If you’re looking for a large, bold, and dramatic houseplant, the Philodendron verrucosum (also known as Ecuador philodendron) could be the ideal species for you. This plant has a host of attractive features, making it a fascinating and eye-catching centerpiece plant for the indoor environment.
Growing and caring for Philodendrons are very straightforward but not necessarily the easiest choice for beginners.
Read on to learn how to grow and care for your own Philodendron verrucosum houseplant.
What is a Philodendron Verrucosum?
This aroid plant of the Araceae family is native to south and Central America, from Peru north to Costa Rica. There it grows in very wet rainforest environments at elevations up to about 6500 feet (1850m).
It is a large species that typically grows as a hemi-epiphyte. The maroon petioles can measure anything from one to three feet (0.3-0.9m) long and are interestingly bristled. In the right light, the effect can be quite spectacular.
The dark green veined velvety leaves themselves measure 1-2.5 feet (0.3-0.75m) long and up to 2 feet (0.6m) wide, so this is a plant that needs some room. New growth is blackish, becoming dark or bronzy green above with beautiful whitish venation. The lower leaf surfaces are paler with hints of red and maroon.
Does Philo Verrucosum Bloom?
This Ecuador philodendron plant can produce a 4 to 8-inch (10-20cm) long inflorescence. Colors are variable from green through pink to white. Flowering is infrequent in indoor specimens, with many growers choosing to remove inflorescences early to promote better foliage growth.
Is Philo Verrucosum Toxic?
Unfortunately, philodendron plants are toxic to both humans and animals. They contain irritating crystals known as calcium oxalates that can cause swelling and other symptoms if ingested or brought into contact with the eyes or sensitive skin.
Philodendrons are grown safely in homes throughout the world, but keeping the plant out of the reach of pets or young children is always advisable.
How to Care for Philodendron Verrucosum Plants
This species is fast-growing and vigorous when well established. It should be grown on a stake or moss pole to produce large beautiful foliage. This is a large plant, so make sure you have enough room from the outset.
Read on for more specific tips and information on growing a Philodendron verrucosum houseplant.
How much sunlight does Philo Verrucosum need?
This species typically grows under the canopy of large rainforest trees, which is a naturally shady environment. Indoors, they will thrive in an area that has moderate light but not in direct sunlight. A position near an east or west-facing window could be ideal. The filtered light behind a curtain covering a south-facing window is another good option.
How Often Should I Water Philo Verrucosum?
Water the plant often enough to maintain an evenly moist growing medium. Feel the soil regularly to get an idea of the appropriate schedule. The soil should not remain saturated, nor should it be allowed to dry out completely. An appropriate growing medium and a container with drainage holes will be very helpful for maintaining the right moisture levels.
What is the Optimum Temperature and Humidity for Philo Verrucosum?
This plant enjoys a warm environment with high humidity.
Temperatures in its natural habitat do not fall below freezing, although it is likely to become fairly cool at the high altitudes where this plant grows. Typical mild indoor temperatures are ideal for this species, provided it is not positioned near a cold draught or heat source.
P. verrucosum appreciates high humidity, so it is worth taking steps to keep air moisture high. A humidifier is ideal, but a wet stone tray or growing the plant near open water can also be helpful.
What is the Best Growing/Potting Media for Philodendron Verrucosum?
As a hemi-epiphyte, this plant is adapted to having its roots exposed to air and not remain saturated in wet soil. The best potting mix to replicate these conditions is a fast draining and very airy mix.
Orchid bark mixed into a regular house plant potting soil will create a coarse and airy texture. The addition of perlite will help further by improving drainage. The addition of some horticultural charcoal and some sphagnum will make sure the soil remains evenly moist.
Does a Philodendron Verrucosum Plant Need Fertilizer?
Fertilize this plant regularly when it is actively growing in the warmer months of the year. Use a diluted liquid fertilizer once a month or so. Flush out the soil every few weeks to remove any accumulated fertilizer around the roots.
Does Philodendron Verrucosum Need Pruning?
This species grows large dramatic leaves that should not be pruned unless they have reached the end of their lifespan. Cut the petiole with a sharp, sterilized cutting tool to avoid introducing any pathogens to the plant.
Common Pests and Diseases of Philodendron Verrucosum
These plants are not especially prone to pests but they can certainly be affected, particularly if under stress from less than ideal growing conditions. Monitor the plant regularly and take actions appropriate for the kind of pest that is present.
How to Propagate Philodendron Verrucosum
This plant can be propagated from stem cuttings. They can be tough to root, sometimes taking long periods of time.
Air layering is a great technique to use because the propagule will not be under stress while roots develop. This technique involves packing or wrapping a medium like sphagnum moss around a node on the parent plant and allowing roots to develop before cutting.
See more varieties and types of Philodendrons you can grow.
*image by firn/depositphotos.
Royal Botanic Gardens. Philodendron Verrucosum
Tulane University. Oxalate Plant Poisoning