A Guide to Watering Philodendron Plants

Philodendrons are immensely popular indoor houseplants that are known for their lush green leaves and easy to care for. One most important aspects of their care is a proper watering routine. Knowing the right frequency of watering your Philodendron plants is critical for maintaining their well-being and promoting their healthy growth.

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    How Often to Water Philodendrons?

    The frequency of watering philodendron plants largely depends on various factors, including environmental conditions, potting mix, pot size, and plant maturity. It is important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to watering philodendrons, as each plant and its surroundings are unique. However, certain guidelines can help you develop an effective watering schedule.

    Factors to Consider for Watering

    Several factors influence the watering needs of philodendron plants. The key factors to consider are:

    Environmental Conditions

    The temperature, humidity, and air circulation in your home impact how quickly the potting mix dries out. Higher temperatures and low humidity levels lead to faster evaporation and, consequently, more frequent watering.

    Soil Mix and Pot Size

    The potting mix’s composition is important and plays crucial role in water retention. Well-draining soil with a mix of organic matter, such as peat moss or coconut coir, and perlite or vermiculite allows excess water to drain away, preventing root rot. Larger pots generally retain more moisture, so the watering frequency may be lower compared to smaller pots.

    Plant age

    Younger philodendrons typically have smaller root systems and, consequently, require less water. As the plant grows and develops a more extensive root network, its water requirements increase.


    For Philodendrons, you have to make different watering routines in different seasons. From spring to late summer philodendron is in a growing stage so it’s required frequent watering when the plant is actively generating fresh leaves. In contrast, during fall and winter it’s in the dormancy stage so less watering is required.

    How Much to Water Your Philodendrons?

    Determining the right amount of water to give your philodendrons is equally important as watering frequency. Overwatering or underwatering can both have adverse effects on the plant’s health.

    When watering your philodendrons, the goal is to moisten the entire root ball without leaving it soggy. For proper plant watering, aim to water the plant until water seeps from the drainage holes, ensuring the roots receive enough moisture. Nevertheless, refrain from letting the pot immerse in standing water, as doing so can trigger root rot.

    Determining the necessary amount of water to give to a plant relies on various aspects including the size of the pot and the plant as well as the environmental conditions. To ensure that your plant is receiving the appropriate amount of moisture, it’s essential to assess the soil moisture level by inserting your finger about an inch into the potting mix. If you sense dryness at that depth, it’s time to water. In contrast, if it feels wet, it’s best to wait for a little while longer before watering it again.

    Types of Water

    The type of water you use can also impact the health of your philodendrons. Here are three common types of water and their suitability for watering philodendron plants:

    Tap Water:

    Tap water is generally safe for philodendrons unless it is excessively hard or contains high levels of chlorine or fluoride. If your tap water has a high mineral content, it may lead to the accumulation of salts in the potting mix over time. One way to address this issue is by allowing the water to sit undisturbed for several hours before utilizing it. Alternatively, a water conditioner that can eliminate chlorine and other contaminants may be utilized.

    Filtered Water:

    Filtered water, such as that from a water filter pitcher or a reverse osmosis system, can be a good choice for philodendrons. This product has the ability to eliminate unwanted substances like chlorine, toxic metals, and other impurities that potentially exist in tap water. Using filtered water can help prevent the build-up of minerals and salts in the potting mix, promoting healthier growth and preventing potential damage to the plant’s roots.


    Rainwater is a natural and preferred choice for watering philodendrons due to its purity and balanced pH. It is free from many of the chemicals and additives found in tap water. Rainwater is soft, meaning it has a low mineral content, which reduces the risk of salt and mineral accumulation in the soil. This is particularly beneficial for philodendrons, as they are sensitive to high mineral levels.

    While rainwater is generally beneficial, it’s essential to consider regional factors such as air pollution or acid rain, which can affect water quality. If you live in an area with significant air pollution, it’s advisable to assess the quality of rainwater or consider using alternative water sources.

    Benefits of Each Type of Water

    Tap Water:

    Using tap water is convenient and generally safe for philodendrons, as long as it doesn’t contain excessive minerals, chlorine, or fluoride. It is readily available and doesn’t require any additional treatment or filtration.

    Why tap water is harmful to the philodendron plant?

    Tap water can be harmful to philodendrons due to certain factors that can impact their growth and overall health. Scientifically, tap water may contain elements and chemicals that can have adverse effects on philodendrons. Here are the reasons why tap water can be harmful to philodendrons:

    Chlorine and Chloramine

    Tap water often contains chlorine or chloramine, which are added as disinfectants to kill harmful bacteria and pathogens. However, these compounds can be detrimental to the delicate root systems of philodendrons. The roots of plants are susceptible to harm from chlorine, which can lead to disruptions in their functioning and hinder their ability to absorb nutrients. Chloramine, a mixture of ammonia and chlorine, has comparable adverse consequences on the overall health of plants.

