Famous for its scaly red petioles, Philodendron Squamicaule is a tropical plant native to the rainforests of Central and South America. This evergreen species has stunning glossy-green heart-shaped leaves that change from pink to green as they mature. These leaves grow on red-colored herbaceous stalks that appear to have a purplish shade.
This beautiful vine is a rare plant; many are grown as a houseplant in their homes for its air-purification property and easy-to-maintain foliage. Let’s have a look at its care routine and some remarkable features.
Philodendron Squamicaule Classification
- Family: Araceae
- Subfamily: Aroideae
- Genus: Philodendron
Origin and Distribution
This plant was first discovered and introduced by Michael Howard Grayum and Thomas Bernard Croat. It was then officially classified in 1977. It is native to Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, and Nicaragua.
Philodendron Squamicaule Appearance
This plant has dark-green to grassy-green leaves with a glossy or matte texture. These leaves are salmon-pink in their juvenile days and then turn bright green. The leaves also change from heart-shaped to arrowhead-shaped as they mature.
The exquisite foliage of Philodendron Squamicaule resembles the foliage of Philodendron Serpens and Philodendron Plowmanii. The only difference is the texture of their leaves and scales on the stalks of the Philodendron Squamicaule.
This plant attains a mature height of 2-3 meters indoors if grown in ideal conditions.
Philodendron Squamicaule Care
- Watering: Every 6 to 7 days.
- Soil type and pH: Peat-based, slightly acidic to a neutral potting mix (pH 6-7).
- Sunlight: Bright, indirect sunlight.
- Temperature: 25°C to 27°C.
- Humidity: 70%
- Fertilizer: A liquid fertilizer every month.
- Hardiness zones: 9 to 11.
To clear your doubts, here is a detailed care guide.
Philodendron Squamicaule Water Requirements
Philodendron Squamicaule is a water-loving plant, but it does not like soggy soil. You should water it regularly because underwatering can kill it in no time. As soon as the top 3 centimeters of its soil gets dry, water this plant. In the growing season, you will have to water it every 6 to 7 days. The soil takes time to dry in winters, so one watering is enough for about ten days or more. On the other hand, this plant needs more watering in the summers.
This plant should be watered thoroughly by holding its pot under a sink. Let the water run into its soil until its excess starts to drain from the drainage hole.
The roots are the support system of a plant, and these roots breathe through the soil. It is why the growing medium of the plant must be light and airy to allow maximum oxygen flow to encourage healthy growth of the roots.
Philodendron Squamicaule also prefers a well-aerated, perfectly draining, lightweight potting mix with air pouches. A peat-based potting mix is ideal for this plant. It is because peat moss increases the moisture-retaining ability of the plant and also its aeration. A slightly acidic to neutral potting mix with a pH of 6.0-7.0 is considered the best for this plant.
Philodendron Squamicaule Sunlight
This gorgeous tropical species thrive in bright, indirect sunlight. Low light exposure turns its leaves pale and dull. So discoloration of the leaves is a sign that the plant is not receiving ample light exposure.
Too much sunlight or the direct sun is also not good. Direct sun is scorching and too intense for the delicate leaves of this plant. Direct sunlight can even burn the leaves. So you should avoid placing this plant outdoors without a shade cloth.
Almost all tropical plants prefer to grow in warmer temperatures. These tropical plants make excellent house plants because their optimal temperature range is the same as the average indoor temperature. Similarly, Philodendron Squamicaule grows optimally in a warmer temperature, ranging from 25°C to 27°C.
As this plant is not frost-tolerant, it should be kept in a warmer spot in winters, such as a greenhouse or terrarium. It would be best this plant is placed in a corner where it faces lesser temperature fluctuations throughout the year.
If you have grown a tropical rainforest plant before, you might already know that such plants need high humidity to thrive. The Philodendron Squamicaule type also needs high humidity to maintain its leaves’ beautiful colors and freshness. Relative humidity of 70% is required to be set for this Philo.
Misting is a great way to increase the moisture level around a plant. However, you should remember that the leaves need to be wiped dry after a good misting. Moist leaves attract more pests than dried-out ones.
Like every other living being, plants also need nutrients to survive. These nutrients are supplied to the plants through fertilizers. For this Philodendron species, a liquid fertilizer does the best job. This fertilizer must have a balanced amount of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. In the growing season, this plant should be fertilized every month. But, in winters and fall, it needs light feeding, every 6-8 weeks only.
Overfertilization does more harm than good. All the excessive fertilizer builds upon the surface of the soil and hardens up. It stops the roots from absorbing enough water or nutrients. This leads to the death of the plant.
