If you are looking for a compact philodendron for your tabletop. You should choose the philodendron little Phil.

It is more compact than other philodendrons which make it the best piece of decoration for home and offices.

Little Phil is ideal for Hanging baskets, Terrariums, and small decorative plant pots.

It needs low to moderate light to grow dense, moist soil for 365 days of a year. Prone to root rot but pest resistant.

Below are its growing needs that you should know before making a purchasing decision.

What is Philodendron Little Phil Plant?

Little Phil philodendron is an evergreen compact houseplant. It is naturally found in rainforests of South America.

It grows spiral-shaped leaves; they are glossy and dark green with no variegation.

The normal height of this plant is 8 to 10 inches long with 5 to 7 inches spread. My little Phil is 10 inches tall with dense growth.

I use my own soil formula for this particular plant. Because it is prone to root rot and I can’t take chance with other ready-to-use potting mixes.

Little phil cannot tolerate drought and cold weather. Temperature below 55 degrees F is damaging to its growth.

The good news is it is a natural air purifier. I have two plants on my office desk and they are regularly removing toxins from the air.

Small plants are easy to grow and maintain in offices.

How to Grow Little Phil Philodendron?

It needs moderate light, less water, occasional fertilizers, and warm weather to grow. Fast-draining soil and partial shade are two important factors.

Below is the complete guide:

Light Needs of Little Phil Philodendron

Little phil needs less light than other philodendrons. Do not place it in direct sunshine. Light energy coming naturally into your home is enough for it.

Its small size leaves cannot tolerate bright sunlight. You don’t need to place it on the sunny window. My plant is getting light from my office ceiling lights.

If your plant is producing fewer leaves and is not growing dense. In this condition, you can place it on a sunny window for a week or so.

No need to buy grow lights or make any fancy arrangements to full fill its light needs.

Potting Soil

Well-draining potting soil is best to use for growing little phil. Do not use garden soil or succulent soil.

Succulent soil cannot hold moisture for long and this can result in dehydrated plants.

To prevent all soil problems, use aerated soil or make it at home. I mix peat moss, perlite, and orchid bark in equal parts.

This mixture of ingredients drains extra water in a few seconds. Also, hold a good amount of moisture for a long time without being waterlogged.

Do not use compost if you are planning to grow it in your office. Because compost releases a bad smell when watered.

Instead of compost use liquid fertilizer once a month.


Constant moisture in the soil is the secret to success. It is only possible when you regularly water your plant.

But the problem is little phil philodendron is prone to root rot.

Overwatering causes root rot in philodendrons. Therefore, to prevent root and to full fill its moisture needs. You should use a soil moisture meter.

Insert the probes in the soil mix and check the reading. Then water accordingly.

For best results and to avoid choking roots always use filtered water. Filtered water does not contain chlorine like tap water.

Chlorine is not a nutrient and is not required by plants. When you use chlorinated water, it blocks the normal function of plant roots. This results in dehydrated plants.

The only fix is flushing the soil with filtered water or using new fresh soil.

If you see white salt coming out with water from the drainage hole after watering. This confirms that the water you are using contains chlorine.

Fertilizing Philodendron Little Phil

Due to its compact size, it needs fewer fertilizers. Because we do not use any nutritional ingredient in our soil formula.

We have to use separate fertilizers. I am using organic liquid fertilizer. Because it is a slow-releasing fertilizer.

The benefit is, slow realizing fertilizer continuously supplies a good amount of nutrients to the plant.

This way you have to use less fertilizer and this reduces your growing expenses.

For dense growth, if possible, use compost tea in the spring and summer seasons. It acts fast and gives excellent results.

Ideal Temperature

Keep the grow room temperature above 55 degrees F. Below 55 is not suitable for this plant. It has a small root ball and small stems.

So, it cannot tolerate cold temperatures. You will see yellow leaves and brown leaf tips. Little phil plants will stop absorbing water from the potting soil.

This leads to overwatering and invites root rot.

