Philodendron is one of the most popular genre for plant lovers. Its various types of foliage and color give the right touch of tropic in any indoor or outdoor space.
It’s relatively low maintenance and, thus, a popular choice for beginner plant enthusiasts. But of course, even the least demanding plant can have its set of troubles too.
If you owned a philodendron, you might have seen white spots ruining your plant’s glossy leaves.
So, why does my philodendron have white spots? Chances are environmental factors, pest infestation, or nutrient deficiency might be causing it.
See the details below to know more about the causes and solutions to keep your philodendron happy and healthy.
Here’s a list of causes for the bothersome whites spots:
Philodendrons thrive in bright places, but it doesn’t mean you can leave them out under the sun. The sun produces ultraviolet rays that philodendrons’ delicate leaves can’t handle.
Too much heat and sunlight can break down its chlorophyll—a plant’s green pigment responsible for capturing light. This, in turn, causes the bleached or white pigments on leaves.
This becomes worse when your philodendron’s soil is constantly dry. To protect your philodendrons from the harsh ultraviolet rays, try the following steps:
Put your plant where it would get just the right amount of light. Ideal places would be beside your window or in a well-lit room.
If outdoors, try placing it in the shade or an area where the sun hits for a short time in a day.
If it can’t be helped and your delicate plants have to be out in the sun. You can set up sunscreens to protect them from the harsh UV rays.
If you notice a white powdery or dusty spot on the surface of your plant, then it might be a powdery mildew.
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease on plants caused by humid conditions and a common ornamental plant problem in tropical countries.
If a fungus infects your plant’s leaves, it will develop a thin white layer caused by the growth of fungal hyphae— that later becomes spores that the wind can carry to other plants.
Powdery mildew, when left untreated, can cause infection and affect your plant’s growth.
You can start getting rid of fungus on your plants by pruning the severely affected leaves, but be careful not to prune too much.
Next, you can apply an organic or chemical solution to solve the problem.
Your kitchen holds most of the products you need to eliminate fungi. Try any of the following mixtures and put them in a spray bottle to use.
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda + 1 quart of water
- 1/2 cup of milk + 8 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar + 1 quart of water
Spray any of the mixtures in affected areas in a generous amount.
There are a lot of available chemical fungicides on the market. They can either be contact or mobile.
Contact fungicides only work on the surface of the plant. In contrast, plants absorb mobile fungicides to prevent fungi from entering their system.
There’s no perfect type for fungicides. Some plant owners prefer mobile fungicides because it helps prevent onset infestation.
But others prefer contact because it’s beginner friendly and does the job just the same.
It is essential to precisely follow the product’s instructions whether you’re using a contact or mobile fungicide.
Unlike powdery mildew, downy mildew thrives in damp and cool places. It’s also most likely to develop on wet or soaked water plants.
Downy mildew is closer to algae than fungi. And though this is the case, you can eliminate it the way you do with powdery mildew.
In general, mildews are a common recurring problem for plants. To help prevent it, here are additional measures that you could take:
Mildew spread through spores in the air. Make sure to clean the area thoroughly after pruning other plants that are infected. Also, keep your mulch from fallen leaves.
Sometimes we’re too excited and huddle our new plants to see how they’ll look with the rest of our collection. If you’re guilty of this, here’s a good reason to stop.
Infected plants may not show signs of infection for up to10 days. Quarantine your new plants first for at least 14 days to reduce the spread of plant disease
Monitor your plants for any diseases every day. If you find one, quickly cut or remove it from the rest of your collection.
When disposing of infected areas, wrap them with plastic and dispose of them properly. Don’t let infected parts of plants rot in the same area or soil where the rest of your plants are.
An ideal environment for plants has good air circulation. Moisture encourages fungal growth, so prune excess leaves when necessary, so air can go around easily.
Fungal growth stems from wet leaves, and overhead irrigation will unnecessarily wet your plant’s leaves.
If you prefer to do this, it’s best to do so in the morning so your plant can dry up before night.
Sometimes, the culprit of the white spots is alive and moving. Take a closer look and see if pesty critters are munching away on your plant’s leaf surface.
Among the common pests that look or leave white marks on your plants are spider mites, mealy bugs, scale insects, and white flies.
To start getting rid of the pests, isolate them from the rest of your plants first. Pests can reproduce rapidly, and they travel fast too.
Like fungi problems, you can opt to go organically or chemically to solve your pest problem.
There are many available mobile or contact pesticides in the market, but if you want to go organically, you might want to try the following:
It is best to wash away the pests from your plants first. It wouldn’t solve the problem entirely, but it’ll eliminate most of it.
Ensure your plants have a good draining system, and do this in the morning to avoid root rot.
One of the best organic ways to eliminate pests is by using horticultural products like neem oil.
Extracted from Neem trees, this natural pesticide reduces pest growth by killing their eggs and acts as a repellent.
To use it effectively, try the following steps:
- Buy a cold-pressed and unfiltered neem oil.
- In warm 500 ml water, mix half a teaspoon of neem oil and 3-4 drops of dish soap.
- Mix the solution and transfer it to a spray bottle to use.
Plants generally thrive when planted in soil and surrounded by an environment similar to their original habitat.
If your philodendron is in a pot, supply its needed nutrients. White or sometimes yellow spots can signify magnesium and calcium deficiency.
The easiest way to prevent this is by applying a general-purpose houseplant fertilizer. It’s usually used once a month or depending on the product’s instructions.
It is best to follow the instructions carefully, as overfeeding your plants may also cause damage to their system.
Philodendrons aren’t hard to care for, but they can also be susceptible to problems caused by the environment, pests, or nutrient deficiencies.
To avoid significant damage to your plant, make sure to quarantine it and your other plants after purchase and monitor it daily for diseases and pests that might spread.
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.