Philodendron Xanadu : Guide from the Experts

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The philodendron xanadu is a beautiful houseplant with its pre-historic fern look. It has green foliage that comes with a glossy texture, and branch-like shape. It is a wonderful houseplant that can add more value to your home decoration.

In 1983, the plant is patented and given the name “Winterbourn” as an Australian cultivar. However, the plant was later founded abundantly in Brazil as a wild species. Then, in 2018, the botanic society changed the name to thaumatophyllum xanadu. It will take a while to notice this plant as the thaumatophyllum xanadu so let’s stick to the philodendron xanadu.


  • Botanical Name: Thaumatophyllum xanadu
  • Popular Name: Philodendron xanadu, Winterbourn, Xanadu, Thaumatophyllum xanadu
  • Mature size: 2-4 feet tall
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Sun Exposure: Indirect sunlight
  • Soil Type: Nutritious and well drained-soil
  • Soil pH: 5.6-7.5
  • Toxicity: Humans and pets

Care Guide

The philodendron xanadu doesn’t require staking as the plant grows upright. The plant prefers filtered light, so you need to place it in an area where the plant gets a good amount of light without letting it fall directly on the foliage.

The plant can thrive well in different places in your home. It can grow well in a pot with a good combination of soil mixes such as peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, or others. In terms of watering, water the plant just as needed and place it at a temperature between 65ºF (18ºC) and 85ºF (29ºC).

Fertilization can be done during summer and spring with liquid fertilizer. Foliar feed is also acceptable.


Water Requirement

Just like another philodendron, the philodendron xanadu also likes moist soil. However, you will need to make sure the soil mix is not soggy. It is probably the trickiest part of taking care of the philodendron. As we know, a soggy pot can lead to various problems such as root rot.

As a general rule to check whether your philodendron needs watering or not, you can use the rule of thumb. Generally, the plant needs to be watered when the first two knuckles are dry.

You can also use the chopstick method. If the first two inches of the chopstick change color and the soil is clinged to it, then it does not need to get water.


The plant loves high humidity. As it gets higher humidity, it will have a glossier and greener look. But it doesn’t mean you have to mimic Brazil’s humidity level. Just try to get as close as it can be. Humidity around 60% and above is ideal. Even though it can tolerate lower humidity if you want it to show its best potential, try to not place it below 60%.

Some of you must live in an area that doesn’t provide a good humidity level for your time. This happens in an area with four seasons with fall and winter seasons having lower humidity. You can do the following to increase the humidity level:

  • Use a humidifier
  • Group the plants so the plants will create a mini-biome where they share humidity through transpiration.
  • Place some pebbles on a tray that is filled with water. Place the plant on top of it so it will get humidity from evaporation.

Besides, keep in mind to pay attention to the seasons. When it is in hotter months, the plant will need more watering because, at this time, evaporation is often higher.

During the winter and fall seasons, it is better to reduce watering. Also, try to pay more attention to the amount of water if you don’t want the Erwinia blight disease and root rot to attack the plant. These diseases can kill the plant within days.

Light Requirements

When the philodendron xanadu gets a good amount of light, it will produce magnificent deep green leaves. You should not place the plant under direct sunlight because it will burn its foliage.

A burning xanadu is easy to spot. You will see the plant has browning edges or blackened spots on its foliages.

On the other hand, when xanadu doesn’t get sufficient light, it will look leggy and it can lose its beautiful color.


Because the philodendron xanadu originated from Brazil, it is not a surprise if this plant loves warmer temperatures. Therefore, keep in mind to place the plant in an area where it has a temperature between 65ºF (18ºC) to 85ºF (29ºC).

The plant can survive lower temperatures but try to not place it in an area with a temperature less than 55 degrees Fahrenheit. It will slow the growth.


Even though fertilizing is not mandatory, applying one can boost your plant. It can be very important to fill up the missing nutrients if your plants are planted in a pot.

In this case, you will want to use liquid fertilizer. You will need a spray bottle to ease you feeding the plant.

The best time to feed the plant is during summer and spring. However, you will need to reduce its frequency during fall and winter.

To know if you are fertilizing the plant enough or not, you will need to monitor the leaves. Observe the foliages. If they are growing small, the chances are you are not giving them enough.

Coloration can be used to check your plant’s health. If the plant looks pale, it is probably because the plant doesn’t get enough nutrients, especially magnesium and also calcium.

Another thing that you want to underline while picking the fertilizer is the urea. Typically cheaper fertilizer contains urea which contains a lot of salt that gradually can burn the root.

Then how to feed the philodendron xanadu? Simply mix the fertilizer with a mix of water (Check the label). As much as you can, try to not use the tap water because it is high in chlorine. Chlorine can lead to toxicity in plants. You will need to maintain a regular fertilizing schedule too. Besides, fertilize the plant away from the roots.

