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Philodendron Xanadu | How to Grow and Care Guide

Philodendrons are the unofficial kings of the houseplant world. They come in so many shapes, sizes, and even colors. There are vining varieties like a Philodendron Brasil, large tree varieties like Philodendron Selloum, and colorful varieties like Pink Splash Philodendron.

They are low maintenance, easy to care for houseplants that all plant lovers are drawn to. Philodendron Xanadu is no exception, it is a large variety with deeply ruffled leaves that is sure to attract attention because of its unique foliage.

With some simple care tips Philodendron Xanadu will grow big and beautiful, and it gets even more beautiful with age. Xanadu also rules in gardens as an evergreen shrub in Zone 9+ gardens. Whether it is inside or outside, it is a stunning addition to the home and garden.


Philodendron Xanadu How to Grow and Care Guide

Philodendron Xanadu Plant Details

Philodendron Xanadu is now classified under the genus thaumatophyllum

Now for the disappointment after that grand opening touting the possibilities of Philodendron. Philodendron Xanadu is no longer part of the Philodendron genus.

Botanists are constantly adding and changing and discovering new features on plants that split them off into new categories. Philodendron Xanadu is now classified under the genus thaumatophyllum.

However, the language of plant nomenclature and the language of plant enthusiasts do not always correspond. Usually the old terminology remains long after the scientific name changes. And that is ok.

So for this article, and for Xanadu's care tips, it will be treated as a Philodendron. Just be careful when talking about it to a botanist, they might disagree.

Philodendrons in general are native to Brazil. Philodendron Winterbourn however, would not be found in the jungle. It is a product of breeding plants (just as there are no packs of wild poodles). 

Xanadu was discovered in Australia as a chance variation that came from the species Philodendron ‘Selloum’. Philodendron Xanadu will sometimes be listed as Philodendron ‘Winterbourn’.

Philodendron Xanadu is a large clumping variety that can grow up to 4’ tall and up to 6’ wide. Those measurements are for outdoor growth, do not expect Xanadu to get that large as an indoor plant.

The foliage on Philodendron Xanadu is what really makes it stand out from other varieties of philodendron is its long deeply lobed and glossy foliage.

Plant Name:

Philodendron Xanadu





Common Names:

Philodendron Xanadu, Philodendron Winterbourn


Indoor and outdoor


Tender evergreen perennial


4’ tall 6’ wide

Sun Requirements:


Foliage Color:


Flower Color:


Hardiness Zones:


Maintenance Level:


Poisonous for Pets:


How to Grow Philodendron Xanadu

How to Grow Philodendron Xanadu

Philodendron Xanadu is gaining traction as a popular plant to choose from. The best bet to find a Xanadu is to start searching local garden centers and nurseries.

If those don’t have any, check an online plant seller, oftentimes they will have specialty tropicals. Keep searching, plant shipments vary so one shipment might not have anything, the next could be full of Xanadus.

Finding out the shipment schedule of your local garden center and showing up on the day they receive new stock is a great way to pick up popular plants that sell fast (yes I am that crazy plant lady hanging around greenhouses on delivery day, and you can be too!).

Propagating Philodendron Xanadu by Division

Another way to get a Philodendron Xanadu is by splitting an already existing plant. Start by digging up, or unpotting, a mature Xanadu. 

Then, push the leaves and kind of look for a part (like a hairdresser), there will be an obvious line as to where a new plant can be divided (if there isn’t one, it isn’t ready for division).

With a sharp spade or hori hori knife, divide the plant along that line. Repot, or replant, both sections and water well.

Philodendron Xanadu Propagation by Leaf Cutting

Another way to get a Philodendron Xanadu is to grow it from a leaf cutting. This is a more difficult way and will take the longest. Find a piece of young growth along the stem of the plant that is at least 6”. 

With a sharp knife, or clippers, cleanly cut the stem. Now either place this stem into water to root, or dip it in rooting hormone and place it into evenly moist potting soil. If it is in soil, cover it with a plastic baggy or something to keep the moisture in for about a week.

