Philodendron Rugosum : Pigskin Textured Leaf

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For rare plant enthusiasts, you might like the philodendron rugosum. It is a unique species with its remarkable thick, leathery texture. It has a green color with rounded edges, making it unique and beautiful.

The plant is native to Ecuador and it is found in the Andes mountain. The term pigskin philodendron is derived from its texture and shape. Meanwhile, the “Rugosum” actually comes from the Italian word, “ruga” which means wrinkle. It is because the leaf of the plant wrinkles up, coming together with its stem.

The plant is categorized as an epiphyte or hemiepiphyte which can live on the rainforest trees, rock, and the ground as well. If you want to collect this beauty, you might find it expensive because the plant is categorized as nearly endangered.


  • Botanical Name: Philodendron rugosum
  • Popular Name: Pigskin philodendron
  • Size: Up to six to fifteen feet in height
  • Type: Perennial
  • Sun Exposure: Filtered sunlight
  • Soil Type: Well-draining soil
  • Soil pH: 5.6-7.5
  • Toxicity: Humans and pets

Care Guide

Caring for the philodendron rugosum is surprisingly easy. It is low maintenance and easy-going plant. However, there are still some precautions that you need to pay attention to get a beautiful result.

The best way to care for the philodendron is to mimic the natural habitat. Do research as much as you can. You also can follow the following guidelines from us.


Water Requirements

Watering the philodendron is somewhat different compared to the other plant species. This one likes moist soil. The dry soil should not be more than a couple of inches.

It is common when you find it difficult to achieve the right balance between overwatered and moist.

One of the best ways to achieve this balance is by soaking the plant instead of watering it from the top.

If you grow the plant in a decorative pot, just fill it with water and let it soak for around half to one hour. This process will help the root to absorb water.

After that, make sure you drain the water out. It will prevent the water from sitting for too long which can lead to rotting roots.

Do this process once a week, but you should observe the plant and change the watering schedule accordingly.

If you see the pigskin philodendron looks leggy, it is probably because the plant is underwatering or overwatering. It is crucial to check the soil before watering the plant.

Light Requirements

The pigskin philodendron loves filtered sunlight. It will promote healthy growth for the plant and often encourage bigger leaves.

The best location for the plant is on the eastern-facing window. Avoid direct sunlight as much as you can as it will scorch the leaves. On the contrary, low lights will cause wilting and make it lose its color.

You might feel confused about what is the perfect light intensity. You can use the light meter. Instead of just guessing with your eyes, the light meter helps you more in choosing the ideal light level in your house.

The best light intensity for the pigskin philodendron is around 400 FC (foot candle). If you cannot find this level, at least make sure the light level is consistent.


The pigskin philodendron is a hardy plant that can stand normal humidity levels like most homes have. However, it is better if you increase the humidity level because it encourages the plant to have lush, dark green leaves. So the higher the humidity is, the better!

The ideal humidity level is between 70-90%. This level of humidity is somehow difficult to maintain, especially if you live in a colder place. But don’t worry! There are some easy ways to increase the humidity level.

The first is using a humidifier. This tool is greatly popular among houseplant owners because it makes increasing humidity easier.

And did you know you can also group the plants to increase the humidity level? Just move some pots and they will create a small biome that helps the plant share humidity.

Another way to do it is by placing pebbles in the tray. As you have filled the tray with pebbles, pour some water, but not until it submerges the pebbles. After that, you can place the pot on top of it.

Read also : Philodendron Warscewiczii , the Unique Split Leaf Beauty


Since the philodendron rugosum is native to tropical forests, it loves warm temperatures. This makes the plant not frost hardy so you cannot place the plant in a colder area for too long.

The ideal temperature for the pigskin philodendron to thrive is between 55-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Above this temperature, it will scorch the plant and if it is below the temperature, it will lead to yellowing or dropping leaves.

If you are living in a tropical country, then you are lucky. But you need to keep the plant away from windows or drafty areas.

If you grow the plant outside of the house, bring the pigskin philodendron inside if the temperature exceeds the range.


You need to fertilize the philodendron rugosum during the growing seasons which are spring and summer. Do it monthly during this growing season and do it every six to eight weeks during fall and winter.

The reason why you don’t fertilize the plant that much during the cold season is that the plant is dormant at this moment.

In terms of fertilization type, the liquid fertilizer is good. Dilute it with half-strength. You can also choose the organic fertilizer.

Just keep in mind the fertilizer you choose contains potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Also, consider magnesium and calcium too. The secondary nutrients are also important if you want the plant to grow lush leaves.

A quick tip to avoid root burn is to water the plant first before fertilizing.


Pruning is not necessary. You just need to do it when the plant is sick. If you spot some damaged leaves, you can remove them. Likewise, if the leaves grow outside of the pot you can prune them.

Because the plant grows very big, you will need a growing stick to help the plant grow straight so you won’t need to prune the plant.


