Hope Philodendron (Philodendron Selloum): Facts, How to Grow and Plant Care

The Hope philodendron comes from South America. Part of the aroid plant group, plants in this family usually feature dramatic foliage and unusually shaped flowers. 

Hope philodendrons are a perfect houseplant as they’re fairly easy to care for, and soften any home with their huge, ornamental leaves, and give off tropical vibes (see also Philodendron Silver Sword Care Guide).

Read on to discover how to care for this plant, and how to make it thrive.

What is a Hope Philodendron?

You might have heard of philodendrons, as they’re popular plants grown indoors in most places.

The genus name Philodendron consists of two Greek words. “Philo” translates to love, and “dendron” means tree, so the name means “tree loving”.  

Originally, the scientific name for the hope philodendron was Philodendron bipinnatifidum, but it has been reclassified as Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum. 

Plants are often reclassified as different species are discovered, and we learn more about the plants, though they are still referred to as their previous names. 

It also carries the common names of the lacy tree philodendron, and the horsehead philodendron. 

The evergreen leaves can grow as long as 1.5 meters, which grow outward from a much smaller base. 

As they’re highly ornamental, they’re also used as cut foliage to give arrangements a tropical touch. 

As the plant matures, the base becomes more trunk-like.

Does The Hope Philodendron Flower?

Yes. But like the bird of paradise plant, you’ll have to wait for the plant to mature, which can be a very long time. 

In the case of a hope philodendron, this will be when the plant is 15 or 16 years old. 

Flowers are a nice bonus to this plant, as they produce beautiful leaves which add an architectural feel to any house, all through their lives.

Flowers grow on a spadix inflorescence, hidden under the huge leaves.

Is A Hope Philodendron Toxic?

While philodendrons are popular houseplants, you need to be aware that most types are toxic to pets and humans. 

They contain calcium oxalate crystals, which cause skin irritation, and as a defense mechanism, swell the throat and the tongue to stop you eating any more of the plant.

Keep them out of reach of curious mouths, paws, or fingers.

How to Care of a Philodendron Selloum

While a hardy variety of philodendrons, caring for a philodendron selloum can be tricky if you don’t know what the plant needs.

Get the most out of your hope philodendron with these tips.

How Much Sun Does a Hope Philodendron Need?

The amount of sunlight a hope philodendron needs can be tricky. On the one hand, too much light will make older leaves turn yellow or a pale green. 

Too little light will cause the plant to become leggy – to stretch toward the light – and lose its beautiful appearance. 

It prefers bright to medium indirect light, but it can also adapt to deep shade where it needs to.

So the best thing to do is to put it somewhere that you like the look of – if it shows signs of distress, move it into a different spot. 

How Often Should I Water A Hope Philodendron?

Some philodendrons prefer moist soil, and the hope philodendron is no different. 

Roots of this plant are sensitive to being overwatered, so as a rule, don’t water it more than once a week. Check the top two inches of the soil – if that’s dry, it wants some water.

What is the Best Temperature and Humidity for Hope Philodendron?

To produce the best leaves, hope philodendrons need warm temperatures that mimic its natural growing conditions. It needs a warm and humid environment, between 70-85 °F. 

If your house is particularly dry, mist the leaves to help raise the humidity.

What is the Best Growing/Potting Media for a Hope Philodendron?

A hope philodendron needs  rich, well-draining soil, which is slightly alkaline. It should not contain salt, as this can harm the plant.

You can grow it in 100% sphagnum peat moss, from a licensed and sustainable source.

Do Hope Philodendrons Need Fertilizer?

Only in bright light conditions. It will stop any nutrient deficiencies in the plant, as too much light will mean it will try to grow faster.

If the plant already looks stressed by the wrong conditions, and you feed it, this can make the plant worse. The wrong type of fertilizer can cause the leaves to yellow. 

Too much fertilizer will make salt build up in the soil, and can cause the tips of the leaves to burn. 

If you’re sure your plant wants feeding, use a foliage plant fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen.

Do Hope Philodendrons need Pruning?

You can prune back your hope philodendron, if it’s gotten too big for your space, or if you want the plant to produce bushy growth. 

Once the plant matures and develops what looks like a trunk, you can cut back the lower leaves to make it look more like a tree.

They will tolerate hard pruning, unlike some houseplants.

Don’t forget to wear gloves while handling your hope philodendron, as it is toxic. 

Common Pests and Diseases that affect a Hope Philodendron


Aphids and mealybugs are the biggest villains when it comes to pests affecting hope philodendrons. 

You can recognize their reign of terror by the leaves growing a cottony, white residue, yellow spots, or rumpled new growth. 

Your best lines of defense are to pick them off with tweezers, with cotton swabs soaked in alcohol, or rinsing them off with a shower head (in your bathroom, preferably!)

You can also use neem oil, as an organic way of getting rid of pests. It’s worth patch testing this though on a leaf, and waiting 24 hours to make sure it won’t burn your plant. 


Root rot is probably the biggest killer of a hope philodendron, so make sure not to overwater the plant to prevent this, and check the condition of the soil before you water it. 

Bacterial blight can also affect a hope philodendron. The first sign of bacterial blight is green spots on the leaves, and these leaves will eventually rot. 

Remove any infected leaves to avoid the blight from spreading.

To prevent bacterial blight, don’t water a hope philodendron from above, only at the base where you water the least amount of leaves as possible.

To keep your philodendron happy, clean the leaves with a slightly damp cloth to free them of dust, and to allow the plant to grow properly.

How to Propagate a Hope Philodendron

There are several ways to propagate a hope philodendron. You can grow them from seed, you can take cuttings by the stem tip, or even through the basal offshoots.

To take a stem tip cutting, find a stem with at least two leaf nodes, and cut a portion of the tip off.

You can then pop the stem cutting in water, or directly into soil, whichever you prefer.

To propagate a basal offshoot, cut off the offshoot from the plant, and pot it on in a separate pot.

Hope philodendrons are great plants which add a lot of tropical, ornamental value into your home, and don’t require heavy staking like Monsteras do, making them a great option to help evolve your great indoors. 

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