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Philodendron Goeldii: Fun Tips for the Fun Bun

Philodendron Goeldii: Fun Tips for the Fun Bun

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What Is Philodendron Goeldii?

The Philodendron Goeldii, also called the Finger Leaf and the Fun Bun (best name ever!), is grown indoors for its dramatic spiraling stems. This tropical plant is considered a perennial that thrives in humidity, and it grows well near a north-facing window as a houseplant.

This Thaumatophyllum plant is more than just a houseplant. In certain climates, it could be cultivated outdoors. However, to effectively plant Philodendron Goeldii outside, you must dwell between hardiness zones 9-10.

Origin And Family

Finger Leaf is a member of the Thaumatophyllum genus, part of the Araceae family. It originated in the rainforests of northern Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. 

Richard Spruce discovered this exciting plant in 1851, and it makes an excellent addition to any indoor grower’s collection.

According to prominent botanists, the Thaumatophyllum genus was challenging to identify for many years, as it was composed of this single species: Thaumatophyllum Spruceanum. Recent DNA studies suggest that this particular plant’s evolutionary lineage (along with other Philodendron plants) warrants treatment as a new genus separate from Philodendron. Hence the misconception with its common name.

Philodendron Goeldii has become a popular indoor plant in recent years, thriving in most households that give it plenty of humidity.

Where To Buy

You can likely find a Philodendron Goeldii without difficulty at a local nursery, and Etsy is a great online alternative that I like to use.

In terms of pricing, Philodendron Goeldii’s very affordable costs fluctuate between $20 and $40.

Philodendron Goeldii for sale on Etsy

Philodendron Goeldii Plant Size

As a houseplant, the Philodendron Goeldii reaches up to eight inches tall and four inches wide when mature. This plant is best placed near a north-facing window to reach its height and width potential.

Philodendron Goeldii Care Needs

Your Philodendron Goeldii, like any other tropical plant, grows well when it’s taken care of. With its dramatic spiraling stems, the Philodendron Fun Bun loves humidity and requires relatively moist soil to grow well.

While the weather may cause the watering frequency to vary, you should typically water your Goeldii when the uppermost ~two inches of soil is dry. Water deeply, allowing it to empty out the draining hole of the pot. Similarly, in terms of light, this gorgeous plant needs bright indirect light to keep it growing.

For more specific suggestions, check out the detailed care tips below.

Care Difficulty

This green wonder is typically considered easy to care for when considering its light, water, and humidity needs. To successfully grow this unique plant, you need to ensure you have the right amount of light and the correct well-draining soil.

Growth Rate

The growth rate of a Philodendron Goeldii is fast. When completely mature, it can grow to a height of eight inches and a width of four inches.

Potting

Thaumatophyllum plants, in general, prefer a well-drained pot. A plastic, terracotta, or clay pot that’s about 2-3 inches larger than the roots would suffice. Even though it may seem obvious, make sure your pot has holes at the bottom for water to drain.

Lack of drainage is a major killer of many plants, including the Philodendron Goeldii. Check to see whether the soil, container, and even the water you’re using for your plant are really helping it thrive rather than harming it. 

Repotting

It’s essential to plan ahead for your Philodendron Fun Bun and repot it as needed. Goeldii plants grow relatively fast; therefore, you can generally expect to repot every two years.

You may keep your plant’s soil fresh between repottings by replacing the old material with new potting soil every year.

Soil

Finger Leaf plants can grow sufficiently with standard commercial potting soil. Use perlite and peat moss to create your own growing medium, if you’d like. Keep in mind that your soil needs to be pretty moist to provide your Goeldii the environment it needs to thrive.

These potting mixtures are what we recommend:

Photo Title Price Buy
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting...image Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix 6 qt., Grows beautiful Houseplants, 2-Pack $12.99
Burpee, 9 Quarts...image Burpee, 9 Quarts | Premium Organic Potting Natural Soil Mix Food Ideal for Container Garden-Vegetable, Flower & Herb Use for Indoor Outdoor Plant $12.99
SUNGRO HORTICULTURE Black...image SUNGRO HORTICULTURE Black Gold 1310102 8-Quart All Purpose Potting Soil With Control, Brown/A $15.13
Miracle-Gro Potting Mix Miracle-Gro Potting Mix $16.99
FoxFarm Ocean Forest...image FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix Indoor Outdoor for Garden and Plants | Plant Fertilizer | 12 Quart + THCity Stake $19.99

To prevent diseases, root rot, and other problems, good drainage is essential for the plant’s health. Like most plants, this tropical species loves good drainage.

pH

For this Goeldii, you’ll need a pH of 5-7 in your soil, which is considered acidic to neutral. A standard commercial potting soil is somewhat close to this, so it shouldn’t be a huge concern in most cases, assuming you repot every two years.

The pH should be a more significant focus if you’re raising the Finger Leaf outdoors in the ground.

Add a pinch of calcitic or dolomitic lime, wood ashes, baking soda, or other acidic ingredients as required to raise the pH. If you’re worried about your Philodendron Goeldii’s pH being too high, you may use sulfur or aluminum sulfate to bring it down.

pH testing is the best way to determine whether the soil is acidic or alkaline. Numerous low-cost testing kits may be found online.

