Lemon lime philodendrons are a gorgeous plant because they are practically neon in color. They are easy to grow and can also improve the air quality in your home. But it’s the gorgeous color that homeowners tend to like most.
- Scientific name/common names: Philodendron hederaceum/lemon lime philodendron
- Origin: The rainforests of South America
- Indoor/Outdoor: Either, but it does better indoors
- Height/Structure: Leaves will grow to 7 to 8 inches long and 1 inch wide; plant grows to 10 to 12 inches tall
- Temperature: 65 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (day), 55 degrees Fahrenheit (night)
- Flower Color: Leaves are yellowish-green (no flowers)
While you can grow the lemon lime philodendron outside, where it can grow quite large, most people use it as an indoor plant. Its beautiful lemon-lime-colored leaves are striking, but this plant is more than just a good-looking plant. Lemon lime philodendrons actually remove toxins from the air, making your home much healthier in the end.
The stems of this plant elongate and bend downwards, growing like vines and falling to the ground. The leaves are thin and start out in a pinkish-yellow color, but they are either neon or lemon lime in color once they mature. This is a very graceful and elegant-looking household plant.
Often, people confuse the lemon lime philodendron with the neon pothos plant, but these plants are in two different families. If you’re trying to tell the difference, look at the leaves. Lemon lime philodendron plants have thin smooth leaves, while the leaves on the neon pothos have a ribbed texture because of their veins.
As a general rule, the lemon lime philodendron is easy to grow. It is fairly durable and doesn’t take much maintenance, but you still have to follow some basic tips for the plant to grow successfully.
First of all, keep in mind that this plant is native to the South American rainforests, which means that indirect light will always work best. You can use a bright light, but it has to be an indirect light and not a light that shines directly on the plant.
Bright direct light, especially for long periods of time, can scorch the leaves and cause them permanent damage.
As far as watering is concerned, lemon lime philodendron plants need to be watered very well, but only when the top half of the soil is dry. If you’re unsure, stick your finger in the soil and check. If the top half of the soil is dry, it needs to be watered.
And while you do want to water the plant well, you’ll still need a pot that drains the water well because too much water can be bad for the plant’s leaves.
Under-watered leaves are brown in color or soft and wilting, while over-watered leaves will be too yellow and not their usual lemon lime color. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell when the plant is overwatered because it normally has a yellowish-green color. If you pay close attention, you’ll quickly learn what is normal and what isn’t.
One thing you want to be careful of is not to over-water just because you notice that the soil is dry. Water the plant slowly until you see the water draining out from underneath the planter, then stop. It’s easier than you think to go from under-watering to over-watering your lemon lime philodendron plant.
Again, testing the soil with your finger is the best thing to do because that will tell you if the plant needs additional water.
If you’re curious about what type of soil to use, it is really very simple. You’ll definitely want a well-draining soil that is loose and moist. Traditional potting soils or mixes that have peat in them do especially well.
If the soil isn’t loose enough, the roots will have trouble growing properly. You should also avoid sandy soils because even though they drain very well, they won’t be loose enough to keep the roots healthy and healthy roots are crucial.
Lemon lime philodendrons are dormant in the winter, so if you choose to repot your plant, do it at the end of this dormant period. In fact, you should repot sometime at the end of winter and no later than early spring. You’ll always want to repot your lemon lime philodendron once you get new leaves coming in so that you don’t stunt its growth.
You’ll want the temperature in the room to be between 65 degrees and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but you can keep it at around 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night if you like. Never go below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and always keep the plant away from any drafts. Cold temperatures and drafts are bad for philodendrons.
While the lemon lime philodendron is used to humid conditions, the normal amount of humidity found in the average household should be all you need. If the home is more humid than usual, you’ll notice that the leaves of the plant, and indeed the entire plant, will grow much larger.
If it is fairly dry where you live, you can try occasionally misting the plant and maybe even buying a humidifier. Still, you don’t want to get it too humid if you can help it, and keep in mind that most homes will be humid enough for this plant to grow well.
And if you’re wondering if you should fertilize your lemon lime philodendron, just know that fertilizing should only take place in the spring and summer months. You can use a regular fertilizer for plants, but most experts recommend that you use it at half strength instead of full strength.
You only have to fertilize your lemon lime philodendron once a month during growing season (spring and summer). If you like, you can fertilize it once every other month the rest of the year.
Pruning and trimming are also important, so every time you see leaves that are damaged or discolored, go ahead and trim them using either shears or scissors that are super sharp. Don’t use your hands or fingers to remove the leaves or stems because it can cause scars on the leaves.
