Know your plant – Philodendron scandens


Philodendron hederaceum (Jacq.) Schott (1829)

Philodendron hederaceum, commonly known as Philodendron scandens, is a hemiepiphytic vine which begins its life high up in the trees. They are commonly found throughout the West Indies and from Mexico throughout Central America and much of South America, at 0 m to 1500 m above sea level. In South America it extends from as far south as Los Ríos Province in coastal Ecuador to Trinidad, Venezuela, the Guianas, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia on the Atlantic drainage of the continent.

This species is distinguished by its scandent (climbing) habit, long internodes, deciduous cataphylls, ovate-cordate, long-petiolate leaves, and solitary inflorescence with usually green spathes with the tube reddish to purplish within.

Philodendron hederaceum was established as the correct name many years ago and takes on different appearances depending on where it is rooted in the rain forest.

Green wall application

Most people would agree that Philodendron hederaceum is probably the most popular plant choicefor vertical planting systems. Their growth habit allows them to establish multiple footholds, be it climbing or dangling. The roots are able to establish themselves where there is sufficient humidity.

The large variety of colours also means that landscape designers are spoilt for choice when choosing this plant for their green wall. Philodendron scandens, being dark green, provides a suitable background for highlight plants, such as the brighter Philodendron gold (Figures 1 and 2).

Leaves of Philodendron hederaceum may grow to look uniform and flat, providing excellent coverage, This makes them one of the best green wall plants in most well lit to shaded environments (Figure 1).

There are many varieties of Philos to choose from (Figure 3). A myriad of design combinations is possible with minimal effort with these plants. They are fast-growing but easy to maintain; cut them in-between 2 axillary buds and very soon new shoots will emerge.

– Amos Tan


All images courtesy of Chop Ching Hin Pte Ltd

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: