Philodendron Not Growing? Unearth the Secrets to Transforming Your Sluggish Plant into a Lush Indoor Oasis
There are many factors why your Philodendron is not growing. Inadequate growing conditions, such as poor lighting, soil quality, and inefficiencies, can cause stunted growth. Not only that, but you also have to consider external factors like pests and diseases that can also interrupt your Philodendron, leading to poor and limited growth.
This article digs deep into the typical culprits behind this problem, from light conditions to soil quality. We will provide solutions to jumpstart its growth and offer preventive measures to ensure it continues thriving in the future.
So pour yourself a cup of tea and put your troubleshooting hat on as we investigate why your Philodendron is not growing.
How Do You Know If Your Philodendron Has Stopped Growing?
Philodendrons generally grow most during the warmer spring and summer months, so it’s normal for them to slow down during fall and winter.
There might be an issue if you spot no new leaf growth over several weeks in their growing season.
Smaller than usual leaves or unusual colors could hint at improper lighting or water conditions.
Also, check if the roots are growing out from under the pot without new leaf sprouts – this could be a sign your Philodendron is focusing more on surviving than thriving. But fear not! A little TLC, like fresh soil or better sunlight, can often fix these issues.
While it’s essential to understand how to tell if your plant has stopped growing, it’s equally crucial to know why this happens.
Let’s now delve into some common causes that can affect the growth of your Philodendron.
Common Causes for Philodendrons Not Growing (+ Solutions)
This section will explore the most common reasons your Philodendron may not thrive and provide practical solutions to help remedy these issues.
Poor Soil Quality and pH
Poor soil quality and incorrect pH levels can significantly hinder the growth of a Philodendron for several reasons:
Poor-quality soils often lack essential nutrients for plant growth, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These nutrients are vital for photosynthesis, cell division, and protein creation.
Philodendrons require well-draining soil. Poor quality soils might either drain too quickly, not giving roots enough time to absorb water or retain too much water, leading to root rot.
Philodendrons prefer slightly acidic to neutral pH (5.0-7.0). Incorrect pH levels can lead to nutrient lockout, where certain nutrients become less available to the plant. For instance, alkaline soil can cause iron deficiency in Philodendrons, whereas overly acidic soil might lead to toxic amounts of certain metals like aluminum.
Soil quality also affects microbial activity, which assists in nutrient breakdown and availability. Poor soil conditions can decrease this beneficial microbial activity.
Ways to Correct pH Levels
Let’s first address incorrect pH levels. Here are the remedial steps we suggest:
- Test Your Soil: First, test the soil pH level using a soil testing kit or a pH soil meter. Philodendrons generally prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH range of 6.0 – 7.0.
- Adjusting Soil pH: If the soil is too acidic (pH less than 6), gradually add some garden or dolomite lime to increase the pH.
- If it’s too alkaline (pH higher than 7), you can use materials like aluminum sulfate, sulfur, or organic matter like peat moss to lower the pH.
Remember, any changes made to adjust the pH should be done gradually and tested frequently to avoid causing shock to the plant.
Repotting Your Philodendron to Fix Soil Inefficiencies
Repotting your Philodendron not only facilitates improved soil quality but also enhances the drainage capacity of your pot, which is essential for a thriving philodendron plant.
Fresh soil introduces nutrient-rich matter that propels the healthy growth of your Philodendron, while proper drainage ensures the roots aren’t waterlogged, safeguarding them from rot and disease.
If you’re eager to learn more about this process and do it right, we’ve got you covered! You can follow our comprehensive guide on How to Repot a Philodendron, where each step is detailed, giving you the confidence for a seamless repotting process.
Remember to check out our exclusive article on the potting mixture recipe we use with all our philodendrons.
Poor Lighting Conditions
Philodendrons are tropical plants that thrive in bright, indirect light. Poor lighting conditions can lead to poor growth for several reasons:
- Reduced Photosynthesis: Light is essential for photosynthesis – the process by which plants convert light into chemical energy to fuel their growth. Insufficient light can hinder this process, leading to stunted growth.
- Leggy Growth: Philodendrons may grow spindly or “leggy” in low-light conditions to reach more light. This results in a less robust plant with weaker and elongated stems.
- Fewer Leaves and Chlorosis: Lack of adequate light might cause the Philodendron to produce fewer leaves. Due to decreased chlorophyll production, existing leaves may turn yellow – a condition known as chlorosis.
- Lower Resistance to Diseases and Pests: Plants growing in suboptimal conditions, like insufficient light, are generally less healthy and more susceptible to diseases or pest infestation.
