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A Complete Guide to Grow and Care Philodendron Atom

The Philodendron Atom is a compact plant with big lobed, wavy, and glossy leaves, providing a sense of calm and well-being in the house.

Generally, the Philodendron Atom prefers indirect light for 6-8 hours, a temperature of 70-85ºF with 55-65% humidity. Moisture-retaining light soil of pH 5.5-7 with weekly watering and fertilizer monthly in summer with occasional pruning also encourages growth.

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

So be with the article till the end to learn everything to make your Philodendron Atom happy.

Philodendron Atom Overview

The tropical plant Philodendron Atom is native to the wild of South America, with its roots flourishing in Brazil and Paraguay. 

Scientific NameThaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum 'Atom'
NativeSouth America
Plant TypeSubtropical perennial shrub
USDAHardiness zones 9 to 11
Growth RateSlow
Growth SizeHeight: 1-2 feet
Width: 20cm
Foliage FeatureFirm, wavy high gloss dark green leaves with lobes
BloomA spadix with cream-purple spathe
ToxicityMildly toxic to humans, dogs, & cats
PestsMealybugs, scale, aphids, and spider mites
DiseasesBacterial Leaf Spot, Root Rot, Bacterial Leaf Spot

Complete Care Guide – Philodendron Atom

Caring for the Philodendron Atom is straightforward, making them a popular choice for novices.

Infographics of Philodendron Atom Care
Provide Philodendron Atom with good air circulation and clean the leaves with a damp cloth to maximize growth.

Follow all the steps to the fullest to enjoy evergreen compact foliage throughout the year.

1. Light and Temperature

Philodendron Atom prefers intense yet diffused light for 6-8 hours, with moderately warm surroundings found in flats, hallways, and courtyards.

The Atom variety has the habit of being under the shade in their native land, so better to give them a similar ambiance indoors.

Try to keep the temperature within the range of 70-85ºF while maintaining a safe distance from direct sunlight.

Scorching rays burn the leaves and make brown spots with halo rings appear in the Philodendron Atom.

So, place them near an east-facing window, on a patio with partial shade, or a foot away from the southern window using a thin curtain.

But do not relocate them to places with temperatures <55ºF and >85ºF as they loathe cold drafts and higher temperatures since both stunt plant growth.

Also, keep the Philodendron Atom from cooling and heating vents and cover it with frost blankets to prevent temperature fluctuation.

Given the size of the Philodendron Atom, you can even place it in a terrarium or mini greenhouse during cold days.

If you have the Philodendron Atom in the office or dark room, better to install a grow light.

2. Watering and Humidity

Keep a close eye on your Philodendron Atom, as they will exhibit signs like yellow or mushy leaves under improper watering with humidity issues.

Philodendron Atom generally demands weekly watering in spring and summer and once every ten days in winter with humidity around 55-65%.

Humidity <55% leads the Philodendron to lose the shine and freshness of the leaves and promotes underwater conditions.

Underwatered Philodendron plant has brittle, droopy leaves with brown edges but can be reverted by following the watering schedule.

However, do not overwater the plant, causing root rotting and leaves to turn yellow, mushy, and falling off.

So allow an inch of soil to dry before watering the Philodendron Atom and check humidity to schedule watering.

Use only distilled water and avoid poor-quality water coming from the tap to prevent further problems.

In case of low humidity, install a humidifier, group the plants together, place them in the kitchen or bathroom, or try the pebble tray method.

Look at the video for further help!

3. Soil & Fertilizer

Philodendron Atom prefers well-draining, moist, nutrient-rich soil with a pH near the alkaline level (5.5-7) enriched with all-purpose fertilizer monthly.

The monthly fertilizer will be enough for the Atom already growing in a nutrient-rich blend.

Otherwise, feed the Philodendron twice a month with 20-20-20 fertilizer diluted to half the strength to prevent the burning of plants from overfertilization.

Overfertilization usually occurs when the soil has turned compact and is not draining well, leading to salt accumulation.

