Split Leaf Philodendron Plant Care

The Split Leaf Philodendron, also known as the Philodendron Bipinnatifidum is an evergreen shrub and is a favorite type of popular houseplant. It is highly attractive and looks great with any kind of decor. It is glossy with green leaves and can grow to enormous sizes.

It also has deep splits and is easy to care for. With proper care, it can grow fast and healthy and will be the perfect addition to any home.

We have written this article to tell you a little about the plant and what you should do to take care of it properly, as well as things to keep an eye out for before making the purchase. Let’s dive right in.

What is the Split Leaf Philodendron?

As we just mentioned, the Split Leaf Philodendron is a common houseplant and can grow up to 6 feet tall and 6 feet wide. It is also known as the Philodendron Bipinnatifidum, Arum Pinnatifidum, and Philodendron Pygmaeum. It has dense foliage and can be grown indoors so looks great inside any home.

It’s a houseplant that is simple to look after and care for and this means whether you have never owned a tropical plant in your life before, or you are a plant growing expert, purchasing and taking care of your own Split Leaf Philodendron can be a possibility for everyone. 

The plant is native to Central America and it was once used for indigenous tribes who used the berries of the plant for food, as well as for medicinal purposes.

The roots were also used as crafting materials and the plant can still be located in rainforests in Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. In these rainforests and other forests, the plant is bigger than when grown as a normal indoor plant and often reaches the canopy of the forest.

Monstera Vs Philodendron

If you are thinking of bringing a Split Leaf Philodendron into your home, you should note that is sometimes mistaken for Monstera Deliciosa, and often even mis-sold. This is a common mistake but if you know what you are looking for, whether you are a novice or experienced plant grower, you should be able to avoid it. 

Both plants have leaves that are as big as 3 feet, however, the Split Leaf Philodendron has leaves with deep splits in, whereas the Monstera Deliciosa has holes. The other main difference between the two plants is that the Split Leaf Philodendron is self-heading.

This means it has a trunk that allows the plant to grow upright. Monstera Deliciosa however needs support to climb since it is a vining plant and uses aerial roots to attach itself to nearby structures. This includes trellis, moss poles, and trees.

Both plants are extraordinarily beautiful and if you did end up accidentally buying a Monstera Deliciosa instead of a Split Leaf Philodendron, it would not ruin the aesthetic you were originally going for.

Caring For Your Split Lead Philodendron

Split Leaf Philodendron grows fast as long as you take care of it in the right conditions. This will allow the plant to thrive and reach heights of around 6 feet, even when growing inside your home. If you live in a tropical climate, you can also grow this plant outdoors and it will grow up to about 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide.

In any condition, your plant will need good levels of humidity, well-draining soil, and be planted in a pot with adequate-sized drainage holes for it to grow and thrive. 

Position

The position of your Split Leaf Philodendron is important for it to be able to grow indoors and stay healthy. You need to make sure you are positioning the plant in an area that is bright and well-lit and keep it away from direct sunlight. This can scorch the leaves. The plant prefers a warmer environment of over 60F and the humidity levels to be kept at around 40%.

If you are planting the plant outdoors, it needs to be kept at temperatures between 60-85F and at least 40% humidity. If you know the temperature will drop below this, it is better to plant the pot in a container that can be moved indoors if needed.

To increase the various ways of increasing the humidity levels in your home, you might want to buy a humidifier. These can range in price but are often expensive. Their capability also ranges but if you are planning on expanding your house plant collection, especially for tropical plants, they are worth researching and investing. 

Another way to increase the level of humidity is to mist the leaves of your Split Leaf Philodendron regularly and this will help to replicate the moist atmosphere of the rainforest.

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You could even place a pebble tray underneath the pot your plant is potted in and this can help increase overall humidity levels. You will need to fill up the pebble tray with an inch of pebbles and add water without letting the water reach the level of the container. When this water evaporates, this will create moisture in the air and around your Split Leaf Philodendron.

You will also need to position your plants next to one another and this is because the moisture that gets released out of the leaves of the plants, which is known as transpiration will contribute to the increased humidity levels. If there are more plants, there is more humidity.

Watering 

The Split Leaf Philodendron needs to have its root ball moist for it to grow, this means you should avoid letting the soil deep in the depths of your plant’s container become too dry. On the other hand, soggy soil can also destroy your plant and so you have to find a balance.

It is best to water them when the top 2 inches of soil is dry. Give them a good soak and drain off any excess water that remains in the drip tray underneath the container.

Some plant owners like to stick to a watering schedule, however, you can also choose to simply be guided by the moisture level in the soil of your Split Leaf Philodendron and this will let you know when your plant needs watering. 

