Types of Philodendron
Philodendron is the largest genus in the Araceae after Anthurium with 700 or more species, it is also one of the most popular genus of houseplants (Croat, 1979, 1983a, 1988, 1990). The large number of species within the genus means there is vast variety to choose from.
Genus name comes from the Greek ‘philo’ meaning loving and ‘dendro’ meaning tree.
Find out more about the Philodendron genus and how each plant differs below, as well as tips on how to care for your Philodendron and other useful facts.
Philodendron scandens (syn. Philodendron hederaceum, Philodendron oxycardium).
Native from Mexico to Tropical America, Philodendron scandens is popular for its heart-shaped leaves (cordate) and for the fact that it’s very easy to care for.
- P. scandens has a climbing growth habit, in their native environment, roots normally anchor the plant to the soil while the stem is also held to the tree by the same roots which grow from the nodes found at intervals along its own length. The gaps between the nodes are called internodes, these produce buds which mature into petioles which are the stem-like structure which support the leaves..
Whilst the plant is toxic to animals and humans when ingested, like many of its relatives, it can easily tolerate average to slightly lower light levels, making it a great choice for anyone short on light and looking for low-maintenance houseplants to get them started. It’s worth noting that the less light Philodendron scandens receives, the more vining the plant will become as internodal gaps increase in size. Given that this plant has a climbing growth habit, the addition of a trellis or moss pole will likely increase leaf size.
Philodendron scandens 'Brazil'
This plant is a cultivar of Philodendron scandens, it’s leaf blades are splashed with chartreuse stripes. ‘Brazil’ was discovered as a naturally-occurring whole plant mutation by Ruben Ernesto Acosta in a controlled environment in Holambra, Brazil.
Philodendron ‘Micans’ (syn. Philodendron hederaceum var. hederaceum)
This Philodendron has velvety leaves and looks a little like Philodendron melanochrysum. Philodendron ‘Micans’ is a fast grower and, as a result, can get leggy sometimes, just trim it back and propagate the cuttings.
This breathtaking plant has grown in popularity over the past few years and is becoming more widely available. P. verrucosum is hemi-epiphytic, beginning its life as a terrestrial plant and then climbing up a host tree. It’s leaves are dark and velutinous and the petioles are covered in pubescence.
These plants require a little more care than other Philodendron but they are so worth it.
Philodendron erubescens ‘White Princess’
Philodendron erubescens is native to Colombia, however, ‘White Princess’ is a cultivar of unknown origin. It has a self-heading growth habit and spectacular white variegation, which manifests as sporadic splashes across the green leaves. White parts of the leaves are without chlorophyll and more likely to age faster.
This plant has been a real heartthrob in the recent times, it’s thought to be a sport (spontaneous chimeric mutation) of Philodendron ‘Rojo Congo’. The glossy oval-shaped leaves with eye-catching white striped variegation make this plant particularly eye-catching.
The narrow, serrated edge leaves that are typical of this plant are why it’s sometimes called ‘Tiger tooth’ by some.
Whilst this grows in a self-heading formation, it can also climb if given a sphagnum moss pole to support it.
Philodendron ‘Ring of Fire’
‘Ring of Fire’ is one of the most sought after Philodendrons, due to its vibrant variegation which can see its leaves range from dark green to light yellow, to orange.
It isn’t widely available so snap one up if it’s on your list!
Philodendron ‘Pink Princess’
The ‘Pink Princess’ is another Philodendron that is highly prized by collectors, thanks to its pink variegation. It’s an incredibly fast grower and does well to be chopped back every now and then to encourage more variegation.
Philodendron ‘Cherry Red’
The rich red colour that this Philodendron gets its name from shows itself when new leaves unfurl, over time the foliage grows more green, so the overall colour of the plant is continually changing as time goes on.
Philodendron hastatum ‘Silver Sword’
The blue-grey hue to the leaves of this plant set it apart from its relatives, as well as its long arrow-shaped leaves.
Mature individuals in the wild are considered to be in decline, although Philodendron hastatum was last assessed in 2010.
Philodendron ‘Lemon Lime’
This Philodendron cultivar was discovered as a natural mutation, the chartreuse leaves and cordate leaf shape make it a popular choice.
This plant is currently in tissue culture which has increased its availability.
Philodendron ‘Florida Ghost’
Now this is a very special and sought-after plant, the ‘Florida Ghost’ gets its name from its unusual white variegation which is displayed by new leaves. In time, those leaves become a mint green, then a darker green. It’s a very fast grower and like a lot of other Philodendron, it is easy to propagate, my preferred substrate for propagating this plant is sphagnum moss
This plant is much in demand, and as such can be difficult to procure on a regular basis.
This is one of my favourite plants in the genus, it was also very popular during the 1950’s, I know the bristly petioles aren’t for everyone but I love them. It’s juvenile leaves are ovate to lance-shaped then they morph as the plant matures and become highly lobed.
Philodendron ‘Florida Beauty’ (Green)
This Philodendron can be distinguished by its easily recognisable leaf shape. Each leaf is multi-lobed, dark green and features a single large lower lobe with pink petioles (stalks connecting the leaf to the stem). There’s lots of speculation about the origin of this hybrid, is it Philodendron squamiferum or Philodendron pedatum?
Philodendron ‘Weeks Red’
‘Weeks Red’ is another hybrid plant that has its roots in Miami. Ron Weeks is the man behind this curious creation, a giant Philodendron that grows in a rosette shape.
Its leaves are of a hastate shape, meaning they grow in a triangular, spear-like shape, and can grow up to 4 feet long. The petioles also feature that small red spots.
Philodendron ‘Golden Dragon’
The exotically variegated ‘Golden Dragon’ gets its name from the fine gold speckles that appear on its mature dark green leaves. It is thought to be a cross of Philodendron bipennifolium.
Philodendron ‘Prince of Orange’
This hybrid plant has its roots in the 1980s, when Cora McColley patented the variant in Orlando. Since then the plant has become sought after for its unique orange hue of young leaves.
As in the case of the ‘Pink Princess’, this orange colour turns to green over time, however the pink petioles remain throughout its lifespan.
Philodendron ‘Rojo Congo’
‘Rojo Congo’, sometimes known as ‘Red Congo’ is thought to be a hybrid of Philodendron tatei and Philodendron ‘Imperial Red’. This plant gives the appearance of being a self-heading plant, however it’s also perfectly capable of climbing as well which can be supported by a moss pole. The leaves unfurl in a rich red colour, maturing to a dark green as they grow.
Philodendron ‘Imperial Red’
Large, coriaceous (leathery) leaves are a signature trait of this Philodendron, which takes its name from the bright red colour of its leaves when they first unfurl. Each leaf starts out this way, before maturing to red-purple through to a dark, rich green.
This cultivar was discovered growing among several hundred random seedlings which were obtained in 1977 from Bamboo Nursery, Opapka, Florida. The patent number of this plant is USPP6337P.
Philodendron lupinum is endemic to State of Acre in Brazil. it’s velvety leaves are broadly cordate in the juvenile form and as the plant matures, the leaf blade become sagittate or panduriform. This prolific plant would benefit greatly from a trellis or moss pole.
‘Lupinum’ means relating to wolves, this is in reference to the shallowly pedate leaf blade resembling a face of a wolf.