Philodendron Tortum

Philodendron Tortum Care Guide

If you are looking for a fantastic-looking and relatively rare Philodendron, then the Tortum fits the bill. The tropical Philodendron tortum has large, deeply divided leaves that can grow up to three feet long. The leaf blades are a deep green color. The leaf margins are serrated, and the leaves are arranged in an alternate pattern on the stem.

The Tortum is one of the most unique plants in the Philodendron family. This one has skinny, long, almost skeleton-like leaves compared to other plants.

The Philodendron tortum is not a complicated plant to care for despite its appearance. In this guide, we’ll give you all the information you need to get started growing this fantastic plant.

Quick Summary Guide:

Watering: Allow the top inch of soil to dry out in between waterings.
Lighting: Bright indirect light.
Soil: Well-draining, peat-moss-based potting mix.
Fertilizer: Monthly during the growing season.
Propagation: By division or stem cuttings.
Pests and Diseases: Aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites. Powdery mildew can also be a problem.
Toxicity: The Philodendron tortum is poisonous to pets and humans if ingested or chewed on.

Classification

The Philodendron tortum is classified as a member of the Araceae family. The scientific name for this plant is Philodendron tortum. The tortum is a member of the genus Philodendron, which contains around 600 species of plants.

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Tracheophytes
Class: Liliopsida
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Genus: Philodendron
Species: P. tortum

Habitat & Origin

The Philodendron tortum is native to Brazil and can be found growing in the rainforests. It is a root-climbing aroid native to the humid forests of Reserva Florestal Ducke near Manaus, Brazil.

The Philodendron tortum is an evergreen perennial that can grow up to six feet tall. The stem is thick and woody, with aerial roots that help support the plant. The leaves are large and deeply divided, growing up to three feet long.

This plant prefers a humid environment and does not tolerate drought conditions. The Philodendron tortum can be found growing on the forest floor or climbing on trees.

Common names: Turtle philodendron, tortum Philodendron, Brazilian Philodendron

How to Grow and Care for Philodendron Tortum

The Philodendron tortum is an easy-to-care-for plant and does not require much upkeep. This plant prefers a humid environment and should be watered regularly.

The Philodendron tortum can be fertilized with an organic, high-nitrogen fertilizer monthly during the growing season. This plant does not tolerate drought and should be kept out of direct sunlight.

Below is an all-inclusive guide to everything you need to know about caring for your Philodendron tortum.

Watering:

The Philodendron tortum should be watered regularly to keep the soil moist but not soggy. These plants enjoy their moisture and need more of it than some of the other tropical plants.

Allow the top inch of soil to dry out in between waterings. This should be about every 7-10 days or so. I use a watering tracker to ensure I am not over or underwatering my plants or under-watering them. It’s been a huge lifesaver.

The water should be at room temperature to avoid shocking the plant. If the plant experiences shock, then it will drop its leaves.

It’s best to use distilled or filtered water if your tap water is high in chlorine. Chlorine can damage the leaves of the plant. I use a Brita-type pitcher to filter out harmful chemicals in my water. If you use distilled, be sure to fertilize more often as the nutrients in the water help the plant grow.

Soil:

The Philodendron tortum prefers a well-draining, peat-moss-based potting mix. You can create your own mix by adding two parts sphagnum peat moss to one part perlite. You can also add some vermiculite to the mix for extra drainage.

Coco coir or orchid bark can also be used in place of sphagnum peat moss. You can toss in some activated charcoal to keep the soil from becoming too acidic.

Below is the mix I have found to be easy and works well with Philodendrons

  • 2 parts sphagnum peat moss (coco coir or orchid bark can be used as well)
  • 1 part perlite
  • 1/2 part vermiculite
  • 1/4 part activated charcoal

Sphagnum is a type of moss that is commonly used as a soil amendment or potting material. It is rich in nutrients and helps retain moisture. (Coco Coir is a type of coconut fiber that can be used as an alternative to sphagnum peat moss. It is also rich in nutrients and helps retain moisture.)

Perlite is a volcanic rock that has been heated to expand it. It is often used in potting mixes to improve drainage.

Vermiculite is a mineral that has been expanded with heat. It is commonly used in potting mixes to improve drainage and aeration.

Activated charcoal is made from wood that has been burned at a high temperature. It helps remove toxins from the soil and keeps the pH balanced.

The potting mix should be loose and airy to allow for good drainage. The plant does not like to sit in soggy soil.
A good potting mix is key to a happy and healthy plant.

Sunlight Requirements:

The Philodendron tortum prefers bright indirect light but can also tolerate low-light conditions. This is called a “forest plant” because it’s used to living in the filtered sunlight that comes through the canopy of trees.

If you live in a mainly sunny climate, you might want to provide dappled shade during the midday hours. A lovely sunny windowsill that gets some indirect light would be perfect.

