Philodendron Birkin is a trendy plant, and it is relatively new. It’s a part of Philodendron variety having glossy, big, and dark green leaves with creamy white stripes on the surface. In general, this type has a rather oval shape of the leaves with a bit pointed tip. Others may have round shape or even heart shape.
This is a houseplant that is slow growing, meaning that it takes a few years to finally reach maturity. If you have baby plant, it would be perfect for the tabletop or your favorite desk. You should know the proper care and maintenance if you want it to grow healthily and perfectly.
- Common or scientific name: Philodendron Birkin
- Plant type: Perennial
- Genus: Philodendron
- Scientific family: Araceae
- Lighting: Indirect, but bright light
- Temperature: 60 degrees to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (or 16 degrees to 24 degrees Celsius)
- Watering: Moderate (even moisture)
- Growth: 6 inches to 36 inches. Some, though, may be able to grow up to 3 feet
- Humidity: High (between 60 and 90%)
The Origin of the Plant
For many people, Philodendron Birkin is believed to be the hybrid variety (of Philodendron) that resulted from the cross breeding between Philodendron Rojo Congo and Imperial Green originating in Thailand. However, other rumors say that the plant is the mutation from Rojo Congo, which was later separated and then cultivated on its own.
Philodendron Birkin has come to existence for quite a long time. The name is taken from Greek words. Phileo means to love while Dendron means tree. When combined together, they mean ‘tree lover’. The plant is native in rainforests of Paraguay and Brazil, making it a striking tropical plant that you can have at home. Each leaf is different from one another, so having one won’t be boring or plain.
As it was mentioned before, the plant has green leaves with white strips. Being a part as a variegated plant, there are various patterns or patches or colors to be expected. Some Birkin plants may produce leaves having red patches. Some may even have reddish green leaves.
This plant is compact and self-heading. It means that the plant can support itself and you don’t need to train it to ‘climb’. The plant likes the indirect, but bright light which is believed to result in the white stripes creation.
Philodendrons were discovered first in the 1600s, right in the rainforests of Brazil. What’s unique about this Philodendron Birkin is the combination of deep green (and round) leaves with vivid white variegation and pinstripes, looks matching with the thick, plump, and bright stems. The genus Philodendrons have around 489 species, most of which are found within the humid and tropical climates.
The Signature Style
The leaves are the signature style of the plant, with the gorgeous, large, and stunning foliage. Although the plant is commonly known as the houseplant, it can be a climbing plant, but that’s not always the case. Some plants may grow as the climbing type, while the others may not. It depends on the mutation.
Although Birkins love bright light, direct sunlight is a no-no. It’s true that most plants need sunlight to survive, but too much sunlight can cause serious damage to the Birkins. The direct sunlight may cause sunburn to the plant. It can also dry the plant out and damage the leaves. Shaded or indirect sunlight would be the best.
The most ideal place to keep the Birkins is on the windowsill facing east. Feel free to place it behind a thin shade too. If you can give the plant tons of shaded light without causing it to suffer from sunburn, you will see that the leaves pinstripes would be bright white.
When your plant is healthy and fine, you won’t have to prune it. Pruning is only needed when there are damaged or dead leaves. Many gardeners say that ageing and yellowed leaves are okay; you don’t need to prune them. But it’s only possible if they aren’t signs of underlying issues. If they are actually signs of issues, then you need to find out what’s wrong with your Birkin.
As a slow growing plant, you may not need to change the container. But it’s always wise to check the plant. It’s possible that your plant may experience significant growth during the growing season. If the roots have reached the bottom area of the pot, then remove it to a bigger container. You don’t want to experience rootbound issue that may restrict the growth.
Every time you re-pot, choose a container that is 5 centimeters bigger than the current size. Make sure that it has enough drainage holes. It would provide the proper opportunity for your Birkin to grow, but you won’t have to deal with overwatering risk.
Diseases and Pests
There are some common issues related to the Birkin. Knowing their signs and how to treat them can be helpful to boost their health.
- Root Rot
Root rot is one of the most common issues of Philodendron Birkin. The reasons are many, from too cool temperature, excessively big pots, overwatering, and poorly draining soil. In short, there are too much moisture found within the soil. The signs are obvious: the leaves are discolored and wilted with soggy soil and stunted growth. If you check the roots, they are black or white and they are somewhat mushy (too soft to touch).
Remove the Birkin. Under running water, rinse the roots off. Ditch the original soil and replace it with something new: a fresh mix of perlite and potting soil. Remove the affected leaves and roots by trimming them away. Replant the Birkin again. Monitor and observe the recovery process.
- Bacteria and Fungi
Overwatering tend to lead to fungal and bacterial growth, including Erwinia (or bacterial blight) and Xanthomonas (bacterial leaf spot). If you see (water-soaked) lesion on the stem or leaves, along with stunted growth and yellowed new growth, then it’s more likely Erwinia. Also if there is an unpleasant smell, then it’s confirmed.
