A Complete Guide to Grow and Care Philodendron Atom

Bushy Green Philodendron Atom
Bushy Green Philodendron Atom (Source: RHS Plants)

Do you want to add a touch of the tropics to your space? The Philodendron atom care will not let you down!

The philodendron atom is a small sub-tropical plant with wavy evergreen gloss leaves that is easy to care for.

Similarly, with its big lobed leaves, it is pretty fashionable and provides a sense of calm and well-being in the house.

Generally, the Philodendron atom prefers indirect sunlight along with temperatures up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, the humidity range for the plant is between 60 and 65%, with a minimum of 50%. During the summer, feed your atom once a month and once every six months during the winter.

The glossy leaves of Philodendron Atom. (Source: Amazon)

They’re well-known for being a low-maintenance plant that thrives in bedrooms and other enclosed spaces.

Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about philodendron atom care and more!

Philodendron Atom’s Overview

Before we get into the care, it’s always a good idea to understand where and how plants develop in nature, so let’s look at that.

Scientific NameThaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum
NativeSouth America
USDAHardiness zones 9 to 11
Nature Tropical
Average Height About 30cm high and 20cm wide,
ToxicityToxic to dogs & cats
PestMealybugs, scale, aphids, and spider mites
PropagationCutting, Seed, Water
AppearanceEvergreen wavy high gloss leaves

A Complete Guide to Grow and Care Philodendron Atom

Atoms are one of the easiest philodendrons to care for, making them a popular choice for novices.

The plant’s requirements are uncomplicated and straightforward, as you’ll see in the following care advice!

1. Light and Location Requirement

Indirect sunlight is ideal for philodendrons. It prefers intense yet diffused light, suitable for frosted glass spaces like flats, hallways, and atriums.

Your plant should never be exposed to more than three hours of direct sunlight every day.

Similarly, avoid exposing it to direct sunlight since this will cause the leaves to burn. Instead, it’s best to place it away from the window, in a sunny location.

Placing your philodendron atom in an east-facing window will usually provide indirect sunlight.

Indirect sunlight is best for the growth of the Atom plants. (Source: Unsplash)

You might also use a thin curtain to block the direct sunshine.

These plants also like to remain in the shadow, and you’ll notice that after a while in the shade, they turn a stunning deep green hue.

Because it responds well to artificial light, the Philodendron atom is also an excellent choice for offices.

2. Watering Requirement

One of the most critical components of philodendron atom care is watering.

Fortunately, this plant is low-maintenance and does not require as much water as other houseplants.

Water your Philodendron once a week during the growing season (Summer and Spring) to keep the soil properly hydrated.

Between waterings, let at least an inch of the soil dry thoroughly.

During winter, due to decreased light intensity, Philodendron growth might halt dramatically in the winter.

Because the Philodendron’s moisture requirements are lowered in the winter, the plant may require less watering, but the soil should not go entirely dry.

Water your plant once every ten days during the winter season.

In the winter, you may need to mist your Philodendron a little more frequently because the air in our houses may get quite dry.

They prefer wet soil deeper in its roots, but continual overwatering might stunt its development.

When a plant’s leaves become yellow, it indicates that it’s been fed too much water. The presence of brown leaves, on the other hand, indicates a lack of water.

Watering the plant (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Tips for Watering the Philodendron Atom

  • Philodendrons do not absorb water via their leaves, so don’t water from above.
  • Make sure you water close to the soil and around the container.
  • Allow the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil to dry out between waterings for cultivating philodendron plants.
  • Insert your index finger into the soil to monitor the moisture level.
  • Similarly, as roots dislike standing water, make sure your container has enough drainage.

3. Ideal Temperature

All you have to do now is remember the perfect temperature range for this plant, as well as any others you have in your care.

The philodendron atom’s optimal temperature range is 70°F to 80°F (21°C to 26°C), with 85°F or 29°C being the absolute maximum.

Although it is a tropical plant, excessive heat might interfere with moisture absorption.

In addition, the absolute minimum temperature for this plant is 55°F (12°C-13°C).

Similarly, keep your Philodendron far away from radiators, fireplaces, air conditioners, and cool vents.

