The Philodendron Splendid is a rare hybrid between the Philodendron Verrucosum and Philodendron Melanochrysum. It has the velvety texture of the Melanochrysum, and the red leaf undersides and defined veins of the Verrucosum.
Thankfully, the Philodendron Splendid is easy to care for… certainly easier than the Verrucosum! It enjoys bright filtered light, but avoid direct light that scorches its leaves. Being susceptible to overwatering, always check that the topsoil is dry before watering. A high-nitrogen fertilizer supports lush leaves, and make sure humidity is at least 40%.
Let’s dive into the details.
What is the Philodendron Splendid?
The Philodendron Splendid, Philodendron Verrucosum x Melanochrysum, is a rare hybrid from South America. It was first documented in Ecuador in the 1640s by a German explorer.
The Splendid boast large leaves and light-colored veins.
Caring for your Philodendron Splendid
The best thing you can do for your Philodendron Splendid is find a bright spot to grow indoors, but one that does not get long hours of direct afternoon sunlight.
For this reason, placing your plant directly in North or East-facing windowsills is ideal. If your windows are West or South-facing, move your plant about 4 feet (1.2m) away from the windows to lessen the light intensity.
Long periods of harsh afternoon light tend to scorch its leaves. Conversely, too low-light results in small and dull leaves.
Watering is an important area of care as Splendids are susceptible to overwatering. In fact, overwatering is one of the top reasons for early plant death for this Philodendron. Here’s how best to water your plant:
- Water only when the top 2 inches of soil is dry. Always check the soil moisture with your finger.
- Water using a long-spouted watering can close to the soil. Avoid watering overhead and splashing water on the foliage. Wet foliage is a breeding ground for fungi and pathogen growth, and the risk is only higher for plants with large leaves like the Philodendron Splendid.
- Water deeply, watering until excess water escapes from the drainage hole. Empty the plant’s saucer so that your Philodendron Splendid is never sitting in a pool of stagnant water.
- Get into the habit of always checking the soil moisture with your finger before watering. Over time, you’ll learn to discern when your plant needs a drink. Using this method will significantly reduce the risk of overwatering, as you’re watering only when your plant needs it.
- This method will also adjust for changes in seasons are climates, so you’ll find that you’re naturally watering less often during the winter when evaporation rates drop and your plant needs less water as it grows less quickly.
Being a tropical plant native to South American rainforests, your plant loves humidity. Ideally, aim for humidity levels above 60%, but your plant will tolerate at least 40% levels.
While gentle misting in the mornings is a way to temporarily boost the humidity levels for some houseplants, it’s not a method we recommend for the Philodendron Splendid. This is because of those large, velvety leaves. It takes a longer time for the water to dry from leathery leaves, which gives fungi more time and opportunity to grow.
Instead, we prefer to use a pebble tray to raise humidity levels. If, however, you are looking for a more considerable and more permanent boost (pebble trays, as good as they are, only create a slight increase in humidity levels, less than 10%), do invest in a humidifier.
Here’s our guide on humidity (including how to use a pebble tray) and information on our favourite humidifiers.
When it comes to temperature, your Philodendron Splendid likes it hot! Temperatures between 60 – 85 degrees F (16 – 29 degrees C) are optimal. Avoid fluctuations in temperature by keeping your plant away from cold drafts and air vents. Unless you live in a warm climate year-round, it’s a good idea to keep your plant indoors for warm, stable temperatures that lead to healthy growth.
In nature, your Philodendron Splendid grows as an epiphyte, meaning it climbs on top of other trees and plants. Because of this growth habit, it’s a good idea to support your plant using a trellis or moss pole. This climbing support isn’t just visually appealing; it helps leaves grow healthier and lusher!
New leaves have a reddish hue that changes into dark green as it grows, but they still retain the reddish undersides when they mature. Veins will grow a pale green-yellow and glisten in the sunlight.
- leaves can span 1 foot (30cm) wide and 2 feet (60cm) long;
- the plant can reach about 4-6 feet (122 – 183 cm) tall.
They are considered a fast-grower too. 🙂
Philodendron Splendids tend to not flower when kept indoors.
Like many in the Araceae family, your Philodendron Splendid’s flowers are regarded as small and insignificant anyways. What they are prized for is their glorious foliage. 🙂
Soil or Growing Medium
To mimic your plant’s growing environment, it needs a loose potting mix that drains well.
