Philodendron Lupinum Houseplant Care Guide (2022)

philodendron lupinum

When it comes to tropical plants, there always seems to be something new under the sun as plant explorers travel deeper into the rainforests.

Philodendron lupinum is a rare and expensive house plant discovered in the Amazonian rainforest in the past few years. 

Lupinum is prized for its leaves, which morph from small and velvet to huge and glossy as the vine matures.

Scientific NamePhilodendron lupinum
Common NamePhilodendron lupinum
LightMedium to bright indirect sunlight
WateringWater if the top inch of soil is dry
Temperature63 to 80ºF (17 to 27ºC)
Hardiness Zone10 to 12
Humidity60%
Soil TypeRich, quick-draining, loamy
Soil pH6.5 to 7 (mildly acidic to neutral)
FertilizingA balanced feed once a month in spring and summer
RepottingEvery 2 years
PruningLate spring
PropagationRoot in water or soil
ToxicityToxic to humans and pets
Mature Size10 to 20 feet as a houseplant
Bloom TimeSummer and autumn

What’s Unique About Philodendron Lupinum?

The Philodendron lupinum plant was first described in 2008 after being discovered in the Amazonian rainforest in the state of Acre. So far, that’s the only place they’re known to be native to.

There, they start their life growing in the canopy of the trees, and as they mature send their vines down to root in the soil.

Philodendron lupinum plants are noted for their gorgeous leaves, which change completely as they mature.

Despite its exotic origin, growing Philodendron lupinum isn’t hard, even for a beginner, but you don’t want to make mistakes, as these rare plants can be hard to come by.

Philodendron Lupinum Care

In the Amazonian rainforest where Philodendron lupinum originates, this vigorous vine grows down from the tree canopy to take root in the forest floor.

Because of its tropical origin, your Philodendron lupinum plant care should focus on keeping it in a warm and humid environment, with moderate amounts of light.

Once you’ve mastered those essentials of lupinum care, you should have no trouble helping it thrive!

Light 

The equatorial sun is bright in the Amazon rainforests, but even though Philodendron lupinum starts its life high in the tree canopy, it’s still sheltered from the direct rays.

In fact, Philodendron lupinum light requirements are for medium to bright indirect light, or between 2,500 to 10,000 lux.

Your lupinum light needs can easily be met in a north or east-facing window.

However, if you have a south or west exposure, you need to find a spot in the room out of the full sun, which will damage its leaves.

It can tolerate more shade than other philodendrons, but its growth will be slower at lower light levels.

Watering 

It’s not always wet in the rainforests where Philodendron lupinum originates; in fact, the winters are quite dry, with only one day of rain a week. 

However, in summer there’s a lot more rain on average, so your Philodendron lupinum watering should reflect that seasonal change.

In spring and summer, water lupinum whenever the top inch or so of soil has dried out. Use tepid water and slowly pour it over the entire surface until it’s been absorbed.

In winter, Philodendron lupinum’s watering needs will be much less. You can wait until the soil has almost dried out, and then give it a good soaking by setting it in water to absorb from the bottom up. 

Temperature 

In the Amazon basin, average daytime highs never dip below 86ºF (30ºC), while nighttime lows rarely fall below 70ºF (21ºC).

You don’t have to keep things quite that hot for your Philodendron lupinum; the recommended 

Philodendron lupinum temperature range is 63 to 80ºF (17 to 27ºC). 

In essence, any temperature that is good for you is a good temperature for lupinum.

Of course, Philodendron lupinum would love to enjoy the hot summer weather on your balcony or patio. 

However, it has no temperature tolerance under 54ºF (12ºC), so expect them to sustain injury if kept at temperatures any lower than that.

Obviously, Philodendron lupinum has no frost hardiness and will be killed by freezing temperatures.

Humidity 

It’s definitely humid in the Amazon rainforest. In fact, it never falls below 80%.

In your home, the ideal humidity for lupinum is at least 60%, which is not a practical humidity level for your home, unless you want to live in a sauna.

However, you can accommodate your Philodendron lupinum humidity requirements with relative ease.

A pebble tray or misting the leaves is unlikely to keep levels as high as your Philodendron lupinum needs.

You can start by grouping your tropical plants together, as that can help create a moister microclimate for them all.

Probably the best solution, however, is to invest in a small humidifier to keep all of them in the humid environment they prefer.

