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Philodendron Xanadu vs. Selloum (Confusion Solved!)

Are you a big fan of greeny Philodendrons like me, but aren’t sure which one to choose?

Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered with these two luscious indoor Philodendron types; Philodendron Xanadu and Selloum.

But how do Philodendron Selloum and Xanadu stack up? Even though they are members of the same Araceae family, they have some distinctions.

The primary distinction is that Philodendron Selloum has spear-like leaf forms that climb proudly upwards like a tree. On the other hand, Philodendron Xanadu has flatter, less curved leaves. 

Aside from their tropical touch in your personal and office space, these Philodendrons are also low-maintenance plants.

You’ve come to the right spot if you’re trying to decide between a Philodendron Selloum and a Philodendron Xanadu.

Let’s analyze their differences and similarities and develop the perfect indoor Philodendron for your space!

Are Philodendron Xanadu and Selloum the Same?

Although both Philodendrons are members of the same broad genus of flowering plants in the Araceae family, the biggest distinction is seen in its foliage.

The leaves of the Xanadu are solid, and there is a crimson midrib visible. On the other hand, the Selloum’s base is smaller than the Xanadu’s, and the leaves extend outward from it.

Note: Philodendrons, such as the Selloum and Xanadu, are members of the Araceae family’s subgenus Meconostigma, one of three subgenera of the genus Philodendron. But in 2018, both species were placed in their own genus, Thaumatophyllum, which means “miracle leaf”

It isn’t easy to distinguish between a Philodendron Xanadu and Philodendron Selloum. Thus, to lessen your confusion, here’s a quick overview of the differences between the two plants.

Characteristics Philodendron Xanadu Philodendron Selloum
Scientific Name Thaumatophyllum / Philodendron Xanadu
Thaumatophyllum / Philodendron bipinnatifidum
Common Name Winterbourn
Horsehead Philodendron
Native BrazilSouth America
Hardiness ZoneZones 10Zones 8b-11
Height 5 feet (1.5 meter)
6-12 feet (1.8-3.6 meter)
Width 7 feet (2 meter)
10-15 feet (3-4.5 meter)
Soil Well-draining mix
pH level 5.6-7.5
Well-draining mix
pH level 5.0-6.0
Light Requirement Medium indirect light
Bright indirect light
Temperature 65-85°F (18-29°C)65-85°F (18-29°C)
Pests & Diseases Aphid and mealybugs
Bacterial blight
Spider mites
Bacterial blight

Are you curious about other kinds of Philodendron? Here is the complete guide to Philodendron Bipennifolium: Care and Growing Guide.

Philodendron Xanadu vs. Selloum (Confusion Solved!)

1. Origin and Favorable Zones

Both the Philodendrons are native to South America, specifically Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, and Paraguay, although grown in tropical, subtropical, and mild temperate areas as a landscaping plant.

However, their USDA zones differ from one another. The split-leaf Philodendron, Selloum, is hardy in zones 8b through 11.

On the other hand, the Philodendron Xanadu prefers the hardiness zone of 10.

2. Distinguishable Foliage

Indeed, the leaf is the most noticeable difference amongst Philodendrons, and the Selloum and Xanadu are no exception.

Even though both indoor plants have deeply lobed leaves that spread out almost like fingers and drop down, there are minor distinctions.

Selloum, for example, produces the majority of the giant leaves in the Philodendron family. The leaves of the tree Selloum can grow up to 5 feet (1.5 meters) long and are connected to the trunk by long, silky stems.

Philodendron Selloum leaves (top) and Philodendron Xanadu leaves (below).
Philodendron Selloum leaves (top) and Philodendron Xanadu leaves (below) (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Its silky smooth leaves distinguish the Xanadu with a lustrous sheen and symmetrical lobes up to 40 cm (16 inches) long and 30 cm (12 inches) wide.

Similarly, the leaves of Xanadu have a hard feel to them, and there is a crimson midrib visible, especially in brighter situations. Their leaves are also much smaller than the Selloum’s.

The leaves of the Philodendron Selloum grow in a spiral pattern, adding new ones to the stem as it develops.

Whereas the arrangement of Philodendron Xanadu is different, and it appears more random.

3. Height and Structure

The Selloum may grow to be a large plant with a height of 12 feet (3.6 meters) and a width of 15 feet (4.5 meters) in terms of size and structure.

Philodendron Selloum, sometimes known as Tree Philodendron, may grow as tall as a tree in nature.

On the other hand, Philodendron Xanadu is a smaller variety that grows in clumps up to 5 feet tall and 7 feet wide. It’s simple to prune the cluster if it becomes too large for your house.

4. Potting Mix

A rich, organic, slightly alkaline, well-draining mix is the finest potting soil for Philodendron Selloum. It will also thrive in soilless peat-perlite or peat-vermiculite mixtures.

