Philodendron Lickety Split grows best in potting soil that drains quickly

December 26, 2018

Medieval hunters watching helpless and nearly shapeless bear cubs being licked by their mother thought that the bear cubs were physically formed by the licking, or they were “licked into shape.”

To move animals along, you might use the sharp “lick” of the whip, so doing something quickly, such as mopping the floor, is done with “a lick and a promise.”  

The promise is to come back and redo the work in a better way.

If you ever look like a cow licked your hair,  you might sport a “cowlick.” And if you let a cow lick you in the first place, you probably don't have a lick of sense. 

But before you take a licking, you may want to hurry and get everything done, lickety-split, from lick meaning a very fast sprint, one going as fast as the lick of your tongue.

There is a plant that gets things done fast, like growing without care, and that plant is the aptly named Philodendron Lickety Split (Philodendron hybrid).  

Named for its long, thin, split leaves, this dark-green houseplant seems somehow modern.  Every new leaf is a bit different, adding to its appeal. 

As a clumping philodendron, it does not vine, but rather grows as a more upright plant.

Lickety Split philodendrons are ideal for offices or any buildings without direct sunlight because they seem to thrive anywhere.

It thrives in the same indoor temperature as humans, ideally between 65 and 78°F during the day, and down to about 60°F at night.

Like all philodendrons, Lickety Split grows perfectly well in rooms with very low light.  As a bonus it not only grows well, but actually cleans toxins out of the air.

You can move them outdoors during the summer where they will be happy in dappled shade away from scorching direct sun.

For best results, only water your Philodendron Lickety Split after the soil dries out almost completely.

Too much water or soggy soil can kill it.

Always err on the side of watering too little, because these plants can survive weeks between watering.  

On the other hand, if the leaves turn brown and fall off, you may need to water more often.

Your Philodendron Lickety Split grows best in potting soil that drains quickly. You can mix sand in with regular potting soil or simply use cactus potting soil. Use a good organic all-purpose fertilizer applied when the plant is actively growing from spring through early autumn.

To clean your Philodendron Lickety Split, gently wipe the leaves with a damp cloth.  

This keeps the dust from clogging the spores on the leaves. 

Philodendrons are not usually attacked by insects, but if aphids and mealybugs appear, just wipe them off with cotton balls soaked in rubbing alcohol. 

Because philodendrons are tropical plants, they do enjoy higher humidity, so mist your plants regularly.

If the leaves have brown tips, this often means the humidity level is too low.

You can also set the pots on saucers filled with water.  Set the pots on pebbles in the water so the roots do not soak up too much water.

Plants grow toward light, and regularly rotating your philodendrons keeps them shapely. 

Treat yourself to the amazing air-cleaning Philodendron Lickety Split, and you will enjoy lush greenery and cleaner air not just quickly, but literally lickety-split.

  • Paul Barbano writes about gardening from his home in Rehoboth Beach. Contact him by writing to P. O. Box 213, Lewes, DE 19958.