Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Plant Find: Philodendron 'pincushion'

About a month ago I was surfing the internet and decided I should look around on eBay to see if there were any interesting plants for sale.  That was a bad idea, because of course, there were.

I came across a very attractive Philodendron hybrid that I had never seen before.  It was labeled Philodendron 'pincushion.'  Its primary catchiness comes from its small, tight-nit growth habit.  The leaves measure about an inch in length at their largest and the plant will form a small clump of leaves that look like a pincushion as it matures.  Many Philodendrons have leaves that change shape as the plant grows into a more mature specimen, but this particular hybrid stays petite for its entire life.  The foliage is a really nice glossy dark green with prominent red stems.  When I purchased the plant it was being marketed as a holiday plant since it was red and green.

[Here is what my plant was supposed to look like.]

I wasn't sure if the name Philodendron 'pincushion' was a valid botanical name for my plant, so I sent a couple of pictures to the Aroid-L mailing list and had several members confirm that the name was valid.  I also found the name listed on the International Aroid Society's list of registered hybrid names (Aroid Cultivar Registry).  You can see that list here.

The plant arrived in less than advertised condition.  I really should have expected as much since I ordered the plant in December, but the seller had convinced me they knew how to keep their plants free from the elements.  I have to give them credit for packaging the plant well - in damp peat moss inside a well insulated Styrofoam container.  The heat pack was even warm when I received the plant, but somehow it had still gotten nipped.  Either that, or it had gotten burnt by the heat pack.  It's hard to say.  About half of the leaves had turned yellow and orange.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="420" caption="My Philodendron 'pincushion' upon arrival and transplanting"]My Philodendron pincushion upon arrival and transplanting[/caption]

I divided the plant into a couple of clumps, putting one clump in a small spherical terrarium that had been emptied of its previous occupants and put the other clump in a small pot.  I'm really glad I divided the plant, because after just a couple weeks it was obvious that the terrarium was a preferable growing environment.  I went ahead and transplanted all of the plant to the terrarium, where it is doing much better than I expected.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="420" caption="My Philodendron 'Pincushion' as it looks now"]My Philodendron Pincushion as it looks now[/caption]

New, glossy green leaves have emerged and I have removed the old leaves that died.  I'm hoping that this little Philodendron will fill the terrarium and I can occasionally take some cuttings to transplant to other locations.  This would make a really interesting "groundcover" in some of my larger container plants.  Maybe I could get some cuttings to take root in the soil surface of my Philodendron selloum...

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="420" caption="My Philodendron selloum (tree philodendron)"]My Philodendron selloum (tree philodendron)[/caption]

Now that my plant has recovered I have some hope that it could one day serve as a ground cover in some of my larger pots.  It is a rather slow grower though, so I will have to be patient for it to fill out the area.


  1. Most plants upon arrival never looks good at first, but
    in time they do better. Seems like a cool plant you got there.

  2. Hi! Just moved to central Florida. Doing a little gardening. I would like to plant a philodron selloum (spelling?), but people tell me the roots branch out everywhere and take hold of lawns, crack sidewalks, etc. Is this true? Woud appreciate your expertise on the matter.


  3. Hi, I'm new to the philodendron plants and have fallen in love with all that I've seen on ebay, however the Monstera alba variegata Large Philodendron Aroid has captured my heart. Why is the price so high on this plant?!