Compact little phil is a warm-weather plant. But do not place it near the heat vents. In the winter season, you can place a thick mat under the plant pot.


Normal home humidity (above 40%) is enough to grow this plant. If you can keep it above 50% then you will see very dense growth.

My office humidity is above 45% and below 50%.

I love my plants so I use a hygrometer to measure my grow room humidity. This device is inexpensive and is a one-time investment.

It is an essential tool if you don’t want to face low humidity problems. Also want results quickly. 

How to deal with low humidity?

In low humidity, you can mist some water on your plant leaves. Make sure the water drops do not stay long on plant leaves,

Wet leaves result in bacterial leaf spots.

It is a disease that eats plant leaves and using copper fungicides is the only solution.

Pebble tray:

Use a pebble tray filled with clean water to comfort your plant on low-humid days. The water level of the tray must stay below the bottom plate of the plant pot.

The evaporating water from the tray makes moisture balloon around the plant.


Trim the dry and dead parts of your plant. It is not a large plant so you will not need to trim it frequently.

But for its good health and to prevent disease. You must cut its yellow leaves and dead parts

Remove dry and brown leaves with sharp shears. Use rubbing alcohol to sterilize your pruning tools.


It is not toxic to humans but is toxic to pets. Therefore, keep it away from the reach of your pets. Ingestion of little phil plant parts results in toxicity.

Excessive drooling and vomiting are common symptoms of its toxicity.

Immediately call the poison control center for help.

Repotting Little Phil Philodendron

It is a small plant and does not need repotting. But to keep the plant fresh and thriving you must repot it.

  • For repotting other philodendrons, we change the pot and soil. But with this plant, you only need to change the soil. No need to change the pot.
  • Once in every spring take your plant out of its pot and remove the soil from the roots. Throw the old soil and wash the pot with dishwashing soap.
  • It will kill bacteria and prevent many fungal diseases.
  • After washing the pot using a clean cloth and dry it. Wash the plant roots with water to remove the soil. Do not use sharp tools.
  • Add soil to the pot and place your plant in it.
  • Complete this process in less than 15 minutes to prevent root shock.

Propagating Philodendron Little Phil

To propagate little phil philodendron you have two options one is via root division and the second is stem cutting.

Both propagating methods are easy for beginners.

In the root division method unpot your plant and divide its roots into sections. Then plant each different section in different pots.

Add some water to the soil and you are done with propagation.

In the stem-cutting technique, you have to cut a 4- to 5-inch-long stem. Make sure it has some leaves on the top.

Then take a glass of water and place the cutting in it. If possible, use the rooting hormone to increase your success rate. Apply it on the edge of the stem cutting.

Put a glass jar in a warm room and humid place.

Regularly change the water when it gets unclear.

Within 20 days you will see tiny roots, transfer your stem cutting to potting soil when the new roots row 1 inch long.

Troubleshooting Problems

Pest Infestations

Generally, it is pest resistant plant. People grow it on their office desks and counters. These are clean places where pests cannot attack the plant.

But in case you see tiny insects over your plant. Use rubbing alcohol and wipe each leaf manually. This will kill them on the spot.

To prevent pests, use neem oil spray and keep the plant pot and its surroundings clean.

Yellow leaves

Yellow leaves indicate root rot in little phil philodendrons. Waterlogged soil leads your plant to root fungus. The only treatment is repotting your plant in new soil and washing the current pot with soap.

To prevent yellow leaves, follow the bottom watering

Less Dense Growth

Long stems and few leaves indicate two problems one is linked to light energy. In low light little phil stop making its food due to insufficient light energy.

This makes it weak and it stops growing leaves.

The second reason is not using fertilizers in spring and summer.

Nutritional boost is important for every tropical plant including little philodendrons.

Smelly Plant

A bad smell from your plant means something is decaying. Clean the base of the plant. If the smell does not go in a few hours, then check the roots.

Decaying roots can be the cause.


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