Wondering how to keep your heartleaf philodendron happy? While it may not be the most trendy or uncommon houseplant, it’s still super stunning. The name is very literal here; the heartleaf philodendron is known for its broad, heart-shaped leaves. Read on to learn how to care for heartleaf philodendron.
This plant is native to parts of the Caribbean and some tropical areas of Central and South America. As a result, the heartleaf philodendron thrives in tropical conditions with lots of light and humidity. However, it’s a very hardy plant, so it’s also perfectly content in the standard indoor environment of our homes.
The heartleaf philodendron is a trailing plant, growing vines that are more than several feet long. It’s equally happy in a hanging basket or growing upward along a wall. The new leaves are a brownish bronze color that quickly turn into a vibrant green as they mature. And of course, the heart-shaped leaves are sure to make you fall in love!
Let’s get into the heartleaf philodendron care essentials.
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Heartleaf Philodendron Quick Care
Scientific name: Philodendron Hederaceum
Common name: Heartleaf Philodendron
Water: When the top inch of soil is dry.
Light: Prefers bright indirect light but can tolerate lower light.
Soil: Any well-draining houseplant mix will work.
Humidity: A tropical plant that enjoys higher humidity, 50% or above.
Temperature: Room temperature, 70 – 85°F (21 – 30°C).
Propagation: Place stem cuttings in water or propagate by division.
Toxicity: If ingested, toxic to people and pets.
If you’ve ever looked up some information about your plant, and then forgotten it immediately, this care sheet is for you. Plants all have different needs. Keep track of the various requirements for lighting, water, and other things; as well as any other notes you want to take.
Print out copies for each plant you have, and create your own plant care binder! All of your information will be easily accessible in one place.
Love this gray basalt pot? Me too! Here’s a similar pot available from HeyPlanty on Etsy.
Heartleaf Philodendron Care Guide
In the summer, water your heartleaf philodendron so that the soil is moist but not soggy. In the colder months, allow it to dry out a bit more between waterings. A good indicator is to water when the top inch or two of the soil feels dry.
I tend to be lazy with my plant care (lol), and I prefer the simplicity of watering once per week. I vary the amount of water that I use based on the season and light levels the plant is in.
It is always beneficial to use pots with drainage holes. This will prevent the plant from sitting in too much water, which can lead to root rot. If your pot doesn’t have drainage holes, you can drill them yourself. Or, use the decorative pot as a cachepot, and place the plastic nursery pot inside it.
A heartleaf philodendron won’t be very picky about the type or composition of its soil. The main thing is that you want soil that will provide good drainage. Super compacted or dense soil is not the way to go!
I would love to learn more about creating my own soil mixtures someday, but I go with a standard houseplant potting mix right now. If you want to make sure that your soil is well aerated, consider adding some pumice or perlite before potting your plant.
Heartleaf philodendrons are happiest in medium to bright indirect light. This is closest to the lighting conditions that they would experience in the wild.
These plants can also tolerate being in lower light. Note that it is not the same as no light! It does mean that you can place your heartleaf philodendron in a room with smaller windows or keep it a bit further from the window.
Small leaves or vines with long gaps between the leaves indicate that the plant isn’t getting enough light. If this is happening, move the plant to a brighter area that is not in direct sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves so that they are damaged and discolored.
Tropical plants like heartleaf philodendron really appreciate a more humid environment (above 50% relative humidity). Of course, it can still live with lower humidity, but this would be the ideal situation.
Normal household humidity is usually between 30 – 60%, which will most likely be suitable for your plant.
Not sure how humid your house is? It can be hard to guess, and I had no idea about the humidity in my apartment until I got a humidity sensor. Humidity sensors are relatively inexpensive and usually also include a thermometer. It’s not a necessity, but it can be nice to have an instant way to check the humidity in your space.
Brown leaf tips can be caused by dry air. If this is happening to your heartleaf philodendron, try to increase the humidity in the room. This can be done with a humidifier, a pebble tray, or surrounding it with other plants to create a pocket of higher humidity in that area.
Other Heartleaf Philodendron Tips
Repotting – Generally, a heartleaf philodendron should be repotted every two to three years or when it looks like it has outgrown its space. It’s best to repot in spring or summer during the plant’s growing season. Choose a pot that is no more than two inches larger in diameter than its current pot.
Fertilizing – You don’t need any fancy or specific fertilizer for this low-maintenance plant. Use a standard house plant fertilizer and follow the directions on the package. I prefer to fertilize more often in the summer and slow down or stop in the winter.
Trailing – Because of the long vines, the heartleaf philodendron is a perfect plant to keep in a hanging basket or tall shelf. Watch the leaves drape down toward the floor and add a jungle-like feel to your space. I have mine sitting on top of a bookshelf, and the leaves look so pretty framing my books.
