If you are looking for a unique philodendron look, the philodendron brandtianum should be on your list. The plant that is also called the silver leaf philodendron has a remarkable silver color, blending with an olive green hue. Meanwhile, the young leaves have orangish hues which turn into darker colors as it gets mature.
All of the elements of the plants bring a beautiful unity in heart-shaped foliage. No wonder this plant always becomes the collector’s favorite.
The philodendron brandtianum is native to South America and is discovered by a botanist, Auguste de Saint-Hillaire. This Araceae family is a climber so you need a stake or pole to help it grow upright.
- Botanical Name: Philodendron Brandtianum
- Popular Name: Silver Leaf Philodendron
- Size: 4-5 feet tall (when it is grown indoor), leaf can grow
- Type: Perennial
- Sun Exposure: Filtered sunlight
- Soil Type: Well-draining soil
- Soil pH: 6.1-7.3
- Toxicity: Humans and pets
Taking care of the philodendron brandtianum requires you to provide a well-draining soil mix and also maintain the water supply. However, when watering the plant, make sure the top 2-3 inches of soil is dry before watering.
In terms of sunlight, provide an environment with medium-bright filtered sunlight with a temperature between 65-95 oF (18-35oC). The plant should live with a humidity level of at least 60% or higher. Don’t forget to fertilize the plant once a month during the growing season with a water-soluble fertilizer. Dilute the fertilizer with half strength.
As a plant that lives in a mesic habitat, the silver leaf philodendron receives sufficient water. To help the plant thrive well, you must mimic the natural habitat.
Watering can be a tricky part of growing the philodendron. But here is the trick. You don’t need to water the plant when 2-3 inches of the topsoil is still moist.
During summer, you might want to water it more because it evaporates easily. In winter it is the opposite.
Try to water the philodendron brandtianum deeply but make sure you let the topsoil moderately dry before the next watering schedule.
Don’t worry, most philodendrons are hardy, including the silver leaf philodendron. You don’t have to worry when you forget to water the plant. Just be cautious with the droopy and curly leaves. Typically it is a sign that your plant doesn’t get sufficient water.
On the other hand, the plant is sensitive to overwatering. You are not allowed to frequently water the plant until the soil gets soggy because the water can submerge the plant. Besides, water on the root area only because as you water the plant from the leaves, the moisture will be staying there and it will lead to bacterial infection.
Some growers reported that their silver leaf philodendron’s leaves drop during the winter. That means watering frequency should be reduced.
However, the silver leaf philodendron enjoys damp and humid conditions during the growing months.
Place the philodendron brandtianum in bright, indirect sunlight. If you grow the plant outdoor, place it under 20-40% shade. A partially shaded area works well for the plant as it prevents the plant from direct sunlight during peak hours. Too much direct sunlight will scorch the leaves.
A quick tip on placing the plant is around the north or east-facing window. Remember that the window should not be blocked by huge things like buildings or trees.
The plant is also able to survive under the shade. However, if it is too long, the growth will slow down.
Maintain a medium humidity level for your philodendron brandtianum. It is around 50%-60% for indoor environments. The high humidity level is important in this case because it can increase the growth rate, including the foliage.
If you are living in a place with low humidity level, you can try some ways such as using a humidifier. A humidifier is a tool that can help you control the humidity level. You can find this tool on the market easily.
Another way to increase the humidity level is using the pebble tray. Provide a tray and then place pebbles. Then, you can fill the pebbles with some water. Remember not to make the pebbles get submerged. Next, place the pot on the top of pebbles to get the humidity.
The humidity will increase because the water evaporates and it will go straight to the plant.
Here, we don’t suggest you mist the plant. Even though it might provide an instant freshness, overdoing it can lead the bacterial infection and diseases.
As the plant is native to a tropical area, it is not a surprise if the silver leaf philodendron loves warm temperatures. Place the plant in an area with a temperature between 65-95 F (18-35 C).
If you plant the philodendron brandtianum in a pot, you can bring the plant outside during summer and spring. And then, during fall and winter, you need to bring the plant inside because it doesn’t like cold temperatures.
Avoid drafty areas such as not placing them near the radiators, vents, and also conditioners. As long as you don’t let the plant grow below 15 degrees, it will thrive.
This philodendron species is not cold-hardy. If you live in a colder area, then you must be careful.
Fertilizing helps the plant to grow faster, so you might want to consider adding some. You can feed the plant with the water-soluble, or general-purpose fertilizer and then dilute it with half strength.
Feed the plant during the growing season which is spring and summer. A houseplant fertilizer also works well. Give it once a month.
During the winter, you don’t need to fertilize the plant that much because, at this state, the plant is dormant.
slow-release 15-5-10 fertilizer also works well to help your plant grow. Use it sparingly.
Keep in mind to only use the high-quality fertilizer if you don’t want salt build-up to happen. Heavy salt is often found in cheap fertilizer which can damage the roots and also kill the philodendron brandtianum.
