A Complete Guide to Grow and Care Philodendron Serpens

Philodendron Serpens
Philodendron Serpens (Source: Ecuagenera)

Is Philodendron one of your favorite plant species? If yes, then Philodendron Serpens might be the one you need for your plant collection!

Even for a Philodendron, the evergreen climber Philodendron Serpens is peculiar.

Nevertheless, Philodendron Serpens are excellent houseplants because of their lovely glossy leaves.

Philodendron Serpens grows best in bright indirect light with well-draining soil. Moisture should be present in the soil but not to the point of saturation. It requires high humidity and a temperature range of 70°F to 85°F. Moreover, fertilize them with slow-release fertilizers three times a year.

The beautiful leaves of Philodendron Serpens. (Source: Urbntropic)

This article is a guide on taking care of Philodendron Serpens.

You’ll discover how much water your plant needs and which bugs to avoid, and many more!

Continue reading to learn more about Serpens’ best care tips.

Overview of Philodendron Serpens

Let’s have a look at a quick overview of the plant.

Scientific Name Philodendron Serpens Hook
NativeSouth America
USDAHardiness zone from 9 to 11
NatureTropical climber
Average Height 12 inches
Foliage Size 35-45 cm in length
15 cm wide
ToxicityModerately toxic to dogs and cats.
Pest/DiseasesMealybugs, Thrips, Root rot, Bacterial infection
AppearanceLarge glossy leaves and leafstalk covered in tiny spiky hairs
Blooming TimeSpring

A Complete Guide to Grow and Care Philodendron Serpens

The great part is that Philodendron Serpens doesn’t require much attention.

You may have your own happy and healthy Philodendron Serpens blossoming in your yard in no time if you pay attention to it and care for it properly.

We’ve put together this comprehensive care guide that explains how much water, sunshine, warmth, and fertilizer your Philodendron Serpens need to grow in your yard.

ParametersFavorable Conditions
Light RequirementBright yet indirect light
Ideal TemperatureBetween 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit
WateringEvery 1-2 weeks
Ideal Humidity About 60%-70%
Soil TypeWell-draining soil with pH range of 6.1 to 7.3
Fertilization RequirementAt least once in 3-4 months
Pruning Requirement Cut the excessively long shoots during summer or spring.
Repotting Repot your Serpens every 2-3 years
PropagationSeed, Stem Cutting, Air Layering Propagation
Pot Size 1 to 2 inches larger in diameter than the root ball of your plant

1. Adequate Light and Proper Location

Philodendron Serpens need a lot of light to grow, but you should avoid exposing them to the strong midday sun.

They require bright yet indirect light. Hence, keep them in a sunny location with plenty of green shade, so their leaves don’t scorch in the hot afternoon heat.

Window with proper Sunlight
Window with proper Sunlight (Source: Unsplash)

Place your Philodendron in a north or east-facing window to gain indirect light.

You might also use a thin curtain to prevent direct sunlight.

Similarly, shift the pot around from time to time so that all sides of the plant get their fair share of sunshine.

When your plant is unable to get the required light, the leaves of the Philodendron Serpens begin to turn yellow.

As a result, rotating the plant from time to time is critical.

Likewise, the Philodendron Serpens is a wonderful choice for workplaces since it responds nicely to artificial light.

Provide your Philodendron Serpens with 12-16 hours of artificial fluorescent if the natural light is insufficient.

2. Adequate Watering

The Philodendron Serpens plant thrives in moist soil. However, it would be best if you avoided waterlogged soil.

You don’t even need to water it daily! Because these plants require slightly damp soil, just water them if the soil becomes dry.

Ensure the first two inches of soil are dry before watering your Philodendron Serpens; this keeps the plant’s soil from becoming saturated.

Likewise, you may use your finger to check if the plant is ready to be watered.

Place your index finger on the soil up to your biggest finger. The depth will be roughly two inches.

You’ll need to water the Philodendron more frequently in the summer because the intense heat absorbs all of the required moisture.

Watering Houseplants
Watering Houseplants (Source: Pexels)

So water your Philodendron every 1-2 weeks. Similarly, increase the water frequency as per the heat of the weather.

In addition, you should water your plant less frequently throughout the cold months.

The chilly temperature of the winter aids in moisture retention in the soil.

However, don’t overwater it because standing water might cause root rot.

You’ll have to say goodbye to your cherished plant if the roots are damaged, and we don’t want that to happen.