To test the moisture levels in the soil, you can get yourself a soil measuring kit, or place a finger just below the level of the soil. If you find the soil is dry in the top 1 or 2 inches, yet moist below this, it is time for you to get watering. If it is moist on top of this, however, don’t water for a few days and check again after this time has passed. 

Some variables will affect how much you should water your Split Leaf Philodendron. If your pot is filled with well-draining soil and good-sized drainage holes, this will help your plant to thrive. You will also need to consider any changes in temperature, the seasons of the year, and light conditions. 

This is especially relevant when it comes to the winter months and your plant enters a period of dormancy. During this period, it is common for you to notice that your plant’s soil will remain damper for longer. During this time, reduce how much you are watering your plant. 

Feeding

A slow-release fertilizer is how most people like to feed their houseplants. Feeding this way is a great way to deliver a steady feed throughout the whole growing season.

If you find your plant looks unhealthy in any way, ensure you use a good quality balanced liquid fertilizer every month, from Spring until the end of the growing season in the Autumn. This will provide extra nutrients to your plant throughout the growing season. You also don’t need to feed the plant when it is dormant over the winter period.

You also want to avoid fertilizing the plant for 2-3 months after you have re-potted it as the fresh soil will contain the nutrients your plants need anyway. 

Soil

The best type of soil for a Split Leaf Philodendron, as we mentioned earlier in the article, is a well-draining potting mix. This should be rich in nutrients and should have plenty of organic minerals such as grit or perlite. This should help with drainage. 

We recommend always using a peat-moss base for the potting mix and this will provide the moisture that is needed to keep the root ball thriving. An organic mineral product will also prevent the soil from becoming soggy. 

Reputable garden supply retailers should be able to sell you a high-quality potting mix, but you can also purchase some online. If you prefer to make your well-draining potting mix, you can do so at home and this should be a simple process, as well as also being pretty cheap to do. Mix up one-third of organic matter such as peat-moss soil and combine it with some good quality house-plant soil.

Pruning

Your plant will need to be pruned regularly and this will stop foliage from taking over and becoming unruly. You should wait until early spring or late winter before you try to prune. This way, you can remove any wayward stems as well as stems that have died or have damaged growth.

You will need to use a sterile and sharp knife to do this or a pair of scissors, but make sure you cut as close as possible or just above a leaf node.

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Re-Potting

When it comes to re-potting your plant, you will need to be aware that you will have to re-pot the plant annually, and usually, the ideal time to do so would be in the spring. The pot or container you choose will need to comfortably fit the root ball, but you need to also allow around 2-3 inches around the pot.

This will allow for new root growth. You need to use fresh well-draining soil and this will give your plant another boost of nutrients so that it is ready for the growing season that is coming. And finally, do not fertilize your Split Leaf Philodendron 

Until at least 2-3 months have passed.

Split Leaf Philodendron Propagation

Simply put, plant propagation is how you create new plants. There are two types of plant propagation, and these are asexual and sexual. Asexual propagation is when you take a part of a parent plant and purposefully make it regenerate itself into a new plant.

Asexual propagation also involves the parts of the plant that are vegetative, and these include the roots, the stems, or the leaves. The best way to propagate a Split Leaf Philodendron is to cut the stems. It is still possible for you to propagate by seeds, but since the flowers on an indoor house plant are not always guaranteed, this is not always an option. 

Below we have included a guide on how to properly propagate your Split Leaf Philodendron by stem cutting in water or soil. You need to start by selecting a cutting and finding a healthy-looking stem. This stem should have 2-3 nodes and at least one leaf attached to it. You need to use a sterile knife or a pair of scissors to remove the cutting just under the lowest node.

How to Propagate Philodendron In the Soil?

  1. Place the stem cutting in a small pot with adequate drainage holes. This pot should be filled with potting compost
  2. Position your Split Leaf Philodendron in the right spot, but not in direct sunline, and keep the soil damp
  3. Keep your cutting warm by covering it with a plastic bag. This will also help in sealing in the moisture
  4. Remember to remove the bag after a few hours have passed, and every few hours for a few days after this. This allows the air to circulate. 
  5. Wait for the signs of the new root system to start appearing from the hole in the pot’s base. This usually takes around 4-6 weeks and should be easy to spot. Once you notice these, remove the plastic bag and start watering just as if it were a young Split Leaf Philodendron 

How to Propagate Philodendron In Water?