How to Propagate Heartleaf Philodendron
There are a few methods for propagating heartleaf philodendron, such as in soil or water or by division. To propagate by division, simply take the plant out, split the roots into two or more bundles, and repot them as individual plants.
In my opinion, vining plants are the easiest to propagate because there’s a simple method for taking cuttings. Each cutting should include at least one root node (the little nub on the stem that may have tiny aerial roots) and probably a few leaves. An excellent spot to take cuttings from is a vine that’s getting too long or leggy.
Let the cuttings dry for a few hours to callous over, and then place them in a jar or glass of fresh water. Rinse and replace the water frequently. Ideally, you’ll want to do this every few days or once a week.
I prefer water propagation for most plants because I like being able to see the roots develop. Watching the growth is such a cool process! Small roots should start to sprout within a few days or a week, but they won’t be ready to plant just yet. Wait until the roots are at least 4+ inches long before transferring your new plant to soil.
Once the plant is in the soil, it’s a lot harder to tell what’s going on. It may look like nothing’s happening with your new plant, while in reality, it’s very busy. Plants generally need to establish their root systems a bit before they can start producing new leaves.
You can place your rooted cuttings back in with the mother plant to make it look fuller or pot them on their own to create a brand new baby plant.
Heartleaf Philodendron vs. Pothos
It’s easy to confuse a heartleaf philodendron for a golden or jade pothos. They’re not the same plant! Luckily, the care for both is similar, so you shouldn’t have a problem if you mistake one for the other. If you’d like to know the difference, there are a few ways you can tell them apart.
- Leaf texture – The philodendron leaves will feel smoother and softer, while pothos leaves are thicker and bumpier.
- Shape of leaves – Philodendron leaves are more full and like a true heart shape.
- Growth and new leaves – This is a sure-fire way to tell them apart. Pothos leaves just grow along the stems. You’ll see the occasional nub of a root, but that’s about it. With philodendron, the leaves grow out of thin sheaths called cataphylls. They stick around on the stem for a while but will eventually turn brown and can be pulled off if desired.
Hopefully, these pictures have made it easier to tell which is which! Once you know what to look for, it’s clearer to see that these two species are not the same.
Other Philodendron Varieties
There are literally hundreds of different philodendrons out there, but I’m just going to list a few of my favorites here. Also, philodendrons tend to fall into two categories: trailing and upright. Trailing philodendrons, like the heartleaf philodendron, will grow and develop long vines. Upright plants, like philodendron Birkin, grow upwards in more of a rosette shape.
Philodendron Brasil – This plant is almost identical to the heartleaf philodendron, except that the leaves have a stripe of yellow variegation down the middle. Caring for a philodendron Brasil is also the same! The Brasil got its name from the fact that the leaf pattern resembles the Brazilian flag.
Philodendron Rio – Another twist on the heartleaf philodendron, this time with a white or silver variegation stripe in the center of the leaf. It was created as a cultivar of the Brasil.
Philodendron Silver Sword – Also known as philodendron hastatum, the Silver Sword gets its name from its silvery, sword-shaped leaves. (Super creative, right?) This is an upright philodendron that will appreciate a moss pole or trellis to support its growth.
Philodendron Birkin – The Birkin is an upright philodendron recognized by the cream or white pinstripes on its dark green leaves. To learn more, check out my Philodendron Birkin care guide.
My Heartleaf Philodendron Collection
Currently, my heartleaf philodendron collection is a collection of one! I got it from a local plant shop in December 2019, and as you can see, it has grown significantly since then. I love how much it has filled out and has become quite bushy. The vines are great too. They actually need a bit of a trim since they’ve been growing along the floor.
It never occurred to me to try propagating my heartleaf before writing this post. I don’t know why I didn’t try it sooner! If these cuttings root successfully, I’ll probably start a new plant with them. The mother plant is already so full that there’s no space for any more cuttings.
I appreciate how low-maintenance my heartleaf philodendron is (and most other philodendrons as well). I’ve never had any problems with mine. Even from its spot 10-15 feet away from a window, it’s constantly putting out new growth.
In terms of growing my collection, I’d love to get a philodendron Brasil. I really enjoy the plant’s overall shape, so having the same thing but variegated would be so cool. I’m also loving the philodendron Micans, which is similar to the heartleaf philodendron but with darker, velvety leaves. It’s so pretty!
So that wraps up everything you need to know about how to care for heartleaf philodendron! The simple requirements and gorgeous vines make this one of my favorite trailing plants. It’s super rewarding to grow without needing too much of your attention.
If you’re interested in my heartleaf philodendron’s basalt gray terra cotta pot, click here to see a similar one on Etsy!
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask by leaving a comment below!
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