Philodendrons are one of those plants that most people don’t usually think twice before buying.
They have captivating foliage that can round out the aesthetic of any space, and aren’t demanding at all, so what’s not there to like?
If you’re still on the fence about getting one of these beauties, we’ll walk you through their genus and care requirements to help you decide.
If you’ve already bought one and are curious about “how fast does philodendron grow?” we’ll provide answers as well as guidelines for speeding up its growth.
Let’s get started, shall we?
Get To Know the Philodendron Genus
Philodendrons genus is part of the Araceae family and contains about 450 species.
These lush plants can grow in a variety of habitats and are most commonly found in tropical regions of the Americas and the West Indies.
Philodendrons have a long lifespan and can live for more than 100 years in their natural environment.
As houseplants, their life expectancy can vary depending on the conditions in which they live, so some can live for five years while others can live for up to 40 years.
In fact, it’s their native habitat characteristics that have shaped them to be excellent houseplants.
These tough ones are accustomed to the low light and changing weather conditions found in rainforests.
Philodendrons are not only low-maintenance plants, but their appearance is also glamorous.
Although this genus’ foliage is typically glossy green, some varieties can also be found in stunning shades like burgundy, coppery, and even red!
The philodendrons are generally classified into two types: climbing and upright.
1 – Climbing Philodendrons
The naming “philodendrons” perfectly describes the climbing types of this genus.
To clarify, the Greek words “philo” and “dendron,” which make up this genus’ name, respectively, mean “love” and “tree.”
The majority of philodendrons grow upward while their roots embrace tree trunks. Because they are secondary hemiepiphytes, their seedlings grow toward a tree trunk rather than the sun.
When they reach the surface, they switch tactics and begin using the sunlight to guide them upward.
What’s more interesting is that when a philodendron falls down, it doesn’t die; instead, it climbs back up the tree!
When not in their natural habitat, these plants require a support structure to climb on, such as trellis and moss poles.
One of their graceful vining types is the Heartleaf philodendron, which as the name suggests, has beautiful heart-shaped leaves.
It’s one of the most popular in this category and is usually sold to hang from a basket.
2 – Upright Philodendrons
The upright types can thrive in a container and grow to various sizes and leaf shapes depending on the species.
Most upright philodendrons have distinctive foliage that makes them loved among plant enthusiasts.
Moreover, because they grow in pots, they’re way more convenient to relocate than the vining types.
You may have come across a philodendron Imperial Green at some point, which is an upright type that is used to decorate lots of spaces.
With its elegant large leaves, it has a striking appearance that makes it a favorite for most people.
How Fast Does a Philodendron Grow?
Philodendrons are considered fast-growing plants. They can grow 2 to 4 inches per week during their active growing seasons, which are summer and spring.
This rate applies to both the vining and the upright types.
On a side note, it can take up to a week or two for new roots to appear when propagating Philodendron. This timeframe is valid for both water and soil propagation.
Keep in mind that this growing pace is for a healthy philodendron plant. In other words, if you don’t properly care for it, its growth rate will noticeably slow down.
Don’t worry, we’ll reveal all the secrets to caring for these beauties and helping them grow faster in just a few minutes!
With such rapid growth, a philodendron plant can quickly take up too much space in your room. That’s why you’ll rely on pruning to control its growth.
How to Prune a Philodendron
Pruning your plants is a great way to keep them looking good and healthy. That said, with philodendron, that procedure shouldn’t be repeated frequently.
You should only cut them back when it’s obvious that they need it. For instance, when it grows leggy or outgrows its designated space.
While it’s generally safe to prune philodendrons year-round, it’s best to do so in the spring or fall.
- Rubbing alcohol
- Cleaning cloth
- Pruning shears/Scissors
Pruning Upright Philodendrons
- Clean the pruning tool you intend to use thoroughly with rubbing alcohol
A word of caution: Don’t skip the step of sterilizing your tools to avoid putting your plant at risk of disease from bacteria exposure.
- Start by removing any dead leaves
- Recognize old stems, which are usually leafless and yellowing
- Cut the old stems from the point where they connect to the main part of the plant
- Finally, water your plant
Pruning Climbing Philodendrons
- Begin removing dead leaves after sterilizing the pruning tool
- Pinch the plant just above the leaf node, which is the spot on the stem where a new leaf or stem emerges, to promote a bushier growth
- Water the plant when you’re done, and that’s it!
How Can I Make My Philodendron Grow Faster?
