The stunning Philodendron mamei is a creeping aroid with large heart-shaped leaves with striking silver-colored variegation. The silver marks are what make this plant unusual. It looks like streaks of paint created by hand!
It is also evident that the leaves have a unique pattern of ridges and unique texture on the petiole. The portion that connects the stem to the leaf is a rich maroon red.
Its other names often refer to it: “the silver cloud or quilted silver leaf plant, or blotched the Philodendron in case you’ve come across the name.
The most comprehensive mamei philodendron care guide will teach you how to keep its gorgeous ruffled leaves and its stunning variations sparkling bright.
Quick Philodendron Mamei Care Breakdown
- Soil: Well-drained and loose. It is airy but not too heavy.
- Light Direct, Bright
- Watering: Soil should be kept damp
- Temperature: 65-80deg F (18-27degC)
- Humidity: 50-70%+
- Fertilizer: Balanced or Nitrogen rich
Philodendron Origin and Backstory
Like many philodendron species, The philodendron mamei is from the dense canopy in the South American jungles, more specifically Ecuador.
It was first discovered in 1983 by the aroid botanist Dr. Thomas B. Croat on an unpaid expedition sponsored by Missouri Botanical Garden.
It was believed that the silver clouds were terrestrial for a long time, which means they originated from the soil. Still, in the past 20 years, it has been discovered that the Philodendron mamei is epiphytic, which means it grows from the roots of organic matter or trees.
Due to its distinctive variety, it’s considered rare; however, it is abundant in the wilds of Ecuador. The continuous growth in demand globally has led to an ever-growing cost.
As for its rare index, it’s extremely rare. However, it’s not as common as the red moon of the Philodendron just to get an impression!
Philodendron Mamei Plant Care
1. Philodendron Mamei Soil Mixture
The bloom of Philodendron mamei results from an aroid-based potting mix that’s rapidly draining and rich in organic material. It typically consists of a mixture of perlite, coco coir orchid bark, worm castings, pumice, and activated charcoal.
You can buy an already-made soil mix or make your own. I recommend making it yourself using the soil recipe I’ve included below.
However, if you’re looking to reduce time and money, then the soil of Fox Farm! It’s light and encourages great growth.
Contrary to others, I do not suggest you buy Miracle Gro – every time I’ve purchased a bag, I’ve had an infestation of fungus gnats.
The mix I am using in my mamei of Philodendron (amongst other philodendrons):
- 40% coco coir
- 15 15% orchid bark
- 15 percent perlite
- 10% worm castings
- 10 10% pumice
- 10 percent activated charcoal
The main thing to remember with philodendrons is to ensure that your mix is draining and contains elements that hold some moisture.
Why This Mix Works
The philodendron mamei isn’t a fan of being either too dry or too moist. It’s about finding the right equilibrium between these two, and this breathable woody substrate mimics its natural hemi-epiphytic hemi-ep.
2. Light Requirements
Where This Plant Grows Naturally
The Global Biodiversity Information Facility states that Philodendron Mamei is naturally found in the eastern slopes of the Andes in Ecuador. More importantly, it was found to flourish in partial shade along the banks of rivers.
Recommended Light Intensity
It thrives when exposed to the 6-8 hours of indirect, warm sunshine, and you’ll notice deeper green leaves as a result of this However, don’t be frightened to place it in an area that receives one or two hours of direct, cool sunlight in the morning every day.
Contrary to what many believe, color bleaching and scorching issues only occur when plants are kept in direct sunlight for 3plus hours daily.
What is Bright, Indirect Light Exactly?
Indirect light that is bright and indirect is brighter than you believe!
Measuring light is a bit difficult, and it’s a matter of opinion. I adore and utilize my light gauge when deciding the best place to plant a plant.
It measures the total light intensity in space by measuring the footcandles (FC).
How Much Light Does This Plant Need in a Home?
The light level the plant can tolerate is 200 F(this will be the minimum) and is ideal for maintaining. To maximize development, 400-500FC is ideal.
Keeping Those Variegated Silvery Leaves Shining Bright After Purchase
If you’ve seen a flower change to solid green after being purchased from a nursery, you’re not alone.
This disturbing phenomenon is typical when plants are relocated from bright nurseries to dim household settings.
FYI, nurseries plant mamei in temperatures of 1500 to 2000 F, generally in full sunlight covered by a 20-40 Shade cloth! This is extremely luminescent.