Tips to Maintain Ideal Temperature

  • You can use Cold frames to protect your plant from the elements, which also helps to retain heat. In addition, they come with a translucent cover that allows light to pass through.
  • A warm air pocket can be created by wrapping your plants in a plastic sheet, soft cotton sheet, or blanket.
  • For tiny plants, you may cover them with paper bags or cut the bottoms off milk bottles.
  • Even if you are growing your plant outdoors, make sure to bring them in during winter.
Cold Frames for Plants
Cold Frames for Plants (Source: Amazon)

4. Optimum Humidity

Temperature and Humidity are inextricably linked, and you’ll be shocked at how well this plant thrives in the right conditions!

The recommended humidity range for the plant is between 60 and 65 percent, with a minimum of 50 percent.

Similarly, Philodendron atoms are tropical plants; therefore, they produce lush, lustrous leaves if they are high enough.

Some Ways to Increase Humidity

  • Misting: Daily Misting the plant’s leaves with filtered or distilled water is one of the simplest ways to add a little humidity to the surrounding environment.
  • Pebble trays: Fill a shallow water-filled dish with clean stones. On top of the tray, place the plant. As the water evaporates surrounding the plant, the humidity level rises.
  • Humidifier: A humidifier will benefit plants and humans by providing more Humidity throughout the cold months.

5. Proper Soil Mix

The Philodendron atom is a subtropical plant that demands nutrient-rich soil. Therefore, it should drain well while still holding enough water.

Similarly, make sure to add a draining substance like perlite or peat moss and aim for an alkaline pH.

It is essential to note that the Philodendron atom thrives on alkaline soil, defined as a pH of 7 or above.

Thus, you can use garden lime to raise the pH if necessary.

Likewise, if you genuinely want your Philodendron to thrive, consider adding some nutrient-dense soil to simulate its native, tropical environment.

Soil mixed with Organic Material
Soil mixed with Organic Material (Source: Pexels)

Prepare the Potting Mix for Philodendron Atom

  • Instead of using regular soil, choose a commercial potting mix with porous and well-drained elements such as peat moss, coco coir, vermiculite, and perlite.
  • Add 50% of coco peat, 20 % of compost, and 30% of regular potting soil into the mix.
  • In addition, to increase nutritional density, use compost or orchid bark.
  • You may also make your peat-based potting soil using 1 part peat, 1 part coarse sand, 1 part perlite, and a little rich compost.

Coco peat helps to drain excess water from the pot by making the soil porous. Similarly, cactus or succulent mix is also a good option because it drains nicely.

Likewise, adding coco coir to the soil will enhance the texture and help the roots grow hard.

6. Proper Fertilization

Your Philodendron does not require a lot of fertilizer, but proper application a few times a year can yield excellent results.

In the summer, when the plant is actively developing, fertilize once a month.

Similarly, the plant is not actively developing in the winter and has to be fertilized twice.

For healthy development, search for potassium, nitrogen, phosphorous, magnesium, calcium in your fertilizer.

Philodendron flourishes in general when fed a well-balanced fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 20:20:20. 

Miracle-Go Indoor Liquid Plant Food. (Source: Amazon)

Liquid fertilizer will be preferable to a gradual release for this plant since you can control the amount and when it is applied.

Mix 1/2 teaspoon (not tablespoon) per gallon of water when watering plants and apply as needed.

Although slow-release pellets are best for plants that require more feeding, liquid fertilizer will be enough to assist your philodendron atom development.

Some of the most loved liquid fertilizers by gardeners all over are;

7. Growth Habits

Philodendron Atoms are tiny shrub-like plants that grow in clusters. These plants typically grow up to 20 to 30 cm.

Similarly, it will get waxier in texture as the plant matures, adding to the tropical feel.

In addition, ensure that the light, soil, fertilizer, and water conditions for your Philodendron atom are ideal.

Likewise, the plant is a sluggish grower. So don’t be alarmed if the plant appears to have slowed or stopped growing entirely in the winter.

The season is the customary dormant time, and it’s perfectly natural, significantly if light levels have been decreased.

8. Pests in Philodendron Atom

Mealybugs, scale, aphids, and spider mites are typical pests that may attack your Philodendron atom.

These are all small bugs that will build their nests in the soil or on your plant’s leaves.

  • Mealy Bugs: They suck the sap from the leaves, leaving them wilted and discolored.
  • Spider Mites: They are usually rounded-shaped black or red-colored mites that infest the underside of the leaves and feed on the sap. Check for silky web under the leaves, leaf drooping and curling to determine infestation.
  • Scales: They are tiny, waxy pests that infest on leaves. Yellow or rust-colored spots will start developing on the leaves, and the sap will begin drying up.
  • Aphids are cricket-like creatures with back legs that suck up saps from the plant leaves and stems, when the infestation grows, your plant wilt and starts dying.