The Philodendron tortum will start to stretch if it is not getting enough light. The plant gets leggy, and the space between the leaves increases.

If your plant is stretching, it is time to give it more light. The plant should not be placed in direct sunlight for too long as this will scorch the leaves.

If the leaves of the plant start to turn yellow, this is a sign that it is getting too much light. Move the plant to a shadier spot with less direct sun.

Temperature & Humidity:

The Philodendron tortum prefers temperatures between 60°F – 80°F (15°C – 27°C). The plant can tolerate higher temperatures, which will cause the leaves to drop.

If the temperature drops below 60°F (15°C), the plant will enter dormancy. The leaves will turn yellow and fall off the plant.

The Philodendron tortum prefers a humid environment. Mist the plant leaves regularly or place the pot on a pebble tray to increase humidity.

Fertilization Requirements:

The Philodendron tortum should be fertilized with a general-purpose fertilizer. The plant can be fertilized monthly during the growing season.

If you use a water-soluble fertilizer, dilute it to half strength before applying it to the plant.
Over-fertilizing the plant can cause damage to the roots.

A good organic fertilizer is worm castings. Worm castings are a type of compost made from the waste of worms (basically a fancy word for worm poop). It is living soil amendment that is packed with nutrients.

Worm castings can be applied to the soil or used as a foliar spray. They are rich in nutrients and help improve drainage and aeration and feed the plants.

Pruning Requirements:

The Philodendron tortum does not require much pruning. If the plant becomes leggy, you can trim the stems to encourage new growth. It can become sparse if you start to prune too often, so only do it when necessary.

How to Propagate Philodendron Tortum

The Philodendron tortum can be propagated by stem cuttings or by division. You can also plant and grow it from a seed but will obviously take longer to grow.

Stem Cuttings:
  1. Take stem cuttings from the plant in the spring or summer. Cut a 6-inch (15 cm) piece of stem from the plant just below a leaf node.
  2. Remove the lower leaves from the cutting and dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder.
  3. Fill a pot with a well-draining potting mix and plant the cutting—Water the cutting well and place it in a warm, humid environment.
  4. The cutting should root within 2-3 weeks. Once the plant has rooted, you can transplant it into a larger pot.
Division:

The Philodendron tortum can also be propagated by division. This should be done in the spring or summer when the plant is actively growing.

  1. To divide the plant, carefully remove it from the pot and gently pull it apart into two pieces. Each piece should have its own root system.
  2. Replant the divisions in their pots filled with well-draining potting mix. Water the plants well and place them in a warm, humid environment.
  3. The divisions should take root within 2-3 weeks. Once the plants have rooted, you can transplant them into larger pots.

Pests and Diseases

The Philodendron tortum is susceptible to a variety of pests and diseases. These include aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, whiteflies, and scale. This plant is vulnerable to fungal diseases such as root rot and leaf spot.

Philodendron tortum plants should be monitored for pests and diseases and treated accordingly.

Aphids:

Aphids are small, soft-bodied insects that are typically green or black. They feed on the sap of plants and can cause damage by stunting growth or transmitting diseases.

Aphids can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil. Organic pest control is always our first choice!

Mealybugs:

Mealybugs are small, white, wingless insects that feed on the sap of plants. They can cause damage by stunting growth or transmitting diseases.

These little white bugs can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Spider Mites:

Spider mites are tiny spider-like creatures that feed on the sap of plants. They can cause damage by stunting growth or transmitting diseases.
Spider mites can be controlled with insecticidal soap, neem oil, or ladybugs.

Whiteflies:

Whiteflies are tiny white insects that feed on the sap of plants. They can cause damage by stunting growth or transmitting diseases.

Whiteflies can be controlled with insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Scale:

Scale are small, hard-bodied insects that feed on the sap of plants. They can cause damage by stunting growth or transmitting diseases.

Scale can be controlled with insecticidal soap, neem oil, or ladybugs.

Fungal Diseases:

Root rot is a fungal disease that can kill Philodendron tortum plants. This disease is caused by overwatering or poor drainage.

Leaf spot is a fungal disease that can cause brown or black spots on the leaves of Philodendron tortum plants. This disease is caused by overwatering or poor air circulation.

Fungal diseases can be controlled with fungicidal sprays or by removing infected leaves.

Organic Pesticide Methods include:

Insecticidal soap:

Insecticidal soap is a safe and effective way to control pests on Philodendron tortum plants. This soap works by smothering the pests.

  1. To make insecticidal soap:
    Mix 1 tablespoon dish soap with 1 quart (1 liter) of water.
  2. Spray the plant with this mixture, being sure to coat the undersides of the leaves.
  3. Repeat this treatment every few days until the pests are gone.
Neem oil:

Neem oil is a natural pesticide that comes from the neem tree. This oil works by suffocating the pests.
To use neem oil:

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of neem oil with 1 quart (1 liter) of water.
  2. Spray the plant with this mixture, being sure to coat the undersides of the leaves.
  3. Repeat this treatment every few days until the pests are gone.
Ladybugs:

Ladybugs are a natural predator of many common garden pests, including aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and whiteflies. You can purchase ladybugs from your local garden center.

