Split Leaf Philodendron: Why Every Plant Enthusiast Should Have It

This is a group of tropical plants that feature leaves with splits or holes in them. Oftentimes, these plants are nicknamed Swiss cheese plants.

There is, unfortunately, a bit of confusion surrounding what plants are Split Leaf Philodendron. True Philodendron plants are part of a larger family known as the Arum family. This large family consists of Monstera and Pothos plants as well. Because of the close family ties, Monstera Deliciosa plants that feature split leaves are considered Split Leaf Philodendron; however, they are not true Philodendron plants.

The only two plants that are true Split Leaf Philodendron plants are Philodendron Bipinnatifidum and Philodendron Selloum. It is these two plants that we will study throughout this article.

How to Identify Split Leaf Philodendron

Philodendron Bipinnatifidum

This is a tree Philodendron that can grow up to five feet tall with leaves that are between two and three feet wide. Its leaves are large, green, and contain many splits.

Philodendron Selloum

This is also a tree Philodendron that will grow as large as five feet tall with leaves that are between two and three feet wide. Its leaves are thin, long, green, and shiny.

How to Grow Split Leaf Philodendron from Seed

While these plants are more commonly propagated via leaf cuttings, it is still possible to grow one from seeds.  To grow a Split Leaf Philodendron from seed, follow these steps:

  1. Purchase seeds from a reputable seller
  2. Fill a container with a seed starting soil mix
  3. Plant the seeds a third of an inch deep in the soil mix
  4. Water the soil so that it is moist but not soggy
  5. Place plastic wrap over the top of the container
  6. Set the container in a warm spot that gets plenty of bright, indirect sunlight
  7. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy
  8. Keep the temperature at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (use a heat mat and grow lights if necessary)
  9. Once sprouts appear above the soil level, acclimatize them to open air
  10. Once the plants have established roots, move them to a more permanent plant container

How to Propagate Split Leaf Philodendron

This plant is very easy to propagate via cuttings.  This is a process that should only be done during its growing season, which is usually springtime.  The steps for doing this are as follows.

  1. Use a clean cutting utensil to slice off a stem that has a node
  2. If the stem has any leaves, remove the leaf that is nearest to the base of the stem
  3. Plant the stem in potting soil, making sure that the node is under the soil
  4. Water the soil and allow it to drain off any excess water

The stem should produce a root system of its own and begin growing in a few months.

Split Leaf Philodendron Growing Conditions

Since these plants come from a warm, humid climate they prefer an environment that is just like their natural habitat. They will grow very well in temperatures that range between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit and with humidity levels between 70 to 80%.  This type of environment is not considered comfortable for most people, so it is a good idea to set these plants next to a plant humidifier or on a pebble tray.

How to Plant Split Leaf Philodendron

Repotting these plants from time to time will provide them with new, fresh soil and room to grow.  The steps for repotting a Split Leaf Philodendron plant are:

  1. Fill a plant container with potting soil
  2. Create a hole in the soil for the plant to set inside
  3. Carefully remove the plant from its current container
  4. Gently dust off any excess soil from its roots
  5. Set the plant into the hole in the new container
  6. Spread the soil around so that the plant is secure in its new container
  7. Water the plant
  8. Set it in a warm spot with indirect sunlight

Split Leaf Philodendron Potting & Soil

Philodendron Selloum requires soil that drains well but retains some moisture. It should also have pH levels that are alkaline.

Philodendron Bipinnatifidum requires soil that drains well and contains one part of each of the following ingredients:

  • Coco coir or orchid bark
  • Compost
  • Gravel
  • Perlite

This Aroid soil mix will work well for both types of Split Leaf Philodendrons.

Split Leaf Philodendron Water Requirements

These plants should only be watered when the soil around their stem is dry.  The best method for watering a Split Leaf Philodendron is the soak and dry method.  The steps for doing this are as follows:

  1. Test the soil moisture level before giving it a drink.  If the top two inches of its soil is dry, it can use a drink, if however, the top two inches are still moist, it does not need any more water.
  2. If the plant needs a drink, fill a tray with a few inches of water.
  3. Set the plant container in the tray of water.
  4. Let the plant soak in the water for fifteen minutes.  The roots will soak up water from the bottom of the container.
  5. Take the plant container out of the water.
  6. Allow the excess water to drain from the holes in the bottom of the plant container

A plant watering app is a useful tool to track when a plant has been watered, set reminders to water it, and get answers to common plant care questions.

Split Leaf Philodendron Light Requirements

Philodendron Bipinnatifidum requires full sun but can adapt to less light. However, their leaves will turn dark and will not be as healthy in shadier areas. It is recommended that this plant’s container be turned regularly throughout the year so that every side of the plant gets adequate amounts of light.

Philodendron Selloum requires bright but indirect sunlight. Too little sun and this plant’s leaves will turn dark green, but too much sun and its leaves will fade and burn.

A light meter is a great way to test indoor light capacity and ensure that the plant is receiving the amount of sunlight it needs.

Best Split Leaf Philodendron Fertilizer

These plants should only be fertilized once a month during spring, summer, and fall. The fertilizer used should be organic, water-soluble, and diluted to a half-strength dosage. Joyful Dirt offers safe and gentle fertilizers for indoor and outdoor plants.

Best Split Leaf Philodendron Companion Plantings

These are large and showy plants, but they look surprisingly good next to a few other tropical plants. The following three plants are just a sampling of the many options that would make a great companion plant for a Split Leaf Philodendron.

