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Philodendron Serpens [FAQs With 5 Great Care Hacks!]

The Philodendron serpens is an evergreen houseplant with bizarre yet fascinating hairy petioles and heart-shaped glossy leaves. 

Philodendron serpens grow best in bright indirect light in well-draining pH 6-7.5 soil. It requires humidity of 55-65%  and a temperature of 70-85°F. Fertilize them with slow-release fertilizers three to four times a year, with occasional pruning and repotting after every two years.

Read on to unveil the care mystery of these fuzzy Philodendrons.

Overview of Philodendron Serpens

Philodendron serpens vines natively form the wet tropical biome of Colombia to Ecuador.

Scientific Name Philodendron serpens Hook.f.
OriginSouth America
USDAHardiness zone 9-11
NatureEvergreen tropical climber
Growth For Large glossy leaves
Foliage Broad leaf with heartshape base

35-45 cm in length, 15 cm wide
Flower Whitish flower within a thick fleshy bract, rarely available
VarietiesPhilodendron Serpens Chocolate & Philodendron Serpens × Verrucosum
ToxicityModerately toxic to dogs and cats
Pest/DiseasesMealybugs, Thrips, Root rot, Bacterial infection
Blooming PeriodSpring to summer

A Complete Guide to Grow and Care Philodendron Serpens

Despite their exotic appearance, Philodendrons are low maintenance and easy to find.

We’ve compiled this comprehensive care guide that explains all your Philodendron serpens needs to grow.

Basic care
Proper care benefits the plant with a longer lifespan.

1. Adequate Light and Temperature

Philodendron serpens grows perfectly under shade, indoors or outdoors.

It prefers 6-8 hours of bright indirect sunlight with temperatures ranging from 70-85°F. 

These plants cannot withstand high temperatures and intense light, causing scorching of the leaves and brown spots that later stunt the plant growth.

Place your Philodendron in a north or east-facing window for filtered light and reduced warmth, or relocate the pot to a shady spot. 

It would help if you also rotate the pot around from time to time so that all sides of the plant get their fair share of sunshine as light-deprived leaves of the Philodendron serpens turns yellow.

Meanwhile, the plant is not frost-hardy, and a slight drop in temperature from 65°F causes cold injuries.

So, wrap the plants with a frost blanket before the damage becomes irreversible. 

Pro Tip: Provide your Philodendron serpens with artificial fluorescent light if the natural light is insufficient. 

2. Watering and Humidity

Philodendrons are relatively easygoing and demand less attention to watering and humidity.

You can water Philodendron serpens weekly during the summer and spring, with humidity around 55-65%. 

However, winter demands less frequent watering as the plants are less active. A subtle mist could keep the plant safe from dehydration on dry days.

Meanwhile, it is better to schedule watering after the top few inches of the soil dries up. Use a chopstick or simply insert your finger to check the soil’s dryness, and water them if an inch comes dry.

Excess water in the root zone causes root rot, with the entire plant drooping. 

When the damage gets extreme, you might have to say goodbye to your cherished plant, so allow the excess water to drain out completely before mishaps.

Similarly, prolonged dryness in air and soil lead to brittle, faded leaves.

So, maintain optimum humidity, use a humidifier, or group your Philodendron with other house plants.

Further, bottom watering could be a savior to avoid overwatering and underwatering.

3. Soil and Fertilizer

Philodendrons can flourish in a wide range of soil as long as the medium is nutrient-rich and well-draining.

Slightly alkaline porous soil with a pH range of 6-7.5 is an ideal growing medium for the plant when fed quarterly with a slow-release fertilizer.

You could also use a liquid fertilizer, but the risk of salt accumulation and fertilizer burning to the roots always persists.

Also, under-fertilized plants show signs of deficiencies like pale yellow leaves and declining growth.

We recommend using granulated fertilizer for the constant availability of fertilizer to the plant.

Despite this, when you overfeed your plant, flush out the excess by placing the plant under running water. 

While doing so, you might end up with soggy compacted soil, a big NO to the Philodendrons. Compacted soil makes it difficult for the root to grow and refrains nutrient uptake.

Add some coco coir to loosen up the soil or create a potting mix by incorporating a part of peat moss, orchid bark, soil, and 1/4 part of perlite

Commercial soils, however, could save you from DIY hassle.

4. Yearly Pruning

It is essential to prune the serpens once every year to remove excess growth and vines. 

Besides that, you must remove the damage and dead foliage hosting pests like mealy bugs and thrips.

Diseases like bacterial blight, leaf spots, Pythium rot, and pest attacks could also result from overwatering. Along with keeping a check on watering, use neem oil and rubbing alcohol over the pests to halt their population.

In case the problem doesn’t subside, trimming becomes mandatory.

The best time to prune the plant is in early spring and summer. 

Moreover, with regular pruning, the plant will look more put-together and have room for bushy growth.

5. Potting and Repotting

Philodendrons are quickly growing and require repotting every 2-3 years.

