The Philodendron Is Not An Ordinary Houseplant
The beautiful Philodendron plant brings forth an image of home, indoor gardening, and green pleasantries. In my own mind, I think of the Philodendron as a houseplant staple, the mascot of windowsills everywhere, and one of my personal favorite indoor plants. On a recent trip to Miami, I was more than excited to stumble upon a museum exhibit dedicated to the Philodendron! You could only imagine my excitement as I laid eyes upon the countless varieties of Philodendron styled wallpaper. Who has a museum exhibit dedicated to the Philodendron, you ask?
The Wolfsonian Museum in Miami, Florida.
The Wolfsonian museum in Miami is a small gem celebrating a collection which comprises of art, furniture, design, books, glass, ceramics and more from the 1850s through the 1950s. It’s a museum dedicated to demonstrating to the public the importance of art and design, the idea of modernity, and encourages everyone to see things in a new way. I would say the Wolfsonian achieved its goal, as I will never see the philodendron in the same manner. My excitement for this plant has reached peak levels, outpacing my beloved fittonia.
Throughout the exhibit, I saw the philodendron plant in a new light, one of decor, design, furniture, media, film, agriculture and more. It’s a plant that migrated to the United States from South and Central America, taking on a role of ambassador, bridging the two cultures together. The Philodendron became the symbol of what is exotic, Latin, and even modern. It covered countless walls in the 50s and 60s, creating an exotic ambiance for those seeking a feeling of adventure and the ease of a tropical life. The plant adorned Tiki bars and huts everywhere, allowing people to dream of warmer pastures somewhere more exciting than their standard American life.
I now want Philodendron themed wallpaper and clothing!
I love Philodendron Wallpaper! Find some here.
Not Your Ordinary Houseplant
We may think of the Philodendron as the most common houseplant, almost weedlike in its abundance, but it didn’t start this way. The Philodendron has created a Pan-American bridge between cultures, even allowing for a stereotypical view of what is thought to be “tropical”. It wasn’t always so common, but once it caught on, the plant went from exotic species to design icon in a matter of moments. Plants are often overlooked in design, often becoming an afterthought rather than inspiration. But the Philodendron proves this theory wrong.
The Wolfsonian exhibit taught me not to overlook the beloved Philodendron plant, rather appreciate it in all its glory. The exhibit took two years to complete and features almost 250 objects, select works, and more. This plant has been used to sway public opinion, engage in cultural exchange, and has brought a jungle-like quality to not only the museum exhibit but ordinary homes.
I learned how the native people of Brazil revered this plant for its use in curing back pain, obesity, and a variety of other ailments and later took on an icon-like status. Today, the plant is seen as a symbol of natural wealth, and surely those who have wealth love to display the plant in their homes and offices for all to see.
Beginning in the 1930s, a cultural exchange between the US and Latin America began, integrating tropical plants in the home to convey a tropical beauty and identity. From wallpaper to movies, and even clothes, you’ve probably admired the Philodendron in more ways than one, without even noticing. Don’t let this common plant go unnoticed any longer, the Philodendron is an icon that deserves reverence.
How To Care For a Philodendron
If you’ve decided to add a Philodendron to your home, congratulations! You have made a great decision. Philodendrons are great assets to your home decor, easy to care for, and wonderful to look at with a mojito in your hand.
Light: These plants love bright but indirect light. Find a window where the sun’s rays don’t actually touch the plant. You will notice if your Philodendron is getting too much light if several of the leaves turn yellow. Small leaves will mean too little light and burnt leaves mean too much.
Water: Allow the top of the soil to dry out between watering. You can check by inserting your index finger into the soil and check the moisture. If it is dry, time to water. If not, leave it be. If your leaves are brown you are watering too little, if they are yellow it may mean you are watering too much. If your leaves are droopy, it may mean they can signal either too much or too little water. But don’t worry, they will self-correct quickly once you master a watering regimen. It will take a little time to get to know the exact needs of your plant, but once you do, knowing the amount of water it needs will be easy.
Fertilizer: You’ll want to fertilize your plant with a balanced liquid foliage houseplant fertilizer. Fertilize it monthly in the spring and summer (growing months) and every 6 to 8 weeks in the winter.
Temperature: Keep the Philodendron between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, in the winter bring indoors. In summer, if the weather turns extremely hot, just make sure it’s getting enough water.
Types of Philodendron: There are two different types of Philodendron’s for the house; the climbing variety and the non-climbing variety. If you go for the climbing variety, you’ll need to make sure you have support structures like a post for the plant to climb on.
Philodendron plants are classic and elegant examples of indoor gardening. Place them in your bedroom, office, dining room, or everywhere for an elegant and tropical feel for your home! It can feel exotic every day of the year, regardless of where you live!