There are 3 main categories of philodendron plants:
|Grow upwards on supports
|Grow horizontally across soil
|Remain compact in pots
When philodendrons are young, they have juvenile leaves which are smaller. As they mature with proper care, they develop impressive adult foliage through a process called metamorphosis.
The goal is to transform the leaves from the juvenile size and shape to huge mature adult leaves. This happens by providing the right growing conditions.
While the 3 groups have some differences, their care is mostly the same. By following key tips covered in this video, you can grow big,huge philodendron plants with massive leaves in their stunning adult form. Proper lighting, watering, fertilizing, repotting, and addressing pests are critical for growth.
II. Proper Care for Growth
To transform philodendrons from juvenile to adult form, they need proper care and growing conditions. The key elements are:
Bright Indirect Light
Light is crucial for impressive philodendron growth. Philodendrons thrive in bright indirect light but can get sunburned in direct sunlight.
If your home lacks enough natural light, use supplemental lighting like grow lights. Here's how much grow lights benefited one philodendron:
|Before Grow Light
|After Grow Light
|Smaller, paler leaves
|Bigger, greener leaves
Keep philodendron leaves dust-free since dust reduces light absorption. The leaves are the solar panels fueling growth.
Fertilizing gives philodendrons the nutrition they need for huge leaves. Use either:
- Organic fertilizers like fish emulsion
- Synthetic fertilizers made for houseplants
Choose a balanced fertilizer and start with 50% strength, adjusting as needed. Fertilize during the active growing season.
Check soil moisture before watering to prevent overwatering. Underwatering is better than overwatering.
Ensure the soil drains well and the planter has drainage holes. Philodendrons like moisture but wet feet will cause root rot.
Humidity above 60% is ideal for philodendrons. Increase humidity by misting or using a humidifier if levels are below 40%.
Pests stress plants and hinder growth. Control them with:
- Mosquito bits - Fungus gnats
- Insecticidal soap - Spider mites
- Systemic granules - Aphids, thrips, mealybugs
By providing proper light, fertilizing, watering, humidity, and controlling pests, you create the best conditions for growing huge, healthy philodendrons.
III. Strategic Repotting
Repotting at the right time is key for optimal philodendron growth.
When to Repot
Repot when the roots are root bound but before they get overly congested:
- Roots visible at drainage holes and top of soil
- Plant can't grow more roots
- No excess soil in current pot
This goldilocks zone for repotting gives just enough extra space for new root growth without overwhelming the plant.
Choose a pot only 1-2 inches larger than the current one. This prevents the plant from focusing energy on root growth rather than leaf growth.
Too large a pot size leads to:
- Excess wet soil
- Potential root rot
- Smaller leaves
Use pots with:
- Drainage holes - Crucial for health
- Orchid pots - Provide airflow to roots
- Nursery pots - For repotting ease
- Cover pots - For decorative outer pots
Use a well-draining soil mix like:
- Half potting mix, half chunky material like orchid bark or perlite
- Custom philodendron potting mixes
This prevents overwatering and promotes healthy roots.
Proper repotting helps philodendrons thrive. It's all about the timing, pot size, drainage, and soil. Follow these tips for optimal growth.
IV. Unique Care by Type
While philodendrons share core care needs, each variety also has specific requirements for optimal growth.
Climbing philodendrons like micans and padiums need vertical support to reach mature size.
- Moss pole - Keep moist for roots to cling to
- Wood plank - Use raw, not painted wood
Attach the philodendron to the support using:
- Plant ties
This enables the plant to grow upwards. Without support, vining philodendrons remain small and juvenile.
Crawling philodendrons like gloriosums grow horizontally across the soil surface.
Repot frequently to prevent the plant from crawling under the soil and potentially suffocating itself.
Use rectangular planters to encourage linear growth along the container.
An alternative is air layering:
- Place a second pot beneath the philodendron
- Aerial roots will attach and grow into the new pot
This prevents traumatic replanting.
Self-heading philodendrons like birkins are the easiest variety regarding unique care. They naturally remain compact with smaller leaves.
Simply provide thorough basic care - lighting, watering, fertilizing. No special support needed!
Catering care to match the philodendron's growth habit is key for stunning results.
V. Have Patience
Growing huge, mature philodendrons with massive foliage takes time and patience.
Growth is Gradual
Transforming juvenile leaves to the adult form happens slowly. Even in ideal conditions, philodendrons grow incrementally.
- Light levels
all impact growth rate. But reaching full maturity can still take years.
It's easy to get impatient for faster results, but resist taking actions like:
- Drastic pruning
- Repotting too frequently
These stresses will likely do more harm than good.
Instead, focus on consistent, gentle care while appreciating small changes over time. The long wait is rewarding when a hand-sized plant eventually unfurls monumental, huge leaves!
Buy Mature Plants
For instant gratification, purchase established philodendron plants that already exhibit adult characteristics:
- Leaves over 12 inches long
- Mature leaf shape and fenestrations
- Thick stems and branching vines
- Aerial roots for climbing varieties
Though pricier, skipping the juvenile stage offers immediate dramatic impact.
Starting small, however, allows you to fully appreciate and engage in every step of the spectacular metamorphosis process. There's merit in both approaches.
No matter which you choose, proper care and a touch of patience will let your philodendrons reach their maximum potential for creative, jungle-like displays!
With the right care strategies, philodendron plants can transform from ordinary juvenile foliage to cascading monsters with huge, mature leaves.
While climbing, crawling and self-heading philodendrons have some unique needs, they all require bright, indirect light, proper watering and fertilization, and pest management for optimal growth. Strategic repotting encourages impressive size.
Most importantly, have patience. Reaching the mature adult stage takes time, but the wait is worthwhile.
For more tips on growing massive philodendron plants, check out these helpful resources:
- Complete Care Guide from The Spruce
- Top Varieties from Balcony Garden Web
- Troubleshooting Issues from Gardening Know How
With the right care, your philodendron will soon be a star of your indoor jungle!