Philodendron verrucosum

Philodendron Verrucosum | Plant Care Guide

Philodendron verrucosum is a remarkable ornamental plant. It features unmistakable heart-shaped, velvety surface leaves with prominent veins as it matures. 

Philodendron verrucosum is an hemi-epiphytic. Hemi-epiphytes start their lives on the surface of other plants before developing their roots. It is at this stage they become self-sustaining. 

This plant has stunning features. For this reason, it has been popularized as an ornamental plant in many parts of the world. There is a lot that can be learned about this beautiful plant, as shown below. 

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Botanical NamePhilodendron verrucosum
Common NameEcuador Philodendron
Size3 feet tall
DifficultyEasy
Pet FriendlyNo, Toxic
Air CleanerYes

Origin of Philodendron Verrucosum

The plant grows naturally in Central to South America. Its true origin is in Ecuador, where it still grows in abundance in the Ecuadorian forest. That is why sometimes it is referred to as the Ecuadorian Varicosum. Other countries in which it has been found include; Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and Peru. 

How to care

Like all plants, Philodendron can only thrive best in favorable conditions. Proper control of light and temperature, water, and diseases is essential for its good health.

Light and temperature

Philodendron verrucosum grows best in bright, indirect light, which closely resembles their natural jungle floor environment. In this environment, there is dappled light due to the trees canopy cover.

Direct light should be avoided to prevent scorching of the leaves. Potted plants can be placed near an east-facing window. In this position, the plant is likely to get more and longer light exposure. Plant contact with the window should be avoided to prevent burning.

Philodendron verrucosum occurs naturally at altitudes of 165 to 6550ft(50-2000m). At this altitude, temperatures are approximately 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius). This is its optimal temperature. 

It has also been observed to do well even in slightly higher temperatures. On the contrary, they are severely affected by low temperatures. Therefore measures should be taken to avoid frosting during winter.

Watering

Philodendron verrucosum does best under moist soil conditions. Proper watering intervals should be maintained. Otherwise, the plant may not do well. One of the signs of underwatering is yellowing and shedding of leaves.  

Long intervals make soils harden, making water penetration harder during the subsequent watering. One common practice is to feel the soils between fingers to gauge the level of dryness. A powdery feel is an indicator of the need for more watering and vice versa.  

Overwatering should be avoided because it is one of the significant causes of root diseases. Overwatering also stifles aeration, which is vital for proper plant development. 

Watering should be done at the plant base and never over the plant. Constant leaf wetness has been proved to be a major cause of fungal diseases. 

Also critical is the timing of the watering. If watering is done at dusk, the plant remains wet overnight. Again this creates conditions conducive to the development of diseases. 

The best watering time is mid-morning. During this period, there is sufficient time for the plant to dry before sunset. Equally, proper water drainage should be maintained at all times.

Fertilization

Fertilization is important for the growth of the Philodendron verrucosum. A low level of fertilization slows plant growth. For the best plant vibrancy, fertilization is recommended once per month. 

Summer and spring are the best seasons for fertilization to maximize the use of the fertilizer. During the winter, the plant will usually be in its dormancy and shouldn’t be fertilized. 

The best fertilizers to use are rich in calcium and phosphorus. Any NPK fertilizer with ratios of 15:15:15 would be fine. 

Also, slow-release is an alternative form of fertilizer that can be applied. They appear as colorful balls and sticks which can be firmly placed on the soil surface. The value of slow-release fertilizers is that the need for frequent application is reduced. For this, as few as three times a year is sufficient. 

Also, over-fertilization should be avoided due to the risk of scorching.

Flowering

Philodendron verrucosum occasionally flowers. This happens mostly around April through June. The plant then develops small fruits that mature fast before dropping off. 

The plant is bimodal, which means it flowers twice a year. That has been shown by the appearance of flowers in September and October. Flowers usually appear as pink and white blooms. The blooming season may vary from region to region. 

Pruning

Frequent pruning of Philodendron verrucosum may not be required. Just a few times a year is enough. Philodendron verrucosum can be pruned for the following reasons.

  • The plant overgrows and covers more space
  • Pruning for purposes of reshaping 
  • Removing yellowing and dead leaves
  • Trimming long plant part

Shears or a sharp knife can be used for pruning. All tools should be sterilized to prevent spreading infections. Simply wiping with sterilizing alcohol will be effective. 

Pruning tools should also be sharp to prevent causing wounds on the cut plant part. Blunt tools cause jagged edges that become entry points for infections. On the contrary, clean-cut pieces heal much faster. 

Cuts for pruning should be above the node. That is at the point on the stem at which leaves and other stems branch out. This prevents the appearance of many unsightly stubs. 

All pruned parts should be removed from the pot and discarded. If they are left in the pot, they create hiding places for pests. Also, they increase disease incidences.

Repotting

Philodendron verrucosum develops roots fast. As such, it is likely to fill its current pot with an extensive root system quickly. This causes a root bound that cramps up roots in the current pot. 

The following are the signs that the plant is already root-bound.

  • Roots jutting out the drainage holes.
  • A salty substance appears on top of the soil.
  • Stunted growth rate.
  • The soil seems to be dry even after frequent watering.

