Philodendron Spiritus Sancti – Ultimate Care & Growing Guide

Philodendron Spiritus Sancti
Philodendron Spiritus Sancti (source: philomania.ca)

Just take a look at Philodendron spiritus sancti. If someone asks, “Is there a plant with looks so fierce that can scare the kids away?” tell them there is.

Your plant’s larger leaves are one feature you can not ignore. Oh my god! Trust me when I say this: They ARE big.

These plants can be a great addition to your decoration if you maintain their ferocity by providing them with proper care.

Generally, Philodendron spiritus sancti needs two to six hours of bright, direct but not harsh light, 66°F to 76°F temperature, and well-draining, airy, and porous soil. In addition, apply a small amount of balanced feed fertilizer with water and repot it every 2-3 years for optimum growth.

Philodendron Spiritus Sancti
Philodendron Spiritus Sancti (source: philomania.ca)

The number and size of leaves need some effort and care from your side to flourish.

Do not worry; we have your problems sorted out for you. Read on if you plan to make your plant look delighted and full of life.

Overview of Philodendron Spiritus Sancti

The general overview and optimum requirements of Philodendron spiritus sancti are mentioned in the table below.

Scientific NamePhilodendron spiritus sancti
Common NameSanta Leopoldina
FamilyAraceae
OriginBrazil
USDAHardiness zones 10-12
NatureEvergreen
Growth ZoneTropical
Growth HabitHemiepiphytic
Grown ForLong and narrow leaves
Blooming PeriodSpring to Summer
FlowerSymmetrical white flowers
FoliagePendant dark green leaves, up to 29" inches.
It can go upto 20 meters tall and 4.5-4.9 inches wide.
AvailabilityVery rare
Nearing the brink of extinction.
ToxicityToxic to humans and animals

Philodendron Spiritus Sancti- Ultimate Care & Growing Guide

This plant is so rare that you’d have to wait for a long time to get your hands on this.

ParametersRequirements
Sunlight2-6 hours or more of sunlight.
You can keep them in direct warm morning sunlight.
WaterCheck and water once a week if the top 60% of the soil is dry.
Water once in 10-12 days in winter.
Temperature66-76°F (19-24°C) is perfect
Humidity70% relative humidity will be perfect
Soil TypeWell-draining, airy, porous soil
FertilizationUse slow-release, liquid fertilizer, little balanced feed.
RepottingAs soon as your plant becomes root-bound
PruningRegularly prune the leaves to balance the plant.
Pot SizeContainer size when in small form
2 inch larger pot every repotting
PropagationStem Cutting and Air Layering
Common PestsSpider mites, Mealybugs
Common DiseasesBacterial Leaf Spot and Root Rot

If you’re lucky, you can obtain this plant through some online bidding websites like nsetropicals.com.

If you have it, do not be negligent. A tropical and rare plant, like Philodendron spiritus sancti, needs extra care. Follow our tips to keep it smiling.

1. Bright Light and Appropriate Location

Tropical plants like Philodendron spiritus sancti have a soft spot for sunlight. They love sunlight, but it would be best to make sure that the light is not scorching.

In their natural habitat, they grow under the canopy of trees. The leaves lunge to find adequate sunlight.

Provide your Philodendron spiritus sancti with two to six hours of bright indirect sunlight.

You can keep your plant in direct warm morning sunlight without damaging the foliage. Place the plant in an area where the sunlight can reflect and provide the light needs.

Sunlight for Indoor Plants
Sunlight for Indoor Plants (Source: UGA Extension)

Effects of Inadequate/Excessive Sunlight on Plants

  • The stems turn leggy, and the leaves stop growing.
  • The signature green color of the leaves starts to fade, leaving them pale and yellow. The fading happens because the Chlorophyll won’t function properly in low light.
  • The plant will have stunted growth and will look unhealthy.
  • If you let the plant sit on too much light for a more extended period, the plant will show burned leaves and foliage and may droop.

