How to Grow and Care for Philodendron Oxapapense

A Philodendron oxapapense in a brown terracotta pot against a white background.

plant_x_daddy / Instagram

Philodendron oxapapense is a beautiful climbing Philodendron that is native to the rainforests of South America. It has become popular among rare houseplant collectors and Philodendron enthusiasts thanks to its stunning, silky, tri-lobed leaves and thin stems which give it an airy, whimsical appearance. Under the right conditions, it is considered a fast-grower and is generally easy to care for, especially if you have experience with Philodendrons already. Like all plants in the Philodendron genus, this climbing plant is considered toxic to pets and humans if ingested so take caution around curious pets and babies when adding this plant to your collection.

Common Name  Philodendron oxapapense 
Botanical Name  Philodendron oxapapense 
Family  Araceae 
Plant Type  Perennial 
Mature Size  10 ft. tall (indoors), 20-3- ft. tall (outdoors) 
Sun Exposure  Partial 
Soil Type  Moist but well-drained 
Soil pH  Acidic, neutral 
Bloom Time  Spring, summer 
Flower Color  Green 
Hardiness Zones  9-11, USDA 
Native Area  South America 
Toxicity  Toxic to pets

Philodendron Oxapapense Care

While this Philodendron can be tricky to get your hands on, it is relatively easy to care for once you do find one. Its care is very similar to many of its close relatives in the Philodendron genus—it appreciates lots of light; warm, humid conditions; and regular watering. Since the Philodendron oxapapense is a climbing Philodendron, it does best when given a trellis or moss pole to climb. Add one to its pot and use twist ties or plant ties to secure the plant’s stem to the support and over time it will begin to climb it.

Close up of a Philodendron oxapapense leaf against a white background.

plant_x_daddy / Instagram

Light

This tropical plant appreciates several hours of medium to bright indirect light every day. While a bit of direct morning or late afternoon sun should be fine, avoid prolonged periods of direct sunlight (particularly harsh midday light) as the oxapapense is susceptible to leaf burn. Similarly, this Philodendron does not grow well in low light conditions so avoid low light where possible.

Soil

A soil mix that is rich, airy, and well-draining is ideal. Choose a soil mixture designed for aroids or make your own at home with equal parts indoor potting soil, perlite, and orchid bark.

Water

Philodendron oxapapense enjoys drying out slightly between waterings. Allow the top 50% of the soil to dry out and then water well—allowing the excess water to drain from the pot’s drainage holes. If you are unsure about whether it’s time to water this Philodendron, it is always best to wait a bit. Philodendron oxapapense doesn’t like to be overwatered and can develop root rot easily if they are left sitting in soggy soil. Keep in mind that you will likely need to water your plant more often in the spring and summer when it is actively growing than you will in the fall or winter.

Temperature and Humidity

Native to tropical rainforests across South America, Philodendron oxapapense prefer warm, humid conditions. Ideally, temperatures should be kept between 68 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit (20 to 30 degrees Celsius) and humidity should be kept above 60%. Most household temperatures fall within this range, although standard household humidity is typically between 50% to 60%. To increase the humidity around your plant, try placing a small humidifier nearby or growing it on top of a pebble tray.

Fertilizer

In spring and summer, apply a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength once a month. Stop fertilizing during fall and winter as the plant enters dormancy.

Propagating Philodendron Oxapapense

Philodendrons are generally easy to propagate and the Philodendron oxapapense is no exception. Similar to its close family members, it is readily propagated through rooting stem cuttings—either in water or sphagnum moss. Here’s what you need to know about propagating this rare plant. 

To propagate Philodendron oxapapense in water, follow these steps.

  1. Using a pair of sharp pruning shears or scissors, take a cutting from a healthy and mature Philodendron oxapapense. The cutting should have at least one node along the stem and ideally, it should have two or three.
  2. Remove the bottom leaves from the cutting so the nodes at the bottom of the stem are exposed. 
  3. Prepare a small container with fresh, clean water and submerge the cutting so the bottom nodes are under the water while the remaining leaves are above the water.
  4. Place the container in a warm location that receives medium to bright indirect light and refresh the water once a week.
  5. Within a couple of weeks, you should begin to see small roots growing. Wait until the roots are at least an inch long and then transition the plant back to soil. Water it thoroughly and return it to its original location.

