Philodendron Dean McDowell Care

Even though Philodendron Dean McDowell has been around for quite some time, it did not become popular until the summer of 2021. It should be considered a rarity and brings with it many popular features. For example, it has large heart-shaped leaves and unique drawings on the petioles.

You can learn how to care for Philodendron Dean McDowell in this post.

Philodendron Dean McDowell heart-shaped leaf close-up - cover image of the article Philodendron Dean McDowell care.

Origin of the Philodendron Dean McDowell

Philodendron Dean McDowell is a hybrid of Philodendron gloriosum and Philodendron pastazanum. It was created in 1988 by aroid collector John Banta

He named it after a close friend: Dean McDowell. 

However, it is sometimes called Philodendron gloriosum x pastazanum. Philodendron Dean McDowell belongs to the family of the Arum plants (Araceae).

Here you can find a picture of Banta with an adult McDowell.

Appearance and Characteristics

Since both Philodendron gloriosum and Philodendron pastazanum have large heart-shaped leaves, Philodendron Dean McDowell has inherited them as well. 

Under good conditions, the initially light green leaves turn dark green. Then the light leaf veins contrast even more. 

Depending on the incidence of light, the evergreen leaves shimmer in different shades of green. 

The Philodendron has also inherited its creeping growth from its parents. Its stem and also its petioles are reddish in color. 

Fine white lines can also be seen on the petioles. However, these are not continuous and run in the direction of growth of the leaf. 

Due to its creeping growth, it only reaches a height of about 3.2 feet. However, it makes up for this with its reach. Lengths of over 6.5 feet have already been measured. 

However, in the home, growth will most likely stop after 3.2 feet. 

As with the parent plants, the growth can quickly appear somewhat gangly.

The right location

McDowell prefers bright but indirect light. However, it also survives in partial shade. The light factor is crucial for growth, leaf shape and leaf color.

The optimal temperature is between 61 °F and 82 °F. If the temperature drops significantly below 61 °F, yellow leaves are often the result. 

Philodendrons grow best at humidity levels between 50 % and 80 %. Values below 50 % can cause visual damage such as brown leaf tips. There are several methods to increase the humidity. My personal favorite is the humidifier. 

If the temperature does not drop below 61 °F, you also have the possibility to put your Dean McDowell outside. Place it in a sheltered spot so that the leaves can get used to the new environment. 

You can then gradually move it to a brighter location. However, direct sunlight can burn the leaves. 

Overwintering Philodendron Dean McDowell

Try to overwinter the Philodendron Dean McDowell as brightly as possible. If your summer location receives enough light in the winter, you do not have to change it for the winter.

Otherwise, it is a good idea to place the houseplant in a brighter location. However, keep a distance to radiators, as the dry heating air dries out the leaves.

Reduce the amount of water and fertilizer during wintering. For fertilizer, ¼ of the usual dose is a good guideline.

Before watering, check to see if the substrate has dried out. You can use your finger or a stick for this. Stick it about one inch into the substrate. If moist substrate sticks to it, you should wait before watering.

Watering Philodendron Dean McDowell

As a philodendron, the Dean McDowell loves a moist substrate. However, the roots are comparatively sensitive to wetness. Therefore, you should let the top inch of the substrate dry out between watering. 

This keeps the root ball moist, but prevents waterlogging. In addition, the plant becomes less interesting for pests such as the fungus gnat

To check if watering is needed, you can use the finger method. I have explained this under the heading Overwintering Philodendron Dean McDowell. 

Fertilize Philodendron Dean McDowell

To promote healthy growth, I recommend fertilizing your Philodendron throughout the year. For this, I prefer to use a No products found..

If you like, you can also use a No products found..

In the growth phase, you can use the fertilizer’s application recommendation. In winter, however, one fertilizer application per month is sufficient.

Always add the fertilizer to the water and never purely to the plant. An undiluted fertilizer will burn the roots.

The perfect substrate for the Philodendron Dean McDowell

Like many other representatives of the philodendrons, the Dean McDowell prefers an airy substrate that does not retain too much water. There must also be sufficient drainage to avoid waterlogging. 

At the same time, the substrate must not dry out within a few days. 

substrate mix for arum plants is best suited here. That contains, among other things, pine bark, sphagnum moss, coconut chips and worm humus. 

Repotting Philodendron Dean McDowell

Especially as a young plant, the Philodendron Dean McDowell quickly gains in size. For example, it has produced two or more leaves within a month.

Since it creeps, the typical round pots become all the more quickly too small. Therefore I recommend to use rectangular flower pots. This way the Philodendron can make its way.

You can tell that it should be repotted by the fact that it pushes itself out of its pot or that abundant roots grow out of the drainage holes.

With young plants, this happens almost annually. With mature specimens, it is sufficient to replace the substrate about every three years.

Pruning Philodendron Dean McDowell

Topiary is not necessary for the Philodendron Dean McDowell. However, you should always remove dead and diseased leaves.

Use a clean and sharp blade for this purpose. This will help prevent infection and bruising.

Propagating Philodendron Dean McDowell

The most reliable method for propagating Philodendron Dean McDowell is through cuttings. To do this, simply sever the creeping shoot between two leaf nodes.

Each cutting should have roots and at least one leaf.

Since the cut cutting already has roots, you can put it directly into its own pot. From the care it differs only in the point fertilizing. You should pause fertilizing until you see new growth.

After that I recommend to start with a lower dosage.

Diseases, pests and care mistakes


Under good conditions diseases are no problem for McDowell.


Every now and then, pests may take up residence on your Philodendron. I have been lucky so far and have not found any on my McDowell. When pests appear, they are often spider mites and mealybugs.

Spider mites

Spider mites occur especially in low humidity. They like to sit under leaves and in leaf axils. There you will also find their web-like formations. 

In the first step it is advisable to rinse the plant once. After that you can use No products found.

Alternatively, you can use natural enemies such as the No products found..


Mealybugs or smear lice are particularly easy to recognize by their white shells. They look almost like wool. If you discover them, in many cases it is sufficient to wipe them off with a cloth soaked in alcohol.

If it is a larger infestation, you can also use No products found..

Care Mistakes

Yellow leaves

If yellow leaves appear on your Philodendron Dean McDowell, this is often due to one of the following problems:

  • too much water
  • too little water
  • too low temperature
  • it is the oldest leaf

As your Philodendron grows, it may drop its oldest leaf every now and then. That is not a cause for concern. Overwatering or underwatering is also easy to fix.

A problem with temperature can also be caused by factors such as drafts.

Small brown spots on the leaves

Small brown spots can appear sporadically, especially on the back of the leaves. I have read that this is a method of the Philodendron to attract beneficial insects.

Another reason for the spots can be damage by pests. So you should definitely check the plant for these.

Brown leaf tips

If the air is too dry, brown leaf tips may appear. To avoid this, the humidity should be at least 50%. Here you can find methods to increase the humidity. Or you can use a humidifier directly.

Once the leaf tips are brown, there is no way to make them green again.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Philodendron Dean McDowell poisonous?

Philodendron Dean McDowell is toxic to both humans and animals. This is mainly due to the calcium oxalate crystals. Therefore, it should be placed out of reach of children and pets.

Nicht verpassen!


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About the author
Richard Schmidt
Hey, my name is Richard! In my spare time, I write about the care of indoor plants on this website. Indoor plants have long fascinated me. That's why there are many plants in my little urban jungle - from the mainstream Syngonium to true rarities. Besides my passion for houseplants, I'm a real sneakerhead.

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