Your Philodendron Brasil indoor plant care guide.
With its heart-shaped, glossy green leaves it's hard not to fall for the Philodendron hederaceum Brasil, but it's those thick strokes of eyecatching golden variegation that often clinch the deal. Philodendron hederaceum Brasil, commonly known as variegated Heartleaf Philodendron or the Sweetheart Plant is an attractive, evergreen perennial cultivar in the Araceae family. Its vibrant, cheerful foliage is a bundle of joy in a hanging basket and adds an artistic flair to bookshelves when spilling over a planter.
Philodendron stems from the Greek word for 'tree lover'. An apt name for this popular climber which clambers up tree trunks in its natural habitat. Philodendron Brasil may reach up to 1.2m in height and those trailing stems look their best in a hanging basket or trained up a moss pole. Mature plants may surprise you with spathes of pretty green-white flowers.
The Philodendron hederaceum Brasil
, was developed from the species Philodendron hederaceum
, which was historically known as Philodendron scandens
; however, this name is now considered a synonym although you might still spot it in use. When it comes to planting names old habits die hard.
This tender species is sometimes confused with another gorgeous trailing plant, the Pothos (Epipremnum aureum
). This excellent blog
delves into the myriad similarities and differences between them but the main way to tell is by the shape and texture of the leaves. The Philodendron
is more heart-shaped and has thinner smoother leaves. The Pothos, on the other hand, has thicker leaves with a bumpier surface.
Got room for both? Get yours on Candide
The Sweetheart Plant has been a feature in our homes since Victorian times. And its enduring popularity is well deserved - this easy-care plant can withstand neglect and doesn't seem to mind less than ideal conditions. Philodendron Brasil has benefits beyond the aesthetic. It is one of the plants tested by NASA for its air filtering qualities.
How to care for Philodendron Brasil
Temperature: While it is easy to care for, the Sweetheart plant has one major stipulation and that is temperature. In winter, it will suffer in anything less than 15 degrees so it's best kept as an indoor plant in the UK.
Light: The good news for everyone without south-facing windows is most Philodendrons will thrive without direct sunlight. However, the most common issue with Philodendron Brasil is when the plant reverts to a solid colour. To avoid this happening, keep your Philodendron Brasil in a well-lit spot. A sunny room is fine so long as the plant isn't in direct sun.
Soil: Plant Philodendron Brasil in well-draining soil, enriched with organic matter. The soil should be kept moist but not waterlogged. And you can cut back on the frequency of your watering during the winter months.
Humidity: Don't forget to keep humidity levels up with regular misting. This is a tropical plant, after all, more used to the balmy climates of Mexico, Central America, South America and parts of the Caribbean. While you're on misting duty, wipe any dust away that has accumulated on the leaves. This will keep your leaves looking lush and ensure they can photosynthesise effectively.
Repotting: The Philodendron Brasil doesn't mind being slightly potbound so don't rush to repot it. Upgrade its pots in spring around once every 2-3 years or when you notice the roots poking out of the pot's drainage holes.
Aerial roots: One of the coolest things about Philodendrons is the spindly aerial roots that emerge as the plant grows. Just push these into the compost to keep the upper leaves well hydrated.
Pruning and Propagation Essentials
How to propagate Philodendron Brasil
This gorgeous plant is bound to provoke some jealousy among your houseplant-fiend friends. Luckily, the Philodendron Brasil is easy to propagate. The best time to propagate Philodendron Brasil is when the temperatures have warmed up in late spring or summer. You can easily multiply your plant by stem cuttings or air layering. The tough bit is giving your cuttings away!
Common Philodendron Brasil problems
Leggy stems:Philodendron Brasil is a fast-growing trailing plant, which can reach a metre in length - sometimes longer if particularly content. But if yours is looking a little leggy (all stem and no leaf) pinch out the tips to encourage bushier growth and move to a brighter position. Fertilise with an organic feed once or twice a month during its growing period in spring and summer.
Yellow leaves: Yellow leaves could be a sign of overwatering. If allowed to continue, this can eventually lead to root rot
and the death of the plant. Check the top two inches of soil are dry before watering. In more severe cases, your best hope of saving the plant is to repot it in fresh soil. Sometimes yellow leaves are just a natural part of the plant's lifecycle and you can prune these to encourage new growth.
Curling leaves: When leaves curl it is usually a sign of dry air. Move your plant away from radiators and up your misting. If this doesn't perk up your plant, assess whether underwatering or cold temperatures could also be causing the leaves to curl.
Drooping leaves: Drooping leaves are a sign your Philodendron Brasil is thirsty. Water from the bottom until it is thoroughly quenched then tip away the remaining water (or use it to water your other plants).
Leaves reverting: Sometimes variegated leaves can start to fade and revert to solid green. If you spot this happening, move your plant to a brighter position (but make sure it's not in full view of the sun).
Is Philodendron Brasil toxic?
The Philodendron Brasil is considered toxic to both humans and pets. Here are some plants to be wary of if you have pets or young children.
Where to buy Philodendron Brasil