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Philodendron Plowmanii – Features, How to Grow and Care

by gardeningit
Philodendron Plowmanii

Philodendron Plowmanii is a beautiful terrestrial, creeping plant with stunning foliage and an unusual stem. Unlike most plants, their stems do not support the leaves. Instead, they act as a base for the plant. The stems are said to be “repent” which means that the stem does not grow upright and rather moves around the ground. These stems also have nodes and internodes. These are the points where a plant’s roots and petioles grow out of.

Philodendron Plowmanii looks very similar to and is often confused with, Philodendron Mamei. To make sure you don’t make that mistake and can differentiate between the two, look at their leaves. Philodendron Mamei plants have silver-grey variegation on their surface which Plowmanii doesn’t. Also, Plowmanii has ruffled edges along its petioles which you cannot find on a Mamie plant.


  • Family: Araceae
  • Subfamily: Aroideae
  • Genus: Philodendron

About the Philodendron Genus

The plant family Araceae has two large genera. One of them is the Philodendron genus. These plants look very similar to some other types of plants, particularly the Monstera Deliciosa or the Pothos plants. If paid close attention, you can easily spot the difference between them and a Philodendron. Monstera plants have differently arranged holes in their leaves, while Pothos plants have variegation in their leaves and are generally smaller than a Philodendron. There are two types of plants falling under this genus: trailing and non-trailing.

Origin and Distribution

Philodendron plants are native to Central as well as South America and are mostly concentrated in the tropical areas of this distribution. Philodendron Plowmanii, in particular, originates from Ecuador and Peru.

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Philodendron Plowmanii Plant Features

Foliage and Stem

This beautiful creeper plant has thin and leathery leaves which look different during different stages of the plant’s life. As juvenile, these plants have leaves with silver streaking. However, as they grow older, their leaves grow larger and become more heart-shaped. These leaves have a glossy look to them and often are a mix of green and yellow colors. They are usually grayish from underneath. Their petioles are green, glossy, and develop a ruffled edge around them.


Luckily, these plants are evergreen, which is always good news for plant owners. This means that these plants can stay healthy and lush throughout their lives if given the proper care and environment.


Similarly, if kept under the right conditions, these beautiful creeper plants can grow from an average length of 3 meters to up to 8 feet long.

Temperature Tolerance

These plants are not temperature tolerant. They need a minimum temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit to survive and do not do well in colder environments. So, make sure you move them to a warmer spot when winters hit hard.

Humidity Tolerance

Yes, these plants are humidity tolerant and don’t mind an extra effort to maintain moisture around them. An indoor humidifier and occasional misting can be good ways of making sure your plant doesn’t go dry during the warm, windy days of summer and spring.


If ever, these plants produce spathes of yellow color. These are unscented and can go unnoticed sometimes. The primary attraction of these terrestrial plants is their beautiful, large foliage.


Considering that these plants like moisture in their soil and on their leaves, they are not the best during situations resembling a drought. They need to be around water and humidity to survive and cannot grow much without it.

Disease Resistance

Philodendron plants are not the most disease-resistant plants. They are very prone to getting sick and some of the common diseases they get are Erwinia Blight, Pseudomonas Leaf Spot, and Xanthomonas Leaf Spot.

Erwinia blight is the most common disease for these plants. It attacks plants that are water-soaked and makes the plant look pale, yellow, and unwell. The plant stops growing and old foliage starts to droop and develop yellow lesions.

Pseudomonas shows up on the leaves as yellow lesions that have dark centers. This disease targets plants that live in high temperatures and are misted very frequently.
Xanthomonas attacks wounded leaves. It turns the plant yellow and makes it wilt over time. Excessively warm and humid environments make plants prone to these bacteria.
You can prevent these diseases by making sure your plant lives in moderate environments, gets proper care, and is clean.

In case your plant does catch an infection, isolate it immediately so that the bacteria don’t spread to other plants. Prune the dead, diseased and infected parts of the plant and put them under the corrected environment and care.

Pest Resistance

Aphids and mealybugs are the most common insects that attack this plant. Make sure you keep a close eye on your Plowmanii and spot these as early as you can to prevent excessive damage. Wiping and cleaning your plant with alcohol can also help with this problem. If necessary, you can spray an insecticide as well. Just make sure you don’t spray too much of that poison onto the plant and wear protective clothing before you do so.


Philodendrons are fairly slow-growing plants so if your plant is not showing fast progress in terms of growth even though you are fulfilling all its needs, do not panic. Just give it time and care but make sure you don’t overwater it.


These plants contain calcium oxalate crystals which means that they are not safe to be ingested by humans as well as animals. They can cause inflammation of the entire digestive system, all the way from the mouth to the stomach and can cause physical signs and symptoms such as swelling of the tongue, stomach pain, and difficulty swallowing. Keep these plants away from the reach of your pets and children and immediately refer to a doctor if you think they might have accidentally ingested them.


Due to their perennial life cycle, Philodendron Plowmanii plants can last you years before they need to be replaced. Just give them the proper care and you will not have to worry about their expiry for a long time.


Because they do not require any extra efforts in terms of their care, they are not hard to be taken care of and are generally considered low-maintenance plants.


It is normal for these plants to become dormant and stop growing in the colder and darker months of winter and autumn, so don’t panic if your plant does not show growth despite your best efforts. It’s just sleeping.

