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Philodendron warszewiczii Care Including Aurea Flavum

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Philodendron warszewiczii (pronounced Fill-o-DEN-dron var-she-VICH-e-eye) is a rare eye-catching tropical aroid, especially golden-leafed ‘Aurea Flavum’. We love the deeply split leaves with pinnae that are further lobed and its low maintenance. Even the green form is still adorable.

Here is the Philodendron warszewiczii plant profile, including identifying it. Also, we will talk about its care and how it differs from look-alike plants, especially Philodendron selloum gold.

If you love it as we do, we will tell you how much it will cost you and where to buy it. Of course, Etsy.com is our favorite place.

Warning: If you are a pet parent or have young kids, this plant is somewhat toxic, i.e., it has insoluble calcium oxalates. If ingested, it will cause serious irritation, redness, and swelling of the mouth, tongue, or lips. Also, patients may have trouble swallowing and lack appetite.  

Philodendron warszewiczii green form (original)
Green form (original) – See latest prices.
philodendron warscewiczii aurea flavum
philodendron warszewiczii aurea flavum: Check latest prices.
Variegated Philodendron Warszewiczii Aurea Flavum
Variegated Philodendron Warszewiczii Aurea Flavum: See latest prices.

About Philodendron warszewiczii

Philodendron warszewiczii (K. Koch & C. D. Bouché), first published in 1855, is one of the accepted Philodendron species. This lovely aroid (member of the Araceae family and Philodendron sect. Polytomium.) is endemic to central America to the southern parts of Mexico, i.e., El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Panamá, and Mexico (Southeast and Southwest).

Warszewiczii’s synonyms are Anthurium warszewiczii (K. Koch) and Philodendron serpens (Engl.). However, please don’t confuse it with Philodendron serpens (Hook.f.), a unique species with entire leaves.

1. Growing habits, rate, and size

Philodendron warszewiczii grows primarily as a terrestrial plant on outcrop rocks, steep banks of roads, etc., on partially shaded areas. But it, at times, grows as an epiphytic climber.

This adorable aroid occurs mainly in the wet tropical biome. Also, it can grow in tropical dry forest life zone but will shade leaves during the drier seasons.

Warszewickzii has a moderate to fast growth rate, especially in ideal conditions, and in the wild, it can grow up to 12 feet or beyond, especially when climbing. However, it will reach about 3 to 4 feet tall at home.

2. How do you identify Philodendron warszewiczii

Let us look at ways to identify this plant, considering stems and leaves. Flowers should give further distinction. However, while warszewiczii is known to flower from May and has a long flowering period, it will hardly flower under cultivation.


P. warszewiczii has a thick (up to 3.9 inches), succulent, bare, glaucous, semi-glossy, dark green to grayish-brown, appressed climbing stem with visible leaf scars. Internodes are always longer than the stem thickness but closer towards the plant top with leaves, and each node will have a few pale-green to dark-brownish aerial roots.

philodendron warscewiczii thick stems
Thick stems Photo credit: © Greg Lasley, Inaturalist.org, CC BY-NC 4.0

Cataphylls, an important identifier, are whitish to pale green, subtly to sharply double-ribbed, and dense to weakly lineate. These cataphylls are initially intact but fall afterward.  

Leaf blades or lamina

philodendron warscewiczii in the wild
Mature leaves: Photo credit: © Oliver Komar, Inaturalist.org, (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Young plants will have oval to heart-shaped leaves that will slowly transform as they grow.

On the other hand, Mature Philodendron warszewiczii has deeply bipinnate or bipinnatisect (going up to 0.4-1.6 inches from the midrib), weakly bicolorous green leaves with a triangular-sagittate (arrowhead-shaped) outline. By bipinnate, we mean the primary lobes are further lobed or have pinules.

These thin, semi-glossy leaves have a roughly rounded apex,  a heart-shaped base, and slightly paler margins. Mature plants will have large leaves, i.e., 12.2 – 30.7 inches long by 11.8 – 24.4 inches wide, 0.9-1.3 long than broad, and 1-1.3 times longer than the petiole.

Each leaf has at least three lateral segments, and the sinuses (spaces between lobes) are slightly shorter than the blade lengths.

Their midrib is paler than either leaf surface, flat above, raised below, and weakly striate, while the posterior rib is naked on most of its margin. This plant has 2-6 basal veins, with 0-1 reaching the base and others fusing, i.e., the 2nd and 3rd pair fuse at a lower level, the rest at a higher level.

On the other hand, it has 3-6 primary lateral veins from 55-70º to the midrib and running straight to the margin. These veins are weakly raised above and on the lower side, raised and paler than the surface.

Lastly, tertiary veins are paler and rise on either side, while minor ones are dark and arise from primary lateral veins and midrib.

Petiole (leaf stalk)

Petioles are another important identifier. Warszewiczii will have moderately soft, subterete to C-shaped petioles with a dark-green ring around their apex. These leaf stalks are 13-22.8 inches long (but can be up to 31.5 inches long), and their upper side has a thick medial rib and sharply raised margins.

Philodendron warszewiczii ‘Aurea Flavum’

Philodendron warszewiczii ‘Aurea flavum’, or ‘Golden’golden is a cultivar of Philodendron warszewiczii which has golden or bright neon leaves. Its origin is unclear, and the most popular and preferred type.

This golden leaf cultivar resembles the green form in all ways, save for the more colorful foliage.

Philodendron warszewiczii vs. radiatum and dressleri

These plants resemble each other, and it is possible to confuse them, especially when dealing with an unscrupulous vendor. How can you tell them apart?