So, in the winter, put away the watering can.

Symptoms of Watering Issues

  • Yellow Leaves
  • Wilted Leaves
  • Roots Rots
  • Brown Leaves
  • Droopy Leaves

Solutions to Watering Issues

  • Temporarily stop watering your plant to promote drainage.
  • If your plant is in a dark position, consider moving it permanently to a sunny spot or letting it sit in the sun for a few hours near a window.
  • Similarly, always use a container with at least one drainage hole for your plant.
  • If the potting mix is moist, remove it in one piece from the container and set it on a layer of newspaper or other dry, absorbent material.

3. Ideal Temperature

Philodendron Serpens prefers warmer climates because they are native to tropical rainforests.

As a result, attempt to keep your plant at temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

A temperature of fewer than 65 degrees Fahrenheit is too chilly for the plant to thrive. Also, do not expose them to freezing temperatures.

Cold temperatures are not a favorite of Philodendron Serpens plants.

Avoid freezing temperatures or frost accumulating on the plant’s leaves at all costs.

Problems Due to Temperature Extremities

  • Brown Tips
  • Leaf Rolling
  • Wilting

Tips to Maintain Ideal Temperature

  • During high-light and high-temperature months, use shade drapes.
  • To keep the leaves healthy, use an LED grow light or, for a cheaper option, a full-spectrum light bulb screwed into a nearby lamp.
  • Similarly, make sure your plants aren’t in the line of fire as fireplaces, radiators, ovens, and other heating devices.

4. High Humidity

When it comes to cultivating healthy and lush Philodendron Serpens, humidity is crucial.

The humidity range between about 60-70% is the ideal level for the proper growth of your Philodendron Serpens.

A mini humidifier to increase humidity for plants. (Source: Amazon)

Tips to Maintain Optimum Humidity

  • Humidifier: It is the most convenient approach to produce humidity in the space of your Philodendron Serpens.
  • Pebble Tray: To begin, fill the tray with pebbles to the top. Then, fill the tray with water once that’s finished. The air around the plant becomes saturated with water vapor as the water slowly evaporates, raising the humidity level.
  • Misting: Another easy trick for recreating humid conditions is softly sprinkling the leaves with water. With this extra attention, your plant will flourish!

5. Proper Soil Mix

Philodendron Serpens requires well-draining soil to thrive.

Ensure to use the pot with holes at the bottom to ensure proper drainage.

Philodendrons need wet soil; thus, they require a potting mix that meets all of the following requirements:

  • Drains quickly
  • Maintains sufficient moisture for the plant
  • It’s nutrient-dense
  • It has a good amount of aeration

Similarly, another thing to remember is that your Philodendron Serpens should be planted in neutral or slightly acidic potting soil.

As a result, look for potting soil with a pH range of 6.1 to 7.3.

Perlite for the soil mixture. (Source: Amazon)

Likewise, it would be best to use perlite in a suitable potting mixture for these plants to prevent the soil from clumping together.

Perlite improves air circulation while allowing water to drain correctly through the soil.

In addition, it’s also a good idea to add some coconut coir to the soil to keep the correct quantity of moisture in the soil.

Here are some of the recommendations for proper soil mix for your luscious Philodendrons!

6. Growth Habits

The Philodendron Serpens have a high growth rate and can reach a height of 12 inches.

Similarly, the leaves of Philodendron Serpens grow quickly and can spread up to five feet wide.

Again, medium or indirect light encourages plants to grow quicker and generate more leaves.

Light pruning and pinching should also be done regularly to revitalize plant development.

Likewise, the breadth of these plants grows considerably bigger. They can reach a breadth of up to five feet.

However, the lack of necessary fertilizer can cause plant’s show growth and generation of tiny leaves.

7. Proper Fertilization

It is important to fertilize your Philodendron Serpens at least once in 3-4 months.

However, if the plant is struggling to develop, fertilize it more frequently.

The most common fertilizer used is an all-purpose NPK liquid fertilizer.

However, the problem with liquid fertilizer, on the other hand, is that you may wind up overfertilizing your plant.

Proper Fertilizer for Serpens is very important. (Source: Unsplash)

Overfertilizing becomes problematic because too much salt can cause the plant to die slowly over time.

We recommend using fertilizer beads instead of liquid fertilizer to prevent this from happening.

Similarly, overfertilization will not be a concern because the beads progressively release modest amounts of fertilizer over time.

