Philodendron Subhastatum — Ultimate Care & Grow Guide

Philodendron Subhastatum

Philodendron subhastatum is a rare tropical climber philodendron grown particularly for their bi-colour foliage. They are the evergreen species bearing large glossy leaves all year round. Their leaves are dark green with a red underside. Their foliage colour becomes more prominent with maturity. These exceptionally beautiful foliage plants are preferably used to decorate the indoor space because they are shade loving plants.

Philodendron Subhastatum Leaves

Philodendron Subhastatum is a rare tropical climber Philodendron having both Variegated and Non – Variegated types. It is easy to care and low maintenance Phil.

The stems can even reach upto 6ft height and about 2ft width when grown under favourable conditions. These climbers are supported by the stakes or moss poles to prevent the stem from lodging.


Like other Philodendron species, these plants are also considered poisonous. They may be toxic to your pets and its symptoms include vomiting and oral irritation. Oxalates typically found in the leaves of philodendron lead to oral pain and swelling.The toxicity level may be mild or moderate depending on the amount of plant consumed.

Philodendron Subhastatum are native to South-America and are believed to have originated from the tropical rainforests of the West Indies and the Caribbean. They are also found growing alongside the swamps and river banks in Australia, Africa and Asia. They are very rare and quite challenging to find to grow as houseplants. They are non-invasive. They are grown on USDA hardiness Zone 9b to 11. They are fairly slow growing and require patience while growing indoors but their growth rates can be increased by repotting. They help to purify air and create a better climate for other orchids.

Philodendron is the largest genera of the Araceae family. They are mostly foliage plants that enjoy bright indirect light. Philodendron is a Greek word, Philo meaning “love” and Dendron meaning “tree”. So, the name refers to them as “tree huggers”. They have thick leaves with leathery texture helping to prevent excessive loss of moisture. Along with their ornamental importance, they represent health and signifies luck for some communities as well. This genus contains mainy beautiful plants like Philodendron Pedatum, Phil Deja Vu, Philodendron Lemon Lime and Philodendron Selloum.

Botanical Classification

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Alismatales

Family: Araceae

Subfamily: Aroideae

Genus: Philodendron

Species: P. subhastatum

Philodendron Subhastatum Variegata

Philodendron Subhastatum Variegated

The Philodendron subhastatum are variegated to produce attractive leaf colours. The variegated subhastatum looks amazing with a mottled light and dark green patterns on their leaves. The variegated leaves may possess light green, creamy, yellow or brown shades. They thrive in moderate sunlight and need regular watering to maintain their leaves’ vibrance. They are grown in a terrarium and as a hanging plant in the living room.

Philodendron cruentum vs Subhastatum

The major difference is their height and size of the space they occupy. Philodendron cruentum are small and have shorter stems than that of subhastatum. So, the Philodendron cruentum rarely requires the support from the moss pole. On the other hand, subhastatum species do need moss poles to support their long trailing stems.

Philodendron Painted Lady (Variegated): Care And Propagation

Is It Rare?

Subhastatum Phil an exceptionally rare houseplant barely available in online sites and very expensive to purchase. Its dark green surface with bronze or red tones underside captivate people to search and purchase this plant.

Philodendron Subhastatum Care

Philodendron Subhastatum

Philodendron Subhastatum doesn’t require special care and attention. You should remember to protect them from intense light and water them regularly to keep up the vibrance of their glossy leaves.


Well aerated, loose, friable, fast draining, sandy loam soil mixture is best for them. This media is mixed with perlite, coco-coir, pumice to increase drainage and worm castings as a nutrient source. Since they need to drain out the water quickly, soil mix must be prepared accordingly.


They are shade loving plants. Natural, filtered light and bright indirect light are best for their proper growth. Direct exposure to sunlight may lead to leaf burn and scorches making the plant meaningless. Thus, sheer curtains or some shade cloths should be used to mellow the direct rays of light hitting on their leaves. It should be made sure that all the parts of the plant get equal amounts of light energy for their symmetrical and uniform growth.


They are tropical shade loving plants and their growing temperature ranges from 18°C to 25°C( 64 to 77°F). The minimum temperature should not drop below 10°C. They are brought inside the house during winter to prevent their leaves’ colour from deteriorating. They must be protected from extreme weather changes.


