Philodendron Selloum

OFFICIAL NAME

Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum (FKA Philodendron)

ALSO KNOWN AS

Lacy Tree, Philodendron Hope, Philodendron Lickety-Split

ORIGINS & CLIMATE

Central & South America, Tropical

ABOUT THE
PLANT

A big frilly floppy split leaf graces this Philodendron! This tropical plant can be found in massive proportions in the wild and they are equally impressive (albeit smaller) indoors. A commonly sold hybrid was named 'Lickety-Split', which we think fits perfectly!

HOW MANY GREEN THUMBS?

easy going, bright indirect, goldilocks, wide load, clusters, bushy or dense, floor, aroid, tropical, splits or holes, ruffled, lobed, XL leaves

HMP PLANT PICK

Philodendron Selloum

The basics

Water Needs

Always water thoroughly, but allow the top inch or two to dry out completely before watering again. Reduce watering in winter, allowing the soil to get up to 50% dry.

Water

Preferred Light

To thrive, this Philo prefer medium to bright, indirect light. Known to lean toward the sun—leading to lopsided growth, so do try to provide even, consistent light year-round and give your plant a little turn every few waterings to promote well-balanced growth.

Light

Humidity Needs

This tropical epiphyte (plants that grow in the mossy nooks of trees) will certainly appreciate a boost in humidity.

Humidity

Ambient Temperature

Adaptable to average indoor temperatures, but may complain when exposed to cold drafts or dry heat from vents.

Temperature

Toxic or Not?

This Philo is highly toxic to pets and humans. Ingestion will cause mouth and stomach irritation and possible vomiting. In some cases, may even cause swelling of the upper airway. Keep away from children and pets.

Toxicity

Size Potential

Indoors, this plant can grow up to around 6-8 ft tall with a 2-3 ft spread (when mature and with enough light)!

Size

Overall Look

Generally in a widely spread out formation of densely packed stems that reach out and twist toward the sun. Each stem is topped with a large floppy leaf. As the plant matures, may begin to form a woody trunk that will appreciate a bit of support to grow straight. Works best on the floor or a plant stand.

Format

Leaf Look

Giant, bright green foliage with a distinct frilly floppy look. These deeply lobed leaves have a finger-like appearance.

Leaf Shape

Pro Tip

The gorgeous XL large leaves on this plant can quickly accumulate dust. Dust blocks the plant from absorbing light—so be sure to keep their leaves clean and dust-free. You can do this by misting and wiping each leaf or a routine hose-down/shower.

Pro Tip

Water

|

Allow top inches of soil to dry between waterings.

Water Needs

Always water thoroughly, but allow the top inch or two to dry out completely before watering again. Reduce watering in winter, allowing the soil to get up to 50% dry.

Light

|

Medium to bright, indirect light.

Preferred Light

To thrive, this Philo prefer medium to bright, indirect light. Known to lean toward the sun—leading to lopsided growth, so do try to provide even, consistent light year-round and give your plant a little turn every few waterings to promote well-balanced growth.

Humidity

|

Extra humidity appreciated in drier spaces.

Humidity Needs

This tropical epiphyte (plants that grow in the mossy nooks of trees) will certainly appreciate a boost in humidity.

Temperature

|

Can adapt, but doesn't like sudden change.

Ambient Temperature

Adaptable to average indoor temperatures, but may complain when exposed to cold drafts or dry heat from vents.

Toxicity

|

Highly toxic to humans and pets if ingested.

Toxic or Not?

This Philo is highly toxic to pets and humans. Ingestion will cause mouth and stomach irritation and possible vomiting. In some cases, may even cause swelling of the upper airway. Keep away from children and pets.

Size

|

A popular plant for those seeking a larger specimen.

Size Potential

Indoors, this plant can grow up to around 6-8 ft tall with a 2-3 ft spread (when mature and with enough light)!

Format

|

Densely packed, outward reaching stems.

