philodendron selloum

summeronmymind(7)April 22, 2005

They had these in the house-plants part of Home Depot a few weeks ago for under $7.00, so I bought one and stuck it in the ground in my backyard with the other tropicalesque plants. Looks good! Since I'm in zone 7b, do y'all think I can keep it outside through winter with mulching? As for right now, it gets a few hours of afternoon sun. Otherwise, it's in dappled shade. I'm watering it every day because this is the season for new elephant ears and banana trees, so I'm watering a lot. I wonder if the philodendron will be needing lots of water throughout the season. Anybody with suggestions?

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kerrican2001(z9b CA)

Zone 7b will most likely be way too cold in the winter, especially if the ground freezes, because the roots are at or even on top of the soil. But they also do well in pots!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2005 at 11:47AM
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john_trussville(z7b AL)

For the past two winters I've had three selloums in the ground here in Birmingham, and this spring they're coming back even better than last. Each one already has at least five or six leaves....and I haven't even fertilized them yet. In the winter they don't die back until we have temps below 25F, and then I just pile on a layer of mulch about 8 inches thick. Mine get morning sun early afternoon they're pretty much in shade. They don't require near as much water as elephant ears, but don't let them get completely dry. Good luck with yours!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2005 at 9:15PM
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JohnnieB(Washington, DC 7a/b)

Although I haven't grown it personally, I've heard that this species is exceptionally cold-hardy. Why not give it a try? In zone 7b, with a good mulch and a mild winter, it just might pull through--just be prepared that it might not.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 11:56AM
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cliff98(z6 OH)

I am planting one this summer and plan on leaving it in the ground. I think the best method of protection for me, and it should work for you is to trim off all the leaves in the fall after the first major frost and then cover it with leaves and stake down a plastic tarp over it to keep the moisture out.
I have heard of this method working for other people, and it doesn't sound too difficult or expensive.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2005 at 4:18PM
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rickey16(S. Ontario z6)

Philodendron selloum should do very well in zone 7b. I'm actually thinking I'd like to try one here in zone 6 with heavy mulching, It's been done in NJ z6b.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 8:15AM
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watergal(z6/7 Westminster, MD)

Cool idea! I may have to try it this summer!

I grow these indoors as pot plants. They like bright light but do not need a lot of waters indoors - I let them get quite dry before watering again.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 4:32PM
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Many thanks for the responses! I am especially interested in what to do with it this Fall. Last Fall, I heavily mulched my elephant ears and banana trees, and I had some rot/decay. (We had some 70 - 80 degree temperatures in January.) I will try to avoid that this year, although I don't know how, and I don't want to make the same mistake with that philodendron. By the way, it's bigger and better than ever!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2005 at 7:18PM
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girlgroupgirl(8 ATL)

My neighbour has grown those in pots on his porch for the last 30 years. I was so suprised when they come back so easily, and they are in the el-cheapoist of cheap plastic pots!


    Bookmark   May 2, 2005 at 10:11PM
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rickey16(S. Ontario z6)

Does he overwinter them outside? Does he protect?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2005 at 10:36AM
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jeff_w(z8 VA)

Being that I live in zone 7b and have selluom sprouting back up this spring, I can definitely attest that it can make it through a winter in Southeast Virginia. It is faing south, had no mulch, and not really a long time to root before winter. It's only been tested 1 winter, and it never dropped below 12 F this year.

I spent 1 mediocre winter in 6b/7a Maryland (too far North for me). Several 3' elephant ears bought at HD came back in the spring without mulch. I regret not bringing them with me when I moved. Another pleasant surprise was some kind of tall ginger came back and multiplied this year. Yucca elephantipes is also a sure fire dieback even down to 0 F. The same ficus elastica also prove a dieback for me in 8b, but not 8a. Tetrapanax came back in profusion too.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 12:28AM
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ctmiller(z7a OK)

