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Ultimate Philodendron lupinum Care Guide

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Philodendron lupinum is a rare climbing houseplant native to Northern Brazil. While immature, it has lovely, broadly heart-shaped velvety green leaves with reddish/maroon/crimson undersides. However, the leaves transform when it matures, becoming larger with a corrugated surface and a sagittate-hastate outline.

This lovely aroid is easy to care for or low maintenance. Grow it in a warm, humid spot with bright, indirect light. However, you must know how to water it and have the right soil mix properly. Also, it needs moderate feeding, a moss pole, and a few more care needs.

Discover more about Philodendron lupinum, including its appearance (identification and description), care, and how it differs from Philodendron micans. We will also give you its prices and where you can buy this adorable aroid.

Lovely Philodendron lupinum with mature leaves
Philodendron lupinum with mature leaves: Check the latest prices.

About Philodendron lupinum

Philodendron lupinum E.G.Gonç. & J.B.Carvalho, published in 2008, is an officially accepted Philodendron species native to the Acre state in Brazil.

  • Scientific name: Philodendron lupinum E.G.Gonç. & J.B.Carvalho
  • Common names: Lupinum Corrugated Leaf 
  • Subgenus: Subg. Philodendron
  • Family: Araceae
  • Care level: Easy or low maintenance
  • Propagation: Stem cutting in water or soil
  • Toxicity: It is mildly to moderately toxic to humans, cats, dogs, and other pets since it has insoluble calcium oxalates.

Its name, lupinum, is Latin and means wolf denoting its mature lobed leaves that resemble a wolf’s head.

1. Growing habits, growth rate, and size

Philodendron lupinum is an evergreen appressed-climbing hemiepiphyte. It occurs mainly in tropical Amazonian rainforests in Acre, Brazil, where it grows as an understory climber receiving dappled light from the taller tree canopies.

Its growth rate is moderate and highly depends on the prevailing conditions. In the wild, it can grow up to 20 feet tall. However, it will grow 4-8 feet tall at home and need a climbing place.

2. How to identify Philodendron lupinum

Many people often confuse this plant with Philodendron micans, especially in the juvenile stage. Let us look at you can easily identify this plant, both in juvenile and mature forms.

a). Stems

Lupinum stems are warty, green, and weakly flattened beneath. Also, they have relatively short internodes (up to 1.6 inches long) and are covered by semi-intact cataphylls. These marcescent, slightly double-keeled cataphylls are about 5.9-9.8 inches long and remain semi-intact when dry.

b). Leaves

Juvenile plants will have smaller, broadly heart-shaped, velvety green/dark green leaves with a reddish/crimson or dark maroon underside and a caudate apex. But as it matures, leaves will transform, growing posterior lobes and losing their velvety texture and reddish lower side.

Therefore, Mature Philodendron lupinum will have large 13-17.7 long by 7.9-9.4 inches wide, sagittate-hastate (arrow-head to spear-head shaped) semi-glossy green leaves, paler and matte on the underside. These corrugated (appears ruffled) leaves have an anterior panduriform-shaped anterior section and two posterior lobes.

The panduriform-shaped anterior section with 7-9 primary lateral veins per side arising at 70-90% to the midrib and a long acuminated apex with a little tail (acumen) about  0.4-0.5 inches long.

On the other hand, the posterior lobes are oblique, elliptical to oval, with an obtuse apex. The basiscopic side of these lobes is more than twice wider as the acroscopic and the rear rib denudated for up to 1.6 inches.

Lastly, this aroid has 13.8-18.1 inches long green petioles, slightly flattened beneath and covered with tiny lenticels forming intermitted lines. These leaf stalks have sheaths, only up to 0.8 inches long. 

c). Flowers

Usually, Philodendron lupinum doesn’t flower under cultivation. However, in the wild, it will produce inflorescences in pairs with a spathe longer than the peduncle and slightly longer than the spadix.

The spathe is whitish inside. On the outside, the tube is green with white dots that form broken lines and is usually tinged burgundy, while the blade is also green but with whitish stripes and sometimes tinged burgundy.

