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Philodendron subincisum (Philodendron wilsonii) Care Guide 

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Philodendron subincisum (pronounced sub-in-KY-sum), aka Philodendron wilsonii, is a rare, lovely houseplant with large, heart-shaped glossy leaves with a hyaline and sinuate margin.

It is an easy-to-grow and care-for plant that tolerates drier areas better and grows very large. Also, it is air purifying and will give your home a star billing with a lovely tropical appeal.

Discover more about Philodendron subincisum, wrongly labeled as Philodendron wilsonii by houseplant vendors, including its appearance (leaves, stems, and flowers) and care. We will also give you the prices and places where you will find this rare plant.

Philodendron subincisum plant: See the latest prices.

About Philodendron subincisum

Philodendron subincisum Schott was first published by Heinrich Wilhelm Schott in 1859. This rare (collected only once) accepted species is often erroneously referred to as Philodendron wilsonii, a non-existent scientific name, by plant house traders.

  • Scientific name: Philodendron subincisum
  • Lower classification: P. sect. Calostigma subsect. Macrobelium ser. Macrobelium
  • Family: Araceae (aroids)
  • Native habitat: Mexico Gulf (N. Veracruz)
  • Care level: Easy or low maintenance
  • Toxicity: Mild to moderately toxic to humans, cats, dogs, and other pets since it has insoluble calcium oxalate, a severe oral irritant.
  • Propagation: Propagation is via stem cutting in water or soil. Seeds are very rare or hard to find.

1. Growing habit, size, and growth rate

Philodendron subincisum is an evergreen climbing hemiepiphyte. It is endemic to northern Veracruz, Mexico, where it occurs in seasonally dry tropical life zones at no more than 500 m  (1640 feet) elevations.

Subincisum has a moderate growth rate and can get very large in the wild. At home, expect it to be 6 to 8 feet tall. However, to be this tall, provide and train it on a moss pole, totem, trellis, or any other climbing place.

2. How to identify Philodendron subincisum

Besides growing habits, leaves, stems, and flowers will help you identify this amazing aroid.

a). Stems

This aroid has large, thick stems with conspicuous leaf scars and short tan to reddish brown internodes, broader than long, covered by a flaking epidermis, and has few aerial roots per node.

Cataphylls are pale green, turning tan or reddish brown on drying. These deciduous, moderately spongy, unribbed cataphylls measure 9.1-13.4 inches long, persisting semi-intact but eventually becoming fibrous.

b.) Leaves

Mature Philodendron subincisum has large, oval, leathery, semi-glossy green leaves, paler below with a heart-shaped base, a sinuate, hyaline margin, and an acuminate apex.

  • Leaf size: (15.7) 22.6-28.3 inches long by  (9.4) 12.8-14.6 inches wide, 1.7-1.8 wider than long
  • Posterior lobes: Obtuse
  • Sinus: The anterior lobe forms a hippocrepiform to obovate closed sinus with overlapping lobes. However, the sinus is acute in young plants.
  • Midrib: Flat, paler above, convex, and the same color as the surface below 
  • Basal veins: 4-9 per side, 1-2 free to base, others coalesce at different levels.
  • Posterior rib: Not naked to briefly naked (about 0.4 inches)
  • Primary lateral veins: 5-7, arising at 50-60° angle to the midrib, paler and sunken above, convex, and concolorous below.

Lastly, leaves have a terete, 21.9-26.8 inches long, medium green petioles with a dark green diffusely lineate surface.

c). Flowers

Mature P. subincisum plants will have two inflorescences per axil with a medium green peduncle, a spadix (bears tiny flowers), and a spathe (surrounding bract) constricted above the tube.

The spathe has an acuminated apex and paler margins with the blade semi-glossy, greenish outside and white on the inside, while the tube is bright cherry red on the inside, maroon-purplish outside.

