Philodendron pastazanum manual
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Philodendron pastazanum manual

Welcome back to my blog Planty Folks! The one and only Philodendron pastazanum guide finally arrived. For all of those, who are new here: I’ve been growing this plant for over four years and I can finally say that we are in a total sinc.

I’ve prepared some tips for you, so you can go crazy with your pastazanum size.

About pasta

The origin and provenance of my specimen

My Philodendron was shipped to me from Ecuador in the spring of 2018. It had strong roots, and a giant stem, but only one leaf, that perished quickly. From this point it lived in moss in a little IKEA greenhouse (the one for herbs).

As you can see, after a year – in November 2019, it was still a one-leaf pup. Everything changed when I moved it in a different spot of my living room (read in the “Light” section).

A little about its general features:

This Philodendron is endemic to the eastern portion of Ecuador and Peru. To have an idea what this species likes, we have to look at its habitat. Philodendron pastazanum is a repent terrestrial plant, with aerial shoots growing laterally along the ground in areas along valleys and cliffs of streams. It grows also in wet areas of disturbed rainforests. The plant is common along the roads of areas in which it is found.

As pastazanum is terrestrial, creeping over ground, it is good to give him a long pot. Stems repent, 1–1.5 m long, internodes short, cataphylls is flattened on one side with a low acute rib on either side or unribbed.

As to leaves – petioles are firm and they can grow 37–125 cm long, longer than blades, medium to dark green, semiglossy, with moderately dense whitish streaks.

Sometimes it is confused with Philodendron McDowell, as the young form can look similar. If I ever obtain Ph. McDowell, I will tell you if there is a difference.

Potting medium

Mediums options and rooting methods

When my Philodendron arrived it was in sphagnum moss and it spent it’s first months in it. I waited until he developed strong, new roots and after around four months he was transferred to a not very fancy mix consisting of universal potting soil, leca and sphagnum moss. It ws growing a bit, but every new leaf meant the death of the previous one. It grew in this arrangement for around a year and a half until it needed a bigger pot. The next mix was more airy and chunky, but I had to change all care to be able to grow it in this new medium.

The new mix consists of:

  • Palm mix 55%
  • Universal mix 10%
  • Coco chips 10%
  • Coco coir 10%
  • Perilte 10%
  • Sphagnum moss 5%

I grow a lot of Philodendrons in PON and I will try to grow pastazanum in it. I already have a rooted cutting (I rooted it in moss, worked perfectly for this Philodendron and I had no problems whatsoever). When I figure out PON with pasta, I will expand this article. If you want to try propagation – it also roots well in perlite, in a bag (meaning, it has to be covered from the top).


Soak in the sun, baby

As you can se from the pictures, my Philodendron was small for a long time, until I moved it to the South facing window. It was living there for 1,5 years. There were no curtains and no shade and the plant was about 30 cm from the window. I was living on a third floor with an open terasse, so the sun was pretty harsh. I had to adjust the watering schedule to this amount of light. This one just loves to soak in the sun.

After we moved in March 2020, the amount of light drastically dropped and Philodendron stopped growing. It also dropped 3 leaves. Since it was being a bit miserable, I moved it to the tent in Autumn. Since then it produced two large leaves and bounced back.

Now I got new grow lights, so it is again outside of the tent. It was getting too big for it anyway.

Watering and humidity

One depends on the other

My watering schedule changes depending on a growing mix and amount of light that the Philodendron is getting. The more light, the more frequent the watering. Water evaporates quicker, so the watering is needed more often.

The more humidity, the less frequent the watering. It is crucial that you develop your own pace of watering and stick to it.

I do not let it dry completely. Ever. This Philodendron likes to have a moist soil.

Now, as it has a support of grow lights, I water it every five days. I use a moist meter, to be sure, if it needs watering. It is very important to water it a bit more, when he is producing a new leaf. It prevents the leaf from developing ruptures.


Big and fat is what we want

First rule for my Philodendron is 10% diluted fertiliser in each watering. This way, there is a consistent amount of nutrients flowing trough the medium. Philodendrons like stability (not as much as Anthuriums, but still). Every month it gets Sensi CalMag+, to compensate for any shortages that might developed due to for example not appropriate pH of the water.

I use rainwater, if I can, if not the filtered tap water.

Recently I’ve been using water from my dryer with adjusted pH to 6.8 and appropriate fertiliser and in 4 months it grew a lot, so no harm done. I know it might be somewhat controversial and I will update you on this matter. I’ve been using so much water in my household, that I’m searching for some balance.


The rumours..

I only got thrips so far and they went away after using this particular spray. The KB Multisect was recommended to me by one of my best plant friends. I sprayed all of the leaves and put the plant in a bag for 24h. I rinsed the plant one week later, and repeated the whole procedure once again after two weeks.

Ph. pastazanum might be also prone to spider mites, depending on the conditions that you have in your house. Never had them, so I have nothing to say in that matter.

This year I’m planning to focus on prevention – I will be using leaf-coating spray, Rhizotonic to strengthen the roots, and probably some beneficial mites.

Plant styling

Summary: where and how

This plant has to have its light right, so if you are planning on keeping it at the far end of the living room, it would have to have backup in a form of a grow light. It needs 12-16 hours of diffused light to grow properly.

As to the style of the pot: it looks awesome both in modern (like Lechuza self watering pot) and more classical terracotta pots. The terracotta pots should be more square than triangular, so as not to disturb the harmony with the shape of the plant. Then it seems more natural. I’ve chosen grey one, because it brings out the green of the plant better and it and does not draw attention away. It is easier to grow it in a long pot, because it grows in a straight line. You can find some cool ceramic bonsai pots in this shape!

The plant will eventually overgrow the pot, and it can hang from it, if you remember to spray the roots with water. You can also cut the stem and make it more bushy if you prefer that sort of vibe.

I wish to repot it into a bonsai, round pot one day and hang it down from it. Do you get the picture? It will look kinda eery.

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