Philodendron Xanadu Care and Grow: The Complete Guide

A tropical paradise in your living room? Absolutely! All you need is a Philodendron Xanadu, and this guide to taking care of it will help you make the perfect home for this amazing plant. Famous for its thick, lush leaves and being easy to look after, the Philodendron Xanadu is a top pick for people who love houseplants. But how do you keep this tropical stunner happy and healthy? Let’s dig into the world of Philodendron Xanadu care.

Understanding the Philodendron Xanadu

Philodendron Xanadu, also called Winterbourn Philodendron, is a one-of-a-kind tropical plant in the Araceae family. It was first found in Brazil but really made a splash in the plant world when it got the name Philodendron Xanadu from House Plants of Australia in 1988. This cool plant has since become a hit in homes and gardens all over, thanks to its lush, tropical vibe.

A lot of the time, Philodendron Xanadu gets mixed up with its close cousin, the Philodendron selloum, also known as Thaumatophyllum selloum. They look a lot alike with big, deeply lobed leaves, and that can lead to mix-ups. But there are a few key differences that set them apart.

First off, they grow in totally different ways. The Philodendron selloum likes to climb, getting a thick trunk and big aerial roots as it gets older. On the other hand, the Philodendron Xanadu grows more like a shrub, staying pretty compact and bushy without wanting to climb anything.

Next, there’s a big difference in size. Philodendron selloum can grow several meters tall when fully grown, while the Xanadu usually stops at about five feet. This smaller size, along with not climbing, makes the Xanadu a great fit for inside places where you might not have a lot of room.

Also, the Xanadu’s leaves, although shaped a lot like the selloum’s, are a bit smaller and thinner. This gives the Xanadu a more refined look compared to its bigger-leaved cousin.

The way the Philodendron Xanadu grows is really unique. Unlike many other plants, it spreads its “toothed” leaves out wide instead of going up, sometimes getting as wide as 5 feet. This wide spread isn’t as big indoors but still gives you a thick, lush display.

In 2018, the name of this plant got switched around. Based on DNA stuff, it got renamed Thaumatophyllum xanadu, but a lot of people still use the old name, Philodendron xanadu. No matter what you call it, the Philodendron Xanadu keeps winning people over with its tropical charm, whether inside or outside. It stands up on its own, and you don’t need to stake it, making it a no-fuss choice for those wanting a little tropical flair in their homes or gardens.

Philodendron Xanadu Care Overview

Botanical Name Thaumatophyllum xanadu (formerly Philodendron xanadu)
Common Name Philodendron Xanadu
Family Araceae
Genus Thaumatophyllum
Mature Size Up to 5 feet in height and width
Soil Type Well-draining potting mix
Soil pH 6.0-7.0
Native Area Brazil
Temperature 65-85°F (18-29°C)
Light Bright, indirect light
Keep soil consistently moist but not waterlogged; water when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch
Humidity High; consider using a pebble tray, humidifier, or misting to maintain humidity levels
Balanced, water-soluble fertilizer; applied monthly during the growing season (spring and summer)
Propagation Division of the plant during repotting
Toxic to pets and humans if ingested; the plant contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause skin irritation

Navigating the Light Requirements for Philodendron Xanadu

Taking care of the light for Philodendron Xanadu is a big part of looking after it. This plant from the jungles of Brazil loves bright, indirect light. But you’ve got to get the light just right, ’cause too much or too little can mess things up.

Philodendron Xanadu likes a nice bit of indirect light. It does great in bright rooms where the sun comes in but doesn’t hit the leaves straight on. It can handle a little direct sun in the morning or early evening, but too much bright light can make the leaves lose their color and look washed out.

Philodendron Xanadu prefers indirect light

Unlike a lot of other Philodendron types, the Xanadu needs more light to keep its tight, bushy look. Not enough light can make the stems grow longer and the leaves spread out, something people often call “legginess”. This is how the plant tries to find more light. So, if you see your Xanadu’s leaves growing a few inches apart on the stem, it’s a clue that your plant wants more light.

Even though it likes brighter spots, the Philodendron Xanadu can deal with low light better than many tropical plants. Its leaves might get darker in weak light, but the plant will keep on growing. Still, you’ve got to watch how much water you give it in those conditions. A Xanadu in low light doesn’t drink as much water, and giving it too much can turn into a problem.

On the other hand, too much light isn’t good either. Leaving the Xanadu out in strong, direct sun for a long time can cause the leaves to burn. Plus, too much light can make the leaves change color, turning the plant a pale, sickly look. If you notice the leaves going light yellow or looking faded, it could be a sign of too much light.

Choosing the Right Soil for Philodendron Xanadu

The right mix of soil is a key part of taking care of a Philodendron Xanadu. TA suitable substrate for this plant should be rich, airy, and well-draining, but still capable of retaining some moisture. This balance makes sure that the roots get enough air and don’t end up drowning in too much water.

