Not to be mistaken for the tiniest form of the chemical element, a Philodendron Atom is a subtropical plant with large, thick, glossy, dark green colored leaves.
Originating from South America, it is now becoming one of the most favored house plants because it thrives indoors, is a natural air purifier, and requires the lowest supervision. Let’s take a closer look at the care needed for a philodendron atom and how you can ensure it thrives.
Philodendron Atom plants require a moderate amount of care and can be easily grown indoors in bright, indirect light. It’s essential to keep the soil slightly moist, but not too wet, and to fertilize it once a month during the growing season.
What Is The Philodendron Atom Plant?
If you want to decorate your room with some plants, your first choice should be the philodendron atom plant. It is an excellent pick because it does not require an abundant amount of care and direct sunlight. You can place the plant anywhere, in a corner, tabletop, or near the window.
Many suggest positioning the philodendron atom plant in a south or west-facing window. The reason is to protect it from direct sunlight while at the same time ensuring that it gets a decent amount of bright indirect sunlight to help it flourish.
If you want to keep the plant outdoors, it should be under a shade and must get partial sunlight that is not sharp enough to burn the leaves.
The best thing about the plant is that it is a natural air purifier and its dark glossy leaves bring out an extraordinary decor, making your room look great.
While the philodendron atom is an easy-to-care house plant, it is not without the basic needs. Bright indirect sunlight is one of the essentials, along with watering the plant twice a week. You must bury it in a proper soil mix with special fertilizer to help it thrive.
When you are repotting the plant, you must prepare the soil. Repotting takes place almost after a year or if it has outgrown its current pot and needs a bigger one.
Origin and Classification
The philodendron atom is from South America. It is a member of the Araceae family, and Philodendron is the genus of this plant.
Genus means grouping one or more species of plants that share similar traits. To identify a species is by the specific name given to it in this case, it is Atom.
So to break it down, Philodendron is the genus, category you can call it, which groups similar species of plants. Atom is the name of the specific plant in that group. So Philodendron Atom is a plant in the Philodendron genus.
Features of Philodendron Atom Plant
The attractive leaves, beautiful color, and low maintenance are some prominent characteristics that make it a suitable indoor plant. However, some overlooked attributes should have equal importance when listing the features of the philodendron atom plant.
Let’s start with the less talked about qualities and then move on to the main ones.
1. Special Use
During my research, I stumbled across a surprisingly unique use of this plant. I was amazed by it and believed it should have the top spot when mentioning its features. The notable use of the Philodendron Atom plant is that it acts as a natural air purifier. It removes harmful chemicals and pollution from the air. So, if you want a purified atmosphere within your household, this plant is for you.
Plants don’t give any scent, but if your Philodendron Atom plant starts to give an unpleasant odor, it is an indication that the leaves are infected. Another reason could be that the root has begun to rot. An earthy smell may happen if you are repotting it.
As the name Atom suggests, it is a dwarf, a shrub. This plant species will probably grow 10 – 12 inches in length and approximately 7 – 9 inches in width. Due to its size, it can be placed near the window sill or decorated on a table.
The leaves are of glossy, dark green color and any changes in the leaves are a sign that there may be something wrong with the plant. By observing how the leaves behave, you can tell if the plant is getting enough light and water. Here are a few things you should know.
Basic Care of Philodendron Atom Plant
As mentioned above, a Philodendron Atom plant is easy to handle. It requires little supervision and is a great indoor plant because they don’t need direct sunlight.
If you are a newbie or have a busy schedule, a philodendron atom plant will be the right choice to give your house a tropical decor. Weekly checks up are enough to make sure your plant is thriving.
1. Light Requirements
The Philodendron Atom plant does not need direct sunlight because the leaves will burn. The plant requires indirect sunlight, which means the light should pass through something, filtering the rays before it reaches the plant.
Here are some ways to give your plant the low-level light it needs.
Placing your plant behind a sheer curtain.
Putting it in the shade of another plant.
Placing it in a sunny location or bright room away from direct sunlight.
The philodendron atom should not be kept in direct sunlight for more than 3 hours and a minimum of 6 hours of indirect sunlight is ideal.
2. Water Requirements
Watering the plant twice a week is sufficient. Overwatering the plant will cause the thick, green leaves to become yellow and soggy. Keep an eye on the soil. If the soil is wet or feels slightly damp, there is no need to water the plant.
An important tip to note is that you must water the soil, not the leaves because the leaves do not absorb the water.
3. Soil Requirements
The Philodendron Atom plant comes from the rainforest, so naturally, it requires a special soil mix to help it grow. The soil that you will use should contain the following properties to try and mimic its natural, tropical environment. It should be rich in nutrients, moist, well-draining and able to maintain water, and high in organic matter.
4. Temperature & Humidity
Even though it is a low-maintenance plant, it is sensitive to changes in temperature. The ideal temperature for the plant to grow is between the range of 18 – 29 degrees Celcius.
A cold environment will cause the leaves to fall and stunt the plant’s growth.
The plant thrives in humid conditions, native to the rainforests, where rainfall and the density of the trees and plants contribute to the high level of humidity. More moisture in the air is what the plant’s soil needs.
5. Drought & Disease resistance
One of the most common diseases is the root rot caused by overwatering the plant and an improper drainage system to withdraw the excess water. If you are late to stop the spread of the disease, the plant will naturally die.
Keep a light hand when it comes to watering. Check the soil moisture level before showering it with water. The pot should also come with a drainage hole.
A good fertilizer containing the necessary components such as nitrogen, potassium, calcium, etc., is helpful for the healthy growth of your philodendron atom plant.
