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Philodendron linnaei Care Guide and Prices

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The lovely tightly grouped rosette oblong-elliptical to oblanceolate dark green leaves, sometimes with a purplish tinge on the underside, make Philodendron linnaei a great addition to your tropical collection.

This evergreen tropical climbing plant from tropical south America is easy to care for (like any other Philodendron) and doesn’t cost a fortune. However, it is rare to find, and not many people have or know about it.

Today, we will take you through everything you need to know about Philodendron linnaei, from its identification to care to prices.

Warning: Forks use this plant medicinally. However, I must warn you that it has insoluble calcium oxalates. If ingested by your kids or pets, it will cause severe oral irritation, redness, swelling, swallowing difficulties, etc.

Peruvian Philodendron linnaei - care and prices
Adorable Peruvian Philodendron linnaei with a purplish tinge on the underside and tightly rosette leaves. See latest prices.

About Philodendron linnaei

Philodendron linnaei (Kunth), first published in 1841, is a tropical climbing plant native to south tropical America. It is widespread in Bolivia, Brazil (north and Southeast), Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana, and Venezuela,

It has two accepted varieties, i.e., Philodendron linnaei var. rionegrense (G.S. Bunting) native to Colombia to S. Venezuela and Philodendron linnaei var. linnaei native to S. Tropical America.

Lastly, linnaei resembles Philodendron Insigne and Philodendron decurrens. However, there are notable differences if you consider petiole, leaf shapes, and flowers.

1. Growing habits, rate, and size

Philodendron linnaei is an appressed climbing hemiepiphyte to epiphyte. It grows in the wet tropical rainforest biome. In its natural range, it grows as one of the abundant epiphytes in understory forests, but you can also see it as part of the roadside vegetation in its natural growing range.

This evergreen plant has a moderate growth rate and can grow beyond 33 feet in its natural habitat. However, at home, it will be 4 to 8 weeks. Also, it needs a place to climb to be this tall.

2. How to identify Philodendron linnaei

Besides the yellow sap (a non a key identifier), you can easily identify this plant via leaves, stems, and flowers. However, it rarely flowers under cultivation. But if it does, it will produce one inflorescence per axil with a spadix and a colorful spathe.

Let us look at its stems and leaves to help you tell it from any plant that may closely resemble it.  


Linnaei will have dark olive-green stems marked with short, darker lineate. Juvenile plants will have tightly grouped rosette leaves with short internodes.

On mature plants, the climbing stems of linnaei usually have a series of closely grouped rosette leaves spaced by a mostly leafless stem, about 11.8-33.6 inches apart.

So, you will have short internodes on the rosette leaves and longer ones between the rosette series, and the upper uppermost stem arises from the center of the rosette.

This rosette shape is why some people refer to it as a trash basket or bird nest form since it collects all the falling debris and uses it to keep moisture and store nutrients.

Lastly, cataphylls are short, unribbed, light green to dark brown with brief red lineate. Initially, these semi-glossy cataphylls persist but will afterward fall.


Mature Philodendron linnaei will have large (15.7-35.8 inches long by 3.5 – 6.7 inches wide, about 3.7-5.9 longer than broad) oblong-elliptic to oblanceolate leaf blades. These leaves are leathery, semi-glossy, and dark green on the upper side, while the lower side is paler and weakly semi-glossy and may have a purplish tinge. Also, runner he and new leaves may have a purplish or reddish tinge.

Additional ways to recognize this plant are a cuneate leaf base and an apiculate apex (strongly to weakly). These leaves lack primary lateral veins and have moderate to less visible minor veins and fine, closely spaced cross-veins. Also, their midrib may have a purple tinge on the lower side near the base.

Lastly, this adorable Philo has matte, medium green petiole that can sometimes be yellowish on the lower side. These leaf stalks are shorter than the leaf and can be subterete (narrowly to obtusely sulcate) to D-shaped (obtusely sunken or flattened on the upper side).

Philodendron linnaei slim and purple

Some vendors have Philodendron linnaei slim, which they claim has narrower leaves. Also, there are some with a purple variety, especially the Peruvian.

We haven’t seen the slim variety cultivar or type, and for the one with purplish-tinged leaves, it is normal and does occur naturally. However, the Peruvian linnaei seems consistent.