Philodendron Xanadu thrives in soil that is slightly acidic to neutral, with a pH level of 5.6 to 7.5. It’s cool with organic things like peat moss that slowly turn the soil more acidic as they break down. This matches where the plant naturally lives, where it grows in soil full of organic bits and pieces. But remember, the richness and the ability of these organic things to let air through can get worse over time, so you might need to add more.

Philodendron Xanadu with perfect soil

A homemade soil mix can be easily whipped up using equal parts of indoor potting soil, perlite, and orchid bark. This mix makes sure you’ve got good drainage and air getting to the roots, but still holds on to some moisture. Or, you could go for a ready-made soil mix that’s made for aroids, which is also a great pick.

Stuff like pumice and perlite that don’t break down are good for mixing in, as they help keep the soil airy over time. A blend of peat moss, coconut coir, perlite, pumice, coarse sand, orchid bark, and compost are top-notch ingredients for making a Philodendron Xanadu’s soil mix.

One good soil mix recipe is peat moss or coco coir, perlite, and compost, all in equal parts. You could also swap out the perlite for another non-organic thing if you want. A bit of bark or wood chips can be tossed in too.

The ideal soil mix for your Philodendron Xanadu should help the roots grow strong, keep the right amount of moisture, and give the plant all the important nutrients it needs.

Perfecting Watering for Philodendron Xanadu

Watering is a super important part of taking care of Philodendron Xanadu, but it might also give you a little trouble. Finding the right mix between keeping it damp and not overwatering it is what you need for this tropical buddy. It likes soil that stays moist but can’t handle “wet feet” – that’s just a way of saying the roots shouldn’t sit in water or they’ll get root rot.

Philodendron Xanadu likes the soil to get pretty dry between times you water it. You can check this by poking your finger about an inch into the soil. If it feels dry, go ahead and give it some water. If it’s still damp, hold off a bit longer before the next watering.

When you water it, make sure you do it a lot until water comes out of the pot’s drainage holes. That’s why you’ve got to use pots with holes at the bottom for your houseplants. After you water it, make sure all the extra water’s gone from the pot before you put it back where it was.

Keep in mind that how much water the plant needs can change with the seasons and depending on how much light it’s getting. In the growing season, the soil should mostly stay damp. Go easy on the watering in the winter months.

watering for philodendron xanadu until water drains from the pots drainage holes

If your plant’s in a pot that’s too big for its roots, the soil can take a while to dry out right. This might make you water it too much, so make sure you pick a pot that’s the right size.

Bumping up the light can make the plant use water faster. But watch out – too much light might turn the leaves funny colors or even burn them.

Flushing the soil with excess water occasionally can be beneficial as it helps wash out toxins from the mix. But only do this if the soil isn’t holding onto too much water. If you need to, only give it a good soak in the warm growing months when the soil dries out faster. And don’t forget to dump out any water that’s sitting in those catch pots or dishes after you water.

Ideal Temperature for Philodendron Xanadu

Temperature is really important for taking care of Philodendron Xanadu. This tropical plant likes it warm and does best between 65ºF (18ºC) and 85ºF (29ºC). It can deal with temperatures as low as 55°F (13°C), but anything colder than that might make the plant start to die. But don’t worry, the plant might bounce back over time, as long as it doesn’t get freezing cold.

Philodendron Xanadu doesn’t like sudden changes in temperature or drafts. So, it’s a big deal to keep it away from places where the temperature changes quickly, like near air conditioning or heating vents. This kind of stress can make the leaves fall off or make the plant more likely to get pests and diseases.

When it comes to planting it outside, Philodendron Xanadu can live all year in USDA hardiness zones 10 and 11. If you live in Zone 9, you can still help this plant make it as a landscape plant by protecting it with mulch and covering it when it gets frosty.

In the winter, if you keep the plant inside, make sure that temperatures don’t go below 50°F (10°C). These plants really don’t like cold drafts, so pick a spot for them carefully to stay away from that kind of thing.

Basically, keeping the temperature nice and warm in the right range will make a big difference in how well you do with Philodendron Xanadu care. By watching and tweaking your plant’s surroundings, you can make sure it grows strong and lasts a long time.

Humidity Conditions for Philodendron Xanadu

Humidity is a key part of taking care of Philodendron Xanadu. Even though this plant doesn’t mind average humidity as much as some of its rainforest cousins, it definitely likes it a bit more humid. More humidity can make the leaves lush and shiny, making the plant look better overall.

In your usual indoor spots, Philodendron Xanadu is pretty chill with the humidity most homes have. But, if you’re looking for rich growth and glossy leaves, giving the plant a good misting now and then can bump up the humidity around it. Keeping the soil moist can help the plant deal with drier spots too.