They need more than 50 % humidity to preserve the glossy leaves. Humidifiers can be used in places with low humidity.


Philodendron Subhastatum are water loving plants. When it comes to watering, they don’t like to dry out too much in between waterings. Unlike other Philodendron species, it sulks quickly if it’s too dry. When and how to water depends entirely on your growing conditions. The watering frequency should be increased with increasing temperature of the place you are growing it in. Wet and water-logged soil should be avoided to prevent the plant from dying. You can use your finger to check the soil texture or use a moisture metre for accuracy.


Organic fertilisers, liquid kelp, deodorised fish emulsion are great fertilisers for this plant. Adding worm casting in the potting media will have enough fertiliser for it to start off in. You can fertilise it weekly during their growth phase and reduce the frequency to once a month during their resting phase. Overfeeding the plant with fertiliser is not good for their roots.

Potting And Repotting

The fine loose potting mixture should be prepared with well-draining soil added with coco-coir, worm castings, perlite and milled orchid bark to provide needed nutrition and moisture to the plant.

Repotting is practiced when the roots start growing through the holes of pot, the nutrients on the potting min gets exhausted or the plants get retarded being pot bound. It can speed up its growth on repotting. The old media is brushed off and the overgrown roots are trimmed before repotting.

Training And Pruning

Pruning is barely required for the Philodendron subhastatum. The pruning shears should be sterilised to prevent infections and illnesses from spreading. The yellow leaves are removed and repotting is done if the roots start grout out of the pot.

Cutting off too much of the plant will stunt the Philodendron Subhastatum’s growth.

Philodendron Subhastatum Propagation

This philodendron can be  propagated mostly by their stem cuttings. We can see some aerial roots growing on their stems which can be included in the stem cutting.

  • A stem cutting with at least one node and a leaf is needed for their propagation. Usually it is better to leave two nodes on the top part to ensure a better chance of its survival. There may even be aerial roots already starting to grow.
  • Use candle wax or something to seal the cut to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi.
  • A pot is selected and filled with the potting mixture prepared beforehand.
  • The cutting is then placed in the pot with its node part submerged under soil mix.
  • Watering is done and the plant is then kept in a shaded area.
  • Water them on a daily basis. Just make sure the soil retains just the right amount of moisture.
  • It will take 2 or more months for this propagation to grow into a new plant.

Common Problems

One of the most common problems for Philodendrons is root rot due to overwatering which is indicated by yellowing of the leaves.

We can barely encounter any pests under normal growing conditions. But also it can’t hurt to keep an eye out for any mealy bug, scales, spider mites or things like that. If you notice anything, spray your plant vigorously with water first and then with surgical spirits or apply a systemic insecticide. You can rub it out mechanically and spray it with water again if the pests resist the spray.


Phil Subhastatum are available only on a few online stores and are quite expensive starting from $29 for a small potted plant to +$100 for a large plant.


  • They look beautiful when decorated indoors mainly due to their bi-colour nature.
  • They help to purify the air.
  • Their glossy large leaves create a cheerful vibe in your space.
  • They are easy to propagate through stem cuttings.
  • They can grow really tall and attract major attention of the visitors.


  • They are poisonous to your pets. Immediate medical help should be provided in case they swallow their leaves.
  • They are very rare and difficult to find.
  • Their price tag may shock you in case you visit the stores for their purchase.
  • The watering schedule should be followed strictly. It’s a hassle for busy gardeners.


Philodendron subhastatum is a beautiful bi-colour foliage plant which can undoubtedly glow up your indoor space. Its green glossy foliage that are red underneath do attract major attraction of the visitors. They are easy to maintain, propagate and display around the house. This climber plant demands a shady area and covers a relatively large portion of your space. The soil shouldn’t be too dry or too wet. Determining watering time is somehow tricky for beginners. Once the mother plant grows perfectly, a lot other baby plants can be propagated easily through their stem cuttings. These slow growing plants demand patience and a promising watering schedule. In addition, they are quite expensive to purchase. These plants somehow may be a hassle for the busy minds. So, it is recommended to those gardeners willing to accept both their pros and cons in order to create a beautiful eye-appealing sight in their indoor space.

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