The Birds Nest Philodendron is a beautiful plant that will produce beautiful colored leaves.
Old and mature leaves are green. But they change in color throughout their life cycle. Young leaves unfurl as copper-red then turn into red, orange and yellow hues before setline into green later on.
Note that leaf color is also affected by how much light the plant gets. So, you may see pink colors as well.
How do your care for the Birds Nest Philodendron? Give the plant plenty of indirect or filtered light to support its leaf development and colors.
Low light will turn its leaves more green. Excess direct sunlight can burn its foliage.
It grows best in warm conditions with high humidity. Allow soil to dry partially between waterings.
Birds Nest Philodendron Plant Care
The Birds Nest Philodendron thrives when placed in a well-lit location. It will grow best and produces its best colors in medium to bright indirect light.
The plant needs light because this is what it uses for photosynthesis.
So, while it can tolerate and survive in low light, this is not an environment I suggest for the Birds Nest Philodendron.
The reason is that low light will slow down its growth. And if there isn’t enough light, you’ll notice the plant’s growth stunt altogether.
Additionally, it will get leggy and it will produce fewer leaves not to mention smaller ones at that as well.
Its color will likewise be affected as its leaves will turn to a darker shade of green.
On the other hand, you also want to be careful about too much light.
While the plant enjoys plenty of light, keep it in indirect or filtered light. Natural sunlight is best. But if you don’t get a lot of access into your home, you can use artificial lights to supplement that.
Similarly, you can use LED grow lights on their own.
However, keep it mind that if you use artificial lighting, the plant will need at least 12 or more hours a day of exposure to maintain its growth.
In contrast, it only requires 6 or more hours of sunlight daily.
The most important thing about light is to avoid very strong, harsh or intense light. This often comes in the form of direct sunlight indoors or full sun outdoors.
Both are too much for the plant since it is used to living under the shade of the forest canopy in its natural habitat.
So, it is accustomed to staying away from the brunt of the sun’s strongest rays.
This is why it can tolerate about 1-3 hours of this kind of exposure on a daily basis. But anything more, you’ll see its leaf color fade, turn yellow or brown.
In extreme cases, they will get scorched by the sun and you’ll end up with black or brown burn marks on foliage.
Thus, for ideal growth, keep the plant in bright, indirect light indoors and partial shade outdoors.
The Birds Nest Philodendron is native to the tropics. As such, it prefers warm weather to cold ones.
And this makes it perfect for most homes since humans enjoy moderate to warm weather in general as well. This is why the average home temperature usually runs between 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
The plant grows best when temperature is kept between 60 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
And it won’t have any issues with 95 degrees Fahrenheit conditions as well.
This is why it loves the outdoors in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 and 11. These locations consistently have sunny and warm weather all year round.
So, the Birds Nest Philodendron can live outdoors in these areas 365 days a year.
However, you do need a little bit more care in colder areas.
Indoors, it is important to watch out for the cold weather. You want to make sure that the plant stays in a warm area of your home.
Outdoors, don’t leave it outside once the temperature drops and gets cold around mid to late autumn. It won’t survive winter as the plant is not frost hardy.
Instead, it has a temperature tolerance of 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
And ideally, try to keep it in spaces where the temperature stays at 55 degrees Fahrenheit and higher.
Once it gets too cold, the plant’s growth will slow down. And it can get stunted if the conditions keep dropping.
Yellow leaves, wilting and even leaf drop will occur later.
Below 35 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant will experience cold injury.
In addition to warm environments, the Birds Nest Philodendron also thrives in high humidity. Its ideal humidity is between 60% and 80%.
And this is where you’ll see it grow at its best and produce its most beautiful leaves.
But there’s good and bad news.
The bad news is that this ideal range is usually too high for most homes to maintain. That is unless you live near the ocean or beach. Similarly, if you live in the tropics or somewhere similar.
The good news is that the plant will tolerate average room humidity for the most part.