If you see red edge spot on the leaf, where the yellowing would begin on the tips (and then moving to the margins), then it’s likely the Xanthomonas. You should also see reddish and yellow-haloed spot on the leaf edges. When it’s advanced, the leaves would turn yellow and fall off completely.
If you see these signs, you may want to do these:
- Isolate the affected or the sick plant
- Remove the parts of the plant that have been affected, especially the leaves
- Clean the pruning tools between the cuts. Use 1:9 bleach and water solution to clean the tools. It’s one part of the bleach and 9 parts of the water.
- Maintain the plant in dry condition. Make sure that it has enough light. Manage the proper fertilizer and water to recover
One of the most common (and also the worst) pests in Birkin is the spider mites. The pests are small with reddish brown appearance. They like to eat the leaves to take the nutrients, making the leaves dry and fall off. Check the underside of the leaves. If you see webs, then spider mites have invaded your plant. You can either spray the plant or use a damp cloth to remove the bugs. You should prune the affected leaves before applying a (gentle) insecticide soap. Your plant should be completely clean by now.
Thrips are other types of common pets for Philodendron Birkin. They are bugs, small with black or pale yellow appearance. If your Birkin’s leaves are splotchy and somewhat pale, then you have Thrips infestation. You should prune the affected areas and use the (insecticide) soap to remove them and to clean the plant.
Propagation is typically done through cuttings, which is best done in summer or spring. Stem cutting would be the most ideal way. Here’s how you should do it:
- Use a sharp blade to cut off a stem. Make sure the stem has aerial roots. Place the cutting to a pot. Make sure it has well-draining and moist soil. Or use the basic but nutrient rich type.
- Place the pot in a humid surrounding, getting the indirect sunlight. The temperature is ideally warm, but not excessively hot. Always check the condition. In two weeks (or three, max), you can see sprouting that is followed by leaves. It means that your propagation is successful!
Unfortunately, Philodendron Birkin is one of those plants having the so-called calcium oxalate crystals, which can be toxic when any part of the plant is ingested. In some cases, touching the plant without gloves may lead to skin irritation. So, yes, Birkin is toxic for both animals and humans. You want to keep this plant away from kids and pets.
This kind of plant likes its own special type of soil. First of all, it should be loose soil or soil that is rich in organic matter. The soil should also have good drainage nature. You can try sphagnum peat moss or peat moss potting mix to grow the plant. It’s also okay to use peat vermiculite or peat perlite. They enable water to nicely drain so the Birkin root will remain dry and not rot. If you use these kinds of soil, you won’t have to worry about rotting root or other issues related to water.
Philodendrons love moist surroundings and also mist soil, but it doesn’t mean that you should flood your plant. Soggy soil isn’t okay, but completely dry soil isn’t healthy either. Here’s the general rule: not too much water, and not too little water. It should be balance. When it’s too much, it can lead to the roots being rotten, the leaves turning yellow, or the leaves falling off.
The point is that your plant should be hydrated. During summer and spring time, the soil should stay damp when you water it. In winter months, however, make sure that the soil is (mostly) dry before you can water it again. Check the leaves. If they are drooping, it’s most likely that you don’t water the plant properly. Watering should be done one (or two) times in a week, but you need to check that the top soil is dry before you can add water.
Pots and Containers
Philodendron Birkin is a perfect and ideal houseplant that can grow well in moderate temperature and enough lights. Indoor containers are perfect for them as long as you provide enough space for the plant to grow. At least provide a pot with 10 inches of depth and 20 inches of diameter. When the roots are loose, you will get yourself a happy and healthy plant. When the roots have reached the bottom side of the pot, then you need to re-pot the plant.
Choose a pot that has holes for drainage. You don’t want to suffer from water logged soil issue. If you have plastic pot, you can also add holes on the bottom so the water can get away and not being trapped inside the pot.
Moreover, soil kept within ceramic or unglazed clay pots will dry faster than soil in plastic or glazed pots. You need to know the type of pot you use so you can manage your watering schedule. So, if you use terracotta pots, for instance, you may need more than two watering schedules in a week. It’s advisable that you should always check the soil at first, so you can develop your own watering routine.
All plants need extra nutrients to stay healthy, and so is Philodendron Birkin. According to gardeners, all kinds of fertilizers that are designed and formulate for houseplants would do just fine for the Birkin – regardless their forms or shapes (liquid, tablet, pellet, or power). Just make sure that your fertilizer has enough micro nutrients needed by the Birkin, such as nitrogen, magnesium, and calcium.
Here’s what you can do when you give your Birkin the extra ‘supplement for its well-being:
- Make sure that you apply the fertilizer to moist soil. If you do it on dry or soggy soil, it won’t produce any satisfying result.
