Heartleaf Philodendron

Heartleaf Philodendron

Heartleaf Philodendron 101: How To Grow & Take Care of a Heartleaf Philodendron

The heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron scandens) is a tropical plant that is popular for its easy care and lush, green foliage. This guide provides basic information on the care of heartleaf philodendrons, as well as tips on how to grow them.

Heartleaf Philodendron Plant Information

The heartleaf philodendron (also known as the sweetheart plant) belongs to the Araceae family of plants and is native to Japan. This plant has been long cultivated in the tropical regions of America where it is grown as an ornamental houseplant. The heartleaf philodendron is a fast-growing, herbaceous vine that grows well when provided with a support structure. Its large green leaves are heart shaped and they grow on thick, pendant stems which can reach up to 4 meters in length when allowed to climb freely. It blooms in summer, producing spikes of fragrant white flowers that attract bees and other insects.

Heartleaf Philodendron Growing & Care Tips

Growing heartleaf philodendrons is easy. They can be grown in pots or suspended baskets, or allowed to climb freely. In the right conditions this tropical plant will reward you with lush, fast-growing foliage.

Water: Regular watering is required for healthy growth. Water around twice a week, or whenever the soil surface feels dry to the touch. If possible always water plants with rainwater or distilled water.

Light: Bright light is important to maintain healthy looking foliage; heartleaf philodendrons normally grow best under filtered sun, such as in shaded areas outdoors.

Humidity: The heartleaf philodendron is not a tropical plant and it cannot tolerate high levels of humidity. If you live in a humid climate, place the pot on a saucer filled with pebbles and water to increase humidity around the plant.

Temperature: Ideal temperature for growing this plant is between 60°F to 90°F.

Fertilizer: Feed heartleaf philodendrons every two weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength while the plant is actively growing in spring and summer. Do not feed during fall and winter months.

Soil: Heartleaf Philodendron plants need a rich, organic potting mix to thrive. A good quality commercial potting soil is usually suitable for heartleaf philodendrons.

Heartleaf philodendron pests and diseases 

Pests & Diseases: Aphids, mealybugs and mites are common pests that affect heartleaf philodendrons. Treat infestations with insecticidal soap. Mealybugs can be difficult to get rid of once they have invaded your plant, so

How to propagate a heartleaf philodendron 

When it comes to propagating a Heartleaf Philodendron there are several methods you can use, all of which are easy to do.

The most popular Heartleaf Philodendron Propagation Method is by using the layering technique. You simply need to place a branch in moist potting soil, cover with clear plastic and wait for roots to develop underneath before removing the plastic casing.

Another method is by taking tip cuttings. Allow new growth on your plant to develop 6 inches before taking cuttings with sharp pruning shears. Make sure you use rooting hormone on the lower 2-3 nodes of the cutting to promote growth.

Repotting your Heartleaf Philodendron 

Heartleaf philodendrons require repotting every one to two years; this will encourage healthy growth and more frequent blooming. After the initial potted up phase (which requires less humidity and medium), you can start your Heartleaf Philodendron on a regular schedule, with repotting occurring in spring and summer.

Heartleaf philodendrons prefer to be slightly rootbound, so never repot this plant into a pot that is significantly larger than the last.

Step 1: When you are ready to repot your Heartleaf Philodendron, first prepare all of your supplies and then mix together aged bark or sphagnum peat moss with perlite in equal portions. Use this mixture as your potting medium to promote healthy root growth.

Step 2: Remove your Heartleaf Philodendron from its pot but keep the soil that is attached to the roots and set it in a bucket or tub filled with water for at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes before attempting to remove all of the excess soil around the root system.

Taking your Heartleaf Philodendron out of the pot can be done with your hands or you might use a knife that has been sterilized to get under the root ball. Using this method, gently tease away all of the soil around the root ball until it is ready to be repotted in your new potting medium.

Step 3: Repot your Heartleaf Philodendron by slowly slipping the root system into the new potting medium and gently pressing down with your hands until the Heartleaf Philodendron is settled in its new home.

Step 4: Heartleaf Philodendrons need plenty of water, but they also require good air circulation to help prevent problems such as rot or fungus. Water when the top two inches of potting medium is dry and then remove any standing water from the saucer.

Step 5: Fertilize your Heartleaf Philodendron with a water-soluble fertilizer that is diluted to half strength and applied weekly during the active growth period. Place your Heartleaf Philodendron in a location that gets either full or partial sun.

Problems and Solutions for Heartleaf Philodendron

Common problems with the Heartleaf Philodendron include brown leaf tips and yellowing of the foliage. This is due to low humidity levels, incorrect watering habits and cold drafts. Here are some solutions:

Brown leaf tips: Brown tip at the edges of the leaves may indicate that the heartleaf philodendron is receiving too much light or has been allowed to dry out for a day or two. Move the plant to a shadier location and keep the soil moist.

Yellowing: Yellowing of the leaves can be caused by cold drafts, low humidity or incorrect watering habits. Raise indoor temperature if it falls below 60°F and move the plant away from air conditioning vents. Increase humidity around your heartleaf philodendron by placing it on a shallow tray filled with pebbles and water. Water your plant only when the topmost layer of soil feels dry to the touch.

Finally, Heartleaf Philodendron are toxic to pets so keep it away from curious cats and dogs. Although they are not poisonous to humans, this philodendron can cause skin irritation. When removing this plant from its pot be sure to wear gloves.

Heartleaf Philodendron Frequently Asked Questions

Do heartleaf philodendron clean the air?

Yes. Heartleaf philodendrons are one of the best indoor plants for removing indoor air toxins such as xylene, toluene and formaldehyde. The NASA Clean Air Study also found that the heartleaf philodendron is capable of removing ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from indoor air.

Is heartleaf philodendron toxic to cats?

Heartleaf philodendron is a toxic plant when ingested. The sap in the leaves, stems and roots contains calcium oxalate crystals (raphides) which can cause intense discomfort if chewed. When growing heartleaf philodendrons it should be kept out of reach of pets and children to avoid accidental ingestion or injury.

Is heartleaf philodendron poisonous to dogs?

Heartleaf philodendron is poisonous to dogs. This plant contains calcium oxalate crystals which can cause intense discomfort if ingested. Symptoms of poisoning include excessive drooling, vomiting, loss of coordination and tremors. If your dog has chewed on this plant it should receive prompt veterinary care.

Can heart leaf philodendron grow in low light?

Heartleaf philodendron can thrive when grown in low light conditions. Provide your plant with a north-facing window or shaded area, and keep the soil damp at all times. The heartleaf philodendron is an epiphyte so it prefers to grow in moist airy conditions which mimic its natural habitat.

Can I grow heartleaf philodendron from a cutting?

Heartleaf philodendrons can be propagated by stem cuttings. Use a sharp, clean knife to take a 4-inch long cutting from the end of a vine about 3 weeks after putting your plant into full growth. Allow the cut surface to dry before sticking it 1-2 inches deep in damp potting soil in a pot or in the ground. Keep it moist and shady until new growth is evident (within 1-2 months).

Is heart leaf philodendron a pothos?

No. Heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum) is a member of the Araceae family and it has been labeled as an invasive species in Hawaii. It grows well both indoors and outdoors and is often grown as a houseplant. However, Heartleaf philodendron is closely related to pothos so it can be expected to share similar growing conditions.

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