The pigskin philodendron is a fast grower so need to check it every year in case it needs repotting soon.

Lift the pot and check if the root starts growing out of the drainage holes. If it happens, it is time to repot the plant before the roots start suffocating the plant.

Try to pick a pot that is two or three inches bigger than the previous pot. Don’t go too big because it makes the water tend to submerge the plant.



There are many propagating options to multiply the philodendron rugosum. This is from herbaceous cuttings, dividing tubers, air layering, and also mound layering. But the most common propagation is using stem cutting and using the soil or water as the media.

  • First thing first, you need a healthy branch and then cut it below the leaves node.
  • It is even better if you can also include the aerial root because it is easier to transform into normal roots once it is put in the water or soil.
  • Next, put the cutting in the soil or submerge the cutting ends in the water. If you choose soil as the media, pick a soil mix from vermiculite and then moisten it.
  • If you choose water, choose a bigger container where you can dip the nodes, and will not tip over.
  • Remove the leaves except for the top two leaves before you submerge them in the water or plant it in the soil.
  • Remember to make the soil mix moist if you choose soil as the medium.
  • Next, place the cutting in a warm and bright area. Avoid direct sunlight all at cost.
  • You should see some roots start growing after a couple of weeks.
  • If the plant is strong enough, you can move it to the new soil mix.


It is important to remember that all philodendron is toxic to humans and pets, including this pigskin philodendron. They might be harmless if it is not ingested and you don’t have contact with the sap.

The sap of the philodendron rugosum contains calcium oxalate crystal which leads to a medium to severe irritation. You might exhibit symptoms such as swelling around the mouth and tongue, difficulty in swallowing, drooling and even vomiting.

It is not a good idea to place this plant accessible to kids and pets.

Pests and Diseases

Even though the pigskin philodendron seems like a hardy plant, there is some type of pests and diseases that attack this plant.

The most common issue here is the attack of mealybugs and spider mites. Another problem that often disrupts the development of the plant is root rot.

Spider mites – This bug is a tiny spider that sucks the sap of the plant. When your plant is attacked by this bug, the best way is to put it in the isolation for a couple of weeks until your plant gets back to a healthier one. And pest free.

This is why regular observation is important to see if there is an early infestation. The signs that you might see include drooping and yellowing leaves. The fine webs on the foliage and stems can be clear signs that spider mites are attacking.

If you don’t spot them, check underneath the leaves and around the nodes.

To stop it from getting infected by the spider mites, you can use insecticidal soap treatment and make sure you spray all the parts plant with this solution. Repeat this process a couple of times.

Mealybugs – This is another white crawler that sucks the sap of the plant. It is very easy to be spotted underneath the leaves.

To fix this issue, you can use a cotton ball that is dipped in the alcohol solution. Making the alcohol solution is easy, just consisting of alcohol, water, and dishwashing soap.

Another solution you can try is using the neem oil. It is a go-to for all houseplants. Mix the neem oil with water in a spray bottle and then spray it on your plant.


Other variety of this philodendron is the rugosum aberrant form. The remarkable signature of this plant is its thick and leathery foliage with a deep green color. This makes the philodendron looks unique in its way. The foliage wrinkles up, sticking up together with the stem, making it look like a pig’s ears.

aberrant form – source

Growth Rate

The pigskin philodendron is a fast grower. It can grow from six to fifteen feet in height. When the plant is planted in an ideal condition, it can reach its potential. The plant has a vining pattern so you need something to support the plant.

You can use the moss stick to support the plant. It can be misted or watered so the aerial roots can absorb the water and grow like in their natural habitat.

Leaf, Flower, Stem and Seed Characteristics

Leaf – the plant has unique foliage with a leathery and thick texture like pig’s skin. It has dark green color, making the plant very unique.

Flower – The philodendron rugosum is a flowering plant but it blooms occasionally. Besides, the flower doesn’t remain open for a long time.

Stem – The stem has nodes that later can be used to propagate the plant.

Seed – Since the plant rarely blooms, it is difficult to obtain the seeds.

Soil Requirements

The philodendron rugosum needs well-draining and moist soil. Generally, the soil mix consists of orchid bark, peat moss, and perlite. This combination will be perfect. The orchid bark here gives a similar condition to in the wild where the plant can attach itself. You can also include charcoal or gravel so the mix becomes more aerated. Besides, you need to pay attention to the acidity which ranges between 5.6-7.5.


Why Are My Philodendron Rugosum’s Leaves Brown And Yellow?

When you spot yellow and brown leaves, some possible reasons cause it. It can be under or overwatering. This can also be a problem with the type of water. You need to water the plant with distilled water because the brown tip can indicate heavy mineral water.

You also need to increase the humidity level and reevaluate the watering schedule. Check the roots if they are having problems. If the roots look healthy, it can be a sign that you haven’t been watering them well.

