die back pruning can be of order

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 2:57PM
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I pruned it when it first started to fade, it was twice this size.

So I'm wondering if it will eventually green up now that it is smaller...

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 3:00PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

I hope yours grow back. i love philodendron. especially my brasil hybrid

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 3:23PM
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