Saddle Leaf Philodendron

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Lawn & Garden

The saddle leaf philodendron is a large plant with enormous, shiny, green leaves that are deeply cut into fingerlike projections. It belongs to the tree philodendrons and has a short, thick trunk with aerial roots to prop itself up. P. bipinnatifidum is a closely related plant with even more deeply incised leaves. This plant can reach up to five feet in diameter, so it needs plenty of room to grow. If it doesn’t receive enough light, the leaf stalks will be long and weak, unable to support their own weight.

Saddle Leaf Philodendron Quick Facts:

Scientific Name: Philodendron selloum

Common Names: Saddle Leaf Philodendron, Tree Philodendron

Light Requirement: Bright Light to Filtered Light

Water Requirement: Drench, Let Dry

Humidity: High

Temperature: House

Fertilizer: Balanced

Potting Mix: All-Purpose

Propagation: Division, Seed, Stem Cuttings

Decorative Use: Floor, Table

Care Rating: Very Easy

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Larry Hodgson is a full-time garden writer based in Quebec City, Canada. He grows over 3,000 species and varieties of plants. His book credits include Making the Most of Shade, The Garden Lovers Guide to Canada, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, Houseplants for Dummies, and Ortho’s Complete Guide to Houseplants, as well as other titles in English and French. He is the recipient of the Perennial Plant Association’s 2006 Garden Media Award.


1. What is a Saddle Leaf Philodendron?

A Saddle Leaf Philodendron, or Philodendron Selloum, is a tropical plant native to South America. It is known for its large, glossy, green leaves that resemble a saddle or a horse’s hoof. The plant is commonly used as an indoor decorative plant due to its attractive appearance and ease of care.

2. How do I care for a Saddle Leaf Philodendron?

A Saddle Leaf Philodendron requires bright, indirect sunlight and well-draining soil. It should be watered when the top inch of soil is dry, but not overwatered as this can lead to root rot. The plant thrives in high humidity and can benefit from occasional misting. It is also important to regularly dust the leaves to allow for proper photosynthesis.

3. Can a Saddle Leaf Philodendron be grown outdoors?

Yes, a Saddle Leaf Philodendron can be grown outdoors in warm, humid climates. It prefers well-draining soil and partial shade. However, it is important to protect the plant from strong winds and frost as it is sensitive to cold temperatures.

4. Is a Saddle Leaf Philodendron toxic to pets?

Yes, a Saddle Leaf Philodendron is toxic to pets if ingested. It contains calcium oxalate crystals which can cause irritation and swelling of the mouth and throat. It is important to keep the plant out of reach of pets and children.

5. How tall does a Saddle Leaf Philodendron grow?

A Saddle Leaf Philodendron can grow up to 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide in ideal conditions. However, it is a slow-growing plant and can take several years to reach its full size.

6. How do I propagate a Saddle Leaf Philodendron?

A Saddle Leaf Philodendron can be propagated through stem cuttings or by division. Stem cuttings should be taken from a healthy plant and placed in moist soil or water until roots develop. Division involves separating the plant into smaller sections, each with its own root system, and replanting them in their own containers.

7. How often should I fertilize my Saddle Leaf Philodendron?

A Saddle Leaf Philodendron should be fertilized every 2-3 months during the growing season (spring and summer) with a balanced fertilizer. It is important not to over-fertilize as this can lead to salt build-up in the soil and damage the plant.

8. Why are the leaves on my Saddle Leaf Philodendron turning yellow?

Yellowing leaves on a Saddle Leaf Philodendron can be a sign of overwatering, underwatering, or nutrient deficiencies. It is important to check the soil moisture and adjust watering accordingly. Nutrient deficiencies can be addressed through fertilization or by repotting the plant in fresh soil.

9. Can a Saddle Leaf Philodendron be pruned?

Yes, a Saddle Leaf Philodendron can be pruned to remove dead or damaged leaves and to shape the plant. Pruning should be done in the spring or summer and should be done carefully to avoid damaging the healthy parts of the plant.

10. How long do Saddle Leaf Philodendrons live?

A Saddle Leaf Philodendron can live for several decades if cared for properly. However, its growth rate can slow down as it ages and it may require repotting or pruning to keep it healthy.

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