How to Water Philodendrons (The Complete Guide)

Philodendrons grow quickly and taking care of them is fairly easy. There are nearly 500 different types of philodendrons. The care and keeping for each of them is similar, but of course, you’ll need to get to know your own plant well to keep it strong and thriving.

Philodendrons need a moderate amount of soil moisture. Before watering a philodendron, you should check the top inch of soil to make sure it is dry. It is important to let the soil dry out in between waterings. Water the plant once a week unless the soil is still saturated.

Philodendrons are resilient and can handle some neglect. Even if you haven’t been able to keep any plants alive in the past, your chances of success with a philodendron are good. Despite its forgiving nature, your plant would thrive even more if you understood its needs and how to keep it watered properly.

Watering Philodendrons

There are many different types of philodendrons. For the most part, the standard rule is to keep the soil moderately moist. It’s important to allow the top inch of soil to dry out in between waterings. You can test the moisture level by inserting your finger into the soil.

It’s important when you water the philodendron, that you don’t under or over water it. You never want to drown your plant. If philodendrons are left sitting in soggy soil, this can lead to root rot. The soil should be moist and thoroughly watered, but your plant should not be left swimming in the water. The only exception to this is when you need to flush out the salts in the soil and give the plant a little refresher.

Differences in Watering

As was mentioned before, there are nearly 500 different types of philodendrons. While following the standard rules for watering a philodendron will keep your plant alive and healthy, there are some plants that would thrive even more if they’re watered in a different way. Some of them require slightly different watering techniques.

Philodendron Prince of Orange:

This philodendron should be watered until the excess water flows from the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. You should make sure the soil dries out slightly in between waterings. This plant is sensitive to overwatering and if the soil is constantly wet the roots will rot. This is why it’s important to let the soil dry out.

Philodendron Xanadu and Hope Selloum:

You should water these philodendrons when the top 1-2 inches of soil are dry. These plants should also be watered until the water drains from the bottom. The excess water should be poured and emptied out. You should not have these plants sit in water because it will cause root rot. For these philodendrons, you’ll want to water less often during the winter, just barely keeping the soil moist.

Philodendron Little Hope:

You should water this philodendron the same way you water Philodendron Xanadu and Philodendron Hope Selloum. Philodendron Little Hope, however, does not need to be watered less often in the winter. It should be watered the same throughout the year.

Phildodendron Velvet:

This philodendron should be thoroughly watered as with other philodendrons. However, you need to let the top half of the soil dry before you water this plant again. For this plant, brown leaves mean that your philodendron needs more water. Yellow leaves may be a sign of overwatering.

Philodendron Birkin:

You should water this particular plant in the same way as other philodendrons. The water should flow through the drainage holes in the pot. Any excess water in the saucer under the pot should be poured and emptied out. You should water Philodendron Birkin when the top half of the soil is dry.

Philodendron Shangri La:

This particular philodendron should be water when the top 50-75% of soil has been allowed to dry. As with other philodendrons, it should be watered thoroughly until it flows through the drainage holes at the bottom. Excess water should be emptied out of the saucer. This plant should not sit in the water because it will cause the roots to rot.

Philodendron Brandi, Brasil, Heartleaf, and Lemon Lime:

These types of philodendrons should be watered thoroughly. The top half of the soil should be allowed to dry before it is watered again. Like the Phildodendron Velvet, brown leaves signal that the plant needs more water. Yellow leaves may be a sign that the plant is being overwatered.

How Much Water Do Philodendrons Need?

The most important part about watering a philodendron is not how often, but the condition of the soil. When your plant does need to be watered, it should be watered with about the same amount of water each time.

When watering a philodendron, you should give it enough water so it gets a good soak. You should make sure that the excess water drains from the bottom of the pot. This tells you that the water has filtered through all of the soil and is evenly watered throughout the soil. This way, the roots can utilize all of the water you are giving to the plant.

Consistently giving the philodendron this large amount of water encourages healthy root development.

