If you’re looking to add a rare and unique-looking Philodendron to your houseplant collection then the Philodendron bernardopazii might just be the perfect fit. Known for its climbing growth habit and large, arrow-shaped foliage this tropical plant is beloved by aroid collectors and Philodendron enthusiasts alike.
These striking plants are not widely cultivated and as a result, are pretty difficult to come by. Let’s just say this is definitely not a houseplant that you are going to stumble upon at your local nursery or garden center. If you’re interested in getting your hands on a Philodendron bernardopazii you will likely need to find a shop that specializes in rare aroids or importations. As with all plants in the Philodendron genus, be aware that the bernardopazii is considered toxic to pets and humans if ingested
|Botanical Name||Philodendron bernardopazii (formerly Philodendron superbum)|
|Mature Size||8 ft. tall (indoors), 15-20 ft. tall (outdoors)|
|Soil Type||Moist but well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acidic, neutral|
|Bloom Time||Spring, summer|
|Hardiness Zones||10-12, USDA|
|Native Area||South America|
|Toxicity||Toxic to pets, toxic to humans|
Philodendron Bernardopazii Care
Despite how hard it is to find, caring for the Philodendron bernardopazii is surprisingly straightforward. If you have experience caring for other climbing aroids you shouldn’t have any problems growing this Philodendron in your home. To encourage the most vigorous and healthy growth it’s a good idea to provide your plant with a moss pole or some kind of trellis that its aerial roots can latch on to as it grows. This will result in larger, more impressive foliage and a faster growth rate.
The Philodendron bernardopazii is a hemiepiphyte that climbs trees and other plants in the forest understory of its native environment. As a result, it is accustomed to receiving filtered light. When grown indoors, this plant should be kept in a location that receives several hours of bright, indirect light. While some early morning and evening sun is usually fine, avoid exposing your bernardopazii to any direct sun during the afternoon when the rays are the strongest to avoid leaf burn.
This plant grows best in a rich, porous soil mix. A combination of equal parts indoor potting soil, perlite, and orchid bark mix is ideal and easy to make at home.
As a general rule, this Philodendron should be watered once the top half of the soil has dried out. During the spring and summer when temperatures are warmer and the plant is actively growing this may mean you are watering once or twice a week. In the fall and winter, however, you might only need to water it once every two weeks. You can use your finger to check the soil moisture or a more accurate tool like a moisture meter.
Temperature and Humidity
Philodendron bernardopazii is native to the tropical rainforests of Brazil where it grow in warm, humid conditions. Indoors, it does well in standard household temperature and humidity levels, although its growth will really explode if it is provided with some extra humidity. These plants are not frost-tolerant and should not be exposed to temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius) for extended periods of time. As a result, the Philodendron bernardopazii is hardy in USDA zones 10-12. If you are outside of these regions and wish to move your plant outdoors for the spring and summer, ensure that you move it back inside before temperatures begin to drop in the fall.
During the active growing period, apply a balanced liquid fertilizer designed for houseplants once a month. It’s best to dilute the fertilizer with water slightly to prevent fertilizer burn. Stop fertilizing in the early fall through the winter.
Types of Philodendron Bernardopazii
Besides the standard P. bernardopazii, there is one other known variety of this Philodendron – Philodendron bernardopazii narrow form. As its name suggests, this variety has thinner and more elongated leaves then the original plant. Otherwise, its care and appearance is virtually the same.
Pruning Philodendron bernardopazii is sometimes done for cosmetic reasons or to control the plant’s size, but is not required. If you plan on pruning your plant, the best time to do so is during the active growing season – i.e. the spring or summer months. Use a pair of clean, sterilized pruning shears to prune, and make sure you save the cuttings. They can be propagated and used to grow new plants!
Propagating Philodendron Bernardopazii
Like many of its climbing relatives in the Philodendron genus, the bernardopazii is easily propagated by rooting stem cuttings. This can be done in a variety of mediums, the most reliable being water or sphagnum moss. Keep in mind that for the best results, propagation should be done in the spring or summer months.
- Using a pair of sharp, sterilized pruning shears or scissors, take a stem cutting from a healthy Philodendron bernardopazii. The cutting should have at least 2 to 3 nodes along the stem, but no more than 5. Ideally, it will have at least one leaf as well.