Caring for Philodendron subincisum

Philodendron subincisum needs a warm, humid place with bright indirect light. Its potting mix should be chunky, airy, and rich in organic matter, and you should water it when a few top inches of the potting mix feel dry. Don’t forget it needs feeding, pruning, repotting, and a moss pole or totem to climb.

Here is a complete P. subincisum care guide and growing requirements:

1. What are the ideal growing conditions

Philodendron subincisum will grow optimally in warm, 55-80°F, humid 60% RH or more areas with bright, indirect light with USDA hardiness zones 10-11 if grown outdoors.

This aroid will not mind medium indirect light. However, you should avoid areas with too little light, making it leggy and have smaller, paler new growth, while direct sunlight will cause sunburn.

People with less than 40% low humidity need to mist their plants, have a pebble tray, or buy a humidifier, among other ways to raise humidity.

Lastly, avoid cold drafts, sudden temperature fluctuations, or places near heat-emitting appliances or sources. Also, move it indoors when temperatures fall below 50°F.

2. What is the best soil mix to use

Grow your P. subincisum in an airy, well-drained potting mix rich in organic matter. I use an aroid mix I bought from Etsy.com. However, you can make yours by adding perlite, peat moss/coco coir, bark chips, and compost/worm castings to your potting soil. Mixing ratios don’t matter so long as it drains, is airy, and has some organic matter.

3. How do you properly water your P. subincisum?

Before watering your subincision, feel the soil with your finger or test it with a soil moisture meter (XLUX is a good brand). And then only water it if the potting mix feels dry up to the first knuckle of your finger or your soil moisture sensor reads dry.

Never follow a watering schedule you find online, as water needs vary with conditions and other factors. When watering, slowly saturate the soil until excess flows from drainage holes. Don’t forget to discard any water that collects on the pot saucer.

4. Does it need feeding or fertilizer

Like other Philo plants, subincisum is a moderate feeder. I recommend you feed it once with a balanced, such as an NPK 10:10:10 or 20:20:20, liquid houseplant fertilizer about once a month during the growing season. I have Miracle-Gro and Boninde, and they are both perfect.

Even the slow-release formulas or those that are not balanced are good so long as they are for potted houseplants. Just follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

5. More Philodendron subincisum care needs

The additional care needs for this plant include the following:

  • Pruning: Cut any dead, damaged, or diseased parts with sterilized gardening scissors. In growing months, especially early spring, you can cut back a few stems to control size and growth.
  • Repotting: Repotting is every 1-2 years or if rootbound. Use a pot 2-3 inches wider in diameter.
  • Support: since it is a climber, you should give it a moss pole, totem, trellis, or any place to climb.

Possible issues and problems

There are no issues specific to this species except those that affect other Philodendron species. So, your plant can have diseases like leaf spots, southern blight, or pests like aphids, thrips, spider mites, mealybugs, or scale insects. However, they are not common.

The other problem you may have is root rot, common in people that overwater this plant or whose potting mix doesn’t drain well.

Lastly, improper care and growing conditions, pests, disease, or root rot may cause leaf discoloration (leaves turning yellow, brown, or even black, including having spots), defoliation, leaves curling, or your plant drooping.

Where to buy Philodendron subincisum

If you are looking for a Philodendron subincisum plant, start with Etsy.com, Facebook, Instagram, or eBay. You may be lucky to find a few vendors. Not many people have this rare plant.

Next, search for sellers near you using the Bing or Google search engine. While searching, include the name Philodendron wilsonii as some people label it that way.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is Philodendron subincisum rare?

Yes. P subincisum is a very rare and hard-to-find houseplant that few people have, even on popular marketplaces, including Etsy.com, Facebook, or Instagram. Your local tropical plant vendors, including specialty, are unlikely to have it. Also, big box stores or large-scale growers do have it.

What is the price of P. subincisum?

Philodendron subincisum price ranges from $80 to $250 depending on where you buy it and the size. You will still not easily find a vendor near you, even at this high price.