How to Care for Philodendron Xanadu (Thaumatophyllum xanadu)

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If you are looking for a beautiful, green, and glossy plant to decorate your home, the Philodendron Xanadu is perfect for you. It is very easy to care for!

The Philodendron Xanadu, recently renamed Thaumatophyllum Xanadu, is an evergreen, climbing houseplant native to Brazil. It has deeply dissected glossy green-lobed leaves, smaller than those of other varieties, which grow on long stems, sometimes developing aerial roots. When the plant is young, the leaves are not as lobed.

Although known until recently as Philodendron Xanadu, it was changed to Thaumatophyllum Xanadu in 2018, though it is still popularly known by the previous name. This plant belongs to the Araceae family and is native to Brazil.

It is one of the best-known varieties of philodendron, smaller in size than others, making it common as an indoor plant in homes. It’s compact and adaptable, suitable for hanging or climbing on supports. Philodendron Xanadu thrives in diffused light but can also tolerate dim areas very well.

In the landscape, it can grow very large, three to five feet high and wide, spreading out in full sun. However, for many in North America, it is often grown as a house plant, displaying beautiful dissected lobed leaves and striking red stems. One notable feature is the development of large aerial roots.

As we focus on the leaves, they are shiny, evergreen, and deeply lobed. This plant will mound up on itself, forming a clump in the landscape. If grown indoors, provide direct light, well-draining soil, and avoid water accumulation in the saucer. It gradually grows larger over time.

In outdoor landscapes, it prefers full sun with ample moisture. It is an evergreen, dense, low-spreading tropical plant, commonly used as a house plant.


Common NamePhilodendron Xanadu
Scientific Namesyn. Thaumatophyllum Xanadu
SpeciesP. xanadu
Leaf TypeEvergreen
Leaf ColorGreen
Flowering ColorWhite, Red
Width at Maturity8 – 13 ft
Height at Maturity5 – 8 ft
ExposurePartial Shade
Pet FriendlyNon Pet Friendly

Philodendron Xanadu vs Selloum

Some people may confuse Philodendron Xanadu with Philodendron Selloum, especially when they are young. But how can they be differentiated?

The major difference between these two lies in their leaf shapes and growth patterns. Philodendron selloum features spear-like leaf shapes that proudly grow upwards, resembling a tree, while, Philodendron Xanadu tends to have flatter, less wavy leaves. Xanadu showcases its beauty by taking up more width, displaying smoothly lobed leaves.

Additionally, the leaves of the Philodendron Xanadu do not get as big as a selloum. So, if you like the Philodendron Selloum but want a smaller option ( they can get quite leggy and unruly), then the Xanadu is an excellent and inexpensive choice.

How to care for Philodendron Xanadu

In the Brazilian rainforest, where it originates, Philodendron Xanadu grows in the shady understory, in a hot, steamy environment. While caring for it doesn’t involve recreating this exact microclimate, providing the essentials of light, watering, and heating correctly is crucial.


In tropical forests, Philodendron Xanadu grows in the shade of the tree canopy, and therefore the light needs are the same in your home. Philodendron Xanadu’s light needs are for medium, indirect light, or between 2,500 and 10,000 lux. Full, direct sunlight will burn the leaves, seriously damaging this shade-loving plant.

You can easily accommodate this within a few feet of a north or east-facing window, but with a south or west exposure you must be more careful. Of course, a south window that is shaded all day by an outdoor tree would be perfect in the summer.

However, if this tree loses its leaves in winter, be sure to move your Philodendron Xanadu to a shadier location in the house.


Philodendron Xanadu needs fairly moist soil, like its native rainforest. However, if your soil is too wet, it will struggle and eventually die. Watering should be done when the top 2 centimeters of soil are dry. Just stick your finger in to see if it’s ready to water.

Water it by pouring room temperature water over the entire surface until some begins to drain from the bottom. Irrigation needs are best met with distilled or rainwater, as the fluoride and chlorine in tap water can damage it. If you must use tap water, let it sit for a day to dissipate the chemicals.


The temperature range is 65 to 82ºF (18 to 28ºC). Basically, if the temperature in your home is comfortable for you, it will suit the plant. The temperature that will encourage the best growth is around 23ºC (73ºF). You can also move it outside in the summer to give it a few months of really warm weather.

However, its temperature tolerance is limited to below 13ºC (55ºF). Keep your Philodendron Xanadu out of drafts and away from air conditioners. It can only be grown outdoors all year round in tropical or subtropical areas, as it has no resistance to frost.


