How to Grow and Care for Lacy Tree Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) Indoors


Lacy Tree Philodendron, Philodendron selloum, Tree Philodendron

Botanical name: Philodendron selloum
Synonyms: Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum, Philodendron bipinnatifidum
Family: Araceae
Common names: Lacy Tree Philodendron, Tree Philodendron, Splitleaf Philodendron

Description

Lacy Tree Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) also called Tree Philodendron is an easy to grow non-climbing large plant which is most impressive in a large space.

The leaves are simple, large, deeply lobed, ruffle-edged, usually drooping and dark green in color. The trunk is relatively thick and woody with characteristic "eye-drop" leaf scars.

Tree Philodendron produces aerial roots from the stems and these root have an important part to play. Push them into the soil to provide moisture for the upper leaves. Flowers rarely appear under room conditions.

Philodendron selloum is also known by the botanical names Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum and Philodendron bipinnatifidum.

Size

Tree Philodendron leaves can grow up to 2 ft long and are attached to long smooth petioles about 2 ft long.

Air Cleaning

According to the NASA Clean Air Study, Lacy Tree Philodendron was found to be a good indoor air cleaner of common VOCs specifically trichloethylene.

Origin

Philodendron selloum is native to South America; Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina and Paraguay.

In its tropical natural habitat, Tree Philodendron is known for its ease in covering land mass and typically spreads out its tree-like trunk from between 8-10 ft.

Varieties

One common variant of Philodendron selloum is Philodendron bipinnatifidum 'Hope' also called Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum 'Hope' which is a shorter plant, maturing at the height of about 4 ft.

Its leaves are slightly smaller about 1.5 ft long, smooth-edged and more solid, attached to 1.5 ft long petioles.

Another common variant of Philodendron selloum is Philodendron bipinnatifidum 'Xanadu' also called Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum 'Xanandu' which has a mounding growth habit.

A look-alike plant but quite different from Philodendron selloum is Monstera deliciosa (Swiss Cheese Plant) whose leaves have holes rather than the seperated lobes in Philodendron selloum.

Where to Buy

If you are looking to add this tree-like Philodondron to your collection, numerous varieties are available online at Etsy. Buy Lacy Tree Philodendron online from Etsy.

Lacy Tree Philodendron, Philodendron selloum, Tree Philodendron

Photo Credit: NC State University

Philodendron selloum Care Indoors

Lacy Tree Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) thrives in medium to bright indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soils coupled with monthly feeding during the growing season.

Tree Philodendron requires regular pruning to keep the plant neat, to encourage a compact, bushy growth and to rejuvenate growth. Repotting is needed every 2-3 years to provide adequate space for growth. Keep reading for more on these growing conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Lacy Tree Philodendron grows best in medium to bright light away from direct sunlight. It can also grow under a grow light where natural light is inadequate.

Keep Tree Philodendron away from hot direct sunlight as it may cause scorching. Regularly turn the pot to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth.

Watering

Water Lacy Tree Philodendron thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings to keep the soil moderately moist.

Reduce watering during the cold period as growth is minimal at this time but do not allow the soil to dry out completely.

Tree Philodendron cannot tolerate soggy soil. Therefore, ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy soil which can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.


Temperature

Lacy Tree Philodendron prefers average warmth with a minimum of 150C. Keep it away from cold and hot draughts as they can cause leaf drop and reduced growth.

Humidity

Lacy Tree Philodendron prefers a humid environment inorder to thrive. However it can withstand dry air for short periods of time.

To raise humidity, set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier.

Regularly clean the leaves by damp-wiping with a soft cloth to get rid of dust and also to discourage pest infestation.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Lacy Tree Philodendron every 4 weeks during the growing season with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer.

Do not feed Tree Philodendron during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and feeding at this time can lead to fertilizer burn.

Repotting

Repot Lacy Tree Philodendron every 2-3 years during the growing period. Use a pot that is 1 size larger and loose free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.

Use a heavy container to prevent the Tree Philodendron from toppling over as it can become top-heavy.

Pruning

Pruning Lacy Tree Philodendron involves removal of yellow and dead leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy.