Tips to Provide Adequate Sunlight to the Plant

  • Ensure the light is provided above the plant as it directs its leaves towards the light source.
  • Rotate the plant occasionally to avoid making your plant look strange with only one side healthy.
  • Place the plant somewhere where the light gets reflected easily to fulfill its light needs.
  • You can put your plant outside to ensure it gets the light it needs during overcast or winter days. But remember and bring it inside during nighttime.
  • Avoid moving the plant from time to time. It takes time to adjust to the new light environment.
  • Resort to artificial grow lights when light is scarce.
Grow lights as a form of supplemental lighting for indoor plants
Grow light for indoor plants (Source: Amazon)

2. Sufficient Watering

Like any other plant in the household vicinity, these Philodendrons need a certain amount of water. Not less, not more, just specific.

It would be best to ensure that the top 60% of the soil is dry before watering Philodendron spiritus sancti. Water the plant once a week.

Cut in your watering schedule during winter. Water once every 10-12 days to let your plant dry out well.

The natural habitat of these plants is in the tropical forests, where they live under the shade of big trees and stand atop moist soil.

So to emulate the conditions, keep the soil moist but not too soggy. Remember, no non-aquatic plants like having wet feet and standing atop damp soil for too long.

Therefore, you cannot keep them too dry or too wet for long!

Watering a plant (source: Unsplash)

Save an Underwatered Philodendron Spiritus Sancti

Underwatered Philodendrons exhibit dry and droopy leaves with other signs like discoloration of foliage and browning of leaves.

Let’s revive your underwatered plant.

  • Dry and underwatered plants do well if they are introduced to water as soon as possible.
  • Get a container ready and fill it with water. Now drench your plant into the container.
  • Remove the plant once you see the air bubbles have stopped forming in the water.
  • Repeat the process two to three times to revive your plant, but let the soil dry out between the drenchings.
  • If your plant has grown out to be quite extensive, a drenching process might not be possible. In such cases, water the plant immediately until the water drains out.
Dry and Cracked Soil
Dry and Cracked Soil due to Underwatering

Save an Overwatered Philodendron Spiritus Sancti

Overwatering is the enemy of most indoor plants. It invites a ton of problems, the foremost being root rot.

If your plant is overwatered, it shows wilted leaves, and we can see salt particles in the soil.

Did you overwater your plant? Fret not. Revive your plant by doing the following things.

  • Let the soil dry completely for a few days. If you see some revival signs, let them revive naturally.
  • Some cases can be severe. Gently take the plant out of the soil and inspect the roots thoroughly. If the roots have gone soggy and limp and turned brown, they have inhabited root rot.
  • Remove the soggy parts of the root and let the root dry in the air.
  • Use some antifungal powder on the roots to prevent the spreading of root rot.
  • Prepare a potting mix and ensure it has a good drainage system.
  • Repot the plant to the new potting mix and let it heal.

Tips to Water Properly

  • Water your plant only when a few inches on the top of the soil are dry.
  • Water the plant until it starts just sipping out through the drainage hole.
  • Make sure the water is at room temperature. Excessively hot or cold water may end up damaging the plant.
  • Ensure that the water you use to plant doesn’t have excessive salt content especially tap water. Salt accumulates at the base of the plant and damages the root.
  • Don’t let water accumulate at the saucer. Plants like Philodendron Spiritus Sancti do not like standing on the water for a longer period.
  • Let the water dry out entirely between the watering schedules.

Has your Philodendron gone droopy and shrank down? This will help, How to Make a Philodendron Bushy?

3. Constant Warm Temperature

Being a tropical plant, Philodendron spiritus sancti loves warm temperatures.

Philodendron spiritus sancti prefers temperatures between 66°F to 76°F (19°C to 24°C) as this range comes closest to its natural habitat’s temperature.

Do not let the temperature around this plant make big jumps as this plant despises huge fluctuations.

Maintaining constant temperatures is a key to keeping this plant healthy.

Lower temperatures hamper the growth of this plant by ceasing the cell activities and even bursting the cells.