Symptoms of Fertiliziling Issues

  • Stunted Growth
  • Burned or dried leaf margins
  • Wilting
  • Leggy Growth

Tips for Fertilizing Philodendron Serpen

  • Avoid fertilizing your Philodendron with a high quantity of fertilizer; it will burn the plant and impair its ability to absorb nutrients.
  • Reduce the frequency of fertilization during winter as it remains dormant during winter.
  • If the plant’s health deteriorates or grows slowly, fertilize it more frequently.
  • Be careful you don’t overfeed the plant. Overfeeding causes large salt levels to accumulate in the soil, resulting in fertilizer burn.

8. Foliage Growth

The creeping plant with the shaggy stem mistaken for a tropical bug has several specific characteristics.

The Philodendron Serpens heart-shaped leaves and the name “affectionate tree” will melt your heart at first sight.

The plant from the genus Philodendrons Schott is known for its brown and grayscales, hair-like projections on the petioles.

These plants’ scarlet, smooth petioles are a pleasing sight to see.

This hair-like texture on the petioles is thought to aid the plant’s crawling.

A young plant’s bright-hued, smooth petioles do not appear straight away.

Instead, the fuzzy hair texture gets more bright and apparent as the plant matures.

Ways to Maintain Lush Green Foliage

  • Retain the Serpens’ leaves dust-free by washing them once or twice a week to keep the plant’s glossy green foliage.
  • Nitrogen, as a soil element, has the largest influence on the color of leaves. So be sure to feed your plant with enough nitrogen.

You may be interested in reading, How to Make a Philodendron Bushy?

9. Common Pests in Serpens

Even though Philodendron Serpens are hardy plants with few problems, they are susceptible to bacterium and insect infestations.

Mealybugs and thrips are the most common insect pests that damage Philodendron Serpens.

Mealybugs may be identified by a white material stuck to various areas of your Philodendron Serpens.

Similarly, these insects harm your plant by sucking off valuable plant sap that your Philodendron Serpens requires to thrive.

Thrips in the leaf of the plant
Thrips in the leaf of the plant. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Thrips are also a major problem because they reproduce quickly and, like mealybugs, suck off all of the plant sap.

Similarly, to get rid of them, make a combination of oil and water and wipe the leaves with it.

It kills thrips immediately, preventing a full-fledged infestation.

PestsLocation of the pestsIdentification
Mealybugs Leaves and stemsBrown or cream in color, and have a waxy appearance.
Thrips Stems of the plant Petite, straw-colored bodies and feathery wings.

Treatments for Pests

  • Remove any sections of the plant that are heavily infested.
  • Spray the plant with a mixture of 1 cup rubbing alcohol, a few drops of Dawn dish detergent, and 1 quart (32oz) of water.
  • Apply contact sprays such as horticultural oil, natural pyrethrins (plus piperonyl butoxide), or insecticidal soaps to the underside of infected leaves.

Preventive Measures

  • Reducing feeding and watering the Serpens, instead wipe foliage regularly.
  • Another important point is to clean up plant litter rather than pruned leaves, stems, and deadheaded flowers from lying on the ground over winter.
  • Use sterilized instruments while pruning, repotting, or propagating your plant.

Related Article: How to Identify Insect Eggs on Leaves and Treat Pest Infestation?

10. Common Diseases in Philodendron Serpens

In ideal conditions, members of the Philodendron genus, including the Serpens, are typically disease-resistant.

However, if the leaves are going brown or yellow, it might signify bacterial infection.

Pythium is a root rotting problem caused by a lack of light, inadequate drainage, and overwatering.

Similarly, this fungus grows on lush green plants and ruins their roots if they become wet.

The soil gets alkaline, and the pH level increases above 7 when it is overwatered.

Keep the plant in indirect light and avoid overwatering to solve this problem.

It’s also a good idea to keep the soil well-drained by using perlite.

Necrotic patches are another difficulty that philodendron Serpens leaves confront.

A bacterial infection causes these, and the only method to rescue the plant is to remove all contaminated leaves before the bacterial illness spreads throughout the entire plant.

