Wednesday, March 11, 2015

The Classic Philodendron Cordatum

No blog about indoor plants would be complete without a post on the classic Philodendron cordatum. This heart-shaped and shiny, deep-green leafed vine has lived in many homes for over a century. It's one of the easiest houseplants to keep and a very forgiving one. If you neglect it for awhile it will bounce right back, with the correct care.

When I stopped by a great nearby florist, I saw this beauty, just waiting to be sold. Although it's known in horticulture as Philodendron cordatum, its official botanical name is Philodendron oxycardium. It is indigenous to Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Central America.

It can be grown in a hanging basket or as a floor plant in a container with a piece of bark, or mossed poles to grow up on. It grows well in water, too.

You can send indoor plants and floral arrangements just about anywhere in the world from this florist:

Care instructions--
  • Tolerates low light but does best with bright indirect light or some direct morning sun. Full afternoon sun will bleach the leaves. Its new leaves will be smaller in low light.
  • Water thoroughly when the soil surface is good and dry on top. A plant in a 6" (15cm) diameter pot should be watered with about a pint (or almost a half liter) of water
  • A plant in an 8" (20cm) diameter pot or 10" (25cm) diameter hanging basket, will use about a quart of water, when necessary.
  • Regular fertilizing keeps them looking robust. 
  • If they are trimmed back some, from time to time, you will have a fuller, lusher looking plant. Every few months, cut a few of the vines back a little, close to where the leaf and vine meet. 
  • Longer vines can be cut back to the length you desire.  
  • This is the easiest way: Stem cuttings root very easily in water and can be planted in potting soil when the roots have grown to be about 2" long or longer.
  • They grow well in water or hydroponically, too. Refresh the water weekly. When you mix up some fertilizer for your other plants add a little of the fertilized water to any container of plants that are growing in water. 
  • Relatives of the Philodendron such as Pothos and Nephtyhis can also be propagated this way. 

***For a variety of  video clips on houseplant care from my 90's TV series, click here:

The Indoor Garden TV show


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