How To Take Care Of Split Leaf Philodendron

split leaf philodendron

Split leaf philodendron is a tropical plant that is also known as a Swiss cheese plant or window leaf plant. It is commonly grown as a foliage house plant and found in rainforests of Central America from southern Mexico to Panama. At first, it was introduced as a cultivated plant in England, 1752. The most important feature of this plant is that it is the only ornamental species that is grown for its fruit. And in this article, we have covered how to grow and take care of the split philodendron plant. 

What is the split philodendron plant?

Though it has the common name philodendron, the thing is that it is not a member of this genus. It is derived from the family Araceae. Split leaf philodendron plant is originated from Brazil and grows high into a tropical forest zone. Its height is 6 ft. and planted as indoor plants. But its length depends on varieties. This is a type of plant that produces numerous long appendages like aerial roots. Its strong roots grow down from the bushy stalk, and if it downwards stems reach and touch the ground, then the new seed will rise again.

Split-leaf philodendron leaves curling to grow near without overlapping each other. The young split-leaf philodendron is different from the mature plant. Usually, the seedlings of the plant grow in the dark zone. Leaves grow in the tree trunk are called shingle plants. More they will be old will develop the unique characteristic of foliage of the mature plants. The holes present in its leaves are known as fenestrations. Split leaf philodendrons are also considered poisonous houseplant due to its toxicity. It has two cultivators, such as variegate and albovariegata, that are different in the feature. These have small multi-coloured leaves.

Feature of split-leaf philodendron:

  • In nature, this plant is an evergreen climbing epiphytic vine.
  • It has silky and heart-shaped or curved stringy leaves.
  • Its aerial roots grow upward, attached to near braches and tree trunks. 
  • It can grow 70 feet high or more, including numerous branches. 
  • It has stout, cylindrical 2.5-3 inch stems with leaf scars. 
  • Leaves can be up to 18 inches wide and developed from the deep of splits having rectangle holes as they grow older. 
  • In rare conditions, you will be able to see the flower of their plant. The height of this plant is 8-12 inches long and creamy white.
  • This plant comprises oxalic acid. For that its some parts are poisonous to the human body. But ripe fruit is exceptional in this case.

How to grow split philodendron plant:

Potting: Most of the indoor plant requires a small pot, but split-leaf philodendron requires the large pool. A bigger size pot helps to grow this plant properly. A creamy type’s soil mix is also needed for the proper growth of this plant. It’s better to provide a tree bark or strong moss-covered support sunk into the pot for aerial roots and attach it. Sphagnum moss is generally enfolded around a wooden board. Securing a monofilament fishing line or nylon thread is a good option. Now water thoroughly and allow the soil to set for a little bit.  

Propagation: The most common and reliable method for propagation is air layering. For doing it, you have to take a floral or sphagnum moss, sharp and clean priming shears, a plastic bag, and twist ties. At first, find the leaf growing out of a stem. It’s better if a short aerial root is present below. Now just below the heart, cut a small slash about one-third of the stems’ diameter.

Now wrap the slash, aerial root, and the node where the leaf joins the stem with a 1-2 inch layer of sphagnum moss. Wrap it in a plastic bag. You have to check the root development by opening the plastic bag and secure the bag with twist ties. After root rising, place the new plant in the soil by cutting the stem.

 Split leaf philodendron propagation is done by root or stem cuttings. It’s also better if you put a few leaves and few plant nodes on each cutting.

Propagation through stem cuttings: For the propagation from stem cuttings, at first choose a mature plant and choose a suitable disease-free stem. Now allow putting the cutting to sit out overnight before planting. This will help to prevent the developing roots from rotting.

  It can be done by air layering or simple layering at any time of the year. Now cut the tip of the stem just below an aerial root and put in the pot. For more plants, cut the vine into 1-foot sections and cut the branches in half into the medium rooting surface.  And now transplant when root develops. Split leaf philodendron plants can also grow from a seedling. But this provides a slow development.  For that, warm temperature is required.  

Propagation through rooted cuttings:

For the propagation through rooting, moisten potting soil is required. Choose an appropriate potting mix. Keep one thing in mind the texture of the earth has to keep damp but not saturated. After putting fingertips, if you feel there is excess water, then you have to squeeze out excess moisture before filling into a growing tray.

Now make numerous holes in the soil with a stick and complete a 6-inch section from healthy stems of the split-leaf philodendron just below the aerial roots. Cut the stems in an angled edge.  Now put hormone into a paper plate or paper towel.

Make 2 inches hollow for putting the rooting hormone and remove excess powder. Put the cutting into the soil holes and damp the soil around the cutting. Now, cover the growing tray with a lid or a plastic wrap. Wrap in such a way so that the tray is covered correctly.  Cover the plastic wrapper with adhesive tape. Now, place the growing tray in a warm and bright location.

Check the stem cutting every day so that any disease can’t affect the cutting. 

Remove any extra part that can affect the process. For that, continuous monitoring is required. After rising roots, eradicate the shield from the growing platter and check the rootling by moderately towing the stem. Now place the new split-leaf philodendron into a distinct pot, and a healthy root ball will form soon.  

