The Philodendron Brandtianum is better known as the silver leaf philodendrons. It is very unique looking thanks to its heart-shaped green leaves that are heavily covered by small white and silver patches. The color is what lends to its name.
Like many vining philodendrons, it grows fairly quickly and is at its best when allowed to climb up a pole or trellis. Similarly, you’ll often find it hanging from a basket.
Interestingly, its leaves don’t start out green in color. Instead, they are yellow orange. But, they soon transition to green with silver markings.
Native to the Central and South America, it enjoys tropical climate.
Philodendron Brandtianum Plant Care
Philodendron Brandtianum Light
Philodendron brandtianum does well in different lighting conditions. It can take low light as well as bright light without any problems. But, for optimum (and faster) growth, bright, indirect light is best.
More importantly, while the plant is not fussy about the low or bright light, it cannot stand direct sunlight.
As such, you want to filter the light when indoors. Outdoors, keeping it under some kind of canopy or shade cloth works best as long as it still gets enough bright light.
Intense sunlight, especially during the hot summer or in the afternoons can scorch its leaves.
This makes an east facing window the best spot for your plant followed by one with a northern exposure.
The former gives you gentler morning sun, which you can still filter a bit if you live in a warm region. Meanwhile, the latter will have less light. But, enough to keep it happy. You do want to observe this location if you live in a cold region, especially in winter when the sun won’t be out much.
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Philodendron Brandtianum Temperature
Philodendron brandtianum is accustomed to warm, humid conditions. As such, it grows best when climate consistently stays withing these two parameters.
Like light, the plant is quite tolerant of a wide temperature range. As long as you keep it between 50 and 95 degrees, it will survive. That said, the outer ends of this range don’t provide it with optimum growth.
To get faster growth and bigger leaves, you want to keep climate within the tighter range of 60 to 75 degrees. Under 60 degrees or over 80 degrees and you’ll start seeing some slowdown in plant growth.
If you live in zones 9b to 11, you can likewise keep the plant outside all year long. It is not frost tolerant. So, if you live below zone 9, you want to bring the plant indoors before first frost arrives in the fall.
Many growers in these areas just keep the plant indoors. That way they can control the conditions better.
Humidity is likewise important for you Philodendron brandtianum. Ideally, you want to keep humidity above 50%. But, for optimal growth, it will want air moisture to be higher than that. This will allow it to grow faster and produce larger, mor vibrant looking foliage.
The good news is, it is likewise amenable to lower humidity such that it can tolerate average household levels. Thus, as long as your home humidity isn’t in the 30s or very low 40s all the time, it will be okay.
If it is, you can mist the plant regularly to improve moisture. Similarly, you can use a pebble tray or group it along with other plants to increase humidity around them.
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Philodendron Brandtianum Watering Needs
Your Philodendron brandtianum deep watering. This allows the moisture to reach its roots. But, when you water, make sure to let the soil completely drain before returning it to its spot. This reduces the risk of the plant sitting in water.
Being an epiphyte, the plant will not appreciate this. It also cannot stand overwatering of any kind, be it too much at once or too frequent watering sessions.
Thus, after allowing the plant to drain excess moisture, you can leave it alone until the soil is almost dry before watering again.
In the winter, you can let the soil dry out between waterings to reduce the risk of giving it too much moisture.
In order to keep the soil moist (which keeps the plant happy) you want to regularly test the soil to know when it is time to water. After a while, you’ll have a good idea as to how long it takes between sessions based on the time of year.
In general, you want to allow the top 2 inches of soil to dry before you water again. You can stick your finger into the soil and feel the soil for wetness. Alternatively, you can use a moisture meter and stick it all the way down the soil to get a digital reading.
Another thing to look out for is droopy or curling leaves. This is a sign that your plant needs watering. ideally, you want to water just before this happens. But, don’t worry if it does. Just water immediately, and you’ll see the plant perk right back up the next day or so.
Since the Philodendron brandtianum is prone to overwatering and susceptible to root rot, you want to guard against this by using loose, well-draining potting soil. this helps prevent waterlogging even in times when you pour a little bit too much water as it is able to drain the excess away.
In addition to these features, rich soil with high organic matter content and soil pH between 6.0 to 7.5 is ideal. You can likewise use compost to improve the soil.
Compost not only enriches the soil it also makes it looser allowing for air and water to penetrate easier.
The richer the soil your plant has, the less fertilizer you’ll need to use.
As such, you have a few choices here when it comes to potting mixes.
