Tree Philodendron Houseplants: How To Grow A Tree Philodendron Plant

Tree Philodendron Houseplants: How To Grow A Tree Philodendron Plant

By: Becca Badgett, Co-author of How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden

Tree philodendron houseplants are long-lived plants that need only the simplest of care. Learn about tree philodendron care in this article.

About Tree Philodendron Houseplants

It should be noted that the plant, until recently, was classified as Philodendron selloum, but is now reclassified as P. bipinnatifidum. This Brazilian native has a stem that appears as a woody trunk when the plant is older, hence the common name, and may reach 15 feet (4.5 m.) in height and 10 feet (3 m.) across in maturity.

If you’re in warmer zones and able to leave your tree philodendron houseplants in the same spot year-round, by all means, repot and fertilize to increase its size. Tree philodendron care advises repotting into a larger container in late winter or early spring. If you want to keep the tree in its current pot, leave it alone, and it can only grow so large. If you have plenty of room and someone to help you lift the tree as it gets older (and bigger), go up a size on the container.

This interesting specimen may flower in maturity if grown outdoors. Flowers are enclosed in a spathe and create heat to attract pollinators. Flower temperatures rise to 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45 C.) to draw the scarab beetle. Flowers last for a two-day period and generally bloom in sets of two to three blooms during that time. Plants don’t bloom until they’re 15 or 16 years old. Pups, baby plantlets, sometimes grow at the base of the older plant. Remove these with sharp pruners and plant into small containers to start new plants.

How to Grow a Tree Philodendron

Growing requirements for Philodendron selloum include a full to part sun location for the plant. If possible, put it in the morning sun to prevent sunscald on the large, beautiful leaves. Providing afternoon shade is likely to help avoid such burns on this easy-to-grow plant.

If leaves have gotten a bit too much sun and have burned spots or browning tips on them, some Philodendron selloum pruning may help to remove such damage. Additional pruning of this tree philodendron may keep it sized down if it appears to be outgrowing its space.

Learning how to grow a tree philodendron is simple. Plant in fertile, well-draining houseplant soil and water as soil begins to dry out. Those located outside in the sunshine grow best, but this plant lives happily indoors as well. Keep it in bright light and provide humidity with a pebble tray, humidifier, or using a mister. Don’t allow it in temperatures to fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 C.).

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Read more about Philodendrons

Hope philodendron (Philodendron selloum) hails from the extensive plant family of aroids. It is a beautiful tropical plant that originated in South America.

The genus name Philodendron comes from the Greek words ‘philo’ and ‘dendron’ which means tree loving. Hope philodendron is also known as lacy tree philodendron and horsehead philodendron (1). Philodendron selloum is a synonym of Philodendron bipinnatifidum (2).

Like most philodendron species, hope philodendron is grown for their foliage. They are prized for their deeply lobed, evergreen leaves that can reach up to 1.5 meters long.

The large, shiny, green leaves grow outward from a small base. Because of their interesting silhouette, the leaves are also grown as a cut foliage. When allowed to grow and mature, the base of the plant develops into a trunk-like structure.

Does Hope Philodendron Bloom?

Hope philodendron flowers are hard to come by especially when they are grown indoors. If you are a new owner of a hope philodendron plant, you will have to wait 15-16 years before your plant reaches maturity and bloom. But when they do, the flowers are borne in a white spadix inflorescence hidden under the broad leaves (3).

Is Hope Philodendron Toxic?

While they are beautiful, most species of Philodendron are toxic to both humans and pets. These plants have calcium oxalate crystals that can cause skin irritation and swelling of the tongue and throat when ingested (4). This is why you need to be careful when growing tree philodendron as a houseplant.

Toxicity and potential dangers

While a philodendron selloum plant makes for a wonderful addition to a home or garden, you do need to be wary of its toxicity. Wear gloves when handling the plant and make sure that no child or animal ever puts the plant in their mouths. Most philodendrons contain calcium oxalate crystals that can cause pain, drooling, and vomiting. They can also trigger swelling of the mouth and airway, making it difficult to swallow or breathe.