Philodendron Serpens is an evergreen low-maintenance houseplant. It grows glossy heart-shaped leaves and beautiful petioles.
In some parts of the country, it is also known as a funky-looking plant.
To keep it healthy and thriving expose it to bright light, water it moderately, and maintain the humidity between 45% to 65%.
In today’s article, you’ll learn about Philodendron Serpens care needs, maintenance, propagation, and troubleshooting common problems.
About Philodendron Serpens Plant?
It is a native plant of South America. There it is naturally found in rainforests. This slow-growing plant grows up to 12 to 15 inches tall.
10 to 12 inches long heart-shaped leaves look beautiful on the hairy petiole.
To grow it tall you should use a moss pole to support its structure. This evergreen needs bright light to make its food like Philodendron Rugosum.
Water-related problems are common with this plant. Therefore, filtered water is recommended to prevent all water-related diseases.
How to Care for Philodendron Serpens?
Below is the complete guide, follow each step to grow a healthy thriving plant in a few days. Common problems are discussed in the last section.
Light Needs of Philodendron Serpens
It can tolerate direct morning sunlight for a few hours. In fact, the warm morning sunlight is beneficial for this plant.
It goes deep in its leaf cells and kills the fungal cells.
The ideal light range for serpens is 250 to 350 FC. In low-light areas, it stops growing new leaves. The old leaves become dull and dark green.
The stems stretch themselves toward the light source. To full fill the light need.
Whereas in too bright light you will see burned spots on your plant leaves.
In case you decide to grow it in a low-light area. Then there is one best solution which is LED grow lights. These lights can full fill the energy demand of this plant.
Grow lights consume less electric current and emit light waves similar to sunlight. Plants cannot differentiate between natural light and light emitted by a grow light.
300 watts led grow light is sufficient to grow serpens philodendrons.
How to Water Philodendron Serpens
Moderate watering is the key to success. You should check the soil condition before watering your plant.
This way you can prevent overwatering and dehydration.
I use a soil moisture meter to check the soil condition before watering my plant.
You can check soil moisture by poking your finger in the potting soil. Water only when the top layers of soil become dry.
For philodendron plants soak watering technique is the best method. Take a tub, fill it with fresh water, and put your plant pot in it.
Let it soak water from the bottom holes for 20 minutes.
Then take it out and let it drain extra water for 50 minutes. If you follow this method, you will never face water-related issues.
Best Soil for Philodendron Serpens
Keep in mind that all tropical plants need well-draining potting soil. Because they are prone to root rot.
Serpens also need fast-draining soil that can also retain moisture for a long time.
It is only possible when your selected potting soil mix contains perlite in it. Go to Amazon and check for the well-draining potting soil mixes with perlite.
Because I run a nursery, I always make specific potting mixes for different plants. For philodendrons, I mix perlite, peat moss, orchid bark, and vermiculite in equal parts.
Sometimes I use compost when I don’t have vermiculite in my store.
You don’t need to make potting soil at home if you are only growing 2 to 3 plants. It will be costly for you to order different ingredients.
Fertilizer help Philodendron Serpens in growing large glossy leaves. Green foliage plants need more nitrogen than other nutrients.
But this case is a little different because it has colored petiole. So, you have to use a balanced fertilizer.
I prefer liquid nutrients because they are less expensive and give quick results. On the other side organic nutrients take time to break down.
This slows the nutrient supply.
Fertilize your plant only in spring and summer. These are the active seasons of philodendrons, which means their growing period.
Dilute the solution in filtered water and give it to the plant.
To prevent fertilizer burn do not exceed the quantity of nutrient solution to one cup.
Ideal Temperature for Philodendron Serpens
This plant is a native of tropical regions which means it is a warm-season plant. Therefore, keep your home temperature between 60 to 85 degrees F.
This is the ideal range and below 60 degrees F is considered cold.
In cold temperatures, the leaf cells start shrinking their size to keep them warm. This reduces the overall size of the plant leaves.
Extreme cold can kill your plant in a few hours.
A temperature above 85 degrees f is hot for it. In hot weather, leaf cells lose their stored moisture. This makes them dull brown and droopy.
To keep an eye on grow room temperature use a room thermometer.
Humidity for Philodendron Serpens
Normal home humidity is enough to grow and Serpens Philodendron. You don’t need to change anything in it like in the case of Philodendron Painted Lady.