Using the wrong fertilizer may also lead to over or under-fertilization. So choose only the best commercial fertilizers available for Philodendrons. 

Also, choose the best soil mix for the Philodendron Atom. Some options are Philodendron Potting Mix, rePotme Houseplant Mix, and Premium Aroid Mix.

You can also prepare a DIY using coco peat, compost, and regular potting soil in a ratio of 5:2:3.

Another recipe you can prepare is a mixture of peat, coarse sand, perlite, and compost in a ratio of 4:4:4:1.

Meanwhile, you can add coco coir, sawdust, and pebbles to the soil to make it porous, as Philodendron Atom prefers moist, not soggy, conditions.

4. Potting & Repotting

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

Choose a pot at least 2 inches larger than your Philodendron’s root ball with the ability to drain extra water.

As a slow grower, Philodendron Atoms can stay in the same pot for at least two years or more unless they outgrow the recent pot or roots poke out from the drainage holes, demanding to repot.

While repotting, ensure the time is spring and the pot has enough drainage holes and is at least two inches bigger than the previous one.

Start the process by watering the old plant a day before repotting the Philodendron.

Turn the plant sideways, hold onto the stem carefully and tap the container till it falls out.

Check for any damaged or brown roots by washing off the excess dust from the base.

Then, fill the pot with one-third of the potting mix and place the plant at the center. Re-fill the pot with the remaining mixture leaving an inch from the rim to add fertilizer.

Lastly, water the Philodendron Atom thoroughly and place the container under indirect light at a warm temperature.

A girl is holding on to the black small pot containing the Philodendron atom plant.
Pot size should not be too large as a larger pot invites bigger problems.

Your plant may exhibit drooping and limping signs in the first week of repotting.

But do not stress out, as the Philodendron might be in the recovery stage from repotting shock and will be fine after two weeks.

5. Occasional Pruning

Philodendron Atom shows compact growth needing pruning occasionally when the leaves outgrow the pot.

Meanwhile, you may need to prune the Philodendron Atom when the leaves fall under the influence of pests and diseases.

Some common pests attacking the Atom are mealy bugs, spider mites, scales, and aphids that suck on the sap of the plant, discolor the leaves, wilt the leaves, and cause a silky web to appear under the leaves.

To remove them, spray neem oil or insecticidal soap, and use a tweezer or Q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol to pick and throw the pests away manually.

Other enemies attacking the Philodendron Atoms are diseases like root rot, bacterial leaf blight, and bacterial leaf spot.

You can identify their presence by looking at the signs like the yellowing of leaves, translucent reddish-brown dots on leaf edges, dark green blotches, and foul smell.

So, separate the affected Philodendron Atom from the healthy ones and prune off the diseased part.

Also, spray copper-rich fungicides once every six months to prevent bacterial infections from arising.

Better to perform pruning during the active growing season especially in early spring.

Philodendron Atom: All About Growth Rate

Philodendron Atoms are tiny shrub-like plants with a slow growth rate and attaining a height of about 1-2 feet till their maturity.

The plant growth speeds up during the spring and summer, blessing you with lobed foliage.

However, do not be alarmed if the plant appears to have slowed or stopped growing entirely in the winter as they have entered dormancy.

Meanwhile, they are a non-climber dwarf variety of Philodendrons featuring clumps of dark green wavy leaves with lobed edges reaching up to 20 cm wide.

The ruffled, curled green leaves grow on a small, thick glossy stem supporting a single leaf per stem.

Similarly, the plant gets waxier in texture when reaching maturity, enhancing the tropical feel.

Meanwhile, getting an inflorescence of Philodendron Atom indoors is rare, but if you get lucky, you can enjoy a spadix-shaped flower having cream-purple spathe once in 10-15 years.

Toxicity of Philodendron Atom

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

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

The lips, mouth, tongue, and throat may swell on ingestion if they consume the leaves.

Also, the cats may have nausea and, in some situations, diarrhea. So contact the immediate helpline number if the condition worsens.

Propagation Methods for Philodendron Atom

Philodendron Atom can be propagated through stem tip cuttings and seeds, mainly in spring.

