Philodendron is a tropical plant that grows fast and adjusts to different situations. This is a plant that both beginners and experienced plant lovers can raise. If you want to keep your philodendron healthy, you must understand its watering needs. That is what they are going to discuss today.
In this article, we shall learn how much water does a philodendron need and how often.
As a general rule, philodendron needs to be watered every 1-2 weeks. Make sure to water them thoroughly to ensure all its root gets soaked. You need to check the soil and make sure it’s at least 80% dry before you water your philodendron. The watering frequency will depend upon season and light.
If you are not giving enough water to your philodendron, the edges and the tips of the leaves will turn brown, and the leaves will also become droopy.
If you are watering your philodendron too often or too much, you will notice yellow leaves, droopy leaves, and if the condition gets severe, there might be root rot.
Let’s understand all the aspects of watering a philodendron in detail so that you don’t make any mistake that can cause trouble to your plant.
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Philodendron water requirements
The water requirements of the plants can depend upon the season. So let’s find out how much water the philodendron needs in the growing and dormant season.
Summer and spring are the growing seasons for the philodendrons. This is when the sun shines the brightest and helps the plants perform all the daily activities that cause growth in them.
The philodendron requires more nutrition, more indirect light, and more water during this time. Due to the amount of light, the philodendrons get thirsty very fast as the soil dries quickly. Therefore, you should water your philodendron frequently during this time.
However, before watering your philodendron, check the soil to make sure it is at least 75-80% dry. You can poke your finger inside the soil and review the top few inches.
You can go with watering the philodendron once a week. However, you should still check the soil before watering.
The philodendron enjoys a lot of humidity, but if the humidity is low along with high temperature, the soil will dry up fast and need more water.
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The philodendrons go into a dormant state like most houseplants during the growing season. The growth slows down as the light’s intensity reduces in winter.
The soil takes longer to get dry. So, you should reduce the watering and water once in 10 days or two weeks in winter.
You should check the soil before watering, even in winter, as you don’t want to overwater it.
You should not water your philodendron with cold water as that can shock it. Water the plant with room temperature water only.
How do I know when my philodendron needs water?
There are different ways to find out if your philodendron requires water. Let’s discuss some of them.
Moisture meter: This is the most convenient way of checking the soil’s moisture level. You need to insert it in the soil, and if the reading is 2 or 3, you can water the plant. I usually buy this moisture meter from Amazon.
Skewer/finger: You can use a skewer or insert your finger inside the soil up to 2-3 inches. Take out the skewer or your finger, and if the soil sticks to it, the soil must still be moist, and you should skip watering. If the soil doesn’t tick and feels dry, you can water.
Lift the pot: If you have a small pot, check by lifting the pot. If the pot feels heavy, the soil still has moisture, whereas if the pot feels lighter, the philodendron is ready for a round of watering.
Wet pot: If you use a clay or terracotta pot, you can touch the pot from outside to understand if it feels wet or dry. You can touch the pot at the bottom as well.
If the pot looks dark, the soil is still wet, but if the pot has a lighter shade, it means that the soil is dry, and you can water the plant.
How often to water the philodendron?
Philodendrons belong to the tropical rainforest region, where they live in high humidity conditions accompanied by heavy rainfall.
Under such conditions, the philodendrons are used to slightly moist soil that holds the proper moisture. If the soil gets bone dry, the leaves can turn brown or droop due to the stress.
That doesn’t mean that philodendrons enjoy soggy conditions, as that can lead to root rot. The soil should be able to drain the excess water away.
The best way of watering the philodendron is by mimicking the conditions of its native land. Make sure to water it thoroughly so that water starts coming out of the drainage holes. Ensure that the water reaches the roots.
Don’t water the plant before making sure that the top two layers of the soil have become dry.
You can mist the philodendron once or twice a week to make sure that it gets enough humidity.
So, you should water the philodendron whenever the top two inches of the soil are dry. Give the plant a good soak.
You can water the philodendron once a week, but it can vary and depend upon some external factors such as:
- Type of soil
- Pot type
- Humidity and temperature
- Lighting conditions
Type of soil: Philodendrons prefer a well-draining soil mix. If you use a well-draining soil mix, the soil will get dry fast to let the excess water drain out. This means that the soil will require more watering.