If placed next to each other, the pinnae of Philodendron warszewiczii leaves are thinner and highly divided compared to Philodendron radiatum. Also, its stems are thicker than the radiatum.

On the other hand, warszewiczii differs from Philodendron dressleri since it leaves a deeply divided (going near the midrib), while in dressleri, they hardly go beyond halfway to the midrib.

Philodendron warszewiczii vs. selloum: The differences

Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum, formally known as Philodendron selloum (K. Koch) or Philodendron bipinnatifidum (Schott ex Endl.), was recently reclassified. It went to genus Thaumatophyllum together with other Philodendron species in the subg. Meconostigma, including P. xanadu.

Also known by common names like split-leaf, Horsehead, Lacy tree, or tree Philodendron and hope Selloum, this plant resembles warszewiczii. How? They both have large, bipinnate leaves and thick stems with visible leaf scars. Also, they both have a cultivar with neon, golden, or aurea leaves. What is their difference?

Firstly, Philodendron selloum has larger leaves with longer petioles and more pinnae than warszewiczii. Also, its stems are thicker, erect, and woodier, with larger scars and longer cataphylls. However, selloum has shorter internodes than warszewiczii, and the petiole doesn’t have a dark green ring near the apex.

The second difference is that Philodendron warszewiczii has thin, semi-glossy leaves, while selloum has thicker or leathery glossy leaves. Also, the pinnae go much closer to the midrib than the selloum, and the primary veins don’t have a peach-to-pinkish tinge often seen in selloum.

The last difference is that while leaf outlines are closer, selloum has broadly heart-shaped to arrowhead-shaped vs. triangular to arrowhead-shaped warszewiczii.

The above differences will help you distinguish between warszewiczii aurea and Philodendron Selloms ‘Gold’  or ‘Neon’ cultivars with neon or bright neon golden foliage.

How to care for Philodendron warszewiczii (green and aurea)

Both Philodendron warszewiczii ‘Aurea Flavum’ and green form require a warm (60-80 °F) humid (>40% RH) place with bright indirect light. Their soils should be well aerated, drained, and rich in organic matter, and you should water them when a few top inches feel dry.

Don’t forget to feed them at least once a month with a balanced liquid fertilizer for houseplants. Also, they need pruning, repotting, and a place to climb if they become very tall.

Here are details of the care and growing conditions for these plants:

  • USDA zone: 10-11. They don’t tolerate frost or freezing conditions.
  • Light: Bright, indirect light for optimum growth. Avoid direct sunlight as it will burn leaves. Also, if your house has too little light, get grow lights. Otherwise, your plant will grow slowly, be leggy, and have smaller, paler, or yellow new leaves.
  • Humidity: These tropical plants thrive best in high humidity, i.e., 65% or more. However, they can tolerate lower values. Buy a humidifier if yours is too low, less than 40%. Also, you can mist these plants, group them or have a pebble tray.
  • Temperature: Maintain a temperature of 60 to 80°F for optimum growth. Avoid temperatures below 50°F and cold drafts. Also, don’t place it near heat or cold-emitting vents.
  • Soil: The best soil for Philodendron warszewiczii should be well-drained, aerated, and rich in organic matter. We use an aroid mix I bought from Etsy.com. However, a mixture of potting soil, perlite, bark chips, coco coir (or peat moss), and some compost or worm castings will do.
  • Watering: Only water when the soil feels dry up to the first knuckle of your finger. Or, you can make things easier by buying XLUX or any other good soil moisture meter and water when the reading is in the dry zone, usually three or below.
  • Feeding: Not a heavy feeder. Feed once a month with a liquid houseplant fertilizer during growing months only. You can also use slow-release formulas for potted or houseplants.
  • Pruning: It doesn’t need much pruning. Ensure you cut any dead, damaged or diseased parts whenever you notice any. Use sterilized gardening shears. Also, you can cut back some stems during the growing months to control their size or shape.
  • Repotting: Repotting is after every 1 to 2 years or if rootbound. Select a pot 2-3 inches wider in diameter than the current one.  
  • Support. A moss pole, trellis, or stake is unnecessary unless the plant becomes tall, i.e., about three feet or more.

Issues or problems

Most issues you will have are typical to any other Philodendron species. They include pests, diseases, and root rot. Also, improper care and wrong growing conditions may result in leaves curling or discoloration (turning brown, yellow, or black, including having spots).

Frequently asked questions

Is Philodendron warszewiczii rare?

Yes. P. warszewiczii is a rare plant. Only a few people sell it. However, the more popular Aurea Flavum cultivar is becoming more readily available, while the green form is still rare and costs more.

What is the Philodendron warszewiczii price?

Philodendron warszewiczii prices range from $15 to $150, with the cheaper Aurea Flavum costing $15 to $60 with larger plants fetching as much as $130. The green form is more costly, ranging from $70 to $150. If you need a rarer, variegated Philodendron warszewiczii Aurea Flavum, be ready to spend as much as $2000.

Where do I buy Philodendron warszewiczii?

The best place to buy warszewiczii, both aurea, green form, and variegated, is Etsy.com. It has vendors from all over the world, not just US. Also, on Facebook, Instagram, and eBay, you will get vendors worldwide, i.e., Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, Asia, etc.

How do I propagate P. warszewiczii?

Warszewiczii propagation is by stem cutting in water or soil. The exact steps are the same as those propagating any other climbing Philo plant. Just make sure your cutting has at least a node.