Water

You should aim for a relatively moist potting mix when watering Thaumatophyllum spruceanum. To get an idea of the moisture level, stick your finger in the dirt. It’s time to water your Thaumatophyllum when the top of the soil is dry.

A significant cause of indoor plant mortality is overwatering. When in doubt, it’s usually preferable to underwater than to overwater the Finger Leaf. Stunted growth may be caused by underwatering; however, it is typically reversible with time and persistence.

Also, always use well-draining soil and a pot with drainage holes.

Avoid putting your Philodendron Goeldii in direct sunlight, as this could severely damage or even kill it.

Light

Philodendron Goeldii prefers bright indirect light for approximately 6-8 hours daily. Try to replicate how it grows in the rainforests of Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. In most cases, placing this plant near a north-facing window works well.

When its leaves dry out and burn, you’ll know your Fun Bun is getting too much light. This plant’s leaves will turn yellow and brown if it doesn’t receive enough sunshine.

Too much light may cause wilting and yellowing leaves, but it can also indicate a nutritional deficiency. See our section on fertilizer for more information.

Fertilizer

A slow-release fertilizer is ideal for the Philodendron Goeldii. Osmocote Fertilizer, for example, would work. Add some fertilizer or compost once a month in early spring and late summer.

Fertilizing is unnecessary in the winter. 

Simulate the nutrients a Finger Leaf would typically obtain in its natural environment. Read about this plant’s standard potting soil requirements in the section above.

Propagating Philodendron Goeldii

A few simple processes and approaches may be used to propagate a Finger Leaf. It’s possible to grow this plant in a variety of methods. 

Stem Cuttings In Soil

Stem tip cuttings in soil are some of the easiest ways to propagate Philodendron Goeldii. A cutting from Etsy or Facebook Marketplace may be purchased if you don’t have your own plant for propagation.

We often propagate Thaumatophyllums during early spring to summer, as the plant is in its growing season. You should select a healthy section with new growth when making a cutting.

A cutting should be at least three inches long and include a few leaves and nodes. Use only clean, sterile scissors for this step. Then compress some soil around the stem nodes in a cup of damp potting soil. Don’t bury any leaves in the dirt. 

Put the container near a window in bright, indirect sunshine to keep it hydrated. Your new Finger Leaf should show new roots in two to three weeks!

Air Layering Technique

For the propagation of Philodendron Goeldii, the next suggested step is air layering. Growing houseplants, trees, and shrubs via air layering is common, though air layering is typically reserved for very rare plants.

Covering a stem in moss to foster new root development is known as air layering, and it’s often considered a safer alternative than using soil or water cuts. A couple more stages are ahead of you, though.

Here are the stages involved in the propagation of air layering.

  • Identify your cutting – 

Choose a stem portion with a plant node from the mother plant’s stem, which is the healthiest part of the plant. Use a minimum of two nodes of the plant.

  • Prepare Sphagnum Moss and Baggy – 

Using a simple plastic baggy or plastic wrap, fill it halfway full with sphagnum moss and add tap water inside until it’s slightly damp.

Cut the bag vertically at the borders so that it may completely wrap around your chosen nodes. The air layering technique is the messiest at this point. The idea is to ensure that the sphagnum moss is the sole material that touches the nodes.

  • Securing Your Bag And Moss – 

You may use simple twist ties to secure your bag and moss. It’s essential to keep the ties in place but not so tight that they’re preventing new roots from growing at the nodes or on the vine. For your moss to work effectively, it must be pushed against the nodes.

  • Watering The Cutting – 

You mustn’t let your cutting get too wet or too dry. To keep the Sphagnum moss from drying out, just add a few droplets of water. If there is a lot of extra moisture in the bag, poke small holes in it to allow for air.

  • Removing The Cutting – 

Between three and five weeks, you should begin to notice roots protruding from the plastic bag’s edges! At this stage, it is okay to start removing the cuttings.

Humidity And Aeration

As noted above, Philodendron Goeldii or Philodendron Fun Bun is a tropical perennial that prefers high humidity – often around 70%.

Consider these solutions if you’re worried about your humidity or if you see brown edges on your plants.

– Group your houseplants to create a more humid microclimate.

– Mist your plants.

– Use a humidifier.

– Add an inch of stones and water to a tray under your pots.

Temperature

Warm temperatures are preferable for your Finger Leaf plant, but they can thrive in a temperature range as broad as 50-86 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep them away from cold weather locations, vents, and openings that might enable chilly air to get into the house.

Requirements for temperature and humidity commonly overlap, and it’s essential to include the moisture needs in your calculations. 

Toxic

Unfortunately, the Philodendron Fun Bun is definitely toxic to pets, including cats and dogs–– and people. If eaten, you can expect the following symptoms: oral irritation, intense burning, irritation of the mouth, lips, tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. 

The majority of the time, this plant isn’t regarded as deadly.