Philodendron Xanadus will be more lush and bushy if they are growing outside in a tropical, humid climate

Sun Requirements

Philodendron Winterbourn grows best with bright, but indirect sunlight. Burned or bleached out leaves are a sign it is getting too much direct light. Leggy, pale leaves are a sign it is not getting enough sun.

For outdoor growing, Xanadu will take sun-part shade conditions. Early morning sun or late afternoon sun would be best, with some protection from the strong afternoon rays.


Philodendron Xanadu is a tropical plant and does like extra humidity. It does benefit from misting, or a tray of pebbles and water placed underneath it. Or a humidifier running in the home will up the humidity and make for a lusher healthier plant.

If all this seems like too much work, don’t worry about it too much. The Xanadu might not get as big and lush as it would in a more humid environment, but it will still look good. Make sure not to have it near a heat vent where hot air is blowing at it constantly.

Soil Requirements

Philodendron Winterbourn is a tropical rainforest plant, so it likes the rich loose free draining soil of the rainforest. As a houseplant, a good quality potting soil will suffice.

For outdoor Xanadus, amend heavy clay soils with peat or coconut coir, and then top dress with compost, aged manure, worm castings, or sea soil.

(Learn how to make compost and the benefits of making your own here.)

Philodendron Xanadu Care Tips

Philodendron Xanadu Care Tips

Water Requirements

Philodendron Xanadu likes to dry out a bit between waterings. Do not over water. When it is time to water, give the plant a good soak. Take it under the sink or in the tub and pour water into it and then let the excess drain out (always choose pots with drainage holes in the bottom).

Then let it dry out before watering again. The plant should be dry to your middle knuckle before watering again. Don’t let it dry out too much. Watering a Xanadu is a bit of a dance, but soon it will become a routine.

Outdoor watering is always more tricky, since there’s rain and heat and other factors. But the overall principle remains the same. If the Xanadu is dry, take out the hose and give it a good soak.

Ideally water it not during the heat of the day. When choosing a location for a Xanadu in the garden, don’t put it in a boggy or wet area, they like the soil to be able to drain.


Fertilize indoor Xanadus monthly with an all purpose 20-20-20 fertilizerduring spring-fall. Do not fertilize in the winter as that is when the plant is dormant.

For outdoor Xanadus the same all purpose fertilizer will work. However, a better method is keeping your soil rich and full of organic matter. Healthy living soil is far better than adding fertilizer in the garden.

Designing Your Philodendron Xanadu

Philodendron Xanadu is a striking plant

Philodendron Xanadu is a striking plant, indoors it looks great in a large pot on the floor. It’s glossy elongated leaves with large lobes makes it very unique in the home.

Consider buying a larger, more established one for the home to make a bigger statement. It’s more expensive, but sometimes people will buy 6 or 7 small plants and create a busy look when just 1 large plant would  have really filled the space and looked better for the same price.

Outdoors, it is a tropical that will only grow in zones 9+, however outside those zones it can be grown as an annual outdoors. It looks great as the centerpiece or “thriller” in a pot with a variety of flowers and vines growing with it. Perhaps begonias and golden lysimachia.

For those who are in zones 9+ Philodendron Winterbourn looks best when grown directly in the garden. It will grow large and lush. It looks great in a garden border because the leaves have such a different texture. 

So really play with Xanadu and find a spot that makes the leaf shape really stand out.

Philodendron Winterbourn Pests and Diseases

Philodendron Winterbourn will have little problems if it is kept growing in its ideal conditions. That is to say it is in bright indirect sunlight, watered only when it is nearly dry, and is in nice light free draining soil. 

If pests are constantly a problem, it might be one of these things is not quite right. Low light and the amount of water (too much or too little) are especially important to get right or Xanadu could come down with a disease or pest.

The usual suspects can infest Philodendron Xanadu, aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs. The unholy trio. 

Philodendron Winterbourn will have little problems if it is kept growing in its ideal conditions


Aphids will appear all along the stems in large groups. They can be manually scraped off (I grab a tissue and run it along the stem), they can be sprayed off in the shower or wit

h the hose. 

