Philodendrons are one of the world’s most popular houseplants. Not only do they have stunning broad leaves, but they’re also excellent climbers.
That’s why people across the globe use these plants to create intricate floral walls and art. So, it can be incredibly disappointing when you see the leaves turning yellow, or wilting off.
You start to ask yourself, why is my philodendron dying? If that’s the case, then you’ve come to the right place.
Let’s take a look at some of the causes behind the plant dying and how to fix them.
Why Your Philodendron Is Dying
After months of growing out your plants and helping them climb, it can be disappointing to see them wilt.
You see that the leaves are yellowing and you’re not sure how to breathe life back into your Philodendron.
So, let’s take a look at some of the reasons behind the plant dying.
One of the first factors you should look at when you realize your plants are struggling is water quality.
Many people don’t know that they can’t just use any liquid to nourish their philodendrons. They assume tap water should be safe enough.
Unfortunately, this may not always be a good idea.
Sometimes, water can contain minerals and other substances that may harm the plant. The concentration of these materials will determine the water’s hardness.
When philodendrons absorb this contaminated water, it can affect their ability to survive. The minerals will build up inside the plants and clog a few of the vital structures.
This will stop the philodendrons from being able to absorb more liquid or nutrients.
The first symptom of this issue is shrinking leaves. You’ll notice them droop down and change shape.
Eventually, the leaves will fall off altogether.
People enjoy growing philodendrons because they’re low maintenance. You can forget about the plants for a few days without facing any problems.
However, you do need some type of watering schedule to keep the leaves plump.
Typically, philodendrons need about one or two waterings per week, but this can change. Depending on the plant’s size and the weather, the liquid intake will vary.
So, it can be a little tricky to use the exact amount of water needed.
Many of us struggle to keep plants alive for more than a few months. At some point, we forget to water the flora and it’ll quickly fade away.
The same is true for philodendrons. These plants depend on water for nourishment, and to help transport other nutrients.
Without the liquid, philodendrons won’t be able to stay rigid, as the leaves and stems will soften. When that happens, the leaves can’t hold themselves up and their surface area decreases.
This will reduce the philodendrons’ ability to produce energy from photosynthesis.
To compensate for the lack of watering, some people overcorrect and add too much liquid. This can have its own set of negative effects.
The main plant structures under the soil are the roots. These keep the philodendrons in place and absorb water and minerals from the soil.
In order for the roots to do their job, they have to maintain a specific shape. However, with excess water, this can be challenging.
The liquid will slowly seep into the roots and cause them to soften. This will stop the structures from being able to carry out their jobs.
Plus, if the soil stays damp for too long, you risk root rot.
When that happens, the philodendrons will wilt and discolor.
Just like water, humidity is crucial for philodendrons to grow. The plants rely on air moisture to keep their leaves in tip-top shape.
When you look at a leaf, you see a solid surface with a waxy coating. Although, if you use a magnifying glass, you’ll notice tiny little holes.
These pores, or stomata, are responsible for helping the plants breathe. They take in oxygen while releasing carbon dioxide.
This process will only work when the plants are in an area with moderate humidity.
Excessive humidity can hurt your philodendrons and cause them to shrivel. This is because the water concentration outside the flora is higher than inside.
When that happens, the plants will have to absorb some of the moisture due to osmotic pressure.
This may seem like a good idea, but it can have negative effects.
When philodendrons are soaking up water, their ability to take in oxygen diminishes. That means the plants won’t be able to breathe properly.
Over time, the leaves will turn yellow and dry out.
On top of that, a humid environment will allow more bacteria and fungi to grow, which is never good.
Placing your philodendrons in a dry environment will have many serious drawbacks.
First off, instead of the water traveling inside the plants, it’ll evaporate out. The flora will release water in an attempt to dampen their surroundings.
As you can imagine, the plant will begin to dry out. This shouldn’t be a problem as long as the soil is wet.
Philodendrons will be able to absorb more water through the roots. However, chances are the soil will dry up before the humidity levels rise.
So, the plants won’t have any water to carry out basic life processes.
One of the best aspects of philodendrons is that they’re resilient. They can withstand many elemental factors with no problems.
Unfortunately, the plants are susceptible to a couple of different types of pests.
First off, aphids enjoy spending their time feeding on philodendrons. These are tiny, sap-sucking critters that come in a few colors.
The most common are the green variety, and they’re incredibly harmful to your plants.
Sap flows through the entire plant, sort of how blood flows through human bodies. Yet, the most concentrated areas are usually the stems.
That’s why aphids will travel there and build a nest. Once they do that, they get to nibble on the plant and break it down.
As soon as they tap the sap, they can start multiplying rapidly. So, in no time, you’ll notice a full-blown infestation.
Spider mites will behave in a similar way, but they prefer the leaves.
No matter what pest invades your philodendrons, the plants will struggle soon after. With the sap levels dropping, they’ll no longer have enough energy to sustain growth.
For that reason, the flora will wilt and may even fade away completely.
Now that you know some of the major causes behind philodendrons dying, we can look at treatments.
Many people tend to forget that pruning is an essential part of plant maintenance. The flora will need constant trimming to stay healthy.
This is especially true if you begin to notice discoloration.
Leaves are typically bright green and are vital to a plant’s survival. Yet, as soon as leaves turn yellow, they become unhealthy for philodendrons.
The discolored leaves won’t be able to produce food, but they’ll still take water from the plants. That will reduce the nutrient supply going to the healthy parts of the philodendrons.
Some people assume that with enough care, the yellow will turn back to green, but that’s not possible.
Once a leaf changes, it’s too far gone. The only step you can take to ensure your philodendrons survive is to prune the leaves.
While pruning will help the plants live longer, it doesn’t treat the underlying issue.
Once you remove the dead leaves, you can address the main cause. Most of the time, the culprit will be the water.
So, you’ll need to follow a few steps to resolve this issue.
For starters, you need to test your water. You have to make sure that mineral concentration is low enough to be safe for plants.
Still, to stay on the safe side, it’s a good idea to use a form of purified water. Ideally, filtered water is the best way to go.
It’ll nourish the plants and keep them healthy. If you prefer, you can also use distilled water.
As we mentioned, philodendrons need a couple of waterings per week. Yet, since the schedule changes throughout the year, you’ll need to learn to read your plants.
Philodendrons will require more water during the summer than in winter. For that reason, one way of figuring out when to add moisture is by scanning the room temperature.
Yet, this isn’t always the best indicator. Instead, you’ll need to pay close attention to the soil.
These plants prefer a slightly dry growing medium. So, you should ensure the soil stays somewhat dehydrated.
To help you keep track of that, dig your index finger about three inches into the soil.
If you feel any moisture, then avoid adding water. Only dampen the soil when you feel like the entire pot is bone dry.
Controlling indoor humidity can be a bit challenging. Usually, you’ll need to use some sort of device to help you out.
For example, a humidifier is an excellent way to increase the moisture in the air. It’s a quick solution that’s easy to implement.
The real issue will arise when you try to decrease the humidity. Unless you use an air conditioner, this is difficult to do.
You can try placing a few mini-fans around the philodendrons to push away excess water. Yet, this may cause the plant to dry out even faster.
Removing a pest infestation is a lot easier said than done. You have to physically remove the critters off the plant before you can start treatment.
One way of doing that is by using pesticides. The chemicals will kill off the insects and make them easy to remove.
Sadly, these pesticides may also damage your plants in the process.
For that reason, a manual approach is a better idea. Using tweezers, pick off the pests and remove them from your philodendrons.
After you get rid of all the critters, spray the plants with a little soapy water. This should repel any future infestations from moving in.
If you’re wondering why is my philodendron dying, there are a few factors to consider. These include water quality and frequency and humidity levels.
Another reason behind these plants fading away is pest infestations.
Each one of these will damage the plants differently. So, you’ll need an appropriate response to resolve the issue.
For that, you can use pruning, humidifiers, and even soapy water to keep critters away.
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.