Philodendron mamei is a rare houseplant with charming heart-shaped, ridged pale yellow-green to dark green leaves with gray, silvery-gray, or silvery molting. It is easy to care for and makes an excellent indoor plant or outdoor ground cover in mild climates. Also, it is air-purifying.
Learn more about Philodendron mamei (described by Éduard-François André, 1840-1911), including appearance (leaves, stems, and flowers), care, propagation, and problems.
We will also talk about philodendron mamei vs. plowmanii and sodiroi and Philodendron mamei silver cloud. And towards the end, we will tell you where to buy this adorable and much-sought plant, including Etsy.com, eBay, etc.
- Quick overview
- 1. Growing habits
- 2. Size and growth rate
- 3. Leaves
- 4. Stems
- 5. Flowers
- Philodendron silver cloud or Philodendron mamei silver
- Philodendron mamei vs. plowmanii
- Philodendron mamei vs. sodiroi
- Philodendron Mamei care
- Philodendron mamei propagation
- 1. Soil propagation
- 2. Water propagation
- Where to find Philodendron mamei on sale
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- Scientific name: Philodendron mamei (André)
- Common names: Silver Cloud, Quilted Silver Leaf Philodendron, Blotched Philodendron
- Family: Araceae (aroids or arum family)
- Native habitat: Ecuador
- Toxicity: All parts are toxic to cats, dogs, other pets, and even humans because they have insoluble calcium oxalates. When eaten, they will cause severe oral irritation and a burning sensation. Also, the tongue, lips, or mouth will swell, and patients will suffer from swallowing difficulties, hypersalivation (drooling), reduced appetite, etc.
- Care level: Easy or low maintenance
1. Growing habits
Philodendron mamei is a terrestrial creeping plant that rarely grows as an epiphyte (on trees). i.e., its growth is more or less like Philodendron gloriosum.
Mamei is native to Ecuador, specifically on the eastern Andes slopes. But there is a possibility of it occurring in adjacent Peru’s Amazonas department. Also, botanists have introduced it to Cook and the Society Islands.
This evergreen, perennial flowering plant is an understory plant that crawls on forest floors. It grows in the primary, premontane wet forest at 2398-6003 feet (731–1830 m) above sea level. But it may also occur on stream banks or even cutover forests that still have some epiphytes.
Lastly, mamei has a distinctive juvenile and mature phase, i.e., it morphs.
2. Size and growth rate
Philodendron mamei has a fast growth rate, especially if given ideal growing conditions, and it can grow up to 3.2 feet (1m) long.
Juvenile P. mamei has narrowly oval young leaves that can grow up to 10.6 inches (27cm) long.
On the other hand, Mature Philodendron mamei has larger, heart-shaped, dark green to pale yellowish-green leaves mottled with silvery, gray, or gray-green blotches.
These leaves measure up to 23.8 inches (60.5 cm) long by 22 inches (56 cm) wide, and their texture is thinly leathery to somewhat leathery. Also, they may be unequal, i.e., with one side slightly wider than the other.
Their middle rib is sunken to flat and slightly pale, while primary ribs are deep-set, creating a pleated, ribbed, or quilted surface appearance.
This lovely plant has a nearly round (sub-terete) dark to medium olive-green petiole with fine pale streaks, short striate or lineate, and is weakly ribbed. But near the base, it is reddish. Also, young plants have a reddish petiole.
Lastly, the Philodendron mamei petiole has lateral wings that undulate (appear wavy) towards the apex.
P. mamei has short (up to 3.2 feet long or 1m long) repent stems, i.e., creep on the surface, sending roots to the ground. These stems are medium green to weakly reddish and weakly ridged. Also, they have partially intact cataphylls.
These cataphylls are relatively long, about 7.7 inches, flatted, reddish or brownish. Additionally, they have winged edges and are persistent.
P. mamei produces one or two inflorescences per axil. These inflorescences have a spathe (surrounding bract) and a spadix (the actual flower), and the supporting peduncle (flower stalk).
The peduncle is green with a violet purplish tinge and coarse whitish streaks, while the spathe blade (upper open part) is reddish outside and pinkish inside.
On the other hand, the spathe tube is dark purple-violet on the outer surface with striation near the base and magenta (purplish-red) inside.
Lastly, the spadix has three sections, the female encased in the tube, the middle male sterile, and the upper male fertile.
Philodendron silver cloud or Philodendron mamei silver
Philodendron silver cloud or Philodendron mamei silver cloud is a mamei like looking houseplant. We cannot confirm whether it is a hybrid (as many put it), clone, variety, or undescribed species.
Like P mamei, it has large, heart-shaped leaves with silvery mottling or markings. Also, it is a ground creeper. To tell the difference between these two, look at petiole, leaf blades, and cataphylls or new growth.