A great option is to use an Aroid mix of:
- 1 part potting mix;
- 1 part perlite;
- 1 part orchid bark; and
- a handful of charcoal.
The perlite and orchid bark increases the looseness of the soil, giving it air pockets to allow your plant’s roots to breathe easily and easily exchange gases. These components also enhance the water’s drainage, allowing excess water to drain away rather than compact or become soggy within the soil.
Charcoal helps to reduce impurities in the soil, while the potting mix provides your plant some organic nutrients.
Alternatively, you may choose to use LECA with hydroponics fertilizer. LECA is an airy and loose substrate and, when used correctly, will reduce the risk of overwatering. As you know, overwatering is one of the biggest issues of a Philodendron Splendid!
Given its large leaves, the Philodendron Splendid benefits from a little nutritional boost. Opt for a high-nitrogen fertilizer, which supports foliage growth. We love the Dyna-gro formula for our large-leafed Philodendrons, Anthuriums and Monsteras.
Simply dilute it to half-strength, and feed it to your plant once a month during the growing season. It makes a huge difference!
Hold off fertilizing in the autumn and winter months. Your plant isn’t growing rapidly during this time, so fertilizing will only lead to fertilizer burn.
It’s essential to repot your Philodendron Splendid every 2-3 years, in early spring. You will know its time to repot when you notice these signs:
- Plant growth has visibly slowed.
- Your plant is always thirsty, no matter how much water you give it.
- Roots have started to either circle above the soil or peek out from under the bottom drainage holes!
Remove your plant from its pot to confirm. If you see a densely packed root system, it’s time to up-size your pot! Opt for a pot 2-3 inches larger than the original pot. Upsizing too much too quickly spells disaster, as there is too much unused soil relative to the plant’s rootball size, which encourages water to pool and suffocate your plant’s roots.
Another critical point is to use fresh soil when repotting. This is because nutrients in your plant’s soil deplete over time as they get absorbed and used by the plant. This means that even if your plant hasn’t outgrown its pot, refresh its soil and place it back into the same pot.
Here’s how to repot:
- The day before repotting, water your plant.
- Place the pot on its side and gently use your fingers to loosen up the soil around the edges of the pot to wiggle your plant out of its container.
- Examine your Philodendron Splendid’s roots. Use clean garden shears to trim off any discoloured roots. Healthy roots are white and firm.
- Fill the bottom of the new pot with fresh potting soil.
- Place your plant in its new pot, and add more fresh potting soil as needed.
- Allow for about a half-inch of space between the soil’s surface and the top of the container.
- Don’t water for at least three days after repotting.
Like many in the Araceae family, your plant is toxic when ingested by humans and animals, no thanks to the presence of oxalate crystals in its stems and leaves. These crystals pierce tissues, which causes skin burns, gastrointestinal issues and nausea when ingested.
Conveniently, the Philodendron Splendid is not a plant that demands heavy pruning. Nevertheless, it is beneficial to trim off any damaged or dead leaves to allow your plant to refocus its energy on new growth. Cut just above the node using clean garden shears. Always cut at a downward angle to allow any water to run off it, preventing infection at the site of the open wound.
Propagation by Stem Cuttings
A simple way to propagate your Philodendron Splendid is through stem cuttings. Here’s how:
- Identify a healthy part of the stem about 4-6 inches long. This stem should have at least two nodes.
- Using clean garden shears, cut off this identified part of the stem, cutting just below the node.
- Remove any leaves from the bottom half of the stem, as you will be planting this cutting under the soil.
- Place cut end of the stem cutting in rooting hormone, then plant it in a moist potting mix. See the Soil section above for ideal potting mixes.
- Ensure that at least one node is under the soil’s surface and that no leaves are buried.
- Place a clear plastic bag with holes on top of the container with the stem cutting to raise humidity levels. Remove the plastic bag for an hour a day for the plant to get some fresh air.
- Place the potted stem cutting in a warm spot with ample bright but filtered light. Ensure that its soil is always slightly damp but never soggy or waterlogged.
- In 4-8 weeks, the roots should have developed. You can confirm this by feeling some resistance by giving the stem a gentle tug.
- Treat as you would any other Philodendron Splendid.
