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While the common name of this plant (velvet-leaf) can be confused with other Philodendrons, there’s no mistaking its unique, attractive features.
Two Philodendron species are commonly referred to as velvet-leaf: this one (P. verrucosum) and P. scandens f. micans.
Philodendron verrucosum has pubescent (velvety) medium-green leaves with lime green veining and maroon reverse coloring. As an epiphyte, verrucosums prosper if vined as early as possible. As light conditions improve, leaf size and colors, as does vein variegation.
- Introduction to Philodendron Verrucosum
- Philodendron Verrucosum Best Care Guide
- How to Propagate Philodendron Verrucosum
- Philodendron Verrucosum Maintenance
- Potting a Philodendron Verrucosum
- Common Philodendron Verrucosum Challenges
- Philodendron Verrucosum Diseases
- Philodendron Verrucosum Pest Challenges
- Philodendron Verrucosum Frequently Asked Questions
- In Closing
Introduction to Philodendron Verrucosum
The P. verrucosum’s natural habitat ranges from Costa Rica to Peru, commonly at altitudes above 1,600ft in different types of forests: Premontane rain forest, Tropical Lower Montane rain forest, and Tropical wet forest.
Its occurrence throughout Costa Rica and Panama, primarily on the Atlantic slope or close to the Continental Divide, as well as on the Pacific slope in southwest Costa Rica, speaks to the plant’s adaptability to varying climates.
This thoroughbred requires the closest care of all the philodendrons, especially regarding light, climbing, and humidity requirements.
Below I share how to effectively take care of your Philodendron verrucosum, creating a specimen of great beauty and presence. Read on.
Philodendron Verrucosum Best Care Guide
As I’ve said before, when caring for aroid plants, the key is knowing where they grow and what that natural habitat offers them. Let’s see what we can glean from the information already provided:
- They like rainforests – high humidity and moist soil
- They like slopes – better drainage and improved exposure to the sun
- They like tropical forests – they don’t do well in cold
Let’s check out Panama’s annual temperatures:
- The hottest month in Panama is April, when the average maximum temperature is 88° F, the average temperature is 82° F, and the average minimum temperature is 77° F.
- The coolest month in Panama is December, when the average maximum temperature is 86° F, the average temperature is 81° F, and the average minimum temperature is 75° F.
Let’s look at each element individually: soil, water, light, temperatures, nutrition, humidity, growing habits, pests, and other challenges.
|Soil Type:||Quick-draining, rich. See guide below|
|Light:||Bright indirect sunlight|
|Watering:||See guide below|
|Temperature:||65 – 85°F|
|Humidity:||60 – 95%|
|Soil pH:||5.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)|
|Fertilizing:||A diluted feed once a month in spring and summer|
|Repotting:||Every 1 to 3 years|
|Pruning:||As required during the growing season|
|Propagation:||Root stem cuttings in soil|
|Toxicity:||Toxic to humans and pets|
|Mature Size:||36 inches tall|
|Hardiness Zone:||Outdoors 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b|
Philodendron Verrucosum Preferred Soil
The type of soil you choose greatly impacts how happy your Philodendron Verrucosum will be. Because this Philodendron prefers damp soil, the soil must be able to keep moisture for a few days.
Begin by mixing perlite and coconut coir into a high-quality houseplant potting soil mix. The perlite aids aeration and drainage, while the coconut coir helps retain moisture.
These two additives offer the ideal soft and airy soil balance for a Philodendron Verrucosum.
So let’s replicate the forest floor soil for our precious and spectacularly beautiful P. verrucosum:
- For good water retention, we’ll use coconut coir, it’s renewable, neutral, and drains water well while not drying out. Remember, you want to keep your roots damp but definitely not wet.
- We’ll add perlite, an amorphous volcanic glass with relatively high water content for aeration. As a soil additive, it’s light and prevents compaction, promoting airflow.
- Horticultural Charcoal. Activated Charcoal (carbon) in industrial settings is employed to control odors, purify liquids, and absorbs gasses. As a soil amendment, it helps balance pH levels, supports bioactivity, prevents compaction, and aids water management (drainage and retention). Unlike other carbon materials, Charcoal does not bind nitrogen as it is already in a stable form and can’t be decayed further.