Here, organic fertilizer is allowed but keep in mind that the organic fertilizer needs bacteria to decompose.

Note: It is good to flush out the soil every month to remove excessive salt. If you have complete formulation, organic fertilizer isn’t necessary.

Grooming or Pruning

The philodendron xanadu doesn’t need regular pruning. You will need to prune the plant to remove damaged parts and dying leaves. it is done to eliminate fungus or pest spread.

Occasional pruning might also be needed when the plant becomes leggy or sparse. Pruning is good to promote growth.

When pruning the philodendron, make sure your blade or knife is sterilized with isopropyl or rubbing alcohol.

Read also : Philodendron Gloriosum: The Unique, Rare and Expensive Houseplant to Care


The philodendron xanadu doesn’t need frequent repotting. You will only need to report the plant when you see the following signs:

  • When you find the root system circling the bottom part.
  • You need to water the plant every 2 or 3 days.
  • The soil has become compacted and isn’t draining as it used to be.
  • The growth rate is low.

The best time to repot the plant is during late winter or early summer before the plant reaches its maximum growth. Make sure to report the plant with a 1-3 inches bigger pot. Also, you must find a pot with good drainage holes and fill it with a high-quality mix.


There are two practical ways to propagate the plant which are via root division and stem cutting. It is crucial to control the moisture level and give the plant sufficient warmth and light. When propagating the plant, you will want the plant to grow immediately.

Growing philodendron through root division – The best time to propagate the philodendron via root division is during repotting which is during spring. First, you need to water the plant a day before so it is resilient. And then, do the following steps:

  • First, remove the philodendron from its pot. Search for the natural separation point between “clumps”. Keep the plant in groups so you will get a fuller result.
  • Separate the root ball into some sections. If the roots are too entwined, you can cut them using sterile pruning shear.
  • After that, place each section in the container. Make sure to use well-draining soil and plant each of them in the same depth. Note that you are not allowed to bury the plant too deeply because it will lead to root rot.
  • Once you have finished the step, water the plant, and be careful with the watering.

Growing philodendron xanadu via stem cutting – In fact, it is more difficult to propagate the plant via stem cutting as this method is not resistant to the pathogen. Rot can easily happen through this method. But if you still want to use this method, do the following steps:

  • First of all, cut around 3-6 inches from the young stem.
  • Next, remove the lower foliage but still keep around 2-3 at the top.
  • After that, you can place the stem in the water or plant it in the soil directly.
  • If you propagate the plant using water, make sure to consistently change the water to avoid decaying from the pathogen. A daily change is advised and make sure you don’t use water that contains chlorine such as tap water.
  • You can directly plant the stem into the soil and it is easier because you don’t need to move it to a new medium after sprouting. However, don’t try to push the stem into the soil very deep. You need to make a hole and then gently plant the philodendron with the soil that is tamped around it. The last step is to moisten the soil and keep it damp.
  • Once you have done this, give the plant sufficient indirect sunlight. Within two or three weeks, you will see the roots appear.


Just like other philodendron species, the philodendron xanadu is toxic to humans and pets. This plant contains calcium oxalate crystals which can cause swelling around the tongue, esophagus, and mouth. If the skin is contacting with the sap, it will develop irritation. Besides, when it is ingested in a huge amount, it also can cause kidney failure.

Pests and Diseases

The philodendron xanadu is a hardy plant and very resilient. Luckily the plant is not prone to particular pests or diseases. The only thing you might want to pay attention more is a bacterial infection such as Erwinia blight disease. This can happen when the plant gets too much moisture. Usually because of a wrong watering schedule.

The erwinia disease cause mushy and wet lesion around the leaves and stems. If you don’t take necessary action, this will kill the plant within days. Besides, Erwinia blight disease is more difficult to cure, so prevention is what you can do in this case.

To avoid erwinia disease, monitor your watering schedule and try not to mist the plant. If you over mist the plant, there is a bigger chance for erwinia to develop.


There are three types of philodendron xanadu varieties. The three varieties that are popular include:

  • Philodendron xanadu golden – The plant brings an exotic look with the golden-green color. The foliages are leathery and shiny. The best thing about this variety is its low maintenance and sturdiness.
  • Philodendron xanadu mini – It is also called the xanadu neon plant mini. What makes it different from other species is its deeply dissected leaves. Its foliage is wide with a lobed structure.
  • Philodendron xanadu variegated – The variegated has a very beautiful green color with a splash of yellow. The plant comes in a dwarf shape. Generally, its care is similar to another philodendron.

Growth Rate

When it is placed in a good environment, the philodendron xanadu can grow to 2-4 feet in height. Typically the plant will grow faster during spring and summer. Provide sufficient indirect sunlight so the plant can show maximum growth.