Similarly, hot temperatures burn the foliage and promote excessive transpiration. Trust me; this isn’t good.

Soil temperature range
Appropriate soil temperature range (Source: University of British Columbia)

Tips for Maintaining Adequate Temperature

  • Avoid keeping your plant in extreme sunny zones.
  • Use heating pads and frost blankets to protect your plant from cold during winter.
  • Cover the soil under the plant using mulch like straw, dried grass, etc. This will create insulation and prevent the heat from escaping.
  • Make the provisions for a greenhouse for your plant to keep it warm.
  • Do not place your plant in drafty areas like ac vents, heating and cooling vents, etc.
  • During winter, don’t place your plant on windows as the temperature rises quickly.
  • Even if the temperature is high, making your humidity high will balance out.

4. High Humidity

A plant’s growth depends on its environment. Philodendron spiritus sancti loves the high humid climate.

Providing the Philodendron spiritus sancti with 70% relative humidity works well, but the plant will also do well in average household humidity.

If the humidity is too low, the plants take too long to grow to the size they should, and the plant could droop, wilt and curl.

Humidity directly affects the transpiration rate in plants. As the transpiration increases, the absorption of water by the root increases.

Thus, the plant droops and grows slow when the requirement is not fulfilled.

Effect of humidity on leaves
Effect of humidity on leaves (Source: Wikimedia)

Tips for Maintaining High Humidity

  • Don’t place your plant in areas that are too hot or near draughts.
  • Make it your habit to mist your plant with spray bottles occasionally. Ensure the water is filtered and doesn’t contain too much salt and chemicals.
  • Place the plant near or atop a pebble tray.
  • Consider putting it under a terrarium when the plant is still in its juvenile form.
  • One of the best but quite expensive methods is using a humidifier for your plants.
humid terrarium
Humid Terrarium for Houseplants (Source: Amazon)

5. Well Draining Soil

Soil is one of the most critical factors that affect the plant’s growth and health.

Philodendron spiritus sancti prefers well-draining, airy, and porous soil with a  pH range between 5.6 to 7.5.

Like the majority of Philodendrons, this plant requires an airy soil mix. Philodendron spirits sancti grows best as an epiphyte, although the soil must drain quickly.

You can prepare your potting mix by mixing the following.

  • Three parts pumice
  • Six parts orchid bark
  • Three parts peat moss
  • One part silica sand
  • One part charcoal

Make sure the mix your prepare is highly porous and well-draining.

Alternatively, you can use only sphagnum peat moss or sphagnum mixed with coco chips and perlite.

Perlite
Perlite (Source: Amazon)

The potting mix needs to drain the excess water quickly and hold some moisture for the plants.

Here are some commercial potting mixes found for Philodendron on Amazon.

6. Proper Fertilization

Let me be completely honest with you. Philodendron spiritus sancti does not require the aid of fertilizers to grow to its full potential.

It won’t say no to some extra nutrition if you provide it.

You can feed the Philodendron spirits sancti with a small amount of balanced feed by mixing it with water and watering the plant.

A slow-release liquid fertilizer with the NPK ratio of 3-1-2 works best for plants like Philodendron spiritus sancti.

You should fertilize your plant once a month during spring and summer and can cut back the fertilizing during winter as the plant enters its dormant phase.

But be careful; lack of fertilizer will make the plant’s stem weak, make them lose color, and decrease the size of leaves.

On the other hand, overfertilizing will show signs like defoliation, slow growth, yellowing, browning of leaves, wilting of plants, etc.

You can use organic fertilizers like compost, as they are made with natural waste and are good fertilizers for your plant.

Fertilized Basil Vs Unfertilized Basil
Fertilized Vs. Unfertilized Plant (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Philodendron spiritus sancti grows with whatever humidity, temperature, or water they get in their natural habitat. For nutrients, it relies on the fallen leaves around it.

