Welcome to our guide to philodendron atom care. The atom has bright green, ruffled leaves that result in a gorgeous textural effect we cover all you need to know about care and propagation..
Philodendron Atom Care Summary
|Light needs:||Bright indirect sunlight.|
|Watering needs:||Check soil weekly, water when the top 40% is dry.|
|Fertilizer:||Balanced feed, monthly in spring and summer.|
|Soil:||Light, chunky, well draining.|
|Humidity:||60% or more.|
|Temperature:||21°C to 26°C (70-80°F).|
|Where to buy:||Try our list of Rare Plant Shops.|
|Other names:||Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum ‘Atom’.|
|Common issues:||Overwatering and underwatering.|
The Philodendron Atom is a great beginner-friendly plant. It is a very hardy, easy to care for philodendron that is native to South America, specifically Brazil and Paraguay. It is a great choice along with pothos and snake plants if you’re looking for an easy houseplant. It also looks great with any home decor and is very adaptable to indoor conditions. There aren’t many other Philodendrons with ruffled leaves like the Atom.
Tip: we recommend Etsy for buying plants. Look for the best rated seller you can, and try to buy as close to your home as possible so the plant does not travel too far.
Philodendron Atom Light Needs
Bright, indirect light will result in the biggest leaves for your Philodendron Atom. Do not expose the plant to bright, direct light as this can result in yellowing of the leaves and sunburn. If you want to place your Philodendron Atom outside for the summer, choose a semi-shaded location. The best windows will be ones that face south or west. For indirect light, simply have your philodendron a few feet away from the window, or, you can have it right against the window if you have a sheer curtain. The only thing you want to avoid is the sun’s rays directly hitting the leaves for a long period of time.
Philodendron, and especially the Atom, are fairly forgiving when it comes to your watering mistakes. That being said, you’ll still see signs such as yellowing or browning leaves if you make a mistake. Keep the soil moist but not muddy. The majority of the water should drain out when you water it. Let around 1-2 inches or 2.5-5 cm of the top of the soil dry out completely before evenly saturating it again. Water a bit more frequently in the spring and summer as the plant is actively putting out new growth.
This Philodendron doesn’t need much fertilizer to be happy. The only thing you need to pay attention to is how well-rounded the fertilizer you choose is. Make sure that all nutrients like Phosphorus, Nitrogen, and Potassium are present in equal amounts. 20-20-20 is the ratio to look for on the bottle. A liquid fertilizer will be a good way to give your Philodendron Atom the boost it needs. Only fertilize once a month in summertime.
For more on philodendrons see our philodendron category with all our philodendron care guides.
Philodendron Atom Soil
A light, chunky mixture is the perfect type of soil for the Atom. You can simply choose a regular houseplant potting soil and add in some extra perlite or orchid bark to give it more aeration. You want a soil that is not too dense but one that also holds onto just a bit of moisture. Other great additives include coco coir, peat moss, sphagnum moss, vermiculite and a natural fertilizing additive such as worm castings. Natural fertilizers will be gentler on this plant compared to artificial ones.
Only choose to repot if your Philodendron has filled the entire pot with roots, and if the roots can be seen climbing out of the pot through the drainage holes. If you have a gigantic plant in a tiny pot, this is another good sign to consider sizing the pot up. Size up only 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) larger for the next pot you choose.
The minimum amount of humidity needed for this plant to do well is 50%. However the best level will be between 60-65%. You can set up a humidifier nearby to boost the level of moisture in the air, or, you can use a low cost pebble tray. This is simply a tray filled with pebbles and water that you keep your plant on top of. The water evaporates and creates enough humidity just around the plant without your entire room needing to be like a rainforest.
Since the Philodendron Atom is a tropical plant, it prefers and will do much better in warmer temperatures. The best range is from 70°F to 80°F (21°C to 26°C). If you have your Philodendron Atom outside and temperatures begin to creep above this threshold, take it back inside. If you leave your Philodendron Atom in too cold or too hot conditions, you could see all the leaves wilt and permanent leaf damage occur. Keep this Philodendron away from vents, heaters, and especially fireplaces.
How to Propagate Philodendron Atom
Propagate the Atom similarly to other Philodendrons: through stem cuttings. This is when you take a cutting of a piece of the stem containing a node. If you’re new to taking cuttings, choose a branch with a few different leaves and nodes to ensure success. Then, place the cutting in water, wet sphagnum moss, or wet perlite and you’ll see roots soon! Once you have a root system that is more than the length of a finger, you can pot up your cutting into a pot of its own. If you used water to propagate your cutting, make sure to provide the soil with extra water to make the transition smooth.
For more on propagating philodendrons, see our guide: How To Propagate Philodendron.
Philodendron Atom Size
They can grow to about a meter high.
Is It Toxic To Cats?
They are toxic to cats if eaten, and can cause vomiting and numbness. So seek vets advice immediately if your pet eats any.
Philodendron Atom USDA Zone
They can grow outdoors year-round in zones 9-11.
The full name of this plant is Thaumatophyllum bipinnatifidum ‘Atom’. This is quite a mouthful, so many people prefer to call it just the Philodendron Atom.
Where To Buy
Try our list of Rare Plant Shops.
- The word Philodendron means “love tree” in Greek. Phileo, meaning love, and dendron, meaning tree.
- The Philodendron Atom has proven capabilities to purify the air and remove formaldehyde. Not only does the plant look great in your space, it is a natural air purifier.
- The World Checklist of Selected Plant Families accepted 489 species into the genus of Philodendron as of September 2015.
Philodendron Atom Common Pests, Issues, and Treatments
These are usually a very pest-free philodendron. However, the usual houseplant pests like aphids, mealybugs, scale, and spider mites can still take over this green beauty. You can remove all of these pests using neem oil, insecticidal soaps, or horticultural oil on the plant. You can also remove the larger bugs like aphids and mealybugs using a q-tip dipped in rubbing alcohol. You can also place your Philodendron Atom in the shower for a bit since this will also make the pests want to leave right away.
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