    Mineral Buildup

    Tap water typically contains varying levels of minerals, such as sodium, calcium, and magnesium. With the passage of time, these minerals accumulate and cause salt deposits or mineral buildup. This buildup can affect the soil structure, leading to poor drainage and hindering nutrient absorption by the philodendron’s roots. Excessive mineral accumulation can result in nutrient imbalances and hinder the plant’s growth.

    pH Imbalance:

    The pH level of tap water can vary depending on the region and the source. In some areas, tap water may have a higher pH, which tends to be more alkaline. Most philodendron species prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil conditions. When watered consistently with alkaline tap water, the pH of the soil can shift, making it less suitable for optimal philodendron growth.

    Impurities and Contaminants:

    Tap water has impurities that are capable of harming philodendrons due to their ability to accumulate in the soil over time. These impurities include pesticides, heavy metals, and other pollutants which may exist in minute quantities. The sensitivity of philodendrons to certain impurities can vary, but it’s generally advisable to minimize their exposure to potentially harmful contaminants.

    To mitigate the potential harm of tap water, it is beneficial to allow it to sit for at least 24 hours before watering to allow the chlorine to dissipate. Additionally, watering philodendrons thoroughly to ensure proper drainage can help flush out excess minerals and minimize the risk of mineral buildup.

    Filtered Water

    Filtered water offers the advantage of removing impurities, ensuring a cleaner water source for your philodendrons. By eliminating chlorine and other potentially harmful substances, filtered water reduces the risk of chemical damage to the plant and promotes optimal growth.

    Why filter water is considered better than tap water for watering philodendron plants?

    Filtered water is considered better than tap water for watering philodendron plants due to several scientific reasons. Here’s an explanation.

    Removal of Contaminants

    One of the main advantages of filtered water is the removal of various contaminants. Tap water can contain impurities such as chlorine, chloramine, heavy metals (e.g., lead, arsenic), pesticides, pharmaceutical residues, and microbial contaminants. Filtration methods, such as activated carbon filters, reverse osmosis systems, or distillation, effectively remove or reduce these contaminants, ensuring cleaner and purer water for consumption and plant watering.

    Reduction of Minerals and Salts

    Tap water often contains varying amounts of minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium. While these minerals are essential for human consumption, they can accumulate in the soil over time and cause mineral buildup or salt deposits, which can be harmful to plants. Filtration systems can help reduce the mineral content in water, preventing excessive accumulation and potential harm to plants like philodendrons.

    pH Balance

    Filtered water often has a more balanced pH compared to tap water, which is important for philodendron plants. Philodendrons prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil conditions. Using filtered water with a suitable pH range helps maintain optimal soil pH, promoting better nutrient uptake and overall plant health.

    Absence of Harmful Microbes

    Tap water may contain microbial contaminants that can negatively affect philodendron plants. Filtered water removes or reduces the presence of harmful microbes, lowering the risk of plant diseases and maintaining a healthier growing environment.

    Using filtered water for watering philodendron plants ensures a cleaner and safer water source, reducing the potential harm from chemicals, minerals, and microbial contaminants present in tap water. It promotes optimal plant growth, nutrient uptake, and overall plant health.

    Please note that the specific filtration method used can influence the effectiveness of contaminant removal, and it’s important to choose a filter that suits your specific needs and requirements.


    Collecting rainwater can be an excellent natural water source for your philodendrons. Rainwater is typically free of chemicals found in tap water and may contain beneficial minerals. Nonetheless, it’s crucial to verify that the accrued rainwater is devoid of contaminants and waste.

    Why do philodendrons love rainwater more than normal water?

    Philodendrons have a natural affinity for rainwater due to several factors that make it beneficial for their growth. Scientifically, rainwater contains certain qualities that make it favorable for philodendron plants. Here are the reasons why philodendrons love rainwater:

    Lack of Minerals and Chemicals

    Rainwater is relatively pure and lacks the minerals and chemicals often found in tap water. It doesn’t contain high levels of salts, chlorine, or fluoride, which can accumulate in the soil over time and affect the overall health of the plants. The absence of these substances in rainwater prevents the buildup of harmful salts and promotes healthier growth in philodendrons.

    Neutral pH

    The pH level of rainwater is usually slightly acidic, ranging between 5.0 and 6.0. This pH range is closer to the natural acidity preferred by philodendrons. Most philodendron species thrive in slightly acidic to neutral soil conditions, and rainwater helps maintain the appropriate pH balance in their growing environment.

    Trace Elements

    Rainwater contains trace amounts of essential minerals and elements that are beneficial to plant growth. These include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and various micronutrients. These elements are naturally present in the atmosphere and are incorporated into rainwater through interactions with the air. The presence of these trace elements in rainwater can provide supplemental nutrition to philodendrons, promoting their overall vitality.