They are, fortunately, simple to handle!

Spider mites are the most common pests. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Read more: How to Identify Insects Eggs on Leaves and Treat Pest Infestation?

Solutions

  • Mix 1 cup of rubbing alcohol with a few drops of Dawn dish soap and 1 quart (32oz) of water and spray it on the plant. It will help with the eradication of Mealybugs.
  • Similarly, remove the scale on houseplants by rubbing gently with a facial-quality sponge or cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol.
  • You can also spray neem oil, insecticidal soaps, and horticultural oils on the plants.
  • Tweezers or a Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol can be used to remove these lumps.
  • A strong jet of water can remove spider mites.
  • Meanwhile, keep your plant away from any others in the area in case it spreads.

Preventive Measures

  • Reduce feeding and watering the plant. Also, be sure to wipe the foliage regularly.
  • It is important to prune and dispose of infested branches, twigs, and leaves.
  • Don’t over-fertilize your plants. Instead, check your plants frequently for the presence of pests.
  • Apply water to pathways and other dusty areas of the plants at regular intervals.
  • While cutting your plants, be sure to clean and sterilize your equipment.

9. Diseases in Philodendron Atom

If you do not take care of your plant, it might be victim to various diseases that lead to your plant’s ultimate end.

Plants that have been affected frequently have low vigor and display non-specific signs of the overall decline.

The most common diseases in Philodendron Atom are Bacterial Leaf spot, Root rot, and Bacterial Leaf Blight.

Root rot in the plant. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

To save your plant, as soon as symptoms occur, remove the contaminated leaves.

Because germs can spread readily by handling and splashing water, caution should be exercised while handling the plants.

DiseasesSymptoms
Root Rot The leaves become yellow, brown and eventually fall off.
Bacterial leaf spot1. Translucent dots on the leaf edges turn reddish-brown and have yellow halos
2. The lesions go from tan to black
2. Leaf collapses and drops when germs enter the petioles.
Bacterial Blight Philodendron selloum1. Small dark green blotches on the leaves spread quickly and reach the petioles.
2. Infected leaves fall in a foul-smelling wet decay.

Solutions

  • Soak your soil in a mixture of 2 parts water and 1 part hydrogen peroxide to get rid of root rot.
  • Another solution can be 6-10 drops of bleach per 1 quart of water, then soak the soil with it.
  • Patch Pro is effective for controlling leaf spots.
  • Propiconazole is the active component in this treatment, and it efficiently eliminates Leaf Spot.

Preventive Measures

  • Use a sterile potting mix and clean containers to keep everything under control.
  • Remove the infectious and contaminated leaves and stems from your plant.
  • To avoid Bacterial Blight Philodendron selloum, you should not water the plant from above.
  • Avoiding overwatering and overfertilizing, particularly in the crown portion of the plant, is also beneficial.

10. Propagation Methods

Philodendron Atom can be propagated through stem tip cuttings, making the procedure considerably easier!

Propagation Through Stem Cutting

Here are some things you should do to guarantee that your philodendron atom cutting grows well:

  • To ensure that the plant obtains the correct nutrients, wet the soil several days before cutting.
  • Select a stem with numerous nodules using a clean knife. Make sure the stem has a few leaves attached before cutting it.
  • Place the clipping in either a tiny container of damp soil or a small pot. You may also drop it into a transparent container of water.
  • You should observe new growth in around two weeks if you provide the plant with indirect sunshine and water.
  • It can be transplanted to a more permanent container for growth after the roots have grown to a length of a few inches.
  • Likewise, if you are propagating the stem through water, replace the water every three days, letting it set out overnight before replacing it. The stem will begin to produce roots in around ten days.
  • Place the Philodendron in a bright, but not direct light, setting.
  • Place the plant 3 to 4 feet away from a south-facing window with sheer curtains or near a north- or west-facing window.
Propagating Plant in water
Propagating stem cuttings in water (Source: Pexels)

Propagation Through Seed

Although growing a large philodendron from seed takes a long time, you may buy them from internet gardening providers or physically harvest them during the flowering season.

