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Philo, species ID needed

Posted by hopefulauthor z5IL ( on
Sun, Apr 22, 12 at 15:25


Short history.

99% certain I got this plant from Black Jungle, in the 90's.
Back then, BJ mostly sold small, terrarium plants in 2.5" pots.

It once had a tag, but I never could read the name..the lettering eventually faded, so it was tossed.

I left in soil, but after two or so years it didn't send out one leaf. It was then I decided to place in water.

Over time, its leaves never grew larger than an inch. Ever. But, the plant itself grew.

After reading Elkay's post on Philos, I decided to look at mine. lol.
That's when I decided to snap a pic of this unknown species Philo, to see if someone could make an ID.

Pic taken today, 4/22/12


As I said, leaves never grew over an inch.
Today, I noticed some leaves were three times their normal size.
It might have been fertilized twice over the years. Last month I added a little Superthrive, but don't know if that's the reason some leaves are bigger. This is a first.
I'm sure it's been ST'd before, but leaves remained the same size.

Water is changed once a week. Philo has been in the same spot over the years..only difference is, when I changed from soil to water, the container was smaller. Actually, a cup, lol.



Leaves have a slight siliver hue.

Anyone know what species my Philo is? I've Googed Philo, miniatures, dwarf, and terrarium, but can't find a pic that resembles this guy.

Thanks, Toni

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Philo, species ID needed

I don't know but just stopping in to say that I like weird looking plants like that (don't wish to insult your plant but it is slightly wild looking). Like it whatever it is.


RE: Philo, species ID needed

Hi Susan,

Yep, it is wild looking, lol.

When I first purchased it, I didn't think it'd get any larger than 10" considering the nursery specialized in small, terrarium plants.

Now that it's older, it looks like it's forming a trunk.

It might look neater if potted and re-pruned.

Hopefully, someone will be able to ID.

I'd post on the ARoid Forum, but very few people go there. lol.

RE: Philo, species ID needed

Toni, your Mr. Mystery Phil looks just like my failure-to-thrive P. erubescens, only green. However, remembering what it looked like when I bought it (before numerous winters in a cold, dim, PNW cabin), I have a difficult time imagining it sold as a terrarium plant! Does it have a strong odor when you prune it?

I don't know what to do to turn it around... maybe another summer outdoors will help... what have you tried with that particular Phil?


RE: Philo, species ID needed

Toni: I see that the black jungle website is still up. email the pic to them for ID.


RE: Philo, species ID needed

Hi Gravy,

You think my Mystery Philo looks like P. erubescens?
I thought Erubescens had reddish, 5"+ leaves???

Why do you say your Philo was a failure to thrive?

Why do you have a difficult time imagining Mystery Philo as a terrarium plant?

No, never noticed a scent when clipped. Especially a bad odor.

Gravy, to be honest, I haven't done much w/this Philo.
Mystery was originally in soil. After some time passed, it didn't do well. I assumed it needed more humidity so placed in a terrarium. A couple wks later leaves looked like they had mites, thought the heck with it, so it went in water.

Leaves were always small, 'under 1"', silvery-green. The other day while browsing Philos, I noticed some foliage had grown 2-3 times larger.

After all these years...............??

I don't know how to shape it. Now that it's grown, what looks like bark, 'in the water,' I'm really baffled.

I'm going to write to BJ where it was some miracle, one of the two owners might recall its type.

Anyway, what's going on w/your Philo? Toni

RE: Philo, species ID needed

It may reshape its self after a repot. LOL!!!

RE: Philo, species ID needed

what ever it may be, it is very intresting! Good luck with it. :)

RE: Philo, species ID needed

Susan, I went to Black Jungle, but can't find an email address..

Susan, I don't plan on repotting. It's been in water so long, it's staying

I spent an hour last night looking at different Philos. There's one called P. Wend Imbe. It 'might' be my Mystery Philo. Not certain.

Marj, thanks.
Recently, I've been adding tags to new and old plants. I keep journals. In each yearly journal I write down, name of plant, where and date purchased.
Problem is years of old journals were in the basement. We had a flood, and they were ruined.
But my goal is to tag every plant..if

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