The philodendron cordatum is a stunning plant with its heart shape and green foliage. Many houseplant owners place this as one of their favorite items because of its pretty look and easiness to care for.
The plant is epiphytic and originated from Central America and the Caribbean. It is a climbing plant that survives under indirect sunlight.
There is an interesting fact about the philodendron cordatum. You can place it inside the vase. It will survive for months, but don’t forget to change the water every week.
- Botanical Name: Philodendron cordatum
- Popular Name: Philodendron cordatum and Heartleaf Philodendron
- Mature size: Up to 2.5 feet
- Plant Type: Perrenial
- Sun Exposure: Indirect sunlight
- Soil Type: Well drain – mix
- Soil pH: Acidic
- Toxicity: Humans and pets
Taking care of the philodendron cordatum can be started with watering. Assess the soil before pouring water. In a bright light condition, the plant needs water when the pot is half dry. If the plant is placed under the shade, you should water the plant when the soil is 2/3 dry. If it is difficult for you to assess the plant, you can check the foliage. When the foliage begins to curl and wilt, this is a good indication to water the plant.
Furthermore, rotate the plant periodically to ensure promote growth on all sides. You will need to dust the plant too while keeping an eye out for diseases and pests.
Watering must be the trickiest part when raising a philodendron. If you don’t provide sufficient water, it will cause wilting and curling foliage. If you give excessive water, this will lead to Erwinia blight disease and root rot.
The philodendron cordatum likes water, but the problem is you don’t let the water waterlog the plant. You will need to choose a pot that have good drainage holes so the plant can drain perfectly. Besides, check the moisture of the soil before giving it some drink.
Generally, the first 2-3 inches of the soil determines whether the plant needs water or not. If it is moist, you don’t need to water the plant.
You can use the chopstick method by pushing through it to the soil and see if the color changes with the soil clinging to it. Or, use your first two knuckles to assess the soil.
In its natural habitat, the philodendron cordatum is found climbing up the trees. It lives under the forest canopy so it is best to place the plant under indirect sunlight. This will thrive well in this condition.
Although it can survive under the shade, low light will not give maximum growth. It will slow the growth. On the contrary, the sunburn will damage the plant’s foliage.
You will need to be careful in this case. Probably placing the plant near the window is a good idea to get sufficient sunlight. A few hours of morning sunlight can also promote growth as long as you don’t burn the foliage.
The philodendron cordatum enjoys high humidity. It prefers humidity levels of 70%-80%. If you are living in a drier area, you probably need to increase the humidity level.
Some ways to increase the humidity level include putting the philodendron near the bathroom or near the area where the humidity level is higher.
You can also place some pebbles on a tray that is filled with water. After that, place the philodendron on top of the pebbles. The plant will get a higher humidity level from the evaporation.
Another way to improve the humidity level is by grouping the plant. It will increase the humidity because the plants create a mini biome.
The last option you can try to increase the humidity level is using a humidifier which you can buy online.
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We recommend to put your philodendron on a temperature between 65° to 80° Fahrenheit or 18° to 27° C . Unfortunately, the philodendron cordatum is not winter resistant plant. You should pay attention to the temperature drops especially if it is below 13° C or 55° F.
Besides, move the plant away from the drafty area such as windows, doors, or heat sources. These will damage the plant.
A slow-release fertilizer is your best friend. Just dilute the fertilizer to half of its strength and feed it to your plant during the summer and spring season every two weeks. During the summer and spring seasons, the plant shows steady growth. Limit the fertilizing during fall and winter.
You can also use slow-release fertilizer because it is safer than others.
A good way to fertilize your plant is after watering, especially if you are using synthetic fertilizer. Besides, try to fertilize the plant away from the root. It is important to avoid root burn.
The philodendron cordatum is a fast grower so regular pruning is a must. Pruning helps you keep the shape and maintain the density of the plant. Besides, it is used to prevent disease and remove the damaged part.
Prune the plant using sharp and sterilized scissors or sears. Trim the dead, branch, and diseased foliages which make it seem unpleasant to see. You can save the good stems and use them to propagate the philodendrons.
Repotting is not quite often for the philodendron cordatum. Ideally, it takes about 18-24 months to be repotted. When you want to report the plant, make sure to choose the potting size between 2-3 inches larger than the previous pot, not more than that to avoid suffocating the plant with too much water.
If you want to keep the shape of the plant, repot the plant using the same vessel but change the soil and trim some roots and leaves. When you are planning to report the plant, do it during summer and spring because, at this time, the plant grows faster and strong.
Signs of repotting that you need to check is when you see the roots start growing out of the drainage holes. Besides, when the soil quality becomes poorer, it is a sign that you need to report the plant. Usually, the soil becomes compacted.
