Philodendron Atabapoense Care: A Horticulturist’s Guide

The Philodendron Atabapoense is a tropical jungle plant. It is a beginner’s plant and anyone with little to no gardening experience can grow it easily.

Atabapoense grow beautiful long leaves somewhere similar to Billietiae.

This growing guide will help you at every step. Below is complete information on growing and caring Atabapoense Philodendron.

You don’t need to buy costly fertilizers and fancy gardening tools. It has basic care requirements like indirect light, moderate watering, normal humidity, and fertilizing once in 30 days.

What is Philodendron Atabapoense Plant?

It is a tropical plant with a shining green top leaf surface and maroon undersides. It is naturally found in Brazilian rainforests.

Its arrow-shaped elongated leaves look similar to Philodendron Billietiae and Philodendron Mexicanum.

This aroid climber grows well in an indoor environment. But it stays small about 5 to 7 feet tall.

You can control its height by growing it in a small pot once it gets mature.

The leaf size is unpredictable and I am saying it from my experience. I have 3 P. Atabapoense and they have different leaf sizes.

All 3 are growing on the same sunny window and get the same care and everything. Still, they have different foliage sizes and heights (don’t know why).

Do not expect flowers from this plant. It needs a jungle-like environment and humidity for blooming. It is not possible for us to create a jungle-like growing environment at home.

How to Grow and Propagate Philodendron Atabapoense?

Light Needs

A moderate amount of bright light is enough to grow Atabapoense plants. Do not expose it to direct sunlight even in the morning time.

Because it has green leaves means it can absorb lots of light energy by staying in a partially shady place.

Direct sunrays can burn its lovely foliage and destroy its looks.

If your plant is in a bright place and its leaves are turning yellow. This means it is getting too much light.

Move it to some shady place and save its life.

No need to use grow lights to grow it. If there is no sunny window you can use your fluorescent light to full fill its light needs. Its ideal light requirement is less than 250 FCs

Potting Soil

P. Atabapoense needs fluffy, airy, and well-draining soil. You can grow it only by using sphagnum moss as a growing medium.

But then the plant stays short and the problem with sphagnum moss is it dies out quickly.

It is best if you add some parts of moss in general potting soil. This will make the soil perfect for Atabapoense philodendron care.

Moreover, by adding moss to potting soil you can balance the pH of the growing medium.

Right now, I am using perlite instead of moss because my moss is finished. And I have perlite in good quantity.

The choice is yours both ingredients do equally well. Choose any as per your budget and need.

Watering Philodendron Atabapoense

Do not make any watering schedule for watering philodendrons. No doubt these plants need moist soil all the time.

You should not forget that a little bit of extra use of water can lead to root rot.

Therefore, check your plant before watering. Generally, check it once a week in spring and summer.

Come close to your plant and check the potting soil. If the soil is dry then water it thoroughly until it starts draining out of the bottom hole.

Then stop watering and let it drain extra water for 60 minutes. Then empty the bottom tray, clean it with a dry cloth, and put it under the plant pot.

In winter, due to the cold weather plants need less water. But this does not mean you should not check your plant.

Check it once in 10 to 15 days. Drooping leaves and brown leaf tips are the signs of a dehydrated philodendron plant.

Ideal Temperature

Maintain a consistent temperature for the good health of your philodendron. Set your thermostat between 60 to 80 Degrees F.

Below 55 F is too cold for this philodendron plant. Moreover, philodendrons are indoor plants that prefer warm indoor environment.

Do not try to grow it outside because the cold winds and low night temperature is damaging for the plant.

Move your plant from vents, large windows, and doors in the winter season.

I use a warm cloth to cover the pot when the temperature drops below 0 degrees C. This gives extra protection.


Like other plants of this family, your Atabapoense Philodendron needs a good level of moisture in the air.

In their native place, these plants enjoy high humidity (above 80%).

But the problem is we cannot mimic the same humidity condition indoors.

The good news is philodendrons can survive and grow in moderate humidity. This means you just need to keep your home humidity between 40 % to 55%.

Higher is the better for it just like Philodendron Gloriosum.

Methods to increase humidity:

To increase the moisture level in the home air. You can use a plant humidifier; it is less expensive than traditional humidifiers.

First of all, you need a hygrometer to measure the specific humidity of grow room.

If the drop is just 3% to 5%, in this case misting water and using a pebble tray or grouping plants is sufficient.

Use any technique that is easy for you to follow.

Note: sometimes misting water results in leaf bacterial disease. To prevent it just make sure the leaves do not stay wet for a long time.

Fertilizing Philodendron Atabapoense

For the best philodendron Atabapoense care you must need to fertilize it. There is a way of fertilizing indoor plants.

My recommendation is to use synthetic plant fertilizer 2 to 3 times in a growing season.

Fertilize it once in spring and twice in the summer season.

