Philodendron Selloum Care Guide

Philodendron selloum is a beautiful tropical plant that will thrive indoors and out. With its massive, shiny, split leaves, this vining plant makes a huge statement. It’s a slow-growing plant that does best in partial shade, especially if you’re growing it outdoors. Although it’s a slow grower, it can reach up to 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide when it matures. When the Philodendron selloum finally needs trimming, you’ll need a ladder to reach the top of this majestic plant! In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to prove a great home for your Philodendron selloum.

About Philodendron Selloum

Philodendron selloum is a type of philodendron, a large genus of tropical plants which includes many houseplant favorites. It is sometimes also called the Hope Selloum, Horsehead Philodendron, Lacy Tree Philodendron, or Tree Philodendron.

These tropical vines grow best in humid conditions, so they’re great for homes with high humidity levels and medium light. The Philodendron selloum is an excellent choice if you want a large statement plant with relatively easy care. The shiny oak-shaped leaves of a Philodendron selloum can grow to be larger than your head!

If you like Philodendron selloum, you may also like some of these other philodendrons:

  • Philodendron Xanadu – If you like the Selloum but don’t have six feet of floor space to spare, try the Xandu instead. This plant is very similar to the Selloum but is a bit smaller.
  • Philodendron squamiferum – This is another large philodendron with oak-shaped leaves. However, if you prefer a chunkier look on your leaves with fewer lobes, this one may be a good alternative to the Philodendron selloum.
  • Philodendron bernardopazii – If you prefer a large philodendron with a single long lobe rather than oak-shaped leaves, check out this plant. The leaves of a bernardopazii can grow up to two feet long!

Philodendron Selloum Care

In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about how to take care of Philodendron selloum, including how much sunlight they need and what type of soil works best for them.

Growth Habit

The Philodendron selloum is native to South America but also grows on the east and gulf coasts of the United States. In its natural environment, Philodendron selloum thrives in the understory of rainforests. It is a non-climbing vine that will shoot out areal roots and attach itself to a tree, fence, or other support to grow outward (versus upward). A mature Philodendron selloum does develop a trunk, however, you probably won’t be able to see it beneath that tangle of massive leaves. Philodendron selloum does not typically flower indoors.

Philodendron selloum can be grown outdoors year-round with protection from cold temperatures (below 50°F). Landscapers may use this plant in large containers around pools in warmer climates. However, it does best when grown indoors or in a greenhouse where it can receive plenty of light and humidity without getting too hot or dry.


Like most tropical houseplants, Philodendron selloum does best in bright, indirect sunlight. Avoid placing it in direct sunlight. If it is outside it can handle the occasional stray ray of sunshine, but try to stick to full or partial shade.

Since Philodendron selloum is so large, most people don’t place them under grow lights. However, you can feel free to grow a young selloum under a full-range grow light if you want to get it started strong before moving it to a brighter area. Otherwise, place your plant near an east or west-facing window for best exposure.


Philodendron selloum prefers to have its soil kept moist (but not wet!) at all times. Let the soil have time to dry out a bit in between waterings to avoid drowning your plant. You’ll likely need to water more often in the spring and summer as the soil will dry out faster. The aerial roots this large plant creates can also help it absorb water and nutrients.

This plant doesn’t tolerate salt buildup well, so it’s good to regularly flush your soil to help remove any excess salts from the soil. To flush the soil, first break up any blockages in the bottom of the pot. Then, slowly pour water through the top letting it drain out. You’ll want to pour about four times the volume of water through the plant as there is soil in the pot. Let the plant drain thoroughly.

Temperature and Humidity

Philodendron selloum thrives in high humidity and temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not expose it to temperatures lower than 50 degrees Fahrenheit without protection. If your plant is exposed to cold damage, it may die back in the winter. However, if the roots were protected well enough, it may still return with new growth in the spring.

If you want to provide your philodendron with extra humidity, misting it with water every few days is sufficient. However, this plant will certainly never complain about being placed in a room with a nice humidifier.

Soil and Repotting

The soil should be well-drained, with a pH between 5.5 and 6.5. The best potting soil for Philodendron selloum is a peat-moss mix. Try creating a blend of peat-moss, orchid bark, and perlite. If you don’t have access to a specialized potting mix, use good-quality topsoil instead.


Philodendron selloum is not a particularly voracious eater, so you probably won’t need to worry too much about fertilizing it. Use a water-soluble fertilizer during the spring and summer months (April through September) at half strength monthly. In the fall and winter months (October through March), you can skip fertilizing entirely or cut back to every other month. Over-fertilizing may result in the leaves of the plant turning yellow.


The best time to prune Philodendron selloum is in spring during its peak growth phase. This usually takes place in March or April, when new leaves are about 3 inches long and ready for growth. Trimming can also be done at any other time of year if necessary—if your plant has become overgrown or unevenly shaped, that would be a good reason to trim it back. You should also trim back dead leaves to encourage new growth.