Brown leaves can also indicate that the plant gets too much direct sunlight exposure. It can be seen from the brown leaves and the crisp texture. Choose bright, filtered sunlight. It will be the safest place.

Help! My Philodendron Has Yellow Sections with Browning Halos, How To Fix It?

If you spot the yellow color in the middle of the foliage, and it is followed by the curling leaves and brown halos, this can be a sign of fungal infection or overwatering.

One of the solutions to fix this issue is by decreasing the humidity level and rescheduling your watering frequencies. These signs can also indicate a nutrient deficiency.

Why Are The Philodendron Leaves Turning Pale Green?

The pigskin philodendron is known to have a dark green color, so when you see the plant has pale green color, there is something wrong. Typically, when this happens, the plant doesn’t get sufficient magnesium or calcium. Consider a fertilizer that is rich in these nutrients.

Read also : Philodendron Melinonii : Beautiful Big Leafy Plant

My Philodendron Leaves Are Turning Brown and The Tips Are Curling, What To Do?

Browning leaves and curling tips can be a sign of a lack of water. Try to increase the watering frequency and increase humidity level. However, you have to make sure the water is drained well or it will lead to root rot.

Does Philodendron Rugosum Mutate?

Yes, it does but it comes in a scarce form with its thick leaves. It has a rough texture and the leaves have a heart shape instead of an ear shape.

How Do You Care for A Potted Philodendron?

  • Water the plant when it is necessary. You can check the soil condition first before watering the plant. If the first 2-3 inches of the top soil is dry, then you can water the plant.
  • Next, you need to prune the plant when it is necessary. For example when the plant has damaged foliage.
  • Keep an eye on pests and diseases. Do prevention as much as you can. As you find foliage gets infected with disease, prune it so it will not spread to other parts.
  • Fertilize the plant monthly during the growing season and reduce it during the cold season.
  • Keep the plant away from children and pets because the philodendron is toxic to humans and pets. It contains calcium oxalate crystal which can lead to severe irritation.
  • Next, repot the plant when it is necessary. Lift the pot to see if the roots start growing out of the drainage holes. Pick a pot that is two or three inches bigger than the previous one. Avoid too bigger a pot because it can make the water submerge the plant.

How To Propagate The Philodendron In The Water?

Propagating the philodendron in the water is very easy. After you cut the steam with the leaf nodes, you can submerge it in the water. Make sure to submerge the cutting ends until he leaves nodes only while leaving the top part with the leaves at the top. Change the water every few days.

In a few weeks, you should see new roots start growing and ready to be moved to new soil.

Where Should I Place My Philodendron?

The philodendron loves lights, but not direct sunlight. You should place the plant under a tree canopy if you plant it outside. If it is indoor, set it up by a window so it gets sufficient sunlight.

Too little light can stunt the growth and often change the leaf’s color.

How Do I Know If My Philodendron Is Healthy?

It is very easy to spot a healthy philodendron, especially philodendron ragosum. Just take a look at the main characteristic of the plant. The plant should have green leaves with thick and leathery foliage.

If you see wilting, you need to examine the plant. It might be because of a lack of water. Yellow leaves can also indicate the watering habit and moisture. So examine these factors too.

Which One Is Better To Propagate The Philodendron? Water Or Soil?

You can propagate the philodendron using water and soil. Which is the best? It depends on various factors. One thing that you should remember when propagating the plant using water is to change the water every few days so it will not lead to root rot.

Besides, you also need to treat the plant like a normal philodendron when you propagate it using soil such as considering the lights, temperature, and humidity.

How To Make The Philodendron Grow Faster?

If you want to make your philodendron grow faster, what you need to do is mimic the natural habitat. You might need to consider several things such as the temperature, fertilizer, light intensity, and humidity. Watering frequency also matters in this case.

When you have fulfilled the above requirements, we are sure that your philodendron will thrive well.

What Is The Best Soil Mix For A Philodendron?

The best soil for the philodendron is the well-drained and moist soil mix. It should be high in organic matter.

Some houseplant owners grow the philodendron with 100% sphagnum peat miss. Or, you can use peat-vermiculite or using peat-perlite.

Can You Propagate The Philodendron Rugosum With Single Leaf?

No, you can’t! The best method to use to propagate the philodendron is using stem cutting. Cut the stem under the leaf node and then plant it in the soil mix or submerge it in the water.

How To Make My Philodendron Look Fuller?

If you have the vining type of philodendron, use the pruning shears. This is helpful to encourage healthy growth. When you prune the plant, you will see it has bushier look.

Why Is My Philodendron Not Rooting?

Remember that the philodendron cutting will grow faster when it receives sufficient sunlight. If the cutting doesn’t receive sufficient light, it will not grow new roots. Furthermore, you want to place the plant away from direct sunlight to avoid scorching the plant.

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