But if the soil mix is heavy, it will hold more water and take more time to dry, so it will not require watering as often.
However, a rich soil mix is not ideal for the philodendrons as it can be suffocating for the roots as it will retain excess water.
Pot type: The material of the pot or container can also determine the water requirements of the philodendrons. For example, if you use a plastic pot, it will require water less often. This is because the water will take time to dry in a plastic pot.
In a ceramic pot, the water will dry faster, and you will need to water your philodendron more often.
However, terracotta pots are even more porous than ceramic pots and are an excellent option for philodendrons. These drain out water even faster than the ceramic pots.
Humidity and temperature: The philodendron comes from the tropical rainforest region, where it gets a lot of humidity. The ideal range of humidity for these plants should remain between 60-70%.
If your philodendron is getting a good amount of humidity, it will require a little less watering. You can use a humidifier or mist your philodendron to maintain the proper humidity levels.
Philodendron prefers temperature ranges between 70 to 80°F. If it gets a favorable temperature, it will require more water as the soil will dry faster.
In case of lower temperatures, the water requirements of the philodendron will also become low. However, you should maintain the proper temperature levels so that the plant doesn’t develop problems.
Light: If your philodendron gets sufficient indirect light, it will require more water. However, if the philodendron lives in a low light area, consider watering the plant less often.
When the plants get enough light, the soil takes less time to dry, so the plants require watering more frequently.
But if your philodendron does not get enough bright light, the soil will take more time to get dry. This means that the watering frequency will reduce.
How much do you water philodendrons?
Although watering frequency can depend on various other factors, the amount of water you give your philodendron doesn’t change much.
Philodendrons require a good soak every time you water it so that the water starts trickling out from the drainage holes.
A good soak ensures that the philodendron gets water even in the deepest roots that encourage root development.
If you don’t water your philodendron thoroughly, the water doesn’t reach all the roots and makes the plant underwatered. This causes droopy leaves and stress to the plant.
What happens when you overwater your philodendron?
Overwatering is a common but severe problem among houseplants. It is easy to overwater a plant out of too much care or lack of knowledge about the plant’s water requirements.
In case you overwatered your philodendron, you might come across some of these signs:
- Yellow leaves
- Droopy leaves
- Mold growth
- Root rot
If you water your philodendron too often or use heavy potting mix, or use pots that don’t have drainage holes; your plant might get overwatered.
If water gets stored in the pot for long, the roots suffocate due to lack of oxygen and fail to function correctly. The plant doesn’t get sufficient nutrients or water, due to which the leaves droop and turn yellow.
What happens when you underwater your philodendron?
Philodendrons are tropical plants that like the soil to remain slightly moist and develop many problems if the soil gets dry due to lack of water.
If you have an underwater philodendron, you will notice:
- Droopy leaves
- Brown leaves
- Wilting foliage
- Dry soil
- Slow growth
If you notice that the leaves of your philodendron are turning brown and drooping downwards, it means that it is not getting enough water.
In this case, you will need to increase the watering frequency and start missing the philodendron more often.
Philodendrons can recover underwatering if you give them a good soak that allows the soil to remain moist for a few days.
However, you should not go back to watering the plant less and water whenever the top two layers of the soil become dry. You can start seeing signs of recovery after watering your philodendron two or three times.
Should you mist philodendron?
Philodendrons are used to high humidity in their native tropical rainforests. Since watering is not sufficient to keep up with its humidity requirements, it is a good idea to mist your philodendron to increase the plant’s humidity.
When the temperature levels are high during the growing season, the water will evaporate quickly from the soil, but if the humidity is low, misting the plant can give it the required moisture.
Misting your philodendron will keep the leaves shiny and healthy and prevent the browning of leaves.
Can philodendron survive in water?
Yes, philodendrons are capable of growing in water, and they can remain in the water permanently. You can take a cutting, propagate it in water, and let it remain there even after new roots grow.
You don’t need to repot the cutting in a new pot with oil. You should just let it remain in the water, and you’ll notice that it will grow and survive in the water.