Philodendron silver cloud leaves have more silvery mottling and their cataphyll (new growth) is whitish. Their petiole has lateral wings or sheath that are thicker with wavy, or crispate margins, especially towards the top. Also, these petioles are only slightly red-tinged near the tip.
On the other hand, P. mamei has lesser silvery markings, their petioles have a thinner lateral sheath or wing (also undulated) and are more reddish-pink to the apex. Also, the cataphylls are brownish or reddish.
Lastly, their price care needs are more or less similar, and some vendors label them as a single plant.
Philodendron mamei vs. plowmanii
Philodendron plowmanii is an unpublished species native to Ecuador and Peru, and like mamei, it’s a terrestrial creeping plant. Plowmanii shows many variabilities, with mature plants having heart-shaped green leaves, some with a silvery mottling, and looking like Philodendron pastazanum.
Consider the primary veins on leaf blades to tell the difference between P. mamei and plowmanii. Philodendron plowmanii has few and widely spaced primary veins that mamei.
Next, look at petioles. Plowmanii has a medium green petiole with a reddish-purple tinge towards the apex. Also, it has a sheath or wing with an undulating or wavy margin near the top. Also, some people say the leaves are rounder.
On the other hand, mamei has medium green to olive green, weakly ribbed petiole that is reddish towards the base. But it also has a narrow wavy sheath towards the apex.
Philodendron mamei vs. sodiroi
Both mature Philodendron mamei and sodiroi have large, heart-shaped green leaves with silvery mottling. But they are quite distinctive and easy to identify.
Firstly, P. mamei is a ground creeping plant with repent stems while Philodendron sodiroi climbs.
Secondly, sodiroi has a warty petiole that is reddish or pinkish toward the apex, while in mamei, it is medium to dark olive green with no warty growths.
Lastly, sodiroi has less silvery mottling than mamei. And as it grows older, the mottling becomes less visible.
Philodendron Mamei care
Philodendron Mamei needs a warm (65-80 degrees Fahrenheit), humid area with bright indirect light. Water it when the top 2-3 inches of the potting mix feels dry and feed it once a month with a balanced liquid fertilizer for houseplants during the growing months.
Since they are creeping plants, they don’t need a moss pole. But don’t forget to repot your plant after 2 years or when rootbound. Also, prune any dead, damaged, or diseased leaves.
Here is P. mamei care needs and growth requirements:
- USDA hardiness zone: 10-11, freezing temperatures will damage or kill this plant, and it is not frost resistant.
- Humidity: Average to above average, i.e., 50% or more but can tolerate slightly lower. Buy a humidifier, have a pebble tray, or move your plant to humid rooms like the kitchen or bathroom if you have low humidity.
- Temperature: Ideal temperature is 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (15-27°C). Avoid temperatures below 55°F (12.8°C), cold drafts, or sudden changes. Also, don’t put your plant near air conditioning or room heating vents and appliances that emit heat.
- Light needs: Bright, indirect light but can tolerate moderate. Direct sun will cause sunburn, and too little will result in stunted growth, smaller paler new leaves, etc. For too little light, grow lights with 10,000 to 20,000 lux (1,000-2,000 footcandles) like Relassy 15,000 lux Sunlike Full Spectrum Grow Lamp will do the job.
- Best soil mix: Philodendron mamei soil should be airy, well-drained, and rich in organic matter. Buy an aroid mix (Etsy.com has great ones) or make yours by adding some perlite, peat moss, and bark chips to your potting mix. To make it fertile, add some compost or worm castings.
- Watering: Water mamei when the top few inches of the potting mix starts to dry, i.e., when dry up to your 1st knuckle or XLUX soil moisture meter reading three or below. Then when watering, slowly saturate the soil until excess water flows from drainage holes and discard any water that collects on the cachepot or saucer.
- Feeding: Feed monthly in the growing months with a balanced, liquid houseplant fertilizer such as Bonide Liquid Plant Food 10-10-10 at half recommended strength. Or, you can use a slow-release, balanced houseplant fertilizer.
- Pruning and grooming: Regularly cut any dead, damaged, or diseased leaves with your sterilized gardening scissors and clean dirty or dusty leaves. To control growth, you can cut back the stems (up to 25%) in the growing months.
- Repotting: Repotting is after about two years or when rootbound. A narrower, longer planter works best since this plant is a ground creeper. Use one that is 3-5 inches longer.
- Staking: Do not stake or train this plant on a moss pole, trellis, or totem. It is a ground creeper.
Philodendron mamei propagation
Philodendron mamei propagation is by stem cutting in soil or water. The stem cutting should have at least a node, i.e., the knobby area where aerial roots grow or leaves attach.
We recommend propagating your plant in the growing season, especially spring or early summer.
1. Soil propagation
Soil propagation is our preferred method because the plant gets nutrients from the soil, and roots faster, and doesn’t suffer much shock when transplanting. But you won’t see roots growing.