A houseplant-specific potting soil mix, such as an orchid or succulent mix, is also an excellent option.

One of the favorite recipes of gardeners for their Selloum is 1/3 succulent soil mix, 1/3 coconut coir, and 1/3 perlite.

Proper Soil Mix is essential for Philodendrons. (Source: Unsplash)

On the other hand, Philodendron Xanadu prefers a fast-draining mix as it protects the plant’s roots from resting in moist soil and ensures that they get enough oxygen.

Similarly, inorganic aerating components that don’t break down, such as pumice and perlite, are a wonderful option to add to the soil.

One good formula is to combine one-third peat moss or coco coir, perlite, and compost. You may also add some bark or wood chips.

Likewise, the soil pH should range between 5.6-7.5 for Philodendron Xanadu whereas, Philodendron Selloum prefers soil pH between 5.0-6.0.

Similarities between Philodendron Xanadu and Selloum

They’re both from the same family (genus); thus, they have more similarities than differences. Let’s look at the few similarities between the two Philodendrons:

Similar Characteristics Philodendron Xanadu and Selloum
Growth Habits Fast
Humidity Relatively 40%
Water Needs Once every in week in summer
Once every 2 weeks in winter
FertilizerLiquid and powder form fertilizers
Toxicity Toxic to dogs and cats

1. No Flower

Both Philodendrons generate a lot of lush, green foliage but cannot produce blooms inside.

Philodendron Selloum and Xanadu, older (15-20 years), can produce what is commonly considered a flower.

However, according to many botanists, it is not a flower but a protective spathe surrounding a phallic-shaped spadix. The Xanadu has a crimson spathe.

This ‘flower’ will be open for two days, during which time a Cyclocephala beetle pollinates it.

2. Leaf Color

Both the Philodendron Selloum and the Philodendron Xanadu have green leaves that stay green all year.

Although, depending on the lighting circumstances, the color intensity may vary.

In addition, the marrow of certain Philodendron Xanadu leaves are crimson, but not all of them.

3. Growth Habit

Both the Selloum and the Xanadu like strong indirect sunshine since direct sunlight can burn their appealing leaves, altering their hues or causing damage to the plant.

When put too far away from a light source, both species become leggy.

Note: Every three weeks, rotate the plant to ensure that it develops evenly on both sides.

Philodendron Xanadu aerial roots
Philodendron Xanadu aerial roots. (Source: Flickr)

Similarly, if you come upon an aerial root attempting to get out of the container, Don’t worry!

Selloum and Xanadu use such roots in the wild to help them grow towards the light source and anchor themselves as they reach for it.

3. Water Needs

The Philodendrons are one of the easiest and low-maintenance plants as their native is rainforests.

When the soil is dry, water the Selloum to a depth of 1 – 2″. Give it a good rinsing until the water drips off the top, then drain the excess.

Similarly, Water your Xanadu plant until it drips through the bottom drip holes. Before watering again, let the top half of the soil dry off.

When watering both the plants, it is important to note that the pots have drainage holes so the water may drain.

In the summer, water them once a week and twice a month in the winter.

Root rot is a problem for these plants if their feet are always damp. The soil should be just moist throughout the winter months.

4. Light Requirement

In direct sunshine, neither the Philodendron Selloum nor the Xanadu will thrive. Their lovely foliage will be burned by direct sunlight.

Like many other plants, both of the Philodendrons like strong, indirect light.

To keep its compact form, Philodendron Xanadu requires more light than other philodendron plants. It thrives under a modest amount of indirect light.

However, the leaves become pale and bleached when exposed to too much bright light.

Indirect sunlight is the best for the Philodendrons.
Indirect sunlight is the best for the Philodendrons. (Source: Pixabay)

Similarly, the stems get extended as the plant reaches for the sun when exposed to too little light.

Likewise, indirect, bright sunshine is ideal for your  Philodendron Selloum. Tree Philodendrons (Selloum) only need a few hours of direct sunlight to thrive, and they may even thrive in the shadow.

It is important to note if the Philodendrons are in an area that is too dark, they will both grow towards the light. It will result in a ‘stemmy’ plant with leaves that resemble hands yearning for light.

Rotate your plant regularly to guarantee consistent growth on all sides, and dust the leaves often to allow the plant to photosynthesize easily.

5. Temperature and Humidity

Temperatures of 65°F to 85°F (18°C – 29°C) are ideal for Selloum and Xanadu growth.

Both Philodendrons thrive in humid surroundings with a relative humidity of 40%. Here are some of the ways to maintain warm temperature and humidity for your plants!