- Compost builds soil health and promotes the population diversity of essential soil-borne microorganisms to break complex compounds down to bioavailable nutrients. Many slow-release fertilizers are microorganism-dependent.
- The fungi-to-bacteria ratio on forest floors is about 100:1. One reason is that fungi are needed to break down the lignin in wood, and the other is that fungi play a symbiotic role in feeding plants via mycorrhizal networks, as this Harvard study shows. Adding leaf mold to your mix will boost your fungi population.
Philodendron Verrucosum Light Requirements
Which plants will thrive in our houses (or perish) depends on the environment we offer. Ample light is the most crucial environmental element when growing plants inside.
Light gives plants the energy they require to produce nourishment. Foot candles are a standard unit of measurement for light (ft-c).
While outdoor light intensity on a bright, sunny day may surpass 10,000 ft-c, the interior of a well-lit home is frequently less than 100 ft-c. Plants’ need for light intensity varies widely (see table).
According to the amount of light required for growth, indoor plants are frequently categorized:
- Low (minimum 100 ft-c, 75 to 200 preferred for good growth)
- Medium (minimum 100 to 150 ft-c, 200 to 500 preferred)
- High (minimum 150 to 1000 ft-c, 500 to 1000 preferred)
- Very high (minimum 1000 ft-c, 1000+ preferred)
It takes about 100 ft-c for 12 hours per day to maintain plant quality, while foliar plants need at least 200 ft-c for 12 hours per day to profit from fertilization.
Medium-light plants like P. verrucosum thrive in eastern exposures or a few feet from these light sources.
Any specific site’s lighting conditions will change depending on the time of year (sun angle, length of day), exterior tree shading, window treatments, wall color (light reflection), and the actual location. Affordable light meters are a wise purchase.
Under artificial light produced by fluorescent lamps or specific incandescent lights, P. verrucosum develops well.
Ordinary incandescent lamps are generally not advised for plants since they cause them to stretch (become “leggy“).
For most plants, sixteen hours of light and eight hours of darkness are sufficient. To ensure the right cycle every day, use an electric timer.
Poor plant development is caused by insufficient light, while too much light can also be damaging. Overly bright conditions are not suitable for shade plants.
Too much direct sunlight causes a plant’s leaves to bleach or scald, sometimes even killing the plant.
This frequently occurs after bringing a plant into direct sunlight outside. Any adjustments to the brightness should be made gradually.
Philodendron Verrucosum Water Requirements
Overwatering is the main reason why potted plants die. When surrounded by water, roots cannot absorb oxygen; they require water and oxygen.
These roots may rot, and the plant as a whole may finally perish. Root decay and potential plant death are caused by the symptoms of overwatering and underwatering, which are identical.
Porous clay pots need more regular watering than nonporous, glazed, or plastic pots because water evaporates quickly from their sides.
More frequently than a tiny plant in a large pot, a large plant in a small pot need watering.
Different soil mixtures call for various watering regimes. Greater amounts of coconut coir and heavy, fine-textured potting media keep more moisture than airy, porous blends of bark, sand, and perlite.
A plant growing in a warm, dry, sunny setting has to be watered more frequently than once.
The general rule is to only water when necessary. To decide when to water, one may utilize the following techniques:
- Touch the soil: The most accurate test for soil moisture is to feel how dry the potting soil feels. If the mixture is dry at your fingertip after inserting your finger up to the second digit, it needs water.
- When potting mix in a clay pot starts to dry up, it shrinks away from the pot’s sides. Use a stick or your knuckles to tap the pot’s side. Water is required if the sound is hollow; if the sound is dull, the soil is moist.
- Estimate weight: It’s easy to see a weight reduction as potting mixtures dry up.
- Assess soil color: As potting combinations dry, their color will shift from dark to lighter.
When watering is necessary, water deeply. Apply water until the bottom of the pot is completely submerged.
This removes accumulated salts and ensures that most of the roots in the bottom two-thirds of the pot get enough water. Empty the tray – Don’t let the pot sit in the water that runs out.
Never use hot or cold water to water; the ideal water temperature is between 62 and 72 °F. Avoid using softened water to water plants because this will also add sodium and chloride to the soil, which could harm the plants.
While wilting frequently indicates a need for water, this is not always the case. Any damage to the root system, including root rot brought on by too much water, reduces a plant’s capacity to absorb water.
Weeding results from this failure to absorb water; in these circumstances, watering could make the issue worse.
