Philodendron Selloum is a unique houseplant that looks and grows like a tree. Its common name, “Tree Philodendron,” reflects this. Its foliage has deep dissects that even resemble oak leaves. When the leaves get large enough, they have a charming arch, making this an excellent accent plant for the corners of rooms.
Since this plant is beloved for its unique foliage, it can be disheartening to see the leaves change from green to yellow. Even worse, once the leaves change yellow, they must be pruned, leaving your plant looking sparse.
Philodendron Selloum leaves may turn yellow due to overwatering, underwatering, nutrient deficiency, or natural shedding.
Before you can fix your yellow leaf problem, you’ll need to diagnose the issue. We’ll take a look at all these conditions in detail.
What Do Yellow Leaves on a Philodendron Mean?
If there are only a few yellow leaves on your plant, don’t worry. Most issues that cause yellow leaves can be easily fixed. Look out for any of the following issues with your Philodendron Selloum.
Philodendron Selloum is a tropical plant, so it enjoys plenty of moisture. This variety of Philodendron likes to have constantly moist soil to satisfy its need for high humidity.
However, it’s possible to overdo it with water. If your Philodendron Selloum does not have a pot with good drainage, all that water has nowhere to go. One of the first signs of stress from overwatering is that the leaves turn yellow. Next, the roots begin to rot and suffocate the plant, so it can’t receive water or nutrients.
Root rot can be serious and challenging to reverse. You should check the drainage at the first sign of yellow leaves and ensure your Philodendron’s roots aren’t sitting in water. If your pot doesn’t already have a drainage hole, consider switching to one that does.
Believe it or not, underwatering has almost the same effect as overwatering. Water is a vital source of nutrients like magnesium, sodium, and calcium for a plant. When your Philodendron Selloum doesn’t receive enough moisture, it becomes deficient in these vital nutrients. This lack of nutrients causes the plant to produce less chlorophyll, so leaves lose their green color.
The lack of water compounds the issues by drying out the leaves. A characteristic of underwatered plants is that the leaf edges become crispy and brown.
Feel the soil with your fingers if you’re unsure whether the issue could be overwatering or underwatering. Since the top layer tends to dry quickly, poke about 2-3 inches (5-7 cm) down into the soil to get the most accurate reading.
We already know that overwatering and underwatering can lead to nutrient deficiencies and yellow leaves. But even if you water your plant perfectly, it can still suffer from nutrient deficiencies due to a lack of fertilizer.
Philodendron Selloum needs soil high in organic material to help fertilize the plant. An example of a suitable soil mix for Philodendron Selloum is 1/3 compost for nutrients, 1/3 perlite, and 1/3 coco coir for aeration.
You can also feed Philodendron Selloum a balanced 20-20-20 fertilizer during its growing season (spring and summer). Avoid fertilizing in the fall and winter. Philodendrons are less active in the colder months, so the unused salt in the fertilizer may burn the leaves.
Natural Leaf Shed
Yellow leaves aren’t always a cause of concern. Sometimes, leaves turn yellow and shed as a natural part of the plant’s growth cycle. If you notice some of your older leaves yellowing, it may just be that your Philodendron is redirecting its energy toward producing new growth.
Often a plant will start to produce stronger and bigger leaves as it matures. Dropping those older leaves will help make way for healthier new leaves.
Should I Remove Yellow Leaves from Philodendron?
Yellow leaves can make your plant appear unhealthy, even if the rest of the foliage is nice and green. In general, it’s safe to remove any yellow leaves. Yellow leaves can become scorched if left intact.
A yellow leaf is essentially a dying leaf, and dying leaves attract diseases and pests. So to keep your plant healthy, you should prune dying leaves as soon as you see them.
Can Yellow Philodendron Leaves Turn Green Again?
Unfortunately, once a leaf changes to yellow, it won’t be able to turn green again.
A yellow leaf is an early sign that the leaf is dying. The lack of chlorophyll in a dying leaf causes the yellow color to appear in the first place. Once a leaf has lost its chlorophyll, the mother plant will simply let the leaf die. From then on out, the plant will simply reap as many leftover nutrients it can from the leaf until it drops.
In very rare cases of nutrient deficiency, the leaf may be able to change back to green. But in general, once the green disappears, there’s no going back.
Philodendron Selloum Care
The type of soil you use and the amount of water you give your plant can make a huge difference. Here’s a rundown of the care requirements of Philodendron Selloum so you can keep your plant as healthy as possible!
Can Selloum Survive Full Sun?
Philodendron Selloum is a unique houseplant that can tolerate full sun throughout the day. It is native to tropical and subtropical South America and typically grows in the forest or beside rivers and roads.
Houseplant cultivars have been developed to tolerate periods of shade and direct sunlight. The best lighting situation for Philodendron Selloum is bright indirect light. Place this plant in a room with a south-facing window, and it will be happy.
How Do You Water a Selloum Plant?
Remember that the amount of water your Philodendron Selloum needs will depend on how much sun it receives. If your Philodendron Selloum receives sunlight from a south-facing window, you can start watering your plant once a week. Water your plant slowly so the roots can absorb the moisture rather than drain it to the bottom.
The best way to gauge when to water your plant is to feel the soil. If the soil is wet to the touch, wait a few days and check again. If the top inch of soil is dry to the touch, go ahead and water it.
Philodendron Selloum Soil Mix
Philodendron Selloum prefers slightly alkaline soil and won’t tolerate too acidic or salty soil. This tropical plant prefers moist soil, so you must ensure enough drainage to prevent root rot. Since this plant grows to staggering heights of 6 feet (1.8 m) or more, the soil should have the correct density to hold the roots in place.
With these considerations in mind, the best soil for Philodendron Selloum is a mix of ⅓ compost, ⅓ perlite, and ⅓ coco coir.
If your soil isn’t retaining enough moisture, you can swap out the coco coir for sphagnum moss. The sphagnum moss is excellent at retaining water and will help aerate your soil too. And unlike slightly acidic peat moss, sphagnum moss has a neutral pH.
Avoid soil additions like coffee grounds. Coffee grounds are acidic and may burn the Philodendron Selloum leaves.
Don’t be dismayed if you see yellow leaves on your Philodendron Selloum. Yellow leaves are a warning sign to tell you there might be something wrong with your plant. Philodendron Selloum leaves may turn yellow due to overwatering, underwatering, nutrient deficiency, or natural shedding.
The most common cause of yellow Philodendron Selloum leaves is overwatering, and the second most common cause is underwatering. Both result in your plant not getting the water and nutrients it needs, which causes leaves to die. A nutrient deficiency due to poor soil or insufficient fertilization can also cause green leaves to turn yellow.
Your Philodendron Selloum may also just be shedding old leaves as a part of its natural life cycle. And if this is the case, be glad that your plant is thriving and doing its job!