Alas, the Philodendron Snowdrift is one of the more unique varieties in the Philodendron genus. 🙂
It is a foliage plant that is grown for variegated leaves… but this variegation is very variable, and differs from plant to plant. We’ve seen Snowdrifts with white variegation (thus the name), and others with a more yellow or light green color. Some Snowdrifts have a speckled or marbled appearance.
What’s more, the variegation may be different on different leaves on the same plant!
Thankfully, caring for this plant is EASY. The most important things to note are; >70% humidity, a well-draining airy potting mix, and bright indirect light (8 hours or more please).
Let’s dive into the details.
How To Care For Your Philodendron Snowdrift
As with most other Philodendrons, the Snowdrift grows best with bright, indirect light.
Direct sunlight is usually too harsh for this plant, and can cause its leaves to scorch, burn, and discolor. But too little light can also cause issues with this plant.
In our experience, the Philodendron Snowdrift needs at least 8 hours of indirect, but bright, sunlight every day. A location near a sunny window or even artificial light can be used to make your Snowdrift happy.
This tropical plant thrives in moist, humid environments, so it is only natural that it needs regular watering. With that said, however, the Philodendron Snowdrift is susceptible to overwatering, which means care must be taken not to give this plant too much water.
A good general rule of thumb is to water your Snowdrift once a week in the summer, and then lower the frequency to once every 10-14 days in the winter.
Keep in mind that the exact amount of watering the plant needs can vary based on the age and size of the plant, as well as the season, humidity level, and temperature. So it’s always best to check that your Snowdrift’s topsoil is dry before watering.
Philodendron Snowdrift is native to tropical habits, and requires humidity above 70%. The higher the better! That does mean, however, that lower humidity can potentially cause problems for the Snowdrift.
When the humidity drops below 55%, its leaves can start to dry out a bit. You’ll see it getting yellow and the edges become brown and crispy.
Stumped? Here are 4 ways to increase humidity levels for your plant.
Philodendron Snowdrifts grow best when the temperature is between 60-80 degrees F (16-27 degrees C). Luckily for gardeners, this temperature range typically falls in the average indoor temperature of most homes. 🙂
However, even when kept indoors, the plant can still experience temperature shock and stress if you place it in an area where it is exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations.
Drafty doors and windows, near heating and cooling vents, and even next to exterior doors can all cause the temperature in that general area to rise and fall rapidly. This can cause your beloved Philodendron to drop its leaves… leading to heartbreak!
Philodendron Snowdrift is (under ideal conditions) a fast-growing plant with an upright growing habit. If its growth rate has slowed, this is typically because it is not getting sufficient light…. and to a lesser extent, sufficient humidity or warmth.
When grown in its native habitat, it can reach heights of up to 3 feet (0.9 meters). If you grow this plant indoors, however, it typically doesn’t get much taller than 24 inches (61cm).
Soil or Growing Medium
Since the Philodendron Snowdrift is prone to overwatering, it is important to select the right type of soil to grow the plant in. You REALLY don’t want a compact soil that prevents water from draining.
Instead, plant your Philodendron in light, airy soil that retains some moisture while allowing the excess water to drain out.
There are commercially available potting mixes designed for Philodendrons, or you can create your own.
Our favorite mix is:
- 1 part indoor potting soil
- 1 part orchid bark or horticultural charcoal
- 1 part pumice
- 1 part perlite
Philodendron Snowdrifts are not heavy feeders and don’t require much feeding. In fact, giving the plant too much fertilizer can cause more harm than good.
Fertilizing is best done sparingly – just once a month at ½ strength, using a gentle liquid fertilizer. We are partial to Dyna-Gro Grow, which we use for most of our houseplants. The results speak for themselves. 🙂
You should only expect to repot the Philodendron Snowdrift once every few years as this plant doesn’t generally need regular transplanting. The Snowdrift actually likes being ever so slightly rootbound and isn’t a big fan of being uprooted.
When the plant does show signs of outgrowing its pot, the roots will start to grow out of the drainage holes, you know it’s time to repot the Philodendron Snowdrift.
Like many Aroids, the Philodendron Snowdrift contains the toxic substance known as calcium oxalate.
This substance is found in its sap, and is known to cause contact dermatitis (localized skin irritation) if it comes in contact with the skin. Additionally, if any part of the plant is consumed, expect to experience gastrointestinal distress, such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach ache. These unpleasant side effects can occur in humans, as well as dogs and cats.
The easiest way to propagate the Philodendron Snowdrift is through stem cuttings. This requires cutting a healthy stem that has at least 2 nodes (these are the thickened parts of the stem). The stem should be 4 to 6 inches (10-15cm) long.
Remove the leaves from the bottom half of the cutting, and then plant the stem, cut side down, in water or soil. Care for the cutting as you would a full-size Philodendron, and it should start to take root in about 4 weeks.
