Philodendron Atom Care Guide (A Lovely Plant For Beginners)

The philodendron Atom is one of the most unassuming plants you will ever see. Its small, delicate leaves and slender stems make it perfect for adding a touch of nature to any room. But don’t let its humble appearance fool you – Philodendron Atom is a hardy plant that can thrive in various environments.

About the Philodendron Atom

The Philodendron Atom is a beautiful plant that can brighten up any room and makes you feel like you’re in the tropics. It has lush, glossy, dark green leaves that are deeply lobed and erected upward.

The leaves start getting wavy and curly upon maturity. The curling shape of its leaves makes Philodendron Atom an exciting plant to look at.

The Atom plant is not only easy on the eyes, but it’s also easy to care for. It can tolerate low light and doesn’t need much water, making it the perfect plant for busy people or those who don’t have a green thumb. So if you’re looking for a beautiful and low-maintenance plant, Philodendron Atom is the perfect plant for you!

Origin and History

The philodendron Atom belongs to the Araceae family and is native to the continent of South America. If we talk about its origin more precisely, it is found in the tropical rainforests of Brazil and Paraguay.

Don’t confuse its common name with its genus, as it does not belong to the Philodendron genus. It was recently reclassified from Philodendron to Thaumatophyllum and thus botanically known as ‘Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum.’

The Atom is a relatively rare plant compared to other Philodendrons, so keep your plant happy if you get your hands on one. It acts as a natural air purifier and keeps your room air clean. Thus its air purifying properties make it a great plant to have indoors.

This plant is a perennial evergreen plant that remains lush green throughout the year and does not produce any flowers. It grows to a maximum height of about 12-15 feet in its natural habitat, but when grown indoors, it remains much smaller and reaches a height of only about two to three feet.

Philodendron Atom is a slow-growing plant, staying compact and green year-round.

You may have heard about Philodendron Super Atom and often confused it with Philodendron Atom, but they are two different plants. Philodendron Super Atom is the dwarf cultivar of Philodendron Atom, meaning it has a small height and leaves.

Quick Summary Guide

Sunlight: bright, indirect sunlight.
Water: Allow the topsoil to dry out before watering again
Fertilizer: Feed Philodendron Atom monthly
Humidity: high humidity, so mist regularly or place the plant on a pebble tray.
Soil: Well-draining, peat-based potting mix.
Temperature:  warm temperatures between 65°F – 80°F (18°C – 27°C).
Repotting: every 12 to 18 months.
Pests and Diseases: relatively pest and disease-free, but mealybugs, spider mites, and thrips
Toxicity: Toxic to pets and children if ingested

Philodendron Atom Care

Philodendron Atom Philodendron Atom is a beautiful, low-maintenance plant that can thrive in various environments. Here are a few care tips to keep your Philodendron Atom happy and healthy:

Light

This Philodendron grows best in bright, indirect sunlight. Indirect sunlight can be best described as the light that comes through a window but is not in direct line with the sun. Bright but indirect sunlight is the key here, as too much sunlight can scorch the leaves, and too little sunlight can make the leaves look pale.

It can also tolerate low light conditions, but its growth will be slower. So it is crucial to find a spot in your home that provides your plant with the ideal light conditions it needs to thrive well. Primarily, an east-facing window is a perfect spot for this plant.

Keep checking the health of your plant regularly. If they look pale, the plant is not getting enough light, and if the leaves look scorched or burnt, it means that the plant is getting too much sunlight.

In both cases, you will have to adjust the location of your plant accordingly. You can also hang curtains in front of the window if the sunlight is too harsh, creating a diffused light, which would be excellent for this plant.

Soil

Soil is something you need to be very particular about right from the start. It should be a well-draining potting mix that is slightly basic with a pH above 7.

Remember, it’s a tropical plant that prefers soil that retains moisture and nutrients. If the potting mix you use is too dense, it will cause the roots to rot, and if it is too sandy, it will not retain enough moisture for the plant. So moisture retentive soil is a must for this Philodendron.

You can buy a commercial potting mix for your plant or make your own by mixing equal amounts of sphagnum moss, vermiculite, perlite, and standard potting mix. Peat and vermiculite increase the water retaining properties of the soil, while sphagnum moss keeps the soil light and increases its drainage. Adding a little organic matter to this mix will make this potting mix perfect for your plant.