    Soft Water

    Rainwater is considered “soft” water, meaning it has a low mineral content, particularly in terms of calcium and magnesium. Soft water is generally more favorable for philodendrons, as they are more sensitive to the buildup of mineral deposits in the soil. The absence of excessive minerals in rainwater prevents the risk of root damage or nutrient imbalances in philodendrons.

    It’s important to note that while philodendrons benefit from rainwater, they can still thrive when watered with other sources such as filtered or tap water. However, the use of rainwater provides an additional advantage in terms of its chemical composition and natural qualities.

    Common Problems with Philodendron Plants related watering and How to Avoid Them

    Proper watering practices are vital for avoiding common problems that can affect philodendron plants. Here are some issues you may encounter and tips on how to prevent them:

    Leaf Drop

    Overwatering or underwatering can cause leaf drop in philodendrons. Maintaining a balanced watering routine and ensuring proper drainage is crucial to prevent this issue. Additionally, avoid sudden changes in watering frequency or intensity, as it can stress the plant.

    Yellowing of the Leaves

    Overwatering or root rot can be indicated by the yellowing of leaves. To avoid waterlogged conditions, it is recommended to let the soil’s top inch dry out before watering again. Regularly inspect the roots for signs of rot, and if detected, replant the plant in new soil that provides good drainage.

    Brown Leaves

    Brown leaves can indicate underwatering or excessive dryness. Ensure that your philodendron receives adequate moisture, especially during periods of active growth. Sprinkle the foliage with a fine mist periodically to create a moist atmosphere, and contemplate utilizing a tray of pebbles or a device that adds moisture to the air to boost humidity levels.


    High humidity combined with poor air circulation can lead to mildew growth on philodendron leaves. To avoid overhydration and promote adequate airflow, it is important to properly ventilate around the plant. If mildew appears, treat it with a fungicidal spray specifically formulated for houseplants.

    Signs and Treatment for Underwatered or Overwatered Philodendrons

    Underwatered philodendrons may display symptoms such as wilting, dry soil, and droopy or curling leaves. For a solution, thoroughly hydrate the plant, permitting water to run off from the bottom of the container. Modify your watering timetable to guarantee that the soil maintains its dampness constantly, without getting waterlogged.

    Overwatered philodendrons may show signs such as yellowing leaves, mushy roots, or a foul odor. If you suspect overwatering, remove the plant from its pot and examine the roots. Trim off any mushy or rotten roots, and repot the plant into fresh, well-draining soil. Adjust your watering routine to allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.

    Watering in Winter

    During the winter months, philodendrons undergo a period of slower growth and their water requirements change. It’s crucial to adjust your watering routine accordingly to prevent overwatering and ensure the health of your plants. Here are some tips for watering philodendrons in winter:

    Reduce watering frequency:

    Since philodendrons’ water uptake decreases during winter, it’s important to reduce the frequency of watering. Allow the soil to dry out more between waterings compared to the warmer months. Before watering, always check the moisture level of the soil by sticking your finger about an inch deep into the soil. Only water if the soil feels dry at that depth.

    Monitor soil moisture

    Keep a close eye on the moisture level of the soil during winter. Overwatering is a common mistake during this period, as the lower light levels and cooler temperatures slow down the plant’s metabolic processes. Ensure that the soil is adequately dry before watering again to avoid waterlogged conditions that can lead to root rot.

    Adjust watering amount

    While you reduce the frequency of watering, it’s equally important to adjust the amount of water you provide. When you do water your philodendron, water it thoroughly until water flows out of the drainage holes. This ensures that the entire root ball receives moisture and helps flush out any accumulated salts or mineral deposits in the soil.

    Use tepid water

    In winter, avoid using very cold water straight from the tap. Instead, use tepid water that is closer to room temperature. Cold water can shock the plant’s roots and hinder its ability to absorb moisture. Allowing the water to sit for a few hours before watering can help it reach a suitable temperature.

    Maintain humidity levels

    Indoor heating during winter often results in dry air, which can affect the humidity levels around your philodendron. To counteract this, you can use a humidifier or create a pebble tray by placing a shallow dish filled with water and pebbles near the plant. As the water evaporates, it increases the humidity in the immediate area.

    Adjust based on plant needs

    Remember that individual philodendrons may have slightly different watering requirements, even during winter. Factors such as the plant’s size, pot size, and environmental conditions can influence its water needs. Always observe your plants closely and adjust your watering routine accordingly.

    By following these tips, you can ensure that your philodendron plants receive the appropriate amount of water during the winter months. Remember that it’s better to err on the side of underwatering than overwatering, as philodendrons are more tolerant of dry conditions than excessive moisture. With proper watering practices, your philodendrons can remain healthy and vibrant throughout the winter season.

