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Philodendron Rugosum – 31 Crucial Care Tips You Need to Know

If you’re trying to grow Philodendron Rugosum, start here! The Pigskin Philodendron is a tropical perennial known for unique and textured foliage. It grows well with proper lighting and standard commercial potting soil.

What Is Philodendron Rugosum?

The Philodendron Rugosum (also called Pigskin Philodendron, Naugahyde Philodendron, and Sow’s Ear Plant) is famous for unique and textured foliage.

In humid climates, this tropical perennial flourishes, and it grows well near an eastern-facing window indoors.

The Philodendron Rugosum is more than just a houseplant, and it can be grown outside in certain climates. Hardiness zones 10-11 are the most ideal locations for this plant.

Origin And Family

The Pigskin Philodendron comes from the Philodendron genus, part of the Araceae family. Ecuador’s rainforests are home to this plant, where it grows at heights of up to 5000 feet in the Andes highlands. It has gained popularity as a low-maintenance houseplant in recent years.

Discovered in 1979 by Tom Croat, this tropical plant makes a great addition to any indoor grower’s collection.

This Philodendron plant was first described scientifically only in 1983, getting its nickname ‘Pigskin Philodendron’ due to its leaves’ unique texture and shape.

It gets its other name, Sow Ear, from its leathery leaves that fold together at the stem, giving the appearance of alien-like pig ears.

As for the “Rugosum” name, it comes from the word “ruga,” which means “wrinkle” in Italian.

Because of habitat degradation, Rugosum is now classified as almost extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Essentially, this plant is an endangered species. It’s critical to treat them with special care, whether in the wild or cultivated. If you are fortunate enough to care for one, make sure to shower it with the love (and water) it deserves.

Where To Buy

You can buy a Philodendron Rugosum from Etsy, one of the best places to buy houseplants online.

Philodendron Rugosum is typically expensive, ranging from $100 for small plants to $200 for something full-grown.

Rugosum Philodendron sold on Etsy

Philodendron Rugosum Plant Size

Philodendron Rugosum can reach six to fifteen feet in optimal circumstances. It has a vine-like growth habit. Therefore, it will require a support system to attain its full potential.

A moss stick is excellent for this purpose, but be prepared to upsize it quickly since these plants may grow fast. Misting or watering a moss stick will allow the aerial roots to absorb and develop into their natural home.

Philodendron Rugosum Care Needs

This rare Philodendron, with its unique and textured foliage, will flourish if you take good care of it. This plant loves humidity and evenly moist soil throughout the year.

You should not let more than a couple of inches of the top of the soil dry out between waterings. Make sure to give it a total drench, allowing water to run down the bottom of the pot. In terms of lighting, bright indirect light is best for this plant.

Take a look at the more specific growing tips we’ve written to keep your Philodendron Rugosum healthy and happy.

Care Difficulty

In terms of care difficulty, the Naugahyde Philodendron is easy-to-care-for. For this attractiveness, the most essential elements are sunshine and soil.

Growth Rate

When grown indoors, the Sow’s Ear Plant plant grows to a height of 10-15 feet, and it develops the fastest during the ideal growing conditions of spring and summer.

Most Philodendron species, including the Rugosum, have a fast-growing speed.


Philodendron plants, in general, prefer a well-draining pot. A large plastic, terracotta, or clay pot is recommended for your Pigskin Philodendron.

Lack of drainage is a significant cause of death for most plants. Please ensure that your pot has holes at the bottom to get rid of excess moisture.


Philodendron Rugosum typically needs to be repotted once a year or when you see roots protrude through the drainage holes. Keep an eye on the root ball as you delicately remove the plant from its container. You can then transfer the plant into a bigger pot with a fresh soil mix. The ideal conditions to repot this endangered plant are during spring to summer’s growing season. The roots will adapt quicker when planted in the same substrate that it’s used to.



The Naugahyde Philodendron (so many names!) does best in standard commercial potting soil. The roots of this plant prefer an evenly moist environment, so make sure you choose components with suitable moisture-retention properties for your soil. Use perlite, orchid bark, sphagnum moss, and peat soil to create your own soil mix.