Cut back leggy stems at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth and encourage a bushy, compact growth.

Propagation

Lacy Tree Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) can be propagated during the growing season from stem cuttings.

How to propagate Lacy Tree Philodendron from stem cuttings

Take a stem cutting of about 4-5 in. long. from a healthy Lacy Tree Philodendron.

Insert the cutting in moist, free-draining soil and pLace the set up in a warm, well-lit place.

Maintain the soil moist until new growth has emerged. Allow the new Tree Philodendron to be well established before transplanting after which you can begin routine care.

Lacy Tree Philodendron, Philodendron selloum, Horsehead Philodendron

Photo Credit: NC State University

Philodendron selloum Problems Indoors

Lacy Tree Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) problems indoors are yellow leaves, dropping leaves, brown leaf tips and edges, rotting, weeping at leaf tips, pests and diseases among others. Keep reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Dropping leaves

As the lower leaves of Lacy Tree Philodendron age they drop but if there is an abnormal leaf drop, the reason is sudden change of growing conditions.

Avoid moving Tree Philodendron to a new position before acclimatizing it gradually to avoid leaf drop.

If the leaves turn brown and dry before they drop, then, too high temperature is the cause of leaf drop.

Lacy Tree Philodendron prefers average warmth with a minimum of 150C. Protect it from hot draughts; keep the plant away from hot air vents or near any source of heat.

Yellowing leaves

Overwatering Lacy Tree Philodendron is the reason for yellowing leaves if many leaves are affected and there are signs of wilting and rotting.

The remedy is to water Tree Philodendron thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry a little between waterings.

If there is no wilting and rotting, underfeeding is the cause of yellowing leaves in Lacy Tree Philodendron.

Remedy the situation by feeding the Tree Philodendron every 4 weeks during the growing season with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer but withhold feeding during the cold season to avoid fertilizer burn.

If only lower leaves are affected and have dark spots and new leaves are dark and small, then underwatering is the cause of the yellowing leaves in Lacy Tree Philodendron.

The solution is to water the Tree Philodendron thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry a little between waterings but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

If leaves are pale colored and have straw-colored patches the cause of yellowing leaves is too much sunlight. Protect the plant from direct sunlight or place it in a shaded place.

Weeping at the leaf tips

If the soil is too wet, Lacy Tree Philodendron will respond with leaves weeping at the tips.

Allow the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings and reduce frequency of watering to avoid getting the soil too wet.

Also ensure that the pot has a drainage hole and that the soil is free-draining to avoid getting the soil soggy (too wet).

Rotting stems

The reason for rotting stems in Lacy Tree Philodendron is the fungal stem-rot disease which is promoted by high moisture and too little warmth.

You can save the Tree Philodendron by repotting and keeping the soil dry and warm for a period of time before watering it again. Read more on how to treat stem-rot disease in houseplants.

Brown papery leaf tips and edges

There are two possible causes of brown papery leaf tips and edges in Lacy Tree Philodendron. One possible cause of brown papery leaf tips and edges is dry air (low humidity).

To remedy the problem, set the pot on a wet pebble tray to raise humidity. Check out these techniques on how to raise humidity for houseplants.

The second possible cause of brown papery leaf tips and edges in Tree Philodendron is that the plant may be pot-bound.

Repot the Tree Philodendron into a pot 1 size larger. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease.

Leggy growth with small pale leaves

Too little light is the cause of leggy growth and small pale leaves as Lacy Tree Philodendron will not thrive in shady conditions.

Move the Tree Philodendron to a more brighter spot where it will receive bright to partial light or instal a grow light where natural light is inadequate.

Pests

Common pests in Lacy Tree Philodendron are Mealybugs, Scales and Aphids. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it with Neem oil or Insecticidal soap.

Is Lacy Tree Philodendron toxic?

As indicated by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Lacy Tree Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) is toxic to both humans and pets. The plant contains Calcium oxalate crystals.

If Tree Philodendron is ingested, the crystals can cause burning and swelling in the mouth and throat, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains. Keep the plant from the reach of children and pets.

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