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Philodendron Plowmanii— Ultimate Grow & Care Guide

The gigantic bichrome leaves of Philodendron plowmanii grow on creeping stems, making it a unique and rare variety.

Generally, Philodendron plowmanii requires bright indirect light, moist soil of 4.5-6 pH, and fertilization every 2 to 3 months to offer healthy leaves. They enjoy temperatures of 55-88°F, 60% or more humidity, watering twice a week, repotting every 2-3 years and occasional pruning.

Stay with the article if you wish to add the tropical flair of Philodendron plowmanii to your outdoor and indoor garden.

Overview of Philodendron Plowmanii

Philodendron Plowmanii, a flowering plant, belongs to the Araceae family and grows enormously in its natural tropical rainforests of South America.

Fact: Philodendron Plowmanii is named in honor of botanist Timothe Charles Plowman.

Look at the table below to get an overview of the Plowmanii variety.

Scientific NamePhilodendron plowmanii
Common NamePhilodendron plowmanii
Native AreaEcuador and Peru
USDA Zone9-11
Plant TypePerennial
Trailing Succulent
Growth SizeApprox. 8 feet
Growth SpeedSlow growth rate
Grown ForExotic bi-colored heart shaped foliage
Growth TypeCreeping
FloweringUnscented white to yellow spathes over a red-tinge peduncle
Flowering seasonDuring spring
ToxicityToxic to pets and humans

Philodendron Plowmanii: Ultimate Grow & Care Guide

Being a native to tropical rainforests, Philodendron plowmanii prefers to grow in similar surrounding, either in containers or in a garden, which is easy to maintain.

Besides, they are effortless to care for, making them suitable plants for beginners and experts.

A template containing the complete care guide for Philodendron plowmanii.
Follow the tips to make the plant flourish and bloom.

1. Sunlight & Temperature

Enjoy the leathery foliage of Plowmanii by placing the plant in an east-facing window with plenty of filtered light aided by warm temperatures.

Generally, Philodendron Plowmanii prefers indirect light for 6 to 8 hours daily and temperatures between 55ºF and 88ºF, with the optimum level being 65-80ºF.

It is a low to moderate light-loving plant, so better avoid direct rays of sunlight to prevent scorching and burning of leaves.

Maintaining the light to the optimum level balances the temperature parallelly, preventing the plant from undergoing excess water loss due to high temperature.

Meanwhile, the Philodendron plowmanii is seemingly good in low-light environments and can go for 12 to 20 days without light.

Philodendron plowmanii under grow light
Philodendron plowmanii can grow under grow light if provided for at least 12 hours daily.

However, do not test the plant as it may undergo cold stress (<55ºF), causing dark brown/black patches on foliage with sparse growth.

Hence, use a frost blanket and heating mat to keep the plant warm during frosts and a sheer curtain if you have a south-facing window.

2. Water & Humidity

Native to rainforest vegetation, Philodendron plowmanii is a moisture-loving plant requiring humidity above 60%.

Fulfill the moisture demand by watering twice a week in spring and weekly in winter. You can also follow the thumb rule and water when the first few inches of soil dries.

Remember to maintain the intervals while watering to prevent root rot and browning of leaves caused by overwatering.

Keep a check on moisture by using the index finger. If it feels dry, water it immediately, or it may show signs of underwatering, like light greyish soil with yellow leaves.

Moreover, balance the humidity and watering by misting the plant occasionally, as low humidity invites drooping and brown leaf tips.

You can use pebble trays or install a humidifier around Philodendron plowmanii to maintain the optimum moisture.

Consider deep soaking your underwatered Philodendron plowmanii by submerging it in a half-filled pot with soil mix.

3. Soil & Fertilizer

Providing the Philodendron plowmanii with a well-draining, neutral (4.5-6 pH) and porous soil rich in organic matter suits the growing condition.

Prepare a DIY using coco coir, perlite, orchid bark, and worm castings in a 4:3:2:1 ratio and fertilize with a balanced liquid fertilizer every 2-3 months.

Also, avoid clay and garden soil because it discourages water drainage, leading to waterlogging and reducing air circulation.

Alternatively, you can use commercial mixes like FoxFarm Potting Mix, Black Gold Potting Soil, Burpee Organic Potting Mix, and Miracle-Gro Indoor Mix.

Remember that commercial mixes do not need fertilization for six months. If done, the Philodendron may show burnt roots with salt on the soil due to overfertilization.

But if you want to boost your plant’s growth, add a little homemade organic fertilizer periodically along with water to avoid underfeeding.

Furthermore, avoid fertilization during the winter to avoid over-fertilization issues.

Pro Tip: When using slow-release fertilizers, ensure to apply fertilizers at least 6 inches away from the plant base to avoid any chemical burns.

4. Potting & Repotting

Philodendron plowmanii prefers to stay in a pot with its roots free rather than rootbound.

So initially, use a pot of about 8 inches in diameter and let it be so for about 2 to 3 years and then try repotting to keep the Plowmanii happy.

