Philodendrons always give a fresh and tropical look if grown with proper care. But it breaks our hearts when the plant becomes weak and mushy. And it is highly frustrating when we are unaware of the actual reason behind the plant’s weakness.
Leaves turning mushy is a major problem that you might notice in your philodendron. But, no need to freak out as you can fix it. This article will discuss the various ways to avoid and solve the problem of mushy leaves in philodendrons.
Overwatering is the primary cause of mushy leaves in philodendron. When overwatered, the roots get suffocated in excess water, and the plant becomes weak, which leads to mushy leaves. Lack of air circulation, pest attack, and insufficient light can also lead to mushy leaves in philodendrons.
It is not that hard to ensure the health of your philodendron. You just need to know the right things about the specific needs of your philodendron. Following the routine of any other plant might not be much helpful.
Weather fluctuations are not in our hands. But giving the right conditions inside the house is definitely in our hands.
Now, let us understand the reasons behind philodendron leaves turning mushy and the solutions to the problem.
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What causes philodendron leaves to turn mushy?
Philodendrons are easy and fast-growing plants. They are forgiving and can tolerate all sorts of ignorance to a slight extent. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it altogether. The philodendrons get affected due to living in an unsuitable environment.
We will read all the reasons for the cause of the mushy leaves in philodendron in detail to identify the leading cause for it in our plant.
Poor watering techniques can make the leaves of your philodendron mushy. When the leaves of your philodendron start turning yellow and mushy, it means you are giving your plant too much water. Overwatering can also occur due to an improper drainage system, resulting in root rot.
Check the drainage system of the pot. If the drainage holes get blocked, it won’t resolve the overwatering problem. To fix the problem, you must stop watering your plant until the soil dries up completely.
Overwatering can suffocate and damage the roots, for which the philodendron fails to absorb the nutrients.
You must take the philodendron out of the pot and prune the affected roots. If the damage is severe, your plant will require a new pot along with some fresh soil mixture.
Also read: How Much Water Does A Philodendron Need? (Water Requirement+How Often)
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Root rot by overwatering
Staying in the water for long can lead to root rot. It happens when you overwater your plant and don’t give the soil a chance to dry up. Another cause can be an improper drainage system. Overwatering affects the capacity of the plant to consume nutrients and moisture.
When you see that the leaves of your plant are turning soft and mushy, you know that your philodendron is overwatered.
Overwatering suffocates the roots and hinders their functioning. The leaves don’t receive the necessary nutrients, and you might get a foul odor from the soil because of root rot.
To revive your philodendron from root rot:
- Act immediately by repotting it.
- First of all, take out the whole plant slowly. You can use a knife for fast work.
- Remove the rotten roots that are brown and dark-colored.
- Remove the mushy parts of the plant.
- Wash your plant.
Then take a new pot, put some fresh soil mix in it, and transfer your plant to that new pot.
Do not use the old soil, as it may get attacked by fungus and bacteria due to root rot. Root rot can invite all sorts of pests and fungi. So, it is better to dispose of the old soil and use fresh soil for repotting.
Also read: How Do You Fix Root Rot On A Philodendron? (Signs, Causes+Solution)
Mushy leaves in philodendron can develop due to unwanted guests like spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, thrips, and many more.
If your philodendron is overwatered, it creates a perfect environment for these pests who make the plant weaker. The leaves of the plant can droop and become mushy out of weakness.
These are sap-sucking pests. They suck all the sap from all parts of the plant, making the plant flaccid. You will even notice distortions and irregularity in its growth.
These pest infestations can even cause further damage like inviting harmful viruses and fungal infections. Powdery mildew is one of them.
To get rid of pest infestation, you can buy repellents from the market.
Homemade remedies are the best options as they are natural and chemical-free. Consider using neem oil against these attacks.
Use soap water to clean the plants and remove all the fungus and pests. After that, spray some neem oil. Don’t wash off the oil. After that, keep them in a place where they will get proper airflow.
