THE LEAFLET

Plant Care  |  July 17, 2020

Philodendron Cordatum Care

Placement

PRO TIP: The cut leaves of the philodendron can survive for months in a vase. Change the water out once a week, and place this beauty on any surface throughout your home.

The Philodendron cordatum (hederaceum) is a lovely trailing houseplant with heart-shaped emerald green leaves. It can be found on many favorite houseplant lists because it is easy to care for and can tolerate an array of lighting conditions. It is an epiphytic plant native to Central America and the Carribean, and in its natural habitat would be found climbing up trees in the forest canopy. Like most Philodendron plants, the heart leaf thrives in bright but indirect light. However this plant will also adapt to low and medium light spaces. Growth will be slower in these conditions but the plant should remain healthy!

Note: The cultivar ‘brasil’ is identical in leaf shape and growth habit, with the exception of lime green markings on the center of each leaf. This variety requires slightly higher light because of the leaf variegation.

If you are unsure of the lighting conditions in your home of office, we have a guide for how to measure light in your space.

The pointed, oblong leaves of the Heart leaf Philodendron cascade and trail in a romantic fashion.

Routine Maintenance

PRO TIP: Misting frequently helps the vines to attach to a stake or trellis! It also keeps the foliage dust free.

Always be sure to assess your plant’s watering needs upon receiving it. Before giving your plant a drink, it is best to check the moisture level in the soil first. In bright light, the Philodendron Cordatum appreciates a watering when the soil has dried half way through the pot. In low and medium light spaces, it is best to allow the soil to dry ⅔ of the way through the pot. A good indication of your plant needing water is when the foliage begins to wilt and curl. It is best to water your plant at the first indication of this (not after it has collapsed), and always be sure to feel the soil in addition to visually monitoring the plant.

Rotate your plant periodically to ensure even growth on all sides and dust the leaves often so the plant can photosynthesize efficiently. When dusting the leaves, also take the opportunity to inspect the undersides and keep an eye out for pests.

Remember each plant is a unique living thing and may have varying needs, especially in their individual locations. Pay attention to the condition of your Philodendron and its watering needs and you will have a  long and happy relationship.

Frequently Asked Questions

Help! My Philodendron is turning yellow!

  • Most often yellowing occurs due to over or under watering. If you see a combination of yellow and brown on the same leaf, it is likely due to overwatering. If you see fully yellow leaves that fall easily, along with some brown crispy spots on additional leaves, then it could be under watering. Check in with the soil to determine if it matches your diagnosis.

There are leafless brown growths coming off of my Philodendron. Is that normal?

  • Yes! These are called aerial roots and they are totally normal. In nature, this is what helps give support to the plant and also allows it to climb and reach more light. The roots will not damage walls or surfaces, and you can always prune them if they get unruly.

How can I train my Philodendron to climb up a stake or trellis?

  • Gently wrap and weave the plant up the stake or trellis. Attach if necessary with string or bindwire, and be cautious not to tie it too tightly. Continue caring for the plant as usual, however introduce misting to the foliage of the plant. Added humidity in the air increases the production of aerial roots along the vine that will attach the plant to the stake or trellis. Eventually the plant will grow upwards on its own and you can remove the string if desired.

My Philodendron has gotten way too big. What can I do?

  • Prune it back! These guys are very hardy and can handle a good trim. You can also propagate your plant by placing the cuttings in water. You can either leave them in water, or when a substantial amount of roots have grown you can transfer the cuttings to soil.

How often should I fertilize my plant?

  • In general, houseplants will thrive when they are fertilized spring through fall. Fertilize once a month with an organic houseplant fertilizer, following the package instructions for dilution and administration. Greenery NYC uses an organic potting mix with a slow release fertilizer in the soil, so your plant will not need fertilizer within the first 6 months of receiving it.

How often does my plant need to be repotted?

  • For larger floor plants, we suggest repotting every 18-24 months. Typically you want to choose a potting vessel 2”- 4” larger in diameter to allow for growth. Don’t choose a pot much larger than the previous as this could drown the plant's roots. If you prefer to maintain the current size of your plant, repot into the same vessel, providing new soil and trimming away some roots and foliage. Spring or summer is the ideal time to repot as the plant is at its strongest.

    Standard Planter Instructions

    There are two types of standard planters offered by Greenery Unlimited—those with drainage holes, and those without. Within these two categories are an array of sizes and styles to choose from. The presence of drainage holes and the size of the planted vessel both play a role in the quantity and frequency of water given to your plant.

    Plants purchased in pots without a drainage hole have been set up with a built-in drainage system. A layer of Aeration Stones (porous, absorbent material made of recycled clay) has been placed beneath the soil to act as a reservoir for any excess water that flows through the soil. You will need to be slightly more cautious not to pour too much water into these containers as there is no way for the excess water to escape. We suggest slowly pouring small amounts of water in bit by bit, until you have reached the desired moisture level in the soil.

    For plants potted with drainage, water until the excess begins to come out the bottom of the pot and into the catch tray.

    Self Watering Container Instructions

    The self-watering containers require a deep and thorough watering of the topsoil after they are first placed. This is important because the roots of the plants first need to grow into the reservoir in order to drink from it. Follow the standard planter instructions for at least four weeks, before testing the reservoir. During the dormant seasons, or for plants that have slower growing habits, consider top watering for up to ten weeks. 

    TEST: After the initial top water period, fill the water reservoir until the red indicator reaches half way between the MAX and MIN line. If the indicator goes down over the first few days, it means the plant is ready for regular reservoir servicing. If not, be sure to continue top watering for a few more weeks, until the red indicator goes down, meaning the plant has started drinking from the reservoir. 

    RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the indicator goes down, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, almost all plants require a drying out period. Always allow for the reservoir to empty all the way, and after a drying out period of a few days, be sure to refill it until the indicator reaches the MAX line.

    From here on out, you should NEVER topwater the plant while using the reservoir system. If you water from the top, it can drown the plant. In the Self Watering Container, the top layer of soil will eventually become extremely dry and hard, and may even pull away from the edges of the pot. This is not a cause for concern, but simply because the plant is drinking directly from its roots in the water reservoir. You may opt for adding fresh soil into the gaps between the soil and planter, so as to give the plant a nutrient boost. You may annually, or bi annually, top water the plant to flush the foot system. Only do so when the reservoir is empty and the plant is ready for more water. 

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