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Philodendron Squamiferum Care Hacks Every Grower Should Know

If you’re trying to grow Philodendron Squamiferum, start here! The Hairy Philodendron is a tropical perennial known for thick and leathery foliage. It grows well with proper lighting and well-draining soil.

Check out what this exciting plant has to offer!

What Is Philodendron Squamiferum?

The Philodendron Squamiferum– also called Hairy Philodendron or the Red Bristle Philodendron– is famous for its thick and leathery foliage. The leaves have 5 lobes and love to climb. It is a perennial that does well in high humidity and enjoys bright indirect light. It also had distinct, red-color stalks (hence the name!).

This rare plant looks like Philodendron Bipennifolium, Philodendron Pedatum, and its cousin Monstera Deliciosa. Fortunately, it has a very distinctive feature: its stems are covered in fuzzy red ‘hair,’ also known botanically as pubescence. Hence, the common name is “Hairy Philodendron.”

Squamiferum is more than just a houseplant, and it can be grown outside in certain climates. Hardiness zones 9-11 are the ideal locations for this plant.

Origin And Family

The Hairy Philodendron is a member of the Araceae family. This variety of Philodendron comes from the rainforests of French Guiana, Suriname, and Brazil. As an indoor plant, it has done well in most households when it has a lot of access to humidity.

This tropical plant was believed to be first discovered in 1845 in Columbia and throughout the Caribbean region; these plants now blanket Central and South America as well as areas of Africa, America, Australia, and Asia.

Where To Buy

The Philodendron Squamiferum plant is likely available at your local nursery or home improvement store for fairly affordable prices. If unavailable, you can also order one online from Etsy.

The pricing of Philodendron Squamiferum ranges between $30 to $100.

Philodendron Squamiferum sold in Etsy

Philodendron Squamiferum Plant Size

The Philodendron Squamiferum grows to about 15-18 inches tall and 18 inches wide as a houseplant. This stunning perennial is usually considered a moderate grower.

As this tropical plant grows, you may see variations in its foliage. It can grow dark-colored leaves, and others often have light-colored foliage. However, it always tends to have tall, thick, and leathery leaves. Gardeners believe that this prevents the escape of excessive moisture from the plant.

Philodendron Squamiferum Care Needs

Your Philodendron Squamiferum grows well when it’s taken care of. Known for thick and leathery foliage, this plant loves humidity and needs relatively moist soil to stay healthy.

It is ideal to water this plant when the top two inches of the soil are dry. Water deeply, allowing it to flow through the pot’s drainage hole. This rare plant needs bright indirect light to reach its maximum growth potential in terms of light.

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

Care Difficulty

In terms of care difficulty, the Hairy Philodendron is typically easy-to-care-for. The main growing considerations are the amount of light and the well-draining soil that this plant has.

Growth Rate

The growing speed of a Red Bristle Philodendron is typically moderate. Indoors, it reaches a mature height of 15 inches.

You can manage this plant’s height with proper pruning during the growing season in the spring and summer.


Philodendron plants generally prefer a pot with good drainage, and a medium-sized plastic, terracotta, or clay pot works fine. Drainage holes are important to keep excess water from drowning the roots of your Hairy Philodendron.


Moving your Philodendron Squamiferum into a bigger pot allows more space for its roots to expand. You will typically know that it’s time to repot when you see roots lining the sides of the pot or when you notice that growth has stopped or slowed down.

Typically, you’d want to repot once a year or after it doubles in size, whichever comes first. It is ideal to replace old nutrient-deficient soil with a fresh batch of well-draining soil.


Philodendron Squamiferum is naturally an epiphyte, so its roots were made for gripping. This plant doesn’t like being suffocated in dense mediums like pure potting soil: you’ll need something much lighter and coarser.

Hairy Philodendron grows better in well-draining soil. You can also choose to make your own by adding a nice mixture of perlite, coco coir, and sphagnum moss, and this plant likes its soil to stay relatively moist.

Additionally, adequate drainage is critical to avoid fungal diseases, root rot, and other issues.

These are some soil options we recommend:

Photo Title Price Buy
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting...image Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix 6 qt., Grows beautiful Houseplants, 2-Pack $15.70 ($0.04 / 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 $14.68 ($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. $34.54
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)


For the Hairy Philodendron, you’ll want your soil to have a neutral to acidic pH, approximately 5.1-6.0. A well-draining soil has a pH level near that range, so you won’t need to be overly concerned.

