Known for its striking, heart-shaped leaves and eye-catching color, the philodendron verrucosum makes a lovely addition to any houseplant collection. It's also known as Ecuador philodendron and has a vining growth habit. The large leaves are a deep, velvety green color, accented by light green veins and a burgundy underside.
Occasionally, this variety of philodendron will produce white and pink blooms in the summer. It is important to note that these plants are toxic to both pets and people.
|Common Name||Ecuador Philodendron|
|Botanical Name||Philodendron verrucosum|
|Mature Size||3 ft. tall, 2 ft. long, 2 ft. wide|
|Soil Type||Loamy, Well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acidic, Neutral|
|Bloom Time||Spring, Summer|
|Flower Color||Pink, White|
|Hardiness Zones||9-11, USA|
|Native Area||South America, Central America|
|Toxicity||Toxic to pets, toxic to people|
Philodendron Verrucosum Care
Caring for philodendron verrucosum requires patience and finesse, as this plant tolerates very little variance in conditions. As a tropical plant, it enjoys warm temperatures and moderate-to-high humidity. As a vining plant, it will take advantage of the opportunity to climb. Moss poles are a great option for this purpose.
These plants are not usually bothered by pests and diseases, so they are an easy keeper from that standpoint.
These plants thrive in bright, indirect lighting, such as near an east-facing window. In its native habitat, the vines grow in the canopies of trees where they receive sunlight filtered by the leaves above. Direct sunlight will scorch the leaves. Therefore, it is best to mimic this type of lighting in the home by situating these plants near a bright, sunny window without putting them directly in the sun.
Like other varieties, the Ecuador philodendron is hemiepiphyte in nature. This means that as the vine climbs upward, it eventually spends part of its life without roots even touching the ground. Keeping this in mind, the roots of philodendron verrucosum require good aeration and well-draining soil. These plants cannot tolerate smothering or soggy soil. Mixing potting mix with a substrate like coco coir, orchid bark, or peat moss will ensure that the roots can breathe and that water is not stagnant in the pot.
Although these plants do not like soggy soil, they do enjoy consistent moisture. It is best to water when the first few inches of soil feel dry to the touch. However, do not let the pot dry out completely, as this can stress the plant. Always check the soil moisture before watering. On average, these plants typically need watering once per week.
Temperature and Humidity
Being a tropical plant, the philodendron verrucosum thrives in warm temperatures and high humidity levels. They can grow when kept above 68 degrees Fahrenheit but do best when kept around 78 degrees Fahrenheit. In their natural habitat, these plants love very high humidity. To meet this need for moisture, you may find it beneficial to keep the plant in a terrarium, near a humidifier, or on a tray of pebbles and water.
These vines can be fast growers. They appreciate monthly fertilizing during the spring and summer months. It is best to use a fertilizer designed for plants in the Araceae family. Follow the specific instructions on the fertilizer, and do not give more than directed. Too much fertilizer can damage the plant.
Types of Philodendron Verrucosum
These plants can be found with many different color variations. Here are a few varieties of this eye-catching plant.
- Philodendron verrucosum ‘Rojo’: The Rojo variety, as suggested by the name, is known for its very deep red coloring. This appears on the undersides of the leaves and offers a richer tone than the standard variety.
- Philodendron verrucosum ‘Verde’: This variety has very dark green leaves with more subtle veining and a more subdued red coloring on its leaves’ undersides. ‘Verde’ plants require very high humidity and do not often do as well when kept as houseplants.
- Philodendron verrucosum ‘El Valle’: This is a dwarf variety, as the leaves only reach up to 4 inches. The undersides are known for their unique coppery color. New leaves also sport this color shading. El Valle also loves high humidity. This, coupled with its small size, makes it a great terrarium plant.