SoilCare Specifics
Botanical NamePhilodendron Goeldii
Common NameFinger Leaf, Philodendron Fun Bun, Thaumatophyllum spruceanum
Plant FamilyAraceae
OriginBrazil North, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela
Plant Typeperennial
Leaf Shapelong and clustered
Leaf Colorshiny green
Recommended Home Placementnear a north-facing window
Growth Ratefast
Lightbright indirect light
Soilstandard commercial potting soil
When To WaterWater when the top of the soil is dry.
When To Fertilizeonce a month during growing season
Preferred pH5-7
Humidity Range70%
Toxic To Pets?Yes - symptoms include oral irritation, intense burning and irritation of the mouth, lips, tongue, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty in swallowing
Common Pests & Diseasesspider mites, scale insects, yellow leabes, root rot, aphids, mealy bugs

Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems

The Finger Leaf, like all plants, is prone to a few diseases, pests, and other problems. In fact, I would say the Philodendron Goeldii is not a disease and pest-resistant plant. Here are some quick tips for curing common ailments, as well as some general suggestions for keeping this rare plant healthy and thriving.

Spider Mites

Unfortunately, spider mites are pretty widespread, and the Finger Leaf is particularly vulnerable. Spider mite damage appears on the Thaumatophyllum’s leaves as tiny brown or yellow patches. You might also see webbing.

Start by spraying down your Philodendron Goeldii with water from a sink nozzle. The spider mites are essentially knocked off the plant by this method. An insecticide such as ‘neem’ may be used if the first technique fails.

Ladybugs may help decrease the number of spider mites in your home. You may also use the “spider mite killer,” which I’m unfamiliar with, but the name seems to speak for itself! 

Scale Insects

Instead of insects, Philodendron Goeldii’s scale insects may appear as lumps on the stems or branches. Once attached to a plant, the tiny bugs, which come in green, gray, brown, and black colors, usually stay put.

Using neem oil in four cups of water will help prevent new scale insects from attacking this unique houseplant if your infestation isn’t too bad.

While neem oil and other horticultural oils will not kill everything, they will surely do some damage. Numerous insecticide sprays for the Finger Leaf–– and gardens more generally–– are regarded as safe for use in treating this.

Aphids

When aphids feed on the leaves, they leave behind black and brown spots. Use neem oil or insecticidal soap to mitigate aphids, or create your own remedy with Ivory Liquid detergent. 

To avoid harming the plants, look for a product that doesn’t include scents or other potentially harmful components. Shake the soap and water together until they are barely moist (starting with 1 teaspoon per gallon and increasing as necessary). Apply a lot of care to the plants’ undersides, particularly the stems and leaves.

Mealybugs

Mealybugs could also infest your Philodendron Goeldii. If you spot these tiny parasites with their white fluff, act promptly. Mealies may be killed using a cotton swab bathed in rubbing alcohol, which will turn them brown or orange. A spray of diluted Neem oil also works well as a preventive measure.

Yellow Leaves

Several factors can cause a Finger Leaf plant to become yellow. A lack of sunshine or too much or too little water might be to blame.

Yellow leaves can also be unattractive, but all you need is a good set of sterilized shears to remove the leaves.

Root Rot

Philodendron Goeldii’s primary care need is to keep the soil from becoming too moist or dry. Root rot and other fungal diseases and bacterial infections can be caused by excessive moisture in the dirt.

To keep a healthy Finger Leaf, you must provide adequate hydration, as too much moisture may lead to various illnesses that would not otherwise be present in the plant. In addition, the soil must be well-aerated to enhance drainage.

Similar Plants

Love Finger Leaf? We’ve compiled a list of other plants that may be of interest:

Philodendron Rio – Pointy leaves and dense cream-colored foliage makes this a beautifully variegated plant. Its appeal to plant-loving individuals is unmatched as it is incredibly low-maintenance yet creates a tropical and fresh vibe indoors.

Philodendron Brandtianum: A favorite among plant lovers, this delicate and versatile beauty makes a great accent piece, whether hanging or climbing. Its olive green and silvery leaves are sure to catch the attention of anyone looking for an exotic-looking garden.

Philodendron Giganteum: An excellent landscape-like house plant, Giganteum is sure to fill the gap in your garden. With its lustrous green and large leaves that fan out as it matures, it is a worthy must-have to add volume to your garden.

Philodendron Painted Lady – A hybrid of two beautiful parent plants, this pink-stemmed lady is a favorite among plant collectors. If you are a fan of leaf-changing plants, then this one’s for you with its bright-green turning dark, yellow-green spots and foliage.

Conclusion

With its dramatic spiraling stems and long leaves, Philodendron Goeldii is an exciting accent plant for your home. This Thaumatophyllum is easy to grow if you follow our care instructions.

Do you have a Finger Leaf? We want to see it! Please send pictures to [email protected], and we may share them on our blog.

Let's grow together!

Tegan

Friday 3rd of June 2022

I think you might want to edit the mature size mentioned. It says inches but I’m pretty sure it should say feet. It’s much larger than 8 inches tall full grown indoors.