Also known as The Hairy Plants, Philodendron Squamiferums are aroid, climbers that have interesting red stems. These stems are covered with soft, tiny hair, which contributes to its popular name, and set it apart from all other Philodendrons. Other than their stems, Philodendron Squamiferum has beautiful, green foliage which quickly attracts the attention of all houseplant lovers. These are tall, epiphytic vines that look beautiful in any garden, indoors or outdoors.
- Family: Araceae
- Subfamily: Aroideae
- Genus: Philodendron
About the Genus Philodendron
This genus is one of the two largest genera in the Araceae family of plants. It was named Philodendron in 1829. In the Greek language, “Philo” means “affection”, and “Dendron” means “tree”. It was named so about the fact that this aroid climber is a “tree hugger” and grows alongside tree trunks and branches. Most of these flowering plants are often used as ornamental houseplants because of their easy care and beautiful foliage.
This genus has about 400 species and some experts say that a lot of species are still unnamed. However, all of them are different from each other, in terms of size, leaves, and colors. Some of these plants have oral leaves, while others have more heart-shaped foliage. Similarly, some Philodendrons have dark foliage while others tend to have lighter-colored leaves. All of them, however, have thick, leathery leaves that prevent excessive loss of moisture from the plant.
Apart from being beautiful and ornamental, in some cultures, a Philodendron plant represents health and abundance. It is known to be a sign of luck. This Philodendron genus of plants has been cultivated and variegated extensively. Some of the popular ones include Philodendron Subhastatum, Philodendron Pedatum, and Philodendron Esmeraldense.
Common Names and Synonyms
- Hairy Philodendron
- Red bristle Philodendron
Origin and Distribution
Philodendrons are found native to Columbia and the Caribbean since they were first discovered in 1644. Their natural habitats include tropical rain forests, swamps, and river banks. They are found growing in these areas in the West Indies, America, Australia, Africa, and Asia.
Philodendron Squamiferum was first introduced in 1845 and it is found growing in the tropical areas of Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, and Columbia.
Philodendron Squamiferum Features
Foliage and Stem
These plants have interesting green, glossy foliage with multiple lobes on it. Each leaf has about or more 5 lobes depending on its age. The leaves are bright green on top and grey-green underneath. They grow as long as 12 to 18 inches. The stems are red and particularly hairy, unlike any other Philodendron.
Good news for Philodendron plant owners, this genus is evergreen and maintains its beautiful self through the year.
Under the proper care, Philodendron Squamiferum climbers can grow as tall as 1 meter. However, if you do not want them to grow that tall, regular trimming and pruning can help keep them as big as you want.
These plants can do well in warmer temperatures. However, they do not like the colder temperatures. Frosty winters are especially dangerous for these plants, so as soon as winters come, move these plants to a more suitable environment.
Philodendrons are fairly humidity-loving plants, so if you live in a humid area, it will do the plants well. If not, you can put them near a humidifier or mist them every once in a while to prevent drying of foliage. On extra dry or warm days, you can put the plant in a pebble tray with water or group a couple of water-loving plants together.
You can see burgundy spathes growing on these plants during the spring or summer seasons. These spathes are white on the top and grow white showy flowers. These flowers can bear fruits in the form of pink berries with seeds. These seeds can be used for propagation.
Philodendron Squamiferum likes to stay hydrated and do not do well under dry, desert conditions.
The climber has a tough, leathery exterior so it will not die immediately under pressure. However, constant pressure from surrounding objects can hinder its growth, not allowing it to grow to its full potential.
As tough as these plants are, unfortunately, they are not completely resistant to diseases. The most common ones are Erwinia Blight, Pseudomonas Leaf Spot, and Xanthomonas Leaf Spot.
Plants living in either extreme or inadequate environments are especially prone to attack by microbes that cause these diseases. Their symptoms include yellow leaves, lesions, and holes on the plant, as well as unexplained slowing down of growth.
Fortunately, you can prevent these diseases by giving moderate conditions and proper care to your plant. Make sure your plant is clean and dry at all times.
If your plant does get sick of infection, here is how to manage it:
Immediately isolate the plant so that the infection does not spread to the other plants around it. Prune the dead and infected parts of the plant with a sanitized knife or blade. Give it optimum conditions and do not return it to its original space until the plant has fully recovered.
Aphids and mealybugs are a common pest problem with Philodendron plants. Inspect your Squamiferum regularly to stay clear of any unwanted visitors. The idea is to catch them early. The sooner you catch them, the lesser the damage. Wipe and clean your plant regularly and make sure the foliage is always dry. If the scenario worsens, you can spray a strong, commercial pesticide on your plant. Just make sure you don’t use too much of this poisonous chemical on the plant. Also, remember to wear protective clothing while you spray it because pesticides can be very poisonous for both plants and humans.
Even the growth rate of this plant mostly depends on its genetics and the conditions it lives in if given the right care and environment, these plants are fairly fast-growing. However, during the winter and autumn seasons, their growth reduces or practically stops. This phenomenon is completely normal.
Philodendron Squamiferum plants are highly toxic and need to be kept away from pets and children. The plant contains calcium oxalate crystals which can cause mild to severe physical symptoms, ranging from a stomachache to swelling of the tongue and even inability to breathe. Make sure you put the plant somewhere high and out of the reach of animals and children.
The perennial life cycle of these plants makes them super durable. They live for years if given the right care.