When you observe the plant’s roots extending beyond the drainage holes, it’s time to repot it. Repotting is equally essential for your plant suffering from over-watering and overfertilization.

Another reason to repot Philodendrons is to change out the potting material, which will keep the plant healthy and lush.

Before planting your Philodendron, choose a pot at least 2 inches larger than the root ball and fill it with a new soil mix.

Many gardeners prefer growing indoor plants in a glazed ceramic pot, but a regular terracotta pot has the same benefits of proper soil aeration and water drainage.

Further, late spring or early summer is the finest time to repot your plants. 

Pro tip: Remove all the mushy roots before repotting the plants to provide room for healthy growth.

Philodendron Serpens: All About Growth Rate

Philodendron serpens are slow-growing evergreen plants, vining up to 12 inches in height. 

Their growth proliferates during the spring and summer. Meanwhile, the plant can attain more height in the wild natural habitat.

They reward you with bright green, thin, leathery leaves with an average length of 12-17 inches and 5-7 inches wide.

Further, the petiole’s fuzzy hair texture gets brighter and more apparent as the plant matures, which is thought to aid the plant’s crawling.

You might have rarely heard about Philodendrons blooming indoors, but you could get lucky to witness bloom when the plant matures in about 12-15 years.

Propagation Methods for Philodendron Serpens

You can propagate this Philodendron either by stem cutting or by air layering.

Some prefer to use a long route by germinating the seed.

Regardless of the method, early spring (March) is an ideal time to propagate Philodendron serpens.

Propagation via Stem Cutting

Before you start propagation, you need a healthy stem with few nodes and at least two leaves intact, a garden shear, and rooting hormones.

  • Cut 2-4” of the stem below a leaf node.
  • Take a jar filled with water, and dip the cutting.
  • Ensure the bottom leaves are removed, but the leaf nodes remain inside the water.
  • To avoid clouding, change the water every 2-3 days or as needed until the roots appear.
Stem cutting of Philodendron Serpens in a plastic cup.
Transplant only after a few new leaves sprout.

After dipping it into the rooting hormones, you might place the cutting directly in potting soil. 

Further, the root initiation shall start in 2-3 weeks, although transplanting is done after the root is firm with a few new leaves. 

Propagation via Air Layering

  • Select a healthy stem of 3-4 inches and make a cut two inches wide.
  • Make sure a few aerial roots are intact on the stem.
  • Insert a toothpick from the top and bottom to keep the cut open.
  • Add a handful of wet sphagnum peat moss and wrap around the stem with transparent plastic.
  • You may use duct tape over the plastic wrap for proper hold.
  • Make sure to moisten the moss until the root grows regularly.

You’ll notice the root growth in about 3-4 weeks.

Allow the root to grow for two more weeks, after which you can transplant them. 

For transplanting, cut the stem a few inches below the wound and place it in fresh soil, ensuring minimum agitation to the roots. 

Toxicity of Philodendron Serpens

ASPCA shows all Philodendrons, including serpens, contain mildly poisonous calcium oxalate crystals.

When ingested, the chemicals are a defense mechanism against the predator but are toxic to dogs, cats, and humans.

Your pet may start drooling, vomiting, nausea, and loose motion.

The symptoms elevate into irritation, burning of the mouth, and swollen lips in the pets. 

Likewise, poisoning in humans results in painful urination, dizziness, and tongue numbness.

In case of emergency, contact a vet nearby or the hotlines below. 

Philodendron Serpens Vs. Squamicaule

The striking resemblance between Philodendron serpens and squamicaule has made it challenging to purchase the correct ones.

Both Philodendrons have similar leaves, hairy petioles, and overall appearance.

Picture depicts the difference between Philodendron Serpens and Squamicaule.
You may not spot the distinct differences between the two at first glance.

Interestingly, they match each other in growth habits as well.

The only visible difference to distinguish the two is in their petiole sinus.

Leaves of the serpens are smooth undersides with no dense hairs, while Philodendron Squamicle features fuzzy hair growing on the sinus down to its midrib.

FAQs About Philodendron Serpens

Is Philodendron serpens a climber?

Yes, Philodendron serpens is a climber that vines upward.

Serpens wrap their modified roots around the tree trunk and work their way up in their natural habitat.

Is it better to propagate Philodendron in soil or water?

Whether you propagate the Philodendron serpens in water or soil, the result is very similar.

However, root initiation is quicker in a water medium than in soil, allowing a clear visual to keep track of your root growth.

Philodendron Serpens for Sale

Here are a few online stores for you to buy the Philodendron serpens.

StoresExpected Delivery Period
Ebay4-5 days
Tropicals Plants2-7 days
Carnivero1-3 days
Ecuagenera2-3 weeks

Wrapping up…

Philodendrons can easily absorb moisture and light in any position because of their enormous leaves.

In addition, they are aesthetically pleasing and create an extended, artistic aspect to the halls of a workplace with their ascending impact on a totem.

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