In really dry places or during winter when indoor heating sucks out the moisture, your Philodendron Xanadu might start to have a hard time. You might see dry, dull leaves. If that happens, there are a few ways to get more humidity:

  1. Grouping Plants: By placing plants together, and their natural sweating can help each other by making the air around them more humid. But watch out for packing them too tight, since that can cut down on air moving around and up the chances of bugs moving in or sickness spreading.
  2. Water Trays: Fill up some trays with water and put them by the plant, and that can lift humidity too. If you need to save space, throw some rocks in the trays and set the plant’s pot on top, just make sure it’s not sitting in the water.
  3. Room Humidifier: If things are really dry, using a room humidifier might be just the thing. It might cost a bit more and take some looking after, but it’ll definitely fix the problem and make the room feel more like the rainforest that Philodendron Xanadu loves.

Fertilizing Philodendron Xanadu

Getting the fertilizing right is super important for taking care of your Philodendron Xanadu. Just remember, these plants have touchy roots, so it’s best to go easy on the fertilizer rather than going overboard so you don’t end up burning the roots.

In spring and summer, when the plant’s growing, feed your Philodendron Xanadu with a regular liquid fertilizer once a month. Just be sure to water it down like the instructions say, so you don’t burn it with the fertilizer. As it gets hotter and the plant starts growing faster, you can give it a bit more fertilizer. But ease off in the fall and stop altogether when winter hits.

New Philodendron Xanadu Leave

There are three common fertilization methods you can choose from:

  1. Balanced Fertilizer: Use a regular fertilizer and only use half as much as what’s on the label. Feed it once a month in spring and fall, and every two weeks in summer.
  2. Dilute Fertilizer: Water it down to about a teaspoon per gallon and use that for watering.
  3. Slow-release Formula: Sprinkle some slow-release stuff over the soil. Don’t do this if you’ve got pets or kids around, though, because they might want to play with the colorful bits. One dose will last you six months to a year, so put it on in spring.

A few crucial tips for fertilizing Philodendron Xanadu:

  • Always apply fertilizer to damp soil to prevent root burn.
  • Watch out, because your Xanadu can get messed up with too much fertilizer. Giving it too much can cause root burn, make the leaves change color, and slow down growth. So, it’s smarter to go easy on the fertilizing.
  • Make sure to rinse the soil at least once a month to get rid of any extra fertilizer.
  • Regular fertilizers are okay, but think about using natural ones too. They’re less likely to hurt the plant and can even make the soil better, helping your plant to stay healthy.

Just remember, fertilizing the right way is going to make a huge difference in how your Philodendron Xanadu grows and thrives.

Repotting Philodendron Xanadu

Repotting is an important aspect of Philodendron Xanadu care, though not a frequent necessity. Usually, a Philodendron Xanadu only needs a new pot when it starts to outgrow its old one. This might happen once every year or two, depending on how well your plant’s doing and where it’s growing.

To identify if your plant is ready for repotting, look for these signs:

  • The roots have filled up the pot and are going round and round the bottom.
  • You have to water the plant every two or three days.
  • Your plant’s not growing as fast as before.
  • The soil’s not soaking up water like it used to.

When you do repot, grab a new pot that’s two or three inches bigger than the old one. That way your Philodendron Xanadu will fit snugly in its new home, without too much extra soil that might hold too much water, and that’s not what the plant likes.

Lovely Pot of Philodendron Xanadu

The best time to give your Philodendron Xanadu a new pot is late winter or early spring, right before new leaves pop up. Doing it then helps keep the plant from getting too shocked.

When you’re repotting, swap out as much of the old soil as you can for fresh soil. You don’t have to mess with the old roots – they’ll find their way into the new soil all on their own. Be gentle with the plant so you don’t stress it out. After you’ve got it in the new pot, give it a good watering to help it settle in.

Don’t forget, repotting helps your Philodendron Xanadu start fresh and grow better and stronger.

Pruning Philodendron Xanadu

Pruning isn’t something you have to do all the time with Philodendron Xanadu, since this plant grows in a relaxed bunch, keeping its shape without you having to do much. But there are some situations where you might need to prune.

Mostly, you have to prune to keep your plant looking good and staying healthy. This means getting rid of leaves that are damaged or on their way out, which is a big part of taking care of it. These leaves can turn yellow and die off as the plant grows like it should. By getting rid of them, you’re getting rid of places where bugs or mold might hide, helping your plant stay in good shape.

When you prune, make sure you use clean pruning tools, like scissors or a knife. You can make the blades clean using isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) so you don’t spread any sickness. Cut clean at the bottom of the stem so you don’t hurt the plant.

Sometimes, you might have to prune your Philodendron Xanadu if it gets long and thin. Trimming this growth lets thicker, healthier leaves come out. You’ve got to figure out why the plant got thin and weak in the first place, like not enough light or watering it the wrong way.

