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Philodendron domesticum care Plus Variegated and Lemon Line

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Philodendron domesticum (pronounced doh-MESS-tik-um), commonly known as Spade-leaf Philodendron and sometimes Elephant Ear Philodendron, is a lovely houseplant with spade-like, lance-shaped, glossy bright green leaves. Besides the green, you can go for the variegated version and one with chartreuse or yellow-green leaves.

This lovely aroid is probably a hybrid or cultivar whose parentage is unknown. It is not a scientifically accepted species and doesn’t occur in the wild.

Discover more about Philodendron domesticum green, variegated, and lime lemon types, including how they look, care, prices, and much more. We will also tell you where to buy it and how to propagate this plant.

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Variegated Philodendron domesticum plant
Variegated Philodendron domesticum plant: Check the latest prices.

About Philodendron domesticum

Philodendron × domesticum G.S.Bunting is a horticultural name for a plant initially known as Philo hastatum or Philodendron hastatum Hort. by plant collectors and horticulturalists. It is not a synonym or a new name for Philodendron hastatum K.Koch & Sello.

Please note that Philodendron domesticum is a cultivated plant, probably a hybrid, that doesn’t occur in the wild. Also, this name is not scientific and is not in International Plant Name Index, Tropicos (Missouri Botanical Garden), or Royal Botanic Garden Kew list.

The confusion with P. hastatum came from a paper, Philodendron domesticum, A New Name for P. hastatum Hort., by a renowned botanist, George S. Bunting (1927-2015).

This paper by Dr. S. B Bunting only suggested the name Philodendron × domesticum as a name for a plant initially mislabeled as P. hastatum Hort.

Lastly, the name domesticum is an epithet meaning ‘of the home’ that denotes the plant’s main use as an ornamental indoor plant.

1. Growing habits, size, and growth rate

Philodendron domesticum is an evergreen tropical climbing hemiepiphyte. Its parents are likely from tropical America and grew in tropical wet rainforests.

This plant has a relatively fast growth rate and can grow up to 8 feet at home. However, to grow this tall, give it a moss pole or somewhere to climb.

2. How to identify Philodendron domesticum

Juvenile plants will have smaller, oval to elongated oval leaves with shorter petioles. However, as it grows, the plant morphs.

On the other hand, mature Philodendron domesticum will have large (up to 23.6 inches long and 11.8 inches wide), spade-like, oval-lance-shaped, glossy bright green leaves. They are widest at the point of petiole attachment.

These leaves have an arrow-shaped base (sagittate) and convex anterior lobes (bow outwards slightly) and are widest at the point of petiole attachment. Their posterior lobes have three primary basal veins from the posterior ribs’ inner side.

Domesticum has relatively long green, partly vaginate petioles. These leafstalks are comparable to lamina in length.

Lastly, this aroid is unlikely to flower inside your house. However, if outdoors or in conducive botanical gardens, they will have pale green spathe outside that is cherry red on the blade and wine red on the tube on the inside. 

Philodendron domesticum types or varieties

Besides the usual green form that is rare and hard to find, you can also go for the P. domesticum and lime lemon types.

Let us briefly look at each of these two types or forms.

1. Philodendron domesticum ‘Lemon Lime’

Philodendron domesticum ‘Lemon Lime’ is probably a Philodendron x domesticum form with yellowish-green, chartreuse, or lime-green foliage and not the usual green. Please don’t mistake it for the heart-leaf Philodendron.

Its exact parentage or origin is unknown. However, most sources claim it results from spontaneous mutations from tissue cultures in China or Malaysia in 2004. We cannot verify the authenticity of this plant.

How much does it cost? P. domesticum ‘Lemon Lime’ costs range from $20 to $50. However, you will have to do some serious searching as it is very rare or hard to find.

2. Philodendron domesticum variegata

Philodendron domesticum variegated plants are the relatively common form of Philodendron x domesticum. Their green leaves may have yellowish, cream-yellow, or pale-green (mint) streaks, marbling, and sectors, with some even having half-moon variegation.

These stunningly adorable variegated plants occur from unpredictable and unstable cell mutation and can revert to green. Some people sell reverted domesticum.

Their care need is like the green form. However, they will thrive best in strictly bright indirect light to make enough food. Also, they need slightly higher humidity as the variegated parts seem vulnerable to low humidity.

Lastly, P. domesticum variegated plants will cost you $75 to $500 depending on their size and level of variegation.

Philodendron domesticum vs. hastatum

Many plant vendors and horticulturalists still mislabel these two plants. However, it shouldn’t be hard to distinguish domesticum from P. hastatum, popularly known as the silver sword Philodendron.

To tell the difference, consider leaves. Domesticum will have larger, spade-shaped oval-lance-shaped bright green leaves. In contrast, hastatum will have smaller, sword-shaped, oval-triangular green leaves with a blue, gray, and silvery hue.

Also, the anterior lobe of domesticum is broader and the anterior lobes shorter, while in Philodendron hastatum, the anterior lobes are longer and much outwards pointing.

How to care for Philodendron domesticum

Philodendron domesticum needs a warm, humid place with bright indirect light. Its soil should be well-drained, aerated, and rich in organic matter, and you should water it when the top 1-2 inches of the potting mix feels dry.

Here is more on caring for P. domesticum:

1. Temperature and humidity

Domesticum will grow best in a warm, humid place. Maintains the temperature at 55-80°F, avoiding cold drafts, temperatures below 50°F, cold drafts, or sudden temperature changes. Also, avoid spots closer to heat sources or vents.

Also, ensure the relative humidity is at least 40%, with ideal values being 60% or more. If you live in a drier area, get a humidifier, have a pebble tray, or move plants to more humid rooms. Aso, you can mist these plants or group them.

2. Light requirement

Place your plant in an area with bright, indirect light. Medium, indirect light will do for the green form. But for variegated form, stick to bright, indirect light.

People with dark rooms should get grow lights. Otherwise, their plants will be leggy and have smaller, paler new growth.

On the other hand, avoid spots in direct sun as it will burn leaves, and select a shaded area if outdoors.

3. Best soil for Philodendron domesticum

The best soil for this aroid should be well-drained, aerated, and rich in organic matter. A slightly acid-to-neutral does best, and you can use an aroid mix (see Etsy.com) or make your potting mix.

I make my potting mix by taking 50% potting mix and adding perlite, coco coir, bark chips, and worm castings or compost. Ratios don’t matter. Your objective is to ensure it retains moisture, is fertile and drains (doesn’t become soggy). sx

4. How to correctly water your domesticum

I thoroughly water my Spade-leaf Philodendron when the soil feels dry up to the first knuckle. Discard any water that collects on the saucer.

If you have a soil moisture sensor like XLUX, you should water when the reading is three or less. Never follow a watering schedule, and don’t underwater or overwater (causes root rot) this plant.

5. Should I feed my P. domesticum?

Yes. It would be best to feed these plants once a month with a balanced liquid fertilizer for houseplants, starting with half recommended strength.

However, you can also use unbalanced or slow-release formulas for potted houseplants. Miracle-Gro, Espoma, Osmocote, Jack’s, J. R, Peters, Foxfarm, etc., are all good.

6. More care needs

Additional care needs for these plants include the following:

  • Pruning: Check for and remove any dead, damaged, or diseased parts or leaves with sterilized gardening scissors. Also, you can cut back some stems to control size or shape in early spring or during the growing months.
  • Repotting: Repotting is after 1-2 years or when rootbound. Choose a pot that is 2-3 inches wider in diameter than the present one.
  • Moss pole: As a climbing plant, your domesticum plant needs a moss pole, totem, trellis, or other stakes. Train it to climb on these supports.

How to propagate Philodendron domesticum

Philodendron domesticum propagation is by stem cutting either in water or soil. The stem cutting must have at least one node, i.e., you cannot use a leaf with a petiole or even a stem without a node.

Both water and soil propagation are straightforward, and each method has pros and cons. We prefer water propagation.

Get a glass jar, rooting hormone, and sterilized gardening scissors to propagate this plant. You can use 70-99% rubbing alcohol to sterilize your gardening scissors.

Here are the propagation steps to follow:

  • Step 01: Select a mature, healthy stem with at least 2-3 nodes and cut it just below the lowest node (about ¼ an inch away). If it has more than three leaves, snip off the lower ones.
  • Step 02: Apply rooting hormone on the cut end. It will speed rooting and prevent rot. Garden Safe Takeroot is perfect.
  • Step 03: Dip the cut end in a jar filled with water, ensuring at least a node is under water.
  • Step 04: Place the cutting in a warm place with bright, indirect light.
  • Step 05: After every 4-5 days, replace the water. Also, add more when the level goes down.

After a few weeks, you will see new roots growing from nodes inside the water. Transplant when they are long enough, i.e., a few inches long.

Issues and problems

We haven’t had any problems with this plant, and there seems to be none specific to it. But it may have issues like leaves curling, turning yellow, or brown, including spots. Also, the plant may droop or have root rot.

These problems will arise from wrong growing conditions and improper care. But they can be due to pests or diseases.

Frequently asked question

Is Philodendron domesticum rare?

Yes. P. domesticum is a rare, hard-to-find houseplant, especially green and lime lemon varieties. The variegate is a bit more readily available, but none of the large-scale growers or big box stores have it yet.  

What is the price of P. domesticum?

The price of Philodendron domesticum ranges from $20 to $500. The green and lime lemon form will cost you $20 and $50, while the variegated domesticum will go for $75 to $50. Prices depend on plant size, where you buy it, and other market forces.

Where do I buy Philodendron domesticum?

If you are looking for a P. domesticum on sale, we recommend you start with Etsy.com for the best prices. Etsy has vendors from all over the world – the USA, Canada, the UK, Asia, Australia, etc. Other places are Facebook, Instagram, eBay, and a few individual websites.