The characteristic of the philodendron brandtianum is it is a compact-growth habit that develops foliages that are close to each other while climbing. Due to this reason, regular pruning is necessary.
You can prune the plant every once or twice a year. Or, you can prune the plant for a specific purpose such as to avoid disease spread and remove the damaged part to keep its beauty.
The best part of growing the silver leaf philodendron is you have many options. You can plant the plants on the terrariums, hanging baskets, and also terrestrial pots. So, just pick your favorite preference.
In general, you can report the philodendron every 2-3 years. You need to repot the plant when it appears to be root bound. This condition will prevent the philodendron brandtuanum to grow healthily. As this happens, check the rooting system and then report it to a larger pot.
One of the reasons the silver leaf philodendron becomes the main favorite among houseplant lovers is its easiness of propagation. The most common methods that work perfectly well are air-layering and stem cutting.
This method is considered old but still works excellently when it comes to propagating the philodendron. In this case, you will use water as the medium to grow the plant.
- First, fill the container with tap water. Don’t forget to leave one inch of the space near the rim. Settle the water overnight so the chlorine will evaporate.
- Cut a step as long as 6-inch from the healthy silver leaf philodendron. Remember to cut it below the nodes with a pair of scissors, gardening clippers, or sharp knives.
- Cut three sets of leaves with at least two leaf nodes on them.
- The next step is to place the leafless end-nodes inside the water. Ensure that the upper leaves are above the container.
- If you want faster growth, place the cutting in bright light but not under direct sunlight. The temperature must between 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit during midday and 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit during the night.
- Don’t forget to replace the water every three days. However, before using it, let the water sit overnight.
- In Around ten days, you should see the roots starting to grow.
- Once it is growing, you can move the plant to the potting soil.
- First, cut the stem and then wrap the medium around the cutting. After that, you can wait for the roots to start growing.
- In cutting the stem, choose the healthy stem and make sure you also take it with the nodes. The cut must be 1-1.5 inches below its node.
- Use a sphagnum moss to wrap around the cutting. Then, wrap it again with plastic wrap or using first-aid tape.
- In around three to four weeks, you should see the new roots starting to grow. Now you can plant the plant in the soil.
A large amount of calcium oxalate crystal makes the philodendron brandtianum toxic to humans and pets. All parts of the plant are toxic which can result in serious issues.
If the plant is swallowed, it will create a burning sensation and irritation around the mouth. Besides, the person who ingests this plant can also have difficulties in swallowing, and experience drooling and vomiting. This is why you need to keep the plant away from pets and children.
Pests and Disease
Pests and diseases are common. Disinfecting the plant is easier. You can use a homemade cleaning solution to fix them.
Just prepare some mild dish soap and mix it with water. Then, don’t forget to add a few drops of eucalyptus or orange essential oil.
With a spray bottle, apply it as a cleaning solution. Spray it to the stem, leaf, and affected area.
Another way to clean the pests is using the sponge that has been moistened with the cleaning solution and then gently wiping the affected area.
Use this as regular plant care to prevent diseases and pests from getting back.
If you already have plants that are suffering from diseases or attacked by pests, the only way to do this is to isolate the plant. Then prune the yellow leaves and the affected area using a sterilized cutting shear. Each cutting should be disinfected.
Besides pests, some diseases can be quite annoying. Some of the following are as follows:
Curling leaves – If you spot your plant’s foliage curling downwards before it is turning brown, it can indicate that the plant is suffering from tip curl. It is caused by over-fertilizing. In this case, reduce the amount of fertilization when this happened.
You can flush the plant by watering the philodendron thoroughly or placing it in the sink to remove the excess fertilizer. If you used slow-release fertilizer, then you need to repot the plant.
Leaf spot – Typically it occurs with large reddish-brown spots that are accompanied by yellow in the centers. To fix this issue, you can remove the damaged leaves by pruning them.
Besides, the leaf spot can also be caused by overwatering so you need to reduce it. Remove any excess water in the saucer to prevent root rot and leaf spot.
Spider mites – The philodendron brandtianum is prone to spider mites attack. Typically it is located on the leaf borders and axils.
Usually, when you water the plant, the spider mites will show up.
To fix this issue, you can wipe the foliage with the soapy mixture using a cotton ball or soft cloth.
Mealy bugs – Nothing’s more annoying than the existence of mealy bugs. It appears as a tiny and soft-bodied insect. If you spot white spots around the lead nodes and stems, then you can say that the philodendron is suffering from mealy bugs.
The mealy bugs can slow down the growth because it sucks the sap of the plant which is important for its growth.
To eliminate this problem, you can use rubbing alcohol solution (70% isopropyl alcohol) that is mixed with water. Use a cotton swab and rub it on the affected area.
Read also : Philodendron Xanadu : Guide from the Experts
The main signature of this plant is the heart-shaped leaves with deep green color and silver striations. The new growth has a yellow or orange color which later turns to green and silver color.
The philodendron brandtianum is a climber so it needs a pole to support it.