If any of that is observed, it’s time for plant repotting. This can be done by moving the plant to the next pot size up. Common pots used are mostly ceramic or plastics. 

The advantage of plastic containers is the reduction of the need for frequent watering. However, they are not as porous as pots. This increases the risk of sogging, which may cause root rot. Plastics also tend to absorb and close in heat which may burn the plant root. 

The other option is to use ceramic pots. Ceramic pots are more porous than plastics. It’s advantageous for the efficient aeration of the philodendron verrucosum. Their downside is the increased frequency of watering. 

Overall, using pots provides better plant health. Repotting is a delicate procedure. If done wrongly, the delicate roots may be crushed. This can slow down the recovery rate in the new pot.

Pests

Like all other plants, Philodendron has its fair share of pests. If these pests are unchecked, they can extensively damage the plant. Leaves and stem perforations, slimy leaves are some of the common signs of pest infestation. 

While some pests are visually observable, others are so tiny to be visible. A pest infestation can be devastating. In severe cases, whole plant parts can be covered. Some of the common types of pests that affect Philodendron verrucosum are;

  • Mealybugs
  • Spider mites
  • Thrips
  • Whiteflies
  • Aphids

The following methods are effective against pests.

Use of Neem oil 

Neem is an effective organic pesticide, though not cheap. Neem can be bought online or in most offline stores. It is either sold as pure form or premixes. Both can be effective as a preventive measure or when the pests are sighted. Spraying should be repeated every 2-3 weeks for best results.

Castille soap

For a homemade remedy, it is fantastic. It has been observed to eliminate not only adult pests but eggs as well. The application ratio is one tablespoon of Castille soap to one liter of water.

Rubbing alcohol

The mixing ratio should be one-half part water to a quarter part alcohol. This is the appropriate ratio for safe use on plants. Increasing the alcohol ratio can damage the plant leaves. The solution is applied using a piece of cloth.

Diseases

Frequent scouting for diseases is important for maintaining a healthy Philodendron verrucosum. Common diseases include bacterial blight, bacterial leaf spot, root rot, among others. 

Infections appear as brown-yellow or black spots around leaves and stems. Such diseases are fast spreading. It is therefore important to take early action to avoid it spreading to other parts of the plant. 

Overhead watering is one of the major causes of fungal spreading on the philodendron verrucosum. Prolonged wetness is the breeding ground for diseases. Too much moisture on the leaf surface creates an environment for the growth of fungal spores.

Also, caution should be taken when buying new philodendron verrucosum plants. Most people do not inspect the new plant before buying. Plants from the market are one of the common plant disease carriers. 

Most philodendron verrucosum diseases are treatable if spotted early. Treatment can be done by the use of organic and inorganic drugs. 

How to propagate Philodendron Verrucosum

Propagating Philodendron verrucosum is easy, and it can be done in two ways; in water or in potting mix. Either way, it is first essential to identify the healthy plant parts you want to propagate.

By using water, a healthy plant part is cut below the node. The plant cutting is then placed inside a jar kept at room temperature and under plenty of indirect light. 

Having more than one node increases the sprouting success. The reason is having more than one point of root sprouting speeds up growth. Using sterilized scissors is recommended at all times to avoid disease infections.

After approximately two weeks, roots will appear. When they reach 2-3 inches long, it is time to transplant. Propagating is by preparing a potting mix and placing the propagating part slightly below its surface. Regular watering should be done throughout the period.

Alternatively, the cut plant part is put directly in the potting mix. Cuttings are then buried just slightly below the surface, as with the other method above. The difference with this method is sprouting may take longer. 

The reasoning being the plant part first sprouted with water will have already pre-developed roots. This gives it an obvious headstart compared to the undeveloped cutting placed directly into the cutting mix.

Frequently Asked Questions

Verrucosum is one of the rare species of Philodendron sp. Its unique colorful, oval-shaped colorful, velvety leaves make it a plant enthusiast’s favorite plant. For that reason, many people are willing to pay a premium for a piece of it. 

However, with its ease of propagation, it has spread fast around the world. Thus it may not be a rare item for long.

Verrucosum is a fast-growing plant. It can grow up to 5 inches per week if well-tended. However, that is based on the assumption of the availability of favorable conditions. Such conditions include regular watering, pruning, fertilization, and provision of adequate light. Others are controlling pests, diseases, and repotting when needed.

The plant should be pulled out from its current pot and dried the roots with a piece of clothing. The root should then be examined to prune out any rotting or damaged part of the roots. 

A new potting mix is prepared. The new pot should have adequate perforations for good drainage. The plant should then be watered regularly. 

Curling is a sign of plant stress. This can be due to several causes. One cause may be disease infections. Some fungal diseases make the philodendron leaves curl when infected. 

The presence of pests such as aphids, thrips, and whiteflies is also another reason. Finally, the plant will curl its leaves if it is not getting enough water. An adequate investigation is required before deciding the appropriate course of action.

Final Thoughts on Philodendron Verrucosum

Philodendron verrucosum is an excellent ornamental plant. It grows fast and requires minimal maintenance needs. These needs include regular watering, fertilization, pruning, controlling pests and diseases, and providing enough lighting. 

If you meet these needs, the plant can easily blossom into a great ornamental plant.

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