Pink Princess Philodendron

Philodendron Pink

This is one of the most gorgeous and sought-after plants on the market. It may be a rarity and difficult to acquire, but its beauty is well worth the effort.

Light Requirements

Pink Princess Philodendron should be set in a place that gets plenty of bright, but indirect sunlight.

Soil Requirements

Pink Princess Philodendron requires soil that is airy, well-draining, and includes vermiculite.

Water Requirements

Pink Princess Philodendron should only be watered when the top two inches of its soil is dry. It should be watered in the soak and dry method.


  • It is a unique-looking and beautiful plant
  • Its care requirements are similar to Split Leaf Philodendron


  • It is difficult to find
  • It is expensive
  • It is susceptible to infestations of mealy bugs, spider mites, and scale insects
  • It is susceptible to mosaic virus
  • It is toxic

Monstera Minima

monstera minima

This is an easy-going and unfussy plant from the tropical regions of Southeastern Asia. Monstera Minima’s long, oblong, and holey leaves are sure to pair perfectly with a Split Leaf Philodendron.

Light Requirements

Set Monstera Minima plants in a spot that receives plenty of bright, indirect sunlight.

Soil Requirements

Monstera Minima plants require soil that is well-draining and remains moist but does not stay soggy.

Water Requirements

Monster Minima should only be watered when the top two inches of its soil is dry. It, too, should be watered using the soak and dry method.


  • It grows as a decorative trailing vine
  • It is easy to care for
  • Its care requirements are similar to Split Leaf Philodendron


  • It is susceptible to root rot
  • It is susceptible to infestations of spider mites
  • It is toxic

Aralia Fabian Stump

Aralia Fabian Stump

This is a small shrub that grows on a thick stalk and is perfectly suited for indoor plant life. Its tropical heritage and good looks make it an ideal option to use as a companion plant for a Split Leaf Philodendron.

Light Requirements

Aralia Fabian Stump should be set in a place that gets four hours of direct sunlight each day.

Soil Requirements

Aralia Fabian Stump requires soil that drains well.

Water Requirements

Aralia Fabian Stump should only be watered when the top layer of its soil is dry.


  • It can grow up to four feet tall
  • It can be propagated via stem cuttings
  • It is easy to care for
  • Its care requirements are similar to Split Leaf Philodendron


  • It is toxic
  • It is not cold tolerant

Split Leaf Philodendron Diseases and Common Problems

These plants are hardy and don’t deal with a lot of difficult problems. The most common problems faced by these plants are easy to detect, deter, and deal with. These are:

  • Aphids
  • Mealybugs
  • Scale Insects

Split Leaf Philodendron Treatments and Maintenance

The best way to care for a plant is to prevent an infestation from happening at all. To do this, schedule regular cleaning sessions for these plants. This is a great time to check the plant for insects and wipe its leaves clean with some protective neem oil.

If, however, an infestation is detected, it is good to know what to do and to act quickly.  This will give the plant a chance to survive and hopefully prevent nearby plants from getting infected as well. Here are the basic steps for dealing with the common problems faced by Split Leaf Philodendron:


Evidence of this type of infestation is tiny insects that are shaped like teardrops on the stems and leaves. To deal with an infestation of aphids, follow these steps:

  1. Spray the plant with a mixture of neem oil and soapy water
  2. Wipe down the leaves of the plant
  3. Apply neem oil to the leaves to prevent another infestation


Evidence of an infestation of mealybugs is small white spots that look like cotton on leaves and stems. To deal with an infestation of mealybugs, follow these steps:

  1. Spray a solution of alcohol and water on the leaves
  2. Rub the leaves with a cotton ball
  3. Coat the leaves in neem oil or insecticidal soap every few days

Scale Insects

Evidence of this problem is round lumps on the plant’s leaves and stems.  These lumps are usually small, round, and brown in color. To deal with an infestation of scale bugs, follow these steps:

  1. Spray them off with a hose
  2. Wipe the remainder off with neem oil and a cloth
  3. Prevent them from returning by coating the leaves with neem oil regularly

Where to Buy Split Leaf Philodendron Seeds Online

To purchase seeds to grow one of these plants, try these online shops:

Where to Buy Mature Split Leaf Philodendron Online

These plants can be purchased at either of these online shops:

Research Citations


Question: Is Split Leaf Philodendron Toxic?

Answer: Yes, these plants are very poisonous to animals and humans. They should be kept in a place where pets and children cannot reach them. Symptoms of consuming one of these plants are:
Swelling of the mouth, throat, lips, and tongue
Pain around the mouth
Difficulty swallowing and breathing
If a pet or a child has consumed any part of these plants, contact a medical professional or poison control.
Poison Control Center
Animal Poison Control
Ask a Poison Control Vet

Question: Should Split Leaf Philodendron be Pruned?

Answer: Yes, this plant can benefit from having its leaves and its roots pruned. Plus, pruning is a great time to propagate a new Split Leaf Philodendron plant.

Question: Do Split Leaf Philodendron Have Air Purifying Qualities?

Answer: Yes, most types of Philodendron plants purify the air from formaldehyde and other air pollutants.

Concluding Thoughts

Split Leaf Philodendrons are wonderfully easy plants to grow and care for. They are great plants to use to create a tropical space inside a home or in a garden. All their great features make these plants ideal for anyone.

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