Common DiseasesCausative AgentsSymptoms
Bacterial Leaf SpotsPathogen: Xanthomonas campestris pv. Dieffenbachiae1. Translucent spots on leaf margins
2. Spots turn brown with tan or yellow halos
Bacterial BlightPathogen: Erwinia caratovora pv. Carotovora E. chrysanthemi1. Dark spots on leaves and spread to petioles.
2. Extreme damage makes leaves to rot and fall off.
3. Foul smell of rot
Pythium RotCaused by Fungus due to poor drainage, insufficient light1. Foul smell in soil
2. Yellow Leaves

Solutions

  • Repot the suffering Philodendron Serpens in fresh, sterile soil.
  • Remove affected leaves and utilize products containing plant-growth-promoting rhizobacteria like mycorrhiza to prevent the bacterial leaf spot.
  • Similarly, make a mixture of milk and water (30% milk to 70% water is fine) and spray it evenly on the surface of the leaves of affected plants during the morning on a sunny day.

Preventive Measures

  • Avoid splashing on foliage and only water when the soil partly dries to prevent root rot.
  • Avoid overhead watering.
  • Remove weeds and incorporate crop residues that can host the disease.
  • The most effective control methods appear to be soil amendments and organic fertilizers containing beneficial microbes.
  • Isolate affected plants to prevent the infection from spreading to other plants.

12. Propagation Methods

If you want to add a philodendron to your indoor landscaping, you don’t have to buy one from a garden shop; you can grow your own from mature plant cuttings.

March (Early Spring) is the best and ideal time to propagate your Philodendron Serpens.

But, first, let’s take a look at various propagation methods!

Beautiful Philodendron Serpens with Stems
Beautiful Philodendron Serpens with Stems (Source: Ecuagenera)

Propagation Through Stem Cutting

  1. Select a healthy stem with a couple of leaves with a sharp knife or garden snips. The length of your stem cuttings should be between 3-6 inches.
  2. Similarly, Harvest a few stem cuttings just in case some of them don’t form roots or aren’t viable for some reason.
  3. The following step is to root the stem cuttings. You have two choices here: Water-based rooting or rotting in potting mix. Both techniques work great and result in successful rooted, so it’s a question of personal taste.
  4. To speed up the rooted process, dip the cut end of the stem cutting in some rooting hormone, whether you’re rooting in water or a container.
  5. Ensure the bottom leaves are removed but the leaf nodes remain buried in the water while rooted in water.
  6. To avoid clouding, change the water every 2-3 days or as needed.
  7. Keep the soil wet but not soggy for stem cuttings rooted in pots. Keep your cup or pot warm and in bright, indirect light.
  8. Roots should appear in 2-3 weeks, and new leaves should appear on the stem cutting.
  9. You can now move the plant to a container with soil.

Note: The advantage of rooting in water is that you can see the roots forming, making it much easier to keep track of your stem cuttings’ growth.

Propagate Philodendron Serpens Through Seed

  1. For this process, soak a few Philodendron Serpens seeds in warm water for a few minutes before starting this operation.
  2. Secondly, take a tiny tray and cover it with a layer of well-draining seed-growing soil.
  3. Gently press the seeds into the soil layer and moisten the soil with a spray bottle.
  4. Similarly, cover the tray with a plastic sheet with small holes to maintain a high humidity level around the tray.
  5. Spray the soil regularly to keep it wet.
  6. After approximately a month, the seeds should germinate, and you may place the seedlings into tiny pots.
Newly Propagated Indoor Plants
Newly Propagated Indoor Plants (Source: Unsplash)

Note: The seeds will germinate in two to eight weeks at a soil temperature of 68 to 73 degrees Fahrenheit.

Propagate Philodendron Serprns Through Air Layering

  1. The first thing you’ll need to do is wound the original Philodendron Serpens plant’s stem. Make the wound at the top of the plant to remove it.
  2. You’ll need a sterile knife to wound the stem. You can use isopropyl alcohol to sanitize it.
  3. You may start making the wound after sterilizing the knife. The wound should be approximately two inches long and two inches deep.
  4. You will require a toothpick to keep the incision open. Place the toothpick in the hole to keep it open long enough for the sphagnum peat-moss to grow.
  5. After the toothpick has been inserted into the wound, add a handful of sphagnum peat moss.
  6. The peat moss must be damp so that it sticks to the stem for at least a few minutes.
  7. Wrap plastic wrap around the wound and stem at this point.
  8. Apply duct tape to the stem to keep the plastic wrap in place. It’ll be there for a while, and you want it to be there the whole time.
  9. The sphagnum peat moss takes time to root. You may start getting things ready while you’re waiting. A plant container with drainage holes is required to allow water to drain.
  10. Place it in a warm environment with plenty of indirect light.