Because of the surprisingly easy maintenance of these plants and how long they last, Philodendrons are very popular indoor plants.
Squamiferum Philodendron has a dormant phase of 3 to 6 months during the autumn and winter seasons. During this phase, these plants stop growing and take a break. They conserve all the food and water given to them so their requirements tend to decrease. It is best if you let them be and avoid propagating or grooming them during this time.
Philodendron Squamiferum Care
Philodendron Squamiferum care includes frequent watering, however, the top 3 centimeters of the soil must remain dry. Well-drained, nutrient-rich soil with a pH of 5.1-6.0 is perfect to boost its growth. Moreover, the plant must be kept under warm temperatures and diffused sunlight.
Philodendrons are water-loving plants. However, they do not like to be overwatered. You can water them regularly. Just make sure that the top 3 centimeters of the soil is dry. You can check to see this with your fingers or use a moisture meter. Make sure that the soil remains moist and not soggy or water clogged.
A fertile, organic, nutrient-rich soil is perfect for these tropical beauties. Just make sure that it is well-drained and does not hold any water. Stay away from clay-like or sandy textures of the substrate. Moist or damp soil is preferred to grow Philodendrons. A soil pH of 5.1 to 6.0 (slightly acidic) is recommended for Philodendron Squamiferum.
Direct exposure to sunlight over 3 hours will not be good for these plants. Make sure that you put them behind sheer curtains or diffused lights. If you do not have such a spot in the house, you can always use artificial growing lights or shade cloth to protect the plants from being damaged by direct sun rays.
The optimum temperature range for Squamiferum Philodendron plants is 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. They are known to do well in warmer temperatures but cold environments are not an ally. So, place them in a warmer spot during harsh winters and keep them away from any direct exposure to chilly environments, for example, air conditioners and fans.
As discussed earlier, these plants are humidity tolerant and do not mind extra efforts to increase moisture around them. You can mist them occasionally but make sure that they dry in a couple of hours. Prolonged moisture on the surface of these plants can lead to pest attacks and infections.
When it comes to being fed, Philodendrons do not have very high requirements. You can spread the fertilizer about 6 inches away from the plant’s base. If you plan to use a slow-release fertilizer, three times a year will be enough to adequately boost the growth of your Squamiferum.
These plants grow taller if their roots are loose and separated in the soil. If the plant is root bound, it will grow slowly. Hence, if you feel like your plant is outgrowing its current pot, immediately repot it into a bigger container. The best time to do this is the spring or summer season.
Grooming and Pruning
Making sure that your plants are clean and dry at all times is very necessary to avoid unwanted microbial growth and pest attacks. Mist your plants with water and wipe it clean to get rid of any germs or dust on its surface. You can also remove any dead leaves from the plant and trim off excessive growth if you don’t want your plant to be too tall or extensive.
Mulching your plant can help it stand straight and upright in the pot, and also provide nutrients to it when it is being stored or until you figure out a new, suitable place for the plant.
Cultivation and Propagation
There are two ways to propagate these plants: via seeds and via stem cuttings. Whichever one you choose, plant it in a customized soil mixture and let it grow under optimal conditions. These plants take their time so you need to be very patient while propagating them.
If you choose to propagate these plants through a seed, simply remove the seed from the fruit growing on the Philodendron.
- Clean and dry it completely.
- Place it on top of a prepared pot with suitable soil mix.
- Now put the pot under suitable conditions and water it frequently.
Stem Cutting Method
- Sanitize your tools and equipment, wear protective garments.
- Cut off a piece from the stem of the plant with a knife or blade. Make sure it is at least 2 to 3 inches long.
- If you wish to propagate this stem cutting in water, simply fill up a jar to 1 inch below the rim. You can also leave the water sitting overnight so that the chlorine may dissipate before you plant the cutting in it.
- Place the cutting in the jar and make sure that at least one or two nodes are submerged in the water and two to three leaves are sticking out of it.
- Place the jar of water in a warm, well-lit room and let it grow. You can keep changing the water every 2 to 3 days.
- Once you start seeing roots growing you can shift the plant to a soil pot.
- If you plan to propagate the stem cutting in soil, simply put the cutting in a prepared soil mixture and put the pot under optimum conditions.
- Water it appropriately and let it grow some roots before you shift it to a bigger pot.
Day 1-7: Place your seed or stem cutting in the desired medium and place it under suitable conditions.
Week 2-3: Roots will visibly start to grow at this point, in both the soil and water-propagated plants.
Month 2-4: You can now shift the baby plant to a bigger soil pot. Treat it like a mature plant.
Displaying Philodendron Squamiferum Plant
These plants can be great to be hung in baskets or grown up-right next to a sturdy support. You can hang them in your balcony or your patio or place them in an empty corner of your living room. Just put them in a bright, warm corner of the house to effortlessly brighten up your place with its green leaves and red stems.
Philodendron Squamiferum For Sale
If you are planning to buy these plants, make sure that the plant is perfectly healthy before you purchase it. Inspect the Philodendron thoroughly. Look around and underneath the plant’s leaves and stems for any signs of bugs, diseases, or infections.
Philodendron Squamiferums are beautiful tropical perennials that have unique red hair on their stems giving it the popular name of the Hairy Philodendron. These plants are easy to maintain, display, and propagate indoors. However, they are very toxic if ingested so you need to keep them away from your pets and children.