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How to Care for a Philo or Philodendron Selloum "Hope" Houseplant

I have more than eight years of hands-on experience in the horticultural maintenance industry. I enjoy sharing many tricks of the trade.

Philodendron selloum is a tropical plant that can be a great showpiece for your home or office.

Philodendron selloum is a tropical plant that can be a great showpiece for your home or office.

The Best Environment for a Philodendron Hope Plant

  • Not too dark or bright. Like most other plants in the Philodendron genus, Philodendron Hope enjoys a mild climate that is neither too hot nor too cold, and neither too bright nor too dark—it likes to be in just the right place.
  • Diffused, moderate light. The ideal indoor environment provides moderate or diffused natural light. Artificial indoor light sources that can be left on for a significant period of time work, but natural, moderate light is best.
  • If in bright light, use fertilizer. Philodendron Hope is also capable of tolerating high light conditions indoors; however, it will likely need periodic fertilizer applications to avoid nutrient deficiencies and chlorosis, since lots of light causes an increase in growth and productivity.
  • Match water to amount of light. On the other hand, Philodendron Hope in low light is prone to rot at its roots and in the stem and leaves, and probably won't last in an aesthetically pleasing way for any significant period of time. It is also very easy to over-water the plant in low light, so it is best to avoid placing your Philodendron Hope in said lighting.

For best results, place your plant in an area with moderate lighting, mild indoor temperatures, and comfortable airflow. Avoid extremes of any kind.

Preferred Lighting Conditions for Philodendron Selloum

Lighting ConditionsIdeal?Effect on Philo Hope

Low

No

Easy to over-water; makes plant prone to rotting

Medium

Yes

A healthy, thriving plant

High

Yes, with extra care

Will need periodic application of fertilizer

Caring for and Watering Philodendron

Philodendron Hope, like other Philodendron varieties, enjoys a balance of moist and dry soil.

  1. When watering your plant, check the soil surface to make sure that it is dry to the touch. Generally, the plant should be watered enough to moisten the soil all the way through.
  2. If moderate environmental conditions are met, it's not necessary to leave standing water in the liner; however, if there is too much heat, airflow, or light, water in the liner may be necessary.
  3. Allow the soil surface to become dry to the touch before watering again.
Liven up your indoors with this exotic plant that's easy to care for.

Liven up your indoors with this exotic plant that's easy to care for.

Cutting and Removing Leaves From Your Philodendron

Philodendron Hope will lose a leaf here and there as they grow. These dead leaves should be removed by snapping the base of the leaf stem off of the primary plant trunk; or, in the case of a dense variety, the leaves should be snapped off as close to the soil as possible.

It is also a good idea to periodically remove dried-up new leaf husks. Indoors, this dry leaf material can be a catalyst for fungus gnats, so keeping organic material cleared away is a great preventative measure for avoiding infestation.

As it ages, Philodendron Hope can grow out along its centralized trunk, turning itself into something more like a tree than a bushy floor plant. The trunk can be pruned back if it grows out of control. This plant is also known to grow long, trailing air roots. These are perfectly natural, and whether or not they are attractive is a matter of personal opinion. If you do not like the look of the air roots or if they are becoming intrusive, they can be cut back.

Be aware that Philodendron Hope is considered poisonous. Be sure not to ingest any of the fluid that may get on you after pruning a trunk or cutting away unsightly dead leaves.

Tropical Cut-Leaf or Split-Leaf Philodendron Hope Plant Facts

Philodendron selloum, Philodendron Hope, or "Philo" for short, is one of the many plant varieties in the Philodendron genus. It is known for its fabulous, showy, wide, and welcoming leaves that have the feel of a tropical jungle. It is an easy-care houseplant as long as it stays in a proper environment and is cared for thoughtfully.

As a member of the Philodendron genus—alongside the ever-popular cordatum, Congo, and xanadu—this lush, leafy floor plant makes a great addition to your home or office.

Native habitats of Philodendron Hope.

Native habitats of Philodendron Hope.

A Low-Maintenance, Decorative Houseplant for Your Enjoyment

Philodendron Hope can be a fairly easy interior plant to care for—provided that you are mindful of its characteristics and needs. It can be a fabulous choice for a lush indoor floor plant, filling the space with a touch of tropical beauty.

Philodendron Hope is considered poisonous. Be careful not to ingest any fluid that may get on you while pruning or cutting.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: What causes new leaves on a Philodendron Selloum plant to turn yellow?

Answer: If full new, & healthy leaves are turning yellow it is likely that the plant is getting too much water and (or) not enough light.

Question: Why are the leaves of my Philo turning yellow and mushy?

Answer: Yellow leaves that are "mushy" are likely caused by rotting. This plant was most likely over-watered or has been sitting in standing water.

Question: Why are the tips of my Philo plant leaves turning brown? What can I do?

