Today we’ll be talking about growing an exotic Philodendron, the Philodendron Warscewiczii (pronounced “vark-zeh-wik-ZEE-eye”). It is sometimes known as Snowflake Philodendron owing to the shape of its leaves. 🙂 They also have much thicker stems than many other Philos.
Though its name is certainly a mouthful (!!), caring for this Philodendron is very, very easy. They require similar care to most Philodendrons:
- Bright, indirect light.
- There is no need to fertilize in fall and winter. Apply a liquid fertilizer every 3 weeks during the spring and summer months.
- Let the top 2 inches of soil dry out before watering.
- Choose a chunky potting mix. We like using a peat-based potting mix and adding extra perlite, and coconut husk chips or bark.
In our experience, they grow prolifically under the right care conditions.
Types of Philo Warscewiczii – Green version or variegated Aurea Flavum?
A quick note on the types of Philodendron Warscewiczii – besides the “usual” form that has deep green leaves, there is a variegated Auerea Flavum form that has bright neon leaves.
The latter is sometimes called Golden Neon – this is the form that we own and love. There is no difference in care conditions for both types of Warscewiczii.
Caring for your Philodendron Warscewiczii
This Snowflake Philodendron LOVES bright, indirect light. Insufficient bright light will severely limit its growth rate.
We had made this mistake early on, placing it in the kitchen where it received medium filtered light. It grew slowly. Once we relocated it next to our East-facing window in our living room, it fluorished!
The Philodendron Warscewiczii enjoys moist soil that is never waterlogged.
As a rule, we water this plant once the top 2 inches (5cm) of soil feels dry. This usually works out to be around 3 times a week during the summer.
Once the topsoil is dry, water deeply near the soil line. Don’t be afraid to saturate the soil, watering until excess water escapes from the drainage hole – this ensures that deep-growing roots are nourished.
Once thing we’ve learnt is that deep watering occasionally is much better than shallow watering often! Just remember to empty the saucer once you’re done. 🙂
Average indoor humidity levels is fine for Philodendron Warscewiczii, making it a good plant for those who don’t have a humidifier.
Of course, higher humidity does help rapid growth (~60% is ideal), but isn’t absolutely necessary in our experience.
Keep temperatures to around 60-85 degrees F (16-29 degrees C) year-round for best growth.
As usual, this Philodendron Warscewiczii doesn’t like cold drafts or vents, so place it in a spot that has stable temperatures.
Like many Aroids, the Philodendron Warscewiczii produces inflorescences instead of showy flowers. They can produce 3 inflorescences per axil, consisting of a green or white spathe (boat-like bract) and a central white spadix.
Technically, flowers are not the same as inflorescences. Instead, the flowers (reproductive parts) are tiny and numerous, growing along the length of the spadix.
Flowering is infrequent when kept indoors. You can cut them off if you want to allow your plant to focus its energy on its leaves.
When juvenile, leaves appear in the shape of small, elongated hearts. Soon, its leaves start to form wavy edges and, at maturity, have a more distinctive snowflake shape.
When kept indoors, the Philodendron Warscewiczii grows to around 3 feet (91cm) tall. Its thick stem supports the plant growing upright up to its maximum indoor height.
However, if you’re growing this Philodendron outdoors, it can grow to around 12 feet (3.6 meters)! Once it exceeds around 3 feet, use a moss pole or totem to support its weight and allow it to climb! 🙂
Soil or Growing Medium
Our Philodendron Warscewiczii loves a chunky potting mix that allows water to drain through within a few seconds, from the time that you water to the time the water flows out of the drainage holes at the bottom.
This ensures that roots never get waterlogged. Waterlogged roots mean suffocating roots, which leads to root rot.
Here’s the Philodendron mix we use:
- 1 part Miracle Gro indoor potting mix;
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part coconut husk chips, or bark
Always use half-strength of the recommended dose given by the manufacturer. Apply a liquid fertilizer once every 3 weeks during the active growing months (spring and summer).
Skip fertilizing in fall and winter.
Don’t overdo the fertilizing.
Fertilizers supplement your plant with specific macro-nutrients (nitrogen, potassium, phosphorous) that may not be otherwise readily available from the soil. It isn’t your Philodendron’s main food source (which is the sun!).
When you see roots peeking out the drainage hole, it’s time to repot! Remember that repotting a plant is a stressful event… so do this in the spring. Then, your plant can bask in warmth, light and humidity to recover quickly.
When it comes to repotting,
- ensure the new pot has drainage holes.
- ideally, use a terracotta planter as these are porous, allowing air to pass through, and roots to breathe. It also lets excess water evaporate from its surface quickly.
- choose a pot about 2 inches (5cm) bigger than the original. Don’t overpot – this leads to too much unused soil that holds on to too much water, leading to (you guessed it!) waterlogged roots.
- use fresh soil, as nutrients deplete over time.
- water your plant 24 hours prior to repotting – this helps your wriggle your plant free from its pot more easily and reduces the risk of transplant shock.
