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Our first Plant of the Week for 2004 is Philodendron ‘Xanadu’.

Philodendrons originate in tropical USA, the West Indies and South America, and are popular for their lush foliage and dramatically lobed leaves. Many are climbers, and do well as indoor plants in brightly lit positions. Philodendron ‘Xanadu’ combines many of the good points of its relatives with some special qualities of its own.

Plant details
Common name:
The name Xanadu is from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem Kubla Khan, which he composed in an ‘opium dream’.
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree
Coleridge was reading a book describing a palace at Xamdu, then fell asleep after taking two grains of opium to relieve his disentry. When he awoke, he wrote down fragments of his dream. In the poem, Xamdu became Xanadu.
Botanic name: Philodendron ‘Xanadu’
Description: Xanadu is an evergreen, low shrub with a compact, tidy growth habit and attractive lobed leaves. It rarely exceeds 1x1m, and usually grows to around 75cm (2’6″) high.
Best climate: Xanadu can be grown in the garden in tropical and subtropical Australia and in warm temperate coastal areas. In the colder parts of Australia it’s best grown as an indoor or patio plant under high light conditions.

Best look:

planted in drifts for a massed display
good pot specimen in semi shaded conditions
great for tropical-look gardens but blends with many different plants
great tidy plant around pools

Good points:

decorative small lobed leaves
compact growth
low maintenance and pest free
doesn’t produce aerial roots
wide climatic tolerance


Grows poorly with an open habit under heavy shade or indoors


full sun to semi shade
plenty of water in spring and summer
annual fertilising with slow release fertiliser to keep it green

Getting started:

Plants are readily available at nurseries and cost around $25 for 200mm (8″) pots, and about $40 for 250mm (10″) pots. It is also possible to purchase sun grown advanced plants for an instant landscape look.