Try to keep humidity at 40% and higher. Although, it will do okay without harm slightly below that as well.
However, if your home consistently has humidity in the 20s or low 30s, then the air may be too dry for the plant.
If this is the case, monitor the Birds Nest Philodendron’s leaves the first few months you bring it home.
If the leaves stay healthy, grow well, and have good color, then it means the plant is adjusting well to the humidity.
However, if the leaf edges and tips turn brown and crispy, it means the plant needs more humidity.
You can mist the plant every few days or use a pebble tray to bring up humidity around it. Or you can get a humidifier.
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How Often to Water Birds Nest Philodendron
The Birds Nest Philodendron has moderate watering needs. This averages around once every 7 to 10 days.
However, keep in mind that hot summers and cold winters will affect how often you water.
Therefore, it is never a good idea to use a fixed watering schedule.
Instead, adjust how often you water the Birds Nest Philodendron plant based on how quickly the soil dries.
The best way I’ve found to water the plant is to check the soil first.
Make sure you do this all the time.
I like to touch or feel the surface of the soil every 4 or 7 days. This will give you an idea whether it is time to water or not.
It takes just 3 seconds.
If the soil feels moist or wet, don’t water yet. But if the soil feels dry on the surface, stick your finger into the soil down to the second knuckle.
This is around 2 inches deep.
If the soil is still moist there, don’t water yet.
However, if the soil at that depth feels completely dry, that’s your signal to water.
Doing this makes watering much simpler. There’s no memorizing when to water the plant or counting the number of days.
Better yet, how fast or slow the soil dries will automatically adjust to the weather.
So, come summer when the soil dries sooner, you’ll be watering more regularly. And in the winter when it takes 2 or 3 weeks for the soil to dry, you won’t be watering until then.
This method simplifies everything.
More importantly it prevents you from overwatering the plant.
Birds Nest Philodendron Potting Soil
The other part of avoiding overwatering the Birds Nest Philodendron is choosing the right soil.
Once you water, the soil will either retain most of the liquid or drain it.
How much and how quickly will depend on the kind of soil you use.
Heavy, water-retentive soils tend to hold on to more water. This is a no-no for the Birds Nest Philodendron because it will increase the risk of waterlogging, overwatering and root rot.
Very sandy soils or those that drain water very quickly is likewise not ideal.
That’s because they will cause the roots to become underwatered.
This is they the best potting soil for the Birds Nest Philodendron is loose, well-draining soil.
This type of soil will ensure that the plant’s roots don’t end up sitting in too much water for long periods of time.
While it does hold some moisture, it will quickly drain the excess liquid to keep the roots dry.
Therefore, what you end up with are roots that get enough water but stay relatively dry so they can breathe in enough oxygen as well.
If you prefer to buy potting soil, then look for an Aroid mix.
On the other hand, you can make your own potting mix at home as well.
Once simple combination is to mix:
- 1 part potting soil
- 1 part peat moss
- 1 part perlite
The potting soil will hold some moisture along with the peat moss. But at the same time the perlite will drain excess water.
Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month during its growing season. This is when the Birds Nest Philodendron will grow the fastest.
And it will do most of its growing during this time of the year.
Therefore, focus your efforts here.
In addition to fertilizing the plant, make sure it gets sufficient light, water and humidity.
Keep in mind while fertilizer, sunlight and water are needed, all 3 become very harmful and damaging to the plant if you overdo them.
So, just give the plant what it needs and it will do the rest.
Dilute the fertilizer by 50% each time you apply as well. And don’t feed the plant when the soil is dry, only when it is moist.
The Birds Nest Philodendron will grow to about 3 feet tall. It is a self-heading philodendron plant that stays fairly compact with its leaves coming out from the center of the plant.
That said, it will produce lots of leaves which means that you may or may not want to prune it regularly.
Some growers like to let it get bushy.