Root rot and other diseases can be avoided with efficient drainage. Consider adding chunky and gritty materials to your soil to improve aeration.

These are some excellent substrate options for your plant:

Photo Title Price Buy
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting...image Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix 6 qt., Grows beautiful Houseplants, 2-Pack $13.37 ($0.03 / Ounce)
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 ($0.04 / Ounce)
Sun Gro Horticulture...image Sun Gro Horticulture 8-Quart Black Gold 1310102 Purpose Potting Soil With Control, Brown/A $16.28 ($0.06 / Fl Oz)
Miracle-Gro Potting Mix,...image Miracle-Gro Potting Mix, Potting Soil for Outdoor and Indoor Plants, Enriched with Plant Food, 2 cu. ft. $34.26
FoxFarm Ocean Forest...image FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix Indoor Outdoor for Garden and Plants | Plant Fertilizer | 12 Quarts | The Hydroponic City Stake $23.99 ($0.06 / Fl Oz)


You’ll need neutral to acidic soil with around 5.6-7.5 pH for the Sow’s Ear Plant. In most cases, standard commercial potting soil is close to this pH level, so this shouldn’t be a significant worry.

A pH test may tell you whether your soil is acidic enough. There are affordable pH meters available online or at garden centers.

Add calcitic or dolomitic lime, wood ash, or baking soda to raise the pH. To lower it, you can use sulfur or aluminum sulfate.


Proper watering is an essential factor for houseplants. Too much, and you might invite diseases like root rot and fungal infections. Too little, and the plants might end up with browning, undernourished leaves.

For optimal health, Pigskin Philodendron generally prefers evenly moist soil. This is where this rare plant differs from other Philodendron plants.

Sticking your finger in the pot and feeling for the moisture is one method of checking. You should not let more than a couple of inches of the top of the soil dry out. We recommend that you soak it well in water from underneath, rather than as you do with your other Philodendron houseplants from the top.

Hang a decorative pot filled with water for one hour to allow the roots to drink and the bark to soak. Then, empty the pot and let the excess water drain from the nursery pot. As for the watering schedule, once a week is plenty, but water as needed.

Drainage holes and aerated soil are must-haves for Pigskin Philodendron. Keeping your plant in water for an extended length of time is not suitable for your plant’s health.

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


This houseplant thrives in bright, indirect light for six to eight hours a day. Too much light and its foliage may get burn marks. Too little light and it may only grow slowly.

Consider relocating your Philodendron Rugosum closer to a window or investing in some artificial lighting if you’re concerned about its lack of exposure to intense light. The following are a few alternatives for you to think about:


Water, sunlight, and soil provide the necessary nourishment for houseplants. Over time, dirt can lose its nutrient value and be supplemented with plant food.

If you want a thriving Naugahyde Philodendron, fertilize it once a month during the spring and summer. You may opt for a water-soluble fertilizer, but make sure to dilute it first if it’s highly concentrated.

Typically, you fertilize every eight weeks during the winter.

Propagating Philodendron Rugosum

There are different ways to propagate a Philodendron Rugosum. For higher chances of success, follow the steps we’ve laid out below for each unique method.

Stem Cuttings In Soil

Stem cuttings directly planted in the soil are a hassle-free way to propagate your Pigskin Philodendron. It is advisable to propagate this plant actively growing during early to late spring.

1. Cut. Find a healthy section of your plant with new growth, and cut at least 3 inches long with some visible nodes. Make sure you’re using sterilized scissors to avoid bacterial infection.

2. Plant. Place the cutting in damp soil with the nodes buried. Then, compress the dirt around the stem to hold the cutting in place.

3. Maintain. Frequently moisten the soil to encourage faster rooting. Keep the plant near a window in bright, indirect sunlight.

4. Wait. In about 2-3 weeks, you should see new buds on the top leaves. This means that your cutting is now rooted!

Stem Cuttings In Water

Another simple way to root your Naugahyde Philodendron cuttings is by water propagation. To get started, just follow these steps:

1. Cut. Remove the lowest leaves off the stem after collecting a good cutting.

2. Submerge. Allow the cutting to soak in water for a few minutes. To avoid rotting, make sure no leaves are submerged in the water.