Soil 

The growth habit of this rainforest native should give you some clues about an appropriate 

Philodendron lupinum soil.

The seeds of Philodendron lupinum germinate high in the tree canopy, in the bark of the branches and trunks. Only later do their stems reach the ground and take root.

The soil for lupinum should be very loose and well-draining, and a good pH level for lupinum is 6.5 to 7, or mildly acidic to neutral.

You can use a soil mix of one-third each of potting soil, orchid bark, and perlite, or even just 100% peat moss to grow your Philodendron lupinum.

Fertilizer 

The best Philodendron lupinum fertilizer will have both calcium and magnesium, as these plants need those nutrients to keep their foliage a deep, rich green.

You can use a liquid fertilizer for lupinum with a balanced fertilizer ratio of 20-20-20, or one with extra nitrogen, like 10-5-5.

Whichever one you use, dilute it to half the recommended strength and apply to the soil a few inches away from the plant’s crown.

Use the fertilizer once a month in spring and summer, and stop in fall and winter.

Always add the fertilizer right after you’ve watered to ensure that the liquid doesn’t just run right through the soil.

Potting & Repotting 

Philodendron lupinum repotting should usually be done every 2 years, but you will have to do it sooner if the roots start taking over the pot.

When repotting lupinum, only go up one pot size, as too much soil will stay too wet and rot the roots.

You can use a plastic pot, or a glazed or unglazed clay pot. Just make sure that it’s got good drainage holes, as the soil has to be able to drain excess water.

It’s also important to use fresh potting soil, both to give it a fresh boost of nutrients and prevent the build-up of pathogens.

Pruning 

The best time to do major Philodendron lupinum pruning is in spring or early summer, at the beginning of its growing season. 

Of course, you can trim off dead or damaged foliage at any time of the year. Not only does it look bad, but if you leave them on they may harbor insects or disease.

However, the other reason for cutting lupinum would be to shape its growth to your liking. If the vines are getting too long, cut them back just above a node to encourage more lateral stems for a bushier appearance.

Never remove more than one-third of the plant in a single growing season.

Always use sterilized scissors when cutting plants, and wear gloves to protect yourself from the irritating sap.

Propagation 

Philodendron lupinum propagation is best done by rooting stem cuttings in water or soil.

To propagate lupinum, cut a length of young stem with at least one node and one leaf. Make a diagonal cut just below a node. Strip off all but the top leaf.

Place the cuttings in a jar of water or in a tray of moist peat moss.

Keep them in a warm and humid spot out of the direct sun. You may cover them with a plastic bag with a few holes poked in it to maintain high humidity. Remove it every few days to freshen the air inside.

Within a month you should see new roots forming, and you can plant the cuttings out in their own individual pots.

Also, make sure to check out our in-depth Philodendron mamei care guide.

Common Problems of Philodendron Lupinum

Philodendron lupinum problems are usually a result of not giving this exotic tropical plant the growing conditions it needs to thrive.

Luckily, most problems with lupinum can be fixed before your Philodendron lupinum is too far gone.

Its leaves are usually the first to show signs of distress, so whenever you water your Philodendron lupinum, make sure you give them a good examination.

Pests 

You can probably deter most Philodendron lupinum pests with a simple preventative measure.

Once a month, spray the velvety juvenile leaves of your lupinum with a solution of insecticidal soap to keep bugs at bay. 

When the leaves take on their mature form with a glossy surface, you can wipe them down with a neem oil solution.

Aphids are usually green bugs that suck on the stems and undersides of the leaves. You can wash them off in the shower or sink.

Mealy bugs look like little fuzzy white puffs under the leaves. Wipe them off with an alcohol-soaked cotton ball.

Scale are probably the hardest to get rid of. They look like small brown bumps, usually on the stems, and need to be scraped off.

Diseases 

Fungal and bacterial diseases are more likely to arise if you have overwatered your lupinum or allowed the leaves to remain wet.

The most common of Philodendron lupinum diseases is root rot, caused when the soil is kept wet rather than just moist.

The leaves will droop and yellow, and the stems get soft, while the roots themselves turn black and smelly.

You need to cut off all the parts that are affected, and replant it in fresh soil in a clean pot.

Bacterial leaf spot manifests as dark, wet spots on the foliage that spread and kill the leaves. If you catch it early, you can cut off all the infected leaves and hope for the best, but it can easily kill the plant.

