‘Xanadu’ and so can you!

a plant with shiny dark green lobed leaves
The Richly Green Mound of Foliage – ‘Xanadu’

If you like philodendrons and want one that can survive in many shady locations outside, the one called ‘Xanadu’ may be on your horticultural bucket list.  Now while “Xanadu” was a word used in the 1816 poem “Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge featuring a fictional place of wonder and utopian life, this name does accurately describe a great evergreen plant suitable for Southwest Florida.   ‘Xanadu’ and so can you!

While many gardeners are most likely familiar with a larger philodendron relative of ‘Xanadu’ called Selloum, ‘Xanadu’ is much more compact with refined foliage and a maximum growth of three-foot tall and five-feet wide.  Originally from South America, developed in Australia, and originally named ‘’Winterbourn’ – a hybrid patented selection, this plant was later renamed ‘Xanadu’.  The leaves are lobed, medium green and look like a smaller version of Selloum. Each slightly arching leaf is eighteen inches long and about one-foot wide with fifteen to twenty lobes.  These leaves meet in a central head to form a mound of sorts with new leaves emerging from the center of the slowly enlarging clump.

‘Xanadu’ grows best in a part-sun, part shade environment ideally with dappled morning sun and afternoon shade – it is particularly adapted for planting in the shade of trees.  Plant in well-drained soil which will benefit from some organic matter worked in prior to planting.  For mass planting or as a border of foundation plant, space each ‘Xanadu’ three feet apart.  ‘Xanadu’ also fits the bill as a houseplant in bright, in-direct light or on a shaded patio in a larger container.  No pruning or management is really needed with this neat, tight-growing foliage plant.

There are a couple of items to keep in mind concerning ‘Xanadu’.  This foliage plant is best planted in the warmer areas of hardiness zone 10A.  This hardiness zone designation means that the temperature lows could reach 30 to 35 °F during some winters.  These warmer areas will include spots along the coast or in pockets of warmer locations called micro-climates.  Freeze events may require you to cover the plants.  Also, ‘Xanadu’ contains calcium oxalate, a toxic material found in the leaves and stems when crushed.    Calcium oxalate may also cause dermatitis, so wear gloves when handling.   Accordingly, keep children and pets away from this plant.

‘Xanadu’ is a popular plant for a good reason – it is carefree and a visual delight in any plant palette selection.  Add ‘Xanadu’ to your landscape and enjoy the results!  For more information on all types of foliage plants, or to ask a question, you can also call the Master Gardener Volunteer Helpdesk on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 1 to 4 pm at 764-4340 for gardening help and insight into their role as an Extension volunteer.  Ralph E. Mitchell is the Director/Horticulture Agent for UF/IFAS Extension Charlotte County. He can be reached at 941-764-4344 or ralph.mitchell@charlottecountyfl.gov.   Connect with us on social media. Like us on Facebook @CharlotteCountyExtension and follow us on Instagram @ifascharco.

Gilman, E. F. (2014) PHILODENDRON X ‘XANADU’ ‘XANADU’ PHILODENDRON.  The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions – Philodendrons.  The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
McConnell D. B., Chen, J., Henny R. J., & Everitt,  K. C. (2018) Cultural Guidelines for Commercial Production of Interiorscape Philodendron.  The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Henley, R.W., Chase, A.R. & Osborne, L.S. (2023) Philodendrons – Self-Heading Types.  The University of Florida Extension Service, IFAS.
Landre, C.  (2023) Xanadu Philodendron.  South-Florida-Plant-Guide.com
Thaumatophyllum xanadu ‘Winterbourn’ (2023) N.C. Cooperative Extension.
USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/
Philodendron ‘Winterbourn’ XANADU (2023) Missouri Botanical Garden.
In The Garden: Xanadu philodendron is a versatile plant (2020) SANIBEL-CAPTIVA – Island Reporter, Islander and Current.
Wikipedia – Kubla Khan – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kubla_Khan.


ralph mitchell
Posted: October 5, 2023

Category: Home Landscapes
Tags: Houseplant, Philodendrons, Selloum, ‘Xanadu’

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