Philodendron Verrucosum Temperature Limits
Philodendron verrucosum requires a temperature that does not exceed 85° F at midday temperatures and does not dip below 60° F during the nighttime.
A good indicator of a plant’s preferred temperature is the seed germination temperature of 75 to 80°F for most Philodendron self-heading types.
Winter cold causes chlorosis to appear first on the lower leaves. Various cold-protection methods can help you avoid becoming chilled.
Excessively bright light or a lack of nourishment can also cause light color. Plant color will be assured if the required light levels and fertilizer application rates are followed.
Philodendron Verrucosum Humidity Needs
To keep your Philodendron verrucosum in superb form and developing strongly, high humidity above 60% is advised.
After all, it is a subtropical to tropical plant that thrives in humid environments in its natural habitat. My terrarium-style humidification keeps mine at over 90%, and they do well.
Philodendron Verrucosum Fertilizer Needs
All plants require certain essential elements for proper growth. Indoor plants, in low light conditions of the interior environment, have reduced fertilizer requirements.
A complete fertilizer (one with nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium(K)) is a great option for indoor gardens.
For foliage plants, use a balanced fertilizer like 20-20-20, and for flowering plants, use a fertilizer with more phosphorus like 15-30-15 – each number represents the percentages of N, P, and K, respectively.
The best strategy to avoid soluble salt damage is to stop the salts from accumulating. Water correctly by soaking the soil completely and letting the extra water drain into a tray that empties.
How to Propagate Philodendron Verrucosum
Philodendron verrucosum is best propagated by stem cuttings in spring or summer. The sections between leaves can be used to grow new plants.
- Identify an appropriate portion of the rhizome between two leaves.
- Make sure the surviving mother plant has at least three leaves.
- The cutting should contain leaves.
- To guarantee a clean and equal cut, use a pruning shear to cut the stem.
- Allow the cutting callous to heal for a couple of hours after cutting.
- Sprinkle cinnamon on the cutting area. It functions as a disinfectant and aids in the healing of the wound.
- You can go on to the following phase after a few hours (depending on the thickness of the cutting).
- Put some moist (not soaking wet!) food in a pot (we recommend plastic pots). It contains sphagnum moss.
- Place the cutting gently into the moss.
- Place the pot with the cutting in a plastic container or cover it with a plastic bag to increase humidity.
- Open the lid or the plastic bag for a few minutes every couple of days to keep the air fresh.
- The increased humidity will aid the plant’s root development.
- This might take anywhere from two to four weeks. We like to aid the process by placing a seedling heat pad beneath a plastic box, as the added warmth from below significantly speeds up the process.
- When your cutting has substantial roots and the first 2-3 leaves have formed, it’s time to put it into a pot with potting soil.
You should start to observe roots erupting after 3 to 4 weeks. It could, however, proceed much more quickly, take much longer, or fail.
Your success rate will depend on numerous factors. Besides the temperature and humidity, picking the proper time of year to attempt propagation through cuttings is important.
Air layering your plant is an alternative approach. A node with air roots is essentially surrounded by damp coconut coir, which is then covered in plastic. The emergence of roots should occur after a few weeks.
You can make your cut and acquire a rooted cutting once the root length is adequate. This approach has a better success rate since you get a cutting with roots.
The method is a little more challenging for a beginner because fixing the damp coconut coir on the plant’s stem can be tricky.
Although sexual propagation is the most common form of plant proliferation, accessing viable P. verrucosum seeds is challenging as their shelf life is limited.
I would advise you to read the comments from Philodendron seed purchasers on any eCommerce site before you take the risk.
Philodendron Verrucosum Maintenance
Adding a moss pole for your P. verrucosum to climb up as early as possible will boost growth and color. P. verrucosum generally grows up to 3 feet high with leaves of up to 18-inches.
The moss pole will help the plant to gain color and height while improving the leaf color quality. Other effects of providing a pole are that the stem of the verrucosum will grow thicker, and the leaf size will increase considerably.
Potting a Philodendron Verrucosum
Use a pot with drainage holes because you’ll need well-draining soil and don’t want your Philodendron gloriosum to sit in water. Excess water will be able to drain rapidly through drainage holes.
The optimum containers for these plants are rectangular and as long and thin as feasible rather than spherical.