Growing Problems 

There aren’t a lot of growing problems associated with Philodendron lupinum, as philodendrons in general are pretty tough to kill. 

However, if you do have a sick plant, just adjusting its growing conditions will probably make a big difference.

Yellowing leaves may mean too much or too little water, so all you need to do is check the soil moisture and adjust accordingly.

If the leaf tips of your Philodendron lupinum are curling downward, or you see brown leaf edges, you’re giving it too much fertilizer.

Flush the excess fertilizer out of the soil by running a gentle stream of water through the pot for several minutes.

Toxicity of Philodendron Lupinum

Like all the members of the araceae family, lupinum is toxic to humans and pets.

Because of this toxicity, you should be careful of where you place it in a home with children and animals.

The tiny calcium oxalate crystals in all parts of the plant will irritate skin and pierce delicate membranes in the mouth and digestive system.

For Humans 

Philodendron lupinum is toxic to humans, so you should exercise caution when growing this plant in your home.

Even the sap can cause a painful rash. Wear gloves when handling the plant and rinse off any that gets on your skin.

Children are more at risk than adults, simply because they don’t understand the dangers associated with these plants.

If your child tries eating a Philodendron lupinum leaf, they won’t get very far before they feel the stinging pain from the calcium oxalate raphides.

Rinse their mouth out, and give them something cold to numb the pain.

However, if their tongue swells up, or they are having difficulty breathing, take them to the emergency room.

For Pets 

Your pets are also at risk if they eat any Philodendron lupinum foliage. Cats, dogs, and rabbits are equally susceptible to the toxins.

If your pet shows reactions including excessive drooling, wheezing, and vomiting, or has diarrhea, do not attempt to deal with it yourself.

Instead, take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

It’s best to prevent Philodendron lupinum poisoning by keeping your plant out of their reach. 

You can grow it in a hanging basket or on a shelf far above floor level. Just make sure that the trailing stems are kept trimmed or trained at a height.

Philodendron Lupinum Appearance

There is not one Philodendron lupinum appearance, but rather two as the plant morphs from its juvenile to mature form.

In its juvenile form, the small, heart-shaped velvet leaves grow on upright stems. 

Then, as the vines grow and spread, the leaves become huge and glossy for a totally different look.

Foliage 

The foliage of Philodendron lupinum undergoes a fascinating transformation as the vines lengthen and mature.

A juvenile leaf has a broad heart shape, and has a velvety medium green top with a dark maroon underside.

The leaves are covered with tiny hairs that keep water from sitting on the leaves and causing disease. 

Then, as the vines grow in length, the leaves change completely. They extend to up to 20 inches long in a narrow shape, with large top lobes and wavy margins.

They lose their velvety appearance and instead become a glossy bright green with a rippled surface. The underside remains maroon.

Flowering 

Since it’s such a recent discovery, there’s not a lot of observations available on blooming, but 

Philodendron lupinum flowering is unlikely to occur on a plant grown in cultivation. 

In its native habitat in the Amazonian rainforest, mature vines flower and set seeds, which is how they reproduce in the wild.

The flowers are green, white, and burgundy, with no reported fragrance.

Your best chance at seeing a lupinum flower is if you grow your vine outdoors in a tropical climate. Let it climb through the branches of a tree to reach its mature size.

However, most growers will have to be content with the gorgeous leaves.

Size and Growth 

Under ideal conditions, the size of Philodendron lupinum can be 10 to 20 feet long vines.

It has a slow growth rate that is strongly influenced by the factors of warmth, humidity, light levels, and soil moisture. 

It will also grow better when staked from the beginning with a sphagnum moss pole which will give it the support it needs to climb.

It will also adapt to a hanging basket.

In the rainforest, the young plants actually climb downwards to the ground after germinating in the canopy.

However, it will happily adjust to growing in the opposite direction as long as it has support.

Philodendron Lupinum Fragrance

Even on the rare occasions that a Philodendron lupinum blooms, there is no reported scent.

However, even though there’s no Philodendron lupinum fragrance, this araceae family member is very beneficial for your indoor air. 

It filters chemicals such as formaldehyde, which is prevalent in manufactured goods such as engineered wood and textiles.

A heavy fragrance isn’t always desirable, especially in an enclosed space like a city apartment, so you may find its scentless quality a bonus.

It’s also preferable in public settings such as shopping malls or medical facilities, where you never know if individuals with fragrance allergies will be exposed.