Answer: Leaf tips will brown if water at any point is inconsistent, or too much. For Philo Hope do your best to water just consistently enough, this plant can be a bit finicky about water, I currently have one in my home that is quite healthy, and is looked after closely, but still gets modest brown leaf tips on the older foliage regularly.

Question: Can I divide my indoor philodendron? It has outgrown its pot, and I'm afraid it has no room for its roots.

Answer: It can be split apart only if it is multiple plants in a single pot. If you see that this plant has multiple points at which a foliage stems, or a crown that protrudes from the soil, the separate plants can be split apart. If only one stem or crown is present, the plant cannot be split, but it can be re-potted into a larger container that better accommodates its size.

Question: My Selloum is producing new leaves and they just don’t seem as tough as the older ones. They are thin, floppy and look like they could die. What is the problem here? I have it in moderate light, and have been watering when the soil is dry.

Answer: New leaves are initially more fragile than more mature foliage. The leaves should thicken, and darken in color overtime.

Question: I need to repot an over 40-year-old philodendron selloume plant. It’s completely flopped over! I don’t want to damage it, it’s an important plant, as my friend received this plant when her brother passed away over 40 years ago! How do I repot it without damaging it?

Answer: I do understand that some people prefer not to trim plants, particularly those with sentimental value. As with any repotting job do your best to minimize external stressors such as temperature, air, water, and impact extremes during the repotting process. Keep this plant's environment as stable as possible, and pot it up a size with good quality soil. If the plant has "flopped over" due to growth, you may want to add some support with wooden stakes to help it regain balance.

Question: My Philo lost a lot of leaves, and now, only three are left. Are there any natural fertilizers I can use to help grow back the leaves?

Answer: If your Philo has suddenly experienced a great deal of defoliation, I recommend determining the probable cause, which may likely be found in the environment, before applying fertilizer. Sudden, dramatic leaf loss is most likely a symptom of underwater, dramatic temperature changes, or a change in airflow from the heater or AC kicking on. If fertilizer is given and a plant is under an environmental stress the fertilizer can make matters worse.

Question: If the plant gets "leggy" or top-heavy what is the best way to trim back?

Answer: You can cut it back where the primary stalk is attached to the foliage, but be advised that if you do this, it will not grow back. On occasion, it may develop a new primary stem from the base of the plant.

Use stakes if you would like to stabilize and preserve the plant. This can be an effective method.

Question: Is the Philodendron plant pet-friendly?

Answer: Philodendron is a plant on the list of toxic house plants.

Question: Can you trim the leaves back to shape?

Answer: Philo Hope has large, frond-like leaves that present from a single main stem. In situations where a Hope has become overgrown, the main stem can be cut back, much like a tree trunk. This would in effect stop that main stem from growing. Cutting back individual leaves on this plant merely removes the leaf which will most often not grow back. Pruning should be reserved for taking care of overgrowth or removing portions of the plant that die back. Remove leaves only as they die back or become unsightly. To shape a Hope, methods such as staking are more effective than pruning. If an individual leaf develops unsightly tips or browning, it is best to remove the entire leaf; trimming portions of an individual leaf will not improve the appearance long term.

Question: How do I cut the Philodendron Hope's air roots?

Answer: If the your Philodendron Hope has grown air roots it is not necessary to to remove them unless that are causing a problem. They can be pruned back with pruners. It is best to cut the root back to the pot if removal is desired.

Question: My cat knocked over my baby philodendron hope. It seems like it hasn't grown since, but it's also not dying. What should I do to help it grow?

Answer: Allow the plant to stabilize. It has likely it sustained some stress when it was tipped over, and it's possible it had to restore some root material when it was put back together. Give it some time. As long as it receives consistent light, water, and temperature it will recover and thrive in due time.

Questions and Comments Welcome!!!

Shilpa on July 18, 2020:

My philodendron stems has too much water in them(I haven't watered it since more than 15 days). One after another...bse of this water in stems..leafs are falling off. What can I do?

Stan on July 10, 2020:

This tropical plant has taken over and the large trunks are taking up a lot of my back yard. It was planted about 5 years ago beneath the trees and has gone wild. How can I remove this tropical plant so that it will not grow back..

Hope on March 15, 2020:

Enjoyed your informative philo information. Thanks

Marie on September 07, 2019:

Can annuals like coleus be brought indoors for the winter?

Tina on April 02, 2019:

What can fertilizer do i need for this plant

Diane Clayton on January 29, 2019:

I have a really large plant,outside. We live in south Al and it gets a lot of light and is growing beautifully. Is it possible to root cuttings? And into are appreciated.

Thank you for taking time to answer my question.

FERNANDO A. ANICETE on October 23, 2018:

I saw some use to cut the leaves and put it in a vase with water and it took 3 to 4 mos before it rots. Can I put it also in a vase with water this plant with roots?

Barbara Grob on September 27, 2018:

Why does my beautiful plant keep getting mushy spots? I'm so SAD.. He's half gone! Help!