Here is the most interesting part. The philodendron brandtianum experiences several stages of morphogenesis during its life. It means the plant changes its appearance.
When the plant is young, the foliage appears to be orange which also blends with olive and dark-green colors.
Compared to another philodendron, this species is bushier. It is crucial to note that the height and the leaf size vary. So, it depends on the growing condition.
An indoor silver leaf philodendron that is grown well can have a height of around 4-5 feet. When you place it outside, it can grow taller as long as it meets the required environment.
On average, the length of the leaf is around 4-7 inches while the mature one can be 12 inches long.
Leaf, Flower and Seeds Characteristic
- Leaf – Philodendron brandtianum comes with remarkable silvery and dark green foliage. It has heart-shaped foliage that can grow up to 4-7 inches.
- Flower – The plant is unlikely to bloom. As a potted plant, it doesn’t grow to a level that reaches maturity. However, when it meets the required condition, the flowers are pretty attractive. It comes with a spadix in green color from the outside and purple on the inside. Then the flower is covered by the spathe.
- Seeds – Since the plant is rarely blooming, it is difficult to obtain the seeds.
The philodendron brandtianum should be planted in a rich-organic and well-draining soil. You need to make sure the container has good drainage holes to prevent the water from submerging the plant. Besides, you can improve the quality of the soil with compost.
Keep the soil consistently moist and maintain its pH range between 6.1-7.3.
Is The Silver Leaf Philodendron Toxic?
Due to a large amount of calcium oxalate crystals in this plant, the silver leaf philodendron is toxic to humans and pets. All of the plants’ parts are toxic and they also can trigger allergy reactions.
When the plant is swallowed, it can result in a burning sensation around the mouth and also irritation. The person who swallows this plant can also experience vomiting, drooling as well as swallowing.
Hence, it is important to place the plant in a safer place.
Which Plants Can Complement The Silver Leaf Philodendron?
Some plants can grow well with this silver leaf philodendron and complement each other which are Norfolk Island Pine, Pothos, and Red Aglaonema.
I Already Give The Plant Sufficient Water, Light, and Fertilizer, But My Philodendron Is Not Thriving. Why?
When this happens, the chances are you might overfeed the plant. Over-fertilize the plant will change and disturb the soil pH which can also impact the growth.
To fix this issue, you can use dolomitic lime to help the plant break down the fertilizer. Besides, when watering the plant, allow the water to dry in between waterings.
Why does My Philodendron Have Dark Dead Areas?
The dark dead areas on the leaves can indicate a fungal infection. To fix this issue, you can use the neem oil. Just mix the neem oil with water and then spray it on the affected area.
Why Is My Silver Leaf Philodendron Dying?
Unfortunately, even though we try to care for the plant carefully, we often encounter some issues. There are many reasons why the philodendron has browning, yellowing, and crispy leaves. There are some reasons why this often happens.
First is overwatering. This is often a common mistake done by the houseplant owner. This is why it is important to check the soil condition before watering.
If you feel like you don’t water the plant very often but the soil is still wet, maybe there is an issue. Usually, the issue can be a lack of drainage holes on the pot which make the water often submerge the plant. This is not good because it can lead to root rot.
Another possible reason why your philodendron looks dying can be not getting sufficient sunlight. This can also lead to discoloration. However, you should also remember that direct sunlight can also scorch the plant.
In conclusion, when you see the philodendron looking dying, it is crucial to look at many factors.
What Is The Difference Between Silver Leaf Philodendron with Pothos?
It is common to get confused with the silver leaf philodendron and satin pothos or Scindapsus pictus.
Both species have similarities and both are the family of Araceae. But, the satin photos are part of the Scindapsus genus while the silver leaf is from the philodendron.
Is The Philodendron Brandtianum A Climber?
Yes! The brandtianum is a climber so it needs support. However, this plant is also a trailer.
Does The Silver Leaf Philodendron Like Being Root Bound?
The silver leaf philodendron doesn’t like being root bound. This can stunt growth.
Repot the plant regularly, especially when you notice the plant starts to be root bound. Make sure you buy the pot or container that is two or three inches bigger than the old one.
Avoid too big a pot because too much bigger a pot can make the plant get submerged by the water. Instead, choose a pot 2-3 inches bigger in size.
How To Make The Size Of The Philodendron Brandtianum Leaves Bigger?
The best way to get bigger leaves is by providing the requirements. This includes sufficient indirect light, fertilizer, correct watering frequency, and temperature until humidity. When you provide these elements well, you will get the plant thriving well. Always monitor the environment and observe what needs to be adjusted.
How To Make Silver Leaf Philodendron Grow Faster?
Making the philodendron grow faster is easy. You need to mimic the natural habitat such as providing humidity levels as high as 80%, temperature around 95 degrees Fahrenheit, and watering it when it is necessary.
Observe the plant in case it is attacked by pests and suffering from the disease. You need to act soon when this happens to prevent further infection.