You would want to fertilize your plant depending on the water you use. If you use distilled water to water your plants, you should use fertilizers. Distilled water adds only hydration but no minerals to the water.

List of fertilizers for Philodendron spiritus sancti on Amazon.

Philodendron Fertilizer
Philodendron Fertilizer (Source: Amazon)

7. Potting and Repotting

Whenever you decide to buy an indoor plant, a good pot with better drainage must be on the list of things you need.

For Philodendron spiritus sancti, you can use ceramic, terracotta, or clay pots as they allow good aeration and prevent your plant from infections due to overwatering.

You can choose a pot that is 1-2 inches bigger in diameter than your plant’s root ball.

Also, it would help if you chose a transparent pot. It would help you monitor the situation of roots without taking out the plant from the pot.

You can also hang your plant if you want the sword-like leaves of your plant to look magnificent.

Repotting Philodendron Spiritus Sancti

You should repot your plant every 2-3 years, but that may sometimes depend on how fast your plant grows.

The best time to repot this plant is late spring or early summer.

Signs that Indicate Repotting Need
  • When the plant’s root sticks out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot, it is time to repot it.
  • Check whether your plant is root bound or not. If affirmative, you should repot it.
  • Sometimes the plant can get root rot due to overwatering; check for the signs and repot it.
Repotting A Plant
Repotting a plant (Source: Unsplash)
Steps for Repotting Philodendron Spiritus Sancti
  • Prepare a fresh pot at least one inch larger than the previous container with a good drainage system.
  • Make a potting mix with the materials mentioned above and get ready to repot your plant.
  • Gently remove the plant from the current pot by gripping it at the base of the stem.
  • Pour the container with the prepared potting mix. Place the plant on the pot gently.
  • Fill the sides of the pot with potting mix and leave some space for fertilizing the plant in the future.
  • Water the plant thoroughly and resume your care routine.

Do you want to know about it in detail? Read our article “How to Repot a Philodendron?

8. Regular Pruning

Pruning a Philodendron can be a daunting task and dangerous for the plant if not done properly.

It would be best to regularly prune it to maintain its appearance and uniform growth pattern throughout the year.

Pruning in this plant is done to retain its majestic look and keep the plant under control indoors. This plant can grow up to 12 feet. That height could be disastrous inside your house.

The best time to prune your lovely plant is during spring or fall.

Prune your Xerophica with clean tools (Source: Pexels)Prune your Xerophica with clean tools (Source: Pexels)
Prune your plant with clean tools (Source: Pexels)

Tips to Prune Philodendron Spiritus Sancti

  • As the plant is heavy, prune the top part of the plant to reduce its weight and size.
  • Wait for the yellow or brown leaves to fall on their own. Prune them if they are disturbing the plant’s aesthetics.
  • Use a sterilized clipper and gloves to avoid spreading the infecting the plants and yourself.
  • Cut the oldest stem that may turn yellow. Grab the stem, pull it away from the plant, and cut it at the base.
  • If only one leaf is yellow, cut it precisely above the joint where it meets the plant’s central crown.
  • If you have your plant in a hanging basket, you can trim the ends of the vines to make them look neat.
  • Water the plant immediately after pruning.

Pro Tip: Leave atleast 2-3 leaves on your young philodendron plant to let it absorb nutrients from the sun.

9. Growth Habits

Philodendron spiritus sancti has very narrow and long pendant-shaped leaves. The leaves can get up to 30 inches long when the plant matures. They look like a sword and have a dull green color.

The leaves are connected to the stem by petioles that range from 12.75-23.60 inches in length.

Leaf of Philodendron Spiritus Sancti
Leaf of Philodendron Spiritus Sancti (source: philomania.ca)

The plant can grow up to 20 meters tall and 4.5-4.9 inches wide in indoor spaces. Although in its natural habitats, the plant can go even larger.

You have to be patient with this plant as it is a slow grower.

Flowering of Philodendron Spiritus Sancti

According to an article by herebutnot.com, up until 2019, the Philodendron spiritus sancti was not successfully pollinated.