    Growing Philodendrons in Water

    Hydroponics is a viable method of growing philodendrons without soil. This technique not only replaces soil but also offers a distinct and eye-catching way to nurture these plants. Begin by taking a healthy stem cutting with several leaves and submerging it in a container full of water. It is crucial to change the water frequently to avoid stillness and the formation of detrimental bacteria. When the cutting starts to grow roots, you can either keep the philodendron in water or shift it to a well-draining potting mix if preferred.

    Watering Technique: Bottom vs. Top Watering

    When it comes to watering philodendrons, you have the option of using either bottom-watering or top-watering techniques. Each approach has its own set of benefits and factors to be taken into account.

    Bottom Watering: One way to hydrate a potted plant is to employ the method of placing the pot in a tray or saucer filled with water. This allows the plant to absorb moisture through its drainage holes. Bottom watering ensures that water reaches the roots directly, promoting healthy growth and preventing the risk of fungal diseases. However, it’s essential to empty any excess water from the tray to avoid waterlogging.

    Top Watering: Top watering involves pouring water directly onto the soil surface until it flows out of the drainage holes. This method allows for thorough hydration of the potting mix and helps flush out any accumulated salts or minerals. To prevent the buildup of water in the pot, it is crucial to ensure adequate drainage.

    Deciding whether to water your philodendron from the top or bottom relies on your personal preference and the specific requirements of the plant. Both methods can be effective when done correctly, so consider factors such as the potting mix, pot size, and plant condition when deciding which technique to use.

    Watering After Repotting and Propagating

    After repotting or propagating your philodendron, it’s crucial to adjust your watering routine to accommodate the changes and promote successful establishment:

    Repotting: When you repot a philodendron, the plant may experience temporary stress and require some time to recover. During this period, it’s advisable to reduce watering frequency slightly to avoid overhydration. However, continue to monitor the soil moisture and ensure it remains consistently moist.

    Propagating: When propagating philodendrons through stem or leaf cuttings, it’s important to provide a consistently moist environment to support root development. Mist the cuttings regularly or use a humidity dome to retain moisture. Avoid overwatering, as excessive moisture can lead to rotting.

    Is a Self-Watering Pot good for philodendron plants?

    Self-watering pots are designed to provide a constant and controlled water supply to plants, reducing the need for frequent watering. While self-watering pots can be convenient, they may not be suitable for all philodendron varieties. Consider the following factors when deciding whether to use a self-watering pot:

    Plant Type

    Some philodendrons, particularly those sensitive to overwatering, may not thrive in self-watering pots. These pots can retain moisture for longer periods, potentially leading to waterlogged conditions and root rot. Plants that prefer drier soil or have specific watering requirements may not benefit from self-watering systems.

    Monitoring and Adjusting

    Self-watering pots still require monitoring and adjustment. Regularly monitoring the water level indicator or testing the soil moisture is essential to make sure that the plant is getting the right amount of water. Additionally, occasional manual watering may still be necessary to flush out excess salts and maintain overall plant health.

    Consider your philodendron’s specific needs and your watering habits before opting for a self-watering pot. Traditional pots with proper drainage can provide more control over the watering process, allowing you to tailor your watering routine to suit your philodendron’s requirements more precisely. However, if you find that a self-watering pot aligns with your lifestyle and provides consistent moisture levels for your plant, it can be a convenient option.


    Watering philodendrons plants appropriately is crucial for their overall health and growth. Factors such as environmental conditions, potting mix, pot size, and plant maturity all play a role in determining the watering schedule and amount. Achieving a balance between supplying adequate moisture for the plant’s requirements and avoiding both excessive watering and inadequate watering is crucial.

    Understanding the signs of overwatering and underwatering, such as leaf drop, yellowing leaves, brown leaves, or mildew growth, allows you to take corrective action promptly. Adjusting your watering routine during different seasons and considering the type of water you use, whether tap water, filtered water, or rainwater, can further optimize your philodendron’s well-being.

    Additionally, considering alternative watering techniques for philodendron plants like bottom watering or top watering, depending on your plant’s requirements, can enhance the effectiveness of your watering routine. When repotting or propagating philodendrons, make sure to adjust watering practices accordingly to support the plants’ transition and establishment.

    While self-watering pots can be convenient, they may not be suitable for all philodendron varieties. Traditional pots with proper drainage offer more control over the watering process and allow for tailored adjustments based on your plant’s needs.

    By considering these factors and regularly monitoring your philodendron’s moisture levels, you can develop a watering routine that promotes optimal growth and keeps your philodendrons thriving. Remember to observe your plants closely, as individual needs may vary. With proper watering practices, you can enjoy the beauty and vitality of your philodendron collection for years to come.