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Philodendron Subhastatum: A Rare and Fascinating Plant

Native to the tropical rainforest of the Caribbean, Philodendron Subhastatum is a plant that can boost the aesthetic charms of your house.

Philodendron Subhastatum is a shade-loving plant that enjoys moderate indirect sunlight, watering every 9-10 days, 60%-80% humidity, rich and well-draining soil, monthly fertilization, repotting every 2-3 years, occasional pruning, and a warm temperature of 59-86°F to thrive. 

Want to know more? Read on to find out the best tips to grow and care for Philodendron Subhastatum and where to buy one.

Overview of Philodendron Subhastatum

Known for its bi-color foliage in green and red color, Subhastatum requires a conducive tropical setting to thrive.

Here is a table describing the brief information about the plant.

Botanical Name Philodendron Subhastatum
Family Araceae
Origin Colombia to Equator
Plant TypeTropical Climber
USDA Zone Zone 9b-11
Growth Size 6-feet tall and 2-feet wide
Grown For Bicolor Leaves
Foliage Glossy, green leaves with red underside
Blooming SeasonSpring
BloomTypical Aroid bloom consisting of spadix and spathe
Toxicity Toxic to both humans and pets

Where to Buy Philodendron Subhastaum?

Philodendron Subhastatum is unlike other philodendrons that are easily found in local nurseries.

Here is a list of a few sellers that specialize in Philodendron Subhastatum.

Place to BuyDelivery Time
Hirt's Garden3-5 business days
Equagenera2-3 days
Aroid Market4-7 days
Plant Hawaii4-6 days

Philodendron Subhastaum—Ultimate Grow & Care Guide

Philodendron Subhastatum has no limits and can be grown at room temperature or outdoors in USDA zone 9b-11.

Provide appropriate yet straightforward care to witness the bushier, healthy foliage bloom around the year.

Here is a complete guide to caring for Philodendron Subhastatum.

Care quide for Philodendron Subhastatum
Care guide summary for Philodendron Subhastatum

1. Sunlight & Temperature

Philodendron Subhastatum prefers to stay in a lit location that receives at least 4-6 hours of indirect sunlight daily and a temperature of 59-86°F.

Keep them in morning sunlight for 1-2 hours daily, 4-6 feet away from the window, and make sure they do not scorch in excessive sunlight.

In low-light and low-temperature conditions, the plant will lose its signature colors and wilt. Conversely, in extreme light and heat, the leaf tips and margins will scorch off.

Protect this Philodendron in winter using frost blankets and heat pads, and maintain the light using artificial grow lights.

Bring your plants indoors in cold weather and keep them away from the direct path of vents and radiators.

If you cannot move your plant indoors, ensure you shade them using proper drapes, or they will end up scorching.

2. Water & Humidity

An underwatered Subhastatum shows symptoms like crispy wilted leaves and slow growth. Similarly, overwatering will invite root rot.

You must provide your plant with water every 9 days during summer and every 15-20 days in winter.

On top of that, you must maintain the humidity to around 60% – 80% for the proper growth of the plant.

Humidity stress will render yellow and dry leaves. So, we advise you to use a humidifier or wet pebble tray to maintain humidity.

For watering, check the top two inches of the soil and water only if it is dry.

You can also use a mister to mist the plant when the humidity is low, and the plant needs water.


3. Soil & Fertilizer

Philodendron Subhastatum prefers a well-drained, organically rich soil mix that provides enough hydration and nutrient absorption quality.

Provide a well-drained, moist, rich organic mix containing loamy soil, sand, perlite, peat moss, and other materials like coco peat, chips, charcoal, etc.

Remember to fertilize the plant once a month using balanced fertilizer and let them be during colder months.

In the case of excess fertilizer, the plant’s root will be burned down, and you will witness salt residue on top of the soil.

