Houseplants are becoming one of the most popular and eco-friendly ways to adorn your home. Plants like philodendrons are some of the most loved, varying from the heartleaf philodendron with its small leaves and long vines to the split-leaf philodendron with its massive windowpane leaves and long stems. However, some people have a hard time keeping their philodendrons alive, no matter the variety.
To revive your philodendrons and keep them alive, you will need to identify the problem. For dehydration, you’ll need to water your plant more deeply at more regular intervals. For overwatering, you’ll need to put it in the sun. And for root rot, you’ll need to prune the roots and repot it.
Though plant death can be a stressful issue, rescuing your philodendrons isn’t as hard as you might think. Read on for more information on how to save these beautiful plants and grow them greener and lusher than ever.
What’s Wrong With My Philodendron?
It Is Dehydrated
Dehydration is one of the most common issues that plant owners face and is the most common reason for plant death. Dehydration is characterized as the under-watering of soil, which leads the plants to shrivel up. You can tell that your philodendron is dehydrated if the soil is completely dry and if the leaves are losing their gloss and structural integrity.
Dehydrated soil also happens when you leave your plant in direct sunlight for too long. Philodendrons grow in almost all conditions, but bright filtered light (with some shadows) has been proven to be the best style of light for these lush green plants.
One of the most frustrating parts of dealing with dehydrated plants is that, when the soil they’re planted in reaches a certain level of dryness, the soil loses its capacity to absorb water through short bursts of watering. The soil is so compacted that it can’t take on water.
If you notice water flowing out the bottom of your plant pot when the soil’s extremely dry, you’ll need to take big steps to get it rehydrated.
It Is Overwatered
Another issue that a lot of plant owners face when they’re trying to grow philodendrons is that they overwater their plants. While a decent amount of water is great for your plants (especially in the summertime), overwatering is never good. Just like in the human body, when plants get too much water, it depletes their vitamin and mineral levels and can lead to illness.
You can tell that your philodendrons are overwatered if they have standing water in the pots. Your plants should never have standing water because that creates an environment for fungus to grow and gnats to breed. If you’ve overwatered your plant in colder conditions (think air conditioning in the summer), you’re very likely to see poor growth and an icky layer build on the soil.
It Suffers From Root Rot
Root rot is one of the trickiest plant ailments to handle. While other diseases like mildew and insect infestations can usually be cured and reversed by the use of natural pesticides or fungicides, root rot isn’t as easily cured because the damage from root rot is irreversible.
Root rot is a disease that occurs when plants are continuously overwatered in a pot that doesn’t have any drainage. It’s important to plant your green friends in pots that have drainage holes because it allows excess water to flow out and helps to aerate the soil.
When the soil isn’t properly aerated or drained, fungus is able to grow and begin to east through the roots of your plants. Plants that thrive in cooler and darker conditions like your philodendrons are particularly susceptible to root rot because they’re not picky about their growing conditions.
Root rots eat the roots of your plant, keeping them from growing and absorbing nutrients from the soil. If your plants start to tip over (like they’ve been suddenly uprooted) or if they just stop growing, you can be sure that root rot is to blame. Confirm your suspicions by digging up around one edge of your plant – rotten roots are soft and brown.
How Do I Cure My Philodendron?
Though it may seem obvious, the best way to rehydrate your dried-up plants is to water them. However, if your plants are severely dehydrated, you might need to be tricky about how you water them. If their soil doesn’t absorb moisture, you’ll need to soak them in a dish or sink of warm water for a few hours to rehydrate them.
Once you’ve rehydrated your philodendrons, continue to water them deeply once every day or so, making sure that you have proper drainage holes and sunlight so your plant doesn’t go from a state of dehydration to being completely overwatered. Plants need a delicate balance of moisture and light.
Much like the cure to dehydration is more water, the key to curing overwatering is to water your philodendrons less. If your plants are overwatered, the best way to help them absorb some of the water and evaporate the rest is to place them outside on a warm, sunny day. This will help get rid of excess water. If they’re not already in a pot with ample drainage holes, repot them.
Once you’ve dried up some of the excess water from your overwatered philodendrons, make sure that you slow down your watering schedule. Though it’s tempting to constantly water your plants to make sure you’re taking good care of them, it’s actually far better to water your plants only as they need.
Root rot is the trickiest issue on this list to solve. Curing root rot isn’t as easy as watering more or less – you’ll need to perform an entire procedure on your plant. To get rid of root rot, you’ll need the following tools:
- Clean scissors/loppers
- Fresh soil
- A new pot with ample drainage
- A small amount of water in a cup or can
- To fix root rot, you’ll first need to gently uproot the plant. This will show you how much of the root structure is actually rotten. You may notice that some of the roots of your philodendron have turned mushy and brown – you’ll need to get rid of these right away.
- Rinse off the roots so you can see them clearly, then slice off any rotten parts. Dispose of them in the garbage.
- Once you’ve cut off all the rotten roots from your philodendron, fill the new pot halfway with fresh soil and plant your newly trimmed philodendron.
- Give it a little watering, then leave it in the sun to get its bearings and soak up the water.
There’s a chance your philodendron might die depending on the amount of root damage, but since philodendrons are so hardy, it’s likely that your plant will make a grand comeback.
Philodendrons are some of the hardiest houseplants. They vary from small and vine-y to tall and large-leaved depending on the species, but all philodendrons have the same green glossy coloring and texture. These characteristics make them an attractive addition to your home.
Sometimes, however, your philodendrons die. To revive them, you’ll need to diagnose what the issue is, then cure them from there. If your philodendron is dehydrated, it’ll need a good soak in warm water. If it’s overwatered, then place it in the sun. And if it has root rot, trim the roots and repot.
Taking care of plants can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience. With these tips, you’ll be able to bring your philodendrons back to life in no time. Happy planting!