Grooming and Pruning
Pruning a plant has two reasons: to limit the plant size and to remove damaged leaves. A plant usually drops all the old leaves by itself. But if it does not do so, it should be you who cut them down. Yearly grooming and pruning also avoid any leggy appearance of the foliage. And not only this, but pruning also encourages more growth. It is why pruning is done at the beginning of the growing season.
How to Propagate Philodendron Squamicaule?
Philodendrons are the easiest species to propagate. If you know the basics of propagating these plants, you can make your tropical jungle in your home with a collection of these plants. And to teach you these basics, we are here to help. Here is an easy and practical guide for propagating this lovely Philodendron Squamicaule.
Note that this plant should be propagated in mid-spring to early summer.
Propagation Through Seeds
- It is a time-consuming method, but it can be used to propagate a dozen of these plants simultaneously.
- All you need to do is take out healthy leaves from its fruits, dry them, and sow them into rich potting soil.
- After sowing these seeds in a potting mix, water them.
- Place the container in a brightly lit spot.
- You should also fertilize these baby seeds every month.
Propagation Through Stem Cuttings
- Take a 2-3 inches long stem cutting from your plant and place it in the rooting hormone.
- You can root it either in water or in soil.
- If you want to root it in water, place the cutting in a glass jar filled with water.
- All the leaves of the stem cutting must be above the water surface, while the bottom roots must be below the surface.
- Change the water every 2-3 days.
- Move the cutting to a proper pot once new roots grow out of the stem cutting base.
- For rooting the cutting in soil, all you have to do is plant the cutting in a potting mix in a pot.
- It should be fertilized and watered the same way as the mother plant.
Philodendron Squamicaule Basic Features
Unfortunately, this Philodendron species is a slow-growing houseplant. It takes 2 to 3 years to mature. Its growth rate slows down even more during autumn and winter, but it is totally normal.
Like every other Philodendron, this pleasing tropical species is a natural air purifier. It removes the unnecessary formaldehyde molecules from the air and adds oxygen to it. It is a great plant to have in-home to improve the air quality of indoor air.
Because of the calcium oxalate crystals in its leaves, this plant is a poisonous species for cats and dogs. If its leaves are ingested in large amounts, they can cause severe swelling or irritation of the mouth, esophagus, and GIT.
Let us warn you never to forget its watering day, as this plant cannot handle droughts well. It is not a drought-tolerant plant, so it must be watered on time.
Philodendron Squamicaule Maintenance
Although it is a rare and exotic species, Philodendron Squamicaule is super easy to care for. It is a beginner-friendly houseplant that needs minimal care. If you know the basics of growing a houseplant, you can grow this one in your home without any hassle.
In low light and cold temperatures, for example, in winters, this plant goes dormant. During these days, this plant takes rest from the constant struggle of growing tall and pauses its growth rate for some time.
Common Problems and Their Solutions
Fortunately, this plant is resistant to many common plant diseases. The only problems that you will face with this plant are root rot and fungal infections. Both these diseases develop from overwatering. So you should always allow the soil to get dry between waterings to avoid such diseases.
If you ever notice white webbing on your plant’s leaves, it is a sign of the presence of spider mites. These are the common sap-sucking pests of the Philodendron Squamicaule type. To get rid of these, you should use essential oil or insecticidal soap on the plant foliage.
This plant can also get inhabited by fungus gnats. These pests attack when the plant is getting overwatered or when the humidity levels are too high.
Frequently Asked Questions about Philodendron Squamicaule
Is Philodendron Squamicaule a Rare Philodendron?
Yes, it is a rare type of Philodendron that has been recently found and described. This plant is found in Central to Southern America to Ecuador.
Should I Re-pot My Plant Every Year?
This plant needs to be re-potted only when it has outgrown its pot. When this plant doubles its size, you should move it to a new, bigger pot. Make sure the new pot is not more than 2 inches bigger than the previous one.
What Is the Lifespan of This Philodendron Type?
It is a durable plant that lives for several years inside a home if taken care of properly. It has a longer lifespan than many other houseplants.
Philodendrons are one of the most common houseplants to grow indoors. Philodendron Squamicaule is a rare species, but it is still grown worldwide in the tropical and subtropical regions as a houseplant due to its remarkable features. This gorgeous plant has eye-catching foliage and an easy-to-follow care routine. It also keeps the surrounding air clean and fresh by removing formaldehyde from it. Who wouldn’t want to grow such a great, easy-maintenance houseplant indoors?