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6/10/16Plant-o-Pedia: Lacy Tree Philodendron


Alea Joy and Anne Parker‘s Philodendron bipinnatifidum. Photo: Dabito (Outtake from The New Bohemians book)

If you’re looking for a quick-growing, easy-going plant that makes a strong statement in any space- the Philodendron bipinnatifidum, aka Lacy Tree or Split Leaf Philodendron, is the plant for you. They’ve even been known to come back from the brink of death (we rescued ours from the clearance section at the hardware store and with a little love and proper care it’s huge and happy). We love the lobed leaves that can grow to be several feet across (even larger when grown outdoors), and the wide spread of the plant- perfect to fill a space with jungalicious vibes!


Photo: Danae Horst for The Jungalow

GET THE GREEN:  Lacy Tree/Split Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron bipinnatifidum)

WATER: Keep soil evenly moist, but not soggy. Plant in pot with good drainage. Water when top 2-3 inches of soil is dry to the touch.

SUNLIGHT: Bright indirect light. A southern or eastern facing window is ideal. If the plant starts getting too leggy, it needs more light

PLACEMENT: Lacy Tree Philodendrons can grow to be quite large, and grow rather fast, so ensure you have space for a big plant. Rotate it regularly to maintain an even shape. While some of the leaves will grow upwards, many spread and grow outwards, so you may need more horizontal space than vertical.

EXTRA CREDIT: As aerial roots appear, simply tuck them back into the pot. A careful re-potting every few years may be necessary as the Lacy Tree Philodendron plant grows- they have been known to burst their pots if the pot is too small. When new leaves form, the may be protected by a sheath which will dry up and may be removed. As older leaves fall off, their stems will leave leaf scars on the trunk- this is normal and gives the trunk it’s signature appearance.

WORD OF CAUTION: According to the ASPCA, Lacy Tree Philodendrons are toxic to cats and dogs.

Is there a plant you want to learn more about? Leave a comment and you may find it in a future Plant-o-Pedia!

Danae Horst Danae Horst

Total Plant Geek. Photographer & Stylist. Content Creator at The Jungalow. Check out my new botanical shop and design firm, Folia Collective.

13 responses to “Plant-o-Pedia: Lacy Tree Philodendron”

  1. Keri says:

    So what do you do when you have a love of plants but also have pets? If a plant is toxic to cats is it really that big of a deal for the cats to be near it?

    • Danae Horst says:

      Hi Keri,

      That can definitely be tricky! I grew up in a house full of plants and pets, so it’s definitely possible, you just need to be prepared to maybe lose a few plants to cats munching on them. ;)

      If your cats tend to try and eat your plants, you’ll want to be sure anything in their reach isn’t toxic- it can make them sick if they eat those. If they don’t try to eat them, you’re probably good! Generally, most house plants aren’t toxic to just be near- but we recommend always checking with your vet or the ASPCA first before bringing in anything you might be worried about.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Post on Lacy Tree Philodendron is interesting but, I want to know that does it purify the air?

  3. Yiyi says:

    Thank you so much! This is wonderful info. But what do you mean by leggy?

    • Alena says:

      The term ‘leggy’ typically means that the stems are longer than they normally would be as the plant tries grow in the direction of the light (e.g. towards the window).

    • Danae Horst says:

      Great question! Yep- Alena is right- it refers to the stems getting long and a bit thinner as they seek out more light.

  4. Miranda says:

    i read about one that has lived like 20-30 years! it was overtaking the man’s living room (this is not that story but this one is FORTY! http://www.post-gazette.com/life/garden/2013/01/19/Pittsburgh-woman-kept-her-philodendron-growing-for-more-than-40-years/stories/201301190216).

    aren’t they related to monstera deliciosa???

    i had one that lived about 2 years but i ultimately killed it. named him phil. phil the philodendron. poor guy. rip.

    • Danae Horst says:

      Hi Miranda! Wow- isn’t that amazing?!

      Philodendrons and Monstera’s are in the Araceae family, but not the same genus, so they are related, but not as closely as most people think. Monsteras aren’t Philodendrons at all, despite a common name for the Monstera being ‘split leaf Philodendron’,

      Sorry for your loss (but cute name)! I think we’ve all been there from time to time. ;)

  5. […] on out to Planterra, but don’t go before you read the Jungalow’s amazing Plant-o-pedia for some botanical geeking out. I love me a good tropical tree, in a rattan pot […]

  6. Lelia Roberts says:

    I would love to know how you revived yours? My mother gave me a huge one years ago and I have completely neglected it. I am just now getting in to plants and want to try reviving him. I wasn’t sure it was a philodendron at first, so I know now I was over watering him. His leaves have completely fallen over. I cut back the browned leaves. I also cut out all the dead roots. I moved from inside to a shaded place outside. Any other tips you may have?

  7. […] common choice among air purifying plants, this Lacy Tree Philodendron is one of the few of its kind that enjoys lightly moist soil. It will keep your air clean and fresh […]

  8. Sarah says:

    I recently got a lacy tree philodendron and re-pottted it in a large pot since it was rootbound when I purchased it. Every since I re-potted it the leaves seem to be drooping more and dying off at a faster rate (3 last week!). I think I put it in too large of a pot (3 inches wider and 5 inches deeper) and am not sure the best way to rescue it. Right now I have it in a south facing window and wait for the top of the soil to dry out before watering it. How did you manage to rescue yours? Any advice? Thank you!

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