Overall Look

Generally in a widely spread out formation of densely packed stems that reach out and twist toward the sun. Each stem is topped with a large floppy leaf. As the plant matures, may begin to form a woody trunk that will appreciate a bit of support to grow straight. Works best on the floor or a plant stand.

Leaf Shape

|

Bright green with deeply lobed frilly edges.

Leaf Look

Giant, bright green foliage with a distinct frilly floppy look. These deeply lobed leaves have a finger-like appearance.

Pro Tip

|

A good wipe down, please!

Pro Tip

The gorgeous XL large leaves on this plant can quickly accumulate dust. Dust blocks the plant from absorbing light—so be sure to keep their leaves clean and dust-free. You can do this by misting and wiping each leaf or a routine hose-down/shower.

Beyond The Basics

Soil & Potting

Thrives in a rich, very well-draining potting mix—you can use a good quality potting mix labeled for indoor plants or make your own mix. You can try a 1:1:1:0.5 mix of potting mix, orchid bark, perlite, and activated charcoal. Ensure the pot has the appropriate drainage and don't forget to pour out any excess water collected in the drainage tray or cachepot.

Repotting

These ambitious growers are fairly quick to fill out their pot and become rootbound. Try to repot every 1-2 years in the spring, especially when tending to a younger plant. Increase the pot size by about 2 inches each time. Once mature and becoming unwieldily to maneuver—you can reduce your repotting frequency and switch to a routine of refreshing just the top few inches of soil. More on repotting here.

Feeding

If you're not already planning to repot, you can fertilize during the spring and summer months. Once to every two months should be plenty. No fertilizer is necessary during the winter when plant growth naturally slows down. You can try a balanced liquid or water-soluble fertilizer—always diluted more than the recommended strength. More on using fertilizer here.

Grooming

While no specific pruning is required for this plant, it's always good practice to regularly remove yellowed or dying leaves and any fallen plant debris. Ensure your scissors or pruners are sanitized to avoid spreading disease or pests. If you'd like to clean up the wild look, you can trim lower leaves off at the leaf stem—eventually the main stem will begin to take on more of a trunk-like appearance.

Propagation

Since this Philo Selloum grows in dense clumps, you can always divide these into multiple plants when repotting. You'll simply pull apart the roots into your desired clumps. Or, if a bit rootbound, you may need to cut them apart. You can then pot each one up into their own appropriately sized vessel. If you'd like to propagate without dividing your plant, you can also try a stem cutting. It can be hard to access the stem if your plant is still young and quite dense, you may need to dig up a bit of soil to reveal the stem. Try to make a clean cut just below the lowest leaf. Remove the lower leaves to ensure a clear stem before rooting in water or another medium. Once the roots are a few inches long you can pot up your new Philo Selloum! More on propagation techniques here.

Variants

A smaller, more compact variant of Philo Selloum is the 'Little Hope' cultivar with their playfully ruffled edges, a bit reminiscent of an Alocasia!  Another more compact variety is xanadu, which still has the deep finger-like lobes of Selloum, but with smaller leaves and little to no ruffles—giving it a bit of a cleaner look.

TrOUBlESHOOTING

Why does my Philodendron Selloum have dark brown spots and patches?

Symptom

Dark brown spots, or areas, that may be in the middle of a leaf or on the edges. These spots tend to be larger areas with an irregular edge, not a nice neat circular shape. They may also look “wet” or saturated in the middle.

Cause

These spots are usually the sign of a fungal leaf spot disease. These kinds of diseases often go hand-in-hand with overwatering or an overly damp environment, which weakens your plants and makes them more susceptible to disease.

Solution

The first step is to isolate the plant to avoid spread to your other plants. Then, prune or pinch off the affected leaves. Make sure to be diligent in your removal of any fallen plant debris from the soil. Most diseases thrive off humid environments, so it's best to stop misting or providing additional humidity for your plant (for now). You may even try switching to bottom watering to ensure you don't get any moisture on the leaves. Finally, a regimen of neem oil could be in order, focusing on a soil soak rather than spraying the leaves (at least in the initial treatment phase).

