Searching for a large, exotic feature to your tropical landscape? A great addition is Split-Leaf Philodendron, or Philodendron bipinnatifidum, which sports huge, palm-like, dark green-lobed leaves.
Reaching 12-15′ in height and with a potentially matching width, this seemingly tropical and moisture loving plant actually prefers well drained fertile soils with an opportunity for the soil to dry out somewhat between watering. This plant does well in part-sun to part-shade conditions, is heat tolerant, but not very drought tolerant. Philodendron does produce white flowers, but they are inconspicuous and should be removed promptly to encourage leaf growth. Split-Leaf Philodendron is known to produce aerial roots which allows it to climb far past its published growth.
Native to the jungles of tropical America, easy-growing Philodendron loves humid conditions and thrives best in the Houston areas in USDA hardiness zones 8-11. (Hint: Mimic any plant’s native habitat for best growth.) This plant is not a preferred option for the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, but if planted, make sure to protect leaf growth from frost to prevent damage as these plants are only cold tolerant to 36 degrees Fahrenheit.
Philodendron can also be a great house plant as long as its leaves are washed regularly and misted often. It will tolerate low light but thrives in medium light indoors. Re-potting is needed as the plant’s roots get larger, and this is best done in the months of active growth (late winter or spring). Although a massive plant outdoors, Philodendron will not reach its full potential indoors.
Xanadu Philodendron is an excellent dwarf variety of Philodendron that gives a landscape a tropical feel without becoming an overbearing addition. ‘Xanadu’ is commonly propagated by divisions of the rootball, and only grows to be 4′ tall and wide. Its compact form can be used more readily as a minor accent, border, container plant, and house plant.