Do not waste the nutrient solution by using it in winter. It is the dormancy time and plants do not need extra nutrients.

Buy a balanced liquid fertilizer that has nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium in an equal ratio.

For example, I use a 10-10-10 ratio of NPK.

Do not use compost to feed your plant. It is good for plants but sometimes it releases a bad smell. For indoor growing plants always use commercial ready-to-use fertilizers.


No need to prune this philodendron plant because it is short in height and a moderate grower.

But to encourage new growth and keep it disease-free. You should trim its dead and damaged leaves.

Do not go aggressive, just trim a few parts and see your plant growing more healthy foliage.

Heavy pruning is destructive to plant health.

You can use any sharp tool that you can use efficiently for pruning. Just use rubbing alcohol to sterilize pruning tools before use.

This step is necessary to avoid unwanted diseases. For best results, you should only do the pruning in spring and summer.


As long as repotting is concerned this plant does not need repotting for the first 2 to 3 years. But we want a healthy growing Atabapoense plant.

Therefore, you must change the potting soil once in a year just before the growing season starts.

This way your plant will stay healthy and strong for a lifetime.

Do not try to add multiple types of fertilizers to the soil to improve its nutritional value. This technique is not worth it, it only wastes money and fertilizers.

You have to refresh the soil to put new life into your growing plant.

Repotting Signs:

Whenever you see roots over the top surface of the soil or they are coming out through the draining hole. This means your plant needs immediate pot shifting.

The root ball is large in size and the pot is small.

Use a large size pot and fresh soil to repot it and after repotting follow regular care. In 50% of the cases, repotted philodendrons show signs of weakness.

It is normal and is called transplant stress. The repotted plant will heal itself in 5 to 7 days depending on your care and attention.

Here you can use fertilizers if you want to help your plant in the stress phase.


Atabapoense plant is mildly toxic to pets and humans. The sap is toxic, and ingestion of any part of the plant leads to toxicity.

Symptoms are stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, burning, etc.

You must call the doctor or visit the poison control center if you are sure that your child or pet ingests the plant.

Propagating Philodendron Atabapoense

Stem propagation is the best and most successful method of Philodendron Atabapoense propagation. Start the process at the beginning of the growing season.

Follow the below steps of propagation:

  • Wear gloves and sterilize the tools that you are going to use for propagation.
  • Identify a healthy stem with at least 2 nodes and healthy leaves.
  • Cut 5 to 6 inches long stem and make a clean cut 1 inch below the node.
  • Dip the cut edge in the rooting hormone to increase the propagation success.
  • Take a glass of water and dip the stem in it. Make sure the leaves stay above the water and that at least one node is submerged in water.
  • Place the glass away from direct sunlight in a warm location in filtered bright light.
  • Change the water of the glass every 3 days or when it gets dirty.
  • It will take 10 to 15 days to grow new roots.
  • Transfer your plant into potting soil once the new roots grow more than 1 inch long.

Note: Do not use soil for propagation. Water is best to increase the chances of success. Air layering is another method that you can follow but is not very successful in this case.


Pest Infestations

Wash your plant with clean water before treating it with pesticides. Aphids, mealybugs, scales, and thrips suck the sap of the plant.

The interesting part is plant sap is toxic for humans and pets but not for pests. This is their favorite food.

To kill pests, use rubbing alcohol and wipe each leaf one by one. Do not spray it on the plant leaves. Take a cotton cloth and wipe stems and leaves.

Another effective and safe method is using insecticidal soap. Take your plant outside and rinse it with soap using tap water.

Allow it to drain water for 1 hour and keep it separate until it shows new healthy growth.

Root Rot

Yellow leaves and mushy soil are sure signs of root rot. To save your plant immediately unpot it and cut the damaged roots.

Apply a little bit of cinnamon powder on the roots and plant in the new pot.

If you don’t have a new pot then wash the old pot with warm water and soap. Then dry it with a paper towel and use fresh potting soil.

Brown Leaves

Brown leaves indicate dehydration in philodendrons. When you do not give proper water to your plant.

Your plant starts using water stored in its leaves. This turns shining leaves into brown color.

To prevent further damage immediately water your plant. The brown leaves will not turn green again. You have to cut them and discard them.

Droopy Leaves

Droopy leaves indicate repotting stress, high temperature, and nutrient deficiencies.

You have to figure out yourself, what is the reason in your case. Most of the time nutrient deficiency is the common cause of droopy leaves.

Give instant feed to your plant and it will become healthy in a few days.

In high temperatures philodendrons also shrink their leaves.


You can grow your Atabapoense Philodendron in plant pots, hanging baskets, or like a tree wrap. All methods are equally successful.

Take care of its light needs and water it moderately to prevent many problems.

The extraordinary foliage of this plant adds nice color in an indoor environment.

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