Philodendron Rugosum
Philodendron,  Plant Care,  Rare Houseplants

Philodendron Rugosum

The philodendron rugosum is an easy to care for rare houseplant, we run through its care and propagation needs below…

Philodendron Rugosum Summary

Light needs:Medium to bright indirect sunlight.
Watering needs:Water it if top 50% of soil is dry.
Fertilizer:A balanced feed once a month in spring and summer.
Soil:A well draining potting mix.
Temperature:18°C to 25°C (64-77°F).
Where to buy:Try one of these Rare Plant Shops.
Common issues:Root rot


The philodendron rugosum is an easy to care for green, leather-leaved philodendron, loved for it’s foliage.

See also: Philodendron Panduriforme, Philodendron Patriciae Care, Philodendron Pedatum, Philodendron Subhastatum, Philodendron Vs Pothos.

Light Needs

Medium to bright indirect sunlight is best for a rugosum, just don’t give it direct sunlight which could burn those beautiful leaves. I would advise keeping it in an east facing window, or a south facing window but a bit back or off to the side.

How Often to Water

Water it if the top 50% of soil is dry. They don’t like their roots to sit in soggy soil. Wait 5 minutes after watering before putting the plant back in it’s saucer or external container so that the plant does not get waterlogged. If you are watering it in the external container, tip out the excess water after 5 minutes.

Tip: underwater this plant rather than overwater it, they must not sit in soggy soil as they get root rot easily. Check the soil and only water if mostly dry, and make sure you don’t leave the pot sat in any excess water.

Close up of the Philodendron Rugosum’s leaf texture

Philodendron Rugosum Fertilizer

Use a balanced feed once a month in spring and summer. Dilute it a lot the first time you use it and check it doesn’t burn the plant, then increase the dose slowly.


Use a well draining potting mix, a standard potting compost with 20% added perlite is an, easy to make and well draining soil. Or you can go up a level and give them a mix of orchid bark, perlite and potting compost. For more on Philodendron soil see our guide on what to buy or how to make your own: Philodendron Soil.

When To Repot

Repot them when they outgrow their current container. The best time of year is spring, but you can do it year round to be honest. Its worth checking the roots once or twice a year to make sure they are not getting crowded.

Philodendron Rugosum Humidity

50-60% is ideal humidity for a rugosum, they will be fine in medium humidity areas of your home but it is best to up it a big to get the plant to flourish. A pebble tray with water in under the plant pot can help to increase the humidity, or even keeping really close to other plants as this can raise the humidity too.


18°C to 25°C (64-77°F) is the ideal day time temperature for a philodendron rugosum. Aim to keep them above 10°C (50°F) as a minimum temperature at night and in the winter. Also keep them away from cold drafts.

How To Propagate Philodendron Rugosum

To propagate philodendron rugosum, take stem cuttings, root them in water and then pot up after a month or two into soil.

Follow these steps:

  1. Take the cutting, with a node and a leaf or two.
  2. Let the wound callous over for two hours or so, this will reduce the chance of rot.
  3. Put the cutting in a jar of filtered tap water.
  4. Put it in a warm, bright spot with plenty of indirect sunlight.
  5. Keep the water topped up, and change it if it goes cloudy.
  6. In a month or so you should see roots growing, have patience and wait until they are well established.
  7. Once you see growth from the top of the plant you can pot it up to soil. It can take a couple of months.

You can put the cutting straight into soil, but I get better results when water propagating them first. If you sue soil, then try to keep the cuttings in a high humidity place, or put a plastic bag around the pot, keep it slightly open to allow air to circulate, but putt it p so it is taler than the cuttings and it will increase humidity around the plant.

Philodendron Rugosum USDA Zone

Zones 10 to 11. If you are growing this plant outside, the main thing to be careful of is to try to keep it above 10°C (50°F), so you need to be in a warm climate, or bring it in over colder temperatures.

Philodendron Rugosum Aberrant Form

The aberrant form is a rarer and more unruly/wild version of the rugosum with longer leaves and some wrinkling.

Philodendron Rugosum Radiance

The radiance is a type of rugosum that has a lighter green/yellow color in the center of the leaf, giving the impression of radiance.

philodendron rugosum vs monstera

The rugosum is sometimes confused for a juvenile monstera that is young enough it’s leaves have not spilt. They look very similar, but you can tell the difference in the leaf texture, the rugosum has a much rougher and leathery leaf texture, but the monstera has a smooth glossier leaf.

Are Philodendron Rugosum Toxic To Cats?

They can cause vomiting and irritation of the mouth if eaten, so seek vets advice if you think your cat has eaten any.

Philodendron Rugosum Other Names

It’s common names are: Sow’s Ear Plant or Pigskin Philodendron.

Where To Buy

These are quite rare, so try one of these Rare Plant Shops.

FAQs and Common Problems

Don’t let the roots get waterlogged, it’s really easy with these plants. Also be careful that the leaves do not get pests like spidermites.

Why Is My Philodendron Rugosum Drooping?

They droop when the get root rot or when really dry, so either you are giving them too much or too little water. Make sure you are checking the soil each week but only watering the plant if is it mostly dry.

Why Is My Philodendron Rugosum Turning Yellow?

Yellowing leaves are a sign your plant is stressed or suffering. It is most commonly caused by too much or too little water, as well as pests and sunburn. Make sure you are watering the plant properly, but nto too much, and check the leave for pests each time you water it too.

Can it grow in leca?

They can grow in leca or other clay pebbles, I would propagate a cutting in water then move it to leca, rather than transition a plant from soil as this has a lower success rate.

Can it grow in water?

You can grow your rugosum in water alone, take a cutting and root it in a jar of water. Then you can keep it there as long as you keep the water topped up. You should change the water if it gets cloudy, but you can avoid cloudiness by stopping leaves falling in to the water and rotting.

Additional Resources

Philodendron Rugosum
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