Because Philodendron gloriosum is a creeper, it will creep along with the soil and eventually reach the end of a standard circular pot.
The plant can no longer develop roots in the soil once it dangles over the edge, and the leaves will shrink.
Common Philodendron Verrucosum Challenges
|Chlorosis (yellowing) of lower leaves||Exposure to 33 to 40°F for several hours||Avoid low temperatures|
|Petioles become excessively long, and the plant has an open appearance||Light Levels are too low||Grow plants under higher light levels|
|Leaf color fades or looks bleached out||Light levels may be too high, or fertilizer rates too low||Check light levels and fertilizer rates – adjust as needed|
|Older leaves have v-shape chlorosis, which spreads from the petiole attachment to the leaf margin. Midrib remains green.||Magnesium deficiency||Apply magnesium sulfate at a rate of 0.5 to 0.8 oz. per gallon of water|
|Leaves have a wrinkled line dotted with chlorotic or necrotic spots in the basal portion of the leaf lobe.||Pesticide phytotoxicity or burns from drying liquid fertilizer in the leaf roll||Apply 20-20-20 liquid fertilizers at a rate of 3.2 oz per 10 gallons of water. Do not exceed recommended pesticide rates.|
|New leaves of hybrid philodendrons are slightly twisted or distorted||Calcium deficiency||Increase calcium levels in liquid fertilizer or apply chelate calcium.|
|New leaves are purplish and twisted and may appear torn or have purplish spots.||Manganese toxicity||Increase soil pH to 6.5. Avoid spraying fungicides containing manganese. Top dress with dolomite|
|Margins of older leaves turn brownish, and discoloration spreads toward the midrib||Potassium deficiency||Increase potassium levels in liquid feed or growing medium|
|Irregular patches of leaf margins become necrotic.||Water stress combined with high light||Maintain soil moisture levels and reduce light levels|
|Chlorosis and reduced leaf size||Nitrogen deficiency||Apply a granular, high-nitrogen fertilizer|
|Leaf scorch on tips of older foliage.||Sodium toxicity||Apply extra potassium, topdress with gypsum, and switch to a less saline water source|
|Burned patches in the centers and tips of foliage||Sunburn||Increase irrigation frequency and move to a lower light area|
|Bronzed edges||Light levels or temperatures are too high||Move the plant to an area that provides a better environment|
*An extract from IFAS
Philodendron Verrucosum Diseases
|Bacterial Leaf Spot||Translucent spots on leaf margins become reddish-brown with yellow halos. Large spots are tan and irregularly shaped.||Purchase plants free from disease. Avoid overhead watering. Remove infected leaves.|
|Bacterial Blight Philodendron selloum||Small, very dark green spots on leaves expand rapidly and spread to petioles. Infected leaves collapse in a wet rot that smells foul.||Avoid overhead watering. Remove infected leaves of plants not severely affected—water in a manner that keeps the surfaces of leaves and petiole dry at all times.|
|Cold Injury||Very dark green to brown blotches from between leaf veins.||Do not place plants near air conditioners. Maintain temperatures above 55° F.|
|Magnesium Deficiency||V-shaped yellow areas form on leaves, especially in cool greenhouses.||Apply one teaspoon of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) per gallon of water.|
|Tip Curl||Leaf tips curl downward, and leaf margins are brown. Roots die.||Reduce fertilizer rate and leach the soil if slow-release fertilizer is not present. Repot if excessive slow-release fertilizer was used.|
Philodendron Verrucosum Pest Challenges
Thrips, Spider Mites, Mealybugs, and Aphids
These tiny houseplant pests either suck or devour the juice off the leaves and stems. A neem oil spray, repeated every 5-7 days until the bugs are gone, is the best treatment for all of these pests.
Combine one teaspoon of dish soap and two tablespoons of neem oil in a quart spray bottle, fill it halfway with water and give it a good shake.
The Philodendron verrucosum is a poisonous plant, and it can cause throat discomfort, swallowing difficulty, mouth pain, cramping, and other complications if swallowed. It is also toxic for cats and dogs. It is important to keep these plants away from them.
Philodendron Verrucosum Frequently Asked Questions
The Philodendron verrucosum is one of my certain recommendations. I have tried to give the most comprehensive guide to make it easy for you to grow this absolutely adorable plant – a beauty that will create a backdrop to any living space.
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