The philodendron atom is a species of philodendron. It has epiphytic, semi-epiphytic, terrestrial forms and flexible vines and semi-shrubs. The rhizome of the plant is superficial and highly branched.
In addition to the roots, air roots are formed at the base of the stem in each internode. They serve as an attachment to the support and power supply. Thanks to the most delicate hair roots, sprouting and anchoring on the trunk.
The stem of the philodendron atom is long but relatively thin. It grows from a few centimeters to 2-3 m. The lower part of the shoot is gradually lignified and covered with brown peeling bark. The wood becomes so dense that support is no longer needed.
Foliage is very decorative. It grows alternately on long petioles. The length of the leaf plate can reach 2 m. The leaves are oval, arrow-shaped, dissected, or finger-shaped.
During the life cycle, the shape of the leaves, even in one plant, changes several times. In addition to the usual petiole foliage, the philodendron grows cataphylls – scaly leaves that protect vegetative buds. As the leaves fall, grooves remain on the trunk at the point of attachment of the petioles.
Caring for Philodendron Atom
1. Temperature and lighting
Any philodendron atom is best placed with diffused light, without direct sunlight. West and east windows are ideal. With a lack of lighting, the petioles of the plant stretch out. The new leaves are smaller than the previous ones and do not have varietal cuts.
Philodendron atoms are climbing, reddening, shiny and unpretentious. These varieties are suitable for keeping at 16-25 degrees in summer and at least 12-13 degrees in winter.
If the conditions are not met, the leaves grow solid and crooked. All philodendron atoms don’t like drafts. For this reason, it is better not to take them outdoors, even in summer.
2. Humidity and watering
Philodendron atoms love high humidity. In nature, the plant grows in tropical forests, so it responds well to daily watering. You can wipe the leaves with a damp cloth.
Excessive watering will be fatal for the philodendron. The leaves will begin to dry out at the tips and then fall off at the stem’s bottom. However, the soil does not need to be allowed to dry out either.
The soil should constantly be slightly moistened. The topsoil should dry out between waterings by about 1/3 of the pot. In winter, the philodendron atom is watered less frequently.
Wait for the soil to dry out to ½ the pot. In this mode, it is looked after until mid-March. Equally important, for irrigation, use settled or boiled water.
The philodendron atom is given a warm watering once a month in the warm season. Put the pot in the bath, cover the soil with cellophane and wash off the dust from the leaves.
3. Soil and transplant
A light, porous soil with low acidity is required. For newly rooted cuttings, mix the finished peat soil with small coal and pine bark pieces. A mixture of humus with peat in a 2: 1 ratio with the addition of sphagnum, bark, and coal is suitable for young plants.
For adult philodendron atoms, you can take orchid soil as a basis, which consists not only of bark but also sphagnum, charcoal, peat.
If desired, perlite or sand, leaf humus, high-moor peat, or added. Plants are transplanted in the spring. Young plants are transplanted every year, adults – every 3-4 years. However, adult flowers are also recommended to change the topsoil every year.
The pot should be slightly larger than the previous one. The plant is transferred into a new container with an old clod, and the free space is replaced with fresh soil. At first, watering is reduced since the root system is damaged.
4. Top dressing
In nature, philodendron atoms take nutrition from organic matter, rainwater, rotted leaves. They are fertilized with mineral complexes for decorative deciduous plants.
Also, they must have an equal ratio of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. However, the concentration of the solution should be 20% weaker than that recommended by the fertilizer manufacturer.
Despite the weak severity, the plant’s dormant period falls in the winter. Therefore, intensive fertilization is applied from mid-March to autumn – once every two weeks.
In winter, do not fertilize the plant or introduce a weak concentration once a month. Do not fertilize a diseased or transplanted plant.
The aerial roots of the philodendron atoms cannot be cut off entirely but can be shortened. This is done if they are too long or begin to die off. Dying leaves should be removed at any time of the year.
Pruning these plants to maintain a specific size is carried out in the spring. A cut is made a little below the level of the upper tier of aerial roots so that about 40 cm of the stem remains. If it is necessary to restrict the plant’s growth, pinch the growing point above the internode.
Despite the unpretentiousness of the inhabitant of the rainforest, problems of philodendron atom can arise with care errors. This include:
- A decrease in the size of new leaves, an increase in internodes, and loss of color of the leaf plate are signs of a lack of lighting.
- Yellowing of the leaves can be caused by over-watering.
- The leaves turn brown and fall off
- In wet soil, the leaves loss their elasticity. The reason is either rotting the root system due to overflow or too bright light.
- The appearance of black spots on the leaves, including between the veins, is usually a consequence of exposure to low temperatures.
- Brown spots are sunburn.
- The leaves turn brown, and the tips bulge up due to the dry indoor air.
- Wrinkling of leaves, the appearance of chlorosis spots is a consequence of a flower’s treatment with chemicals.
- The leaves have turned pale – the flower probably lacks fertilizer, or the soil’s acidity is not suitable.
The philodendron atom is most often affected by stem rot. It appears that excessive watering leads to tissue softness and loss of turgor by the plant.
If it is not severely affected, you can save the plant by re-rooting. The stem is cut off a few centimeters above the place of decay and rooted in soil or water.
Philodendron atom is attacked by pests if improperly cared for hence weakening the plant. Usually, it is attacked by spider mites, aphids, thrips, and scale insects.
- The spider mite sucks the sap out of the plant, leading to yellow spots on the leaves. In places of defeat, puncture points are visible if you bring the plant to the light. On the reverse side, there is white husk-dandruff – pest skins. For prevention, high humidity should be maintained in the room. And if the mite is already wound up, they use acaricidal preparations.
- Aphid colonies on shoots are visible to the naked bud. First, the top of the plant is deformed, then the leaves curl, sweet dew appears, where a sooty mushroom develops. To combat aphids, the plant is washed with soapy water. If the lesion is severe, use chemicals – Fitoverm, Intavir, or others.
- Thrips leave noticeable marks on the leaves in the form of silvery streaks and spots. The lesions are sprinkled with small black dots – pest excrement.
- When damaged by a scutellum, brown or translucent plaques are noticeable on both sides of the leaf, representing nothing more than the shell of the pest.
Reproduction of philodendron atom
1. Sowing seeds
Seeds are sown in the spring in the soil for the philodendron atom to a depth of 5 mm. After sowing, the soil is sprayed with a spray bottle. The container is covered with glass or other transparent material, keeping the humidity high.
Keep the seed container in a warm, bright room. Seedlings will appear in about a month and a half. They can be planted in separate containers after the first pair of leaves appear.
2. Cutting Philodendron atom
Rooting is best done in late spring or early summer. The top or shoot with two pairs of healthy leaves and a growing point should be cut off from the plant. The bottom shoot must be removed, and then the cutting must be buried in the soil mixture.
Wet sand, peat pellets, or standard philodendron atom soil are suitable for rooting. The deep cut should be watered abundantly and then covered with a transparent container or bag, increasing humidity.
The greenhouse must be ventilated every two days. When the stalk is rooted, it can be transplanted into a 10 cm pot.
3. Rooting fragments
When propagated by parts of the trunk or root, they are placed in a mixture consisting of peat and sand in equal amounts. They are laid with the buds up, after which the fragment of the plant is sprinkled with soil a little.
A greenhouse is organized on top. It is ventilated a couple of times a week. After rooting, the seedling is placed in a separate pot.
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Many flower growers appreciate the Philodendron atom not only for its unpretentiousness but also for its decorative properties. It does not cause a lot of trouble, and the appearance of the flowerpot cheers you up. Grow this plant, and it will bring light, beauty, and comfort to your apartment.