How to care for Philodendron linnaei

Philodendron linnaei grows in a warm (60-80°F), humid (at least 40% RH) area with bright indirect light. Grow it in aerated, well-drained soil rich in organic matter and water when the top few inches of the potting mix feel dry.

Don’t forget to feed it once a month with a balanced, liquid fertilizer and prune it whenever necessary. Also, it needs a moss pole, trellis, or any other climbing place.

Here is more on linnaei’s care and growth requirements:

1. Growth requirements

Select a spot with bright indirect light. Avoid places with direct sunlight as it will cause sunburn, and if too little, get a grow light. Otherwise, your plant will grow slowly, have paler leaves and be leggy if the light isn’t enough.

The temperature should remain between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, avoiding abrupt changes, temperatures below 50 °F, and places near a hot or cold air vent or cold drafts. They will all stress your plant.

These aroids are tropical plants that love humidity and will grow best if above 60%. However, they can tolerate houses with humidity above 40%. If too low, get a humidifier or have a pebble tray. Other means are moving it to humid places, grouping your plants, and misting it.

Lastly, if you grow your linnaei outdoors, pick a shaded place (dappled light) and move it indoors when winter snows.

2. Which is the best soil to use

Use an aroid mix or a well-drained, airy, chunky potting mix rich in organic matter. You can add some perlite, coco coir (or peat moss), bark chips, and worm castings to a premium potting mix, and you are good to go.

3. How to water your Philodendron linnaei properly

Proper watering is a must if you want your plant to thrive. I usually water it once the top soil is dry up to the first knuckle. Alternatively, I use my XLUX soil moisture meter and water when the reading is less than three. I don’t follow a watering schedule since conditions vary even in my house.

When thirsty, your plant will droop, and leaves will start curling. If ignored, they will have brown tips and edges, and your plant will grow slowly.

On the other hand, overwatered Philodendron linnaei will develop yellow leaves and brown splotches. Also, the potting mix will be soggy even after not watering for a couple of days. Other signs are a foul smell from the potting mix (in case of rot), leaves drooping, wilting, etc. Be on the lookout.  

4. Does it need feeding?

Yes, but only moderately and only during the growing season. We recommend feeding with a balanced or good liquid houseplant fertilizer once a month. However, you can also go for slow release formula for indoor houseplants. Miracle-Gro, Joyful Dirt, Espoma, J. R. Peters, Dyna-Gro, Neptune, etc., are all good brands.

5. Pruning and grooming

It doesn’t need much grooming. However, you must cut any dead, damaged, or diseased parts. Use sterilized gardening scissors. Also, you can cut back stems if it becomes too large during or just before the growing season starts. Don’t cut more than 25% at any one given time.

6. How often do I repot?

Repot once every one to two years or if rootbound (roots growing from drainage holes and having compact mass with no space for growth). Use a pot 2-3 inches larger in diameter than the current one.

7. Does it need a stake or moss pole?

Yes. As a climbing plant, we recommend you give it a moss pole, trellis, or stake. Otherwise, it will not grow taller and have climbing stems with longer nodes or mature leaves.

Issues and problems

We haven’t had problems specific to this aroid. However, they can end up with pests, diseases, and root rot like any other Philodendron.

Other issues may be leaves curling or turning yellow or brown, including brown tips and edges. Also, your plant may droop. All these are signs of improper care, wrong growing conditions, pests, or disease.

Frequently asked questions

Is Philodendron linnaei rare?

Yes. Philodendron linnaei is a rare and hard-to-get plant. Only a dozen sellers have it, with none of the big box stores or large-scale horticulturalists selling it. You may have to dig a little more to get a vendor near you.

What is the price of Philodendron linnaei?

Philodendron linnaei ranges from $40 to $240 depending on the size and where you buy it. Varieties with purplish underside or leaves cost more than green ones.  

Where do I buy linnaei

If you need P. linnaei, start with Etsy.com. It has a couple of vendors from all over the world, not just the US but also the US, UK, Canada, Australia, and Asia, offering great prices. eBay, Facebook, Instagram, and a few other websites sell this plant too. Also, try googling for vendors near you.