All in all, even though you don’t have to do it a lot, pruning can make your Philodendron Xanadu look nice and stay healthy.

Propagating Philodendron Xanadu

Growing a Philodendron Xanadu is pretty straightforward and you can do it in two main ways: either by stem cuttings or Root Division. Thanks to the plant’s tropical vibes, it’s pretty chill to grow, but keep an eye on how wet it gets, these guys don’t like being too soggy and could end up rotting.

Method 1: Stem Cuttings

Stem cuttings are a top choice of propagation. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

Begin by selecting a healthy and mature Xanadu plant. With a pair of sharp and clean pruning shears, remove stem cuttings, ensuring each cutting has three to five nodes along the stem.

Strip the bottom leaves from each stem cutting to expose the nodes. Each cutting should retain one to two leaves at the top for optimal success.

Prepare a container with fresh, clean water. Place the stem cuttings in the water, ensuring the remaining leaves stay above the waterline and the nodes are submerged.

Set the cuttings in a place with bright but not direct light. Change the water weekly. After a couple of weeks, you should spot tiny white roots growing. Once these roots hit an inch in length, the cuttings are ready to move into soil.

Plant the rooted cuttings in a pot with soil that drains well. Press down the soil firmly and water it until it’s soaked.

Move the potted cuttings back to their sunny spot. For the first week, keep the soil equally damp to help the roots get used to the soil. After that, follow the regular watering schedule.

Method 2: Root Division

Propagation through root division is best carried out during a repotting in spring. Here are the steps to follow:

Thoroughly water the plant a day prior to division to ensure root resilience.

Next, take the plant out of its pot and find a spot where it naturally separates into ‘bunches’. It’s a good idea to keep the plant in groups if you want it to look more lush, instead of breaking it down to single stems.

Gently pull apart the root ball into separate sections, being careful not to damage the roots. If the roots are entwined tightly, use a sterile blade to cut them.

Pop each separated bit into its own pot with soil that drains well, and remember to plant it at the same level as it was before. Try not to bury them too deep as this could make them rot.

After you’ve repotted, water the plants to help the soil settle around their roots. Keep an eye on your watering while they’re getting back on their feet.

Lastly, remember this: whether you’re growing new plants from stem cuttings or by dividing them, it’s super important to keep the plant warm and in bright but not direct light. This helps kickstart growth and stops them from wasting away.

Identifying and Managing Common Pests and Diseases in Philodendron Xanadu

Philodendron Xanadu is generally resistant to pests and diseases, but like all plants, it’s not entirely immune. Regularly checking for any nasty critters or signs of sickness is super important to keep your plant happy and healthy.


Even though Xanadu isn’t a magnet for bugs, it can sometimes get hit by the usual suspects like spider mites, mealybugs, and thrips. You can spot these pests by seeing them on the plant or noticing the damage they do, like color changes or spots on the leaves.

If your plant gets bugged, think about using nice and effective treatments like horticultural oil and insecticidal soaps. And remember, good air flow and the right humidity can keep these pests away.


Giving your Xanadu too much water can cause the roots to rot. Symptoms include leaves turning yellow, wilting, and the plant looking a bit under the weather. To stop this, make sure you’re watering your plant just the right amount for its specific needs and environment.

Philodendron Xanadu is usually pretty good at fighting off fungi. However, there’s this nasty bacteria called Erwinia that can sometimes mess with this plant. Erwinia makes a stinky smell as it turns the plant to mush.

This bacteria can come with a new plant, so it’s super important to keep new plants away from your other ones until you’re sure they’re safe. If you spot an Erwinia infection:

  1. Remove affected portions of the plant and discard them safely.
  2. Isolate the plant to prevent further contamination.
  3. Sterilize any tools or soil that has touched the infected plant, as the disease can be spread through hand contact or even water splashing off an infected leaf.
  4. Make sure the recovering plant has lots of air (and not near other plants) and keep an eye on it.

The best medicine for any plant disease is to prevent it. A happy plant, given the right love and conditions, is the best way to fight off bugs and diseases.

To sum it up, Philodendron Xanadu is an awesome tropical plant that’ll do great with the right care. From perfect light and watering to the right temperature, humidity, and food, a well-loved Xanadu will give you lush, shiny leaves. Don’t forget to check for bugs and diseases often. For more detailed information and practical plant care advice, visit the FamiPlants Blog. Your Xanadu is sure to thrive with a little attention and care.



Hi, I'm Cathleen Clemens. I graduated from Cornell University with a degree in plant science. I gained detailed knowledge about various kinds of plants and how to properly care for them. My experience has enabled me to easily detect any issues such as pest infestations, nutrient deficiencies, or signs of diseases in the plants.

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