As a non-heavy feeder, Subhastatum does not need much fertilizing, but sometimes it may show signs like lanky growth, smaller leaves, etc, due to lack of fertilizer.

If you ever face situations where you have overfertilized your plant, wash off the excess salt accumulation and leech the soil.

To prepare a potting mix at home, mix the ingredients in the ratio below.

  • Two parts of peat moss
  • Three parts loamy garden soil
  • Half part of the perlite
  • Add some lime, dolomite lime, or baking soda to raise the pH level slightly

4. Potting & Repotting

Philodendron Subhastatum requires repotting once in 2-3 years when their roots have reached their full size in a given container.

Spring is the best season because it is just before the plant’s growth spike. You should repot your plant before the first leaves appear in the spring.

If the roots pop out of drainage holes, the soil looks compact, and the growth slows down, you need to consider repotting the plant.

You should also consider repotting the plant if they are attacked with fungal diseases like root rot, fusarium wilt, Rhizoctonia rot, etc.

Make sure you trim off the infected roots and clean off the excess soil from the roots before repotting the plant.

Use a glazed ceramic pot, plastic pot or hanging basket at least one inch bigger than the previous pot for repotting.

5. Minimal Pruning

Philodendron Subhastatum does not require much pruning because it naturally sheds old and decayed leaves.

If you need to groom the plant, use a sterilized pruning shear to trim yellowed, decayed, and brown leaves throughout the growing season.

It will make your plant look bushier, neat and healthier year-round. However, avoid pruning the plant in winter when the leaves are resting.

Sometimes pests like mealy bugs, scales, aphids and scales attack the plant. In such scenarios, it is beneficial to prune off the affected parts.

While you prune, apply neem oil and other horticultural oil on the leaves to prevent further infestation.

Do not go wild with the pruning and avoid pruning more than 30% of the plant, or your Philodendron might get stressed.

Growth Habit and Foliage

One of a few climbing Philodendron species, providing a climbing pole or trellis will help keep them growing strong.

Subhastatum is a vine Philodendron that grows 6 feet in length and 2 feet in width. However, the length of the plant would depend on the container size and whether support is provided.

Because of their aerial roots, they require a different kind of trellis than most climbing plants.

Use rough and preferably damp support instead of stakes to help the plant branches attach themselves.

Talking about its signature leaves, the plant initially gives out green, glossy foliage, which changes as it grows old.

Underside of Philodendron Subhastatum leaves
The underside of Philodendron Subhastatum is reddish-green in color.

A young plant has primarily red leaves from underneath, becoming more prominent as it matures. The bi-foliage leaf with dual colors of red and green can grow up to 2 feet in length.

Although this plant rarely flowers, the blooms are inflorescence with a spadix and a spathe surrounding the spadix.

Toxicity of Philodendron Subhastatum

Philodendron Subhastatum is toxic to humans and pets; hence you should keep it away from their reach.

It contains active ingredients like calcium oxalate that may create health problems when ingested, but the concentration and toxicity vary from intake to plant portion and growing season.

Consuming Subhastatum can cause burning and swelling lips, tongue, or throat in humans, and burning sensation, diarrhea, and vomiting in dogs and cats.

It helps to be smart enough and prevent your pets and kids from consuming any part of this toxic plant.

In the case of small children, bring the attention of a pediatrician or physician immediately or call Poison Control at US (800) 222-1222.

Similarly, contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA at US (888) 426-4435 for pets.

Propagation Methods for Philodendron Subhastatum

Philodendron Subhastatum is less challenging to propagate than other houseplants.

Attempt reproducing Philodendron Subhastatum in early spring and summer when the plant is at its most active stage.

The most common and successful propagation techniques involve stem and tip-cutting methods.

1. Stem Cutting Method

Here is how you can obtain stem cuttings from the plant.

