The philodendron silver sword is well-known for its grey-green colored leaf that gives a metallic sheen. It is a rare aroid which is originated in Brazil. Besides, the plant is also easily found in Rio de Janeiro.
Even though it is easily founded in its natural habitat, the philodendron hastatum is considered endangered. It is because the plant has growing demand.
- Botanical Name: Philodendron hastatum
- Popular Name: philodendron silver sword, Philodendron hastatum silvery blue, Philodendron hastatum silver, and philodendron hastatum silver sword
- Mature size: 3 meters in height
- Plant Type: Perennial
- Sun Exposure: Indirect sunlight
- Soil Type: Moist and well-draining soil mix
- Soil pH: Around 6.5
- Toxicity: Humans and pets
Caring for the philodendron silver sword is pretty easy. The most important thing is to provide an environment that mimics the natural habitat.
To care for the philodendron hastatum, you need to use well-draining soil. Typically it is a combination of perlite and peat moss. You can also give another soil combination to provide maximum care.
When it comes to watering, make sure you let 1-2 inches of the top soil dry out before you water it again. The plant will thrive well with a temperature between 65° to 80°F (18-27°C). Also, keep in mind to keep the humidity level above 50%.
The plant loves moist and well-drained soil. The most important thing here is how the potting mix can let the water dry out between watering. Don’t let the water soak the plant because it can lead to erwinia leaf disease and root rot. It is the quickest way to kill your plant.
So when is the right time to water the philodendron hastatum?
The right time to water the philodendron always depends on the soil condition. You can use the chopstick method which you need to push a chopstick into the soil.
Observe if the stick turns darker with the soil clings to it. If it is yes, then you don’t need to water the plant.
Another method to try is using the knuckle method. Stick your finger into the soil and see if you feel the moist soil on the finger.
Generally, water the plant until the top 3 cm of the soil is moist to touch. The only thing you have to remember is each plant is different so you need to check the soil before watering. Don’t stick to the watering schedule because it applies differently to certain areas.
If you are living in a more humid place, of course, it will need more watering than a colder place.
The philodendron hastatum is a hemi-epiphytic. This means the plant can grow on the shrubs, trees, and other foliages. In this case, the plant lives well under filtered sunlight.
The ideal light level for the philodendron hastatum is from moderate to bright. This will result a deeper green light when you place the plant under this condition. However, don’t be afraid. You are still able to place the plant under a lower shade.
Under the shade, the plant will produce silvery foliage with grey-green color. Remember that the green color is a sign of the plant using chlorophyll. If it is placed under the shade, it means the plant uses less chlorophyll. This is the way the plant adapts to less light.
With its nature as a tropical plant, the philodendron hastatum loves humidity between 50%-80%. With the higher humidity, you will see the plant thrive well. It will have wider and thicker leaves with a richer color palette. To measure the humidity level, you can use a hygrometer.
If you are living in a place with a lower humidity level, you can do the following steps:
- Buy a humidifier
- Group the plants to create a mini biome so the plants can share humidity resources. This process is known as transpiration.
- Place pebbles in the tray that is filled with water. After that, place the pot on the pebbles.
Is misting the plant good? You probably have been advised to do this. Misting can indeed increase the humidity but not long. If you mist the plant too much, it will lead to erwinia disease and pseudomonas leaf spot.
For optimal growth, your philodendron hastatum should live under a temperature between 65°-80°F or 18-27°C during the day. When it is at night, make sure the temperature is around 60°F or 16° C.
Anything less than 50°F will slow down the growth or even kill the plant. You should aim for at least 60°temperature.
The best time to fertilize the plant is during summer and spring. These seasons are the best time for philodendrons to grow. You also need to avoid fertilizing during fall and winter because the growth is slow. Besides, overfeeding can cause root burn.
When it comes to philodendron, liquid fertilizer is your best friend. In this case, we don’t suggest you to use urea because it contains heavy residue. The soil will have a lot of salt over time which leads to root burn and even kills the plant.
So how to fertilize the philodendron silver sword? Using a liquid fertilizer, mix 1/4 tsp of liquid fertilizer with one gallon of water (4,5 litter). In this case, you will not use tap water because it has too much chlorine. Chlorine is toxic to the plant.
Try to fertilize the plant regularly and make sure to pour the fertilization away from the roots.
A quick tip: flush out the soil every month to reduce excessive salts.
What about organic fertilizer? The organic fertilizer is OK but keep in mind that this type of fertilizer needs bacteria to decompose. Furthermore, doubling up the fertilization can cause root burn.
The philodendron hastatum doesn’t need regular pruning. It produces thick stems with long leaves. You need to prune this plant for maintenance and aesthetic purpose. Besides, pruning might be needed to prevent diseases and damage.
To prune the plant, you just need to cut some unwanted parts until reaching the healthy node, branch, or leaf. Make sure to use sterilized pruning scissors.