Philodendron lupinum vs. micans

Philodendron micans (Philodendron hederaceum var. hederaceum) or Velvet leaf Philodendron resembles lupinum, especially the juvenile form. They both have velvety, broadly heart-shaped green leaves with a reddish underside. How do you tell them apart?

The first difference is that lupinum has marcescent cataphylls that remain semi-intact on drying, while mican’s cataphylls are deciduous.

The other difference is that P. lupinum has a caudate apex and more (6-9 per side) primary anterior lateral veins arising at 70-90° angle to the midrib, while micans has more of an acuminate apex and fewer (2-6 per side) primary lateral veins arising at a35–55º angle to the midrib.

Lastly, mature lupinum lobed with sagittate-hastate outline leaves and a panduriform anterior lobe, while mature micans will have heart-shaped leaves.

How to care for Philodendron lupinum

Place Philodendron lupinum in a warm (55-80°F), humid (>40% RH) place with bright, indirect light. Their soil should be well-drained, airy, and rich in organic matter, and you should water the top few inches of the potting mix to feel dry.

Here are more on care needs and growing conditions:

  • USDA hardiness zone: 10-11 or 9B that doesn’t snow.
  • Ideal light requirement: It needs bright, indirect light or a place with filtered light if outdoors. But this aroid can tolerate medium light. Avoid direct sun as it will burn leaves. Also, if your home has too little light, get grow lights, or your plant will be leggy and have smaller, paler new growth.
  • Temperature: Maintain a temperature of 55-80°F, avoiding cold drafts, spots near heat sources, or sudden temperature changes. If outdoors, move your plant inside when the temperature falls below 50°F
  • Humidity: These aroids love humidity. So, ensure humidity is at least 40%, with the ideal value being 60% or more. Consider a humidifier or pebble tray, or group your plants if your humidity is low. Also, you can mist them or move them to more humid rooms.
  • Soil: An ideal soil mix should be well-drained, airy, chunky, and rich in organic matter. I use an aroid mix from Etsy.com. Also, you can make one by adding perlite, peat moss, bark chips, and worm castings to premium potting soil.
  • Watering: I thoroughly water my Philodendron lupinum when the soil feels dry up to the first knuckle of my finger. Also, you can use a soil moisture meter. However, don’t follow a watering schedule.
  • Feeding: They need moderate feeding, like once a month, with a balanced, liquid houseplant fertilizer during growing months only. However, any other fertilizer for potted plants, including slow-release, should work well.
  • Pruning: Cut any dead, damaged, or diseased parts with sterilized gardening scissors. Also, you can cut back a few stems ( no more than 25%) to control growth or size during growing months.
  • Repotting: Repotting after every 1-2 years or if rootbound, preferably during growing months. Select a pot 2-3 inches wider in diameter.
  • Moss pole: Since it is a climber, give and train your plant on a moss pole, trellis, totem, or any other vertical support.

Issues or problems

Like other Philodendron plants, it may get diseases (leaf spots and mosaic virus diseases) and pests (aphids, spider mites, thrips, or mealybugs). However, they are uncommon indoors.

An issue we must warn you about is root rot, as it is common if your potting mix doesn’t drain or you overwater this plant.

Other issues like leaf discoloration (leaves having spots or turning yellow, black, or brown, including brown margins and tips), curling, or plant drooping are due to improper care, wrong growing conditions, and rarely pests or diseases.

Frequently asked questions

Is Philodendron lupinum rare?

Yes. P. lupinum is an extremely rare houseplant that only a few tropical plant collectors have. None of the big box stores or large-scale horticulturalists have it. You will not find it even with most local tropical specialty stores or vendors.

What is the price of the Philodendron lupinum plant?

It retails at $30 to $70 for the younger, immature plants with juvenile leaves or cuttings. However, established mature lupinum plants with mature leaves can go for $100 to $450.

Where do I buy P. lupinum?

Etsy.com, eBay, Facebook, and Instagram have the most vendors worldwide – the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Asia, etc. Also, other vendors like Gabriella Plants, Urban Tropicals, NSE Tropicals, etc., stock this plant.