But that changed in 2020 when a person produced philodendron spiritus seeds by pollination.

These plants are most likely to reproduce in the middle of the night.

At this point, you should rub the pollen on the female part of the spadix to have any chance of pollination.

The flower produces by this plant is strikingly symmetrical and white.

Toxicity of Philodendron Spiritus Sancti

Philodendron has their share of toxicity because of calcium oxalate crystals.

Philodendron spirits sancti is toxic to both humans and pets. It is safe to keep this plant away from yourself, your kids, and your pets.

Cat near Indoor Plant
Cat near Indoor Plant (Source: Pixabay)

In humans, it can show symptoms like irritation in the mouth skin, difficulty breathing and swallowing, vomiting, swollen tongue, etc.

Similarly, it can cause vomiting, drooling, pawing at their mouth, etc., to pets.

Seek medical help if you see any symptoms like above. Consult your local vet or call APCC at (888) 426-4435.

Propagation Methods for Philodendron Spiritus Sancti

Propagating Philodendron spiritus sancti can be a daunting task. But if you are a plant parent, you must be up for any challenges that come your way.

We can propagate this plant by either stem cutting or air layering.

Stem cutting is the easiest and most preferred method of propagating Philodendron spiritus sancti.

If you are up for this challenge of propagating this sturdy plant, hop in to embark on this journey.

Propagating by Stem Cutting

Stem cutting is the easiest propagation method for Philodendron spiritus sancti. The best time to propagate this plant is during early spring, when the days get longer.

You should take the cuttings early in the morning during the plant’s non-bloom period as the plant is turgid and fresh. Keep the cutting moist and cool before propagating.

To propagate via stem cuttings, follow the steps below.

Soil Medium

  • Water the plant thoroughly a few days before starting the propagation.
  • Get sterilized scissors and gardening gloves ready for the propagation process.
  • Take a healthy stem from the plant and cut 3 inches below the joint in leaf steam. Cut at an angle of 45° and remove leaves near the cut.
  • Keep 3-4 leaves on the top of the cutting and remove other leaves.
  • Keep the cutting in contact with air for a week so that callus forms on the cut part. Calluses are the soft tissues that promote healing. Root develops faster if callus is formed.
  • Prepare a fresh, well-draining, and porous potting mix.
  • Plant the cut stem 2 inches deep into the soil to have abundant space for the root to grow.
  • Water the plant thoroughly and place it in optimal sunlight conditions.
  • You’ll see the roots in a month.

Water Medium

  • Place the stem cutting in a clear glass jar. Pour water at room temperature into the jar.
  • The water must stay clean. Change the water every 3-5 days.
  • You’ll be able to see the stem form roots in about 2 to 3 weeks.
  • Wait for the root to get a bit longer and then transfer the cutting to the soil.
Propagating through stem cutting (Source: Pexels)

Propagation by Air Layering

  • Select a healthy stem of 3-4 inches with some aerial roots.
  • Take a sterilized knife and make a 2 inches deep and 2 inches long wound.
  • Keep the wound wide by inserting a toothpick from the top and bottom of the wound.
  • Cover the injury with a handful of wet sphagnum moss.
  • Now, wrap the stem and the sphagnum moss with transparent plastic. Make sure to poke two holes to allow breathing.
  • Do not forget to spray the moss ball will water every second day. Keeping the plant moist encourages root growth.
  • You’ll start seeing the root growth in 3-4 weeks. Cut the stem two weeks after you see the roots.
  • Cut the stem a few inches below the wound and remove the wrap. Be very careful, or you could damage the roots.
  • Now plant that stem in a fresh, well-draining potting mix and cover the roots.
  • Water the plant thoroughly and put the plant in a location with bright and indirect sunlight.
Air_layering
Air layering (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Common Problems in Philodendron Spiritus Sancti

1. Common Pests

Philodendron spiritus sancti is usually a pest-resistant plant. But that doesn’t mean it is pest-free.