Even with the most brilliant possible indirect sources of light, there are instances of reverting as your plant adapts to the changes in its environment.
Take a look at your light source and verify that it is bright!
Place it in a brightly well-lit area for a couple of weeks, and the variegation will return, but it is not due to the older leaves but rather to the new ones taking root.
I can’t suggest enough indoor grow lights with fluorescent bulbs for these low-light areas!
Philodendron Mameis LOVE evenly moist soil, but the most important aspect here is that it is well-drained. Soggy, waterlogged, or boggy soils can cause root rot, erwinia Blight disease, and the dreaded pseudomonas leaf spots.
It’s good that if you have the best quality potting mix, as described above, you’ll have enough drainage in the event of excessive water.
Overwatering is a complicated subject, but in essence, it’s caused by the frequency and quality of soil aeration. It’s not by the amount of water that you use.
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How to Tell When Your Plant Needs Water
Utilize a basic chopstick, insert it a few inches within the mix (away from the stem), then watch the stick once it’s been pulled out.
- The wet soil will stick to the chopstick and could result in the stick becoming darker in color
- The moist soil will have a soft texture (you’ll be able to press the stick into it)
- Dry soil will be hard and brittle. It will also be compacted, but it won’t alter the hue of the stick.
It is also possible to use the standard finger test of the knuckle. Place your finger into the potter’s mix.
You should hold off on watering if the plant is damp at the second or first knuckle. If it’s dry, you can offer your plant a nice drink.
How to Water Your Philodendron Mamei
Every plant should be watered until it is completely dry at these drainage holes. This applies to ALL plants you own, including succulents and cacti.
The water doesn’t just help keep the mixture moist, but it also pushes fresh air through the roots (ironically aiding in preventing roots from becoming rot-prone).
Be sure to fill the pot with water around the pot, not just one area also.
Remember when I mentioned that this plant results from the depths of Ecuadorian rainforests?
That means you’ll need to keep that temperature as closely as possible, and that means being warm.
Ideal Temperature Range
The Ecuadorian rainforest’s temperature base all year long is 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25degC). As a rule of thumb, anywhere between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature (18-29degC).
Anything below 55degF (12.5degC) can cause stunted growth, dying, or even death.
Since it is a tropical species, it’s not surprising that the main concern of philodendron mamei is maintaining high humidity. The plant is a humid enthusiast, considering about 50-70 percent.
This humidity level leads to thicker and more prominent leaves with more textured textures.
Increasing Humidity Levels
To boost the humidity within your home, utilize a small humidifier and then group your plants in a group.
Group plants help to create a mini-biome where plants share humidity resources’.
The Science Behind Grouping
The plant loses water from its leaves through the process of transpiration. This water vapor immediately covers the plant, increasing the area’s humidity.
When you group your plant, transpiration will increase, and the humidity levels will dramatically increase.
As opposed to their counterparts in the outdoors, house plants are not capable of getting more nutrients after all the minerals in the soils or mixes are reduced. So, a lack of fertilizer could cause a drastic reduction in growth.
Best Fertilizer for Philodendron Mamei
I recommend and use Dyna Gro (7-9-5 NPK formulation). It’s a full liquid fertilizer that has all the 16 essential nutrients your plant requires to live, which includes the three main nutrients including nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium.
It’s also low in heavy nitrogen salts and free of urea, which can alter the soil’s pH and cause root burn when over-used.
How to Fertilize Your Philodendron Mamei
Mix 1/4 teaspoon of Dyna gro with one gallon of water (4.5 liters), and then water your plant using this solution regularly throughout the summer and spring.
I feed my plant each when they receive water because it replicates how they would grow in their natural environment. In nature, the plants are fed a continuous supply of nutrients for weeks and days – they do not take a big one every month.
Alternately, you can apply an all-purpose, high-quality houseplant liquid fertilizer rich in nitrogen and employ the same method for feeding.
When to Fertilize Your Philodendron Mamei
It is recommended to fertilize in both summer and spring. Which are the most productive growing season and reduce the amount in autumn months, but stop completely during the colder winter months.
This isn’t meant to leave the plant to rest, according to many sources that they do, but rather because winter generally brings lesser light, which results in less growth. The absence of fertilization during winter reduces the chance of residual salt accumulation or burning of the roots.
Will This Fertilizing Method Burn My Plant?
That’s the appeal! Remember, we dilute the fertilizer half and the other half. Using this method, I’ve had no issues in the form of root burn.