- Remove any leaves from the bottom of the cutting to expose the stem. Leave at least one leaf at the top.
- Prepare a glass or plastic container with water or sphagnum moss. If you are using sphagnum moss, you will need to pre-soak the moss for about 15 to 20 minutes before using it to rehydrate it. The moss should be moist but not soaking when it is put into the container so ensure you wring it out. If you are using water, simply fill the container with clean, fresh, room-temperature water.
- Place the cutting in the container and ensure the bottom of the stem and at least one node is submerged in either water or sphagnum moss. Place the container in a warm location that receives bright indirect light. If you are using water ensure that you keep the container topped up and refresh the water once a week. If you are using sphagnum moss, don’t allow the moss to dry out. It should stay consistently moist.
- After a few weeks, you should begin to see small white roots starting to grow. Once the roots are at least an inch long the plant can be moved to the soil. Prepare a small pot with a well-draining, porous soil mix and plant the newly rooted cutting.
- Water the freshly potted cutting well and return it to a warm, bright location.
- Keep the soil evenly moist for the first 1 to 2 weeks to help the new roots acclimate to the soil and then resume a regular watering schedule.
Potting and Repotting Philodendron Bernardopazii
This Philodendron only needs to be repotted once it has outgrown its previous pot. Usually, this is once every 1 to 2 years depending on your plant’s growth rate. The easiest way to tell if it is time to repot your plant is to check the roots. If the roots are growing out of the pot’s drainage holes or the plant looks rootbound once removed from its pot - it’s time to repot!
Repotting should ideally be done during the spring or summer months when the plant is actively growing, rather than in the fall or winter when it enters dormancy. When it is time to repot your plant, ensure that you choose a new pot that is only a couple of inches larger than the previous pot. Moving your plant into a pot that is too large too quickly can result in accidental overwatering since the extra soil will hold more water than the plant is used to.
Common Pests and Plant Diseases
Watch out for signs of spider mites and thrips, both of which seem to gravitate towards this tropical plant. Philodendron bernardopazii are also susceptible to root rot if they are overwatered and do not have proper drainage. As with most Philodendrons, fungal leaf spot is sometimes common so watch out for early signs of this fungal disease as well.
Common Problems With Philodendron Bernardopazii
Besides a few common houseplant ailments this plant is pretty easy to care for. If your Philodendron is exhibiting any of the following problems, there is likely something off in its growing environment that needs to be fixed!
Like with most plants, yellow leaves can be a symptom of a few different issues. Most commonly, its a sign that your plant is either overwatered, underwatered, or not getting enough light. The only way to figure out which is to examine its growing environment closely. Is the soil always wet, even a few days after watering? Or is it usually bone dry by the time you get around to giving your plant a drink? Is your plant close to a bright window, or sitting several feet away from the nearest natural light source? Asking yourself these questions will help you figure out what the root problem might be.
Brown leaves on a Philodendron bernardopazii usually mean the plant is suffering from a lack of humidity. While these Philodendrons can grow well under normal household conditions, they may suffer if they are placed near a particularly drafty window or air vent that dries out the air, for example. Try moving the plant to a location that is slightly more humid (like a bathroom or laundry room) or give it a small humidifier and see if the issue resolves.
Is Philodendron bernardopazii rare
On a scale of 1 to 10, with a 1 being a heart-leaf Philodendron and a 10 being a Philodendron spiritus sancti (i.e. the rarest Philodendron in the world) the Philodendron bernardopazii would score around a 6. It is certainly considered rare and hard to come by, but is definitely more common than some super rare varieties like the Philodendron spiritus sancti (and more affordable too!).
Is the Philodendron bernardopazii a fast grower?
Under the right conditions, this Philodendron is considered to have a moderate to fast growth rate. Outdoors, it can exceed 15 to 20 feet tall, while indoors it normally tops out at around 8 feet tall (mostly because of people’s ceilings!).
Are the Philodendron bernardopazii and Philodendron superbum the same plant?
A common point of confusion is the difference between the Philodendron bernardopazii and the Philodendron bernardopazii ‘superbum’ or Philodendron superbum. In fact, these names are referring to the same plant! P. bernardopazii was formerly known as Philodendron superbum until its reclassification.