Philodendron mamei is a lovely creeping philodendron with green leaves and a silver/gray mottled variegation. Learn about how to care for this variety with my post!
How to grow the lovely philodendron mamei
Welcome, welcome to my latest edition of “Brittany buys too many philodendrons.” Today’s post is on the philodendron mamei, which I purchased early this year through an import.
It took me a while to write about it because it arrives on death’s door. You can see what it looked like as soon as I unwrapped it below. Looks pretty pathetic, right?
Well, I trimmed off all of the yellowing foliage, leaving only one leaf. So I potted the plant up and threw it out back in the shade by a shed. This single leaf was hanging on for its dear life, and it eventually died.
But then a new leaf sprouted, and another is on the way! This is my version of plant rehab in the spring and summer. It’s super warm and humid where I live. So the growing conditions for rehabs are honestly better than any conditions I could give it indoors.
Is philodendron mamei a hybrid?
As far as I can tell, no—philodendron mamei is not a hybrid variety. However, I found some conflicting information on this topic online. It appears that there are hybrids of mamei, but that mamei itself is not a hybrid.
This is the seller I got my plant from in an import—mamei is originally from Ecuador—and this company doesn’t note it as a hybrid. I figure they would considering they note other plants as hybrids (e.g., “Anthurium crystallinum x Anthurium regale”).
Is philodendron mamei the same as silver cloud?
This is another rabbit hole I went down. Philodendron mamei is often referred to as a “silver cloud,” which makes things a bit confusing. Silver cloud appears to be a variation of philodendron mamei, so the full name would be “philodendron mamei ‘silver cloud.'”
But that doesn’t mean all philodendron mamei plants are silver cloud. This kind of reminds me of scindapsus silver hero vs. scindapsus platinum. They are sooo similar that it is really tough to tell them apart without seeing them side by side.
They both have pronounced deep veining. But the mamei “silver cloud” has leaves that are a bit more round than the somewhat elongated and pointier leaves on the original mamei. Mamei also has a more red stem and petiole, while the silver cloud is more silver.
Take a look at the previous photo of my mamei above and compare it to the photo below. I suspect the one below I found at a local nursery is actually a silver cloud. What do you think?
How much light does a mamei like?
Philodendron mamei enjoys bright indirect light. As a crawling creeper, it has evolved to grow on the ground under a dense canopy of shade. This blocks a lot of direct sun while still letting bright light through indirectly.
Too much indirect light can burn the leaves. That’s why I had mine outside in the shade for its rehab summer. While the area was completely shaded, it was still bright shade. Perfect for this plant.
Water & soil
Philodendron mamei and other tropicals like it enjoy enough water to be moist but not waterlogged. I generally let the top several inches or third of the pot dry out before watering my philodendrons.
Choosing the right soil is a critical step to ensuring your watering routine is on point. You want to use a chunky well-draining soil that is nutrient-rich. I like to buy a mix designed for indoor plants and add some additional coco coir for lightweight moisture retention.
I also might add in some additional perlite, coconut husks, or orchid bark to help with drainage. This just depends on how heavy the soil I started with was.
Using a soil that is super well-draining will ensure all of the excess water will drain out of the pot’s drainage holes. The soil will retain all of the moisture it needs to feed the plant without suffocating the roots.
Why are my philodendron mamei leaves turning yellow?
Yellowing leaves can mean a lot of things: stress, underwatering, overwatering, pest infestations…in my case, when I first got my mamei, it was yellow due to shipping stress and likely a little underwatering—though the roots weren’t too dry.
Once the plant is potted, yellowing leaves are generally a sign of overwatering. That’s because philodendrons are very prone to overwatering and root rot, which will kill the plant.
Waiting the appropriate amount of time before watering your plant again and using a well-draining, lightweight soil will help you prevent root rot and yellowing leaves.
Philodendron mamei will do well in all normal household temperatures. As a tropical plant, it needs a temperature somewhere between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The upper end is better.
Mamei is not cold or frost hardy. So if you have it outdoors and live in an area with all four seasons, it needs to come inside in the fall. I took my plant inside when temperatures started to dip into the low 50s and high 40s Fahrenheit at night.
Does philodendron mamei need high humidity?
Higher humidity levels are best, but it will probably be fine with normal household humidity levels. You can add a humidifier to keep levels high.
Pebble trays and misting don’t really do much, honestly. They provide a small amount of extra moisture, but it doesn’t last for long. Although they are annoying, humidifiers are the best bet.
Want more philodendrons? Check out my Philodendron Burle Marx Care guide, my Philodendron Squamiferum Care guide, and my Philodendron Painted Lady Care & Propgation post!
Is philodendron mamei a crawler or climber?
In nature, philodendron mamei is a crawler or “creeper.” This is somewhat challenging to replicate as a houseplant, but the best way to do so is by adding a moss pole.
You can train the plant to climb the moss pole, attaching it as it grows with stretchy vinyl plant tape or twine. In ideal growing conditions, mamei plants grown indoors can reach several feet tall/long.
Is philodendron mamei fast growing?
In my experience, philodendron mamei seems to be a pretty slow grower. Keep in mind that this could also be that my plant was a rehab, though. It produced one leaf all summer in idea growing conditions: bright shade; loose, well-draining soil; warmth; and very high humidity.
A philodendron mamei does not particularly enjoy being root- or pot-bound. However, it also isn’t a prolific grower. Therefore, it generally needs to be repotted every 1 to 2 years.
This totally depends on your growth conditions and the maturity of your plant. If it only throws out one leaf during a growing season as mine did this year, it will probably be fine in its current-sized pot for another year.
If it’s been two years and your plant has been growing nicely, it’s probably time to size the pot up. Size it up only 1 to 2 inches. Make sure to use fresh well-draining soil to replenish nutrients.
Does philodendron mamei like to be fertilized?
While mamei isn’t a particularly heavy feeder, adding a bit of fertilizer can’t hurt. I like to use organic fertilizer like Liqui-Dirt, which is just a concentrated brown solution you add a bit of to your watering can.
I like this because it isn’t a chemical fertilizer, which means I don’t run the risk of over-fertilizing and burning the plant. If you do use a chemical fertilizer—which is totally fine—make sure to dilute it properly.
If you aren’t repotting your plant in the spring or during that growing season, fertilizer becomes a bit more important. That’s because the nutrient supply in your plant’s soil is likely depleted, and some fertilizer will be a nice boost.
Toxicity & safety around pets
Philodendron plants contain calcium oxalate crystals, which are toxic if ingested. Doing so could result in mild to severe gastrointestinal issues. This goes for humans and pets. Keep out of reach if you have any nibbling animals or nosy kids.
How to propagate a philodendron mamei
Philodendron mamei can be propagated using stem cuttings. Make sure any stem cutting you take has at least one node (growth point) on it. My recommendation would be to root the cutting in a mixture of damp moss and perlite or LECA.
Once roots have grown to be several inches long, you can transplant the cutting to well-draining soil. Give the plant a good watering and monitor it over the next few weeks. I’ll update this section with more info and pics if I propagate mine!
Want more philodendrons? Check out my Philodendron Gloriosum Care guide, my Philodendron Giganteum Care guide, and my post about How to Care for Your Philodendron Birkin!