The repotting helps to replenish the soil with nutrients and improve aeration for the growth of Philodendron plowmanii.

Start the repotting in early spring or summer by choosing an ideal terracotta pot 2 inches wider than the previous one.

Carefully extract the Plowmanii from its old pot and inspect for damaged roots. If any, trim the apart using sterilized pruners and scissors.

Afterward, fill the empty container with fresh potting soil and place the plant inside. Cover the remaining portion with soil mix.

Lastly, water your plant thoroughly and let it rest in its previous thriving position.

Remember, a newly repotted Philodendron plowmanii does not require fertilization.

5. Occasional Pruning

Philodendron Plowmanii is a low-maintenance plant that does not require pruning regularly.

However, occasional pruning of old, damaged or diseased leaves due to pests and insects would ensure a healthy Philodendron Plowmanii plant.

The most common pests sucking the sap of Plowmanii are mealybugs, spider mites, and aphids that turn the leaves yellow and give a sickly look.

You can control further infestation by wiping off the infested area with isopropyl alcohol and spraying neem oil.

However, if the plant shows signs of drooping, rapid yellowing, reddish brown spots, and watery lesions, doubt for diseases like root rot, Erwinia blight, and Leaf spot.

bacterial spot on philodendron plant
Bacterial leaf spot on Philodendron causes round yellow or brown spots on the plant leaves.

Treat the infection by isolating the damaged Philodendron and pruning off the infected leaves. Also, spray copper fungicide to control them.

Additionally, pruning Philodendron plowmanii at the beginning of autumn would benefit your plant for better growth.

Growth Rate and Habit of Philodendron Plowmanii

Although most Philodendrons are climbers, Philodendron plowmanii is a creeping evergreen plant with a slow-paced growing habit.

When given optimal growing conditions, a mature Philodendron plowmanii will reach a height of eight feet and a width of nearly two feet.

The active growing time for the Plowmanii is spring and summer, whereas dormancy is in winter.

A mature leaf’s color combination ranges from emerald green to lime green and light yellow at the tip and has a sub-leathery surface.

While younger Philodendron plowmanii has silvery streaks on its round leaves with a lighter lower side that has a matte finish.

Plowmanii’s multicolored petiole with a rippling winged border towards the apex is its one of the most compelling features.

As for flowering, Plowmanii is notorious as a rare bloomer, taking about 10-15 years to give the first bloom.

Philodendron plowmanii flower
Philodendron Plowmanii blooms after fully mature, i.e., after 10 to 15 years.

And when it does, the bloom signifies its presence with 2 to 3 white to yellow spathes emerging from the axil over a reddish peduncle in spring.

After the successful pollination, Plowmanii flower spathe turns into fruit and produces globular or ellipsoidal seeds that can be harvested in late summer.

Toxicity of Philodendron Plowmanii

According to ASPCA, Philodendron Plowmanii is toxic to humans and pets, like other Philodendrons.

All parts of the Philodendron plant contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, making them toxic for pets.

Little ingestion of the plant part can initiate nausea, vomiting, oral discomfort with swelling and blisters, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, and skin irritation in pets.

cat next to plants
Keep Philodendrons away from your pets and kids, as they are toxic.

Additionally, the sap causes allergic reactions in some people, so wear gloves when handling it.

Therefore, keep your dogs, cats, and kids away from the plant to avoid accidental ingestions and skinship with the Plowmanii.

In case you need medical assistance, contact the nearby veterinarian or the given helpline.

Propagating Philodendron Plowmanii

Propagating the Plowmanii is for the best if you plan to share the expensive rare houseplant with your family and friend.

Usually, the propagation can take place during spring or summer, using stem cutting and air layering. But many gardeners opt for cuttings for faster results.

Meanwhile, some plant owners follow seed propagation despite its lengthy and delicate process.

1. Propagating via Stem Cutting

The propagation of Philodendron plowmanii via stem cutting can be carried out in soil or water medium.

Before starting the propagation process, wear protective gear such as gardening gloves and glasses to avoid accidental allergies.

roots coming from stem cutting of Philodendron plowmanii
Propagation of Philodendron plowmanii via stem cutting is the faster and easiest method.

Follow the step to take a cutting for the propagation.

  • Select a stem with several leaves and nodes. Ensure to cut the stem at least 4 inches long using sterilized pruners.
  • Cut the stem clean at a 45° angle to increase the surface area of the exposed node.
  • Leave it aside and let the cut end produce callous, which helps with regrowth.

Choose Soil or Water Medium

Here are the proper detailed steps to propagate via each medium.

For Water Propagation
  • Get a clean jar and fill it with clean, tepid water leaving about one-inch space at the rim.
  • A few hours prior, let the water sit, then place the stem cutting.
  • Add a few drops of rooting hormones to encourage healthier root sprouts.
stem cutting on water for propagation of philodendron plowmanii
Add rooting hormone in water to increase better growth of the root of Philodendron plowmanii.
  • Position the stem cutting in the jar by immersing the bare nodes fully in water.
  • Set the jar in a warm location with plenty of indirect sunlight.
  • Keep changing the water every 2-4 days to refresh the plant and prevent bacteria from building up.