To propagate Philodendron oxapapense in sphagnum moss, follow these steps. 

  1. Before you start, fill a bowl with water, submerge the dried sphagnum moss, and leave it to soak for 10 to 15 minutes before using. 
  2. Using a pair of sharp pruning shears or scissors, take a cutting from a healthy and mature Philodendron oxapanse. The cutting should have at least one node along the stem and ideally, it should have two or three.
  3. Remove the bottom leaves from the cutting so the nodes at the bottom of the stem are exposed. 
  4. Remove the sphagnum moss from the water and wring it out so it is left damp but not soaking. 
  5. Place the sphagnum moss in a small glass or container and place the stem cuttings in the moss so the bottom nodes are covered by moss while the remaining leaves at the top sit above the moss. 
  6. Place the container in a warm location that receives medium to bright indirect light. Ensure that you keep the sphagnum moss evenly moist while the plant is rooting. 
  7. Within a couple of weeks, you should begin to see small roots growing. Wait until the roots are at least an inch long and then transition the plant back to soil. Water it thoroughly and return it to its original location.

Potting and Repotting Philodendron Oxapapense

These Philodendrons should be repotted once they have outgrown their previous potting container, usually once every one to two years. If possible, wait until the spring to repot your Philodendron oxapapense when the plant is actively growing. Choose a new potting container that is only 2 to 4 inches larger than its previous pot, and use plenty of fresh, well-draining potting soil. Water well after repotting and return the plant to its original location. 

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

Watch out for common houseplant pests like spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, and scale, which will all happily take up residence on a Philodendron oxapapense. Also be aware that like most Philodendron, it’s not uncommon for the oxapapense to develop fungal leaf spot diseases. These should be treated as soon as they are noticed as fungal leaf spot can spread quickly and be difficult to get under control. Also keep an eye out for signs of root rot such as mushy stems or dying leaves.

Common Problems With Philodendron Oxapapense

For the most part Philodendron oxapapense are pretty easy to grow and care for. However, as with all plants there are a couple of common problems that you may encounter during their care.

Yellow Leaves

Like many plants, Philodendron oxapapense can develop yellow leaves for a number of different reasons. Sometimes, yellow leaves are nothing to worry about and are simply a part of the plant’s natural life cycle (old leaves die off eventually). Other times, if the problem is persistent or affecting new growth, it can be a sign that your plant is not receiving enough light or water. Sometimes, it’s even an indication that it’s receiving too much light or too much water. Additionally, some pest infestations can cause leaves to yellow and die off. The only way to know for sure what the underlying problem is is to do a close examination of your plant and its growing conditions and test out some things to see what helps. 

Brown Spots

There are a couple of different things that can cause a Philodendron oxapapense to have brown spots on its leaves. If the spots are small and rust-colored then they are likely a sign of a fungal leaf spot disease. While there are a few different reasons that Philodendrons can get leaf spot diseases, one of the main culprits is overwatering which provides a breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Leaf spot diseases can be combatted with regular applications of a fungicide and should subside over time. 

Alternately, brown spots can also be a result of leaf burn due to too much sunlight. Ensure that your plant is not receiving any harsh afternoon sunlight and if you suspect that leaf burn is the culprit try moving the plant to a different location.

FAQ
  • Are Philodendron oxapapense rare?

    Philodendron oxapapense is considered a rare type of Philodendron that can be pretty difficult to come across. Luckily if you are able to find one, they are pretty easy to grow and propagate (meaning you can create more plants to share!).

  • Where can I find a Philodendron oxapapense?

    As a relatively rare variety of Philodendron, the Philodendron oxapapense isn’t a plant that you will easily be able to find at your nearest garden center or nursery. Instead, try looking online (Etsy is a great place to start) or at specialty plant shops.

  • Do Philodendron oxapapense need to be pruned?

    Pruning is not necessary other than to control growth. Since these plants can be fast growers when they are properly cared for, you may need to prune your plant if it begins to outgrow your space. Remember to save any stem cuttings and repurpose them for propagating!

Article Sources
The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Pet Poison Helpline. "Philodendron." petpoisonhelpline.com. N.p., n.d. Web.