Philodendron Scandens: Varieties, Care And Propagation

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The philodendron scandens, also called climbing philodendron, can decorate the home as a climbing or hanging plant. How to properly care for and propagate the plant, you will learn in this article.

The Philodendron scandens is one of the easy-care decorative leaf plants – if its location and climate requirements are met. In this article, you will find an overview of the origin, the most beautiful varieties as well as the care and propagation of the climbing philodendron.

Philodendron scandens: origin and characteristics

The climbing philodendron ( Philodendron scandens, synonymous also Philodendron hederaceum ) is an evergreen climbing plant from Central America and the Caribbean, whose generic name Philodendron (ancient Greek phílos = friend; déndron = tree) means “tree friend”. In the natural habitat, these arum plants (Araceae) grow in the shade of large trees or as epiphytes even on their large neighbors.

Under the best conditions, the climbing philodendron can reach heights of between 3 and 6 meters, whereby the plant climbing up the trunk of trees is only slightly spreading. The Philodendron scandens forms heart-shaped, velvety-glossy leaves that can be up to 30 cm long with age. The light to dark green leaves grows on a petiole up to 10 cm long.

As a houseplant, however, the Philodendron scandens do not grow that big here. It can be cultivated both as a climbing plant on a climbing aid, as a traffic light plant, or as a hanging plant. In very good conditions, flower formation is very rare. In its homeland, the climbing plant forms typical flowers with an inflorescence stalk, a bract, and a cob. The long aerial roots that hang down from the plant and can reach a length of up to 6 meters in the natural habitat of older plants are particularly noticeable.

Tip: The window leaf ( Monstera ) is also often referred to as a tree friend and a philodendron and is sold as such. It is therefore important to pay attention to the correct botanical name when buying.

The most beautiful climbing philodendron varieties

With us, two types of philodendron, in particular, we’re able to prevail:

  • Philodendron scandens ‘Brazil’s: Is also called Philodendron scandens ‘Variegata’ and forms a conspicuous leaf pattern in light green or white in bright, not directly sunny locations. It is very easy to care for.
  • Philodendron scandens ‘Micans’: The dark green, velvety leaves sometimes have a slightly reddish, conspicuous leaf margin.

Philodendron Scandens: Varieties, Care & Propagation

Planting Philodendron scandens: location, soil

As an original climbing plant in the shade of trees, a partially shaded to shady location is well suited for the Philodendron scandens, whereby long, direct sunlight should be avoided. Too intense midday sun can lead to sunburn, yellow or brown discoloration of the leaves. The ideal growth temperature for the climbing philodendron is 20 to 25 ° C, with a minimum temperature of 15 ° C. In the temperate zone, it is advisable to keep the plant under glass or exclusively as a houseplant. In general, drafts should be avoided, as otherwise the growth of the plant will be disturbed.

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A soil rich in humus and at the same time low in lime is suitable as a substrate for the Philodendron scandens, as it is very sensitive to lime. A loose substrate also allows good soil aeration and thus reduces the risk of root rot. The Philodendron scandens prefer slightly acidic soils over neutral soils. A high-quality soil offers the ideal basis for healthy and vigorous plant growth, as it can sustainably supply the plant with high nutrient content and a high proportion of compost.

Thanks to a balanced proportion of coconut pulp, it is also able to store enough water for the plants and at the same time keep the soil aeration at a high level. In addition, a layer of pine bark can be applied or acidic primary rock flour (made of granite or basalt) can be mixed with the earth to keep the soil pH value constantly slightly acidic.

Care of Philodendron scandens

The Philodendron scandens is a very robust plant that requires little maintenance with the right background knowledge.

The plant needs to have a permanent supply of water during vegetation – from April to October. The Philodendron scandens, however, have a relatively low water consumption for their size. Therefore, with excessive watering without sufficient drainage, there is a risk of waterlogging and thus root rot. The soil should therefore be tested for moisture with a finger test before each watering.

Because the Philodendron scandens is very sensitive to lime, rainwater or mineral water that has been caught at room temperature is suitable as irrigation water. If the humidity is low, the plant can occasionally be sprayed with a little lime-free water – this ensures a good climate and at the same time cleans the leaves of dust.

During the growing season, the Philodendron scandens should be fertilized every two weeks so that the plant has all the nutrients that are important for growth. If there is a lack of nutrients, the leaves of the Philodendron scan can discolor and fall off, and growth and new leaf formation are also stopped. To prevent this, a high-quality liquid fertilizer that is given over the irrigation water is particularly suitable.

Philodendron Scandens: Varieties, Care & Propagation

Organic indoor and green plant fertilizer supports the growth of healthy and strong plants through a demand-oriented nutrient ratio and a resource-saving lower phosphorus content. The addition of microorganisms promotes the absorption of nutrients from the substrate and the root growth is sustainably strengthened.

You should repot the Philodendron scandens every one or two years, not only because the plant is getting bigger, but also because every potting soil sags over time and trace elements – which are not all present in fertilizers – are running out. The tree friend indicates the need for a new pot by pushing many aerial roots out of the top of the pot and stagnating overall in growth.

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The new pot should always be around 20% larger than the old one, especially with young plants. The best time for repotting is early spring from March, before the start of vegetation. The plant can be removed from its old pot and any excess soil removed. The Philodendron scandens should then be placed in the new pot before the added soil is lightly pressed and watered well.

At the same time, a new climbing aid can be used if the Philodendron scandens is cultivated as a climbing plant. To do this, old shoots should be carefully detached from the old climbing aid before it is pulled out. You can then use the new climbing aid before the shoots are attached to it with the help of a plant ring or a cord. It is important to ensure that there is enough space for future growth. Finally, the Philodendron scandens can be brought back to their location.

Philodendron Scandens: Varieties, Care & Propagation

Scanning the Philodendron does not need to be shaped, because the runners can easily be directed back to the climbing aid. If they become too long for the hanging plant, they can also be easily cut off with sharp secateurs. Disturbing, old and dry shoots and leaves can be cut off, as can diseased leaves.

Hibernating climbing philodendrons

During the hibernation, the climbing philodendron should be moved to a cooler, draft-free place where it is 16 to 18 ° C. For example, a winter garden, a bright stairwell, or less heated living rooms are suitable. During the winter months, you should only water the plant cautiously, as the water intake is restricted. The root ball is allowed to dry off, but not dry out. Fertilization should be completely avoided.

Philodendron scandens multiply

It is particularly easy to reproduce the Philodendron scan using cuttings. Sections of the plant that have at least one leaf and roots can be used for this. The cut-off parts of the plant can be put in a pot filled with a mixture of soil and sand and watered well. The pot can then be covered with a sheet of glass or cling film to create a micro-greenhouse. In a warm place of ideally 25 ° C, the parts of the plant will take root after two to four weeks. Occasionally the lid should be opened to prevent fungal attack.

Philodendron Scandens: Varieties, Care & Propagation

Is the Philodendron scandens poisonous?

The Philodendron scandens is mildly poisonous, as calcium oxalate crystals are contained in almost all parts of the plant as natural protection against eating. Above all, the leaves of the Philodendron scan are often gnawed by cats, which can lead to slight symptoms of poisoning and long-term damage to the kidneys. In contrast, there are no known cases of poisoning by philodendron plants in humans.

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