Propagation is very easy! There are two types of propagation method that is proven to be successful which are stem cutting and planting it in the water or soil. The one that takes the least time to root is the water planting method.
When you want to propagate the plant, the best time to do it is during the spring. It is the plant’s growing cycle and usually, it produces stronger roots.
There are two types of propagation that are proven to be faster. One is using water, and second is planting using soil.
Method 1: Using water
- Provide a clean jar with fresh water
- Using the clean scissors, cut the stem around 6 inches with 2-3 nodes (aerial roots) on it. The more nodes you take, the greater the chance to succeed.
- After that, you can place the cutting in the jar, and let the main leaf above the water.
- Make sure to change the water once a week so it will not decay and it is also to prevent pathogens development.
- Within 2-5 weeks, you should see small roots start to grow. Healthy roots have white color!
- When the roots are around 3 cm long, you can take the plant out of the water and move it to the small pot. As we have mentioned before, the pot should be well-draining and contain rich-organic content.
- Take care of the philodendron as usual.
Method 2: Stem Cutting
- First thing first, pick a healthy stem and cut it around 6 inches long with 2-3 nodes on it. The more nodes the better.
- Prepare a small pot with a proportional mix (we will explain below). Make sure the soil is wet but not soggy.
- After cutting the stem, dip the stem into the rooting hormone. You can skip this part, but it is helpful.
- Next, plant the stem in the pre-made soil mix, around 2-3 inches.
- Cover the rest of the pot with the perlite and soil mix.
- Next, bring the plant to a warm area where it gets indirect sunlight.
- Water it as usual.
- Within 3-4 weeks, you will see the new roots grow. To check the new roots, tug them gently.
- If the roots have grown stronger, move the plant to the new container.
Repotting is one of the main care. Even though the philodendron can handle root bound, it is still not ideal if you want it to reveal its full potential. Repotting is all you need when the time has come. Here are the signs you should consider:
- The plant is root bound
- Roots are growing out of the drainage holes
- The growth is stagnant
- Roots are lack moisture
- The soil is compacted
Note: once you receive the philodendron silver sword from the seller or nursery, you will need to repot it straight away.
Then what kind of pot do you need? There are some criteria when it comes to choosing pots, which are:
- Choose the pot that is 2-3 inches bigger than the previous one.
- Pick a pot with drainage holes.
- Use a well-draining soil mix.
You don’t have to worry about prying the soil from the roots. Your philodendron will grow new roots easily.
Just like other philodendron types, the philodendron silver sword also contains calcium oxalate crystals. Therefore it is toxic to humans and pests. When the plant is ingested, it will cause swelling around the tongue, mouth, esophagus, and also gastrointestinal system. Besides, when the skin is in contact with the plant, you will develop irritation.
Therefore, if you have children and pets, it is better to move the plant away.
Pests and Diseases
The best thing about having the philodendron silver sword is that it is resilient to diseases and pests. In most cases, some bugs like spider mites, mealybugs, thrips scale, and aphids attack this plant. However, these bugs are easy to get rid of.
You can remove the pests using eco-friendly insecticides such as neem oil. Or you can use cotton balls that have been dipped into alcohol.
Besides, applying insecticidal soap periodically can keep the pests away.
The philodendron silver sword is very beautiful with the white marking on the foliage. Some stems have multiple stripes making them look unique. This is what makes the philodendron lovable. Especially when it is considered endangered.
The philodendron silver sword is a fast grower. It can grow up to three meters tall and 1.5 meters in width if it is placed in the right condition.
Even, if you provide a medium to help the plant climb, it will do very quickly. If you are planning to do this, use a bamboo pole or a moss pole.
Leaf, Flower, Stem & Seed Characteristic
- Leaf – It has a sword shape with a glossy texture. As the plant grows mature, the leaf will turn arrow-shaped or triangular.
- Flower – When the philodendron silver swords get mature, they will produce white flowers with spathe structures. Usually, it reaches its maturity after around 10 years. It is rare to bloom when it is grown indoors.
- Stem – The plant has stick stems with leaves attached to it.
- Seed – Since the plant rarely blooms, it will be difficult to obtain the seeds. Besides, the seeds will germinate within 30-120 days.
In terms of soil mix, the philodendron silver sword does well with the standard aroid mix. You just need to make sure the pot is well-drained and moist. Also, it needs to contain organic matter.
You can combine the potting soil with perlite or coco coir. It is important to have loose potting soil so it will be airy and easy for water to drain out. A pot that doesn’t let the water drain out easily will soak the plant which leads to root rot.
Another medium choice you can try is coco coir, perlite, and sphagnum moss.
Make sure you maintain the consistency of the soil so you will get perfect growth.
Between watering, let the water drain out well so the soil will not be soggy.
