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Types of Philodendron: overview with pictures

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The variety of Philodendron species, also known as tree friends, is huge. They climb, crawl, grow on the ground or in the treetops. Find out about the best types of Philodendron here.

But which of the many species should you choose? To make the choice a little easier, we have compiled the most popular types of Philodendron here as an overview for you.

Types of Philodendron: how many are there?

The approximately 487 species of Philodendron are indigenous to the tropical forests of South and Central America, where they grow partly on the ground and partly as sessile plants, called epiphytes, on trees. In addition, there are hemiepiphytes that begin their life high up in the treetops and then grow their roots towards the ground, where they make contact with the soil. To create suitable conditions also for houseplants, each one Philodendron species presented here mention whether it grows epiphytically or terrestrially.

As mentioned, some Philodendron species grow on the ground in the soil of the tropical rain forest. Others cling to trunks of larger trees with their aerial roots; they are so-called epiphytes. Their elevated, often climbing growth provides more access to light, which is scarce in the dense rainforest. However, epiphytes are not parasites: Rather, they are content to use part of the tree’s dead, loose bark and coarse organic materials that collect in cracks in the bark as a substrate. Consequently, these are two types of Philodendron require different soils to come to life as houseplants in our country:

  • For terrestrial growing philodendron species an “All Purpose” compost is a good choice. It has a loose structure, which it retains for a long time, and yet can retain water. It is also enriched with important nutrients. The soil should be permeable and slightly acidic, but also retain moisture well.
  • For epiphytes and hemiepiphytes among the philodendrons, a mixture of universal soil, expanded clay and pine bark is suitable in the ratio 1:1:1. Expanded clay and pine bark provide additional aeration and a stable, slightly acidic pH.

All species generally do best in a warm, semi-shady location with indirect sunlight, temperatures around 25°C and high humidity. Philodendron species do not like temperatures below 15°C. Because they grow high in the treetops, epiphytes tolerate slightly more light than terrestrial species.

The most beautiful types of Philodendron at a glance

In addition to the popular cotyledon philodendron (Philodendron chandens), there are many other species that are suitable for keeping as houseplants. Of the many Philodendron varieties, some have differently colored or patterned leaves.

Philodendron gloriosum

Philodendron gloriosum, has large, heart-shaped leaves with veins that stand out brightly against the dark green background. It is a ground-growing, creeping plant. In accordance with its natural habitat, this species of Philodendron requires a semi-shady place in the room. The creeping shoots become an eye-catcher in any hanging pot. The rhizome should still partially protrude from the soil when planted.


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