- It’s always better to apply fertilizer in smaller dosage or amount; at least within the given advised amount. It’s better to give smaller but more amount of fertilizer instead of only one but extensive feeding. It’s like choking your plant too much on the supplement. After all, too much ‘healthy food’ can actually damage your plant
Remember that Philodendron Birkin is native to tropical areas. They love moderate, even high, humidity levels. You can create such a humid environment at home by doing some of these things:
- Consider placing your Birkin in the bathroom window. In this way, it will get both humidity and sunlight
- Spray the leaves with a spray bottle. Misting them can be done once every two days, especially during the growing season. But during winter, you don’t have to do it quite often. Twice a week would be enough
- Place a humidifier within the same room of your Birkin and set it within the required level
- Use a pebble tray. Fill the tray with water. When the water evaporates, the plant can enjoy the direct benefits. The tray will also help keeping the excess water from touching the soil.
- Place some houseplants together in one area to create a microclimate
- Consider buying a greenhouse cabinet that can help with the humidity
Why my Philodendron Birkin had no stripes?
You should know that Philodendron Birkin doesn’t have any stable mutation. It means that the leaves may go back to the natural green hue and they may not have the (iconic) white stripes. This is basically normal and natural. When it happens, it may likely take place only temporarily. Try to expose the plant to more sun (but still shaded) so new leaves will have the variegated and iconic white stripes again.
Why is my Philodendron Birkin leaves curling?
There are actually some possible reasons why the leaves would curl. The common causes are insect infestation, lack of nutrition, temperature stress, low humidity, and dehydration. You can try maintaining the humidity level between 50% and 60%. Water the top soil when it feels dry and make sure that you don’t flood the soil (or make the soil soggy). Only use good drainage soil so you can prevent root rot. If you can do all of these, the plant’s condition should improve.
When do Philodendron Birkin get stripes?
Let’s not forget that Philodendron Birkin is generated from chimeric mutation, so the stripes may appear in different situation and different time frame. Some Birkin may get the stripes even when they are still baby plants, while some will get the stripes as they are closing to maturity. You can’t really expect a uniformed result. In some cases, the leaves may be green completely, while the others are green with reddish brown stripes.
How big does Philodendron Birkin get?
In general, the plant can grow up to 3 feet (around 90 centimeters) when mature, provided that you have taken care the plant carefully and thoroughly.
Why are my Philodendron Birkin leaves turning brown?
Brown leaves or patches are one of the most common issues happening to Philodendron Birkin. The issue can be caused by fungal infections, sunburn, or overwatering. In most cases, the brownish issue may not kill the plant, but it can lead to permanent scars when left untreated.
Philodendron White Measure vs Birkin
Philodendron White Measure is also called Birkin, which can make things confusing. So, what’s the difference between Philodendron Birkin and White Measure, anyway? A lot of people say that it is the shape of the leaves. Philodendron White Measure has heart-shaped leaves while the Birkin has a more oval shape with a little pointy tip. But in general, it would be difficult to differentiate both of them.
Is Philodendron Birkin rare?
It’s safe to say that this plant is pretty rare. Because of the unique nature, it can be hard to find this plant in any plantation or florist. Even if you find one, it may cost you quite a lot. Some people who have grown the plant stated that they spent between $50 and $100 to buy one. It was several years ago. However, many people today say that you can find the plant at home improvement stores and they don’t cost you a fortune. A plant may cost you between $15 and $50 a pot.
What is the best pot for Philodendron Birkin?
Any pot will do as long as it has drainage holes on the bottom so water can escape when it’s too much. Be advised, though, that different types of pots will be related to the dry-out level of the soil. The soil in the unglazed clay (such as Terracotta) pot will dry out faster than the soil in a plastic pot, so you need to observe and monitor your plant to develop your own watering regime.
Do Philodendron Birkins climb?
The plant isn’t exactly considered as a climbing type despite the fact that the leaves and stems can be leggy and long. Not to mention that the plant does grow from the plant’s center up. To maintain the bushier form, you need to perform biannual pruning. When the plant grows without pruning, the leaves themselves are able to spread to 8 inches (in diameter) up.
Keep in mind that it’s possible that the pant may become just a bit heavy, causing it to lean to a side. When it happens, you can use something to support or prop it up. Most people would use a small bamboo stake, but anything will do as long as it can support the plan. unlike other Philodendrons having vines, Birkins don’t have one.
Does Philodendron Birkin flower?
You should know that plants within Philodendron genus produce flowers, but they would do it when they are completely mature. Let’s not forget that it takes a lot of years to mature and reach that stage. It’s highly likely that you won’t see your plant flower. So, even though the Philodendron genus plants have flowers, it would be unlikely for you to see Philodendron Birkin actually produces flowers.
Those are some of the basic facts about Philodendron Birkin, in case you are interested in growing one at home.