3. Maintain. Maintain a well-ventilated and well-lit cutting area. The plant’s health may be improved by placing a humidifier nearby.

4. Refill. Take care to flush out any murky water as soon as possible. Nodes should be immersed to speed up root development.

5. Transplant. Sow your cutting in a pot of fresh, well-aerated soil when the roots are long enough to be planted. Keep the soil moist to help the roots adjust.

Air Layering Technique

If you want to ensure that your Sow’s Ear Plant cutting has a substantial root system before it’s separated from the mother plant, air layering is the best propagation method to follow, and it’s believed to be a safer option than soil or water propagation. It’s beneficial when you don’t want to risk losing a valuable or rare plant.

These are the actions you need to do to air layer your plant.

1. Determine where the cut should be made. Choose a healthy portion of the plant with at least two nodes to increase your chances of success.

2. Prepare a bag of moss. When you’re done filling the plastic bag, Ziploc bag, or paper cup, seal it and store it in the refrigerator.

3. Wound the stem (optional). Apply a reasonable quantity of rooting powder to the wounds on your plant to encourage root development. You may choose to skip this step.

4. Cover the nodes. Wrap the stem with peat moss or coco coir and place it in the bag you made earlier. To adequately encircle the plant nodes, you may need to cut the bag in certain places.

5. Secure the covering. Use twist ties or hemp twines to keep the moss bag in place.

6. Re-water the newly-propagated piece. Keep the growing root ball from drying up by leaving a tiny hole in the moss bag.

7. Transplant. After 3-5 weeks, check for any aerial roots poking out from the moss bag. Cut the propagated section from the mother plant and transplant it into the soil. Don’t forget to remove the moss bag, girdling the growing roots.


It is possible to multiply a Sow’s Ear Plant by separating the stem clusters with intertwined root systems.

1. Get your hands dirty. Tap the edges of the container with your tiny shovel to loosen the dirt. Pull the plant out with a gentle pull.

2. Separate. Each stem’s natural border should be visible and separate using your hands. You may need to cut the roots but not disrupt the main root balls.

3. Repot. Each part should be repotted into a smaller pot filled with the same soil they’re accustomed to.

Humidity And Aeration

Philodendron Rugosum is a nearly endangered perennial that loves high humidity. We recommend keeping the air humidity levels around 70%-90% for best results.

Aside from absorbing water through its roots, your plant will also need nourishment from the moisture in the air. You can keep bowls of water to evaporate nearby, or you can invest in a humidifier that is more consistent in improving humidity for your plant.


Warm temperatures are preferable for your Sow’s Ear Plant plant, but it can thrive in an ideal temperature range of 55-90 degrees Fahrenheit.

They do, however, like constant temperature, so keep them away from air conditioners or windows and openings that may allow chilly air in during cold seasons. Also, keep them away from vents and other freezing temperatures or heat sources, which can dry the air. This plant is prone to frost damage.


Children and dogs should be watched closely if they are in the house. The Naugahyde Philodendron is highly hazardous to cats, dogs, and humans, containing calcium oxalate crystals. Harmful effects of ingestion include a swollen tongue, stomach ache, and trouble swallowing. To avoid skin irritations, we recommend wearing gloves as you care for this tropical plant.

This plant is generally not regarded to be life-threatening.

SoilCare Specifics
Botanical NamePhilodendron Rugosum
Common NamePigskin Philodendron, Naugahyde Philodendron, Sow's Ear Plant
Plant FamilyAraceae
Plant Typeperennial
Leaf Shapeheart-shaped
Leaf Colorvivid green
Recommended Home Placementnear an ast-facing window
Growth Ratefast
Lightbright indirect light
Soilstandard commercial potting soil
When To WaterWater you should not let more than a couple of inches of the top of the soil to dry out.
When To Fertilizeonce a month during growing season
Preferred pH5.6-7.5
Humidity Range70%-90%
Toxic To Pets?Yes - symptoms include swelling of the tongue, stomach pain, and difficulty swallowing
Common Pests & Diseasesspider mites, brown tips, yellow leabes, root rot, aphids, mealy bugs, drooping leaves

Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems

Even in the hands of a skilled professional, mistakes may be made. It’s not uncommon for pests, illnesses, and other annoyances to crop up. Although it has more prevalent difficulties than others, Philodendron Rugosum is not a disease and pest-resistant plant.