Fertilizer: It is not a suitable feeder. So feed them every two weeks. You have to notice is the plant is actively growing with balanced plant food or not. If not, then use the recommend ½ fertilizer diluted with plants other nutrients. It’s better to put on stimulants in the spring season. If you found leaf edges are turning brown in low humidity, then apply some fertilizer. Balanced water-soluble fertilizer is beneficial for this plant. Lack of nutrients can cause little or non-growth by providing small leaves.

Flowers: Normally, you will not be able to see the peak in split-leaf philodendrons. But if it is mature, then flowers will bloom when it is grown as a mature houseplant.

How to care for split-leaf philodendron:

Place selection: As split-leaf philodendron is grown in standard indoor temperatures 68 to 86 degree F, high humidity, and filtered, indirect sunlight. So you have to choose a place where your plant will get these facilities. Split leaf philodendron outdoors can be grown in a shaded location as a climbing, evergreen perennial plant. Too much harsh sunlight can cause damage.

Water: Water properly until the water drains out the dribble holes in the bottom of the pot. Less water is required in the winter season, but in the summer season, if you find the soil is dry, then you have to maintain proper watering. You have to water in such a way so that moss-covered can support the aerial roots and can obtain water and other nutrients.

You will find leaves are sweating if the growing medium is too moist. 

For that, it’s better to reduce the watering process for preventing root rot.  Let the dryness of the top keep between 25-30% before earlier spraying. Water droplets on the leaves indicate overwatering. So be careful about this. Again if you found broken leaves, then it means it is under-watering. Plants kept on the dry side have slower growth and require less water in winter.

Light: Normally split-leaf philodendron raises finely in a sunny place. For this reason, it is suitable to grow split-leaf philodendron in the summer season or you can put it in the direct sun in winter. Fluorescent light is also beneficial regarding this matter. But this type of light can’t develop the proper growth of leaves. It needs moderate to bright light. Direct sun can cause brown scorch marks on the leaves.

Temperature and humidity: Temperature is an important fact for the proper growth of split-leaf philodendron. The most important fact is that this type of plant can tolerate a wide range of temperature variations. Normally these types of plants require warm room temperature and medium to high humidity.  As they are warm temperature loving plants, so keep the temperature below 50 degrees F. average to warm temperature and 65-80 degrees F all year round.

In winter, it should be maintained below 60 degrees and this rainforest native prefers relative humidity above 40%.

If you want to keep this plant inside your house then it’s better to use a cool-mist room humidifier that will boost moisture in the surrounding air. The brown leaf is caused due to dry air.  You have to also know that split-leaf philodendrons grow better in high humidity including household humidity. 

Repotting: Spit leaf philodendron plant requires frequent repotting. This helps to accumulate the root system. You can also move this plant outside for summertime but keep one thing in mind that this plant gradually adjusted in higher light levels or sunburn. For repotting it’s better to pot in spring or early in the summer when the roots fill the pot. Take a container with drainage holes to remove excess water. When plant will be mature then it’s a good option to use a heavy container to prevent it from falling.

Care for split-leaf philodendron aerial roots:

You may found long aerial roots near the base of the plant. You can cut off a few with pruner without hurting this plant. Keep them tuck into the pot or coil them on top of the soil.

Pest control: Pest control has to do with the proper growth of this plant. Normally aphids, mealybugs, scale insect or spider mites are the common pest of this plant. The common diseases of split-leaf philodendron are Erwinia blight, Xanthomonas leaf spot, and leaf tip burn especially in warm and humid conditions. Use pesticides to treat any infestation immediately.    

Pruning: Split-leaf philodendron pruning have to done properly. As the leaves are the most attractive part of this plant so always try to keep leaves clean and dust-free. Again an aggressive trimming is also required for proper shaping of the plant. Also, wipe the dust from the leaves periodically.


  • Don’t grow split-leaf philodendron plant below 50 degrees
  • Frosting can kill this plant.
  • Proper year-round care is effective for proper growth.
  • Keep the soil damp but never so much drenched.
  • For proper growing, rich type soil is required that contains a good amount of peat moss.  
  • Don’t water so much to prevent the root rot. 
  • Watering has to do in such a way so that the first two-to-three inches of soil remains dry.
  • Try to spinning split-leaf periodically to get it the evenest exposure to sunlight as possible.
  • Use a soggy cloth to mildly rub the leaves.
  • As this plant is considered very toxic so you have to keep them out of reach from children and your favourite split-leaf philodendron cats or pets.    



  • What things are required for the propagation of split-leaf philodendron?


Sphagnum moss, clear plastic wrap, quality potting soil, rooting hormone are the basic things for the propagation of split-leaf philodendron.


  • What is the Light requirement for split-leaf philodendron?


Most split-leaf philodendron likes to grow in filtered bright light. But the direct sun can cause brown scorch marks on the leaves.


  • How do split philodendron care?


By providing proper temperature, water, humidity, and fertilizer you can care for your split-leaf philodendron plant.


  •  How to prune after split-leaf philodendron freeze?


You have to wait till spring. After that make a stem cut and remove damaged areas and put compost if required.


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