  • Place the seeds approximately a third of an inch (1 centimeter) deep in good breeding soil and softly cover them. 
  • To keep the soil wet, spray it frequently.
  • Before planting, philodendron seeds do not need to be soaked.
  • When the soil temperature is kept between 68 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit, the seeds will germinate in 2 to 8 weeks (20 to 23 degrees Celsius).
  • They are separated into little pots to encourage healthy root growth when the seedlings have sprouted and are robust enough to handle.

Note: In case one doesn’t sprout, it’s preferable to put 2-3 seeds to each pot, spacing them around 1/2 inch or just far enough apart so that they may germinate and develop.

11. Potting and Repotting

Pots made of terracotta, ceramic, or clay are perfect for Philodendrons because they allow for aeration of the soil and avoid overwatering.

Choose a pot that is at least 2 inches larger than your Philodendron’s root ball.

A pot should be able to drain extra water properly. When we talk about proper drainage, we’re referring to the pot’s drainage holes.

The philodendron atom, a tiny plant with a maximum growth of around 30cm, will not require frequent repotting.

At the end of each growing season, check the bottom of the pot and the drainage holes to see if any roots have poked through.

However, if this is the case, it’s time to get a new pot.

You’ll probably need to repot your philodendron atom every two years unless roots are poking through the drainage holes.

Similarly, upgrade to a pot only a few inches bigger, as a larger container might cause root rot.

terra-cotta-pots
TerraCotta Pots (Source: Unsplash)

Tips for Repotting Philodendron Atom

  • Water the Philodendron well the day before you want to repot it.
  • Turn your plant sideways, carefully hold it by the stems or leaves, and tap the bottom of its existing container until it falls out.
  • Gently loosen the plant’s roots using your hands. You can cut any extra-long threadlike roots, but be sure to leave the thicker roots at the base of the leaves.
  • Remove one-third to one-half of the potting mix around the plant.
  • Fill the new planter with a layer of fresh potting soil and pack it down, ensuring no air spaces.
  • Place the plant from the grow pot on top of the new planter’s fresh layer of mix, ensuring it’s centered, and then pour potting mix around the plant until it’s secure.
  • Water the plant thoroughly until the water flows freely through the bottom.
Repotting Plants
Repotting Plants (Source: Unsplash.com)

12. Pruning the Philodendron Atom

The plant doesn’t require any trimming, which is great news! Fortunately, you may overlook this aspect of Philodendron atom care.

The leaves of a smaller plant won’t need to be pruned or clipped back as much as those of a larger, quicker developing plant.

Similarly, only if you see an illness or disease-causing a few leaves to wither will you need to cut away leaves. Then, cut away the sick leaves and keep a close eye on the remaining leaves.

13. Toxicity of the Philodendron Atom

Philodendron atoms are harmful to humans, but only in a minor way. The leaves of the Philodendron contain calcium oxalate crystals, which make the plant toxic.

According to ASPCA, Philodendron Atom is toxic to dogs and cats.

However, the plant’s toxicity should not deter from having a philodendron atom because you can only become ill from eating the leaves.

If you ingest the leaves, your lips, mouth, tongue, and throat may swell due to the plant’s ability to create inflammation.

You may also have nausea and, in some situations, diarrhea.

Cat and Plant
Cat around the Plant( Source: Maxpixel)

Here Are Some Ways to Save your Pets from Toxic Plants

  • Place the arrangements under a glass dome. Although glass display cases will keep your arrangement from perfuming the space, they may save your pet’s life.
  • You should keep plants out of your pet’s reach.
  • Place flower arrangements on solid tables or shelves out of reach of even the most curious nose!
  • Gather any fallen leaves or petals from the area around your plants.

FAQs About Philodendron Atom

1. Why are my Philodendron Atom’s Leaves Turning Yellow?

The yellowing of your plant’s leaves is typically an indication that you’ve overwatered it.

To restore the leaves to their attractive green color, wait for the soil to dry out between waterings and slightly adjust your schedule.

2. Why is my Philodendron Atom Leaves Falling Off?

Inadequate lighting, improper irrigation, and insect infestation are the main causes of philodendron leaves falling off.

Temperature variations and a clogged drainage system are two more factors.

Move the plant to a brightly lighted area and only water when the soil is dry to the touch.

Conclusion

The philodendron atom is an excellent beginner plant for anybody who wishes to establish their garden because it requires little effort and upkeep.

They are easy to care for and will repay you with their natural beauty.

Would you also like to know about the care and growing of other philodendrons? Well, Philodendron Serpens  and Philodendron Bipennifolium are a great options for you!

 

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