I have had mine in the ground for several years and it is doing really well. Just cut down and mulch heavily in the winter and you more than likely will get to enjoy the plant outdoors for years.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2005 at 12:29AM
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summeronmymind, I wonder if using pinestraw would work as an insulator for mulch but not hold so much water to cause rot? Maybe a mix of the two.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2005 at 9:29PM
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Merryd, Good idea. I can't figure out if the rot was a result of the hot weather under the mulch, or if the mulch simply retained too much moisture combined with the heat. We have a large oak tree, and plenty of leaves in the fall. I wonder if I could use them, or if they might be too acidic to put on the plants. Right now I'm using aromatic cedar mulch, which is dense and extremely protective.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2005 at 2:59PM
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steve_nc_7b(7b NC)

I've been growing selloum for years, I find that it is just as important to have very good draining soil as it is to mulch it. By having good draining soil the trunk will not rot most years.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 8:58PM
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unautre(8B San Antonio TX)

is it possible to train/stake a Ph. selloum trunk to be upright?

are the aerial roots essential, or can they be pruned?

I've got 30 Ph. selloum seeds germinating, should have something to show next week or so.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2005 at 12:17PM
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cannahavana(z7a Knoxville)

I am in zone 7a and mine overwintered just fine. I let it defoliate itself, then pile pine needles over the trunk, then cover the whole deal with a large rope handled bucket. Our low last winter was 11° twice.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2005 at 10:45PM
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rickey16(S. Ontario z6)

Any suggestions for planting one here in zone 6? I've been told from people that the key is keeping the bulbs DRY in winter, for example throwing a sheet of plastic over them?

    Bookmark   June 20, 2005 at 8:34AM
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Unautre,I've long been suspicious that in it's native environment as it grows larger and starts developing it's trunk it uses a selloum will use it's aerial roots to reach out and grab the nearest tree for additional support.
I've seen gigantic specimens in the frontyards of homes up and down the gulf coast and on further investigation noticed hidden within the dense foliage I'd find a sturdy fencepost or similar rigging with the aerials secured fast to it.
So don't prune them. They are the key to what you are trying to achieve.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 3:33PM
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I wonder what to use to stake a free-standing one that isn't next to a post or tree. I've had termites go after wood that lies on the ground around here, so I'm a little reluctant to have a 2X2 or something similar. Suggestions?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 7:55PM
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The name "Philodendron" translates loosely to "loves trees". The aerials will knit themselves into the texture of wood with ease.
I'm not sure if anything else would do. Perhaps brickwork or stonework would work.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2005 at 9:29PM
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You might be able to use either pressure treated wood or metal like a rebar rod or metal fence post and then wrap it with something.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2005 at 10:43AM
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I have a selloum as a house plant, since I live in New England. It's completely out of control, terribly pot bound and the "aerial" roots are all wrapped around the root ball. This summer, yet again, it rooted in the dirt outside my house where I put the plants for the summer.

I really need to get the root ball apart, but I don't know what I can prune and what I shouldn't.


    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 5:17PM
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Simply as a point of clarification, the plant commonly called Philodendron selloum is actually Philodendron bipinnatifidum. Some years ago botanist Dr. Simon Mayo of the Royal Botanic Garden Kew in London merged the old name into Philodendron bipinnatifidum when he demonstrated they were not separate species, simply "morphs" of the same species. Many people have difficulty understanding that all leaves of all Philodendron species are not the same. Any Philodendron species typically has quite a few different, some drastically different, leaf forms. A botanist calls these "variations".

A simple way to understand is to think about all your friends. They are all Homo sapien but it is doubtful they all look alike. Tall, short, skinny, obese, dark, light skin, etc. Humans are variable. And so are plants.

As for worrying about this one not having something to climb, it really does not have to have it. Philodendron bipinnatifidum is a member of Philodendron section Meconostigma which is the "self headers". These plants are capable of growing and standing alone. Many growers grow this plant in large beds with nothing to support them and they are capable of reaching heights well over 10 feet. Some quite a bit taller.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2007 at 11:06AM
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does anyone have suggestions on getting a philodendron selloum
to survive in zone 5?