  1. Take your stem cutting and place it in a propagation station. You can also place it in a jar with some clean water. This should cover the nodes.
  2. Place your stem cutting in a bright place, but avoid placing it in direct sunlight. Change the water every 3-5 days.
  3. Be patient and wait for the new roots to appear. This can take around 4-6 weeks and sometimes even longer. You will know when your cutting is ready to be potted in some when you spot the new routes appearing. 
  4. It might take longer than you think for the new cutting to root, but as long as you are caring for them properly and being patient, this will help. 

Common Problems with a Split Leaf Philodendron

Infestation

Although pest and disease resistance Split Leaf Philodendron is prone to an infestation of pests every so often, they are unlikely to be harmful to your plant, if you treat them promptly and properly. You might find Spider Mites and Scale are common problems and although they can be hugely inconvenient, we promise there is a fix.

Below we have outlined these fixes, but it is important to note that if you find yourself with a more serious infestation, you might need to treat them with a stronger insecticide.

You will need to follow the instructions from the manufacturer for the application of household insect sprays to avoid any damage to plants, since the leaves of a Split Leaf Philodendron can become burned by chemicals.

If you do think you have a spider mite or Scale infestation, you must move the plant away from any other plants nearby and treat it as soon as possible. Once you have treated your Split Leaf Philodendron, ensure you check your other plants for any signs of infestation on them too.

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Spider Mites

If you spot these, you will find them on the underside of your leaves near the stem. They have eight legs and look like white specks. They are usually suspended from silk webbing. They spin this web on infected leaves.

Unfortunately, if you do not treat these leaves, they will develop yellow spots and smaller holes where the spider mites extract their sap.

To get rid of spider mites, you need to blast the area with a strong faucet and lots of water. Do this over the sink, shower, or even with a hose outside. The water should work to dislodge the spider mites and the webbing they have made.

Try not to get excess amounts of water on the soil as it runs off. After rinsing,  you can use a bottle or a clean dry cloth to apply a solution of neem oil and water to your plant. Wipe the solution over the plant and pay attention to the stem junctions and the underside of the leaves.

You will need to keep repeating the water treatment and the neem oil treatment every 5-7 days until the signs of infestation are gone.

Scale

If you have not heard of scale before, they are static parasites that are shell-like and sit on the underside of the leaves. They also feed on the sap in your Split Leaf Philodendron and infestations of this plant can lead it to look sick and wilted. 

When it comes to treating scale, you need to use a cotton pad or a cotton tip that has been dampened and remove the infestation that you can see. Use neem oil or some soapy water to wash it away. Repeat this until the infestation has subsided. 

Yellow Leaves

There are a variety of different reasons why your plant might begin to develop yellow leaves. Over-watering is often the most common reason but it can also be a result of a lack of nutrients, or even inadequate lighting.

Ensure your plant is positioned in a bright spot but keep it away from direct sunlight and test the moisture levels of the soil. Make sure you’re only watering your plant if you feel the top 2 inches of the soil is dry.

Brown or Yellow Dry Leaves

Leaves that are shriveled, have turned yellow or light brown, and seem to be drying out too are usually a sign your plant is not being watered enough or the humidity levels are too low for it to thrive. If this is the case, ensure you check the moisture levels in the soil.

If the pot feels a lot lighter than normal, or you find the soil is dry near the roots, it’s time to get the watering can out. It might also be worth buying that humidifier to increase humidity levels to above 40% again.

Root Rot

A Split Leaf Philodendron plant does not like soil that has become waterlogged. Periods of soggy roots will cause root rot and leaves that develop dark brown splotches usually indicate root rot. This must be taken care of immediately, by removing your plant from the pot and checking the roots.

Once you have removed it from the pot, you need to start brushing away the soil directly off the roots using a soft brush or your fingers. If the roots seem to be brown or black and are soft and mushy, you need to trim these away using a sterile or sharp knife or a pair of sharp scissors.

You need to remove every trace until you are left with white roots again. You also need to clean your cutting utensils each time you cut a root that has been infected.

Once you have done this, repot in a clean pot and use new soil to allow your plant to grow and repair before returning to a less frequent watering schedule.

Root rot destroys your plant and so ensure you always use well-drained soil to try and avoid it, and a container or a pot with big drainage holes. You only need to water your plant when the first 2 inches of the soil is completely dry.

Final Thoughts

We hope by reading this article you have learned a little more about caring for your Split Leaf Philodendron and know how to keep it fed, watered, and growing. You should also know how to propagate the plant and how to understand the common problems sometimes experienced with owning the plants, but also how to fix these problems.

With proper care, a Split Leaf Philodendron can look great in any home and can be a great houseplant for any houseplant enthusiast!