  • Avoid placing them in low-light areas with less or no sunlight.
  • Keep them away from places with a heater or air conditioner.
  • Move them inside under grow light during winter to prevent cold stress.
  • Alternatively, you can use a frost blanket or heating pads to preserve the soil warmth.
  • Setting up a greenhouse will work effectively in growing and nurturing the plant.
  • One of the simplest ways to provide at least a little humidity to the plant’s surroundings is to mist its leaves with filtered or distilled water.
  • Another good and simple way to improve humidity for plants and humans is to use a humidifier.
  • It would be best to place plants in rooms with greater humidity, such as the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room.
  • Place the plants in pebble-filled trays.

6. Fertilization Requirement

Both the Selloum and Xanadu Philodendrons prefer liquid and powder form fertilizers.

The Selloum has to be fed during the spring and summer, and they like the fertilizer to be diluted to half strength.

You must feed your Xanadu every two weeks during the spring and fall. During the winter, there is no need to fertilize your Philodendrons.

However, remember excess food will promote a build-up of salt in the soil, resulting in leaf burn on the plant.

Note: If the leaves are smaller and new development appears to be delayed, you may need to give the plant some extra nourishment.

Here are some of the fertilizer recommendations for your plants!

7. Pests Infestation

Pests aren’t a problem for either of the Philodendrons plants. However, you might see the presence of pests such as spider mites, aphids, and mealybugs.

  • Spider Mites are spherical, black, or red mites that feed on the sap on the underside of plants. Look for silky web under the leaves and leaf drooping and curling to detect an infestation.
  • Aphids are cricket-like insects with back legs that feed on the sap from plant leaves and stems, causing your plant to wilt and die as the infection grows.
  • Mealy Bugs eat the sap from the leaves, which causes them to droop and turn brown.
Small and Large Aphids.
Small and Large Aphids. (Source: Flickr)

Solutions and Preventive Measures

  • You should spray neem oil, insecticidal soaps, and horticultural oils on the plants to eradicate the pests.
  • Similarly, you should spray 1 cup rubbing alcohol, a few drops of dish detergent, and 1 quart (32oz) waters over the plant.
  • Avoid watering your philodendrons from above.
  • While watering, keep water away from the petioles and leaves.
  • Maintain a consistent feeding and watering routine.

Are you confused about how to use neem oil? Don’t worry; we got you! Click here on how to use neem oil on Indoor Plants.

8. Diseases Infestation

Bacterial blight can affect Philodendron Selloum and Xanadu, causing little dark green patches on their leaves.

Small water-soaked patches on the underside of leaves are the earliest signs of common bacterial blight.

The patches grow bigger and stick together, turning dark, dry, and brittle. These patches are distinguished by a faint yellow border that surrounds lesions.

Preventive Measures

  • Prune away the infected parts of your plant.
  • Similarly, creating spacing of your Philodendron for better air circulation is one of the best preventive measures for bacterial blight.
  • Avoid overhead watering your Philodendrons and working among the wet plants.
  • To avoid the infestation from spreading, proper cleanliness is essential.

Solution: Fixed copper or streptomycin is an efficient antibiotic for bacterial blights if sprayed weekly during moist weather while leaves and shoots grow.

9. Toxicity

The philodendron family is mild to moderately poisonous to cats and dogs.

According to ASPCA, Philodendrons are toxic to dogs, cats and horses.

Similarly, Philodendron leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals, which irritate the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth through the stomach and intestines if consumed.

Affected cats and dogs drool and show indications of stomach discomfort.

If your pet’s bloody drool lasts more than a day, take him to the veterinarian. Similarly, you can also immediately contact the APCC at (888) 426-4435 if your pet exhibits any symptoms.

FAQs About Philodendron Xanadu vs. Selloum

What’s Better about Philodendron Xanadu?

The Philodendron Xanadu looks better as it gets older.

Older Xanadu specimens grow a short trunk with aerial roots that stretch across the soil surface, making it ideal for shadier areas.

What are the benefits of the Selloum Philodendron plant?

According to NASA’s clean air research, some plants can operate as a natural air filter, removing organic air contaminants. Philodendron was proven to remove most of the toxic volatile organic compounds.

Salloum’s massive, gleaming leaves function as a vacuum, collecting contaminants from the air and raising oxygen levels in a space.


Both the Philodendron Selloum and the Xanadu are reasonably affordable and easy to maintain.

They don’t have many insect and disease problems, and you may solve most of them by changing water schedules or washing with warm soapy water.

Similarly, while their requirements differ significantly, especially when used as indoor plants, it is simple to keep them happy with a bit of consideration about the ideal location and lighting conditions!

We know the process of cutting philodendrons can be tricky, but don’t worry. Check out our blog post on “Philodendron Selloum Propagation” for tips and tricks that will make it easier than ever!

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