Philodendron squamiferum is native to Central America, French Guiana, and Brazil. Similar to Philodendron bipennifolium, this Philodendron features eye-catching foliage. Squamiferum Philodendron grows large enough to be a floor plant provided it has a pole for support.
Philodendron Squamiferum Appearance
The Squamiferum Philodendron is a vining plant prized for the red hairs on the plant’s petioles.
The plant grows 5 to 6 feet (1.5 to 1.8 meters) tall when indoors. The foliage is oak shaped, thick and leathery with several lobes per leaf.
The shiny foliage matures to deep green and grows up to 18 inches (45 cm) long.
Blooming indoors occurs more often than other Philodendron varieties. The white and pink flowers appear in spring and summer and produce seeds.
Squamiferum Philodendron Sunlight Requirements
Provide Philodendron squamiferum with medium to bright, indirect sunlight. Filtered light through sheer drapes in a sunlit window or artificial lighting from a grow light is also acceptable. Avoid low lighting conditions, which will stunt the plant’s growth. Keep the plant out of direct sun as it scorches the foliage.
Philodendron Squamiferum Water Needs
Proper Philodendron squamiferum care recommends the soak and dry watering method. Water the plant once the top 2 inches has dried until the moisture runs through the drainage holes of the pot. The soil should be moist but not soggy. Follow this routine, beginning in the spring, until the early fall. In the winter, water the plant once every 11 or 12 days.
Soil and Fertilizer Requirements
These Philodendrons require a nutrient-rich, but well-draining soil. Create your own soil mixture with equal parts sphagnum moss, coco coir, and perlite. Potting soil with orchid bark also works well. Keep the soil’s pH level between 5.1 and 6. Feed your Squamiferum Philodendron once every 4 to 6 weeks, from early spring until fall, with a houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength. Feedings of a slow-release fertilizer three times a year is also acceptable. Withhold fertilizer in the winter when the plant goes into dormancy.
Temperature and Humidity Levels
Maintain temperatures between 50 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 25 degrees Celsius). Avoid placing your plant near cold drafts or letting the foliage contact cold windows. Humidity levels between 40 to 60 percent are ideal. Supplement low humidity with a humidifier or a tray filled with pebbles and water placed under the plant’s pot.
Propagating the Philodendron Squamiferum
Propagation of the Squamiferum Philodendron is possible by either cuttings or by seeds. For cuttings, choose a stem two to three inches long with a pair of leaves on both the top and bottom of the stem. Remove the bottom leaves to expose the nodes and allow the stem to sit and callus for a few days. Once a callus has formed over the cut end, place the stem in a glass of water, submerging the nodes. Place the cutting in bright, indirect light. Change the water every few days to keep it fresh. Roots will form in two to three weeks. When the roots are two inches long, transplant the cutting into a well-draining soil. The cutting will be mature in two to four months.
To propagate by seeds, remove seeds from the plant’s berries. Clean and dry the seeds, then shallow plant them into a pot filled with a potting soil mix. Place the pot in bright, indirect sunlight and keep the soil moist. Transplant the seedlings once they are established and are a few inches tall.
Common Pests and Diseases
Spider mites and fungus gnats are common infestations of Philodendron Squamiferum. Mealybugs are soft, oval insects that pierce and feed on plants, then excrete a sticky substance called honeydew. Black, sooty mold grows from the honeydew if the infestation is not treated. Spot treatment with a cotton swab dipped in 70 percent or less rubbing alcohol removes the insects. An insecticidal soap is effective for younger insects or whole-plant treatments.
Fungus gnats are small flies that infest the plant’s soil. Larvae begin feeding on organic soil material and the plant’s roots. Adult gnats emerge from the soil and infest other house plants. Treat larvae with an insecticidal soap and adult fungus gnats by placing a shallow dish filled with apple cider vinegar near the plant as a trap.
Root rot is the result of improper Philodendron squamiferum care with overwatering. Reduce waterings and remove the plant from its pot. Infected roots appear dark and mushy. Trim away any infected roots. Spray the roots with a mixture of one part 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and two parts water. Transfer the plant to a clean pot with fresh soil. Advanced cases of root rot may not be reversible.
Philodendron Squamiferum lends a tropical vibe to any room with its large, lush foliage. The plant thrives in most households with minimal care and grows well outdoors in the proper climate. This Philodendron is a great addition to any plant lover’s collection.
Philodendron Squamiferum FAQ
Yes, all Philodendrons are considered toxic and should be kept away from pets and small children.
Browning edges is often a sign of low humidity. Increase humidity with a humidifier or pebble tray. Placing the plant in a kitchen or bathroom will also help.
Prune your plant to remove any dead leaves or stalks. The Squamiferum may require pruning to control its size when grown in a hanging basket.
Repot the plant in the spring or summer when the roots begin to grow out of the pot’s drainage holes. Increase the size of the pot by no more than two sizes.
Yellow leaves often indicate either overwatering of the plant or too much sun exposure. Decrease waterings if the soil feels soggy or move the plant to filtered light if its location receives many hours of direct sun.