For your reference, the ideal range of humidity for this plant is similar to the Philodendron Fuzzy Petiole. Which is between 45% to 60 %.
In case you find your home, humidity is low. Then mist some water on the plant leaves – avoid misting too much water.
Because warm weather and wet leaves lead to bacterial leaf spots.
The second option is grouping the plants together in a room. This method is beneficial when there is a 5% to 7% drop in air moisture.
The third option is the pebble tray method, in case humidity drop by 10% to 12 %.
All these are traditional methods and I found them time-consuming. In my experience, every grower should have one plant humidifier.
Pruning is required to keep it in good shape and size. In the first step trim its dead and yellow parts.
This step is important to prevent disease and to keep plants clean.
Next, use the same pruning tools and cut the overgrowth that you think is spoiling the looks of your plant.
You have the full control of pruning.
After trimming your philodendron use a damp cloth and clean its leaves. This step is necessary to maintain plant hygiene.
This is a simple process in which you shift your plant to a new large-size pot. In this process, you should use a new bag of soil.
To confirm repotting time, check the drainage hole of the plant pot. If the roots are poking out of it. This means the current pot is small for the root ball.
Roots are growing and they need a large size pot.
Choose a 2 inches wide and deep pot than current one. Add soil to it and unpot your plant. Cut the damaged and dry roots. But don’t try to untangle them.
Place your plant in a new pot and fill the remaining pot with fresh soil. Gently tap around the plant and add fresh water.
Place the pot in bright indirect light and you are done with repotting.
For 5 to 7 days, you may see droopy leaves this is normal and go away in a few days.
Propagating Philodendron Serpens
Air layering and stem cutting are the two best methods of propagation. I believe that stem cutting is easy for hobby growers.
Moreover, it has more success rate than other propagation methods.
Below is the step-by-step procedure of stem cutting propagation:
- Identify a healthy stem with healthy leaves.
- Make a clean cut just under the leaf node.
- Remove bottom leaves, 1 or 2 top leaves are required for successful propagation.
- Prepare a glass of filtered water.
- Dip the stem cutting in the rooting hormone.
- Place it in a glass jar and make sure the leaves stay above water level.
- Then store the glass jar in a warm and humid place away from direct sunlight.
- Change the water in the glass jar when it gets unclear.
- Within a few days, you’ll see tiny new roots.
- When they grow 1 inch long transfer the cutting to potting soil.
- Now you have a propagated plant and follow regular care.
Troubleshooting Philodendron Serpens
Every houseplant owner faces some issues when growing indoor plants. Because we are growing them in a different environment.
Below are the common problems with solutions that you may face in your journey.
Sap-sucking bugs are the real enemies of this plant. Mealybugs, Spider mites, and scales are common on Philodendron Serpens.
To get rid of these nasty insects wash your plant with liquid pest-killing soap. It is not harmful to plants and is specially designed for all types of general plants.
Do not use commercial pest killings sprays they are made for large trees. Houseplants cannot handle their ingredients.
To prevent pests, keep your plant clean, and always use sterilized soil if you make potting soil at home.
Do not mix garden soil in your plant soil to prevent pests.
Green Algae on Soil
Algae on soil indicate too much moisture in the potting soil and low bright light. For treatment, stop watering your plant and remove the algae from the soil.
In fact, remove the top 1-inch layer of the potting soil.
Move your plant to bright light and it will heal in a few days.
Leaves Suddenly Turn Yellow
If the leaves of your plant are suddenly turning yellow. This means there is a big problem underneath the soil.
The roots are decaying due to which all green glossy leaves are turning yellow.
Overuse of water is the main cause of it. To fix this issue you need to cut the infected roots and save your plant.
Just unpot your Philodendron Serpens and remove soil from its roots. Cut the decaying roots with a sterilized knife.
Repot it in a new pot and new soil. Add some water and place it in bright indirect light. Your plant will heal in a few days.
Brown Crispy Leaves
When leaves start turning brown and crispy or their tips turn crispy brown. This indicates dehydration.
Lack of water and bright light turns the healthy leaves brown.
The only solution is to cut the crispy brown leaves and immediately put your plant in a tub of water.
This way the roots quickly get enough water. Take your plant out of the water tub after 25 minutes.
This funky plant needs bright light and moderate fertilizers. Water it after checking the soil moisture to prevent overwatering and underwatering.
Use grow lights if your plant is suffering from low light issues.