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Philodendron Tortum is a unique, rare and collectible houseplant that requires tailored care, and this post will be your guide for Philodendron Tortum Care.
A true rare beauty, Philodendron Tortum is a plant collector’s dream. It’s unique aesthetic with long skeleton thin leaves make it a highly sought-after plant.
In this care guide, we share with you Philodendron Tortum care tips that will help your beauty thrive and grow in your houseplant collection.
Philodendron Tortum Facts
Also called Philodendron bipinattifidum ‘tortum’, this aroid was first discovered in the tropical rainforests on the Amazon.
It is a multi-stemmed vine with a very short stem and has purple-speckled petioles.
Philodendron Tortum has finely dissected and spindly leaves, thus giving it a skeleton-like or spider legs-like appearance.
Interestingly, this unique plant also has air-purifying properties that make it the perfect houseplant. It can neutralize air contaminants such as benzene, formaldehyde and other air pollutants.
Philodendron Tortum Care – Quick Guide
Light: Medium to bright indirect light (1500 to 2500 LUX). Avoid direct sun.
Soil: Well-draining, chunky, aerated soil rich with organic matter
Watering: Once every 4-7 days. Keep soil slightly moist. Do not let the soil dry out completely. Allow excess water to drain out.
Humidity: Average humidity at 50%, but will thrive in higher humidity levels.
Temperature: Warm. 60º – 80ºF / 16º – 29ºC. Avoid frost or temperatures under 55ºF / 13ºC.
Fertilizing: Fish emulsion diluted to 1/4 strength weekly during Spring and Summer.
Philodendron Tortum Care – In-Depth Expert Guide
Philodendron Tortum loves medium to bright indirect light. That is 1500 to 2500 LUX on a light meter. Keep your Tortum in a location that receives a lot of indirect light throughout the day.
Although most aroids require bright indirect light for best results, it is generally okay for them to get about 2 hours of direct morning sunlight.
Morning sunlight is less intense because of the angle at which it hits the Earth. This type of direct sunlight benefits plants immensely.
However, if you are not sure if your plant is getting only 2-3 hours of direct morning sunlight, then it’s better to be safe and keep it in a bright but shaded area.
Sun damage will occur if your Philodendron Tortum is kept in direct sunlight all day long.
The Perfect Soil Mix for Your Philodendron Tortum
Your Philodendron Tortum depends on the potting mix you choose for it’s survival.
You’ll need a soil mix designed specifically for aroids. It needs to be well-draining, highly-aerated and contain lots of organic matter.
If you’re looking for the best medium to grow your Philodendron Tortum, try our recipe for the best aroid soil mix. It is chunky and aerated, and also provides lots of nutrients for all of your aroids.
Related Article: The Only Aroid Soil Mix You’ll Ever Need
The perfect soil mix is one that provides enough elements that will retain moisture (sphagnum moss). Yet, it also contains elements that allow excess moisture to drain away from the roots (perlite). In addition, organic matter, such as worm castings, provide your plant with the nutrients it needs to thrive.
Philodendron Tortum requires moist soil. It does not like to completely dry out before being watered again.
Keep in mind that it is actually very easy to over-water a houseplant. Doing so could lead to root rot, which can kill your plant.
Even some of the most experienced houseplant collectors have over-watered a plant or two.
Over-watering a plant does not refer to how much water you use at each watering. It actually refers to how frequently you water it and how the soil drains excess water.
If you are using a good aroid soil mix, like we talked about in the previous section, then your plant is well-equipped to drain water properly.
Expert Tip #1: In addition to a well-draining soil mix, make sure your Philodendron Tortum lives in a pot with lots of drainage holes.
We generally recommend that you water your Phildendron Tortum about every 4-7 days. Keep in mind this is an approximation and suggestion.
The best way to know if your plant needs to be watered is to test the soil with your finger or with a moisture meter.
You want to ensure that the top 1-2 inches (3-5 cm) of soil are slightly moist.