Propagating Philodendron Verrucosum
Propagating philodendron verrucosum can be done easily with cuttings and can be started in well-draining soil or water. To propagate with this method, you will need a sharp pair of snips, well-draining soil mix and a small pot, or a glass filled with water. Then follow these instructions:
- Using clean, sharp snips, remove a small cutting from the vine. Be sure to choose a cutting that has at least one node and one leaf. Cut below the node.
- To start the node in water, place the cutting in a glass. Be sure to keep the leaves out of the water, keeping only the node in the water. If you are starting it in soil, plant the node in moist soil.
- Place the cutting in an area that receiveds bright indirect lighting.
- If the cutting is in water, change the water weekly. If it is in soil, be sure to keep the soil moist. Placing it near a humidifier or under a plastic bag will help increase the humidity. Air out the bag daily to ensure good airflow.
- Roots should form in a couple of weeks. Once this happens, remove the bag, if using. If the cutting is in water, you can now plant it in soil.
Potting and Repotting Philodendron Verrucosum
Philodendron verrucosom can be a fast grower, which means they may need to be repotted each year. If the plant is root bound and has filled the pot, it is time to replant for the sake of continued growth.
Choose a pot that is a few inches larger than the current pot hosting your philodendron. Be sure it has good drainage holes to avoid soggy soil. Terra cotta pots are a popular choice, as they allow for good airflow and water drainage. When it is time to repot, you want to gently remove the plant to avoid damaging the root system. Tip the plant on its side and tap the pot to loosen the roots. Slide the plant out and replant it in the larger pot with fresh, well-draining soil.
Since the plants are either kept indoors or in tropical climates, not much is needed to overwinter them. Simply stop fertilizing and water less frequently. Be sure to keep this plant away from any cold drafts, such as next to a window or door.
How to Get Philodendron Verrucosum to Bloom
Although these plants do not have showy blooms, they do produce a spathe and spadix similar to peace lilies. These pink and white blooms appear in the spring and summer. Indoor plants do not often bloom, though plants grown outdoors may produce flowers.
To encourage flower production, be sure the plant is receiving plenty of humidity and warm temperatures. Giving it fertilizer monthly throughout the spring and summer will ensure that it receives the nutrients needed to produce flowers.
Common Problems With Philodendron Verrucosum
These colorful plants can run into some problems when their environment does not match their tropical needs. Here are some common problems that indicate a needed change in care.
This is often a sign of overwatering, particularly if the leaves are soft and the soil is wet to the touch. If this is the case, allow the soil to dry out before watering. If the soil is too wet to properly dry, replace the soil with a better draining soil mix. This is important to avoid root rot. Always feel the soil with your finger before watering, allowing the top several inches to dry out.
This means the plant is stretching to reach adequate lighting. Try moving your plant to an area that receives more bright, indirect light. Be sure to avoid direct light, as this can burn the leaves.
Brown, Dry Leaf Edges
This is a sign of a lack of water. Check the soil to see if it needs to be watered more. If the soil is adequately moist, try adding more humidity to the air. Humidifiers, pebble trays, or terrariums are great ways to increase the humidity around your plant.
Are philodendron verrucosum plants easy to care for?
These tropical plants require specific temperatures and high humidity levels to really thrive. Anything out of its preferred conditions may lead to some problems. However, when kept in a controlled environment with adequate light, temperatures, and humidity levels, they make wonderful houseplants.
Is Philodendron verrucosum rare?
Philodendron verrucosum is harder to find than other types of philodendrons. This coupled with its high demand makes them a rare find.
How fast does Philodendron verrucosum grow?
When given ideal conditions, philodendron verrucosum is known to be a fast grower. However, if conditions are not ideal or the plant does not receive enough nutrients, its growth could be stunted.
Dieffenbachia and Philodendron. (n.d.). Poison.org. Retrieved from https://www.poison.org/articles/dieffenbachia-and-philodendron-202
Dieffenbachia and Philodendron. (n.d.). Poison.org. Retrieved August 6, 2022, from https://www.poison.org/articles/dieffenbachia-and-philodendron-202