Release the ladybugs onto the plant, and they will start to feed on the pests. Repeat this treatment every few days until the pests are gone.

Fungicidal spray:

The fungicidal spray is a safe and effective way to control fungal diseases on Philodendron tortum plants. This spray works by killing the fungi that cause the diseases.

To make a fungicidal spray:

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon baking soda with 1 quart (1 liter) of water.
  2. Spray the plant with this mixture, being sure to coat the undersides of the leaves.

Repeat this treatment every few days until the disease is gone.

Preventing Pests and Diseases

Using good cultural practices is the best way to prevent pests and diseases. This includes planting the Philodendron tortum in a well-draining potting mix and providing adequate air circulation.

It is also crucial to water the plant properly. Water the plant when the top inch (2.5 cm) of soil is dry. Allow the plant to dry out between watering to prevent root rot.

Insecticidal soap, neem oil, and fungicidal sprays can also be used as preventative measures. These products should be applied according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Where to Keep The Tortum

The Philodendron tortum is commonly used as a houseplant. This plant is easy to care for and does not require much upkeep. The Philodendron tortum can also be used in landscaping. This plant is tolerant of shady conditions and can add color and interest to an otherwise dull landscape.

Air Purifying Traits

The Philodendron tortum is known to be an excellent air purifier. This plant can remove various toxins from the air, including formaldehyde and benzene. Formaldehyde is a common indoor pollutant that can cause respiratory problems. Benzene is a carcinogen that can cause cancer.

The Philodendron tortum is a great plant to have in your home if you want to improve the quality of the air you breathe.

Where to Buy a Philodendron Tortum?

Aroids like the philodendron tortum are rare and difficult to find in many garden stores. However, you can buy them online from several retailers.

We recommend you always research your sellers carefully to ensure that you get a healthy plant.
Some good places to buy a Philodendron tortum online include Etsy or Plnts.com.

FAQ:

Q: Why are my plant leaves turning brown?

A: Brown leaves can be caused by several factors, including overwatering, drought, pests, or diseases. If you think your plant is suffering from any of these problems, take action to correct the issue and monitor your plant closely.

Q: Does the Tortum plant Flower?

A: Yes! In the right conditions, however. This plant produces small, green flowers that bloom in the summertime. These are most often seen from mature plants in their natural habitat.

Q: How do I know if my plant is getting enough light?

A: A plant not getting enough light will typically have pale leaves. It sounds strange to have leaves turning pale or yellow with no sunlight, but this is due to photosynthesis. If your plant is not getting enough light, it will not be able to produce the food it needs to survive.
If you think that your plant is not getting enough light, move it to a brighter location and monitor it closely.

Q: Why are my plant leaves wilting?

A: Wilting leaves can be caused by many factors, including overwatering, drought, pests, or diseases. If you think your plant is suffering from any of these problems, take action to correct the issue and monitor your plant closely.

Q: How often should I water my Philodendron tortum?

A: Water your Philodendron tortum when the top inch of soil is dry. Do not let the soil become completely dry, as this can stress the plant. Water your plant deeply, and then allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again.

Q: What temperature does my Philodendron tortum need?

A: Your Philodendron tortum should be kept in warm temperatures between 60-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q: How Rare is the Philodendron Torum?

A: The Philodendron tortum is a rare plant, but it is becoming more popular as a houseplant. This plant is easy to care for and does not require much upkeep. The Philodendron tortum can also be used in landscaping. This plant is tolerant of shady conditions and can add color and interest to an otherwise dull landscape. If you enjoy rare plants, check out the Philodendron Bob Cee or the Philodendron Florida Ghost Plant.

Q: How can I make my Philodendron tortum grow faster?

A: Fertilize your plant every two weeks with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Water your plant deeply and allow the soil to dry out completely before watering again. Place your plant in a bright location, but avoid direct sunlight.

Q: Is my Philodendron tortum poisonous?

A: The Philodendron tortum is not poisonous. However, the sap of this plant can irritate you if it comes into contact with your skin. Call your local poison control center if you suspect your plant is poisonous.

Q: What pests or diseases should I be aware of?

A: The Philodendron tortum is susceptible to aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, whiteflies, and scale. This plant is also susceptible to root rot and leaf spot.

Conclusion

The Philodendron tortum is an easy-to-care-for plant that does not require much upkeep. This plant is commonly used as a houseplant or in landscaping. The Philodendron tortum is native to Brazil and can be found growing in the rainforests.

This plant prefers a humid environment and should be watered regularly. The Philodendron tortum can be propagated by seed or division. Keep it warm and sunny and this plant will provide you with joy the next several years.

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