Water

Watering your plant is what will make or break it. This Philodendron does not like to sit in wet soil for too long as it can cause the roots to rot. So always ensure that the potting mix is dry to touch before you water your plant again.

The best way to check if your plant needs watering is to stick your finger about 2 inches deep into the potting mix. If it feels dry to the touch, your plant needs watering. If it feels moist, leave it be for some time.

Water your plant until water starts draining out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Do not forget to empty the saucer under the pot after some time, as Philodendron Atom does not like sitting in water.

During summer, this plant will need to be watered more frequently than in winter. So always keep an eye on the soil and water your plant when necessary. Do not water your plant above its head, as it can invite fungal diseases. Always water near the roots.

Fertilizer

Though the Philodendron atom is not a heavy feeder, applying fertilizer a few times a year improves its growth and health. It helps the plant to develop a robust root system and lush green foliage. A standard all-purpose fertilizer rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is best for this plant.

Apply fertilizer at half the recommended strength once a month during the growing season. Avoid fertilizing it in winter as the plant is dormant and does not need any fertilizer. You can also use a balanced liquid fertilizer or a slow-release granular fertilizer.

Liquid fertilizer is usually suggested as it gets absorbed quickly and doesn’t overfeed the plant. Slow-releasing pellets are also a good option as you won’t need to fertilize your plant too often.

Read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before applying any fertilizer to your plant. Flush out the potting mix with fresh water once every couple of months to remove any fertilizer build-up, as it can harm your plant.

Always apply fertilizer to just the roots and not on the leaves, as it can burn them. Also, ensure that the potting mix is moist before applying fertilizer to your plant.

Temperature

Being a tropical plant, it loves sitting in warm temperatures and does not like cold and frost. So bring this beautiful plant indoors if you live in a place where the temperature falls below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

The ideal temperature range for this plant falls within 70-85°F (21°C to 29°C). Anything above 85°F will be damaging to the plant. Keep this temperature range in your mind, and your plant is ready.

Do not keep your plant near a fireplace or radiator, as that can make the leaves dry and eventually kill the plant. Also, avoid placing it near an air conditioner or cool vent, as it can make the plant dormant.

Humidity

This Philodendron loves humid conditions, just like it loves warm temperatures. Relative humidity of 60% or more is perfect for this plant. Don’t let the moisture go below 50%. If the air around your plant is too dry, the leaves will turn brown and crisp.

To maintain high humidity levels near your Philodendron, you can mist the leaves regularly or place the pot on a pebble tray.

A pebble tray is nothing but a tray filled with gravel and water. As evaporation occurs, it creates a humid environment around the plant, which is perfect for Philodendron Atom. Just ensure that the bottom of the pot is not in the water, as that can damage the roots.

You can also use a humidifier or group your plant with other plants to increase humidity.

Pruning

That’s the part of the care you can ignore for this plant as it doesn’t need pruning. Philodendron Atom grows relatively slowly, so you won’t need to do much trimming. Just snip off the dead leaves and yellowing foliage whenever you see them.

Also, remove any leggy or weak growth to encourage new growth. You can use a sharp pair of scissors or gardening shears. Avoid using blunt tools, as that can damage the plant.

Repotting

Philodendron atom does not need to be repotted frequently. You can repot it every two or three years or when you see that the plant has outgrown its pot.

The best time to repot Philodendron is during spring, just before the growing season starts. When selecting a pot for your Philodendron, make sure it is only one size bigger than the current pot.

Also, choose a pot with drainage holes at the bottom as that helps to prevent root rot. When repotting it, gently remove the plant and the soil around its roots from its current pot.

Place it in the new pot and fill in the potting mix around it, gently pressing down to remove any air pockets.

Propagation

Philodendron Atom can be easily propagated from stem cuttings. The best time to take stem cuttings is during spring or summer when the plant is actively growing.

  1. Cut a 4-6 inch long stem from the plant, ensuring it has at least 2 nodules and a few leaves.
  2. Dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder. This helps to encourage new root growth.
  3. Place the stem in a pot filled with a well-draining potting mix.
  4. Water it regularly, making sure that the soil does not dry out completely.
  5. Keep the pot in a warm place with indirect sunlight, and keep an eye on the soil’s moisture level.
  6. You will see new growth in a few weeks, and your plant is ready to be transplanted to a permanent pot.