Philodendron Xanadu loves high humidity, so the ideal humidity is 70% or more. However, humidity requirements are more forgiving than that. While you should strive for a humidity level between 50 and 70%, your Philodendron Xanadu will generally be fine at 40%.

If you want to see healthier growth and lusher leaves, however, it’s worth looking for ways to increase the humidity around your Philodendron Xanadu.

You can place your pot in a pebble tray filled with water, or soak the leaves several times a week. The best solution is to place a small humidifier near it and your other houseplants.


The soil must be porous and well-drained, with a lot of organic matter. The appropriate pH level for the plant is 5.6 to 7.5, or acidic to neutral. A really simple soil is just 100% peat moss. It will contain enough moisture while maintaining an open structure that will allow the roots to breathe.

A commercial aroid soil mix would be perfect for your Philodendron Xanadu, with no amendments necessary. However, if you use a standard indoor plant potting mix, add equal parts perlite and peat moss to improve drainage.


You must use a fertilizer to keep it growing well and pumping out the lushest of leaves. A good fertilizer ratio for your Philodendron Xanadu is a standard 10-10-10 formulation. Any good liquid fertilizer for indoor plants will work well.

Apply your fertilizer once a month in spring and summer, stopping in fall and winter when it enters its dormant period. Always feed it right after watering.

Dilute the fertilizer to half its recommended strength and pour the liquid evenly over the surface of the soil. If there is a build-up of fertilizer salts in the soil, flush them with running water through the soil for about 10 minutes.


It’s time to repot it when it starts to take root, which could be every year or two. Even if it has reached its full size, it’s a good idea to repot the plant every two years to give it fresh potting soil.

If the roots have filled your current pot, you can go up one pot size, or 2 inches in diameter. More than that will slow down your growth.

Also, make sure the new pot has drainage holes so the roots don’t sit in water. Repotting is a great opportunity to divide your Philodendron Xanadu to propagate more plants.


You don’t need to do a lot of pruning. Of course, you’ll want to prune any dead or damaged leaves that detract from the good looks of this tropical leafy plant. The only other reason you would have to cut the plant back is if it starts to get too wide for the location you have it growing.

Whenever you prune it, cut the petioles as close to the stem as possible using sharp, sterilized scissors or knives. Do not leave any plant residue on the surface of the soil as this can encourage fungus to form.


Philodendron Xanadu can be propagated by seed and cuttings, but the most common and easiest method of propagation is to divide the root ball, which can usually be done when replanting.

To propagate it, carefully remove the root ball from the pot and remove as much of the soil as possible. If necessary, use a hand-water tap to rinse the plant.

Gently pull the roots out, cutting only if necessary. Your goal is to end up with a handful of roots with stems attached, probably around the outer edges of the main plant. If necessary, you can use scissors and, in this easy way, you will get several plants through just one.

Replant the mother plant and then pot your new baby Philodendron xanadus into small individual pots. You must provide a good substrate so that the base can root, maintaining a medium degree of humidity and exposure without direct but bright sun. The turgid roots, upon contact with the substrate, will give rise to new specimens


The Philodendron Xanadu is not prone to pests, but it can attract spider mites. Regularly check for spider mites, which appear as white dots, and wash the leaves if necessary. Additionally, cleaning the plant and changing the water monthly is recommended, especially if grown in water, to prevent algae growth.

Occasionally, you may notice green algae or moss growing on the sides of your vase. In such cases, simply pour out the water and clean off the algae. Afterward, place the plant back into the vase.

If the roots require rinsing, for example, if there’s any soil residue from when you initially placed it in water, make sure to clean off any soil or dead roots. If the plant is in good condition, return it to the vase and introduce fresh water that already contains your preferred fertilizer.

This is also a great opportunity to wash off the leaves and clean it off from any dust or mites that you may notice. And there you have it. It goes back home in its sweet spot right next to the window.

With proper care and attention to its specific needs, the Philodendron Xanadu can be a stunning addition to your indoor or outdoor space, bringing lush greenery and tropical vibes to your home.


Why are my philodendron xanadu leaves turning yellow?

Yellowing can result from overwatering, insufficient light, or nutrient deficiencies. Ensure proper watering, light, and humidity.

Can you grow philodendron xanadu outdoors?

It can be grown outdoors in tropical or subtropical areas all year round but is not frost-resistant and must be protected in colder climates.

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