Once you've removed the infected leaves, the disease should drastically slow its spread. Make sure that you keep the leaves dry and check them regularly. If you see any symptoms return, remove those leaves as well and continue your treatments.

More on diseases here.
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Why are the leaf tips on my Philodendron Selloum browning?

Symptom

Leaves turning brown just on the edges or tips. These edges may gradually change from yellow to brown, crispy, and possibly a bit curled.

Cause

Browning just on the edges of tips is usually a reaction to low humidity. Since many of our houseplants have tropical origins, they also thrive in humid conditions. Our average indoor humidity is usually adequate, but some plants are simply more sensitive to changes in humidity than others. You may notice this more acutely when conditions are particularly dry—like when you turn on the heater in winter.

Solution

Try to accommodate your plant's needs by locating them in more naturally humid places, like the bathroom or kitchen, or grouping a bunch of humidity-loving plants together. But the only way to truly guarantee increased humidity is to get a humidifier!

Once you've addressed the problem: If the brown tips bother you, you can trim them back. Do your best to follow the shape of the leaf to help them look natural. Also, try to cut just short of the discolored edge so it doesn’t expand.

More on leaf changes here.
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Why does my Philodendron Selloum have patchy, pale spots?

Symptom

Larger grey or pale patches on a few leaves. The spot may look dried out and somewhat bleached.

Cause

When your plant is exposed to the hot sun, it begins to evaporate more moisture from the leaf surface than the plant can replace. Leading to bleached areas or large grey patches on leaves.

Solution

You may be pushing the limits on how much direct sun your plant can handle. Try moving it out of reach of those direct rays of sun or moving to a spot that receives only minimal direct sun in the mornings or evenings. While this should prevent further burning, the spots will not "heal", so it's up to you if you'd like to prune off the affected leaves.

More on leaf changes here.
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Why are the leaves on my Philodendron Selloum wilting and yellowing?

Symptom

Multiple leaves are wilting and turning yellow—particularly the older, lower leaves. You may also notice stunted growth and mushy stems.

Cause

The most likely culprit is overwatering and initial signs of root rot. When a plant's roots sit in waterlogged soil for too long, a fungal infection can quickly take over, causing the roots to rot (turning brown and mushy).

Solution

First, ensure that your plant has appropriate drainage (both in terms of well-draining soil and plenty of drainage holes in the plant's container).

If you think you've caught the overwatering early on, you can simply let the plant dry out more than you have been. Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out before watering again. Continue monitoring and only water when needed. You may also try using chopsticks (or something similar) to poke holes in the soil to help the roots get more oxygen. And finally, you can try to "wick" the excess moisture out of the soil by placing the whole pot (with drainage holes) in a tray or container with dry soil. This new layer of dry soil should soak up some of the excess moisture from the waterlogged areas around your plant's roots.

However, if you suspect a serious case of root rot, you'll definitely need to take a peak at the roots by removing the plant entirely from their container. If there are any black and mushy roots, trim them back completely before repotting with fresh soil in a new or sterilized container.

More on leaf changes here.
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Why does my Philodendron Selloum have mold on the surface of the soil?

Symptom

A white mold covering the surface of the soil or full-on mushrooms sprouting in the soil or even popping out through drainage holes.

Cause

It can be frightening to notice mold or mushrooms growing on the soil. However, these fungii are usually benign and won't harm your plant directly. The real danger is that you're creating an environment that promotes fungal growth and is quite likely overly wet. Ultimately, these could be warning signs that you are overwatering.

Solution

If you want to eliminate the mold and mushrooms, you can simply remove and replace the top inch or so of soil. You can also try a soil soak of neem oil, which acts as a fungicide. But try not to overdo it, since you're delivering neem oil in a water-based solution, too much will do more harm than good. The most important factor will be to evaluate your watering frequency and ensure you aren't overwatering. While the visible fungii aren't problematic for your plant, sustained overwatering will eventually lead to a fungal infection at the roots, the cause of dreaded root rot.

More on watering here.
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