Philodendron Bipennifolium is native to the rainforests of South Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. Also known as Fiddleleaf Philodendron, or Horsehead Philodendron because of the shape of the leaves it is prized as a foliage plant.
Fiddleleaf Philodendron’s large leaves grow between 18 inches to 3 feet (45.5 cm to 1 meter) long. The glossy foliage has a leathery texture and the plant has a vining habit. The Horsehead Philodendron blooms once it reaches maturity at 12 to 15 years.
The creamy-white flowers are small, growing only a half inch (1.5 cm) long. The plant also produces round, green fruits, but they are not edible due to the plant’s toxicity.
This vining Philodendron is often in a hanging basket or other hanging container so it can trail over the sides. It can also, however, be grown vertically up a trellis or other support.
When thinking about where to grow Philodendron bipennifolium you need to think about its key growing needs. That means looking at sunlight, temperature and humidity and soil in order to select an appropriate growing location.
Usually grown as a year-round houseplant in temperate climes, these Philodendrons will grow outside in USDA zones 9 to 11.
Grow your fiddleleaf Philodendron in bright, indirect light for optimal growth. A North or East-facing window is preferred. Avoid placing the plant in direct sunlight as it scorches the leaves. Yellowing foliage is an early sign of overexposure.
Temperature And Humidity
Provide temperatures between 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (24 to 29 degrees Celsius) during the day. At night, lower temperatures of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 21 degrees Celsius) are acceptable.
Philodendron Bipennifolium prefers humidity over 60 percent. Supplement low humidity with either a room humidifier or by other means. For example, to raise humidity you can place a pebble tray filled with water under the plant’s pot, and/or group houseplants together.
Occasional misting of the plant’s leaves helps increase the humidity level and prevent leaf browning. Avoid letting excessive amounts of water sit on the leaves for prolonged periods, especially in cooler temperatures, as this encourages leaf fungus.
Soil/ Potting Mix
Philodendron Bipennifolium prefers a fast-draining, loamy soil. Amend potting soil with organic material, like homemade compost, and some sand for added drainage. Keep the soil’s pH between 5 and 6 for optimal plant health.
Follow a consistent watering schedule that keeps the soil moist but not soggy. Allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry out between waterings during the spring and summer. Reduce the amount of water in the winter when growth is slowed.
The Fiddleleaf Philodendron requires minimal feedings with a slow-release organic fertilizer three times per year. Water the plant before fertilizing to avoid burning the plant’s roots.
Potting and Repotting
Repot your plant only when it has become rootbound and outgrown its current pot. Every two or three years refresh the soil to provide new nutrients to the plant.
Propagate horsehead Philodendron by taking cuttings. To do so:
- Take a stem cutting 2 to 4 inches long from a mature plant. Ensure the cutting has two top leaves and two bottom leaves or nodes.
- Remove the bottom leaves, if present.
- Allow the stem to sit and cure for one to two weeks to form a callus.
- Once calloused, fill a pot with a loamy soil mix and create a hole with your finger in the soil.
- Insert the stem until the nodes are below the surface and fill in the hole. Use a wooden skewer to support the stem if needed.
- Place the pot in bright, indirect sunlight and keep the soil moist.
- Once the cutting has established a root system and begins new growth care for the plant as you would a mature one.
Philodendron Bipennifolium is a low-maintenance house plant. It can often be free from problems. However, pests, diseases and environmental issues can sometimes arise.
Aphids and scale are common pests to watch for with your plant. These sap-sucking insects suck the plant’s nutrients and create honeydew.
Curling, stunted or yellow leaves may indicate their presence. Organic insecticides may sometimes be used as a last resort for serious infestations but often you may simply be able to wipe them off the plants.
Erwinia blight, a common leaf disease, presents as water-soaked markings on the foliage. Leaves turn black and wilt as the disease progresses. Prune the affected leaves as soon as the condition is noticed to prevent further spread. Sterilize the shears between cuts.
Wilting leaves on Philodendron Bipennifolium may sometimes be a sign of pests or disease. More frequently, however, they are a sign of underwatering, or another issue with the environmental conditions or care.