Friendly Tips: Cheap fertilizers are filled with heavy nitrogen salts that, in large amounts, could harm the base stem and roots of your plant and even cause the plant to die.
Do Organic Fertilizers Work?
They, however, must be activated for them to begin working. Organic fertilizers require bacteria or bacteria present in the soil to begin dissolving and breaking down nutrients for plants to absorb.
It happens over a longer period, and yet they’ve been proven to enhance soil structure, assist in water flow, and come with a no-burn warranty.
Best Organic Fertilizers
I often add the extract of seaweed or fish emulsion to my plants to give them an extra boost in foliage. An Alaskan fish emulsion is a great option for those who reside in a place that allows you to take your plants outside (it’s slightly sour, so it’s not recommended to apply in your home).
So far, I’ve noticed variegated plants develop richer colors with organic fertilizers, possibly because they’re loaded with micronutrients and plant growth hormones such as cytokinins and gibberellins.
7. Growth – What Can I Expect?
The philodendron mamei, also known as the silver cloud, is a quick expander and can get to be up to 3 feet tall with leaves reaching upwards of 45 centimeters (18 inches) in length. In the outdoors, they can get even larger, with stems growing to up to 3 feet long!
Similar to most philodendrons, they’ll be dwarfed by their indoor counterparts outdoors.
Growing This Plant Outdoors – What You Need to Know
The Philo mamei can be grown successfully outdoors if you reside in US zones 9b-11 of hardiness (so consider the deep south and beyond).
If you’re in the UK, I wouldn’t suggest cultivating this plant outside (unless you’re hoping for a quick death! ).
The plant doesn’t enjoy cold temperatures, so it must be moved indoors if the temperature drops drastically (aka, the plant is overwintered).
The pH of soil outdoors is more important than on the inside, so it is best to maintain the pH within 5.6 to 7.5 (slightly neutral to slightly acidic). It is possible to test the pH of your soil with a pH tester to determine this.
Pro Tip: Develop your Philodendron Mamei on a slightly elevated slope that allows natural drainage!
8. Pruning – Should I Prune This Plant?
The huge, massive leaves and stiff, thick branches are self-heading, so they don’t require frequent pruning to grow or remain clean. I only prune leaves when they’re damaged or diseased, or affected.
It’s easy, but ensure that you pot the plant into a container that is equipped with drainage holes that are large enough to accommodate the present root systems. Contrary to what people believe, this plant can handle (maybe might even like) as a rootbound plant.
Furthermore, planting in a larger pot does not encourage the growth of leaves, but roots grow.
In addition, the presence of more soil dramatically increases the risk of root decay!
When you refill your pots every 2 to 3 years, increase the pot’s dimensions by at least 2-3 inches.
How do you Propagate your Philodendron Mamei?
I’ve had mixed experiences with the propagation of philodendron mamei. It’s likely because it’s a self-heading species of Philodendron that is notoriously challenging to reproduce outside of the tissue culture process and seed propagation.
Certain people see its root very quickly, while others get poor results. Air layering and stem cuttings are the most efficient methods I’ve tested.
A friend of mine has an exclusive nursery for rare aroids. She has tried the technique of tissue culture many times. It’s certainly not a novice-friendly method, however, and it’s not always able to create a mamei with the distinctive silver streaks.
Philodendron Mamei Propagation Methods – Step by Step
Cutting your plant could be very scary, but don’t be afraid. This is an easy process. I’ll take you through the process step-by-step.
Friendly Tips: Propagating at the beginning of spring which is at the start of the growth cycle, gives the likelihood of developing strong and healthy roots.
Method #1 – How to Take a Stem Cutting
- Choose a healthy plant or branch with 2-3 nodes. Nodes are tiny junctions of aerial roots that grow into the leaf.
- If you have a good pair of pruning scissors, take the stem and cut it to the point above the node.
- Make a small pot with perlite and sphagnum, which is moist and moist. The MossMoss must be moist but not completely soaked.
- Cut the fresh stem/aerial roots in an endocrine solution or powder. It’s not required. However, I have found it beneficial.
- The stem should be planted in the potting mix that you’ve made (2-3 inches deep into the mixture). The nodes need to be covered by the mix, as that’s where the roots will come from.
- The rest portion of your pot perlite and spag moss mix.
- Put it in a space that receives bright indirect light.
- As usual, water.
Roots develop quite quickly when you are using mamei. Within a couple of weeks, you will see roots beginning to develop.
When the roots are about 1-inch (3cm) long, the plant can be moved to a larger container with more soil mix.