Propagation for philodendron cordatum is easy, by stem cutting. It is considered the easiest method and has proven to give a higher chance of success.
The process itself is similar to what you will do with any type of philodendron. If you are still not familiar with it, you can do the following steps:
- First of all, cut the healthy stems. It is not supposed to be too young or too old. You will also need to make sure the stem is pests-free.
- The cutting length is up to you, but make sure it contains at least one node with one leaf. Also, here you are not allowed to remove the mother of the plant by more than 30%.
- Next, it is time to make a medium. You can choose soil, sphagnum moss, or water to propagate the plant. All of them are good.
- Then, make sure the entire node is in contact with the medium. If it is sphagnum moss, you should be extra careful in covering it. If it is water, you have to make sure the node is submerged. Besides, here you don’t want the leave to contact with the medium. It is proposed to prevent rotting.
- Bring the cutting into a warm place.
- You can cover the baby with a plastic bag to increase humidity, but you will need to open it after several days.
- You will see roots start to develop after a couple of weeks. Next, you can move the cutting into a new pot.
- Once you have don’t plant the baby philodendron in a new pot, make sure the soil is moist and make sure to keep watchful in case you find pests or diseases. It is because the new plant is very susceptible to such problems.
The philodendron cordatum is toxic to both humans and pets. It contains calcium oxalate crystal. When it is ingested, it will immediately cause a burning sensation and swelling around the tongue, mouth, lips, and throat. In worse cases, this plant can cause difficulty breathing, swallowing, and speaking. Furthermore, the sap may also cause eye irritation and contact dermatitis.
Therefore, if you have children and pets in your house, it is better to place this plant in a safe place.
Read also : Philodendron Silver Sword – Beginners Guide On How To Take Care Of It
Pests and Diseases
The most common pests that attack the philodendron cordatum are aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs. The only way to avoid this problem is to do prevention.
The signs of spider mites attack can be seen from the yellowing leaves and drooping stems. Spider mites are very small bugs that look like a spider and can damage a plant in a very short period.
If your plant is attacked by spider mites, our suggestion is to isolate the plant. Place it in a dark, colder and humid place. Typically the spider mites will go away after days. Another simple way to do this is by applying neem oil periodically.
Another bug that often attacks the plant is aphids. Aphids have a green color and usually, they gather at the nodes as well as the new growths. They often eat the sap of your plant and often come in a big number.
However, aphids are very easy to get rid of. Simply just hose or shower the plant. Do it for a couple of days until you don’t see the bugs anymore.
The mealybugs, come like a cotton ball which often takes the sap. The only one to get rid of this bug is to remove it one by one using a cotton ball that has been dipped into the alcohol. Here the alcohol will kill the bug directly.
It is best to fix the mealybugs right away after you spot them because when it comes in a significant amount, you will need to use insecticides.
There are two popular varieties of philodendron cordatum. One is the philodendron cordatum neon and the other is philodendron cordatum basil.
- Philodendron cordatum neon – The plant has a beautiful heart shape with bright-green foliage. It is similar to the common philodendron cordatum that is also climbing.
- Philodendron cordatum brasil – It is characterized by the heart-shaped, dark green foliage and splash of variegation of lime green. There is an interesting fact about this variety. Due to its similar color to Brazil’s flag, it gets the name “Brasil” to it.
The sweetheart vine can climb up to 50 feet on trees. This spans up to 3 feet in length. However, it is rare to see this growth rate when it is planted indoors.
The reason why the growth rate of this philodendron can never be the same as when it is in its natural habitat is that we don’t provide enough humidity.
Leaf, Flower & Seeds Characteristic
- Leaf – The leaf has a dark green color with a heart-shaped form.
- Flower – When it is grown indoors, the sweetheart vine doesn’t bloom. But once it is grown outdoor and reaches its mature size, it will produce a plant that forms spathe and it produces pheromones that attract Cyclocephala beetles in Amazon.
- Seeds – The seeds are often difficult to obtain as the plant rarely blooms when it is grown indoors. This is why stem cutting is often used to propagate the plant.
The philodendron cordatum enjoys moist and well-draining soil. It should be light and chunky. The best combination for the soil mix is peat, sphagnum, wood bark, and perlite. This combination is airy enough for the epiphyte plant. However, adjust the consistency of the mixing.
If you tend to water the plant, add more perlite because it will let the water drain better.
Why Is My Philodendron Turning Yellow?
Typically, yellow leaves are caused by underwatering or overwatering. If you spot the plant has brown and yellow leaves at the same time, you are likely overwatering the plant.