Do not let your Tortum’s soil dry our completely. Drying it out repeatedly could cause the top layer of soil to form a crust that will decrease the amount of oxygen that reaches the roots. At that point, you will have to repot your plant in fresh aroid soil mix.
How to Water Your Philodendron Tortum
When it’s time to water your Philodendron Tortum, pour enough water onto the soil and allow it to drain right through your soil and pot’s drainage holes. This helps to ensure that all parts of the soil gets moisture. It also helps to flush out salts and minerals that accumulate in the soil.
Related Article: How to Water Houseplants | Water Your Plants the Right Way
After a thorough watering, allow water to drain away from the pot before returning it to it’s decorative outer pot or tray.
The key is to prevent water-logging or soaking of roots. This is to prevent ever-dreaded root rot.
Expert Tip #2: You may need to water less in the Fall and Winter months since temps are lower. Conversely, you may need to water more often during hot summer days. It’s all about getting to know what your Tortum needs.
The average home humidity is around 40-50%. This is most comfortable for us humans, and surprisingly just fine for your Philodendron Tortum.
That being said, if you want your Tortum to thrive, provide it with more humidity (above 70%). Doing so will give you many a more leaves at a faster rate. A higher humidity level is also require while propagating your Philodendron Tortum.
Expert Tip #3: If you are struggling to provide your Philodendron Tortum with more humidity, try using a humidifier close to it or group similar humidity-loving plants together. If you are propagating or need to rehab your Philodendron Tortum, place it inside a humidity dome.
As a native tropical rainforest plant, Philodendron Tortum loves warmth. Provide it with a temperature between 60º – 80ºF / 16º – 29ºC.
You definitely want to avoid frost as temperatures lower than 55ºF / 13ºC could stunt growth or cause death to the plant. If your Philodendron Tortum lives outdoors, bring it in during the colder Winter months, but keep it away from heaters or furnaces.
During the growing season, your Philodendron Tortum will need fertilizing to help it along. We like to use a diluted liquid fertilizer like fish emulsion.
Fish emulsion isn’t for the faint of heart. It smells like fish and we understand many may be sensitive to the odor. But keep in mind that houseplants LOVE this stuff! They really do.
If you can tolerate the smell of it, dilute the fish emulsion to 1/4 of the recommended dose and fertilize your Tortum weekly with it during the Spring and Summer seasons only. Back off during the Fall and Winter months and fertilize about every 6-8 weeks.
Re-potting Your Philodendron Tortum
When you think your plant’s roots have outgrown it’s current pot, then it may be time to repot your Philodendron Tortum. This should happen every 1 to 2 years.
We recommend that you repot in early Spring. This is when your plant has come out of dormancy and can withstand this big change.
Re-potting is a good way to give your plant’s roots more space to grow and to also to provide it with fresh nutrient-rich soil.
How to repot your Philodendron Tortum:
- Gently remove the soil ball from the existing pot. If it’s in a plastic pot, then first massage or roll the outside of the pot and the soil ball will slide out.
- Remove as much soil from the roots as you safely can. You can also use a brush to gently brush off soil from the roots.
- Find a pot that is 2 inches larger than the old pot. Fill it half way with aroid soil mix.
- Place your roots inside the pot and fill the remainder of the pot with aroid soil mix.
Philodendron Tortum Care: Pests
Philodendron Tortum can face pest problems if they are under inadequate living conditions, such as low humidity.
Some common pest problems include aphids, mealy bugs, spider mites, and scale.
Remember to check your Tortum and give it a once over at every watering. This way, you will stay on top of any pest problems that may occur.
In the event you encounter a pest problem, isolate your Philodendron and treat it accordingly with natural insecticides or commercial products.
Here is a helpful article for combating spider mites if you are faced with that problem.
Philodendron Tortum is really a dream houseplant. It has a unique, skeletal aesthetic that draws so much attention to itself. We hope that the information in our Philodendron Tortum Care Guide helps you grow a healthy and full Tortum houseplant.