If you need to raise the pH of your soil, you can add a bit of calcitic lime or dolomitic lime, wood ash, or baking soda.

On the other hand, if you’re worried that the pH is too high, you can lower the pH with sulfur or aluminum sulfate.

To identify the soil’s pH value, use common soil moisture meter devices which double as a pH tester.


Hairy Philodendrons are humidity-loving plants that want somewhat moist soil.

During the spring and summer, water your plant when the top two inches of the soil are dry. Drench the soil until water drains out the hole at the bottom of the plastic, terracotta, or clay pot. If you’re using a collection tray, make sure to toss out the water to fend off root rot and other diseases.

Continue to water your plants deeply but less frequently in the winter.


Philodendron Squamiferum prefers bright indirect light for approximately 6-8 hours daily. You’re attempting to replicate how it grows in the rainforests of French Guiana, Suriname, and Brazil. In most cases, placing this plant near an east or west-facing window works fine.

Even though these plants can tolerate low light, you shouldn’t put them in a shaded area at home. Instead, place it a few feet away from a window with plenty of natural light.

When its leaves get scorch marks, you’ll know your Philodendron Squamiferum is getting too much bright light. Conversely, when the plant’s growth gets stunted, that means the plant needs more light. 


A slow-release fertilizer is ideal for the Hairy Philodendron. Indoor Plant Food (Slow-Release Pellets) All-purpose House Plant Fertilizer, for example, would work. During the spring and summer months, feed your plant every three months.

In winter, growth naturally slows down, so you don’t need to fertilize at all.

Propagating Philodendron Squamiferum

If your Philodendron Squamiferum has grown too tall, you may prune back the stem and set the cuttings aside for propagation! Below, we’ve listed step-by-step guides for different propagation methods.

Stem Cuttings In Soil

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

1. Cut. Find a healthy section of your plant with fresh growth. Make a cutting 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 up 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

Here are the steps in successfully developing Hairy Philodendron cuttings in water:

1. Cut. Cut the stem just below a node using a sharp knife. Remove flower stalks and lower leaves so your cutting can focus its energy on growing roots.

2. Submerge. Put the cutting in an old glass bottle and fill it with water. Any part of the stem below the water surface should be free of leaves.

3. Maintain. A well-lit window with good airflow is the ideal location for your new plant. Keep a humidifier nearby to keep the leaves perky. 

4. Refill. Check every 3-5 days to see if the water needs to be replenished with a clean batch.

5. Transplant. When the roots are about an inch or longer, your cutting is ready to be potted in soil.

Air Layering Technique

If you want to make sure that your Red Bristle Philodendron cutting has a substantial root system before it’s separated from the mother plant, air layering is the best propagation method. It’s believed to be a safer option than soil or water propagation.

To air layer your plant, follow these steps:

1. Identify the cutting. Look for a healthy section of the plant with at least two nodes for better chances of success.

2. Prepare the moss bag. Fill a plastic bag, a Ziploc bag, or a paper cup with damp sphagnum peat moss or coco coir.

3. (Optional) Wound the stem. Make small, unnoticeable cuts on the chosen section of your plant, then apply a moderate amount of rooting powder on the wounds to stimulate root growth. You may choose to skip this step.

4. Cover the nodes. Using the bag you’ve prepared before, enclose the stem in peat moss or coco coir. You may need to cut the bag in some areas to surround the plant nodes properly.

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

6. Water the propagated section. Leave a small opening on the moss bag so you can pour water from above to keep the developing root ball from drying out.

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.

Humidity And Aeration

Philodendron Squamiferum is a rare perennial that prefers moderate-to-high humidity levels – often between 40%-90%.

If you see browning edges on your plant’s leaves, consider these options for increasing humidity:

• Huddle your houseplants close to each other to create a humidity bubble.

• Invest in a humidifier.

• Place your pots on top of a tray filled with pebbles and water. This will create a vapor around your plant.

• Mist your plant, but don’t do it too frequently, or you might invite fungal diseases.


Generally, warm temperatures are best for your Hairy Philodendron plant. The temperature range can be between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The bigger consideration for this plant is consistency. Sudden changes in temperature can heavily damage the Hairy Philodendron. Protect your plant against cold drafts by closing windows and sealing any opening in cold weather. Keep it away from heat vents that can dry the foliage. 


The more mature plants may grow white-tipped, burgundy spathes during the spring and summer. These Philodendron spathes grow inedible pink berries with seeds that can be germinated to grow into more Hairy Philodendrons.