How To Make Philodendron Silver Sword Bushy?
Pruning is one of the best ways to control philodendron growth and shape. You can get the bushy look by pruning the philodendron hastatum. In this case, try to cut the plant above the nodes to promote new growth.
The node is located on the stem where usually new leaves grow.
How Often To Water Philodendron Silver Sword?
Remember that the plant loves moist and well-drained soil. It is important to make sure the plant is not soggy. In this case, sticking to a watering schedule is not suggested. What you need to do is to observe the soil condition.
Check using the chopstick if the plant is wet enough. When the soil clings to the soil and changes the stick color, you can say the soil is wet enough and you don’t need to water the plant.
Another method you can try here is using the knuckle. Stick your finger into the soil and feel if the first two inches/knuckles of your finger are wet.
How To Fertilize The Plant?
The best time to fertilize the plant is during summer and spring. These times are ideal because the plant shows steady growth.
Another important tip to apply is to try to fertilize the plant away from its roots. You can fertilize it at the edge of the pot. Also, try to flush away the plant monthly. It is purposed to prevent salt build-up.
How Fast A Philodendron Silver Sword Can Grow?
The philodendron silver sword hastatum can grow very fast. In the right environment, it can grow to 2-3 meters. However, it will go slower if it is grown indoors. If you provide a bamboo pole or moss pole, there is a chance that your philodendron can climb too.
Why Is My Philodendron Hastatum Turning Brown?
Browning leaves are the most common problem to happen. It indicates that you overwater the plant. Besides, it can also be a sign that your plant gets too much direct sunlight exposure or the pot is overly saturated with fertilizer. In some cases, browning leaves can also be caused by pests.
Why Is My Philodendron Silver Sword Drooping?
Drooping or leggy philodendron is caused by a lack of humidity and moisture. To fix this problem, you need to bring the plant to a brighter place and provide moisture. You will also need to prune the stem.
In another case, if your plant is drooping and the leaf is yellow, it is probably something else.
How To Fix Curling Leaves?
Curling leaves can happen if the soil is too dry. Besides, this can also can happen because of the cold shock and the low humidity. If you grow the plant indoors, humidity and moisture are likely the issues.
What To Do If There Are Small Cobwebs On The Plant?
When you found sticky cobwebs on the plant, it is usually caused by spider mites. It is a common bug that attacks the plant. Unlike cobwebs that are produced by regular spiders, this one is intricate and thin. Usually, you will see orange or red spots on it.
To fix this problem, you can use cotton swap with alcohol or neem oil.
When Is The Best Time To Repot The Plant?
Repotting is important to keep the philodendron looking healthy. Although it can handle the root bound, we suggest you move the plant to the new pot when you see the following signs:
- When the roots start to grow through the drainage holes.
- When the plant growth is stagnant.
- When the soil is compacted.
- When it needs more watering than usual.
- Repotting once a year is the ideal time for this plant.
Is The Philodendron Hastatum Rare?
The philodendron hastatum is considered rare because of its unusual look. It has a metallic-looking leaf that adds value to your home. The plant is a climber and you need to provide a moss pole to help it climb perfectly.
The plant is originated in Brazil and it can be found in Rio de Janeiro too. The plant is considered rare because of its growing demand. In Rio de Janeiro, the plant is protected under the law and people cannot take the plant without permission from the government.
Is The Philodendron Hastatum The Silver Sword?
The philodendron hastatum is another name for the philodendron silver sword, so it is the same.
How To Care for The Philodendron Hastatum?
The philodendron hastatum is native to the humid forest in South America. Therefore, these plants love warm temperatures. You will also need to place the plant under filtered sunlight as well as keep it away from drafty and cooling stuff. The plant doesn’t like drafty areas. The sudden temperature change will damage the plant.
Does The Silver Sword Like To Be Misted?
Misting the plant will give instant humidity. The philodendron silver sword like humid areas with moist and well-drained soil. However, misting is often avoided because when you overdo it will create problems such as Erwinia.
If you want to increase the humidity level, it is better to buy a small humidifier or place some pebbles on a tray that is filled with water. After that, place the pot on top of it.
Is Philodendron Silver Sword The Same With Philodendron Silver Queen?
The philodendron silver sword is often referred to the philodendron silver queen. The philodendron silver sword comes with a unique sword shape and glossy texture. While the philodendron silver queen has silvery look, with blue-tinged foliage, it has differences. It almost has the same look as the silver sword but the silver sword has a grey-green looking.
How To Fix Discoloration On My Philodendron?
Discoloration often becomes the main issue for philodendron hastatum. When you see the plant has yellow and brown leaves, the chances are you are over-fertilizing, over-watering, or putting the plant under direct sunlight.
If you see this case, check these three factors and correct them as soon as possible. The best way to get the philodendron to look its best is by mimicking the natural habitat.