Leaf, Flower and Stem Characteristic

  • Leaf – It has leathery foliage with green color. It can grow from 16-18 inches in length and 7-14 inches in width.
  • Flower – When it is grown outdoor, the chance to bloom is bigger. The plant has dark red spathes. However, if it is grown indoor, it is very rare to bloom.
  • Stems – The stem of philodendron xanadu is dark brown with three to five cm in diameter. It has short internodes and sap.

Soil Requirements

The philodendron xanadu grows very well in a rich, well-draining soil mix. Some of the best combinations for your philodendron include coco coir, peat moss, orchid bark, and perlite. Here, perlite is useful to make the soil loose and airy so it is easy for the water to drain.

For the pot setup, it is pretty much like the growing environment where the soil needs to have a pH of 5.6-7.5. In this case, peat moss and coco coir play important roles. As they are degraded, they will acidify the soil.

Over time, you will need to provide high nutrients for the plants. You can supplement the missing nutrients with a liquid fertilizer.

Read also : Philodendron Melanochrysum : Favorable Velvet Leaf Climber


What Is The Difference Between Philodendron Xanadu and Philodendron Hope Selloum?

The easiest way to differentiate philodendron xanadu and selloum is the size. The philodendron selloum can grow up to 3.6 meters tall and the leaves can grow up to 1.5 meters. This is what makes the name also tree selloum.

Meanwhile, the xanadu grows in a shrub formation. It has smaller and more lobed leaves.  Its glossy leaves can grow from 16-18 inches in length, and 14 inches in width.

Does Xanadu Spread?

Instead of growing vertically, the xanadu leaves tend to spread. However, it will not spread that much if it is grown indoors.

Does Xanadu Like Sunlight?

The philodendron xanadu thrives well under the filtered-light condition. If it gets too much direct sunlight, it will scorch the leaves. Meanwhile, putting it under the shades can make the plants leggy.

You still can put the plant in the morning sun for a while. But just do it once in a while.

How Often Should I Water Xanadu?

Watering can be the trickiest part when it comes to philodendron. In this case, it is not advised to stick to the watering schedule. First, different seasons require different watering frequencies. And second is the condition of the soil.

When the summer and spring come, you might need to water the plant more often than during winter and fall. Besides, check also the condition of the soil. If the first two inches are moist, you don’t need to water the plant and vice versa.

You can use a chopstick to check the soil condition or use the rule of thumb. You can check our guidelines above about this matter.


Can I Propagate Xanadu From Leaf?

There are two practical methods to propagate the xanadu. One is using the stem cutting method. And the second one is using root division. We have already provided the steps on how to do it properly. Please refer to the above article.

What Do You Feed For Xanadu Plant?

Fertilizing is necessary for xanadu. The soil mix will get degraded over time and the plant needs nutrients to grow healthily. Use liquid fertilizer and dilute it with the recommended strength.

It is important to not feed the plant during the fall and winter seasons. This is because these times are not the best time for the philodendron to grow. Meanwhile, summer and spring are the best seasons to feed the plant.

You need to feed the plant away from its root to avoid root burn. Also, you might want to consider not using urea because it can cause salt build-up.

Can Xanadu Grow In Water?

Even though the plant loves moist soil mix, it cannot live in the water. However, you can use water as a medium for propagation. But you have to replace the water with the fresh one gradually. After a couple of weeks, you will see the roots start growing, and then you have to move the plant to a new pot.

How To Take Care Philodendron Xanadu?

Taking care of the philodendron xanadu is pretty easy as far as you need to mimic the natural habitat. Place the philodendron in a medium to bright filtered light. This plan can survive low light but the growth will be slower.

When it comes to watering, only water it when it is necessary. Use your finger or chopstick to check whether the plant needs watering or not. Typically, when the first two inches of the top soil is dry, you will need to water the plant. Make sure to drain out the water perfectly and also discard the water from the saucer.

Whilst philodendron xanadu can tolerate most house humidity, giving higher humidity above 60% will help it thrive. It will promote lush growth with shiny foliage. You probably need to consider buying a humidifier in this case.

If you are living in a cold area where the humidity is low, you can increase it naturally too. Place pebbles on a tray that is filled with water. Next, just put the philodendron on top of the pebbles. The humidity will increase because of evaporation.

Besides, you need to keep the philodendron away from drafty areas such as open windows and doors, especially during winter.

Is Philodendron Xanadu A Purifier?

It is believed that the philodendron xanadu is a good air purifier besides its ornamental function and good look.

Why Is My Xanadu Turning Yellow And Drooping?

When you see your xanadu is turning yellow and the stem is becoming leggy or drooping, it means you are overwatering. To correct this problem, try to water it less frequently.

Why Is My Xanadu Not Growing?

The reason why your xanadu stops growing is because of inadequate lights. Placing the plant under the shade can stunt its growth.

Why Is My Xanadu Curling?

Curling leaves can be a sign of inadequate water. When the plant doesn’t get sufficient water, the leaves will start curling. However, this case also can happen when you overwater the plant.

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