When you do trim, make sure that you trim above the nodes on the leaves. Why? Because it will actually stimulate the growth of the plant so that it continues to thrive.
Even if you don’t notice any pests, but especially if you do, you’ll want to wipe off the leaves occasionally with a damp cloth to keep dust away and get rid of anything sitting on the leaves that shouldn’t be there. Too much dust on the plant can cause it to have trouble breathing through its pores, which can cause all sorts of problems.
If you want to propagate the lemon lime philodendron, you should do it only when the plant is active; in other words, in the spring or summer. Take sharp scissors and cut the stem of the plant, then place the stem in either water or moist soil. If you choose to put the stem in water, wait until the roots start to grow, then put it in some soil.
When you propagate the plant this way, you can expect a lot of new growth within the next three to four months.
Finally, while your lemon lime philodendron plant is relatively easy to grow, there are still times when you may notice problems that you’re unsure what to do about. Below are some of the problems that you may run into and what to do about them.
- Leaves that have turned brown: This is nearly always the result of under-watering your plant. While you don’t need to water the lemon lime philodendron very often, it still needs a good watering when you do this. Make sure that you check the soil first and water the entire surface of the soil in order to make sure that it is as wet as it needs to be.
- A base that looks “needy” and thin: The biggest culprit in this scenario is a lack of pruning and trimming. Make sure that you prune the vines after the leaf nodes for a much fuller-looking plant and to encourage future growth. Some people also cut the nodes themselves to get the same effect for their philodendron.
- Wilting or very soft leaves: This is a sign that you’re under-watering your lemon lime philodendron, much as when the leaves get brown. When this happens, go ahead and water it well, but make sure that you don’t water it too much. From that point on, keep an eye on the plant so you can determine when it needs to be watered again.
- Stems and vines that are leggy: When this happens to your lemon lime philodendron, it is because the plant isn’t getting enough light. Remember that these plants prefer bright but indirect light, so if this particular problem occurs, move your plant to an area of the house where it can receive bright light that isn’t directly shining on it.
- Yellowing leaves: Yellow leaves usually mean that you’re over-watering your plant. As mentioned earlier, it can be difficult to tell if the leaves are being over-watered because yellow is so close to the normal color of the plant. If this happens, let the plant dry out until the top part of the soil is dry, then resume your regular watering routine.
- The growth begins to slow down: More often than not, lack of growth or slow growth means the plant has been in an environment that is too cold. Remember to keep your lemon lime philodendron in a room that stays at 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit and keep it away from vents or windows that may expose it to cool air. If this happens to your plant, simply move it to a warmer location.
- The surface of the soil is white: Usually, a white soil surface means the plant has been given too much fertilizer. For this problem, there are two main solutions, but the easiest one is to just repot the plant and start from there. A second option is to “flush” the plant with water several times, waiting until the water comes out of the bottom before flushing it again. This option takes some time because you won’t want to over-water, and you’ll need some time between flushings.
Now we’ve come to a very important topic when it comes to the lemon lime philodendron: pests. As a general rule, lemon lime philodendron plants are resistant to pests, but this doesn’t mean that all pests have received the memo!
Below are some of the pests that you could occasionally find on your lemon lime philodendrons:
- Gnats: These are harmless but annoying creatures that love moisture, which is yet another reason not to over-water your plants. To prevent gnats from coming around your lemon lime philodendron, make sure there are no dead leaves, stems, or other debris anywhere near the plant.
- Spider mites: Spider mites are tiny black or red pests that can be recognized by their webbing. You can get rid of them by rinsing the plant under the faucet and then treating it with a solution of hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and neem oil. Use this mixture on them once a week until you no longer notice any bugs on the plant.
- Mealybugs: Mealybugs look like small cotton balls, and the worst part of having them is that they breed quickly and can spread to other plants. Soak a cotton ball in rubbing alcohol and rub the leaves to get rid of the visible mealybugs. Then, spray your lemon lime philodendron once a week with a mixture of one cup of rubbing alcohol, a bit of dish soap, and one quart of water. Spray once a week until you’re certain that they’re all gone.
If you want to learn about other types of philodendrons, especially if you’re looking for something that goes well with the lemon lime philodendron, here are some suggestions:
- Elephant ear
- Velvet leaf
- Prince of orange
- Fiddle leaf
- Red leaf
- White knight
- Split leaf
Lemon lime philodendron plants are very toxic to both humans and pets when ingested. The results include stomach irritation, vomiting, and swelling of the mouth. The smartest thing to do is keep these plants away from children and pets.
This might be difficult since the plant loves to cascade onto the floor, but you can help by trimming it regularly so that it doesn’t touch the floor and instead is too short for kids or pets to reach.