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Philodendron Plowmanii Care

Philodendron Plowmannii care requires warm, moderate temperatures, bright indirect lights, and a well-drained potting mix to thrive. They do not need regular fertilizing or watering and are super easy to maintain. Repotting can be done only when necessary and is not compulsory at all.

Water Requirements

These are water-loving plants. They like to stay in moist environments and grow well when watered frequently. Just make sure you don’t overdo it. To avoid this, check the top two inches of your soil. If it seems to have dried up nicely, it is safe to water the plant again. Watering once or twice a week is generally enough.


When it comes to the soil needs, well-draining, rich organic soil is ideal for a Philodendron Plowmanii plant. It should be a mixture of loam, sand, and peat, all in equal portions. You can also use compost as a soil amendment. A medium with a slightly acidic pH (4.5-6) is preferred. Make sure that water does not stand in the soil or it could get water-clogged. Soggy soil can be a cause of many problems for you and your plant.


Bright, indirect lights are best suitable for this species of plants. However, partial to full-shade is not damaging either. Just make sure you don’t put the plant under direct, intense sunlight as that could burn the plant’s leaves. If you must put it outside, make sure you use a shade cloth or put it behind other large plants to filter and mellow the sunlight hitting the leaves.

Temperature Requirements

Warm temperatures are a particular preference for these plants and they do not like to live in colder environments. Keep them away from fans, air conditioners, and any direct exposure to the cold or they will start to look dry and unwell.


As discussed earlier, these plants love moisture. Just like their soil, they appreciate extra efforts for their foliage. If you live in a drier area, installing an indoor humidifier can help you out. If not, you can mist the plant every once in a while to make sure it stays nice and hydrated. Grouping plants is also a good way to increase humidity around the plant. If you want to go the extra mile, put the pot in a pebble tray, on top of the pebbles, and add some water to the tray. When this water evaporates, it will make the air around the plant nice and humid.


Fertilizing the plant helps speed up its growth, especially during the growing seasons (spring and summer). Just make sure that the fertilizer you use is not cheap or low-quality, as cheaper fertilizers tend to damage the plant’s roots in the long run.


You will only need to re-pot these plants if they outgrow their current pot and you can see the roots come out of the holes under the pot or if your plant has caught an infection.

Grooming and Pruning

You can prune the plant if it looks out of shape. Just make sure you don’t overdo it since that can stunt the overall new growth of the plant.

Read: Philodendron Hastatum

Philodendron Plowmanii Propagation

These plants can be propagated in two ways, in two mediums (talk about options!) You can propagate these via tip cuttings or stem cuttings in both soil and water. Remember to sanitize your tools and equipment, wear protective garments and be very careful while you do this.

If you decide to use stem cuttings like most people do, carefully cut off a section of a stem with a knife, blade, or a pair of scissors. It could be 2 to 3 inches long. If you decide to use a tip cutting, cut off a similar section of a stem but make sure it has leaves on its tip.

Water Propagation

If you want to propagate the plant in water, simply follow the steps below.

  • Simply fill a jar of water and put your cutting in it. Just make sure you don’t fill the jar all the way, leave about 1 inch on the top. It is also sometimes recommended that you leave the water to sit for a few hours, or preferably overnight before you start the propagation.
  • Place the cutting in the jar in such a way that the bare nodes lay underneath the waterline, while at least two or three leaves stand out of it.
  • Now place the jar in a moderately warm place and let it root. Keep changing the water and avoid putting it under direct sunlight to avoid algae growth.
  • Once you see roots growing, shift the plant to a soil pot and water it as appropriate.

Soil Propagation

If you decide to propagate directly in the soil mix, follow the below-mentioned steps.

  • Just put the cutting in pre-prepared soil for the plant and water it. You can cover the pot with a clear, plastic bag for added moisture. Don’t forget to air them out every once in a while to avoid any microbial growth.
  • Water the soil and keep it moist (not soggy) under warm temperatures (preferable 70 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit).
  • To see if the roots have started growing, gently tug on the plant and feel the resistance it gives you.
  • Once you feel like strong roots have developed, you can switch the plant to its allocated pot.
  • To make the roots grow even faster, you can dip the growing end of the cutting in growth hormone before you propagate it.


Day 1-7: Put your cutting in the desired medium and place it under suitable conditions. If already in the water, make sure you change the water regularly every three to four days.

Week 2-3: Roots will start to form in both the soil and water-propagated plants.

Month 2-4: You can now shift the plant growing in water to a soil pot. Give it time and care to develop as it is a slow grower.

Displaying Philodendron Plowmanii

Since they have beautiful, large leaves, these plants can be displayed as statement pieces in your house. They can be put in warm, shaded spots of a bright, well-lit room and left to clean your air and make your place look fresher at the same time. Their varying size makes it easy for them to be placed around the house in small and large corners, tables, and even shelves.

Final Thoughts

Philodendron Plowmanii plants are beautiful, terrestrial, creepers that like to live in warm temperatures and indirect sunlight. Their low maintenance and easy propagation make them a hit for all houseplant lovers. They have big, beautiful leaves that are a statement on their own and can quickly bring a vibrancy of color to your place while they effortlessly clean the air you breathe.

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