If you want to make your own, you can use sphagnum peat moss on its own. Alternatively, you can use regular potting mix and add perlite to improve drainage. Or a combination of peat and perlite works as well.
If you prefer buying right out of the box than making your own mix, go with either an African violet mix or a cacti and succulent mix.
Philodendron Brandtianum Fertilizing
Philodendron brandtianum responds very well when given fertilizer during its growing season. Feeding it and not feeding is the difference between a faster and slower growing plant. It also results in a bigger leaves compared to average ones.
That said, the plant can go without feeding, if you want to save money. You can improve soil instead with compost which helps as well.
During the spring and summer, apply water soluble houseplant fertilizer once a month. Make sure to dilute it to 50% the recommended strength. This prevents you from using an overconcentrated dose will can lead to fertilizer burn.
Similarly, make sure to water the soil when you fertilize. This will help disperse, dilute and distribute the dosage evenly across the soil.
In the winter, you can scale back to once over two months or so.
Your Philodendron brandtianum will either climb or trail depending on where you grow it.
Given a pole or trellis, it will climb up and look majestic as it gets longer. In hanging baskets, the plant’s vines will trail downwards as it overflows from the container.
As such, much of your pruning will be on maintaining the plant’s looks. You can let it grow out if you want a longer, denser look. Or, trim it back if you want to limit its size.
You’ll likely only need to prune once, maybe twice a year.
When, you do, make sure to remove dead, dying, damaged and discolored leaves.
Philodendron Brandtianum Propagation
Another benefit of the Philodendron brandtianum offers is a ease of propagation. This means you can easily grow more of this beautiful plant at home.
While there are a few ways you can do this, stem cuttings are the most common because they’re the easiest to do. As a home grower, this is a good thing.
The best time to propagate is during spring or early summer. I highly recommend doing it earlier in the season to give your new plant more time to grow quickly.
How to Propagate Philodendron Brandtianum from Stem Cuttings
- Pick out a healthy stem to use for propagating. You want something with at least 2 or 3 leaves.
- Make 4 to 6 inch cutting. I know some growers who take longer cuttings. It really depends on how deep the jar or glass your putting it into.
- Take off the lower leaves that will get submerged int the water. This reduces the risk of rotting as they’ll stay there for a few weeks.
- Place the stem cutting into a glass or jar or water.
- Leave it in a warm humid place with enough bright, indirect light.
- Change the water every few days to keep it from getting murky.
- In about 15 to 25 days, you should see roots developing.
- Once the roots get to about 1 or 2 inches long, you can move the cutting to potting soil. Similarly, I have a few friends who like to leave their stem cuttings in water for longer. The longest I know was 8 months. So, you can do it as well. But at some point, you’ll need to move it to soil.
Philodendron Brandtianum Transplanting & Repotting
You’ll likely need to repot your Philodendron brandtianum once every 2 to 3 years depending on fast it grows. In general, don’t move the plant from its current home unless you have to.
You’ll be able to tell when it is time once you see roots start to extend outside the holes of the pot or trying to break out from the soil surface. Once the plant crowds the pot, it is time to move to a bigger container.
Ideally, choose a container that’s about 1 to 2 inches bigger, maximum 3 inches. You don’t want to go too big as this can cause the plant to sit in water unintentionally due to the much larger amount of soil.
When this happens, you unknowingly increase the risk of root rot even when you don’t overwater since the pot size and soil volume in it does that for you.
If you have young kids or pets around the house, it is a good idea to keep the Philodendron brandtianum somewhere out of their reach. The plant is toxic. And, if ingested can cause irritation and swelling.
Thus keeping it away from them will prevent the bothersome to harmful side effects that can occur, including vomiting and difficult breathing just to name a few.
Pests and Diseases
When you get a new houseplant from the garden center, always make sure to quarantine it first for a couple of weeks or so before allowing it to join your other plants.
This ensures that you don’t spread any pests or diseases from the newcomer to your houseplants.
You can likewise disinfect the plant to make sure by spraying it with a solution of dishwashing soap and water.
While the Philodendron brandtianum doesn’t have a lot of pest or disease issues, you still want to watch out for them. The best way is to give your plant proper living conditions mentioned above.
A healthy plant is a resistant and durable plant. But, a stressed out plant is easily prone to these problems.
Mealybugs, spider mites and scale are among the more common attackers that will try to suck the life out of your plant by taking its valuable sap.
With disease, you always want to watch out for root rot, leaf spot and other water related problems because the plant likes moisture and high humidity. Both of which increase the risk of fungal disease.