Philodendrons may look imposing or intricate, but these tropical natives are some of the easiest houseplants to grow. Even beginner houseplant owners can enjoy huge, impressive leaves with minimal work. As far as houseplants go, philodendrons are pretty much bulletproof. Alongside their spectacular leaves, philodendrons also yield several amazing uses and benefits. These jungle-dwelling plants can help purify the air, reduce our stress, and create stunning ornamental features. In this article, we’ll explore 13 uses and benefits of philodendron plants backed by leading research studies from around the world.
- About Philodendrons
- The Benefits of Philodendrons
- 1. Philodendrons Are Great At Purifying the Air
- 2. Philodendrons May Help Us Sleep Better
- 3. Philodendrons Can Help Reduce Our Stress Levels
- 4. Philodendron Plants Can Stimulate Better Productivity
- 5. Philodendrons Are Fabulous For Feng Shui
- 6. Philodendron Plants Can Produce Fruits
- 7. Philodendrons Are Amazing Ornamental Plants
- 8. Philodendron Plants Are Incredibly Low-maintenance
- 9. Philodendrons Grow Pretty Quickly
- 10. Philodendrons Thrive In Most Lighting Conditions
- 11. Philodendron Plants Are Easy to Propagate
- 12. Philodendron Plants Can Boost the Humidity in Your Home
- 13. Philodendrons Can Act As Natural Soundproofing
- The Benefits of Philodendrons – The Final Word
Philodendrons are an amazingly diverse group of plants from the Araceae family. There are approximately 490 recognized species in the Philodendron genus. These plants get their name from two Greek words; “philo”, meaning “love” and “dendron”, which means “tree”. They’re also the official plants for the astrological star sign of Scorpio.
Philodendrons are known for their large, lush leaves. Most varieties, such as Philodendron giganteum, have huge leaves with noticeable lobes. However, some types, like Philodendron hederaceum, have heart-shaped foliage and grow as climbing or trailing plants.
These tropical plants are indigenous to tropical regions of Central and South America and the West Indies. Philodendrons have also been introduced to areas like Africa, Asia, Australia, and a few Pacific islands. Most species are epiphytes, meaning they grow by clinging to other plants.
Philodendrons are popular houseplants thanks to their large, impressive foliage. They’re also straightforward to grow and require very little maintenance.
The Benefits of Philodendron Plants
1. Philodendrons Are Great At Purifying the Air
Nowadays, it’s common knowledge that houseplants make the air cleaner. And according to NASA’s Clean Air Study, philodendrons are great at removing harmful VOCs like formaldehyde from the air.
Formaldehyde can irritate our eyes, lungs, skin, and throat and may also lead to cancer. Worryingly, this dangerous chemical is often found in things like cosmetics and medicinal products. Houseplants like philodendrons are an effective way of protecting ourselves against VOCs.
The scientists evaluated three types of philodendron during the study; the elephant ear philodendron, the heartleaf philodendron, and the split-leaf philodendron. All three scored well for removing formaldehyde and purifying the air.
2. Philodendrons May Help Us Sleep Better
Having plants in a bedroom doesn’t just purify the air – it could also help you sleep better. In 2019, a team of Chinese scientists conducted an experiment with astronauts. They wanted to see if having something natural like a plant could help the astronauts get a good night’s kip while in space.
The experiment found that the astronauts were less stressed when they could see or smell a plant. The data also showed that the astronauts’ central nervous systems appeared to be more regulated as a result.
It sounds like an excellent excuse to pop a philodendron on that bedroom dresser!
3. Philodendrons Can Help Reduce Our Stress Levels
These days, stress seems to affect almost everyone. Thankfully, plants like philodendrons could lend a helping hand. Numerous studies have shown that caring for or interacting with indoor plants can reduce our stress levels.
One study in 2015 tested the stress levels of 24 young men during two tasks. Each participant spent time repotting a houseplant and doing some work on a computer. The results showed that participants felt calmer and less stressed while repotting the plant.
Other experts have theorized that interacting with plants can positively affect the electrical activity in our brain. Plants also help promote less muscle tension and healthier heart activity.
4. Philodendron Plants Can Stimulate Better Productivity
Working in a soulless, boring office can really hamper how much we get done. However, plants like philodendrons could help us be more productive.
In 2014, two studies were conducted using offices in the Netherlands and the UK. Participants were tested once with plants present in the office and again with the plants removed to discover if plants boosted productivity.
When plants were present, there was a noticeable 15% jump in productivity. Participants also reported feeling more satisfied and less stressed in their environment. Add a philodendron to your home or workplace office for a productivity boost.
5. Philodendrons Are Fabulous For Feng Shui
With their vibrant energy and gorgeous green color, philodendrons are one of the most versatile feng shui plants. Philodendrons are mainly associated with the health and wealth zones of the Bagua map. These plants typically thrive best in south or southeast areas of your home.
Philodendrons symbolize abundance in feng shui due to their vigorous growth habit. These plants also boost fire element energy, which enhances fame and reputation.