So how can we fix poor lighting conditions around your stunted Philodendron?
How to Fix Poor Lighting Conditions
Here are the expert-backed tips and tricks that guarantee to provide your Philodendron with the precise lighting it demands.
- Understand the Plant’s Needs: Increasing your PLANT AWARENESS about your specific Philodendron species will go a long way to leveling up your plant parenting skills. In general, they require bright, indirect sunlight to thrive.
- Choose the Right Location: The correct location in your home would be near a window that allows plenty of light but not directly in the sun. In the Northern Hemisphere, east-facing windows are often ideal as they enable morning sun, gentler than harsh afternoon sunlight.
- Use Sheer Curtains: If too much direct sunlight enters the room, use sheer curtains to diffuse it and prevent potential leaf scorching.
- Consider Artificial Lights: If natural light is insufficient, invest in grow lights specifically designed for indoor plants. These can supplement or replace natural light when necessary.
- Monitor Your Plant’s Progress: Notice how your plant responds over time to these changes – if it starts producing new, healthy leaves, you’re on the right track! Adjust as needed based on your plant’s response.
Let’s now focus on how improper feeding can stunt the growth of your Philodendron.
Overfertilizing is a common mistake.
Excessive fertilizer can cause salt buildup in the soil, leading to leaf burn, reduced growth, or even killing the plant. You might observe leaves turning yellow or brown and falling off prematurely if you’re overdoing it. Too much nitrogen can also push the plant into developing lots of foliage without corresponding root development, leaving it vulnerable.
On the other hand, under-fertilizing also has its downsides. Philodendrons need nutrients to grow and develop properly. If they don’t receive enough fertilizer, they may exhibit slow growth rates or stunted development due to nutrient deficiencies. Leaves may appear pale green or yellowish instead of vibrant green.
For balanced growth, feed your Philodendron with a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer every 1-2 months during the growing season (spring through fall) at half the recommended strength on the product label.
How to Fix Fertilization Problems in Your Philodendron
There are three key areas to consider when fixing any fertilization issues with your Philodendron.
- Choose the correct fertilizer – Many different types of plant food are available, but for Philodendrons, it’s best to use something balanced. Look for a fertilizer labeled “20-20-20” — this means it has equal parts Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K). These ingredients may sound scientific, but they’re simply nutrients that every plant needs in balance – like how our diet should be balanced, too!
- How Much and How Often – A good rule of thumb is to fertilize about once a month during its growing season (usually spring and summer). And always follow the package instructions for how much to use. If you have completed the PLANT PARENT AWARENESS part of our recommended steps to becoming a successful indoor plant parent, you will have gained insight into your particular Philodendron’s fertilization preferences.
- Keep Things Clean – Just as we don’t want dinner left on our plates all night, plants don’t either! If there’s any fertilizer left on the leaves after feeding them, wipe them off gently with a wet cloth or rinse them lightly under some distilled water (to avoid any water stains on the leaves).
Watering Issues (Under and Over)
Let’s start with underwatering. When a Philodendron doesn’t get enough water, it can result in stunted growth. The plant may start exhibiting symptoms like wilting leaves or dry, brown leaf edges as they cannot efficiently perform photosynthesis. Think of water as the fuel your plant needs!
Now onto overwatering. You’d think more water would mean a happier plant, right? Well, not quite! Overwatering is one of the main reasons indoor plants like Philodendrons end up stunted or even dying. Too much water can lead to root rot and decrease the roots’ access to vital oxygen. Leaves might become yellowish and overall growth can be slower.
The key is balance – check the top inch of soil before watering again; if it’s dry, it’s time for some hydration! And remember that every plant is unique, so keep an eye on yours and adjust it according to its specific needs.
How to Fix an Underwatered Philodendron
The initial step is to water the plant thoroughly. Soak the soil until water drains through the bottom of the pot. Ensure you’re using a pot with proper drainage holes to avoid water logging. This is important because although we want to hydrate our plants, we don’t want them sitting in water for too long.
Over the next few days, monitor your plant closely. Keep an eye on its leaves; congrats if they start perking up! You’re on the right track. If not, consider misting its leaves lightly, mainly if you live in a dry area. Philodendrons love humid climates, and misting can simulate that environment for them.
Lastly, remember not to overcompensate by overwatering, which could lead to root rot and further damage. It’s all about balance here. The soil should be kept moist but never soggy.
How to Fix an Overwatered Philodendron
Don’t worry. Overwatering is a common issue, and it’s quite fixable. First off, stop watering your Philodendron immediately to allow it to recover.
Carefully remove the plant from its pot and inspect the roots for any black or mushy parts indicating root rot – you can trim these off with a clean pair of scissors.
Next, repot your Philodendron in fresh well-draining soil like a mix of potting soil, perlite, or worm castings (you can check out the recipe we use HERE).
Use a pot with suitable drainage holes to prevent water from pooling. Place your plant in an area with indirect sunlight and let it recuperate.
These plants are easy-going, but they can sometimes be picky about their environment.
Philodendrons generally enjoy high humidity levels, around 65-80%.
If the air is too dry, it might stunt its growth.
How to Fix Low Humidity Around Your Philodendron
To increase the humidity around your plant, you can try misting it lightly with water daily or place it around other indoor plants with a humidifier nearby. The collective evaporation of indoor plants helps to provide a quick boost to the moisture in the surrounding air. Plus, with the addition of the humidifier, it should provide ample humidity for your Philodendron.
You could also consider creating a humidity tray by placing water in a shallow dish and then putting the pot on top of pebbles within the dish – make sure that the base of your pot isn’t directly sitting in water.
We love humidity trays because they are such a simple solution, and they don’t ruin the aesthetics of your indoor plant collection like larger cumbersome humidifiers. Check out our guide on putting together your own DIY humidity tray.
Diseases and Pest Infections Causing Stunted Growth
The stunted growth of a Philodendron often stems from diseases or pesky pests.
Pests can undermine the health of your Philodendron by feeding on its nutrient-rich sap, disrupting its growth and development. This pest-induced malnutrition can lead to severe plant health issues.
When diseased, a philodendron diverts energy towards fighting the infection, limiting resources for new growth. This process can hinder long-term growth and vitality despite being a crucial survival mechanism. Therefore, safeguarding against pests and diseases is vital for your plant’s well-being.
How to Revive a Pest-Ridden Philodendron
But don’t worry! There are steps you can take to rejuvenate your beautiful plant.
First, inspect your Philodendron for common pests like mealybugs, aphids, or spider mites.
These critters usually hide under leaves and between leaf joints. If you see any of these culprits, an excellent first step is to clean the leaves with a light dish soap and water solution.
Consider using an organic insecticidal soap for stubborn infestations – this should do the trick!
How to Cure a Diseased Philodendron
Symptoms of the disease, such as fungal or bacterial infections, include leaf spots or wilting despite watering appropriately.
Removing all affected parts of the plant immediately is essential to prevent further spreading. To treat the plant, use an organic fungicide (plenty is available in your local nursery or in online marketplaces like Amazon), and always make sure to follow the manufacturer’s application instructions.
Lastly, prevention is better than cure! Ensure your Philodendron has enough indirect sunlight and you’re not overwatering it – soggy roots can attract diseases and insects.
Remember, recovery might take some time but stay patient and provide tender loving care to your Philodendron.
Seasonal Changes Affecting Philodendron Growth
Firstly, it’s essential to understand that every season brings different conditions affecting your plant differently.
For example, Philodendrons slow down their growth rate in winter due to less sunlight and lower temperatures. To help them through this period, ensure they get as much light as possible (indirect is best) by moving them closer to a bright window but away from cold drafts.
As spring approaches and the temperature starts warming up, slowly increase their water intake because they will start growing more actively. A good rule of thumb is to allow the top inch of soil to dry out between watering.
In the hot summer months, Philodendrons love humidity & absorb water quickly, so keep an eye on the soil’s moisture level – you might need to water more often. But avoid overwatering since this could lead to root rot.
When fall (autumn) comes around with its cooler temperatures and shorter days, it’s time to scale back watering again.
Also, remember, regardless of season, your Philodendron needs nutrients! Using a balanced houseplant fertilizer every month during growing seasons (Spring & Summer) will support healthy growth.
In essence, attuning your care according to seasonal changes can significantly improve your Philodendron’s health. It’s all about finding what works best for your leafy friend each season and sticking with it!
And remember: patience is key! Plants take time to respond to care changes, but I’m sure you’ll see improvements if you stay consistent soon.
Good luck with your Philodendron!
Main Takeaways for a Philodendron Not Growing
Many factors, like soil quality, lighting, watering, and seasonal changes, can hinder your Philodendron’s growth. But fret not! With patience and the proper care adjustments outlined in this guide, you’re on your way to reviving your plant. So let’s start – your Philodendron is counting on you to flourish!
- Photosynthesis. (2023, July 1). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis