Philodendron rugosum: The Care, Propagation, and Watering Guide You Need

The Philodendron plants have become immensely popular because of their low maintenance and fascinating foliage. There are hundreds of species of these green beauties, and they are one of the most-loved indoor houseplants grown. As a result, a wide variety is available, from the most common greens to the rarest, mesmerizing ones. One of the rare plants that has grown in demand on the market is the Philodendron rugosum plant, commonly known as the Pigskin Philodendron. Learn more about this very peculiar yet ravishing plant below.

Philodendron rugosum plant

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Philodendron rugosum Profile

General Information

Philodendron rugosum is a rare philodendron that originates from the lush rainforests of Ecuador. This tropical plant was reported to grow in the elevation of 3000 to 5000 feet at the Andes Mountain. It belongs to the Araceae family with a hemiepiphyte life cycle.

The ravishing Philodendron is commonly called the Pigskin Philodendron due to its leaves’ peculiar texture and shape. The leaves are thick and leathery and have a hide-like, wrinkly texture, making them look like pig ears. Hence, the common name Pigskin.

  The rare plant was first described only in 1983, but since its growing commercial importance, it has been reported to be near endangered in the wild.

Etymology

The name “philodendron” comes from the Greek words “philo”, meaning “love” and “affection”, and “dendron,” meaning tree. So the Philodendron is loosely translated as “tree huggers” with these meanings. This is because they are often seen in the wild as tree climbers.

The species name “rugosum” comes from the Italian word “ruga” which means wrinkled. This is due to the unique texture of its foliage.

Flowering

The Philodendron rugosum produces an inflorescence called a spadix, consisting of a leaf-like spathe and an anthurium-like spadix. The flowering season of the Pigskin Philodendron dramatically depends on the location and the environmental conditions.

Season of Interest and Purchasing

Philodendrons grow actively during the spring and summer seasons. Therefore, it is during these seasons that they are best purchased. Commercially, they are available worldwide.  

Growth

Pigskin Philodendron grows quickly if given the right growing conditions, such as temperature and humidity. These plants can grow up to six to fifteen feet tall, and their leaves can grow over 8 inches long.

Rugosum is a climber, so its growth pattern is upward rather than along the surface. Therefore, a moss or coir pole is recommended to be given to this plant to grow on.

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Philodendron rugosum Overview

Scientific namePhilodendron rugosum
Common name/sRugosum, Pigskin Philodendron, Naugahyde Philodendron, Sow’s Ear Plant
FamilyAraceae
Growth HabitHerbaceous, Vine
Height and Spread6-15 feet in height, and 8 inches in leaf length
Classification based on life cyclePerennial
Origin and DistributionOriginated from Ecuador
Climate ZoneGenerally mild climate
USDA Plant Hardiness ZoneUSDA Zone 10-11
ColorEvergreen leathery leaves with hide-like texture

Care Tips

Light Requirement 

The Pigskin Philodendron loves partial sun and dappled shade. However, this plant also prefers bright indirect light. This type of light makes your foliage more healthy and vibrant. 

When indoors, the light requirement of this plant is best met when placed in an eastern facing window to receive adequate light throughout the entire day. As always, may it be indoors or outdoors, avoid direct sunlight as it burns the plant’s foliage. Intense sunlight is a no-no for Philodendrons. 

Too little light also induces stunted growth in your Philodendron rugosum.

Temperature Requirement

Since Rugosum is a tropical plant, it prefers warmer climates and does not do well in cold temperatures. It will have frost damage when put in a low-temperature environment for a very long time. The ideal temperature range of this plant is from 55 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not exceed this temperature, or your plant will get burnt.

Water Requirement

The watering requirement of Rugosum differs from other Philodendrons. The pigskin Philodendron loves having moist soil at all times. So you don’t let the top couple of inches of soil dry out completely to keep this plant alive and thriving.

However, you always ensure that perfect watering balance between having moist and overwatered soil. The pigskin philodendron does not like to be overwatered. Plus, overwatering causes root rot in plants. To ensure that it is adequately watered, use bottom watering by soaking the pot in water instead of watering from the top.

Once a week watering is enough for these plants. However, it depends on your location, so make sure to observe and tweak accordingly. Increase the watering to 2-3 times a week in summer and spring.

Humidity Requirement

Philodendrons are remarkably resilient in terms of humidity and can withstand the normal humidity level. However, by increasing the humidity, the plant will be encouraged to grow bigger leaves. To keep them healthy and growing, maintain a 60% or above level.

However, maintaining high humidity throughout your home is tough. Therefore, a good misting now and then is recommended. The use of a humidifier will also help achieve the desired moisture level. Ensure to replicate its tropical rainforests natural habitat.

Soil Requirement

The Philodendron rugosum needs a proper soil mix for it to thrive. Like most Aroids, a well-draining, fresh soil mix that is airy yet not too loose is suitable for this Philodendron. This is achieved by mixing the usual aroid mix with orchid bark, perlite, and peat. This type of potting soil will help the plant provide good aeration to the roots and proper drainage since it prevents waterlogging.

There are a lot of issues that are initially caused by inefficient soil mix. Therefore, using the right potting mix for your Philodendron plant is necessary. Aside from the mixture above, you can also add charcoal or gravel to keep the soil acidity at optimum. Sphagnum moss is also a great addition to your plant mix.

The right soil acidity for rugosum is slightly acidic. You can obtain this by mixing the potting soil with one part orchid bark, one third orchard bark, on one third soil base.

Fertilizer Requirement 

Plants require complete and adequate nutrition to maintain their healthy development. For Rugosum, once a month feeding in spring and summer is recommended. This is because they are actively growing during these times and benefit from prolific feeding. However, during fall and winter, decrease the feeding frequency to every six to eight weeks.

Liquid organic fertilizer or slow-releasing nutrient rich fertilizer is the most acceptable type to use. Dilute them to half the strength to avoid chemical burn. Feed them after watering.

Space Requirement

The Pigskin Philodendron is quite a huge plant that can grow up to six to fifteen in height, depending on its environment. It is also a climbing plant, thus the need for something to let the plant grab onto. With this growth pattern, the plant requires larger space than most Philodendrons.

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Growing and Planting Tips

Growing and Planting Tips

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Propagation

There are many ways to propagate Rugosum. However, the most common method for Philodendron rugosum propagation that ensures a high success rate is through stem-cutting propagation. It can be done using water or directly to the soil.

To propagate using stem cuttings, choose a branch with at least one node. If aerial roots are present, it is a better option since they transform into normal roots when put into a growing medium. Put the cutting into the desired growing medium and allow it to develop roots for two weeks or more.

If you are using soil, make sure to mix your soil with vermiculite and moisten it before putting the cutting. On the other hand, if you are going via water propagation, choose a container with a proper size that the water will cover the node. Retain only two leaves in the stem and place them in a well-lit area. 

Pruning

Pruning is not necessary for most Philodendrons. But if you want to control the growth and shape of your plant, prune it using a pair of clean, sharp scissors or even a knife. 

 You can prune your pigskin philodendron during the growing season to increase blooming success. This also helps direct any energy and nutrients toward the development of new foliage.

Potting and Repotting

Philodendrons tend to be fast growers. Check your plant every year for repotting. The presence of roots peeking out from the drainage holes is a good sign that your plant is ready to be placed in a larger pot.

Philodendron rugosum Care

LightBright indirect light, dappled shade
TemperatureIntermediate to warm, 55-90 degrees Fahrenheit
WaterOnce a week, increased in summer, decreased in winter
SoilAiry, well-draining soil; not too loose
FertilizationRegular household fertilizer, once a month
SpacePlenty of space to climb
PropagationVia stem cutting propagation
BloomingRarely blooms, enough sunlight and maturity needed
PruningRegular pruning 
PottingRegular potting mix, use of peat, charcoal, perlite and orchid bark is recommended

Problems and Troubleshooting

Philodendron rugosum problems

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Overwatering 

Overwatered Philodendrons usually have yellowing leaves. This is the first indicator and a warning sign that you need to rectify your watering frequency. It could also help if you check the soil of your plant. If the soil gets easily waterlogged, replace the soil with an airy and well-draining type to remedy the problem.

Check also the roots and see if it is rotting. Usually, overwatering is the main culprit of root rot. This is a severe problem for plants and needs to be remedied immediately. 

Underwatering

Underwatered Philodendron rugosum usually has wrinkled leaves with brown and crispy edges and tips. In addition, dried-up and dead leaves are often seen at the bottom of the underwatered plants. Depending on the severity of the problem, this can be corrected by having the plant drenched in water and adjusting the watering schedule as needed.

Nutrient Deficiency 

When a plant is not able to get the proper amount of essential nutrients necessary for growth and development, nutrient deficiency occurs. This is often characterized by stunted growth of roots and leaves, yellowing and browning of leaf tips and surfaces, and purplish hues, among many others.

If your plant shows any of these symptoms, feed your plant when necessary. Once a month feeding during spring and summer, and once every six to eight weeks during fall and winter is recommended to ensure proper nutrients are given to the plant. Keep the soil pH at its optimum too to facilitate nutrient uptake.

Flowering Problems

Philodendrons rarely bloom and do not have a regular flowering season. However, to ensure that your plant blooms, maintain the right environment and feed it as necessary. Adequate sunlight is also very crucial as the genes responsible for flowering are light-activated.