Philodendrons are usually low-maintenance plants; your Snowdrift is no different!
Truthfully, this plant doesn’t require a ton of pruning, which is great news for lazy gardeners. 🙂
But you can prune off dead and damaged leaves to help make room for new growth.
Pruning is a useful tool if you’re trying to maintain the plant’s size and shape… just make sure you don’t remove too many leaves at one time! Only prune up to a third of the plant’s size.
Common Pests and Issues
Philodendron Snowdrifts don’t deal with many problems, though they can sometimes become the next meal for sap-sucking insects, such as mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites.
These common houseplant pests are typically thought of as more of an annoyance than a serious threat, but they can still weaken and stress your Philodendron, while also making the plant more susceptible to other problems.
The good news is that you can usually treat these pests quite easily with the help of neem oil. We like applying neem oil as a preventative measure for most of our houseplants. If we have a serious infestation on our hands, Bonide’s Insecticidal Soap Spray is our go-to solution.
What are the common diseases that can affect the Philodendron Snowdrift?
Philodendron Snowdrift doesn’t have too many problems with diseases, but it is prone to root rot. Root rot is a serious and potentially deadly fungal disease that occurs when a plant’s roots become waterlogged, and air supply is cut off to the roots.
Root rot can be due to overwatering, or planting your Snowdrift in compact soil. Most commercially available soils, unless specifically designed for Philodendrons, are usually too dense and heavy for your Philodendron to use without mixing it with other ingredients.
We like to make our own mix, adding indoor potting soils to pumice, bark, and perlite to lighten the soil… making sure excess water drains away quickly, and the roots breathe easy. 🙂
Why are my Philodendron Snowdrift leaves yellowing?
The most common cause of the Snowdrift’s leaves starting to turn yellow is overwatering.
Overwatering is a serious problem that can leave the plant unable to absorb nutrients properly. Additionally, when a plant is regularly overwatered, it can develop root rot. Root rot is a serious fungal disease that can quickly kill houseplants.
What is this powdery substance on the Philodendron’s leaves?
If you see a white, powder-like growth on the foliage of your Philodendron Snowdrift, the plant probably has powdery mildew.
Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that occurs when conditions are ideal, which are humid conditions and cold temperatures. While this fungal disease is annoying, it is usually not life-threatening to the plant and can be controlled by applying a copper fungicide.
What is causing my Philodendron Snowdrift’s leaves to turn brown?
Brown leaves can be caused by a few different things, including underwatering, dry conditions, or even rot.
If the problem is not enough water or the conditions are too dry, then the brown leaves will also feel dry and crispy. If, however, the brown leaves feel limp and mushy, then the problem is caused by rot.
Why is there a white, salty crust on the top of the Snowdrift’s soil?
Alas, seeing a white crust forming on the soil of your Snowdrift is a sure sign that the plant has been over-fertilized!
When too much fertilizer is applied, the excess nutrients begin to build up in the soil and salty residue will begin to form on the soil’s surface.
The best course of action is to stop all feeding and flush the plant’s soil. This is done by placing the plant under running water to flush and drain the excess nutrients and minerals that are trapped in the plant’s soil.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are the Philodendron Snowdrift and the Philodendron Snowdrift variegata the same plant?
Philodendron Snowdrift and Philodendron Snowdrift variegata are the same plant. 🙂
The Snowdrift variety is a variegated philodendron cultivar, and sometimes this plant is listed as simply ‘Snowdrift’ instead of ‘Snowdrift variegata.’
What is Philodendron Snowdrift’s scientific name?
The scientific name for this plant is Philodendron X ‘Snowdrift’. It is a hybrid plant that was created by crossing Philodendron Giganteum with Philodendron Pinnatifidum.
Similar Plants and Varieties
Other cool Philodendrons to check out:
- Philodendron Atom – low-growing Philo with wavy leaves
- Philodendron Gloriosum – a beautiful heart-leafed Philo that is relatively easy-to-grow
- Philodendron Rugosum – a Philo known for its textured leaves that look like fine leather grains
- Philodendron Tortum – a palm-like Philo with twisted leaves
- Philodendron Ruizii – a Philo with short stems and long leathery leaves
The Philodendron Snowdrift is an easy-growing variety that rewards your with stunning variegated leaves. To help it thrive,
- Keep humidity to >70%, as high as possible
- Use a well-draining potting mix
- Ensure it gets at least 8 hours of bright, indirect light per day
- Water when topsoil is dry. As a rule of thumb, once a week during summer and once every 10-14 days in winter.
- Stable indoor temperatures are best – protect it from temp fluctuations, vents and drafts.
- Fertilize sparingly at half strength, once a month during the active growing season.
- Repot only when roots start peeking out of the drainage hole.
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.