Philodendrons also draw positive yang energy into your home thanks to their cheerful green foliage. That’s why philodendrons are among the best feng shui plants for your living room.
6. Philodendron Plants Can Produce Fruits
This might sound surprising, but philodendrons can actually produce edible fruits. If you give philodendrons the right conditions, you’ll end up with some white berries with a slightly green tinge.
Philodendron berries apparently taste a bit like bananas, although some species produce berries that smell like garlic. Philodendron berries are gathered by indigenous tribes in the jungles of South America.
A word of warning, though – philodendron berries can be toxic depending on the species and the number of berries eaten. This is because philodendron berries contain oxalate crystals, which can cause stomach irritation.
7. Philodendrons Are Amazing Ornamental Plants
Few other houseplants can match the stunning presence and vigor of philodendrons. Most varieties have humongous green leaves, making them excellent as ornamental centerpieces for any room.
Varieties like the heartleaf philodendron grow well in hanging baskets. Their heart-shaped leaves create a beautiful waterfall of greenery and a lush jungle atmosphere. These philodendrons can also be trained to climb up moss poles or other structures.
Some philodendrons, like Philodendron birkin, produce striking patterns on their large leaves. You can turn any room or conservatory into your own slice of the tropical jungle by collecting different varieties.
8. Philodendron Plants Are Incredibly Low-maintenance
Even if you don’t have a green finger, you can still grow philodendrons without much fuss. These incredible tropical plants are incredibly low-maintenance and can thrive in almost any location.
All philodendrons really need is a warm, humid environment. This sounds tricky to provide, but it’s a lot easier than you think. Philodendrons will be happy at average room temperature – somewhere between 60 and 80ºF (15 to 26.5ºC).
To maintain a humid environment, place your philodendrons in a steamy bathroom. You can also mist them every couple of days or pop them on a pebble tray.
9. Philodendrons Grow Pretty Quickly
Not only are philodendron plants incredibly low-maintenance, but they can also grow pretty quickly. As long as philodendrons have a warm, humid environment, most houseplant owners can get vigorous growth easily.
Some philodendron species can thrive when grown as climbing or trailing plants. These vining varieties are best grown using moss poles. This adds some vertical interest to your space and is an easy way to see how quickly these plants can grow.
For beginner plant parents, philodendrons provide dramatic foliage in a short space of time, making you feel like a green-fingered guru.
10. Philodendrons Thrive In Most Lighting Conditions
Philodendrons aren’t fussy when it comes to sunlight, making it easy to grow them in most spaces of your home. Older plants prefer partial shade, but younger specimens thrive with some bright, indirect sunlight.
Philodendrons grow near the forest floor of tropical jungles. That means they’re used to having most of the sunlight blocked out by the trees overhead. Many philodendrons can make do with dappled shade. This makes them incredibly versatile when deciding where to put them in your home.
East-facing rooms will be best, and avoid direct sunlight as this can scorch those fabulous leaves.
11. Philodendron Plants Are Easy to Propagate
As well as being low-maintenance, philodendrons are also remarkably easy to propagate. This is usually done through stem cuttings. Almost anyone can turn one philodendron plant into an entire jungle.
During the spring, look over the plant for established leaves that have about three leaf nodes. These are the bumpy nodules that protrude from the stem. Make the cut below the third one and remove some of the lower leaves.
Then pop your cutting into well-draining soil. It’s as easy as that! You can also place the cutting in a jar of water until it’s developed some roots.
12. Philodendron Plants Can Boost the Humidity in Your Home
Like philodendron plants, we need a certain amount of humidity in the air to stay healthy. It’s recommended that we maintain 30 to 50% humidity in our homes.
If the air gets too dry, it can trigger skin conditions like eczema. Low humidity levels may also contribute to respiratory problems like asthma.
Philodendrons can act as humidifiers for your home, thanks to their large leaves. When you water the plant and mist the leaves, this water begins to evaporate over time. This adds humidity to the surrounding air, helping to keep us healthy.
13. Philodendrons Can Act As Natural Soundproofing
If you’re trying to concentrate on something, ambient noise can be an annoying distraction. But having philodendrons in your home can actually create some natural soundproofing.
Research by a Korean team compared paper-based soundproofing against a monkey puzzle plant and a peace lily. The researchers found that the plants outperformed the soundproofing by absorbing soundwaves through their leaves and fleshy stems.
Plants with larger leaves, like philodendrons, are even more effective at absorbing sound. So not only can philodendrons reduce your stress levels, but they can also make the environment around you calmer.
The Benefits of Philodendron Plants – The Final Word
Philodendrons are popular low-maintenance houseplants with stunning, lush foliage. But philodendrons also have a surprising range of uses and benefits that can help make your home happier. Philodendrons can purify the air, reduce stress, and help us get a good night’s sleep. They can even make us more productive and reduce noise in our homes.
If you’re looking for your next philodendron to add to your collection, see our in-depth guide to the best plant shops delivering philodendron plants nationwide.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.
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