Method 2 How to Air Layer your Philodendron
The method of air layering works best for mature, established plants.
- Find older established aerial roots, which are well-established, shooting from an established node.
- Make sure you get some wet sphagnum moss. Wrap this around the healthier node using roots.
- Utilizing a clear plastic bag, seal it with the food wrap and wrap it completely around the node and MossMoss. Be sure not to get any leaves inside the wrap.
- If you have used a plastic bag, you’ll require a zip tie to hold it in place. Seal and press food wrap will tape itself up quite easily (I’ve always found it to be more simple! ).
- Keep the top and bottom seals open. New roots prefer to sink downwards, allowing them to achieve this without getting tangled up.
- Thoroughly mist the sphagnum MossMoss by opening the top of the plastic bag daily. This prevents the MossMoss from becoming compact and drying out. Don’t let the ball of MossMoss dry out.
- Give it a couple of weeks to see new roots form. Are there no roots visible? Do not worry; just do not cut the plant and try again. Air layering is a 100 100% safe and secure propagation method, which is why.
- Take care to remove the plastic wrap and a bit of the MossMoss from the new roots. Make sure that your new roots appear healthy!
- Cut the stem to just below the new roots using clean scissors.
- Put the stem in an abundant potting mix.
That’s it! I like the air layering method since there is less risk. The plant is cut only after the roots have grown but not before.
Common Pests & Diseases to Watch Out For
The philodendron mamei is a highly resilient plant dealing with insects. Fortunately, it’s not susceptible to any specific. The top suspects to look out for include:
- Mealybugs are white, unarmed sap-sucking bugs with a round shape
- Scale – yellow, white, or orange sucking bugs of sap
- Thrips are tiny thin brown, orange or red bugs that consume sap
- Spider mites are tiny, yellowish sap-sucking bugs that create an incredibly thick webbing
- Erwinia Blight Disease – wet lesion that looks mushy on leaves and stems
How to Treat Bug Infestations & Diseases
Mealybugs are treated by trimming and dabbing a rubbing alcohol-soaked cotton swab onto the affected areas.
Spider mites can be removed by cutting down infested areas before spraying foliage with the oil of Neem dilute in water.
When treating minor infestations, Scale is well-responsible for pruning and rubbing alcohol. For more extensive infestations, you’ll likely have to remove the plants (sorry).
Thrips can be treated with pruning or a diluted Neem oil treatment.
Neem oil is an organic oil that comes from India and, when it is pressed, contains natural insecticidal properties. Even when diluted, it’s robust and will perform the job.
Erwinia Blight disease. However, it’s much easier to avoid than treat. It’s a bacterial disease that requires moisture to propagate and is caused by excessive watering and misting.
It is usually found under the soil, and it can grow to the leaves and stems in a matter of days.
Cut the affected leaves, replace mixing the mix for potting, limit the amount of watering, and permit space between plants to allow for rapid drying of the leaves.
However, bactericides like copper sulfate have proven ineffective in treating erwinia Blight. If the disease is spreading to a lot of leaves or a large portion of the stem, then it’s to be intractable.
Toxicity – Is This Plant Toxic?
Yes. Yes. The philodendron mamei may harm infants and pets, including canines and felines. Its leaves are laced with calcium oxalate crystals, which, when consumed, can create swelling in the mouth, esophagus, and GIT.
Help! What’s Wrong With My Plant? – Common Philodendron Mamei Problems
Wilting and Yellowing Leaves
The yellowing, wilting leaves could simply mean that your plant is adapting to the new surroundings – changing the previous growth to new as it adjusts.
Sometimes, it could indicate excessive watering or root rot gaining traction. Look at the bottom of the plant right away for mushy, black, and smelly roots.
Suppose you notice that root rot; I’d suggest trying to save a few of the cuttings to propagate the cuttings. If you suspect overwatering is the cause, make sure to change the soil as fast as possible to stop it from settling in excessively moist soil.
Only One Leaf is Turning Yellow
It could be a sign of root rot, so be cautious when you take cuttings. This could be a sign that it’s stressful, even at the beginning of the process.
A single leaf turning yellow may signify pests, too direct, bright sunlight, or maybe a magnesium nutritional deficit.
If you’ve recently propagated or repotted, it could be a temporary response to being removed.
If it spreads to other leaves quickly, look at your roots to see if they are rotten. Decay.