Fertilizing the soil once a month is enough for the summers, and for the whole winter season, fertilize it twice. Over-fertilization will result in a white covering on the soil and the leaves turning brown.
7. Potting & Repotting
You do not need to pay attention to repotting the philodendron atom plant. It only needs to be repotted annually or if you see the roots poking out of the drainage hole of the current pot.
In this case, you need to purchase a slightly larger pot. Make sure the new pot is ready with fresh soil mixture and fertilizer. Don’t take too much time in repotting as the roots may go dry.
The best time to repot a philodendron atom is in the late spring or early summer.
8. Pruning Requirements
Pruning means trimming the plant. Cutting the dead or overgrown leaves, branches, and stems.
There aren’t any pruning requirements for a philodendron atom plant because of its limited growth size. If you see any dead leaves, let them fall naturally or pinch them off.
Prune the philodendron atom plant if you see an infected leaf.
How to Propagate Philodendron Atom
Propagating your philodendron atom plant is easy. There is no need to take the plant out of the pot as you will be cutting the stem. Before you begin propagating, here are a few things you need to be aware of:
You must have the required tools on hand.
The plant should be healthy, with no green or yellow leaves.
The leaves are free from pest infection.
The best time to propagate your philodendron atom plant is during the spring season when it is actively growing.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to propagate.
A couple of days before propagating, check if the soil is moist. If it looks a bit dry, give it a good drink of water, so it absorbs the nutrients.
The next thing to do is examine the plants making sure it is healthy. It should be in its prime condition. The leaves should be dark green, glossy, and free from infection.
Scan and select a healthy stem with a couple of suitable leaves, and with your pruning shears or knife, you can cut the stem. Don’t twist and pull.
Drop the stem into the jar of water. Only the stem should be underwater, not the leaves.
The stem should be getting indirect sunlight, and after every couple of days, change the water. Within a couple of weeks, you will notice that the roots have started to appear.
Once the root grows to a certain length, approximately 2 inches long, prepare a new pot to transfer the stem. Fill the pot with the correct soil and fertilizer. It must also have holes so that excess water can escape.
Common Problems Caring For Philodendron Atom
Even though it is easy to handle, there are some problems you may face when taking care of your philodendron atom plant. Luckily, most of these are common problems with quick workarounds.
1. Yellow or brown leaves
If the leaves are changing color from green to yellow or brown, it is a sign of improper irrigation. If the plant is getting too much water, the leaves will turn yellow. Brown leaves indicate that the plant needs more water or more indirect sunlight.
2. Stunned growth
The philodendron atom is a small shrub-type plant that should reach a certain height. If you believe the plant has stopped growing, it may be because of a lack of indirect sunlight. Add some good quality fertilizer as well.
3. Leaves falling off
Dropping leaves could be due to several factors such as dry air, poor quality soil and fertilizer, cold weather, and overwatering the plant. If you think any of these may be the issue then you can take steps to improve the plants environment.
4. Insect infection
If the soil is not rich with nutrients or the plant is not receiving an adequate amount of sunlight, it may become infected. The insect infection will cause the leaves to fall off, and if not taken care of, may reach the roots. Wash the leaves thoroughly and use a reliable insecticide to kill the infection.
As attractive as the Philodendron atom leaves are, they’re toxic. Its leaves contain a compound known as calcium oxalate crystals.
When ingested, the tongue, mouth, and throat may begin to swell. Additionally, they can cause diarrhea and nausea in humans and pets.
So if you have little children and pets, keep the plant out of their reach. Even the stems and petioles of these Philodendron plants are poisonous. Consider placing the plant in a high place where it can beautify your home and be accessible to adults only.
Philodendron atom plants commonly suffer from sunburn. They thrive in shady areas where there’s too much sunlight. If you expose these plants to excess sun, the tips of their leaves will burn and look dull. Keep the plants away from direct sunlight, as they need just a little light to thrive.
7. Root Rot
If you overwater your Philodendron atom plant, it may suffer from root rot. While this problem is not common, it can happen if you’re not careful.
When there’s excess water in the soil, it will become mushy. And so, it will be easier for diseases and pathogens, especially fungi, to damage the root. To prevent root rot in your Philodendron plant, create a watering schedule and stick to it.
See a similar most: Moonstone Succulent
A philodendron atom plant is easy to take care of. It does not require much space, and its beautiful, glossy leaves make it a nice living room decor.
You need to make sure that it is getting the proper amount of indirect sunlight and the right volume of water. Keep an insecticide in hand, just in case your plant has become a victim of any disease.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are philodendron atom plants rare?
It is a sub-tropical plant found in the rainforest of Brazil and Paraguay. It requires special soil to grow. For this reason, it is found in some rainforests.
Scientists have tried and failed to develop the philodendron plant locally. The philodendron atom plant does not make it into the top ten of rare philodendron species, but it is hard to come by.
How big does a philodendron atom plant get?
As the name denotes it is an atom plant and does not grow by much. It is a dwarf plant, type of a shrub with an approximate height of 10 – 12 inches. This height makes it perfect for a houseplant as it is bold and beautiful but without growing too large.
How do you care for the philodendron atom?
Use the required soil and fertilizer. Make sure it is getting the correct amount of water and indirect sunlight. It is a must to keep the plant away from direct sunlight, or the leaves will burn. If you follow the tips we’ve looked at here, you’ll have a healthy plant for many years to come.
Hey, I’m Lisa and I’ve been an avid gardener for over 30 years. I love writing, talking and living in the garden! Feel free to connect with me on my socials below