You can also propagate by division. Philodendron Atom grows relatively slowly, so it might take a few years for the plant to outgrow its pot. When you see that the roots are crowded and the plant is not getting enough space to grow, you know it’s time to divide the plant.

  1. Gently remove the plant from its pot and divide it into two or three sections, ensuring that each section has a good amount of roots.
  2. Place the divisions in separate pots and water them regularly. Keep the pots in a warm place with indirect sunlight until you see new growth.

Toxicity

Like other Philodendrons, the Philodendron atom is poisonous to pets if ingested. The leaves and stem of the plant contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause mouth and throat irritation, difficulty swallowing and vomiting.

If you have pets at home, keeping this plant out of their reach is best.

Common Problems

Philodendron Atom Plant2Philodendron atom is a pretty hardy plant. However, sometimes it can face leaf drop or yellowing of the leaves.

Leaf drop usually happens due to stress, such as drafts, low humidity, or inconsistent watering.

Leaf yellowing is often caused by too much direct sunlight or overwatering. If you see brown spots on the leaves, it is a sign of fungal or bacterial infection.

Philodendron Atom can also be affected by root rot caused by overwatering or waterlogged soil. The best way to prevent this problem is to ensure the plant is well-drained and not sitting in water.

It is also susceptible to mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. These pests can be controlled by using an insecticidal soap or neem oil solution.

FAQ:

Q: How often should I water Philodendron Atom?

A: Philodendron Atom should be watered regularly, making sure that the soil does not dry out completely. However, you don’t need to water it too frequently as that can lead to root rot.

Q: How do I know if my Philodendron Atom is affected by root rot?

A: Philodendron Atom can be affected by root rot if it is overwatered or if the soil is waterlogged. The best way to prevent this problem is to ensure the plant is well-drained and not sitting in water.

Q: How do I control pests on my Philodendron Atom?

A: Philodendron Atom can be susceptible to mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. These pests can be controlled by using an insecticidal soap or neem oil solution.

Q: How often should I repot Philodendron Atom?

A: Philodendron Atom does not need to be repotted too frequently. You can repot it every two or three years or when you see that the plant has outgrown its pot. The best time to repot Philodendron is during spring, just before the growing season starts.

Q: Why are my Philodendron Atom leaves wilting?

A: Philodendron Atom leaves can wilt due to stress, such as drafts, low humidity, or inconsistent watering.  If you think your plant has not received enough water, stick a finger into the soil to see if its dry. If your pot is very light, this is an indicator your plant is too dry. Water thoroughly and allow to drain.

Q: How can I encourage Philodendron Atom to produce new leaves?

A: Philodendron Atom will produce new leaves when stressed, such as when it is pot-bound or when the leaves are damaged. You can also encourage new leaf growth by fertilizing Philodendron Atom during the growing season. Philodendron Atom can also be propagated by stem cuttings.

Q: Why are my plant leaves getting brown tips?

A: Philodendron Atom leaves can get brown tips due to stress, such as drafts, low humidity, or inconsistent watering. Leaf yellowing is often caused by too much direct sunlight or overwatering. If you see brown spots on the leaves, it is a sign of fungal or bacterial infection.

To fix this problem, you can try reducing the stress that Philodendron Atom is experiencing. You can also try to increase the humidity around Philodendron Atom or improve its watering schedule.

If all else fails, you may need to trim off the affected leaves and hope that new growth will be unaffected.

Q: What other philodendrons are similar to the Atom?

A: Philodendron Atom is similar to Philodendron Brasil, Philodendron Golden Dragon, and Philodendron Melanochrysum. All three plants are part of the Philodendron genus and have similar care requirements.

Q: Is the Philodendron Atom a rare plant, and where can I buy one?

A: Philodendron Atom is a rare plant compared to its siblings. You can usually find one online from Etsy or a local gardening club. I like to see if any local plant swap meets have rare cuttings to trade with.

Final Thoughts

Philodendron Atom is a beautiful, low-maintenance plant perfect for those new to gardening. With proper care, it can thrive indoors or outdoors. It’s a smaller Philodendron variety, making it ideal for spaces that are tight on room.

If you’re looking for a Philodendron variety that is easy to care for and doesn’t require much attention, Philodendron Atom is the perfect plant!

Philodendron Atom will add a touch of elegance to any space, making it an excellent choice for home and office settings.

Thanks for reading, and happy lively gardening!

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