Tropical plants are clueless. They do not understand that autumn is just prior to winter when the weather may get uncomfortably cool. Philodendron selloum continues to develop fresh new leaves that mature slowly in cool autumn weather and may consequently lack resiliency to frost in winter. Vegetable plants and flowering annuals are not so ignorant, which is why so many that were productive through summer are nearly finished and some are ready to relinquish their space to cool season counterparts.
Like the many warm season vegetables, most of the cool season vegetables should be grown from seed sown directly into the garden. Only those that produce efficiently from fewer but substantial plants like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and some of the heading lettuces, can be grown from seedlings purchased in cell packs. Because individual plants produce only once, more can be added to the garden in phases every two to four weeks through the season to prolong production.
Chard, kale, collards and turnip greens can likewise be grown from cell pack seedlings if only a few plants to harvest as intact heads or large leaf greens are desired. However, a package of seed costs about as much as a single cell pack of only six seedlings but contains enough seed for many more mature heads, as well as for abundant production of ‘baby’ greens plucked from many juvenile plants through the entire season. Seed for baby greens can be sow densely since they need minimal space to mature.
Root vegetables such as beet, carrot, turnip and radish, really do not recover well from transplanting from cell packs. Individual cells are sometimes crowded with too many seedlings that must push away from each other as they mature. Otherwise, if not crowded, each cell contains only a few seedlings that are not nearly as practical as simply sown seed would be.
Although each individual root vegetable plant produces only once, they all mature at different rates, so most types can be sown in only one or two phases instead of several phases every two to four weeks. If the biggest get pulled first, the smaller ones continue to mature.
HIGHLIGHT: Philodendron selloum
There are all sorts of philodendrons with all sorts of fancy names. Yet, the biggest and boldest lacks a common name (at least one that is actually ‘common’), and is most popularly known by a Latin name that is not even correct. The proper name for Philodendron selloum is really Philodendron bipinnatifidum. It is a big awkward plant with big and deeply lobed leaves on long petioles (stalks), and weirdly thick aerial roots. Well exposed plants can stand on wobbly trunks. Partly shaded plants can creep along the ground, and prefer to grab onto and climb tree trunks, fences or anything that they can get hold of. The aerial roots are harmless to trees, and generally too slow to catch a healthy cat, but will take paint off of walls. All parts of Philodendron selloum are toxic.
Like so many tropical plants, Philodendron selloum does not know what to do about cool weather during autumn and winter.
Horticulturist, arborist and garden columnist, Tony Tomeo assesses the horticultural correctness of landscapes, and inspects trees of environmental prominence from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Send your comments and questions