13. Potting and Repotting

It is essential to be aware of your Serpens needs before repotting the plant into its new home.

For example, when you observe the plant’s roots extending beyond the drainage holes in the plant pot, it’s time to repot it.

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

Similarly, when you buy a plant container that is too big, the roots become overwhelmed by the excess space.

Terracotta, ceramic, and clay pots are perfect for your Philodendron since they allow soil aeration and avoid overwatering.

Late spring or early summer is the finest time to repot your plants. However, it is better to repot your Serpens every 2-3 years.

Reasons to Repot your Philodendron Serpens

  • When philodendrons outgrow their container, You must repot them regularly to keep the plant from becoming root-bound.
  • Another reason to repot philodendrons is to change out the potting material, which will keep the plant healthy and lush.

Tips for Repotting Philodendron Serpens

  • If you’re repotting your Serpens in an old pot, make sure the pot is clean to avoid passing illnesses to the new plant.
  • Ensure that the pot has drainage holes at the bottom, which are required to allow excess water to drain.
  • Similarly, it’s a good idea to hydrate the soil a day before repotting to make it easier to pull the plant out of its pot.
  • Examine the roots for signs of disease. Roots that are soft or unhealthy should be cut away. The roots of healthy plants are white or tan.
Repotting Plants
Repotting Plants (Source: Unsplash)

14. Pruning of Philodendron Serpens

Serpens vines consume more water as they get longer, and their maintenance requirements rise, due to which pest problems become common.

Thus, for such issues, pruning is a good option. In addition, spring and summer are the finest seasons for pruning. Hence, you can prune your green beauty Serpens once a year.

Cut the excessively long shoots with a clean, sharp knife or garden shears. Similarly, choose a stem with a lot of leaves.

If the Philodendron grows faster than expected, you can cut the stem to the point where another leaf is connected. The plant will look more put-together and have the necessary room to expand.

Tips for Pruning Philodendron Serpens

  • You should sanitize pruning tools before trimming philodendron plants as it helps to avoid the spread of diseases that might harm your Philodendron’s health.
  • Always pinch or trim growth right above a leaf node on a stem where a new leaf or stem emerges.
  • If you can’t see where the stem meets at the base, cut the stem at the soil level.

15. Toxicity of Philodendron Serpens

Philodendron Serpens plants poison both people and pets.

The Serpens have calcium oxalate crystals that are considered harmful to humans’ throats and esophagus.

According to ASPCA Philodendron are toxic to both cats and dogs.

Similarly, if pets eat the leaves, it can be quite dangerous. As a result, keep this plant away from pets and children.

Cat Near Plants
Fluff surrounded with plants (source: Pexels )

Because Philodendron Serpens is poisonous, it is recommended that you use gloves and wash your hands completely before touching the plant to prevent a trip to the Emergency Room.

Similarly, it is important to clean your gardening equipment after each usage to avoid hazardous elements coming in touch with other plants.

FAQs About Philodendron Serpens

1. Are Philodendron Serpens Air Purifier?

Philodendron Serpens, like the rest of the genus Philodendron, is known for its air-purifying abilities.

According to NASA, Philodendron is considered to be one of the Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement.

NASA is testing them for their ability to absorb larger levels of formaldehyde, a hazardous component prevalent in the air that is harmful to our health.

2. Why are the Leaves of my Serpens Turning Yellow?

You are overwatering a Philodendron Serpens if the leaves are yellow.

You should constantly know how much water you’re using when watering your plant.

It is important to water your Serpens only when the top quarter of the soil in the pot is dry.

Similarly, drain out the water from your saucer and avoid allowing your plant to sit in water.

3. Why are the Leaves of my Serpens Curling?

You may be over-fertilizing your Philodendron Serpens if the leaves curl.

Overfertilizing a plant creates a build-up of soluble salt, leading the plant’s roots to be burned by the salt.

To prevent such issues, you must replace the soil in your Philodendron.

In addition, reduce the amount of fertilizer you use on your plant, and make sure you flush the soil now and then.

Watch the video to find out more about Philodendron Serpens,

Conclusion

Philodendron Serpens are popular indoor plants because they are hardy and low-maintenance.

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

Similarly, their dark green, heart-shaped leaves provide a touch of elegance to any counter or home.

They prefer indirect light and are simple to grow for a new gardener.

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.

The pink princess philodendron is a pricey plant. But why? Read to know –What Makes Philodendron Pink Princess so Expensive? and then buy one for your home!

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