You should be careful not to water the philodendron too lightly. If you do, only the top inch or so of soil will be moist. Not only will you be watering more often, but the water won’t get far enough for the roots to absorb it. This can result in droopy leaves and even color changes in the leaves as the plant experiences being under-watered.

How Often Should You Water a Philodendron?

As previously stated, the most important aspect to pay attention to, regarding when your philodendron needs watered, is the soil.

These plants should not be watered on a schedule, but should instead be watered whenever they need it. A philodendron should be watered whenever the top inch of soil has dried out.

Some people keep track of their watering schedules and when the last time they watered their plants was. It may be helpful to set reminders to check on the soil of your philodendron. Schedules, however, are not helpful when it comes to watering philodendrons. If kept to a specific watering schedule, a philodendron may be over or under watered.

Checking the soil is the most informative and helpful strategy for knowing how often to water a philodendron.

How to Tell When a Philodendron Needs Watering

Whenever the top inch of soil has dried out, a philodendron plant will need watering. The best way to tell when a philodendron needs watering is to check the dryness of the soil and not the appearance of the leaves.

Earlier, some specific examples were mentioned and discussed. For all philodendrons, the soil should be allowed to dry out in between waterings. If the soil is looking dry, your philodendron is likely in need of being watered.

While the leaves are not the most reliable way to tell if a philodendron needs to be watered, they can still be used as some sort of gauge. When a philodendron needs water, its leaves may appear wilted. After being watered, the plant should appear more “alive” and its leaves will perk up.

If there is too much water in the pot, the roots will not be able to take all of it in. It’s important to make sure that you never allow your philodendron to sit in soggy soil. If you do this, it could lead to root rot. This is why it’s so important to empty out any excess water left at the bottom of the pot and that you allow the soil to properly dry out before watering again.

Spotting an Over/Under Watered Philodendron

It’s important to make sure your plant is getting the right amount of water. It is possible to over and under water your plant. The appearance and reaction of the plant will be similar in both instances. The key is to look at the leaves. Droopy leaves are the plant’s signal that it is getting too much water or that it’s not getting enough water.

If a philodendron is being overwatered, the leaves will turn yellow or the plant will drop leaves. When it’s too dry or not getting enough water, it will turn a faded green or gray-green color and will even begin to wilt. Thankfully, due to the resilience of this type of plant, these problems can be easily corrected with proper watering.

You will also need to check the soil to make sure it’s not too dry or too wet. This will be a big clue for whether the symptoms you’re seeing in your plant are telling you that it needs more water or less water.

Saving an Over/Under Watered Philodendron

Your plant’s happiness and healthiness are, in large part, due to being properly watered. You never want to under or over water your philodendron. In the previous section, the signs for identifying a plant that is being over or under watered were discussed. Thankfully, if you catch it early enough, you can still save your plant and reverse the damage that’s been done.

In order to revive an under-watered philodendron, it should simply be watered whenever the top inch or so of soil has been thoroughly dried.

For a philodendron that has been over watered. The roots should be dried out and any damaged roots need to be pruned. After the pruning, the philodendron should be re-potted in a new pot with fresh soil. There should be a good drainage system to prevent the roots from sitting in pooling water and to prevent root rot.

The color and droopiness of the philodendron leaves can quickly be returned to normal. All that is needed is for the watering schedule to be corrected. This means paying attention to the soil and watering only when the soil has been allowed to dry out enough.

Best Type of Soil for Philodendrons

Though philodendrons grow well even in poor soil, they thrive when their soil is acidic (meaning the pH or salt levels are less than 7) loamy, and well-drained. The best soil mix for philodendrons is loose potting soil which is also rich in organic matter. The soil must have good drainage for it to be able to dry out in between waterings.

Philodendrons are sensitive to salts that gather in the soil from being watered. This can cause the leaves of the plant to turn yellow or brown. You should refresh the soil to get rid of the excess salt from time to time. To flush out the salts, you should water the soil until it’s covered completely, has been thoroughly moistened, and water is coming out of the pot’s drainage holes. You can do this for a time, but eventually, you should replace the soil. A philodendron’s soil should be replaced every few years or so.