Introducing: Philodendron ‘Jungle Boogie’
This plant somehow became a fixation for me this spring. Like an earworm that wouldn’t let go of my quarantine panic brain. I changed meds right before lockdown, and spent most of the summer unable to discern if they weren’t working or if the fog brain was part of my shutdown/panic response. Por que no los dos?
Ordered one online that arrived 6/11/2020. I potted it with a climbing pole (later removed) and let it acclimate on my desk.
Before I found this one, I’d been looking obsessively for a while. I loved the leaf shape and my spring 2020 panic brain just latched on to this plant.
Serendipitously, a shop a few blocks away from me advertised getting some in! My meds follow-up phone appointment was the same day/same time as the walk-in appointment I made at the shop. It was the first time I’d been out except for groceries since lockdown, and the combination of everything just melted my brain completely. I remember backing my car into a pole, leaving no damage at all but giving me a lot of weird whiplash. Why did I drive like three blocks?? Anyway, after all that, the shop had sold out -- which is for the better since their markup on these was insane and I got my rehab guatemalense monstrose instead! The one I later found online was far more reasonably priced.
Two months later and I finally noticed some growth! This has been a very slow grower for me. I bought it as a 4″ size bare root and potted it in a 4″ terra cotta pot, and it’s likely it kept drying out too much in the heat. After a week or so of acclimating on my desk, I moved it to the goth baby bench in my bedroom in front of the east window.
I love how the new growth comes in salmon pink! I had a panic fixation on these plants for like all of May, but I’m pleased to say that finally getting to grow one hasn’t dimmed my love for them.
Finally out! I picked up some nice groovy side tables at the junk store near my place in September and gave this guy a new home (same window) for a while so he could spread out more.
The leaf shape is super cute! I’m excited for this to start vining. Later into the fall I finally got hold of a few more terra cotta pots, so I decided to up-pot him into a 6″ since he was drying out far too quickly in the 4″. Its roots were growing super well!
Since up-potting, I’ve gotten one more new leaf.
This philodendron ‘jungle boogie’ is now living in the new tiered plant stand in my studio east window. I love the texture its leaves add to the display.
Can’t wait for it to get big, but it’s nice to have at least one slow-growing philodendron.
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First thing I will say is before you decide to get a new plant you should do your research on its growth habits, where it was sourced, and the climate of its natural environment. This will help give you an advantage when it comes to caring for the plant. Plants like aroids and anthurium are often imported from the tropics and have adapted to their old climate with higher humidity levels. These plants most likely are used to a lot of rain as well so they will be stressed out moving into a dryer climate. Not to mention what the plant went through in the shipping process.
After you receive your plant via mail or pick it up from the store, make sure to quarantine that plant for at least two weeks before you introduce it into your collection. This avoids introducing pests or diseases to your plants. You should double check the plant (if you can) before you buy it to make sure the plant is pest and disease free. However, aphids aren’t so easy to see at first and there could be eggs in the soil of a pest that haven’t hatched yet.
As a preventative measure I will spray my newly aquired plants with a horticultural oil or a neem oil. This really makes a difference. You can clean the leaves with castile soap and water if the leaves are dirty.
Now the thing everyone repeats when you get a new plant is ...
DO NOT REPOT!
A lot of people want to skip to this step because the plant is probably still in its nursery pot which is not as aesthetically pleasing as a fancy one you can exchange it with. If you find you are this person what you can do is get a cache pot. A cache pot is a decorative container you can place your pot in. Remember these pots usually do not have drainage holes so you must ensure that you let your plant completely drain after watering and make sure that the plant is getting enough air flow to its roots.
If the plant is rootbound, I would carefully consider repotting it. Having a rootbound plant does stunt its growth, which could be a good thing with huge Monsteras and if that is the case you can just trim the roots. Severely rootbound plants should be repotted.
DO NOT WATER
UNLESS the plant unless it is very very dry. Most likely before the seller ships the plant they have already watered it. All too often in big box stores the plants are watered by employees who are just doing their 9-5 job. They do not have a passion for plants. Thereflre, you will notice that most plants you can find in these kinds of stores are water logged. It is almost always one of two things, too dry or too wet. If the plant was delivered with out soil in sphagnum moss then obviously you would need to repot it.
DO NOT RUSH TO FERTILIZE!
When you get a new plant you need to ask when was last fertilized? If it has slow fertilizer in the soil… how long has it been there? If you are buying from a greenhouse you should assume that the plant has been fertilized and you should wait a couple of months. Most of the time plants that are to be sold are pumped with fertilizer speed up the growing process and to make sure the plant looks appealing. You do not want to over fertilize your plants because it most certainly die.
WHERE ARE THE ROOTS?
Ever repotted a new plant and notice that the plant has barely any roots? It is because a bunch got hacked off prior to shipping. Roots can heavy which makes shipping expensive. You must ensure you are being consistent with your watering cycles for the first new months. You also must be diligent in making sure that plant has a decent amount of light. Make sure the light is bright but not too hot. Light is important because it stimulates new growth in the plant. We will discuss lighting in depth in another post.
Another thing, anytime I have had a plant shipped to me I do not bet on the plant keeping the big, beautiful leaves it came with because most likely it will lose its “shipping leaves” due to it acclimating. Once your plant gets accustomed to your environment these leaves will be just as beautiful if not more because the plant has not been stressed. If the plant came with the not so nice the ugly leaf that will fall off anyway, so don’t stress it. I do not recommend cutting this leaf off.
Before/after of acclimation photos around 2 months apart. This is one of the "shipping leaves" it came with
A couple of months later a new leaf unfurling followed by its hardened state. The new leaf is much bigger than its previous shipping leaf.
You will know that your plant is acclimating effectively if you see that it has start to develop new roots, and new leaves. When this happens, you can finally relax. If your plant has no signs of growth there is usually a problem. Do some digging (literally) and see what is up with its roots. If the roots seem fine and no other issues can be found.. it could just need more time to acclimate.
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