With its velvety green leaves and deep golden veins, the Philodendron Verrucosum is an undeniably handsome houseplant. It joins close relatives Philodendron Gloriosum and Mamei in featuring large heart-shaped foliage.
We rate the Verrucosum as a middle-of-the-road plant in terms of difficulty of care, but if you follow our guide, you’ll have nothing to worry about.
Summary of care requirements:
- Sufficient light (bright, indirect sunlight) and humidity >60% are very important for growth.
- Water deeply and thoroughly when soil is 90% dry. Choose an extremely well-draining potting mix with plenty of chunky amendments like bark, perlite, and charcoal.
- Keep temperatures in a tight range, between 65-80 degrees F (18-26 degrees C).
- Use a slow-release fertilizer.
- Use a moss pole to support its climbing habit.
Let’s dive into the details on caring for your Philodendron Verrucosum 🙂
Where does the Philodendron Verrucosum come from?
Philodendron Verrucosum can be found in nature growing on the Pacific slopes of Central and South America, and also in the upper Amazon basin. In these habitats, the Verrucosum can grow very occasionally as a terrestrial plant (on the ground), but is mostly found as a hemi-epiphyte.
This growth habit means it readily climbs on top of other trees, but also sends its roots down to the ground.
In its native environment, the Verrucosum can be found in a range of altitudes: from 650 – 5,000 feet (200 – 1,500 meters) above sea level.
Where can I buy a Philodendron Verrucosum?
If you are keen on owning a Philodendron Verrucosum, unfortunately you will need to do some scouting to find reputable sellers. Make a trip to a specialist aroid nursery or search for reputable online sellers through Etsy.
How to care for your Philodendron Verrucosum
Philodendron Verrucosum does not respond well to direct sunlight. Instead, filtered or indirect sunlight is best for its growth.
In front of an east-facing window is considered ideal.
Philodendron Verrucosum is a tropical plant. Therefore, it grows best in a moist, highly-humid environment.
To recreate these conditions at home, you must water it generously and thoroughly. Water until excess water seeps from the pot’s drainage holes. Then, empty its saucer, never letting its roots sit in stagnant water.
Water your plant again when the soil is about 90% dry. Check the soil’s moisture using your fingers. You should feel that the top 2 inches of soil is dry, but that lower layers are still slightly damp.
Some articles suggest waiting for the soil to dry out completely between subsequent waterings. This is not something we recommend.
If your plant is completely dried out, its soil is parched and flaky. Under these conditions it is harder for the water to penetrate all the way down to the roots.
One problem that arises from overwatering your plant is root rot. For this reason, it is crucial to ensure that your soil and pot are the right kind and offer proper drainage. See the soil section below for ideal potting mixes. In terms of pots that offer good drainage, a terracotta pot with drainage holes is ideal.
If you thought your other house plants were suckers for high humidity levels, wait until you have a Philodendron Verrucosum in your collection. This picky plant thrives in humidity levels of 90 per cent or more and will refuse to grow if it is less than 60 per cent. For this reason, its important to get this aspect of care right.
Of course, these levels hardly ever occur naturally in anyone’s home. And so, you will have to take specific measures to make the environment suitable for your treasured Philodendron Verrucosum.
This can be done by grouping your plants close together, placing a pebble tray underneath the pot, or simply installing a humidifier next to your Philodendron Verrucosum.
We highly recommend investing in a humidifier, as this is the most effective and convenient option. Choose one that allows you to set the required humidity level your plant needs, like this one.
Keep your Philodendron Verrucosum in warm, stable temperatures between 65-80 degrees F (18-26 degrees C). As a general rule of thumb, the higher the temperature within this range, the faster your Philodendron Verrucosum will grow.
Philodendron Verrucosum does not grow very tall, but its leaves are certainly something to take note of. Both the average height of the plant itself and the maximum size of an individual leaf approach the 3 feet (91cm) mark when the conditions are just right.
To encourage your Philodendron Verrucosum to grow tall, place a moss pole in the centre of the pot. Being a hemiepiphyte and a climber, the plant is grateful for the physical support and tries its best to reach the sky.
A fast-growing vine, it does not take very long for Philodendron Verrucosum to fully mature and reach its maximum height.
Choosing the right potting mix is essential for the excellent health of your Philodendron Verrucosum.
Trying to grow your plant in a soil mixture that is too dense, too fine, or retains too much water can result in unforgiving conditions such as suffocation or root rot.
To make sure your Philodendron Verrucosum stays free of all these problems, choose a soil mix that is porous, well-draining, and slightly acidic. A pH of 5 to 6 works best for these plants.
A good soil mix that ticks all the boxes would consist of:
This makes for a chunky, well-aerated potting medium that allows enough air down to the roots to breathe freely and lets excess water wash out through the draining holes.
If you notice that your Philodendron Verrucosum is exceptionally slow at growing, you can help it by giving it a little nutritious boost.
First, add the fertilizer away from the base so that the chemicals do not burn the plant. Fertilizing your plant once every 4 months will give it all the good ingredients that it needs to flourish.