But the Xanadu will probably need to be sprayed with an insecticidal soap weekly to break the aphid cycle. Aphids are born pregnant, so just one lone aphid can cause a major infestation. See our guide for more details on how to deal with Aphids.

Spider Mites

Spider mites tend to infest plants that are not in great health, and then the mites make things worse. They appear on foliage as a thin veil of webbing. When closely examined tiny networks of itty bitty spider mites are racing through it (fascinating and gross).

They also give the leaves a mottled appearance. Spraying the webs off works for spider mites as well. Then a spray with an insecticidal soap will clear the plant of the mites.

Try and find the underlying cause of the infestation, is that Xanadu getting enough light? Not enough water? Also, for bringing Xanadu indoors for the winter if it was outside, give the plant a spray preventatively. Quite often they come into the house, and then they spread to other plants.


Mealybugs will appear in the stem and the underside of the leaf. They look like little fuzz balls. Cleaning them off with a cotton swab and some rubbing alcohol can get rid of these. If it is an ongoing nightmare, spray with the good old insecticidal soap.

Root Rot

As far as diseases, root rot will be the most common one to affect Xanadu since they are sensitive to water. It is important not to over water Philodendron Xanadu, wait until the top few inches are dry before watering. 

Also make sure the soil is light and able to drain. Root rot will appear with yellowing leaves and rotting stems. If it is a houseplant, remove Xanadu from its pot and remove all the squishy rotting bits of root, and then transplant into fresh, fluffy potting soil.

If it is in the ground, check to see if it is in an area of the garden that remains wet. Transplanting to another area of the garden might be necessary.

Remove the mushy rotten roots before replanting. Make sure the soil is amPnded with peat or coir to help with drainage.

Philodendron Xanadu FAQs

Philodendron Xanadu Propagation

Can the Philodendron Xanadu take full sun?

Yes, it can take a variety of sun conditions. However, if the foliage is bleaching out and looking burnt it might be in too much sun, some dappled shade in the heat of the afternoon would be good. As an indoor plant, Xanadu does great in bright, indirect sun.

Is Philodendron Xanadu a fast growing plant?

Yes, it will grow much bigger faster if it is grown outside in the garden as opposed to indoors as a houseplant.

Why is my Xanadu drooping?

This is most likely a watering issue. The easiest way to check is to put your finger in the soil. It shouldn’t be wet, and it shouldn’t be bone dry. If it is completely dry, water and see if it perks back up.

If it is soggy, leave it alone and let it dry out, this could lead to root rot and the whole plant will need to be repotted and all the dead rotten roots cut off.

Why is my Xanadu dying? 

I am going to venture a guess that it is because of a watering issue. Too much most likely, but too little possibly. Make sure to let Xanadu dry out between watering, but not completely.

If it’s an outdoor Xanadu, perhaps it’s because of the weather, while they can handle a light frost, they will suffer damage to their leaves. Cut off the dead foliage and let it recover.

Is Xanadu an indoor plant?

Yes, for all of us that live in zones below zone 9, Xanadu makes a lovely houseplant.

How do I make my Xanadu bushy?

Xanadus will be more lush and bushy if they are growing outside in a tropical, humid climate. If you are growing indoors it will never look as bushy as a garden grown one, but you can help it out by providing some extra humidity in the home. Getting a humidifier and running it nearby is an effective way to do this.

Can't get enough of Philodendrons? See our growing guides below:

Have Fun Growing Philodendron Xanadu

Whether planted indoors, or outdoors, Philodendron Xanadu is a gorgeous plant with unique heavily lobed leaves that is sure to draw attention. It is fairly low maintenance and easy making it a great addition to the home or garden. Just don’t over water your Philodendron Xanadu!

About the Author Mabel Vasquez

Mabel has enjoyed a long career as a horticulturist, working in nurseries and greenhouses for many years. Although she loves all plants, Mabel has developed a particular passion over the years for herb gardens and indoor plants. Mabel has since retired from her horticulture career and loves sharing her many years of experience with our audience here at Sumo Gardener.

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