Philodendron verrucosum care – The rare tree friend

Philodendron verrucosum is one of the relatively rare Philodendron species. Its hairy leaves and stems bring extraordinary effects to the home, which are almost impossible to capture in pictures.

This article will teach you how to care for the demanding rare tree friend!

Philodendron verrucosum Care
© Firn –


The rare tree friend (Philodendron verrucosum) belongs to the arum family (Araceae)

It is native to the rainforests of western regions in South America. Its range extends from Costa Rica to Colombia and Peru. 

It is most commonly found at altitudes between 660 ft and 5,000 ft. In the so-called cloud forest, it finds sufficient humidity to thrive. 

As a perching plant (epiphyte), it prefers to grow on large trees to secure more light. 

Appearance and recognition characteristics of the rare tree friend

Especially two varieties of Philodendron verrucosum are prevalent. They differ in the back of the leaves: one type has a reddish tint, the other – greenish. 

However, there are countless other varieties. I have listed the most popular ones under the heading “Other popular varieties”. 

In the following, I refer to the original variety of Philodendron verrucosum. However, many points apply to other types as well.

This rare tree friend has dark green, heart-shaped leaves. Golden to cream leaf veins provide a distinct contrast on the leaves. 

The leaves are hairy, which gives them a silky sheen. Depending on the incidence of light, this sheen changes. 

The underside of the leaf is also hairy. However, it has a reddish tint. Adult leaves can grow up to 30 inches long and 24 inches wide. 

Young leaves, on the other hand, are pretty small. They are light green at first. Their coloration darkens as they age. 

The leaves are attached to leaf stalks up to 10 inches long. These are also densely hairy. Unlike the leaves, however, they have long, thick hairs. 

As a perching plant, the Philodendron loves to climb. Combined with its rapid growth, the shoots can quickly reach lengths of up to 4 feet.

The flower

The flower arises on its shoot near the base of the climber. It consists of greenish to reddish hairy bracts which sheath a cob. 

The cob itself is whitish to light green. In shape, the flower resembles an 8. 

Philodendron verrucosum can bloom twice a year in its natural habitat. Once between April and June. A second time between September and November. Depending on environmental conditions, the times can also shift somewhat. 

In the apartment, a flower is unfortunately scarce to admire. That is primarily due to the not optimal conditions for the indoor plant.

You can find pictures of the flower here and here.

The fruit

After flowering and successful pollination, the Philodendron forms a fruit, more precisely, a berry. This berry needs several months to ripen. 

When it has finished ripening, it falls off the mother plant. On the forest floor, the seeds contained in the berry germinate. 

Even though the berries of some Philodendron species are suitable for consumption, I generally advise against eating them.

Most berries contain calcium oxalate crystals which can irritate the skin and mucous membranes. Kidney damage may occur if consumed. 

Drawing of Philodendron verrucosum
As a climbing plant, the rare tree friend forms long shoots. (Image: © Morphart –

The optimal location

Since the rare tree friend loves climbing, you should plan a location with plenty of space. Be sure to offer the houseplant climbing aids such as moss poles or trellises.

You can also use branches for a more natural look. 

Philodendron verrucosum prefers light to partial shade locations without direct sunlight. Places that are too dark can be improved with a plant lamp. A spot by an east or west window is optimal. 

Unlike many other Philodendron species, Verrucosum prefers lower temperatures between 59 °F and 70 °F. 

I advise you to only achieve the preferred humidity of over 70% in a terrarium since the risk of mold increases with higher humidity. The easiest way to regulate humidity is with a humidifier. 

You can find out which differences there are in humidifiers and which one suits you best in our article “Humidifiers for houseplants”.

Overwintering Verrucosum

Location changes are optional during the winter. The Philodendron should continue to stand in a bright position. It is allowed to get a little winter sun. 

Also, if Philodendron verrucosum grows more in winter than summer, you should reduce watering. The top layer of soil should be allowed to dry out between watering. 

Fertilizing is also reduced or stopped altogether.



The houseplant is sensitive to water deficiencies. Therefore, the substrate should be kept evenly moist, especially in the warm summer months.