The best kind of fertilizer that you can get for the Philodendron Verrucosum is one that releases nutrition slowly over time. These slow-release fertilizers are available in the gardener’s market as small multicolored balls or tiny sticks. Our preference is to use these fertilizer spikes.
As we already mentioned before, the Philodendron Verrucosum is quite a fast grower. This means that it can become root-bound quickly and needs frequent repotting.
If you can see roots poking through the drainage holes in the pot, it is a clear sign that you need to move your Philodendron Verrucosum into a bigger container. Usually, this needs to be done every 1 or 2 years.
To repot your Philodendron Verrucosum, choose an appropriately sized pot that will be its new home.
- Fill the pot three quarters with the right potting mix so that it is ready to receive the plant.
- Loosen the soil from around the edges of the old pot and gently persuade your Philodendron Verrucosum out of it. Make sure that the roots don’t tear during this process.
- Replace the Philodendron Verrucosum in its new pot and wait 24 hours before watering it.
- In the following days, you will see your plant begin to adapt to its new environment.
Like most other Philodendrons, the Verrucosum species, too, is toxic when ingested. When chewed, the leaves release calcium oxalate crystals, which can severely irritate oral and intestinal mucosa.
The signs and symptoms of Philodendron Verrucosum ingestion include oral ulcers, bleeding from the mouth, increased salivation, and a pet showing visible discomfort by pawing at its face. Gastrointestinal motility is also affected, and you may notice diarrhoea or bloody stools.
Hence, it is best to grow the Philodendron Verrucosum in a household with no pets or small children running around. However, if you do want to have both, make sure to keep your plant up high, away from the reach of your furry friends and kids.
There are multiple ways to expand your Philodendron Verrucosum family. You can either use stem cuttings, take up the air layering method, or choose to propagate the plant directly from the seeds. Of these, stem cuttings are the easiest and most effective.
Summer and spring is the best time to propagate your Philodendron Verrucosum.
Propagation via Stem Cuttings
To propagate your Philodendron Verrucosum via stem cuttings:
- Identify a healthy stem with at least one node and a couple of growing leaves.
- Make a diagonal cut underneath the node with your pruning shears or a sterilised knife.
- Dip the cut end in the rooting hormone and wrap it in moist sphagnum moss to provide it with a favourable environment to grow. You can also stick the cut end directly into water or soil.
- Cover the stem with plastic to increase the surrounding humidity and temperature.
Roots will start to sprout from the cut end of the stem in a few days. At this point, you can move the cutting into a pot of its own and grow it as a separate Philodendron Verrucosum plant.
Propagation via Air Layering
If you have chosen the air layering technique, you must identify a healthy node that is growing an aerial root. Fix moist sphagnum moss around the stem in this area and wrap it all with a plastic bag. Maintain the humidity and temperature, and allow the aerial roots to develop properly.
Once you see that the roots have sprouted, make a diagonal cut under the node and transplant your cutting into a previously prepared pot. In a few weeks, the roots will take, and the new plant can begin to live independently.
How about Propagation through Seeds?
Seeds are seldom used as the choice propagation method. Seeds are hard to get and can go bad very quickly. The other two propagation techniques save valuable time and effort and have a greater success rate.
Philodendron Verrucosum does not need a lot of pruning. Therefore, unless you notice a diseased or dead leaf, you will not have to pick up your pruning shears.
Want your Philodendron Verrucosum to outshine all the others? Here are some tips and tricks to give your plant the extra boost needed to truly flourish.
- When choosing a pot for your Philodendron Verrucosum, go for terracotta. It provides superior drainage and reduces the risk of root rot.
- Using a humidifier to increase the humidity around your plants. This will pay off very well in terms of the growth of your Philodendron Verrucosum.
- Keep your potting mix chunky and porous. It is important to for roots to be able to breathe!
- Find the right temperature for your Philodendron Verrucosum. Different varieties of this species prefer different temperatures – identify the most favourable one for yours.
- Philodendron Verrucosum is sensitive to changes in temperature. When you have figured out the best temperature for your plant, keep it consistent.
The most common Philodendron Verrucosum problems are to do with overwatering your plant. If you water your plant too much or too often and don’t have a proper drainage system in place, your Philodendron Verrucosum is very susceptible to root rot. When water accumulates around the root system and stays there for long enough, the roots can start to decay and rot away.
The easiest solution is using a well-draining soil mix and a terracotta pot. Water your plant only when it needs it, and ensure that the drainage holes are not blocked by debris. Here are some tips on how to water your plant correctly.
Along with the root rot fungus, pest infestations are also commonly implicated with the declining health of a Philodendron Verrucosum plant. The most common of these bugs are thrips, spider mites, mealybugs, whiteflies, fungus gnats, and aphids. These can be deterred with the proper use of a pesticide or insecticide.
