Philodendron Jose Buono – (Care and Propagation #!1 HACKS)

Another climbing Philodendron with stunning green-and-cream leaves is the Philodendron Jose Buono. Like most Philodendrons, the Jose Buono is easy to grow, but is a slower-grower than most!

Care-wise, a healthy Philodendron Jose Buono needs well-draining soil and regular, deep watering. It needs >6 hours of bright, indirect light a day, prefers temperatures between 55-80 degrees F (13-27 degrees C), and grows best when humidity is >60%.

Meeting these basic needs will help ensure your Philodendron is healthy… thankfully, they don’t ask for much, and are quick to forgive if you do make a misstep! 🙂

How To Care For Your Philodendron Jose Buono

Light

Hailing from the rainforests of Colombia, your Philodendron Jose Buono doesn’t have unique light requirements. All it asks for is at least 6 hours of bright, indirect light everyday. Never expose this plant to direct light as it is too harsh and can burn its leaves…. tragic!

A good general rule of thumb is to place the Philodendron Jose Buono in the sunniest room in your home, a couple of feet away from the window.

The more variegation (cream parts of the leaf) your Jose Buono has, the more light it needs. this is because the cream parts lack chlorophyll, so need more light to generate the same amount of food for a non-variegated plant. 🙂

The tricky part is that variegated plants tend to be more sensitive to harsh light (while simultaneously needing more light exposure) – so make sure to use a shade cloth to diffuse any harsh direct sun.

If you are space-constrained and need to place your Jose Buono directly next to the window, just make sure you use a blind or shade cloth to diffuse direct light it receives.

hand holding up a small philodendron jose buono plant from colombia, with patches of cream and green

Water

The exact timeframe for when to water your Philodendron Jose Buono can vary greatly depending on the time of year, age and size of the plant, and environmental conditions.

In general, however, you can expect to water the Philodendron Jose Buono about once a week in the spring and summer. This amount is reduced to about once every 10-12 days in the winter. The goal is to keep the soil moist without being waterlogged.

This is why having choosing free-draining soil is important, which we cover off in the Soil section later on!

Humidity

Most homes have an average humidity level ~40%, which is usually too low for most tropical houseplants. The Philodendron Jose Buono, however, can tolerate humidity levels this low, but it isn’t ideal. For the best results, it is recommended to increase the humidity level to AT THE VERY LEAST, 60%. The higher the better!

Drip trays are a useful tool for increasing humidity levels, as well as running a humidifier near the Philodendron Jose Buono.

The humidifier we love 🙂

Temperature

Philodendron Jose Buono needs mild to warm temperatures year-round.

The good news is that this plant has a fairly vast temperature range, and most homes fall into that range. Philodendron Jose Buono needs temperatures between 55 – 80 degrees F (13-27 degrees C).

Avoid subjecting this plant to temperatures below or above that range as it can cause permanent damage to the Philodendron.

topview of philodendron jose buono

Growth Rate

Philodendron Jose Buono is a slow grower, so you won’t need to repot this plant as often as some other houseplants. Additionally, because it has a slow growth rate, this plant doesn’t typically grow out of control.

Philodendron Jose Buono can grow between 12 to 20 feet (3.6 – 6.0 meters) tall when it reaches maturity. BUT again, being a slow-grower, it could take years before this plant is fully mature.

Soil or Growing Medium

The Philodendron Jose Buono grows the best in a growing medium that contains sphagnum peat moss or coco coir.

A hot tip is to add vermiculite or perlite will help retain moisture without being too compact, while also allowing the water to drain properly.

Heavy potting soils should be avoided since it can get too soggy and increase the chance of fungal diseases, such as root rot. Sandy soil, or growing medium made for succulents, should also not be used since it allows for water to drain too quickly.

Can you use LECA to grow a Philodendron Jose Buono?

Sure – if you are open to exploring semi-hydroponics, you definitely can. Jose Buonos do well in LECA mixtures, which allows for maximum breathability for fragile roots. But switching over to LECA can be a bit pricey.

Check out our guide to Pros and Cons of LECA if you want to explore if this is the right fit for you!

Fertilizer

Philodendron Jose Buono doesn’t require much feeding, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t fertilize the plant at all.

In fact, fertilizing this plant once a month from early spring to the middle of autumn will help boost its growth and strength its roots. Use a liquid fertilizer like Dyna-Gro Grow (our houseplant fertilizer – the results speak for themselves) and then dilute it by half its strength.

Make sure that the plant is well watered before applying the fertilizer. Feeding the plant when the soil is dry can burn the roots!

close up of philodendron jose buono stems

Repotting

The slow growth rate of the Philodendron Jose Buono means you don’t have to repot every year.

You can expect to repot once every 2 to 3 years at the max when roots start to grow out the bottom of the pot. This means the Philodendron Jose Buono is becoming root-bound and has outgrown its current container. When this occurs, repot the plant in a container no more than 2 to 3 inches (~5cm-7cm) larger than its current pot.

