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Philodendron leaf problems

Posted by wendyb 5A/MA (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 16, 14 at 12:48

Any idea what is chomping away chunks of leaf on this plant? Overall, it is gorgeous and healthy looking, but when I look closely at some of the leaves, there are large gaps. I cannot see any insects at all.

A while ago I cut off all the badly damaged leaves to monitor the progression, and a few months later, more bad leaves can be found. :-(

Here's some wrinkling going on a on a new leaf and a small spot looking like insects, but nothing going on the back of the leaf at all.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Philodendron leaf problems

I was just examining the leaves again and I noticed something really odd. Two side by side leaves have almost the identical split going on. If you look at the position of the new separation between the 2nd and 3rd veins, it is super close. Maybe it is something architectural rather than insectual???

here's a close up


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RE: Philodendron leaf problems

Do you take that plant outside in the summer? Looks like damage from the wind (causes splitting) or damage from something brushing against the leaves roughly.

I have a p. bipinnatifidum that I used to put out on my deck in the warmer weather. Some leaves got the same kind of damage as yours has.


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RE: Philodendron leaf problems

I did take it out it's first couple of years but not for the past several. I've had it a very long time. I would think that all it's original leaves are long gone. I do remove leaves occasionally to neaten it up as older leaves do seem to die off. I wonder if it's always had this issue and I never paid close attention??? I should put a mark on these two new splits and watch them.

So you don't think it's stealth insects? Those first notches look eaten.


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RE: Philodendron leaf problems

That third pic looks like a caterpillar caused that damage. I had a large hibiscus plant for a while and one fall after I brought it inside, I kept seeing damage like in that pic. I also would find caterpillar poop on the floor but I couldn't find the dang thing! I finally found it - it was almost 2 inches long and was feasting on my plant!

I'm no expert, but I don't think those tears in the leaves look like insect damage.


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RE: Philodendron leaf problems

those curvy eaten up large areas look like some big insect (grasshoper? big beetle?) damage.
i've also had snail eggs in some new plants - they would hatch and little snails would eat stuff up. in new orchids, for example. they take time to hatch. but those you could usually see if you look closely and carefully.
hoppers would hopp though, you should notice, if you have any.


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RE: Philodendron leaf problems

yeah, it does remind me of caterpillar damage, but no caterpillars here. 10 year old plant has not been outside in several years.


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RE: Philodendron leaf problems

Has it been repotted since it was outside?


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RE: Philodendron leaf problems

Yes, I think twice.


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RE: Philodendron leaf problems

Hmm, doubtful it's something nocturnal living in the soil then. Brainstorming... Could the rips have happened when turning the plant, or walking by it? (Maybe another member of your house?)

Have you seen tiny black dots on the floor around this or on the leaves (caterpillar poo?) Have you seen any little moths in the house at all? Were there other plants outside that got brought inside? Those little green caterpillars will eat about any kind of plant and are daggone hard to find!! They can crawl surprisingly far. Found one eating a holiday cactus plant in January, over 2 months after plants were brought in.

Any damage on other plants or just this one? It's an awesome plant, BTW!


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RE: Philodendron leaf problems

OMG, this is amazing.... I just happened to be perusing my file folder of MyPictures\garden\tropicals-houseplants (very organized) and I found an old picture of the same plant that I saw while at Foxwoods Casino several years ago. I snapped the picture because I thought it was interesting to see the same type of plant that I also had. The surface roots were interesting too. I didn't have any at the time, but now I do so I'm glad I knew to expect them.

Look at the 2 spots I marked. Same as on my plant!!! One has the caterpillar look and one has the elongated tear. And possibly in the same position in the veins!!!

Thanks for the complement. And after seeing this commercially maintained specimen, I feel really good about mine too in comparison!

No damage on any other plants. Knock on wood... I have really good luck with plants and insects.


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