In addition to store-bought pesticides, you can also use some household items to serve the purpose. For example, Neem oil is an organic solution to the problem and is highly effective against all kinds of bugs. Castille soap is another alternative that is both cost-effective and readily available. A third exciting household item that gets rid of pests is diluted rubbing alcohol.
Here’s our guide on how to use neem oil as a multipurpose insecticide.
Varieties and Similar plants
Philodendron Verrucosum x Sodiroi
The Philodendron Verrucosum and Sodiroi hybrid is given the name of Philodendron Majestic. The leaves are heart-shaped but slightly on the longer side. The underside of the leaves has a bluish hue and silver-grey spots that it inherits from the Philodendron Sodiroi.
Rarer than the other Philodendron species, the Philodendron Majestic is exceptionally difficult to care for. However, once you understand the specific needs and requirements of this plant, looking after it becomes easier.
Philodendron Verrucosum x Melanochrysum (the Philodendron Splendid!)
The Philodendron Verrucosum and Melanochrysum hybrid, also known as Philodendron Splendid, is just as its name suggests. It is a striking (or shall we say splendid? ha) plant that takes after the velvety texture of the Melanochrysum and inherits the red leaf undersides from the Verrucosum. It is a rare and sought-after plant for its prominent and at certain angles, glistening veins against its darker green foliage.
It is almost impossible to tell it apart from either parent when immature. However, the differences become more apparent as the plant grows. The adult Philodendron Verrucosum x Melanochrysum has more of an elongated shape than the heart-shaped Verrucosum, and its leaves have a reddish underside that Melanochrysums lack.
El Choco Red Verrucosum
If you want a pop of color in your living space, the Philodendron El Choco Red is a brilliant choice for you. This striking Philodendron species has velvety leaves with a gorgeous red underside. However, as the leaves mature, the red slowly fades.
Philodendron Brandtianum or the Silver Leaf Philodendron is a striking beauty with its olive-green leaves with characteristic silver to grey-white spots. The leaves are broad and heart-shaped and have an orangey hue when immature. However, as the plant grows, the orange tint disappears into the dark olive green.
Philodendron Gloriosum is a very slow-growing creeper, but makes up for it with its large, heart-shaped leaves of a velvety texture. The bright green background of the leaves contrasts beautifully with the white to a pale yellow venous structure. This Philodendron variety is perhaps the most common of all terrestrial Philodendrons.
Another heart-shaped creeper is the Philodendron Mamei. Instead of uniformly green leaves like the Gloriosum, it delights with patches of silver variegation, earning its nickname, Silver Cloud. To top it off, the Silver Cloud is easy to grow.
Why are the leaves tips brown and crispy?
Brown, brittle, and crispy leaves can signify that your Philodendron Verrucosum is not getting enough water.
- Examine your watering methods (see Water section above for details). Are you watering thoroughly, until excess water seeps from the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot? Shallow watering (watering only the topsoil) leads to quick evaporation and doesn’t nourish deep-growing roots.
- It could also be that you are letting your plant’s soil dry out completely between waterings. Avoid this. Instead, allow only the top 2 inches of soil to dry before watering again. You shouldn’t wait until your plant is bone dry before watering.
- Another cause of overwatering that is sometimes overlooked is using too fine a soil mix that does not retain sufficient moisture for your growing plant. This means that although your watering practices are fine, you are using a potting mix that doesn’t hold enough water. A mix of potting soil, pertlie, orchid bark and charcoal keeps the balance of a loose and airy soil but one that still retains enough moisture.
Why are the leaves turning yellow?
Yellow leaves most commonly indicate overwatering. Two main things to check is that you are watering your plant correctly and that you are using a potting mix that is loose and airy (check the Soil section for more details).
Lastly, use a terracotta pot with drainage holes to allow excess water to quickly drain away.
Why are the leaves dropping?
Leaves can start to drop because of either too much watering or too little of it. To resolve the problem, it is crucial to identify which of the two this is.
Look for signs of root rot, yellow leaves, and soggy soil to diagnose an overwatered Philodendron Verrucosum. An underwatered Philodendron Verrucosum will present dry, flaky soil and brown, crispy leaves.
Why does my plant have long and leggy stems?
Long, leggy stems with minimum foliage can mean that your Philodendron Verrucosum is struggling to find the sunlight it needs. This can also result from a lack of quality fertilizer in some instances.
Find a spot that gets plenty of indirect bright sunlight for your Philodendron Verrucosum pot. If repositioning your plant does not solve the issue, try complementing the soil nutrition with slow-release fertilizer spikes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Philodendron Verrucosum rare?
Yes, the Philodendron Verrucosum is not easily found in the local nurseries so its considered rarer than many other Philodendron species. In addition to its scarcity, the high demand of this striking plant makes getting your hands on one of these that much harder!
Other Philodendrons to Try Out
- Philodendron Goeldii
- Philodendron Plowmanii
- Philodendron Tenue
- Philodendron Camposportoanum – a small Phildodendron that TRANSFORMS as it grows!
- Philodendron Imperial Red
- Philodendron McDowell
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.