What you need
- Potting mix or sphagnum moss
- Nursery pot
- Gardening scissors
- Rooting hormone – It will speed the growth of roots and reduce chances of decay but is not a must-have. We prefer Clonex Rooting Gel. It has a water-based formulation with added nutrients and not just the rooting hormones.
- A transparent plastic bag – Will help lock humidity. Only use it if your humidity is low or you don’t have a greenhouse cabinet or humidifier.
- 70-90% rubbing alcohol for sterilizing
- Put your potting mix into your nursery pot. If using sphagnum moss alone, first soak it in water for about 20 minutes and thoroughly squeeze excess water. And after planting the cutting, don’t water it again. Instead, mist it when it begins to dry.
- Select a healthy stem with at least a node and cut it at ¼ an inch below the lower node with sterilized gardening scissors. If the stem has roots growing into your potting mix, remove the soil around it before taking a cut. Then, gently dig the roots out without causing damage.
- Apply rooting hormone on the cut end
- Plant the cutting horizontally in the soil. But don’t bury the stem so deep. Instead, nearly cover it with your potting mix. To help keep the leaves upright, you can use a chopstick.
- Water your potting mix until excess water flows from the drainage hole. Discard any that collect on a saucer. Then, cover your plant with your plastic bag, ensuring it doesn’t touch the leaves and has a breathing hole, and place your cutting in a warm area with bright, indirect light
- Routinely remove the plastic bag every few days to allow your plant to breathe. Also, mist the potting mix if it starts to dry. Remember, it should remain moist.
After 4 to 6 weeks, you will notice growth, and your plant will be rooted and ready for transplanting. But the exact time will depend on growing conditions.
2. Water propagation
If you want something less messy or to monitor the rooting progress, go for water propagation.
The whole process is easy. Instead of planting your Philodendron mamei cutting in soil, dip it in a jar with water, ensuring the node is inside the water but not leaves. Afterward, change the water after 3-4 days or when the level drops.
As you care for your plant, you may have some issues or problems. Let us look at the common ones.
- Pests: Pests that include spider mites, thrips, mealybugs, scale insects, and aphids don’t present significant challenges. Use neem oil, horticultural oil, or insecticidal sprays to manage these bugs.
- Diseases: Mamei may get bacterial or fungal leaf spots or blights. But they, too, are uncommon. Just ensure you isolate new plants and practice proper sanitation, i.e., wash your hands, use sterilized gardening equipment, etc.
- Root rot: It presents a significant challenge to people who overwater their Philodendron mamei or whose potting mix doesn’t drain well. Roots will become mushy brown or black. Repot your plant after cutting the rotten parts. Then, amend your potting mix and fix the overwatering problem.
- Yellowing of leaves: Overwatering is the most likely cause. Others are underwatering, cold drafts, low humidity, nutritional deficiency, too much or too little light, and heat stress.
- Brown leaves: Brown tips and margins often indicate low humidity, too much light, underwatering, fertilizer burns, or too much light. Brown spots alone may signify pests or diseases, while overwatering may cause brown or black splotches. The other possible cause of the browning of leaves is chilly conditions.
- Leaves are curling: It happens to prevent moisture loss or protect leaves, and the primary causes are underwatering, low humidity, heat stress, and too much light. But heavy pest infestation, transplant shock, etc., are possible but less likely causes.
- Wilting and drooping: It happens when plant cells don’t have enough water to keep them rigid or firm. Why? Because your plant either loses water faster than it absorbs or roots cannot absorb water to replace lost. Causes are underwatering, low humidity, root rot, heat stress, transplant shock, etc.
Where to find Philodendron mamei on sale
The best place to buy Philodendron mamei, including silver cloud, is Etsy.com. It has many vendors in the US and from the UK, Canada, Australia, and virtually worldwide. eBay is similar to Etsy.com but doesn’t have a lot of vendors selling this rare, charming plant.
Secondly, try Instagram and Facebook. They, too, have many vendors. Just ensure you find someone trustworthy.
Thirdly, you can try a few of the online vendors. To mention a few places, consider Carnivero, Peace Love and Happiness Club, and Canopy Plant Co all of the US. People outside the US should try Plant Circle (Germany), Million Plants (Canada), Green my Space (Australia), and Ecuagenera (Ecuador).
Last but not least, if you still haven’t found it, try googling “Philodendron mamei for sale” and see the suggestions you get.
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Yes. Philodendron mamei is a rare and hard-to-find tropical houseplant. You are unlikely to find it at your local houseplant stores, and none of the big box stores or large horticultural growers have it.
Philodendron mamei’s price ranges from $40 to $150 for rooted to relatively established plants. But if you want P. mamei silver cloud, you should be ready to pay up to $250. Also, we saw a sport variegated Mamei going for $285.