Also read: How Do I Get Rid Of Bugs On My Philodendron? (+Bug Identification)
Philodendrons need the proper light to remain healthy. If they don’t get adequate light, then healthy growth of philodendron won’t take place.
Philodendrons can survive in low light, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need light at all. Being tropical plants, they enjoy the warm and tropical atmosphere around them. If they don’t get sufficient light, the soil will not get a chance to dry up properly, leading to overwatering.
Philodendrons grow best in indirect sunlight. They don’t need too much light as the correct duration of indirect light works well for their growth.
If you’re growing philodendrons indoors, keep them somewhere near the window in such a way that they can get the warmth of the sun, but the direct light of the sun must not touch the leaves. Or you can use curtains as a filter. Older leaves may turn yellow due to little heat.
If you’re growing philodendrons outdoors, keep them in a shady place where they can get both warmth of the sun and indirect sunlight with adequate airflow.
Also read: What Kind Of Light Does A Philodendron Need? (Light Requirements)
The size of the pot for your philodendron relies on the size of your plant.
If the pot size is bigger than your plant, that can lead to overwatering, causing damp soil, which is not favorable to philodendrons.
For better results, you can repot your philodendron according to its size. When you see your philodendron growing bigger, change the pot. Take a bigger pot and transfer your plant into that pot.
Or, you can cut down your philodendron and propagate them again.
By this, you can save your philodendron’s leaves from turning mushy.
Also read: What Type Of Pot Is Best For Philodendron? (Material And Size Guide)
Wrong potting soil
The soil plays an important role in determining the health of all houseplants. If you make the wrong soil choice, you will see the results on your plant.
Philodendrons need a well-draining soil mix that can hold some moisture. Philodendrons don’t enjoy sitting in soggy or extremely dry soil so you need something in between.
If you use a regular potting mix for your philodendron, it will be too heavy and will hold excess water that will make the leaves mushy. You must add some chunky elements to make the soil well-draining.
Also read: What Type Of Soil Does A Philodendron Need? (Best Soil Mix)
Lack of air circulation
Placing your philodendron in an area that doesn’t receive good air circulation will lead to different problems, including mushy leaves.
Lack of air circulation doesn’t let the soil get dry due to which it remains wet for longer than required. The soil and roots don’t get any airflow that worsens the problem.
You must find a spot for your philodendron that not only receives indirect light but also gets proper air circulation.
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How to prevent mushy leaves in philodendron?
As discussed before, there are many reasons for mushy leaves in philodendron. You can also prevent them from getting mushy.
Firstly, you must understand the reasons behind the mushy leaves. Once you gather knowledge about the reasons and the fixations, then prevention and treatment will be easy.
Let’s see what can be done to prevent mushy leaves in philodendron.
- Keep your philodendron in a shady place. They must not get direct sunlight.
- Ensure that your philodendron is getting the right amount of warmth needed for its growth. Being tropical plants, they enjoy a tropical environment. Damp weather will only cause harm to them.
- During winters, keep your plants away from windows, especially during the nights. Philodendrons cannot withstand cold weather.
- You can use homemade fertilizers, horticulture oils, and pesticides. They are completely natural and chemical-free.
- Use fertilizers once a month or once every two months.
- Use fertilizers that contain the essential micronutrients that philodendrons need. This will help your philodendron proliferate, be healthy and appealing.
Tips for growing healthy philodendrons
When you buy new philodendrons, you need to inspect them properly to understand their quality and health.
Take out some time and get friendly with your philodendron. This will help you know about your philodendron’s necessities, and then you can serve them according to their needs.
Sunlight, water, and fertilization are the essential requirements for your philodendron’s healthy, consistent, and robust growth.
Indirect sunlight, a warm environment, watering after the soil dries up, and fertilizing according to the fluctuations of the seasons are the factors that your philodendron needs for healthy growth.
Check the humidity around your philodendron often. Philodendrons thrive in humid environments. Make sure that the surrounding of your philodendron is humid enough for its survival.
Ref: Evaluation of Different Species of Philodendron Under Indoor Conditions, University of Florida, University of Vermont, ScienceDirect, Academia, Wikipedia, Britannica.
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