However, do not worry if the substrate dries out between watering.

When you water, you should water thoroughly. That means that you water until water collects in the saucer. Finally, pour off the collected water.

The roots of the Philodendron should not be wet for a long time. Especially stagnant moisture quickly causes them trouble and leads to root rot.

In winter, watering is reduced somewhat.

Young leaves of the rare tree friend
The young leaves are initially curled. Within a week, however, they have fully unfolded. (Image: © Firn –

Fertilizing Philodendron verrucosum

Without fertilizer, Philodendron verrucosum has relatively slow growth. You have two options when fertilizing yourself: slow-release fertilizer or liquid fertilizer. 

Long-term fertilizer sticks* have the advantage that they need to be used less often and supply the plant with nutrients evenly. However, they are more difficult to dose. 

A No products found. is more manageable to dose but must be regularly added to the water. 

Ultimately, it is a matter of taste which method is chosen. 


As a perennial plant, the roots of the climbing plant do not come into contact with the soil in its natural habitat. Therefore, I advise a loose and airy substrate with good drainage. 

In some online stores, you can find pre-mixed philodendron soil. Alternatively, you can mix your soil. 

You can obtain a good base by mixing one part houseplant soil* and one part LECA* or lava granules*. You can add No products found. or coconut fiber* to the mixture if you like. 

If you are looking for the optimal substrate for your Verrucosum, have a look at our aroid mix recipe

In addition to the conventional cultivation in soil, Philodendron verrucosum can also be kept in hydroponics. 


The plant should always be repotted when the pot is thoroughly rooted. You can tell this by the fact that roots are growing through the soil holes in the planter.

Due to its rapid growth under suitable conditions, you may need to repot the Philodendron annually.

Care should be taken when repotting itself. The delicate roots are quickly damaged.

The best time to repot is in the spring. It is also a good idea to renew the substrate when repotting.

After repotting, fertilizing should be paused for about six months.


It would be best to prune diseased and dead leaves throughout the year. Otherwise, the rare tree friend does not need ornamental pruning. It can be pruned back in spring through summer if it becomes too large.

A healthy philodendron can handle heavier pruning well.

Popular varieties

There are countless varieties of Philodendron verrucosum. I have listed the most popular ones here.

  • Albescens
  • Atardecer
  • Bosco
  • Condor
  • Corrugate
  • Costa Rica
  • El Tambo
  • Esmeraldas
  • Gualaquiza
  • Light Melon
  • LImonal
  • Majestic
  • Melon
  • Mini A
  • Mini Dark
  • Mini Esmeraldas
  • Mini
  • Pangui
  • Pincho
  • Radiante
  • Red Verrucosum
  • Resplandeciente
  • Rojo
  • Rusted
  • San Luis
  • Santiago
  • Shiny
  • Silver
  • Splendid
  • Sunrise
  • Sunset
  • Splendidum
  • Sunshine
  • Tambillo
  • Tambo
  • Tumbez
  • Venoso
  • Xanthinum
  • Zamora

The red underside of the leaves of Philodendron verrucosum
One of the most popular varieties of this rare tree friend has a red leaf underside. (Image: © Firn –

Propagating Philodendron verrucosum

You can propagate the rare tree friend very similarly to the conventional Philodendron. The most common methods are propagation by cuttings, mossing, and seeds.

Propagation by cuttings

The best time for propagation by cuttings is spring to summer. Now and then, the Philodendron develops roots on its shoots.

If you discover such a shoot, you can cut it below the roots and place it in its pot.

If your Philodendron does not have a shoot with roots, you can cut off a shoot tip below a leaf node.

Use a clean and sharp blade for this. That will prevent infection and bruising.

After cutting, you can apply wound sealant to the cut to aid healing.

Then place the cutting in a pot with moist sphagnum moss. Alternatively, you can use a glass of water, growing soil, or expanded clay.

Place the cutting in a warm, semi-shaded spot and keep the moss evenly moist. If you can’t find a place that meets these conditions, you can create them using a seed tray and a heat mat.

