How to grow a durable hardy philodendron houseplant?

Striking foliage and easy care make philodendrons ideal indoor plants. Leaves may be heart, arrow, lance. or spat-shaped; smooth edged, indented, or deeply lobed. The leaf shape in some varieties changes as the plant matures.

Supported on a stake, such climbing species as heartleaf, black-gold, red leaf, and fiddleleaf can grow up to 8 feet high. Use heartleaf and other small-leaved types as trailers in hanging baskets. Grow large-leaved, non-climbers, such as tree, saddle-leaved, and Wendland’s philodendrons, in tubs 12 to 15 inches in diameter.

Use wire and paper twists or garden twine to tie a climber loosely to a stake inserted in the potting mixture. For a more attractive display. wrap a 2 to 3 inch layer of sphagnum mass around the stake above the potting-mixture level; bind the moss on tightly with nylon thread. Tie the plant to the stake until its aerial roots take hold. Spray the moss with water daily.

Philodendrons do best in bright, filtered light at room temperatures. In poor light, leaves may grow smaller, and stems may become spindly. Avoid direct sunlight and temperatures be-low 55°F. During the spring to fall growing period, water moderately, allowing the top 1/2 inch of soil to dry out between waterings; apply a liquid houseplant fertilizer once a month. In winter, water sparingly and stop feeding. Clean the leaves occasionally with a damp sponge; do not use oils or leaf shiners.

Repot only when roots fill the pot. Use a mixture of 2 parts sterilized potting soil, 2 parts peat moss or leaf mold, and 1 part peril le. To propagate climbing species, take 3 to 4inch long tip cuttings, or airlayer them.