Wet, Mushy Patches on the Leaves
It could be an Erwinia blight illness, or Pseudomonas leaves the spot. Infections with bacteria can cause patches and soil to smell foul. Both diseases require moisture to grow.
Change the potting mix immediately and let the plant dry a bit but hold off watering and trim off any infected leaves. Fungicides or bacteria don’t tend to help with these kinds of diseases.
Browning Edges or Brown Leaves
This could indicate that your plant is exposed to too much direct, bright sunlight or is being submerged. The plants that have been underwatered are more likely to have curly leaves.
Pale Leaf Color/Losing Variegation
Change your plant’s location to a brighter spot. Plants in dim lighting will attempt to adapt to the sunlight, resulting in leggy, weak stems. This is known as etiolation, or phototropism within the world of botany.
The stress may cause leaves to lose their color, typically yellow or white.
The absence of that distinctive deep green color with silvery white patches signifies your mamei’s not getting enough sunlight.
Stems Look Leggy
This is an ‘extended’ plant naturally. It’s not compact in any way, particularly when it grows. It has protruding, long stems that can climb when given the opportunity.
It’s not an issue; in fact, it can be an indication that your plant is in good health. If legginess is evident with pale green leaves and a pale leaf, it’s most likely that the issue is due to the plant’s exposure to the shade of low light.
FAQ – Common Questions About the Philodendron Mamei
Should I Provide a Support For My Philodendron Mamei to Grow?
Yes, you can. However, they’re self-heading, which means they’re made to stand up in their own right as they grow older.
However, using steel sticks and a few ties to help prop the massive leaves up can help support the smaller stems. It’s entirely up to you.
Does the Philodendron Mamei Purify and Clean the Air?
In a way, Yes. A 1990 NASA study discovered that having philodendrons alongside other plants around the home, about 15-18 in total, could eliminate tiny amounts of commonly-used toxins in the air, e.g., formaldehyde benzene.
Is the Philodendron Mamei Rare?
The philodendron mamei was once thought to be a very expensive and scarce plant; however, thanks to the tissues culture propagation utilized by botanists and professional nursery owners, it has increased in popularity, even though it’s still considered to be a rare aroid due to the huge demand for the plant in all of.
Can you grow the Philodendron Mamei using Seeds?
This is the method employed by professional nursery growers. However, it is not used by home or hobby growers.
It’s a complicated procedure that will most likely fail if not properly controlled by lab conditions. For seeds to be used, the philodendron mamei has to bloom, and when it’s planted indoors, it is unlikely to.
For those who love plants and live at home, the air layering technique has an incredible chance of success.
Philodendron Mamei in comparison to Sodiroi What’s their difference?
The philodendron mamei plant is an herb that creeps while it is a climber. The Philodendron Sodiroi is a climber. Creepers are great groundcovers and can get very big.
Philodendron sodiroi, on the one hand, is small in size and taller than wide.
The only thing in common between the Silver Cloud plant and silver leaf philodendron is the leaf shape and the stunning silvery marks.
Philodendron Mamei and Plowmanii What’s different?
The most noticeable difference between them is that the mamei Philodendron has silver variegation patterns, while the Plowmanii Philodendron does not. Plowmaniis also have thick leaves with a more fine texture and petioles.
Philodendron Mamei vs. Silver Cloud – What’s the Difference?
There’s no difference between the mamei philodendron plant and that of the silver cloud. It’s the same plant, but with a different name.
How Can I Make My Philodendron Mamei look more full?
To keep the philodendron mamei’s leaf appearing bright and vibrant, you’ll have to place it in a spot that receives plenty of bright, indirect sunlight. The primary reason the plant appears lacking is the lack of light.
The higher humidity can also result in bigger, more expansive leaves, as do a constant flow of nutrients.
A nitrogen-based fertilizer enriched with micronutrients may help increase the overall growth of foliage.
Can I Mist my Philodendron Mamei?
I do not spray my plants. Based on the findings of this University of Illinois study, misting isn’t doing much to improve humidity or the plant’s general well-being and could cause future problems.
The misting caused by over-misting can lead to the well-known erwinia blight illness, also known as Pseudomonas leaves the spot. It’s best to correct the root of the issue, e.g., an absence of moisture.
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Tochukwu is an experienced gardener and blogger for over 10 years. With the love he has for gardening, he decided to turn it into a daily business and offers advice on how to grow vegetables in Nigeria. His freelance work has brought him to produce significant research and ecological advice that is used globally. He is the author of Urban Gardening.