Quick Care Guide: How often should you water a Philodendron

Quick Care Guides | House Plants

 

How often should you water a Philodendron?

The Philodendron is an easy to look after houseplant that can largely be left to its own devices, given the right conditions. The one aspect that offers any difficulty to indoor gardeners is how much water you should give a tropical plant your plant and when.

It is the only area of Philodendron plant care that needs a bit more thought, but in this guide, we will go through everything you need to know when watering your plant. 

 

Plant in a well-draining soil

Before you begin watering your plants you need to make sure that it is in soil that will keep them in the best conditions. The Philodendron requires a lot of water, but if the roots are kept in a potting mix that is too saturated the plant may begin to suffer from root rot and will become prone to fungal diseases. It is essential that your Philodendron is placed in well-draining and aerated soil.

Adding perlite to your soil is a great way to get good drainage into the soil, keeping it aerated. The ideal soil mix is one part perlite to three parts soil. Having the right potting mix goes a long way to helping your plants thrive.

You should also ensure that the bottom of the pot has enough drainage holes drilled into it. Make sure you also keep on an eye on the following points regularly:

  • Regularly check that drainage holes are not blocked -  Wet soil has a tendency to fall through or become compacted in drainage holes, so you should regularly check and clear the holes to keep the drainage free-flowing. 
  • Empty saucers under pots - If too much water is left to pool in a saucer or tray under your pot it will keep the soil damp and can prevent proper drainage. You can also risk the water going stagnant and damaging the roots. To avoid this empty of excess water and clean regularly. 

 

How often should I water my Philodendron? 

The Philodendron is a tropical houseplant that is used to the conditions of a rainforest. You should water your plant generously in the spring and summer until the water begins to seep out of the drainage holes. Between waterings, you should allow the top two inches to dry out before watering again. The best way to test the soil is to insert your finger up to the first knuckle.

A Philodendron’s leaves should be misted lightly one to two times per week since this plant likes high humidity.  The amount you water your Philodendron will depend on the climate of the room you have the plant in, but once you have a routine established it should stay constant. 

 

How often should I water my Philodendron in winter? 

When the weather gets colder in the winter months, the need for water decreases as the plant goes dormant, this means the plant should require less water, however you still test to see if the soil is dry just in case. It is likely that you may end up watering indoor plants more in the winter as you turn your hearing on, so if you have multiple plants their needs may vary because of the room they are in. 

 

Am I overwatering my Philodendron? 

The Philodendron is a fantastic houseplant for beginners because it tells you exactly what it needs. If your Philodendron begins to show yellowing leaves that are beginning to droop, it is likely because there is too much water in the soil. This is caused because the water is stopping the Philodendron from extracting any oxygen from the soil. 

 

Am I underwatering my Philodendron? 

If you are not watering your Philodendron enough the leaves will become brown and start to droop. This is a sign that you need to increase the amount of water you are giving to your plant. If you find that the margins of the leaf are beginning to brown it often means that the leaf needs more misting or is in a draughty area.

This will change your plant watering requirements so adjust your schedule by giving your plant a good soak, and keep the soil moist for a few days before going back to your regular watering. After a few weeks, your plant will start to show signs of improvement. 

 

Does the size of my plant matter?

In general, larger pots hold water for longer than smaller ones. Since larger plants will be in larger pots you may find that you will need to water them more often.  However, you should still base your watering on testing the soil.

 

Should I water my Philodendron from above or below?

A common debate amongst houseplant enthusiasts is whether you should water your plants from the top of the pot or through a saucer at the bottom. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages:

Watering from the top - It is mostly agreed that you should water houseplants from the bottom to avoid compacting the potting mix or causing fungal growth on the base of the soil. It is also possible that watering from the top may cause stem rot or end up with the plant developing a shallow root system.

Despite this, it is advised to water from the top just after repotting as this helps the roots to settle and remove mineral build up in the water.

Watering from the bottom -  You should ideally water your Philodendron from below. To do this, set your plant in a container of water for about an hour and remove it, and place it on a saucer or tray to allow the water to drain out slowly.  Watering this way allows the plant to develop a deeper and stronger root system.

 

For more information on caring for Philodendron plants, please read our full guide. 

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