Philodendron (Split-Leaf)

Philodendron bipinnatifidum

  • Cultivated for its fiber and as an ornamental plant.
  • In gardens it is used as a hardy ‘tropical foliage’ plant.
  • Frost hardy if well insulated with thick mulch.
  • Simple to grow, give it plenty of water, fertilizer and sunlight.

Evoking the exotic lushness of a tropical jungle, cut-leaf philodendron’s huge elephant-ear like leaves are impressive. A tree-like evergreen shrub from southern Brazil and Paraguay, it is does not crawl or climb in a vine-like manner, as do most philodendrons. It does grow a tall semi-woody trunk-like stem that often sprawls or twists as the plant ages.

Its immense leaves are its glory. Borne on long stems at the trunk’s apex, they are mid- to dark green, glossy and waxy. Each leaf is deeply incised with many wavy-edged lobes, giving it an antlered look. Mature plants sometimes flower when temperatures are warm and rainfall plentiful: a purplish bud emerges from the base of the leaves, unfurling to reveal a green spathe (a trumpet-like hood), which encloses a club-shaped spadix. Tiny stemless male or female flowers line the spadix. Plants also often bear aerial roots.

Grow cut-leaf philodendron in a fertile, moist but well-drained, non-alkaline soil in partial sun to full shade. It tolerates full sun and slight drought, but leaf scalding or tip browning is likely. It handles light freezes of short durations, and will sprout back from the roots once warmth returns. Often smaller plants, or pups, arise from the base of the plant, eventually creating a small cluster. It is beautiful as a foundation or courtyard plant outdoors, or as a bold accent in a mixed border. It may be grown indoors in a spacious atrium, conservatory or sunroom.

Common Names:  Lacy Tree Philodendron, Cut-leaf Philodendron, Selloum, Tree Philodendron.

These plants are considered poisonous and should be kept away from pets and children.