Philodendron Hastatum Plant Care (Silver Sword Philodendron)

Philodendron Hastatum

The Philodendron hastatum is also commonly known as the silver sword philodendron. It gets this name because of the shape of its leaves which look like a long blade.

You might also come across the name Philodendron domesticum. The plant previously went by this name. So, in older texts or resources, the philodendron hastatum may be referred to as such.

The most noticeable feature of the plant is its sliver metallic-like looking leaves. These are unique to look at and change color as they mature.

It is likewise a climber that can get to between 6 to 10 feet high when given a pole to go up. In its native Colombia, you’ll likely see it get to 20 feet high.

Finally, this fast growing plant is easy to care for. In part because it isn’t too picky about living environment. Also, it is able to adapt to different conditions.

But, the one real thing it cannot tolerate or adjust to is cold temperature. So, if it freezes in wintertime, you need to bring it indoors before first frost arrives.

Philodendron Hastatum Plant Care

Philodendron Hastatum Light

The Philodendron hastatum prefers medium light to bright light. It can also tolerate low light conditions. Although, this is not ideal as the plant can become leggy as it tries to reach out to the light source. Lack of light will also produce fewer leaves that spaces farther apart making your plant look sparse.

In contrast, getting the proper amount of light will give you a faster growing plant that’s denser and bushier, not to mention healthier looking.

Similarly, it also does better when placed under indirect light as opposed to direct light. Too direct sunlight can burn its leaves. As such, you want to monitor the location of your plant to see that the sun’s rays never touch its leaves.

One good way to test this is to see if the plant casts any shadow throughout the day. If it does, that means at that certain time if is receiving direct sunlight.

The is likewise the case for too much bright light. When it gets more light that it can tolerate, its leaves will start to turn yellow. Yellowing leaves are a normal part of the plant’s foliage life cycles. But, since leaves grow at different times, you should only see one or two turn yellow once in a while. If many do so at the same time, it’s a sign to move the plant to less light.

This makes a north facing window ideal for your Philodendron hastatum. You can likewise give it an eastern exposure. Although, you want to limit the amount of bright light and keep it away from direct sunlight.

The west are and south are less ideal unless you keep the plant a few feet away from the window or cover the sunlight a bit. You can use a 20% to 40% shade cloth or sheer curtain to filter the light.

Outdoors, a partially shaded location is idea.

 

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Temperature & Humidity

Being a native of the rainforests of Brazil and the tropical forests of Colombia, your Philodendron hastatum enjoys warm, humid conditions. Thus, giving it a similar environment to what it is accustomed to will produce the best growth.

Ideally, you want to maintain temperature to between 65 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit. The plant is not frost hardy. Nor can it tolerate freezing tempertuares. So, you want to keep it away from locations where the mercury can drop under 55 degrees.

This means that if gets cold or snows in the winter, you want to bring it indoors long before first frost occurs.

 

Philodendron Hastatum Humidity

Similarly, the plant thrives in humid conditions. While it can tolerate average home humidity. It will not stand dry air. When kept in this environment, you’ll notice its leaves begin to droop and turn yellow.

As such, if your home has humidity in the 30s, it is a good it to employ one of the following techniques to increase humidity.

  • Misting a few times a week
  • Grouping it with other plants
  • Placing it over a pebble tray
  • Keeping it in the bathroom
  • Using a humidifier

If you’re not sure what the humidity in your home is, consider investing in a digital hygrometer. It is an inexpensive device that lets you instantly know the humidity in any room of the home.

philodendron hastatum

source: wikimedia commons

 

Philodendron Hastatum Watering

Your Philodendron hastatum can tolerate temporary dry spells. However, it is not a good idea to allow it to dry out for too long or too often.

In the spring and summer, when the weather is warm, keep the soil moist. You can do this by allowing the soil to almost dry out between waterings.

To check, insert your finger into the soil down to 2 inches. At that depth, it shouldn’t feel wet or soggy. If there’s any moisture at all, even slight, wait a day or more before watering.

You want the top 1 to 2 inches of topsoil to dry before you water. This will prevent you from overwatering the plant.

In the winter, as the weather gets colder, reduce watering and allow the plant to dry out a little more between waterings.

While it is extra work, it is a good idea to regularly clean your Philodendron hastatum’s leaves. If you live in a dusty area, near sandy locations or close to a heavily trafficked street, you can give the plant a shower under the bathroom or with a hose every now and then. This makes it easier to remove all the dust from the leaves.

But, make sure to allow the plant’s foliage to quickly dry after by keeping it somewhere where there’s good air circulation. Letting moisture sit on the leaves will put it at risk of fungal infection.

Cleaning its leaves not only clears its pores of debris. It also allows the plant to absorb light more efficiently.

In many cases, your Philodendron hastatum’s leaves will quickly tell you if you’re watering correctly. Changes in color are your first sign. Besides too much sun, yellow or brown leaves are a symptom of overwatering.