Additionally, wait to repot the plant until spring or early summer, which is when the plant is actively growing and able to withstand the stress of transplanting better than when it is in its dormant stage. 🙂

Toxicity

Like other Philodendron varieties, the Philodendron Jose Buono contains calcium oxalate crystals in its leaves and stems. So it is toxic when ingested.

When these microscopic crystals come in contact with the skin, mouth, throat, tongue, and lips, they can cause irritation and pain. If ingested, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain can occur.

Because of this, it is best to keep the plant away from children and pets, and always use gloves when propagating or pruning the Philodendron.

Propagation

Philodendron Jose Buono is such an easy plant to propagate using stem-cuttings. Here’s how 🙂

  • While wearing a pair of gardening gloves, snip off a healthy stem that measures about 4 inches long (10cm) and has at least one leaf and one leaf node. Nodes are the knobby parts of the stem.
  • Plant the cut end of the stem into the same type of soil that the parent Philodendron is growing in.
  • Place the stem cutting in a warm area with bright, indirect sun and water when the soil starts to feel dry.

That’s it! Your mother plant may experience some signs of being stressed that it’s been snipped, but should bounce back with some TLC.

The best time to propagate your plant is in the spring or summer, when the warm temperatures and high humidity levels provide the optimal growing conditions for growth and recovery. 🙂

Pruning

The Philodendron Jose Buono doesn’t require a lot of pruning. In fact, pruning is usually reserved for trimming off old, dying, or dead leaves.

If you do need to prune your Philodendron Jose Buono, wait until spring or summer when the plant is actively growing and use a pair of sharp cleaning shears. Additionally, make sure to wear gloves when pruning the plant and snip the unwanted leaves off as close to the stem as possible.

topview of a philodendron jose buono

Common Pests and Issues

The Philodendron Jose Buono is well-known for its ability to resist a lot of the same pests that can attack other types of houseplants. With that said, however, spider mites and mealybugs can still attack this plant.

Thankfully, these two sap-sucking insects are more of an annoyance than a serious threat, and can be dealt with using insecticidal soap. For more details you can check out our guide to getting rid of spider mites.

As for diseases, the Philodendron Jose Buono is susceptible to root rot, which will occur when the plant is overwatered. The good news is that overwatering is completely preventable. Simply waiting until the first two inches of soil are dry before you water the plant will go a long way to preventing this problem.

Troubleshooting

Why are the leaves of my Philodendron Jose Buono turning yellow?

Sadly, yellowing leaves on a Philodendron Jose Buono are a sure sign that the plant has been overwatered.

Overwatering occurs if you give the plant too much water, grow the plant in compact, poorly draining soil, or a combination of the two. If you continue to overwater the plant, root rot will occur and the plant will die.

Immediately stop all watering and let the soil dry out before you water the Philodendron Jose Buono again.

If you suspect root rot has already started, you can remove the plant from its pot, get rid of all the soil, snip off any roots that are brown, dead, or decaying, and then repot the plant in a sanitized pot with fresh soil. 

Why are there roots growing out of the bottom of the Philodendron Jose Buono’s drainage holes?

Roots growing out the drainage holes means your Philodendron Jose Buono is becoming root bound and needs a larger pot.

However, you should avoid selecting a pot that is too large as it can make it difficult for the plant to absorb nutrients and water. A good general rule of thumb is to repot a root bound Philodendron in a container that is 2 to 3 inches (5cm) larger than its current pot.

Additionally, wait to repot the plant until the spring or summer, and make sure it is thoroughly watered before beginning the process. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I mist my Philodendron Jose Buono plant?

No, they don’t need to be misted. And we don’t recommend it! If you want to increase humidity, use a humidifier.

Fungi and bacteria breed on wet foliage, which may lead to leaf spot diseases. Given that leaf spot is a common issue for sensitive Philodendrons…we just don’t think it’s worth the risk!!

Is the Philodendron Jose Buono a rare plant?

The Philodendron Jose Buono is considered a rare variety. It’s not easy to find them in unspecialized nurseries.

Your best bet is looking for trustworthy private sellers on Etsy. The usual common-sense cautions apply – look for a seller with high ratings, read online reviews before purchasing.

Similar Plants and Varieties

Other easy-growing Philos to check out 🙂

Wrapping Up

The Philodendron Jose Buono has stunning variegated leaves but thankfully has simple needs. To help it thrive,

  • Keep humidity to >60%, as high as possible
  • Use a well-draining potting mix – add perlite or vermiculite to lighten heavy soils
  • Ensure it gets at least 6 hours of bright but indirect light per day
  • Water regularly, as a rule of thumb, once a week during summer and once every 10-12 days in winter. Check if the topsoil is dry before watering.
  • 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

Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.