However, stem-cutting propagation is considerably easier and faster than seed propagation.

1. Propagation Through Stem Cutting

Here are considerable things to do to guarantee that your Philodendron Atom cutting grows well:

  • Wet the soil several days before cutting to ensure that the plant obtains the correct nutrients.
  • Select a stem with numerous nodules and cut using a sterilized knife.
  • Remember to leave a few leaves attached per six inches long stem.

In Soil

Placing the cutting in the soil does not need prior treatment with rooting hormones.

You can straightly dive into the further process mentioned below.

  • Allow the callous to form around the cut, which usually takes 12 to 24 hours.
  • Then, place the cut stem in a tiny container filled with damp soil so that at least 2 to 3 inches of stem are buried.
  • Keep misting the cutting daily for 10-14 days and keep them under bright indirect light with balanced humidity.
A pot filled with soil has the mother Philodendron atom growing on it with three to four little seedlings arising from the basal part.
Under optimum care, the Philodendron Atom will provide you with healthy new growth.
  • You can see the new growth in the stem in about three weeks of propagation.

In Water

Propagating Philodendron Atoms in water may require pre-treatment from rooting hormones.

Go through the steps given below for a detailed mechanism of propagation.

  • Allow callous to appear on the cut portion to prevent the attack of bacteria and viruses.
  • Then, fill at least 2 inches of a transparent jar with clear water and dip the stem into the pot of water.
  • Place the jar in a bright area without the reach of direct sunlight.
  • Remember to change the water every three days to prevent mold formation and allow the stem to stay overnight before replacing it with the new water.
  • Under optimum care, the roots will develop in about ten days.
  • Lastly, you can transfer them into a new permanent pot filled with soil after a few inches of long roots have developed.

2. Propagation Through Seed

Although growing a large philodendron from seed takes a long time, you can try this method.

  • Place the seeds approximately a third of an inch (1 centimeter) deep in well-draining soil and softly cover them.
  • Mist the soil regularly with a day gap to keep the soil moist.
  • When the soil temperature is between 68 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit, the seeds will germinate in 2 to 8 weeks (20 to 23 degrees Celsius).
  • Lastly, separate the seedling and grow them individually in different little pots to encourage healthy root growth.

Note: 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.

You can refer to the video below for further details!

Philodendron Atom for Sale

The Atom variety of Philodendron is famous for its rareness, so better be on the safe side and bring new plants from the sites below.

Places to Buy Shipping Time
AmazonWithin 3-5 business days
Gabriella PlantsWithin 7 business days
Bloom Box ClubWithin 2 business days

Philodendron Atom Vs. Selloum

A similar variety of Philodendrons compared to the Atom is the Selloum for the glossy leaves they feature, but the difference also lies in the leaves.

The Philodendron Selloum features long, finger-like curves and lobes deep into the midribs.

Meanwhile, the leaves of the Philodendron Atom are much smaller and bunched with thicker lobes that do not reach deep into the midribs.

Philodendron Atom Vs. Super Atom

A similar name might confuse most of you, but you must be clear that the Philodendron Atom and Super Atom are the same plants.

Philodendron Super Atom is a smaller dwarf cousin of the Atom with tinier leaves.

The plant can attain a total height of about 11 to 12 inches till maturity. 

FAQs About Philodendron Atom

Is air layering possible in the Philodendron Atom?

Air layering can be an option for the Philodendron Atom. For that, peel the branch in a circle and wrap the cut with plastic film.

Then add a growing medium inside the wrap to allow root germination.

You can cut off the rooted part and use it as a seedling to produce a new Philodendron Atom.

Is Philodendron good for beginners?

Even with minimal care and little attention, the Philodendron can attain good growth, making them an ideal plant for both beginners and green thumb.

Final Thought

The curly-shaped, unicolored leaves of the Philodendron Atom flourish under filtered sunlight with warmer temperatures and mediocre humidity.

A Philodendron in your home is never a bad omen, as they offer air purification benefits added to the aesthetic appeal.

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