Learn how to identify common Pigskin Philodendron pests and how to get your plant back to total health in the sections that follow.

Spider Mites

Pigskin Philodendron suffers from a sad yet frequent problem: spider mites. Little brown or yellow patches will initially form on the Philodendron’s leaves due to spider mite damage. As a result, you may discover that your plant is no longer growing.

To combat spider mites on your Philodendron Rugosum, start spraying it down with a sink nozzle. If that doesn’t work, an insecticidal oil such as horticultural oil can do the trick.

When it comes to spider mite control, ladybugs are a great option if you want something organic. There’s also a bug that’s literally called the “spider mite destroyer,” so that could be an option, as well.


Black and brown areas may be seen where aphids have eaten the leaves.

Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to get rid of aphids, or manufacture your own using Ivory Liquid, a dishwashing liquid. You should look for a product that doesn’t include scents or other elements that might hurt plants. Allow some water to soak into the soap (starting with 1 teaspoon per gallon and increasing as necessary). Apply a lot of care to the plants’ undersides, particularly the stems and leaves.


Your Philodendron Rugosum may be infested with Mealybugs and become damaged by these minute parasites, which consume sap from the plant. Mealybugs may weaken or possibly kill your Pigskin Philodendron if they aren’t taken care of.

Use rubbing alcohol to remove mealybugs from your plants’ heart-shaped leaves and stems. Neem oil mixed with water may also be used as a prophylactic spray.

Brown Leaf Tips

If the tops of your Pigskin Philodendron start to turn brown, it could be an indication that it’s getting too much sunlight – or that your home isn’t humid enough.

Drooping Leaves

Philodendron Rugosum is susceptible to Mealybugs, which may cause its leaves to droop. Overwatering and over-fertilization may also create these concerns.

Yellow Leaves

Pigskin Philodendron plants may become yellow for a variety of reasons. Insufficient sunshine or excessive or inadequate water may be to blame. It is crucial to remove yellow leaves to encourage new growth and prevent deterioration. A pair of sharp, sterile shears is all that is needed to remove the unsightly yellow leaves from the plant.

Root Rot

Pigskin Philodendron’s root rot is a common cause of mortality. Some people over-water or under-drain their potting soil for indoor gardening. Root rot may be caused by any of these two factors. Preventative measures are the best way to avoid root rot since treating it is challenging.

Preventing root rot in Philodendron Rugosum requires monitoring how much water it gets. This perplexing and frequently fatal condition is mainly caused by an overabundance of water.

Similar Plants

Do you have a soft spot for Pigskin Philodendron plants? Listed below are some other plants that you may find interesting:

Philodendron Mamei: One of the best indoor plants and famous for its incredible variegation, this plant is a must-have if you’re looking for decorative varieties. This beauty is definitely an eye-catcher.

Philodendron Goeldii: Known as the Fun Bun, this quirky plant is a spectacular friend to have. Watching its dramatic stems spiral as they grow is definitely a fun experience.

Philodendron Florida Ghost – Hold-off calling the Ghost-Busters! This is not a spooky plant. Sure, it looks like a flying ghost, but it’s too cute to be scary… even Bill Murray would agree.

Philodendron Bipinnatifidum: If you want to fill the empty spaces of your indoor garden, then this massive tree-like Philodendron is yours to take. You’re not just filling up areas; you’re also elevating the beauty of your tropical garden.


With unique and textured foliage, the Philodendron Rugosum grows beautifully indoors. It requires little maintenance, loving bright indirect light, high humidity, evenly moist soil, and warm temps.

So if you’re looking for an excellent addition to your collection or you’re a first-time indoor gardener, use these instructions to grow your own Philodendron Rugosum!

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