One of the most exciting characteristics of philodendrons is their growth rate. These fast-growing indoor plants sprout new leaves almost daily. They're also effortless to grow as they are happy in nearly all environments and can handle a bit of neglect. This makes them an excellent choice for those who want houseplants without hassle.
Philodendrons are a genus in the family Araceae. Within the genus, there are nearly 450 species. These species can be divided into climbing varieties and non-climbing, upright varieties.
Because there are so many species of philodendron, there are many common names by which they're known. Each species has both a botanical name and a common name.
Philodendrons are classified as flowering herbaceous perennials. Herbaceous perennials are plants without woody stems whose foliage dies in the winter and reemerges in spring and summer.
Philodendrons are evergreens, however, and never completely die back. While their growth rate may slow during the winter months, most indoor environments are conducive to continued growth.
The philodendron genus is additionally categorized in the following manner:
Hemiepiphytes - These are plants that begin terrestrial and later become epiphytes. Epiphytes are plants that live on other plants in a non-parasitic way. They piggyback on other plants and take advantage of the resources surrounding their host.
In the case of philodendrons, some begin as vines and later become epiphytic.
The seedlings of these plants emerge and grow toward the nearest host, most often a tree. Once they've established themselves, the terrestrial roots die, and the remainder of the plant grows on the tree.
Terrestrial Plants - A plant with roots that grow in soil are terrestrial.
Evidence of philodendrons can be traced back thousands of years. They're considered tropical plants native to South America and the Caribbean. Now, species of philodendron can be found worldwide.
Although the physical appearance of philodendrons can vary by species, they all share some general characteristics.
Most philodendrons have light to deep green leaves. There are some species outside of this norm, however, that feature green and white leaves.
While the leaves of philodendron plants are typically large, the shape can vary. Lobed, oval, and spear-shaped are a few of the many forms they may take.
Philodendrons produce specialized leaves called cataphylls that help protect new leaves as they form.
Types Of Philodendron
There are both vining and upright, non-vining philodendrons. Both make excellent houseplants. The one you choose will depend upon your space and personal taste.
Below is a list of the 5 most popular vining and non-vining species of philodendron.
Popular Vining Philodendron
Green Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron Hederaceum). Sometimes referred to as the sweetheart plant, the heartleaf philodendron is appropriately named for its signature heart-shaped leaves. This species is slower growing than most but long-living.
Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum 'Brasil'). Cultivar of the common heartleaf philodendron with variegated leaves. Aptly named Brasil for its resemblance to the Brazilian flag.
Philodendron Brandtianum (Philodendron Brandtianum). Easy to grow with grey, mottled leaves.
Philodendron Micans (Philodendron Micans). One of the most popular philodendron houseplants with velvety leaves.
Oak leaf philodendron (Philodendron Pedatum). Extremely fast-growing variety with large leaves that resemble oak leaves.
Popular Upright Philodendrons
Xanadu (Philodendron Bipinnatifidum). Large, leathery leaves are the hallmark of this compact plant, often wider than tall.
Pink Princess (Philodendron erubescens). A highly popular houseplant due to its bubblegum pink variegation.
Gloriosum (Philodendron Gloriosum). Unique variety having large, heart-shaped leaves with white veining.
Moonlight Philodendron (Philodendron'Moonlight'). Stunning lime green and yellow leaves make this variety one of the most popular with growers.
Birkin (Philodendron' Birkin'). Slow-growing variety with red tones to its leaf and white striping.
Upright philodendron plants are grown in containers. Depending on the size, they can make an impressive entryway or corner display. Smaller varieties can be displayed on tables or shelves.
Philodendron climbers do well in hanging baskets where the vines can drop freely. If grown in a ground container, they'll need a moss pole or trellis to climb as they grow.