Xanadu Philodendron works best in a supporting role, say ArtisTree Plantopinions experts.

Xanadu philodendron

“My neighbor is a big fan of Xanadu Philodendron, and I like the way it looks, too. But don’t they get out control? Hers seem to dominate her entire front landscape.”

— Robert L., Wellen Park, FL

Xanadu Philodendron fringes a Canary Date palm and serves as a lush, dark backdrop for Pittosporum shrubs and begonias.

Thanks for writing, Robert. You didn’t mention what other plantings your neighbor paired with her Xanadu Philodendron, or if she paired it with anything at all. When planted alone, Xandanu can certainly come across as an overpowering mass of monotonous green. But when treated as a middle layer or border to complement other specimens, you’ll hit a home run. ArtisTree’s Plantopinions experts explain the pros and cons of this tropical stunner.

Joe Mantkowski, VP of Landscape Design

Xanadu Philodendron is a great tropical option for a landscape that accentuates other foliage-colored plants such as crotons, Ti plants, etc.  Can be used in either shade or sun, but I find it performs best in partial sun/shade. I’ll typically use it as a border planting unless I’m working with minimal space and/or trying to not obscure walls of a home (if planting near walls, you’ll need to come out at least two and a half feet). Downsides are that it’s susceptible to cold and toxic if ingested.

Clinton Lak, ArtisTree Landscape Designer

Xanadu is a great tropical choice and looks best when mixed with crotons and other contrasting tropicals in a sheltered environment. I particularly like this plant for its interesting foliage. The leaves spread out, creating a sort of pillow effect that’s very pleasing in the landscape. You’ll rarely have to trim it because of its natural growth habit that produces its cushion-like shape. When considering this plant, be aware that it’s cold sensitive and has semi-toxic leaf sap.

Chris Culp, Landscape Designer

What I like about Xanadu Philodendron is that it’s a showy tropical that doesn’t get too tall. It only reaches about four feet and spreads outward instead of up. This means you can use it as a filler between or behind other plants like crotons, Hawaiian Ti plants and shell ginger. Has a nice split leaf that tends to make it look delicate. Can get leggy as it gets older, but you can control that with trimming (which it seldom needs). You’ll want to add fertilizer every three months or so to keep it looking its best. Don’t over water and keep in mind that parts of the plant are toxic.

Xanadu Philodendron is the perfect understory plant for these massive Areca palms casting shade over a secluded lanai area in University Park, FL.

Brian Clouser, Landscape Designer

I’m a fan of Xanadu because it’s a tropical shade plant that also works well within a traditional southern landscape. While it works nicely as a larger border plant, I prefer to use it as a middle layer to accentuate neighboring plants. The leaf shape and mounding growth habit make it very unique (they grow to about four feet tall and five feet wide). The biggest problems are over watering and wet conditions. To help avoid this, plant them three feet apart. They need room to fill out, plus air circulation helps keep them from staying too moist. Xanadu is also low-maintenance and resistant to most pests.

Xanadu philodendron
Xanadu Philodendron pairs beautifully with variegated shell ginger and Ti plants in this partially shaded area at ArtisTree’s Design Center. Located in Venice, FL.

Elisabeth Owen, Landscape Designer

Xanadu Philodendron is a compact moderate grower with a divided texture that’s best suited as an understory planting in part sun or part shade. You can also use it very effectively in large containers or to line an entry walkway that gets shade part of the day. I like Xanadu in a patio setting, courtyard or poolside. It creates a wonderful tropical effect instantaneously. We use this plant when “tropical” is requested and offset its deep-green leaves with variegated Arboricola, Ti plants, crotons, etc. for a nice balance of color. A few things to note, though. It’s very cold tender and must be planted in a well-drained location. Also, when you trim it, the sap can stain driveways and walkways. Finally, parts of the plant are toxic, so be careful about its use around pets. I’m wary of using Xanadu because over time many people don’t care for the look of the mature “trunks” (although it’s fairly low maintenance and doesn’t require much trimming at all). I rarely use it.

Xanadu philodendron
A Sarasota homeowner opted for lush Xanadu Philodendron encircled by boulders for a low-maintenance tropical look.
ArtisTree Plantopinions
Left to right: Joe Mantkowski, Clinton Lak, Chris Culp, Brian Clouser, Elisabeth Owen

ArtisTree “Plantopinions” is a roundtable debate between multiple ArtisTree experts on the virtues of various plant specimens. Sometimes there’s consensus and sometimes not. In the end, you are the judge!

ArtisTree Landscape Designers

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