On the other hand, some growers prefer to let the plant stay neat and tidy.
Thus, how much you prune will depend a lot on how full you want the Birds Nest Philodendron to be.
As it gets bushy, some leaves will extend out to the sides and diagonally. This means it will take up more space.
I know some gardeners who trim the sides to keep the plant grow upward more than sideways. This lets you save space.
How to Propagate Birds Nest Philodendron
Birds Nest Philodendron propagation can be done in a few ways.
The most common methods include stem cuttings, air layering and division.
Stem cuttings are by far the most popular way to propagate this plant. That’s because it is easy and straightforward.
Plus, you can grow many new plants at the same time.
Air layering takes a bit more work. And in most cases, you’ll be growing one new plant at a time.
Division is best used when you want to reduce the size of your mother plant. It is also a good method for those who don’t like to wait for the new plant to root.
Below I’ll go through the steps for stem propagation.
Propagating Birds Nest Philodendron from Stem Cuttings
The most important thing with stem cuttings is to choose the right stems to propagate.
Not all stems will work.
So, make sure to choose stems that have at least 1-2 nodes and a few leaves on it.
You need at least one node for the stem cutting to successfully propagate. Without a stem, it won’t be able to grow into a new plant.
Once you’ve selected the stem or stems to propagate, it is time to get to work.
- Sterilize your cutting tool. Then cut the stem about a quarter to half inch below a node. This ensures that the node comes with the cutting.
- Allow the cut end to stop oozing and dry. It will then callous. This will take hours. But it is worth it since it reduces the stem’s ability to suck in too much moisture.
- While waiting, prepare a pot and fill it with well-draining soil.
- Once the stem has calloused, apply rooting hormone on the cut end. Then plant the cutting into the soil. Make sure to remove any leaves that end up in the soil.
- Water the soil to keep it moist.
- Place the pot in a well-lit location with no direct sunlight.
It usually takes about a month or so for the roots to develop.
From here, just take care of the new plant like you would the mother plant.
How to Repot or Transplant Birds Nest Philodendron
The Birds Nest Philodendron does not need regular repotting. But it will need to be moved to a larger pot once it gets root bound.
With the exception of emergency situations, this is the only time you really want to repot the plant.
That’s because the plant does not like being bothered or moved from its home.
Therefore, wait until you see roots sneaking out from the bottom holes of the pot before you plan on repotting.
The best time to repot is during spring to early summer.
Choose a container that is one size larger (around 2 inches wider that the current container). Avoid using much larger pots.
Similarly, select containers with drainage holes at the bottom.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
The Birds Nest Philodendron is toxic when ingested. This is because it contains calcium oxalate crystals which cause vomiting, swelling, inflammation and pain.
The symptoms will first occur in the mouth area then move its way down the esophagus if any part of the plant is swallowed.
It will also disrupt the digestive tract and stomach once it gets there.
Birds Nest Philodendron Problems & Troubleshooting
The Birds Nest Philodendron is not overly prone to pests. But it can get attacked by these bugs.
Often, pests happen when you bring the plant indoors from outdoors.
The most common pests that will bother plant include aphids, spider mites and mealybugs. And they occur most the first time you bring the plant home from the shop.
This is likewise the case with plant exchanges or when you buy the plant from other growers.
Therefore, always quarantine the plant and check it for pests and diseases before bringing it indoors.
Another common occurrence is when you take it inside from the garden or yard right before winter arrives. Always debug the plant before bringing it indoors.
If not, bugs can hitch a ride with its an infest your other houseplants as well.
Overwatering is the most common cause of diseases.
This included root rot as well as leaf diseases. Therefore, excess moisture is the one thing you want to avoid.
With root rot, overwatering the soil and using heavy soils that don’t offer sufficient drainage are usually the main causes.
With leaf infections, it is leaving foliage wet for too long that encourages bacterial and fungal disease.
Therefore, be careful when you water and how you water the plant.