Caring for Philodendron Burle Marx Indoors and Outdoors

The Philodendron Burle Marx is a beautiful foliage plant that has long, narrow, crinkled leaves that are heart-shaped. It is named after famed Brazilian landscape article Roberto Burle Marx who made using plants a popular part of architectural design.

The plant itself is member of the Araceae family. And, it makes for a lovely container plant as its long leaves grow over one another like layers once the its gets bushy enough.

In addition to its handsome looks it is likewise easy to care for an purifies the air which makes it a popular choice for houseplant owners.

Philodendron Burle Marx Plant Care

Philodendron Burle Marx Light Requirements

The Philodendron Burle Marx does well in different lighting conditions including medium and low light. But, to achieve optimum growth, it needs bright, indirect light.

In low light conditions, you want to observe how the plant responds. If there’s too little light there, the plant will tell you as its growth will slow and it will produce smaller leaves.

You’ll also see it reach for the light and become leggy.

When this happens, it is a good idea to move it to a brighter spot and trim off the leggy stems.

With this plant, the most important thing to remember is avoid direct sunlight. Too much intense light or direct exposure will cause its leaves to burn.

You’ll eventually see its leaves bleach, turn yellow or have brownish-black markts. This is harder to recover from the lack of light.

As such, when placing the plant in a south or west facing window you want to distance it away enough so the sun’s rays don’t touch it. Or, place some kind of shade like sheer curtains to block some of the light.

 

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Temperature

Your Philodendron Burle Marx is a native of Brazil. As such, it is accustomed to tropical conditions. This means it thrives in warm weather that’s humid.

Being able to mimic these conditions as close a possible allows your plant to feel most comfortable (and thus, produce the best growth).

As such, you want to try and keep conditions between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit consistently.

The good news is, this range also happens to be were we humans are more comfortable with. So, unless you live in a very hot or cold climate condition odds are your home is already well-suited to house the plant.

Outdoors can be more of a problem as you have less control over temperatures. What’s important to note is that your Philodendron Burle Marx can tolerate a few degrees above and below this range.

Being from a warm weather place, it can withstand more heat. But, one temperatures reach 95 degrees or over, it will start to experience a little stress.

On the other hand, it has much less tolerance for the cold. Here, at temperatures below 60 degrees you’ll notice its growth slow. And, once you reach 50 degrees, it will stop.

The colder it gets the more likely it will experience damage.

 

Humidity

As mentioned, your Philodendron Burle Marx likes humidity. And, it thrives when humidity is kept high, ideally at 60% or higher.

The good news is, it adjusts very well to lower humidity. As such, as long as you keep indoor humidity at 40% or higher, it will do well.

If you live in a dry area like the desert or experience cold winters, you’ll want to watch humidity as these scenarios can bring it down considerably.

I highly suggest investing in a hygrometer which will allow you to constantly keep track of what the humidity level in your home is.

This way, you can instantly tell if you need to make any adjustments. And, see if the modifications you’ve made have brought relative humidity high enough to keep the plant happy.

Humidity is very important for your Philodendron Burle Marx’s optimum growth. If the air is too dry you’ll notice it get more sluggish. And, after a while its leaves will turn brown.

So, if you notice that humidity often hovers around the 30s, you many want to invest in a humidifier.

Alternatively, you can mist the plant a few times a week.

I do prefer using a pebble tray where there’s water in the tray and the plant is kept above the water by the stones. When the water evaporates, it increases moisture in the air surrounding the plant to boost humidity.

 

How Often to Water Philodendron Burle Marx

It is important to water your Philodendron Burle Marx differently at various times of the year. That’s because the weather changes and the plant goes through different phases.

  • In the spring and summer, you want to keep soil consistently moist. But, avoid wet or soggy soil. You never want the plant sitting in a puddle of water. The reason you want to give it enough water is these are warmer months so there’s more evaporation. Also, the plant is actively growing. So, you want to give it enough hydration to sustain that growth.
  • In the fall and winter, allow the soil to almost dry before watering again. These are colder months. So, it takes soil longer to dry. As such, adding more water or watering regularly increases the risk of overwatering, which can result is various root diseases. Similarly, the plant ceases from its active growth stage and rests during this time to prepare for next spring. So, it does not need as much water.

That said, the worst thing you can do is overwater the plant. Allowing its roots to sit in too much moisture will lead to root problems including the dreaded root rot.

So, if you’re not sure, always err on the dry side rather than adding more water. But, avoid allowing the soil to completely dry out. While the plant can tolerate a little bit of drought, it is not good for overall growth.

The best way I’ve found to know when to water your Philodendron Burle Marx is to feel the soil. Once the soil gets dry past 2 inches deep from the top, it is time to water. Avoid the urge to water before then.

 

Soil for Philodendron Burle Marx

Your Philodendron Burle Marx needs well-draining soil to do well. This ensures that excess water is allowed to drain so the plant does not sit in water for extended periods of time.

Also, because too much water in the soil clogs all the small air pockets, it prevents oxygen from reaching the roots. When this happens, it increases the risk of root rot.