After about 3 to 5 weeks, the first roots will form. You can put the young plant into a pot with soil as soon as there are enough roots. The care is now no longer different from the mother plant.

Propagation by mossing

By mossing, you can stimulate the root formation of a shoot already on the mother plant. So the cutting is already rooted when you cut it from the mother plant.

This method can be difficult for beginners.

The procedure is quite simple. Wrap moistened sphagnum moss around a leaf node and keep it evenly moist.

You can use wire to hold it in place, but you can also use foil.

After a few weeks, check the spot for root formation. You can separate the shoot from the mother plant if enough roots have formed.

You can place the rooted cutting directly into a pot with soil. Its care does not differ from the mother plant.

Propagation by seed

Propagation by seed is the most difficult of the three methods. The difficulty is not to get the seeds to germinate but to get seeds at all. 

Again and again, supposed Philodendron verrucosum seeds are available in various marketplaces. Often, however, these seeds are only seeds of the conventional Philodendron. 

In addition, the seeds quickly lose their ability to germinate. The easiest way to obtain seeds is to grow a second plant.

If you already have seeds, you can proceed as follows. 

First, soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours. That will allow them to soak up water. 

Then place the seeds about 5 mm deep in small pots with growing soil. Cover the seeds loosely with the soil. 

Place the pots in partial shade and keep them evenly moist. The temperature should be between 68 °F and 77 °F. To achieve these conditions, a seed tray* can be helpful. 

After 4 to 6 weeks, the first seeds will germinate. As soon as the seedlings have reached a height of about 4 inches, you can repot them.

Be more gentle with the care in the beginning. Once plantlets are about 16 inches tall, they can be cared for like a full-grown plant.

Leaf veins of the rare leaf friend
In this picture, you can see the leaf veins of the Philodendron very well. (Image: © 365days365photos –

Diseases, pests, and care mistakes

Is your Philodendron not doing well? Below I’ve listed for you the most common causes and their solutions!


The rare tree friend is very hardy when it comes to diseases.


Most pests appear relatively rare on the Philodendron. That is mainly due to the high humidity that the tree friend needs to thrive. 

Especially in winter, when the dry heating air lowers the humidity, mealybug, and aphid infestations occur.

Woolly aphids can be recognized by their conspicuous white carapaces. These are covered with a wax layer, making many home remedies ineffective. 

They often sit under leaves and in leaf axils. 

That is also where the aphids reside. There are countless species of them. However, most of them are light green and appear in small groups.

On the other hand, Philodendron verrucosum is a real spider mite magnet! It has something that the spider mites can’t resist. So make sure you know how to fight spider mites.  

If the infestations are still relatively small, it is sufficient to rinse the plant several times. If the infestation is already advanced, you can use a home remedy such as neem oil*. A few milliliters per liter is sufficient. 

Alternatively, you can use a No products found..  

Care Mistakes

Often, mistakes are the cause when your houseplant is not doing well. You can find the most common mistakes here:

Brown spots on the leaves

If your Philodendron verrucosum stands in the sun and gets brown spots, they are most likely burn marks. Water on the leaves will favor them. 

The tree friend should be placed brightly, without direct sunlight. 

Yellow leaves

The lowest leaves of Philodendron verrucosum regularly turn yellow and then brown. To make up for this, new leaves sprout at the top – a natural process. 

If other leaves also turn yellow, overwatering may be the cause. The soil should be moist. However, the roots are susceptible to wetness.

Hanging leaves

If the leaves of Philodendron verrucosum are drooping, it can be caused by a lack of water but also by overwatering. You can find this out by looking at the soil. If it is wet, I advise putting the Philodendron in a new substrate to prevent root rot. Remove all rotting roots.

If the substrate is dry, you should water it. In both cases, you should adjust your watering routine. The substrate should be evenly moist. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a Philodendron verrucosum cost?

Retail, medium-sized Philodendron verrucosum specimens cost between €60 and €70. Online, the price is slightly higher at $85 to $130.
However, seedlings and cuttings are available for as little as $5.

Take advantage of this!


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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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