Monday, June 13, 2011

Big Leaf Philodendron

Another plant that usually does well outdoors with afternoon shade is the Big Leaf Philodendron.  This plant looks great in pots or planters.  If you do put this plant into the ground, make sure you prep the area as if you would the Bird of Paradise. Add some nice gardening soil into the area with some mulch around the base.  While it doesn't grow to mammoth heights like it will in San Diego, it will get large here in the Tucson area at around 4-5 feet.  Again this plant can tolerate some morning sun but nothing more.  The strong afternoon sun will burn the leaves and kill the plant.  I have found this plant to do very well near water sources like a drip system or misty water fountain.  Don't let this plant get waterlogged, but it sure doesn't mind the extra water.  There are several varieties which I think are ALL being Monstera. This particular plant has a swiss cheese look to the leaf.  Most Philodendrons have large leaves with a nice branch structure.  Some are more upright while others have an open and bushier habit.  You should fertilize once a year and I like to throw used coffee grounds around the base of the plant for a little extra nitrogren.

The bark of the Philodendron with Creeping Fig crawling up the side.
  If these plants have been in the ground for awhile, you will notice their roots "crawl" and search for water above ground.  It's one of the unique features of this plant.  Many people think this is a boring houseplant to have around, but I think it looks really nice outside during the summer.   What about winter?  This winter I lost half of my Philodendron plants.  However the other half have snapped back from that deadly freeze. I had covered them with a blanket in our planters here.  This plant makes a great bright shade plant and will perform well with some regular watering.   I chose the Big Leaf Philodendron over the others because it can be a hardy plant year round for our landscape here.  There are other varieties that are fussier and need a lot more shade and moisture.  This is a great tropical for Tucson.  Start it in a pot first and see where the plant does better around your property before planting it into the ground near your home as the light exposure has to be exactly right for it to do well.  Until tomorrow......


  1. 3 Years ago when we lived in a walk-up the fools in the residents board picked this plant for the sidewalk in the common areas.
    In the tropics they grow tall and wide making impossible the walking.

    Same thing happens with Heliconaceae, Zingiberaceae and Strelitziaceae.

    Plants that seem cool to the uninitiated in Florida, but a maintenance pain in the arse in any tropical context.

    NIce post.

  2. Philodendron is a favorite in my garden too. They have died back from freeze the last couple of years but come back. This doesn't bother me too much as it keeps their size in check. I agree, I think they add beautiful contrast and texture in the garden.

  3. Here with us it might not be good outside, because they get so big. I have another Philodendron species in my post, but it is beautiful climbing a tree.


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