How to Take Care of a Philodendron Selloum


The Philodendron Selloum or Bipinnatifidum plant has that uniquely tropical, groovy transmitting good vibes style that I love. Fortunately, this subtropical species is very straightforward to care for. Just keep mind some basic caring guidelines and you can be sure it will thrive.

To take care of a Philodendron Selloum keep it under indirect or moderate light exposure. Water it regularly to keep its soil moist but not soggy. This variety shows a preference for warm temperatures higher than 55 Fahrenheit (12.8 Celsius). Keep it away from the frost during winter and do not place under AC or heater vents.

Philodendron Selloum
Credits – Photo by Sara Erasmo on Unsplash

If you are wondering why this plant moves its leaves in response to light, or you would like to know how to propagate them, you’ve arrived at the right place, my friend. In this beginner’s guide to Philodendron Selloum, you will find everything you need to know.

In a rush? We recorded the following video with the main takeaways of this care guide. Check it out.

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How to Grow and Care for a Philodendron Selloum

Philodendron Selloum Basic Caring Guidelines

Like most plants that belong to the Araceae family, the main aspects you need to consider are the following:

  • Light exposure
  • Watering
  • Temperature and Humidity

Light: Not too much but not too little

Philodendron Selloum likes medium light exposure. So the perfect spot to place it is near a window or a balcony that is moderately bright throughout most of the day. 

Does Philodendron Selloums need sunlight?

It is not strictly necessary. However, you can put it in direct sunlight for less than 1 hour per day. Be mindful of this amount , as overdoing it can put the leaves at risk of burning. 

Why do the leaves and petioles from my Selloum move?

One of the coolest features of this plant is its light sensitivity and adaptability. If you have your Selloum next to a window, you will notice that one day its leaves are pointing towards one side and another day their petioles can have an entirely different direction.

Note how the central petiole rotated towards the light

The main reason for these changes in direction is due to its light response capacity. The selloum will make an effort to reach the light it needs, in order to grow evenly and healthily. 

To help, you can make their lives easier by rotating the pot every 3 to 6 weeks. This will also prevent the stem from slanting too much.

Watering: Moist but not soggy

One of the most common questions I have seen online is… 

How often should you water a philodendron Selloum? 

With the Philodendron Hope plant, you will need to keep a balance and be very mindful when it comes to watering it.

  • Check its soil and verify that the top layer is dry to the touch. Once you confirm that the dryness is positive, then…
  • Pour about 9 ounces (250 ml or 1 cup) of water gently to the bottom of the plant. Make sure the stem base gets moist.
  • Allow the soil to absorb the water before pouring more – to avoid making the soil soggy.
  • Rinse and repeat about 4 or 6 days later, once you check and notice that the soil top layer is dry once again. 

Temperature and Humidity

Selloums like warm temperatures between 55 and 85 Fahrenheit (12 and 30 degrees Celsius), which is also pretty comfortable for most humans. So if you are next to your selloum, be mindful of it whenever you feel hot or cold. 

They can pretty much resist a wind or gentle breeze but they will struggle with frost, so do not forget to bring them in or move them away from your windows during winter. 

That being said, you should avoid abrupt climate changes and direct exposure to air conditioner vents or heating airflows. 

Selloum leaves
Photo by Shiro Yamamoto on Unsplash

As a member of the Philodendron sub-family, it needs a good amount of humidity to thrive, especially when it comes to its leaves. Special caring might be needed during winter in order to avoid dry air and increased humidity. You can do this by placing your selloum near a humidifier or placing your plant on a wet pebble tray.

Philodendron Selloum Advanced Care Guidelines

In this section we will cover the following topics:

  • Pruning
  • Fertilizing
  • Potting and repotting
  • Pests and disease prevention

Pruning your Selloum

The leaves of this type of plant are beautiful. Personally I like mine to have a pretty bushy look. 

Selloum in my office

However, there are some selloum owners that prefer the stem and petioles to be more visible, and there are others that prefer to keep a certain shape and size of the plant. 

To prune your selloum follow these recommendations:

  • Feel free to remove entire leaves – just cut them off with scissors or pruners at the base of the leaf stem.
  • You can also snap off damaged or dead leaves whenever you spot them.
  • Do not forget to use gloves whenever you prune your selloum – since its leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals that could be poisonous and toxic to human skin. 

Side note for pets and babies: you should keep in mind that ingesting this plant may cause drooling and vomiting. 

Fertilizing needs

You should take it easy with fertilizers as they aren’t very necessary for a selloum to thrive. Since this is the case, you can feed it on a monthly basis and make sure to dilute the usual recommended dose. An excess in fertilizer can lead to oversalted soil and an increased risk of leaf burn. 

Potting and Repotting

In terms of pot size, selloums do well with pots with length of 8 inches (20 cms) on its three dimensions. You should only consider repotting when you notice that the roots have filled the current pot. 

Keep in mind that if you decide to repot it, the new container shouldn’t be more than 1 or 2 inches wider or deeper than the original pot. The reason for this is to prevent the leaves from drowning in the new container.

Regarding soil, your selloum will like a mix that retains moisture and is slightly alkaline. Again, you want to move away from soil mixtures that are very rich in salt.

Pests and disease prevention

The most common pests your selloum can face are:

  • Spider mites
  • Scale
  • Mealy bugs
  • Aphids

If they appear, simply spray all the plant parts with a soapy water solution. You can prevent pests from appearing by misting and wiping the leaves regularly.  Dusting can also be very beneficial to your selloum since many pests will surely make a feast when conditions are great for cobwebs or egg placement.

Can you propagate Philodendron Selloum?

Yes. You can propagate your selloum using stem cuttings. 

If you get this stunning plant, chances are that you will want a second one for your collection. Or probably a friend or a relative might want one as well. You can take advantage of a pruning session explained above and use the green leaves that you have pruned to replicate your plant for propagation (and not let them go to waste).

To propagate your selloum follow these simple steps:

  • You can cut a stem with a leaf node (roots originate from this section).
  • Then you can either repot it in a new container with soil.
  • Or you can propagate it in water by placing the cutting in a large glass with water.

If you choose the water propagation path, keep your baby selloum in a safe and warm spot. You will enjoy watching how the roots develop as days go by.  Do not forget to refill the water as it will evaporate quickly and also consider replacing the water every 3 to 4 weeks to make sure it keeps clean.  

Relevant Questions:

Can a Philodendron Selloum flower?

Yes. It may take up to 20 years for a selloum to bloom. However, it’s important to keep in mind that  blooming is not common on selloums kept as houseplants. 

Why are the leaves tips on my selloum curling?

This might be a symptom of leaf burn. You can either reduce the fertilizing dose or only use distilled water to moist the soil.

My selloum has dark green spots, what’s going on?

This might be caused by low room temperatures. So make sure to place it in a warmer spot like a window where it can get more indirect light. 

What about leaves turning pale green?

In contrast, leaves can turn very pale green when the plant requires a higher fertilizer quantity or it is getting too much direct light.

Are there any varieties of Philodendron Selloum?

There are more than 450 Philodendron varieties. 

Martin Duran

Hey y'all! My name is Martin Duran and I am from Cali, Colombia. Since 2018 I have been learning about plants and how to take care of them. Here's is my journey... “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ― John Muir

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