It takes 2-3 weeks for the cutting to grow roots.

Once the roots are 1-2 inches long, remove them from the water and plant them in a high-quality potting mix.

Resume with regular Philodendron plowmanii care.

For Soil Propagation
  • Prepare a starter potting mix using perlite, peat moss, and orchid barks in a 2-3 inches pot.
  • Place the cutting in starter soil while leaving out the leaves.
  • Add rooting hormone powder into the mix for faster root development, but it is an alternative.
  • Water frequently enough to keep the soil moist, and water immediately if it dries.
New roots may sprout within 3-4 weeks of placing stem cutting on the soil mix.
  • The optimal temperature for stem cutting to encourage growth is about 70 to 75°F.
  • Cover your stem cuttings with transparent plastic to mimic a mini greenhouse for humidity.

After about 3 to 4 weeks, delicately pull the plant and feel the resistance it delivers to see if the roots have begun to grow.

When you notice strong roots forming, transfer the plant to its designated planter or pot.

2. Propagation Via Air Layering

Air layering, also known as marcotting, is a popular technique of propagation used for rare and valuable plants or subtle cultivars.

This technique minimizes the loss of lower leaves typical in fresh cuttings that are actively growing roots.

To air layer your Philodendron plowmanii, follow these instructions:

  • Select a healthy part of the parent plant with at least two nodes.
  • Scrap off the upper layer of the stem, right below the nodes, to ensure rooting.
  • Dab the cut part with a cotton ball containing root hormones and cover it with damp sphagnum moss or coco coir.
  • To keep the peat moss or coir intact with the nodes, use a cling wrap to ensure it is stable and won’t fall apart.
  • Mist the moss or coir to keep it moist throughout the whole time.
  • You can use a chopstick and make holes in the cling wrap to encourage proper air circulation inside the wrapper.

Aerial roots shall appear or sprout within 3-5 weeks, so wait until then while ensuring proper plant care.

Once you notice aerial roots developing, transplant them by removing the cling wrap.

Remove the propagated portion from the mother plant and plant it in the ground.

Philodendron Plowmanii For Sale

Getting hold of the Philodendron Plowmanii is a significant achievement, given the few retailers selling the plant at a reasonable price.

Some of the stores are listed below.

Buying OptionsDelivery
EtsyDelivery within 5-6 days
Aroid MarketDelivery within 1-2 weeks
EcuageneraDelivery within 10-15 days
Aroid SaleDelivery within 4-7 days

The Resemblance of Philodendron Plowmanii to Other Similar Plants

Philodendron varieties share features like giant leaf shapes, flowers, and growing natures.

So, it’s no wonder people make mistakes while identifying them.

Philodendron Plowmanii vs. Mamei

Philodendron mamei is often mistaken for Plowmanii due to their identical striking resemblance.

But you can easily recognize them as Mamei leaves have silvery white variegation with closely spaced veins on their glossy leaves.

Meanwhile, Plowmanii has widely spaced veins with no variegation in its leaf.

Secondly, Plowmanii has unique fabric-like ruffly edge petioles, which are not present (or very small) in the Mamei plant.

Other than these two significant differences, you can feel and observe the veins on the leaf of Plowmanii a bit more hollow than those of the Philodendron mamei leaf.

Philodendron Plowmanii vs. Gloriosum

Another Philodendron species that is often falsely identified as Plowmanii is Philodendron gloriosum.

Although these two share identical leaf shapes and sizes along with growing habits, you can still distinguish these two in similar ways as in Mamei.

Philodendron plowmanii has wavy wings like broad petioles, but the other hand, Gloriosum does not.

Moreover, Gloriosum has a pinkish tone near the apex, while Plowmanii has a reddish purple-tinged.

Another way to differentiate them is leaf color, i.e., Gloriosum has a velvety dark green leaf with a whitish midrib. In contrast, Plowmanii has a dark green leaf with a green midrib.

Philodendron Plowmanii vs. Pastazanum

As mentioned above, observe the petiole fashion and leaf coloration with veins properties to identify Philodendron.

Philodendron pastazanum leaf features a velvety green matte look with paler midribs, but Plowmanii has a more dark green look with dark green midribs.

You can also see colorful wingy petiole patterns in Plowmanii but not in Pastazanum.

FAQs About Philodendron Plowmanii

Is Philodendron plowmanii a climber or crawler?

The distinctive feature of Philodendron plowmanii is its creeping nature, where the stems are difficult to notice as they are underground.

Is Philodendron plowmanii rare?

Yes. Philodendron plowmanii falls under one of the rare varieties of Philodendron because of its slow growth rate and minimal availability.

From Editorial Team


Philodendron Plowmanii is an exotic rare tropical plant suitable for all with its easy care and growing needs.

However, be aware that you still need to give them a dream-like home to show off large, waxy heart-shaped foliage.

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