The Philodendron verrucosum is a striking plant, known for its velvety, dark-green leaves with bright, light green veining once they reach maturity. Even the underside of their leaves, colored a faded burgundy in between the veins, showcase its adaptability to its native tropical environments. Unlike many of its Philodendron cousins, this plant is hemiepiphytic, meaning that though they start their lives as epiphytes, clinging to trees, they eventually root themselves in the ground like most other plants. The parents of this Philodendron were right – it was just a phase.
Ecuador Philodendron are especially well-suited for terrarium environments, because of their high temperature and humidity requirements. These members of the Philodendron family prefer closed terrariums more than anywhere else in the home. When given the correct conditions, this aroid can act as a beautiful centerpiece or backdrop among other, brighter plants and mosses.
At a Glance
Where to Buy Philodendron verrucosum
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Terrarium Plant Guide
Philodendron verrucosum Care & Growth
The Philodendron verrucosum is usually found on the forest floor where the light is very dappled, here it plays out its vining tendencies and climbs other plants or trees to reach more moderate light.
Luckily, this means they are great indoor plants when all you have at your disposal is low light and high shade. Their preference is moderate, indirect light, appreciating bright sun light only on brief occasions.
Because of their native environment of tropical Ecuadorian jungles, these Philodendron love their moisture. While they love humid, wet spaces, these plants like their soil to be light and aerated. Never soggy and suffocating on its roots.
Indoors, the Philodendron verrucosum can withstand some under and overwatering within small amounts. They can get a little melodramatic if they don’t receive regular moisture, and will display yellowing or even dropping of their leaves.
The roots of this plant need to be well aerated, so a typical aroid mix of coco coir, orchid bark, perlite, and a small amount of sphagnum moss is best to make sure plenty of air is getting down to their roots. If you don’t have access to all of these ingredients, the Philodendron Ecuador can also thrive in Leca or a soil-Leca mix, as well. Making sure the soil mixture is loose enough for oxygen to get to the roots is the most important take away here.
Temperature & Humidity
The Philodendron verrucosum’s common name is the Ecuador Philodendron for a reason: it is most commonly found climbing Ecuador’s tropical trees (though it does also grow throughout much of Central and South America). These locations offer warm, humid weather, so it’s best to replicate that with temperatures above 65°F (18°C) and a minimum of 60% humidity. If there is even a slight crack in your terrarium, it can create a draft that dries out the air and soil, quickly hardening your leaves and root system.
Young Ecuador Philodendron exhibit lighter coloring at first, only deepening to their trademark deep green as they get older. The faded red/burgundy also comes with age – like a fine wine.
Keep in mind that even in a closed terrarium, this plant is still an avid climber, so installing a small moss pole or building a high ground out of bark and other natural matter will give this Philodendron room to stretch out. If the Ecuador Philodendron doesn’t have anything to vine along, their fuzzy petioles can grow soft and cause the plant to wilt. Make sure to take propagation cuttings often or repot every 1-2 years to avoid your Philodendron becoming root bound.
Philodendron verrucosum start out their lives as epiphytes, so their aerial roots make them easy to propagate through stem cuttings placed in water or other, airy substrates. Many parents in the plant community boast this plant as an easy aroid to re-root, so you can quickly find yourself propagating multiple cuttings from one mother plant if you take good care of your terrarium!
Varieties & Similar Plants
While the Philodendron family is famous for its massive variety of plant types, shapes, and colors, the heart-shaped Ecuador Philodendron only has a few immediate cousins. Both the Philodendron pastazanum and the famous Philodendron gloriosum have similar leaf shape and water requirements.
Two hybrids have come about due to the crossing of a Philodendron verrucosum: when bred with the Philodendron sodiroi, a Majestic is created, and the baby of the verrucosum and melanochrysum is the rare (and hard to find) Splendid. Both share similar bright veining and velvety texture.
Unfortunately, it is known in the plant community that the Philodendron verrucosum do not ship well, so they need time to adjust to their new environments before being planted in a terrarium; depending upon the conditions, this could be up to a few months! Once planted in their permanent locations, they are susceptible to root rot due to the incorrect substrate, and yellowing leaves, usually because of an inconsistent watering schedule.