Be careful if you have small children or animals. The Hairy Philodendron contains high levels of calcium oxalate crystals which can cause the following symptoms if ingested: swelling of the tongue, stomach pain, and difficulty swallowing. This plant is also known to cause skin irritation. It is a good idea to wear gloves when handling this plant. Squamiferum is typically considered highly toxic.

Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems

In most situations, the Hairy Philodendron is a disease-resistant and pest-resistant plant. There are, however, some common issues that can affect it. Below, we’re discussing some of the common problems, as well as solutions to protect your Philodendron Squamiferum.

Spider Mites

Unfortunately, spider mites are widespread, and the Red Bristle Philodendron is particularly vulnerable. Spider mite damage appears as webbing or tiny brown or yellow patches.

Start by spraying down your Philodendron Squamiferum with water from a sink nozzle. This basically dislodges the spider mites from the plant. If the first method fails, an insecticidal oil such as neem oil will serve you well

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are small insects that feed on organic matter in the soil, potting soil, and other container media. Their larvae devour roots, fungi, and organic substances in the soil, which is terrible news for your Philodendron Squamiferum.

Some products target both the flies and the larvae. If you target one stage of their life cycle and reapply frequently, you should be able to exterminate these annoying plant insects in a matter of weeks.

Fungus gnat larvae are killed by hydrogen peroxide on contact, making it a quick and easy way to get rid of them. Spray your Hairy Philodendron soil with a solution of four parts water and one part hydrogen peroxide.

Scale Insects

Once attached to a plant, scale insects, which come in green, gray, brown, and black colors, usually stay put.

If your infestation isn’t too terrible, you can use a teaspoon of neem oil in four cups of water to help discourage fresh scale insects from attacking this rare houseplant.

There are numerous insecticide sprays for Hairy Philodendron and gardens that are regarded as safe for use in treating this.

Photo from Pinterest

Brown Leaf Tips

If the tops of your Hairy 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.

Root Rot

Overwatering, inadequate drainage, or soil fungi can all contribute to root rot, a plant disease. Root rot, like many other plant diseases, is difficult to treat thus prevention is the best approach to avoid it.

The best way to prevent root rot in Philodendron Squamiferum is to carefully monitor how much you’re watering it. Too much water is the main cause of this annoying and often deadly condition.

Similar Plants

Love Hairy Philodendron? Here are some other Philo options you should try:

Philodendron Mamei: Popular for its incredible variegation, this decorative plant can bring life to any indoor garden. If you’re sprucing up your space, make sure to get this beauty.

Philodendron Goeldii – Also called the Fun Bun, this spectacular plant is sure to spark joy. A diva plant with its spiraling stems, this attention-grabbing variety is definitely fun to have.   

Philodendron Florida Ghost: Sure, it looks like flying white ghosts, but it’s the nice kind and not spooky at all. There’s no need to call the Ghost-Busters!  

Philodendron Bipinnatifidum – This massive plant is sure to fill the empty spaces of your indoor garden (and heart!). This Tree Philo is definitely a dear plant to include in any tropical garden.


Prized for thick, leathery, and attractive foliage, Philodendron Squamiferum is a great addition and a beautiful decoration for your household. Given the right conditions and if you follow our growing tips, you’ll have no trouble growing this Philodendron.

Do you have a Squamiferum in your collection? We’d love to see it! Please submit photos to [email protected] and we might post them on our blog!

Help us grow! This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something recommended. However, all opinions are our own, and we do not accept payments for positive reviews.

3 thoughts on “Philodendron Squamiferum Care Hacks Every Grower Should Know

  1. Personally, I see much needed research from the author of this article. Outdated taxonomy of botanical names and poor description of the species in this very article, as if the author might have only minimal experience with this easy to grow Philodendron squamiferum. It surely isn’t new nor is it rare, rather recirculating in it’s popularity due to social media. If your P.squamiferum is not surpassing 18″ in height, something is wrong with your growing conditions. There is too much misinformation in this article. It really needs to be rewritten in it’s entirety.

    1. Hi there,

      Thank you for your concern and thoughtful review of our article! I’ve gone through and double-checked our research, and the vast majority of it is correct. We’d only missed one common alternate name for the plant (Red Bristle Philodendron) and have added it to the post 🙂 We’d not claimed that it was “new” but stand by classifying it as fairly “rare.” Perhaps we have slightly different definitions for rarity 🙂 And while 18″ is a great height for the Squamiferum, 15″ is a more common average.

      Again, we thank you for the attention put into reading our post and hope you continue to do so!

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