Similarly wilting leaves that look dry mean it is not getting enough water.

 

Philodendron Hastatum Soil

Philodendron hastatum do best in moist soil. But its roots cannot tolerate too much water or sitting in consistently wet conditions. As such, you want to allow the soil to almost dry before watering again.

Allowing them to stay in this condition will lead to root rot.

In addition to these features, it enjoys loose soil with high organic content.

As such, you have a few options when it comes to choosing the right soil for your Philodendron hastatum.

You can use 100% sphagnum moss which works well enough on its own. But, since it doesn’t contain nutrients, you’ll need to remember to add fertilizer.

You can likewise use peat and perlite or vermiculite. Or, if you already have potting soil at home, add perlite to it to improve drainage.

I know some growers who use cacti and succulent potting mix or African violet mix as well. These are good options if you prefer to have something “out of the box” you can get from the garden center, instead of making it yourself.

 

Fertilizing

Apply all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer. Make sure it contains micronutrients in addition to the macronutrients (N-P-K). That’s because philodendron need calcium and magnesium to grown properly. Without it, you’ll notice your plant’s leave become pale in color.

You can cut back to once every 2 months during wintertime when the plant is not actively growing.

Fertilizer will help your Philodendron hastatum grow optimally. But, make sure you don’t overfeed it. Doing so can damage your plant’s roots cause them to burn.

As such, it is better to apply less fertilizer than more.

Also, you may be overfertilizing without knowing it. So, you want to make sure by checking to see if the potting mix you’re using contains fertilizer or not. And, what kind it has.

Some mixes come with an initial dose. But, this dose can last 3 weeks to a little over a month. Or, it can last for 6 months for slow release. As such, if you apply (even the correct dose), you’ll end up “doubling up”, which will lead to fertilizer burn.

If you notice your plant not growing as it should or have smaller or fewer leaves, there are two common reasons for this.

  • Insufficient lighting
  • Lack of plant food

Check the lighting situation first since that’s easier to fix. Once it is getting the right amount of light and still not doing well, gradually increase the dose of fertilizer.

 

Pruning

Your Philodendron hastatum is a good climber. As such, giving it a moss pole or a trellis will allow it to grow upwards. This makes pruning less work as you don’t have to bother about it sprawling outwards.

That said, it is a good idea to trim any leggy or long stems. This will keep your plant looking healthy.

Also remove any dead or damaged leaves. These not only look ugly but also cause the plant to expend energy on them when it can be focusing those resources on the healthier parts.

 

Philodendron Hastatum Propagation

Philodendron hastatum responds well to propagating. And, the easiest way to grow new plants from the parent plant is by stem cutting. Here’s ow.

  • Take a stem cutting from your plant. You want to choose a section that’s around 6 inches long with at least 2 leaves on it.
  • Place it in a glass or jar of water.
  • After about 2 to 4 weeks, the cutting will develop roots.
  • Pot up the stem cutting once the roots get to over an inch long. You want to use well-draining sol.
  • Keep the plant in a warm, humid place that gets medium, indirect light.
  • Water regularly to keep soil moist

 

Philodendron Hastatum Transplanting & Repotting

Like pruning, your Philodendron hastatum is fairly low maintenance when it comes to repotting. The only time you’ll need to repot is if you see the plant’s roots coming out of the pot or trying to break out of the soil surface.

The former will happen much earlier than the latter. So, that’s your signal to move it to a larger container.

The plant is often grown in a pot because it is terrestrial in nature. Plus, this lets you take them indoors if you live in areas that are freezing in the winter. Similarly, you can keep them in hanging baskets and allow it to cascade downwards.

In either case, choose a container that is about 1 to 2 inches larger. At most, 3 inches larger, nothing more. This will give the plant enough space to extend its roots without the increased risk of overwatering.

 

Toxicity

As with other plants in its genus, the Philodendron hastatum is toxic to humans and animals. So, you want to place it somewhere young children, dogs and cats will not be able to reach or play with it.

 

Pests and Diseases

Philodendron hastatum do not particularly have much problems with pests and disease. As such, your main goal is to keep the plant healthy by giving it all the things listed above.

A healthy Philodendron hastatum has good resistance to both issues.

However, it is not immune.

As such, some pests, the most common being mealybugs and spider mites will try to attach your plant to suck the sap from it. This is harmful to your plants health and an infestation, albeit rare, can take enough nutrients to destroy your plant.

Thus, it is a good idea to regularly inspect for these critters. The earlier you catch them, the quicker your can treat it.

For the most part, spraying with insecticidal soap works. It takes a few weeks to completely eradicate the pests. You can also use rubbing alcohol in cotton for mealybugs.

On the other hand, diseases are likewise very preventable. That’s because your Philodendron hastatum is prone to moisture-related issues. As such, keeping water on point and not getting the leaves wet or allowing them to dry quickly prevents root rot, leaf spot and other potential issues.

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