Certain conditions that are not suitable for the plant invite these minor bugs and provide them with favorable conditions to feast on the plant.

Some of the common pests that affect this plant are Spider mites and Mealybugs.

PestsSymptomsSolutions
Spider MitesSilky Webs can be seen around the plant.Spray the plant with soap insecticide or miticide.
Using neem oil would be helpful too.
MealybugsCottony white wax can be seen on the plant.
We can find honeydew on the plant too.
Rub the plant with a cotton ball dipped in 70% rubbing alcohol.
Spray the plant with neem oil.
Spraving Neem Oil On foliage of a Plant
Neem Oil on Foliage (Source: Pixabay)

Preventive Measures

  • Wipe the leaves with water occasionally. This will keep the plant clean and discourage pests occurrence.
  • Provide the plant with suitable growing conditions to keep them healthy.
  • Use sterilized and infection-free tools, potting mixes, and propagation materials.
  • Check new plants for pests before adding them to your collection. Pests spread quickly from one plant to another.
  • Avoid watering the plant from above and always limit the amount of water your plant gets to avoid overwatering.
  • Don’t mist your plant at night, as it takes too long for the moisture to evaporate during the night.

2. Common Diseases

Philodendron spiritus sancti is strong against diseases too. It has the strength to fight back most of the diseases and infections.

We, as plant-parents, should fulfill the condition requirements of our plants to keep them free from diseases.

Overwatering is the main enemy of plants and can invite root rot, which is very lethal.

The main diseases that affect this plant are Bacterial Leaf Spot (Erwinia spp) and Root Rot (Rhizoctonia sp).

NameSymptoms
Bacterial Leaf SpotSpots on the margin of leaves that turn rusty brown and yellow rings.
Root RotStunted growth, yellow leaves and unfurling leaves.

Solutions

  • Stop watering the plant and let the soil dry out completely for about a week.
  • If the root rot is not severe, prune the affected parts and repot the plant in a fresh potting mix.
  • In case of bacterial leaf blight, remove the affected leaves.
  • Some diseases can be treated using chemical fungicides like copper fungicide or benomyl.
  • If you discover diseases in your plants, it’s best to keep them away from other plants to avoid the spread of infection.

It is hard to revive the plant if the disease has spread all over the plant. In such a case, it’s time to say goodbye to the plant.

Preventive Measures

  • To prevent diseases, the main thing to keep in mind is not to overwater the plant and keep the soil moist only.
  • Make sure the soil is porous and the pot has enough drainage holes.
  • Use well-aerated and fresh potting mix for the plant during replanting or repotting.
  • Do not water the plant from the top, and do not mist the plant too much.
  • Keep some distance between the plants and let the plants breathe.

3. Yellow Leaves

Yellow leaves in Philodendron spiritus sancti can be caused by various reasons. Some of them are Overwatering, Underwatering the plant, and inadequate sunlight.

Yellow leaves tint the natural and beautiful look of the plant. They also hinder new growth and make the plant likely to degenerate.

You can take sterilized pair of pruning shears and prune the yellow part off without causing any damage to the original plant itself.

Yellow and Droopy Leaves
Yellow and Droopy Leaves (Source: Pixabay)

Other problems like brown leaf tips and drooping leaves are casued by too much light and overwatering the plant respectively. Read in detail, “Brown Spots on Philodendron Leaves (Causes & Solutions)

Why is Philodendron Spiritus Sancti so expensive?

Rare things are expensive. That is the case with this plant. Philodendron spiritus sancti is a rare Araceae with high demand among indoor plant enthusiasts.

For comparison, a mature philodendron spiritus sancti is currently listed at $40,516 on the consumer marketplace Carousell.

Although you can get the cuttings at a much more affordable price, the established parts cost a fortune.

Also watch,

Conclusion

Philodendron spiritus sancti is a beautiful plant to have in your house.

Its rarity and cost may baffle you, but trust me, this part is worth every penny you spend. And, the cost will make you take extra care of it.

Happy planting!

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