Philodendron Subhastatum cutting
Propagation by stem cutting is the best option for Philodendrons.
  • Identify a healthy-looking stem with multiple leaves and choose one at least 2-3 inches in length.
  • Use a sharp pruning shear or knife to cut just below a node.
  • Remove leaves from the stem, except for a pair, and set it aside for a while.

2. Tip Cutting Method

The tip-cutting method is another way to obtain healthy cuttings from the plant for propagation.

It involves taking the apex (plant tip) and a small portion of the main stem.

  • Choose a similar stem section with a plant tip and cut just below the node.
  • Ensure that it has multiple leaves on it.

Choose a Propagating Medium

You can propagate stem and tip cuttings in either water or soil.

a. Water Propagation

Follow the steps below for water-propagating Philodendron Subhastatum.

  • Get a small jar or transparent glass and fill it with clean, distilled water.
  • Place the stem or tip cutting with one or two bare nodes submerged in the water (ensure the leaves do not touch the medium).
  • Place the cutting in a warm location with indirect sunlight.
  • Replace the water every 5-6 days until 2-3 weeks.
  • Once the 1-2 inches long feeder roots appear after a month or two, transplant them to a potting mix in an appropriately sized container.

b. Soil Propagation

Propagating the cutting directly in the potting mix will avoid rooting it in water.

  • Prepare a suitable soil mixture into a small pot (2-3″ extensive).
  • Apply some rooting hormone to the fresh cutting’s end to quicken the rooting process.
  • Insert the cutting into the potting mix and cover the pot with a clear plastic bag for added moisture (Air the bag once in a while to prevent microbial growth).
  • Place it in a warm location with indirect sunlight.
  • Water it every even day to keep the soil moist and hydrated.
  • After a month or two, check for new feeder roots by gently tugging the plant where it should resist.
  • Grow it in the same pot or transplant it to a large pot with the same potting mix.

Common Problems in Philodendron Subhastatum

1. Algal Leaf Spot

Algal leaf spot is a foliar disease common in Philodendron Subhastatum grown in highly humid conditions.

A parasitic alga called Cephaleuros Virscens is primarily attracted to moist leaves and stems. You would know it by a grayish-green scar on the leaf surface, usually 1/2″ in diameter.

Without immediate intervention, the parasitic alga will transfer to other leaves, causing tissue damage and drooping.

As a solution, always use the good cultured technique for healthy plant growth to ward off the disease.

Maintain the humidity level by installing an electric humidifier and improving air circulation.

Some slight infestations can also be treated by chemical fungicides containing copper.

2. Magnesium Deficiency

Philodendron Subhastatum often runs the risk of magnesium deficiency, causing the plant’s dwindling chlorophyll production.

Magnesium, as a micronutrient, plays an essential role in maintaining plant vigor and the color of the leaves.

Without it, the plant will suffer from yellowing foliage and stunted growth.

As it cannot naturally obtain magnesium from the soil, you should use the correct fertilizer.

Magnesium deficiency in plants
A lack of Magnesium can render serious problems in your plants.

When choosing a fertilizer, pick one with enough macro and micronutrients, including magnesium.

Otherwise, provide rich organic compost such as fish or bone meals annually in the growing season.

FAQs About Philodendron Subhastatum

Is Philodendron Subhastatum rare?

Yes, Philodendron Subhastatum is a rare plant you cannot commonly find in gardens near you.

A few online sites sell this plant, but you may need to search for it hard enough.

Or, take a look at the above section to learn about the sites that sell this plant.

How do you care for a Philodendron Subhastatum?

Caring for the Philodendron Subhastatum is not a daunting task if you are up for it.

Ensure you take care of its watering, sunlight, humidity, and temperature needs.

Wrapping Up…

Philodendron Subhastatum is a perennial plant that will live for many years.

Keep your rare and beautiful Philo thriving around the year by strictly following the care guide given above.

It is a low-maintenance plant that does well with minimal upkeep. However, keep an eye out for plants suffering from pests and diseases to administer immediate treatment.

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