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Why Are My Philodendron Leaves Getting Smaller? Causes and Care

Philodendrons, or spider plants, are versatile houseplants that can be kept in many different environments. However, if leaves on your philodendron are getting smaller and pale, there could be a few reasons for it. Here are some of the most common causes and how to care for your philodendron while its leaves are small.

So Why Are My Philodendron leaves Getting Smaller?

Your plant isn’t getting enough light, warmth, or humidity, which is why the leaves on your philodendron are reducing in size. Its leaves will get smaller and spread out more if you grow this plant in a bathroom with a small window or a living room with poor lighting.

In general, philodendrons thrive in environments with lots of bright, indirect light. Strong, direct sunlight bothers them since it might burn the foliage. On the other hand, excessive shadow will result in extended stems, thinner leaves, and more space between the leaves, giving your philodendron a thin, lanky appearance.

If you give these plants a temperature range of 60 to 80 F and humidity levels of at least 60%, they will grow considerably more. For many years, a philodendron will continue to grow in low light, and some people decide to wrap the stems around the pot to give it a lush, full appearance. But your plant won’t be very pleased with this option.

How Can You Increase the Size of Philodendron Leaves?

By giving your philodendron more direct, bright sunlight, the correct amount of water, warmth, humidity, fertilizer, and repotting it when the plant gets root-bound, you may encourage it to produce larger leaves.

More direct, bright sunlight is preferred

Giving your philodendron stronger indirect light is the greatest approach to encourage it to produce bigger leaves. Look for a location next to a window that receives plenty of bright indirect light but not direct sunlight.

If you’re setting it near a west-facing window, you can set up a sheer curtain to block the entire sun, or you may keep them a few feet away from a southern-facing window. If the color of your philodendron starts to fade or become yellow, it is probably receiving too much light; therefore, you may try to move it a bit farther away from the window.

Watering The Right Way

It’s crucial to avoid overwatering or underwatering your philodendron plant if you want it to develop bigger leaves. The frequency of watering your plants will depend on a variety of elements, including temperature, season, and humidity.

The most secure approach to determine whether your plant needs water is to use your finger to examine the top two or three inches of soil and only provide water when it feels dry. Hold off for a few days until the soil dries out more if it seems wet.

You can use a moisture meter if you’re still unsure. When the meter indicates that the rootball needs water, just bury it in the soil there.

Once the soil is dry, moisten the rootball fully with water from the top, being careful not to flood the plant, or the leaves will turn yellow. Additionally, confirm that the water is draining out the bottom of your pot and that it has sufficient drainage.

More Fertilizer for Your Plant

Even while philodendrons aren’t extremely heavy feeders, a little fertilizer, especially throughout the growing season, may cause their leaves to expand and become more vivid. Use a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer to feed your philodendron.

It would be ideal to use something like Miracle-Gro Plant Food.

In the spring and summer, fertilizer should be applied every four weeks, and then again every six to eight weeks in the fall and winter. To start, use only about half the suggested amount of fertilizer and see how your plant responds.

Over-fertilization can occasionally result in a growth spurt of numerous little leaves rather than several huge leaves with a heart shape.

Dust off the leaves

The plant can’t efficiently photosynthesize if the leaves of your philodendron become too dusty, which might result in reduced leaf growth.

To help your plant generate food and energy more efficiently, wipe clean its leaves roughly once a month with a moist microfiber cloth.

Heat up and increase humidity

Philodendrons don’t care too much about temperature or humidity, but if you provide them with a humid atmosphere and a temperature of between 60 and 80 degrees F, their leaves will expand.

Your philodendron may develop more slowly and possibly start to produce smaller leaves if the temperature is often falling below 55 degrees F.

Philodendrons may survive in humidity levels of up to 40%, but at humidity levels of 60% and above, they will flourish and produce bigger leaves.

When a philodendron becomes root-bound, repot it

Your philodendron may develop stunted growth and smaller new leaves if it is very pot-bound. The plant progressively suffocates as roots take over the pot and start to grow in circles. Repotting your philodendron into a one or two inches larger pot is necessary if you lift your plant out of its container and find that there are tangled masses of roots sprouting everywhere.

Use organically rich, loose soil that is well-draining.

How Can You Fill Out Your Philodendron?

Remove stems from the pot’s edge and just leave one or two nodes at the base to give your philodendron a broader appearance. The severed stems should then be replanted in the same container.

If your philodendron receives enough of warmth, humidity, and bright, indirect sunshine, the new growth from the severed stems should start to fill in quickly. Once the young stems have rooted and begun to develop, they will also produce additional fullness.

Frequently Asked Questions About Philodendron Plants

How do I care for a philodendron plant?

As a beginner, you will be surprised by the amount of care that is required for your plant. Most philodendron plants require minimal care to thrive as long as they are planted in fresh soil in a location with full sunlight. Philodendron plants are very susceptible to over-watering, which can lead to root rot. To prevent this, it is recommended that you water your philodendron plant once a week for 15-30 minutes in the morning.

What is the lifespan of a philodendron plant?

The lifespan of a philodendron plant depends on the species. As long as your plants are healthy, they can live up to 20-25 years or even longer.

What kind of light does a philodendron plant need?

The type of light that your philodendron plants require depends on the species. The majority of philodendron plants prefer a lot of direct sunlight, but some can tolerate shade or indoor lighting.

How can I tell if a philodendron plant is healthy?

The best way to determine if your philodendron plants are healthy is to check their leaves. If the leaves are turning yellow, they may be sick, and you should repot them immediately.


It is possible that your philodendron leaves are getting smaller due to one of several factors: insufficient light, over-watering, or improper fertilization. If you are unsure of what is causing the problem, take a sample of the soil to your local garden center for testing. Once you have determined the cause of the issue, take corrective action to bring your plant back to health.

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