The philodendron Shangri-La (Thamatophyllum bippinatifidum ‘Shangri-La’) is a bushy, shrub-like philodendron with large, deeply lobed leaves. It differs from other philodendron types by its compact size of 3 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. The Shangri-La also grows in a clump from it’s base. This is called ‘self-heading’ and differs from more common climbing/vining varieties. Like all plants in the philodendron genus, this tropical plant is considered toxic to both pets and humans if ingested.
|Common Name||Philodendron Shangri-la|
|Botanical Name||Thaumatophyllum binnatifidum ‘Shangri-La’|
|Mature Size||4 ft. tall, 4 ft. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Partial, shade|
|Soil Type||Moist but well-drained|
|Bloom Time||Spring, summer|
|Hardiness Zones||9-10, USDA|
|Native Area||South America|
|Toxicity||Toxic to pets and people|
Philodendron Shangri-La Care
Like most Philodendrons the Shangri-La is considered fairly low-maintenance and easy to grow indoors. This tropical plant grows naturally in the warm, rich, and moist conditions of the rainforest understory. It is also hardy enough to withstand a bit of neglect, making it a good choice for houseplant novices and experts alike. Unlike some of its relatives, this split-leaf Philodendron does not have a climbing growth habit so it does not need a moss pole or trellis, and pruning is not necessary. While the Philodendron Shangri-La produces spathe-like flowers in spring and summer, it is extremely uncommon for it to bloom when grown as a houseplant.
Indoors, the philodendron Shangri-La prefers bright to medium indirect light. It can survive in low light, but growth will be slower and it may develop a leggy appearance. If you move your plant outdoors during the warmer months, keep it out of direct light as leaves are susceptible to sunburn. A shady or partially shaded location is ideal.
A loose, chunky potting mediujm works best. Pre-made soil mixes designed for aroids are offered by specialty houseplant shops, or you can make your own at home. Combine equal parts indoor potting soil, perlite, and orchid bark mix for a rich, well-draining medium your philodendron Shangri-La will love.
Allow the top half of the soil to dry between waterings and then water thoroughly, allowing excess water to drain fully. Like many philodendrons, the Shangri-La is susceptible to root rot if overwatered or roots are left sitting in soggy soil, so proper drainage is important. Always pot your plant in a container with drainage holes.
Temperature and Humidity
Philodendron Shangri-La needs warm temperatures and average to high humidity. This is, in part, what makes this philodendron so well-suited to indoor growing. Keep temperatures between 60 to 75 Fahrenheit and avoid exposing it to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. While this plant does well in standard household humidity levels, it will benefit with additional humidity. Place a small humidifier near your plant, or choose a naturally humid room in your home, such as a bathroom or laundry room.
Fertilizer should be applied during the spring and summer months to support new growth. Use a balanced fertilizer designed for houseplants diluted to half-strength. Apply once a month during waterings, and stop fertilizing once autumn temperatures begin to drop.
Propagating Philodendron Shangri-La
The best way to propagate philodendron Shangri-La is by division. This is most easily accomplished with a mature, healthy plant that has plenty of offshoots growing in the pot. It is also possible to propagate the Shangri-La using stem cuttings. However, because of the plant’s growth habit, it is not always easy to take a stem cutting without damaging the rest of the plant. You need small containers with potting medium and a sharp, sterilized cutting tool. Follow these steps to propagate a Shangri-La by division.
- Remove the plant from its pot and lay it on its side on a flat surface.
- Gently loosen the soil around the plant’s roots and offshoots keeping as many roots intact as possible.
- Separate the offshoots from the rest of the plant. Each offshoot should have its own root system, even if it's just a few roots. Depending on size, it may still be connected to the mother plant with one large root. Use your cutting tool to sever the root leaving as much as you can with the offshoot.
- Prepare a small potting container with loose, chunky soil mix for each offshoot.
- Plant in the prepared pots, patting the soil down firmly around the stem of the new plant.
- Water thoroughly and place in a warm location that receives medium to bright indirect light.
- Lastly, repot the mother plant in its original container, topping up the potting soil if necessary. Return it to its original location, and water if necessary.
Potting and Repotting Philodendron Shangri-La
The Shangri-La can tolerate being slightly root bound, but should be repotted once every one to two years, or once the plant has outgrown its container. Roots growing from the pot’s drainage holes, or circling the pot are both signs it's time to repot.
This is best done during the spring or summer months when the plant is actively growing, but can be done anytime it becomes necessary. Choose a new pot two to four inches larger than its previous container. Refresh as much of the soil as you can without harming the roots and return the plant to its original location immediately afterward.
Common Pests and Plant Diseases
Like most houseplants, the Shangri-La is susceptible to a few common pests and diseases. Checking your plant regularly is the best way to catch any potential infestations early. Watch for signs of spider mites, fungus gnats, thrips, and mealybugs. Isolate an infected plant and treat with neem oil or an insecticide.
In addition to root rot, the philodendron Shangri-La is susceptible to fungal leaf spot diseases, common among philodendrons. These diseases present as small black or rust-colored spots on leaves, which multiply over time and appear on all new growth. These types of fungal diseases are tricky to get rid of and can spread to other plants quickly. Isolate affected plants and treat with a fungicide..
Common Problems With Philodendron Shangri-La
Philodendron Shangri-La is a low-maintenance houseplant and not fussy about growing conditions. However, like any plant, there are some common problems that you can encounter when growing it indoors.
Yellow leaves are a sign the plant may be getting too much or too little water or light. It's normal for older leaves to turn yellow and eventually drop. If new growth is losing green color consider adjusting your care routine for watering and fertilizing. You may try moving the plant to a spot with better lighting.
There are a couple of reasons that a philodendron Shangri-La may develop brown spots on its leaves. If the spots are small and appear on multiple leaves, it’s most likely a fungal infection. If there are one or two larger spots that are crispy and dry, then your plant may be sunburned or not getting enough humidity. Move it out of direct sunlight avoiding placement close to a drafty window or air vent which can dry out the air.
How big does the philodendron Shangri-La get?
These shrub-like philodendrons grow between 3 to 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide.
Is the philodendron Shangri-La rare?
No, although it is less popular than other types of philodendrons so you may have to look around a little bit in order to find one. Because it is similar in appearance to other philodendrons like the Xanadu and tree philodendron it is common for it to be mislabeled. Make sure you ask specifically for the Shangri-La to avoid any mix-ups.
Should I mist my philodendron Shangri-La?
Misting is not recommended. Leaving water on the plant’s leaves can encourage fungal infections. To increase thumidity around your plant, use a humidifier or place it in a more humid area of the house..
Are philodendrons poisonous? Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.