Additional Care: Wiping down leaves
Another tip to keep your plant’s foliage looking its best: occasionally wipe down its leaves with a damp cloth, then wipe dry. This ensures that dust doesn’t gather to prevent the absorption of sunlight or the exchange of gases. Those large leaves are beautiful but require some maintenance!
Common Pests and Diseases
Root Rot and Fungal Diseases
Your Philodendron Splendid’s most common issues arise from overwatering. This may result in root rot or fungi growth, as well as yellowing leaves. To prevent this, the most important thing you can do is to be careful not to water your plant until its topsoil is dry and to ensure that your potting mix is well-draining.
If your plant is overwatered, check out our guide on how to save it.
Aphids, Mealybugs and Spider Mites
Every gardener will experience an infested plant occasionally. It’s a rite of passage and, in some cases, unavoidable. The best way to deter these pests is to keep your plant healthy, as overwatered or overfertilized plants tend to attract infestations. Regularly inspect your plant’s leaves to catch any pests early.
If you notice your plant is infested, don’t fret. If you act quickly enough, you will be able to get rid of aphids, mealybugs and spider mites using either neem oil or an Insecticidal Soap Spray.
Why is my plant dropping leaves?
If you notice old, brown leaves are dropping, this is perfectly normal. Your plant is simply getting rid of old leaves to make way for new growth.
But dropping newer leaves usually indicates a problem with overwatering, too low humidity or a pest attack.
Why are my plant’s leaves yellow?
There can be a few different reasons for yellow leaves, but by far, the most common reason is overwatering.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Philodendron Splendid rare?
Yes, the Philodendron Splendid is rare. Supply for this plant is low as mass production is challenging. It’s unlikely you’ll find this plant at your local garden centre.
Instead, you’ll need to scout online and liaise with private sellers on platforms like Etsy. Be prepared to pay a premium for a rare plant like the Philodendron Splendid.
Do your homework when checking out Sellers, taking time to find an established Seller (at least 1-2 years in the business) with good reviews. It’s also a good idea to check on their return / refund policy, shipping times, and photos of the plant before committing to a purchase.
How do I encourage my plant to grow bushy and lush leaves?
Pruning it is a good idea to encourage bushy growth. Also, ensure your plant gets sufficient bright but filtered light (at least 7-8 hours a day) for to encourage large lush leaves.
A light fertilizing schedule (see Fertilizer section above) give those leaves a nutritional boost. Lastly, provide your plant a moss pole; this helps the leaves grow bigger and fuller.
What’s the scientific name of the Philodendron Splendid?
It’s Philodendron Verrucosum x Melanochrysum.
Similar Plants and Varieties
What’s the difference between Philodendron Splendid and Philodendron Melanochrysum?
The Philodendron Melanochrysum tends to have a more elongated shape than the Philodendron Splendid.
The Splendid leaf shape is a happy medium between both parents: not as elongated as the Melanochrysum, but not as heart-shaped as the Verrucosum.
What’s the difference between Philodendron Splendid and Philodendron Gloriosum?
- They have different growth habits. While the Philodendron Gloriosum tends to grow horizontally (it is a crawler), the Philodendron Splendid, being a crawler, grows vertically.
- While both have large foliage with defined veins and midribs, the Philodendron Splendid has thicker and more prominent veins when compared to the Gloriosum.
- The Philodendron Splendid has a reddish underside (similar to the Philodendron Verrucosum), while the Gloriosum does not!
What’s the difference between Philodendron Splendid and Philodendron Micans?
The Philodendron Micans is easily distinguished from the Philodendron Splendid. The Micans is a much smaller plant; its foliage is much more compact than the Philodendron Splendid. Also, they have different growth habits. The Philodendron Splendid grows upwards on moss poles, but Philodendron Micans tend to “sprawl” or trail downwards rather than climb much higher up.
Also, the Philodendron Micans does not have as defined or prominent veins of the Philodendron Splendid, nor are its leaves as thick and velvety.
Similarly, big-leafed Philodendron:
- Philodendron Melanochrysum
- Philodendron El Choco Red – with a surprising red underside
- Philodendron Verrucosum
- Philodendron Gloriosum
- Philodendron Tenue
- Philodendron Mamei
- Philodendron Gigas
Other Philodendrons we love
- Philodendron Melanoneuron
- Philodendron Brandtianum
- Philodendron Goeldii
- Philodendron Rugosum (Pig Skin Philodendron)
- Philodendron Tortum
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.
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