Suggested Uses for Philodendron Lupinum

Philodendron lupinum is such a gorgeous plant in both its juvenile and mature form that it will give your indoors space an exotic, tropical feel.

Because of its extensive vines at maturity, you will want to find a place where it can climb and ramble.

An indoor sunroom or conservatory would be ideal, but even in a smaller home you can find a way to weave its vines into your indoor garden.

If you have enough light in your bathroom, letting your Philodendron lupinum ramble up a pole will add a spa-like tropical feel while it enjoys the extra humidity.

If you garden in a tropical zone, plant it at the base of a tall tree and let it climb in the shade.

FAQ

What is Philodendron lupinum? 

Philodendron lupinum is a recently discovered vining plant native to the Amazonian rainforest in the state of Acre in Brazil, which is now being grown as a rare houseplant.

How to identify Philodendron lupinum? 

Philodendron lupinum has heart-shaped juvenile leaves up to 2 inches long with a velvety surface. They then mature to 20 inches long with a glossy, corrugated texture.

How to care for Philodendron lupinum? 

Philodendron lupinum can be grown in medium to bright light conditions, in a warm and humid environment, in well-draining but rich soil with regular watering.

How to grow Philodendron lupinum indoors? 

Philodendron lupinum can be grown indoors as a climbing or trailing plant, in a bright to semi-shade location at regular indoor temperatures and high humidity.

How to grow Philodendron lupinum outdoors? 

Philodendron lupinum can be grown outdoors in tropical climates, where it will thrive when planted at the base of a tree to provide shade and a support for climbing. 

How fast does Philodendron lupinum grow? 

Philodendron lupinum has a slow growth rate, although it has only been in cultivation for about 10 years so there is still much to learn about its growth habits.

How tall does Philodendron lupinum grow? 

Philodendron lupinum vines can extend as much as 10 to 20 feet when given adequate climbing support. Because it is new to growing indoors, its full size may not yet have been discovered. 

How to make Philodendron lupinum grow faster? 

Philodendron lupinum will grow faster when it is given a support to grow up, bright light out of the full sun, and warm, humid conditions with regular watering.

How to stake Philodendron lupinum? 

The Philodendron lupinum should be staked with a sphagnum moss pole to replicate its native habitat, where it climbs trees and into the rainforest canopy.

How to pot Philodendron lupinum? 

Philodendron lupinum should be planted in loose, well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter, in a pot with good drainage to prevent the soil from being waterlogged.

How to revive Philodendron lupinum? 

If your Philodendron lupinum soil has dried out completely, give it a good soaking in a pail of tepid water until the soil has absorbed as much water as possible.

Why is my Philodendron lupinum dying? 

Your Philodendron lupinum may have a fungal or bacterial disease caused by excessively wet conditions. Cut out all infected parts and repot it in fresh soil.

Why is my Philodendron lupinum drooping? 

Your drooping Philodendron lupinum vine may be suffering from under or overwatering. It’s easy enough to check your soil moisture levels and determine the cause.

How cold can Philodendron lupinum tolerate? 

Philodendron lupinum is a tropical plant and will suffer from foliage damage or stunted growth at temperatures lower than 54ºF (12ºC), and freezing temperatures will kill it.

How to get rid of pests on Philodendron lupinum? 

Philodendron lupinum pests can be controlled with monthly sprays with insecticidal soap on juvenile leaves, or wiping down mature leaves with a neem oil solution.

Is Philodendron lupinum toxic to cats? 

Yes, Philodendron lupinum is toxic to cats. If your cat starts vomiting or showing signs of respiratory distress, take it to the veterinarian as soon as possible.

Is Philodendron lupinum toxic to dogs? 

Yes, Philodendron lupinum is toxic to dogs. If your dog has vomiting or diarrhea, or is drooling excessively or wheezing, take it to the veterinarian.

Is Philodendron lupinum toxic to children? 

Yes, Philodendron lupinum is toxic to children. In severe cases of exposure they may develop a swollen tongue or airways, and should be taken to the emergency room.

Is Philodendron lupinum toxic to humans? 

Yes, Philodendron lupinum is toxic to humans. You can get a rash from the sap, and if it gets in your eyes can cause extreme pain. 

Does Philodendron lupinum have a scent? 

Philodendron lupinum does not have a scent, so it is suitable for growing in settings where people with a sensitivity to fragrances may be exposed.

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