Well-draining soil solves this problem. It likewise makes the soil very forgiving in that it allows excess moisture to drain out in case you happen to overwater once in a while.

Additionally, your Philodendron Burle Marx will appreciate soil that’s rich in organic matter. What not a necessity, it does help the plant grow more optimally. Plus, it will reduce the amount of fertilizer you need to use.

As such, when it comes to potting mix, you have a few options you can choose from.

  • 100% sphagnum peat moss
  • A combination of peat and perlite or vermiculite
  • If you already have regular potting soil add some sand to improve drainage.

Any of these options will work. Which one you choose will depend on what you have and which you prefer.

 

Fertilizer

Just like water, you want to feed your Philodendron Burle Marx differently during the warm and colder months.

During the spring and summer, your plant will be actively growing. As such, it will need enough plant food to sustain this growth.

Use an all-purpose fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength every 2 weeks during this time. Make sure to water when you fertilize.

This is important because moisture will help the fertilizer disperse. More importantly it will dilute the concentration which helps avoid fertilizer burn.

Ideally, you want to use at least the same amount of nitrogen (balanced fertilizer) or higher ratio of nitrogen. This nutrient promotes foliage growth.

In contrast because your Philodendron Burle Marx is a foliage plant, avoid plant food that is higher in phosphorus (the P in N-P-K). Otherwise, your plant will focus more of blooming and you’ll see smaller, less developed leaves.

Alternatively, you can likewise use a slow-release fertilizer. This will cut the feeding frequency to 3 times a year.

In the winter, scale back on feeding to about once every 2 months.

The reason you want to avoid too much fertilizer or dilute its dose is because overfeeding will result in brown leaves. More importantly it can burn the roots since the chemicals inf fertilizer will leave salt residue that build up in the soil over time.

So if you add a lot of it, this can happen quite soon. Similarly, if you feed the plant regularly but don’t flush the soil, the salts will accumulate over time as well.

As such, it is important to flush the soil every now and then. It is also why some growers opt to use compost and worm compost along with other natural means instead of applying fertilizer.

 

Pruning

In general, your Philodendron Burle Marx is low maintenance. And, because it only grows to about 2 feet tall or so in height and width, you likely won’t need to prune it too often.

The only exception is if you keep it on tabletop, shelves or furniture.

That said, trim as needed to maintain the size and shape you want to keep it.

Likewise, remove any dead, discolored or damaged leaves. If you see any leggy sems, prune those as well.

 

Philodendron Burle Marx Propagation

Philodendron Burle Marx is fairly easy to propagate. This lets you grow more of this beautiful plant at home without having to go out and buy them from the nursery.

The most common method of propagating this plant is stem cutting. In part because it is straightforward and produces good success rates.

Here’s how to propagate Philodendron Burle Marx from stem cuttings.

  • Pick out a healthy stem. You want to choose that that has at least 2 or 3 leaf nodes.
  • With a sterile pair of pruning shears or scissors cut a 4 to 7 inch stem right below a leaf node.
  • Next, prepare the fresh potting mix if you need to mix the substrates. Then fill a small container (6 inches will do) with the soil. Water to get the soil moist.
  • Plant the stem cutting into the soil.
  • Place the plant in a warm spot that’s well-lit but with no direct sunlight. If it not humid there, cover the plant with a plastic bag.
  • In about 20 to 25 days, the stem cutting should have developed its initial roots. It will take a few more roots for them to get established.

 

How to Repot  Philodendron Burle Marx

You’ll need to repot your Philodendron Burle Marx once you see roots start coming out of the drainage holes. Similarly, you’ll see them wrap around the root ball.

Over time, growth will slow down and the soil will dry up much faster after each watering as well.

When the time comes, you want to repot the plant during early spring before its growing season goes into full swing.

Ideally choose a container that is 2 inches wider than the current one you have. Don’t go up much more since it increases the risk of overwatering.

When repotting, also take the opportunity to refresh the potting mix.

 

Toxicity

Philodendron Burle Marx is toxic to people and pets including dogs, cats and horses. They contain calcium oxalate crystals, which if ingested get activated and cause irritation to your mouth, throat and gastrointestinal system.

 

Pests and Diseases

The Philodendron Burle Marx is fairly robust and resistant to pests and diseases. If properly taken care of you likely won’t ever need to deal with these problems.

However, they’re not invincible to them. So, they can still happen. This is why it is important to inspect the plant regularly.

If find that if you regularly clean your plants, you’ll get familiar with them after a while. And, you’ll quickly notice small changes without having to put in any effort.

When it comes to pests, thrips, mealybugs and spider mites can be problems. You can use neem oil or insecticidal soap to treat them.

On the other hand, diseases are often caused by moisture issues. Humidity as well as overwatering tend to be the biggest culprits. This can lead to leaf spot as well as root disease.

As such, keeping the plant somewhere there is good air circulation is important. Similarly, being mindful of when you water and how you water is essential.

 

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