Philodendrons don’t ask for much, but if their needs aren’t met, don’t expect much from them.
Meanwhile, if you provide them with adequate growing conditions, you’ll be rewarded with their rapid growth.
Their leaves will also start to grow stronger and bushier, which is all that plant owners want. So, here are the key guidelines for growing your philodendron faster and healthier:
1 – Sufficient Light Exposure
Philodendrons, as we already explained, are adapted to receiving partial sunlight. Consequently, place them in a location in your home or garden that receives medium to bright indirect sunlight.
Just remember to keep them away from areas that receive direct sunlight. Otherwise, their leaves will turn yellow and develop sunburned spots.
Thus, if you notice your plant’s leaves are yellowing faster than usual, it could be an indication that it’s exposed to too much sunlight.
These plants also shouldn’t be positioned in a full-shaded area, as this will slow their growth rate and cause them to become leggier.
2 – Right Temperature and Humidity Levels
This tropical plant thrives in temperatures ranging from 65 to 85°F, though the precise tolerance varies from one species to another. That said, it struggles in temperatures below 55°F.
Keep it away from open windows, cold floors, and similar in the winter. Similarly, during the summer, place them in areas of the house away from air-conditioning vents.
If your plant is unhappy with the temperature, you’ll notice changes in it, such as leaf shedding.
In terms of humidity, philodendrons prefer high humidity levels.
You must add moisture to the plant’s environment if you live in a region with a dry climate or are simply experiencing dry winter months.
Luckily, this isn’t a difficult task since you can just follow a weekly misting routine.
Alternatively, you can set the plant’s pot on a tray of pebbles that has water in it. Be careful not to let the pot’s bottom touch the water to avoid soil oversaturation and, eventually, root rot.
3 – Proper Soil Selection
These lovely plants appreciate a slightly acidic soil mixture with pH levels ranging from 5 to 6.
Moreover, philodendrons prefer peat soil, which is rich in decomposed organic materials such as sphagnum moss.
You must also ensure that the soil has adequate drainage and is not compacted.
This is primarily to allow for proper aeration and the discharge of excess water so that the plant doesn’t suffer from overly saturated soil.
It’s worth mentioning that you’ll need to repot your lush buddy with fresh soil every 2 to 3 years. You see, salts tend to accumulate in the soil because of the water used in their watering.
In case you don’t know, the salt buildup is bad news for philodendrons as it causes their leaves to turn brown or yellow and wilt.
4 – Adequate Watering
There’s no set schedule for watering philodendrons as the frequency is determined by several factors such as:
- Pot size
- Plant size
- Soil quality
Ultimately, you’ll be the judge! All you have to do is use your finger to check the moisture level in the soil’s top layer.
If you notice that the top inch is dry but the underneath is moist, this means that you should water your plant.
Keep in mind that too much of anything is bad, so avoid overwatering your philodendrons. Water the plant until you see liquid draining from the drainage hole, then discard it from the saucer.
Although upright varieties can withstand drought better than climbing ones, neither should be left dry for long periods.
Like most plants, when philodendrons don’t get enough water, they become dull-looking and their leaves begin to droop.
5 – Apply Balanced Fertilizer
Truth be told, fertilizers are like a magic elixir for indoor plants. They stimulate healthier, more vibrant growth, which is exactly what balanced fertilizers do for philodendrons.
These charming houseplants should be fed once a month during their growing seasons, spring and summer.
However, you’ll need to limit their fertilization to once every two months in the fall and winter.
How Big Can Philodendron Grow?
Since there are several types of philodendron the sizes differ drastically from one type to another. The mature size of these plants can range from 1-20 feet tall and 1-6 feet wide.
The size of their foliage also depends on the variation. For example, the majestic horsehead philodendron has leaves that can grow to be 6 to 10 inches long.
Whereas, the spade-leaf philodendron has leaves that can grow to 24 inches long!
Speaking of philodendrons leaves, we need to warn you that they’re poisonous to pets and humans if ingested. Therefore, if you have kids or furry friends, keep these plants out of reach.
Now that you know “how fast does a philodendron grow?” you’ll be able to tell if your plant is healthy or not.
If it is, that’s fantastic news; if it’s not, you now have all the instructions you need to turn it around.
Remember that the more closely you mimic its native environment, the longer these lush plants will stay with you.
Finally, we wish you luck in deciding whether to get a philodendron or in caring for the one you already have!
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.