Philodendron rugosum Pests and Diseases

Common Pests/DiseasesSymptomsTreatment and Prevention

Common diseases include crown rot, stem rot, root rot, leaf spot, fungal diseases, and Xanthomonas infection
Yellowish rimming around black or dark brown spots on leaves
Avoid overwatering. Keep soil dry. Avoid too high humidity.Proper ventilation is needed around the plant. Remove infected parts of fungal infections to avoid spreading
Common pests include mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, and scales


Visible insects on the surfaceSpray plant with warm, soapy water. If infestation is present, use insecticide or neem oil. Use diatomaceous earth. 

Problems with People and Animals

Toxicity

Philodendron rugosum contains calcium oxalate crystals in their stems and leaves like all Aroid. These crystals are toxic when ingested and cause irritation and swelling to the throat. 

In severe conditions, it could block the air passage, causing difficulty in breathing and swallowing. It can even lead to death in the worst situations. So it is crucial to keep them out of your children and pets.

Philodendron Plants Meaning and Symbolism

Many Philodendrons are grown as ornamental and indoor plants. The name derives from the Greek words Philo-, or “love, affection,” and dendron, or “tree.” With these translations, the plants symbolize affection and love for nature. They are good gifts to people who love nature and advocate for eco-friendly living. The plants also represent personal growth.

Philodendron leaves were used by Pablo Picasso in his work “Woman in the Garden”. The leaves are seen with the nymph Daphne in the artwork.

Philodendron rugosum Symbolism and Meaning

General Meaninglove of nature, passion for eco-friendly living
Symbolismpersonal growth
Cultural Significanceused by Pablo Picasso in his work “Woman in the Garden”

Landscaping and Gardening Ideas

Landscaping and Gardening Ideas

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Companion Plants

Philodendron rugosum is pretty durable and will pair nicely together with other Philodendrons. Pigskin philodendron plants should be grown among other Araceae family members because they all require the same level of care.

Philodendrons go well with other Philodendron plants. Consider using bird of paradise, areca palms, fire spike, heliconia, variegated arboricola, croton, chenille plant, and pentas to plant along with Rugosum. The colors of these plants, mainly warm oranges and reds, will complement the foliage color of Rugosum perfectly.

Landscaping Ideas

Medium-sized Philodendrons go well as accents inside a humid room or a cozy deck or patio. An entire plant can also be placed in the corner of the house or along the entryway. Outdoors, it can be a filler plant for a garden corner, in between palm trunks, or under tall trees. It can also be placed near pools to add even more tropical vibes as long as it won’t get splashed.

What to plant withOther Aroids, Bird of Paradise, Areca Palms, Fire Spike, Heliconia, Variegated Arboricola, Croton, Chenille Plant, Pentas
What NOT to plant withBasically nothing

Conclusion

Philodendron rugosum, also known as Pigskin Philodendron, is an unusual tropical plant with a unique texture that is definitely a great addition to your plant collection. It is also a low-maintenance plant that needs just enough of your time without demanding too much. It is a great piece to enhance your modern urban jungle inside your homes.

FAQS

  1. Is Philodendron rugosum rare?

The Philodendron rugosum is a rare Philodendron species. In the wild, it is reported to be near threatened. However, due to popular demand, it has been grown in cultivation.

  1. Is Philodendron rugosum a climber?

Yes. Philodendrons are climbers. They like to climb huge trees in the wild, hence their name, which means “tree huggers”. They are hemiepiphytes, so make sure to put a moss or a coir pole for them to climb on.

  1. Does Philodendron rugosum need a lot of sun?

Like most Philodendrons, your Rugosum needs a sufficient amount of bright indirect light to thrive. Direct sunlight is never recommended since their leaves will get burnt under it. However, dappled shade is also suitable for these plants.

  1. What temperature can Philodendron rugosum tolerate?

The ideal temperature range for Pigskin Philodendron is between 55-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Below this range, your plant will have yellow leaves. On the other hand, your plant will get baked above this range.

  1. How do you care for a Philodendron rugosum?

Philodendron rugosum is a reasonably low-maintenance plant that does not demand too much care and attention. However, to properly care for it, ensure that proper light, temperature, humidity, and potting mix are given and used for it to thrive. Also, ensure proper feeding frequency as it needs adequate nutrition for development especially on its growing season. 

Do you like the Philodendron rugosum? Comment below. Also, check out our other articles:

16 Best East Facing Windows Plants – The Stars Of Rising Sun

15 Best North Facing Window Plants For A Green Oasis In Shady Room

13 Easy Cat-Safe Plants For Your Innoxious Indoor Garden

Morgan Daniels

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