On the contrary, if you spot yellow leaves that fall off easily, along with the crispy spots, then it is underwatering. You will also need to check the soil condition for more observation.
My Philodendron Has Leafless Brown Growth, Is That Normal?
It is perfectly normal! It is called the aerial roots. Naturally, this part gives support to the plant. Besides, the roots will not damage your walls or other surfaces. If you don’t like this growth, you can always prune them.
How To Train My Philodendron To Climb Up?
It is very easy to do it. You just need to wrap and also weave the philodendron up to the trellis. You can use the bind wire or string to attach it but make sure you don’t tie it too tightly.
Once you have done this process, you can continue caring for the plant as usual and make sure you provide a good humidity level in the air. Besides, try to increase the production of the aerial root which will attach the plant to the trellis later. Eventually, your plant will climb up as you desire. After you reach your goal, you can remove the string.
My Philodendron Is Now Oversized, What Should I Do?
You can always prune it back. Fortunately, it is a hardy plant that can handle some trim. Besides, you can take the healthy stem and use it to propagate the plant. You can place the plant in the water. If some roots have grown, you can repot the cuttings to the new mix.
How To Schedule Fertilization for The Plant?
The best time to fertilize the plant is during spring and fall. You can fertilize the plant every two weeks or once a week, depending on the type of fertilizer you are using. If you use the slow-release fertilizer, you don’t need to fertilize the plant within six months.
How Often Should I Repot The Plant?
Repotting the plant can be done around 1-2 years. But you also need to look for some signs such as the growth of the roots. If the roots start to grow out of the drainage holes, then you need to report the plant soon. Another sign to consider is the soil. If the soil is compacted, then it is a good sign to repot your plant.
Some of you might want to maintain the present size. Don’t worry, you can do that. Just repot it to a pot with the same size and of course with the new soil mix. And don’t forget to trim away its foliage and roots.
Is The Sweetheart Vine Safe For Humans and Pets?
No, it is not! Unfortunately, the sweetheart vine contains toxins. It contains calcium oxalate crystal which if it is ingested will cause various indications such as swelling around the mouth, lips, and GI tract. When the sap is in contact with the skin, it will develop skin irritation.
Can I Place The Philodendron Cordatum Under The Shade?
Although it can live under the shade, the philodendron cordatum will not thrive. The plant needs medium to bright indirect sunlight to grow well.
How To Fix A Philodendron Brasil That Is Losing Its Variegation?
When your philodendron is losing its variegation, it is caused by the lack of light. When you put the philodendron brasil under the shade, it will revert to its standard color.
Therefore, it is important to move your plant into a brighter place. Besides, it is also advised to cut the reverted plant to promote growth.
Is It Necessary To Cut Off Damaged Leaves?
Your philodendron leaves are damaged when it is browning, yellowing, developing lesions, and other physical damage. Unfortunately, you cannot reverse this condition. The only way is to remove them from the plant to prevent spread. Periodically, you need to remove the damaged leaves from your plant to promote healthy growth.
Why Is The Philodendron Brasil Dripping Water from The Foliage?
Don’t worry! It is a normal thing. If your philodendron has water droplets hanging from its foliage, it is a sign that your philodendron has more water than it needs. It is a sign that you need to cut back the watering too because too much watering can lead to serious diseases such as Erwinia blight disease and root rot.
How Often Should I Water My Philodendron Cordatum?
Watering can be the trickiest job when raising a philodendron. You cannot stick to a watering schedule because the condition of the plant is different. For example, during spring and summer, you will need to water your philodendron more than during winter and fall.
The best way to check if your philodendron needs water is to check the soil and leaves condition. Use the chopstick method to check it. Typically, the first two inches of the soil is the one that determines whether your plant needs water or not. If it is dry, then bring some water. You can also use the knuckle method to check the plant condition.
Yellow leaves with crispy spots are also signs that your plant needs water soon.
Does Philodendron Cordatum Like Direct Sunlight?
No, it doesn’t! Direct sunlight will cause burning. The plant likes a lot of bright lights but it should be indirect sunlight. You can place the plant under the morning sunlight but just a few hours. If it is more than that, you will burn the foliage.
Should I Mist My Philodendron Cordatum?
Misting might give an instant freshness to the plants. However, we don’t suggest you do this. When you are overfishing the plant, the chances are you are inviting Erwinia blight disease. It is better to water it as needed only and make sure the water is drained out well.
Is Philodendron A Good Indoor Plant?
Yes! It is considered a good indoor plant due to its foliage variations, its easiness to take care of, and its flexibility to adapt to the various lighting condition. Some philodendrons are also easy to propagate which you only need to cut the stem.