The most important factors in caring for philodendron plants are temperature, lighting, humidity, and water. Many types of philodendron plants are native to tropical regions and generally require the same type of environment to grow successfully. The care needs for this plant are also highly dependent on its location; it can be grown indoors as a houseplant or as an ornamental for outdoor landscapes and gardens.
Most types of philodendron do not fare well when temperatures become cold; they can also suffer stress when temperatures become too hot. Freezing temperatures or long periods of cold weather can kill a philodendron plant. When planting philodendron outdoors, it is important to choose a location that provides indirect or filtered sunlight, or some type of shade. The plants grow well at the base of trees or surrounded by other larger plants that offer shade during the hottest parts of the day.
Humidity levels are generally high in the tropical environments to which philodendron plants are accustomed. Planting an outdoor philodendron plant near a pool or pond will help to provide adequate amounts of humidity. In environments where a water source is not available, misting the leaves will add humidity and moisture. An indoor philodendron plant should be misted regularly and placed in a space that allows for adequate air circulation.
Water is key to a large, healthy philodendron plant. In the rainforests, a rainy season can last for half of the year, followed by a season of drought during which thee plants draw moisture from their environment. Whether growing philodendron indoors or out, they need adequate amounts of water. The soil should be kept moist, but not soggy. Like the soil found in tropical environments, a philodendron plant will thrive in a nutrient-rich soil made from organic matter such as leaves and compost.
There are various types of philodendron plants that do not need soil to survive. These types of species, known as epiphytes or hemiepiphytes, are plants that survive by living on another plant such as trees. In rainforests, many species of the philodendron plant live by attaching to tree branches and trunks. The tree provides the plant with everything that it needs to survive.
There are more than 500 species of philodendron plants; each of which are classified by their individual characteristics. Most species are native to subtropical and tropical regions of the world including North America, Central America, and the Caribbean Islands. When provided with the same care found in their native habitat, philodendron plants can grow in excess of 10 feet (3 m) tall and 5 feet (1.5 m) wide.