When pruning Philodendron selloum, wear gloves to avoid getting the irritating sap on your hands.


The leaves of Philodendron selloum are toxic and may cause irritation to humans and pets. Although it is unlikely to be fatal unless consumed in high quantities, poisoning from this plant is definitely uncomfortable. According to the North Carolina State University Extension program symptoms of Philodendron selloum poisoning include burning and swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat, difficulty speaking, nausea, vomiting, drooling, and diarrhea. Skin irritation can also occur from contact with the plant’s leaves.

Because of this, we don’t recommend growing Philodendron selloum if you have small children or pets running around the house or yard.

Philodendron Selloum Propagation

To propagate your Philodendron selloum, take cuttings in spring. You can root the cuttings in water or soil. When taking cuttings from healthy, mature plants, choose stems that are at least 2 inches long. Cut the stem with a sharp knife as close to the base or trunk of the plant as possible without damaging any attached leaves or roots. Place this piece in either water or soil according to its requirements.

Don’t forget to wear gloves when handling Philodendron selloum to avoid irritation.

Common Pests and Diseases

Philodendron selloum is generally pest resistent


Aphids are common houseplant pests that can quickly spread to other plants. The females lay eggs on the undersides of leaves, and once hatched, the young aphids feed on the plant’s sap. Aphids are hard to spot without a magnifying glass or microscope because they’re often hiding between leaves or under a leaf’s edges. You’re more likely to notice their damage: leaves with yellow patches, wilting plants, and sticky honeydew (the substance aphids excrete). Treatment for this pest is easy as long as you catch them early enough.

If you think you may have an aphid infestation, hose the leaves of your Philodendron selloum down and then spray the leaves down with an insecticidal spray.


Mealybugs are a common houseplant pest and can be identified by their white, cottony bodies. They are often found on the undersides of leaves, where they suck sap from the plant. This can cause leaves to wilt and die back, as well as stunt the growth of the plant itself.

Mealybugs can be tricky to get rid of because they tend to hide in cracks and crevices on your plants. If you know where they’re hiding, you can use a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol to kill them by dabbing it on their bodies until they die. If you’re having trouble getting rid of your mealybugs, try applying neem oil or horticultural oil.

Root Rot

Root rot is a type of fungus that infects the roots of your plant. It causes the roots to decay, which in turn causes the plant to wilt and die. The fungus grows in wet soil and thrives in humid conditions or areas that are poorly drained.

There are a number of factors that can cause root rot. The most common culprits are over watering and overwatering, as well as poor drainage around your plants’ roots. But other factors like poor soil quality, high pH levels, and even too much shade can also contribute to this problem.

To identify root rot, you must look at the roots of the plant. If you see brownish-black spots along the roots, this is a sign that root rot has set in. The best way to save a plant from root rot is to cut off all of the infected roots. This is a drastic measure and your plant may not recover, however, there is no reverting root rot once it sets in, and allowing the rotten roots to remain only makes the situation worsen.

Common Questions

Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about Philodendron selloum:

Why are my Philodendron selloum leaves turning yellow?

Yellow leaves on a Philodendron selloum are likely a sign of overwatering or salt and mineral buildup in the soil. The first thing to do is flush the soil to drain out any mineral build-up. Start by breaking up blockages in the bottom of the pot by sticking a small stick (like a pencil) through the drainage holes. Then, slowly pour water through the plant, allowing it to drain out to into someplace safe like a tub. Pour four times the volume of water through the plant as there is soil in the pot. Let the plant drain thoroughly for about 3 hours to ensure it’s completely drained.

You won’t be able to revert the yellow discoloration, so feel free to prune back any leaves that have become unsightly. If you don’t see any improvements following this process, it’s possible your plant has root rot.

Avoid this in the future by letting the soil dry out more in between waterings and cutting back on fertilization.

Why are my Philodendron selloum leaves curling?

Curling leaves on a Philodendron selloum may be a sign of too little water or humidity. Try watering more often if the soil is dry. If the soil appears moist, try misting the plant more regularly or introducing a humidifier to your room.

Where can I find a Philodendron selloum?

Philodendron selloum may be available in your local big-box stores like Home Depot or Lowes. You can also buy Philodendron selloum online direct from nurseries or small sellers on sites like Etsy.


Congrats on your new Philodendron selloum! You should be happy to hear that these are some of the most resilient plants out there, so you’re off to a great start. While it’s relatively easy to care for, pay attention to your plant and see how it reacts as you take care of it. If it seems stressed out at any time, review our guide again and make sure you’re doing things right. With a little bit of love and the right conditions, Philodendron selloum will reward you with massive, dramatic, glossy leaves that will make a statement in any environment.

About The Author

Teri Tracy

Hi, I'm Teri! I am a plant collector and former botanist who's spent years learning about and caring for plants from all over the world. I'm passionate about biodiversity and rainforest preservation, and I love to study newly discovered plants in my free time. 

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