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 3:23PM
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john_trussville(z7b AL)

either build a heated greenhouse around it, or

keep it inside your house.

otherwise it doesn't stand a chance.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 9:11PM
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whats their spread at maturity.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2007 at 12:36AM
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I've a philodendron selloum in my yard that I've transplanted several times. It's been in it's current location for 4 or 5 years, I think. Maybe less.
I'm not enjoying it, though, because the trunk of it is bare up to the lowest leaf, which is approximately 2 1/2 feet from the ground.
There are not many leaves and they are not large like the ones I see in other folk's yards. I'd like it to be closer to the ground with longer leaf stalks and larger, lusher leaves.
I've never seen a pup.
It gets some morning sun, but is primarily shaded.
What can I do to get it to spread out with large leaves, rather than continuing to grow upwards with few and small leaves?
It currently has 9 leaves.
It does "bloom" annually, so the conditions in which it's planted are okay for that.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2008 at 8:51AM
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Allen, stop transplanting it. I have several selloum and they all grow huge with huge leaves,here on Floridas central gulfcoast. I had one cut down to the ground today that I've had for approximately 6 years. I hope that it doesn't come back again. It was planted right next to a palm tree and although it has lots of aerial roots it never attempted to climb. I've never fed it and never worried about it enough to water it during a drought. Its central stump, the part that is left, is two feet across.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2008 at 4:47PM
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I have a p. selloum which has outgrown all pots I can possibly afford and split a half barrel. It is now crawling out of a huge wheeled plastic storage trunk. I was at a loss about what to do, but thanks to your suggestions, I'll plant it and its pup outdoors. Actually I am thrilled with the idea of a tropical garden, which I thought was impossible due to the cold snaps we have. We had 6 inches of snow two weeks ago. Thanks, y'all.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 11:00PM
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Merryd, putting pinestraw over the growing crown of the plant is excellent mulch. My 2 big tubs of philodendron had absolutely NO rot in the crown, and no leaf frostbite either. I banked a mix of leaves and pinestraw around the tubs, and only for freezing weather did I cover the plant tops with a tarp and bubblewrap. This also worked for my Kimberly Queen ferns, the white birds of paradise, a dwarf splitleaf philodendron, nun's orchids, and a variegated ginger. I did the same for my colocasia/alocasia/bananas but their trunks/stems had so much water in them that the outer portions turned to mush. They were all planted in the ground, mulched heavily, wrapped with bubble wrap or surrounded by heavy corrugated box material. Our temps got into the low 20s more frequently and oftener this last winter than I ever remember. However, I lost only 2 bananas and 1 elephant ear.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 4:52PM
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Come to think of it, good drainage may be the key to it overwintering outdoors. What inspired me to leave my huge tubs of it outside in the first place, was this HUGE speciman in a friend's yard. It was located in an el near her house protected from north winds and prevailing S/E winds the rest of the year. It was in filtered light. It was about 10 feet tall and just as wide. Absolutely GORGEOUS. The yard sloped away from it toward the bayou, so drainage was good. She NEVER covered it, had it in the ground.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 1:00PM
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I have 5 LARGE Philodendron Selloum under my front windows. They are old...i've been here 5 years and they were big then. They started a few feet from the house, but have moved away from the house by up to 10 feet into my lawn. (They were 'searching' for Sun, trying to get out from under a larger tree that was knocked down during Wilma.) NOW i have a 10' gap between the back of these plants and my house. And now they're huge and almost make their own island in my front yard!

Is there a way to properly re-plant them and prune them?

(the leaves span over eight feet in diameter with 5 inch diameter trunks.)

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 5:59PM
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Im not sure how you can move a philodendron selloum when its at that size. Mine only has 2 inches of bare trunk, and the roots are already extremely stong. What you could do is maybe plant a different type of plant behind your philo- so your philodendrons can grow as they want and your yard will still look full and even more tropical. Also if you still have alot of soil for planting in the area and the foudation of the home isnt a problem you can plant more philos so it gives it a cascading effect, but remember the roots on these plants in a favorable climate are huge.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2009 at 7:32AM
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I think that they are too big to move, but if you sever the trunks close to your house they might grow back from that spot and the existing plants should get by with the aerial roots sunk into the ground. Honestly I think that it would look awesome the way it is!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 2:03PM
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could someone tell me how to keep my selloum lraves from turning white? Do I need to fertilize them? I just planted them last week and the leaves are turning white.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2011 at 3:52PM
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