You can also check out our repotting guide here.
Unfortunately, the Philodendron Warscewiczii, like all Philodendrons, is toxic to animals and humans. This is owing to insoluble calcium oxalate crystals (sometimes called raphides) in its stems and leaves.
These crystals are toxic when ingested by animals and humans, causing localized skin burns and irritation, as well as gastrointestinal pains, nausea, and vomitting.
Propagating via Stem Cuttings in Water
- Identify a healthy part of the stem 5 inches (13 cm) long with at least 2 nodes and 1 leaf.
- Cut just below the node using clean garden shears.
- Pluck off any leaves from the bottom half of the stem cutting.
- As an optional step, dip the stem cutting in rooting hormone. This kills fungi and bacteria and contains a growth hormone to encourage root growth.
- Prepare a water jar half-filled with room temperature water.
- Place your stem cutting into the water jar. Ensure no leaves are submerged, but at least one node is under the waterline. (Little roots will start growing from the nodes – or “bumps” as we call them!)
- Place the water jar in a warm and bright spot, but one that is away from direct light. If you have a humidifier, set it next to the jar at 80% humidity.
- Replace the water every few days to prevent it turning murky.
- After about 2 weeks, you’ll see little roots growing from the nodes.
- Once the roots grow 2 inches (5cm) long, it’s time to plant your cutting in its permanent home.
- Prepare a small pot and add potting mix (see Soil section for details). Water the mix so that it’s evenly moist.
- Plant your rooted cutting in its new home.
- Treat as you would any other Philodendron Warscewiczii. 🙂
You can also choose to plant your stem cutting directly in potting mix instead of propagating in water as an intermediate step. It’s up to you!
We haven’t found this Philodendron requiring too much pruning. But you can snip off any damaged or diseased leaves and leggy stems.
Use a pair of sharp gardening shears – this reduces trauma. Cut in a downwards sloping angle so that water runs off the wound site, reducing the risk of infection.
And as always, sterilize your shears before + after cutting! We dip our tools in 70% isopropyl solution, for about 45 seconds to sterilize. That’s it!
One of the most common issues with the Philodendron Warscewiczii is an overwatered plant. If you’ve been following this blog long enough, you’ll know that we are don’t like following a fixed watering schedule as this usually leads to overwatering.
Instead, always use your fingers to check that the topsoil is dry before watering. Having a well-draining potting mix (load up on chunky amendments like bark, charcoal or husk) is equally important.
Between the right watering practices and the right potting mix, you should be 90% of the way there to having a plant that watered just right. The last 10% comes down to choosing the right pot – always choose one that has drainage holes, and preferably one that has porous material like clay or terracotta.
A persistently overwatered plant easily leads to rotting roots, a condition where roots are so waterlogged that they literally suffocate and die off.
If this happens, you’ll need to unpot your plant, use sterilized shears to snip off any damaged roots, then repot in a fresh mix.
Check out our step-by-step guide on saving your overwatered plant here.
- Yellow leaves. Commonly due to overwatering – check soil moisture to confirm.
- Leggy growth with small leaves. Likely due to insufficient sunlight. Vines also tend to get leggy when not given a climbing support. Add a moss pole.
- Curling leaves. Usually due to underwatering – check the soil moisture to confirm, and adjust your watering practices accordingly. Can also be due to too-low humidity.
- Brown, crispy tips and edges. Too much sunlight is the most common reason. Otherwise could be due to improper watering.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Philodendron Warscewiczii rare?
Yes, it is unusual and harder to find, particularly the non-variegated form.
You’d likely need to look for private sellers online to get your hands on one. However, they shouldn’t be expensive – around US$15-20 for a starter pot on Etsy.
Philodendron Warscewiczii Aurea vs Golden Philodendron selloum
These two species are distinct but look very similar. However, the Warscewiczii has bigger spaces between its nodes compared to the Selloum.
Is the Philodendron Warscewiczii a climber or a creeper?
Both. This Philodendron grows terrestrially on rocks (notice its thick stems), but also climbs vigorously in its native habitat, the rainforests of Southern Mexico to Central America.
In our experience, its thick stems allow it to grow upright to around 3 feet (91cm), before requiring a moss pole or totem to support its climbing habit thereafter!
Similar Plants and Varieties
Other unusual Philodendrons include:
- Philodendron Florida Ghost – a cream and green upright-growing Philodendron with lobed leaves.
- Philodendron Atabapoense – an unusual pick; elongated, sword-shaped leaves for a tropical feel.
- Philodendron Rugosum – Philodendron that has textured leaves like Pig Skin, or a cantaloupe melon.
- Philodendron Tortum – palm-like fronds on twisted stems give a tropical vibe 🙂
- Philodendron Ruizii – a Philo with short stems and long leathery leaves
- Philodendron Bonifaziae – a rare Philo with narrow, long leaves
Caring for the Philodendron Warscewiczii is extremely easy. They don’t ask for much – bright filtered light, a chunky potting mix, and watering when the topsoil is dry are the most important care components.
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.