How to Grow and Care for Philodendron Brandtianum

A small Philodendron brandtianum houseplant in white planter

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Philodendron brandtianum is a climbing vine with medium-to-large heart-shaped leaves. The leaves have heavy white-to-silver markings, so it’s common for this plant to be referred to as a silver leaf philodendron. Alternatively, it’s sometimes known as Philodendron brandi. 

In its natural tropical climate, it has a climbing growth habit but can be easily grown as a potted or hanging houseplant. The plant is a moderately fast-growing species that will reach a total height of 4 to 5 feet when grown as a houseplant. Keep it out of the reach of children or pets, since all parts of the Philodendron brandtianum are toxic to people and animals.

Common Name Silver leaf philodendron, philodendron brandi
Botanical Name Philodendron brandtianum
Family Araceae
Plant Type Vine
Mature Size 15 ft. (outdoors), 4-5 ft. (indoors), 1 ft. wide
Sun Exposure Partial
Soil Type Moist but well-drained
Soil pH Neutral to acidic 
Hardiness Zones 9b-11 (USDA)
Native Area South America
Toxicity Toxic to pets, toxic to people

Philodendron Brandtianum Care

For the best success in growing Philodendron brandtianum, take note of these main care requirements. 

  • Plant in rich, well-draining soil.
  • Pick a spot with bright, indirect light. 
  • Water deeply when the top few inches of soil becomes dry.
  • Fertilize if desired during the spring and summer months.

Light

Philodendron brandtianum grows best with bright, indirect light. Keep in mind that in the plant’s native tropical environment, it receives frequent and abundant sunshine but is protected from direct sun by the canopy of foliage that naturally grows above and around the plant. Mimic these conditions by choosing a sunny spot in the room, but avoid a windowsill with direct sun, which is too harsh for this plant. 

Soil

Well-draining soil is essential for Philodendron brandtianum. If you choose to pot this plant using standard potting soil mix, it may be best to amend the soil using a 3:1 ratio with perlite or coir. In addition, pick a nutrient-rich potting soil mix or add compost to ensure that the soil is rich enough to support the plant’s moderately fast growth rate. The pH level of the soil should hover between neutral and slightly acidic. 

Water

Philodendron brandtianum should be watered deeply and regularly, with the frequency depending on the specific environment. The best approach is to water the plant when the top few inches of soil feel dry; this may be as often as every other day during or as infrequent as once per week. Aside from dry soil, drooping or curling leaves are an indication that the plant needs more moisture. Be sure to avoid watering the leaves, as doing so can lead to fungal growth.

Temperature and Humidity

Like other philodendron species, these plants prefer warm, humid environments. The ideal temperature range for Philodendron brandtianum is between 65 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, although the plant can tolerate temperatures down to about 50 degrees for a short period of time.

When it comes to humidity, these plants do best with humidity levels between 50 and 60 percent. If the humidity in your home is low (like during the winter), you may need to put the plant on a pebble tray filled with water to provide more moisture in the surrounding air. Just keep in mind that root rot is a real threat to these plants, so the bottom of the container should not sit directly in the water of a pebble tray. 

Fertilizer

Philodendron brandi is a moderate-to-fast-growing plant that doesn’t necessarily require fertilizer in most instances. However, keep in mind that houseplants don’t benefit from the same nutrients available in the environment of outdoor plants. To encourage lush growth and leaf development, you can fertilize Philodendron brandtianum with a well-balanced fertilizer for indoor plants. Feed the plant during the spring and summer growing season, and withhold fertilizer during the fall and winter. 

Propagating Philodendron Brandtianum

Philodendron brandtianum is easy to propagate using cuttings. You might choose to do so if your plant is outgrowing its pot or if you’d like to increase the number of philodendrons in your houseplant collection. The best time to propagate this plant is during the warm spring and summer months when the plant is at its peak of health and growth. 

Here’s how to propagate Philodendron brandtianum using cuttings: 

  1. Gather the following tools and materials: Scissors (or pruning shears), a glass jar (for growing cuttings in water), a small plant pot, potting soil mix, and rooting hormone (optional). 
  2. Using the scissors or pruning shears, cut three to six inches of a healthy stem with at least a few leaves from the plant. Ideally, cut the stem at a node—just above another leaf on the plant. Remove any leaves from the bottom half of the cutting. Depending on the size of the parent plant, you can take several cuttings at once to propagate more quickly.
  3. You have two choices for how to grow the cuttings: in water or soil. For growing cuttings in water: Fill the glass jar with water, then place the stems into the jar. The leaves should not be submerged, but any nodes where you removed a leaf should definitely be below the water line. Change the water every few days or if it becomes cloudy. For growing cuttings in soil: Fill the small plant pot with potting soil mix. If desired, dip the cut ends of each stem into rooting hormone and shake loose any excess. Then plant the stems of the cuttings into the soil, with the leaves above the soil line. Water as needed to ensure the soil stays moist but does not become soggy or overly drenched. 
  4. Place the cuttings in a location that receives bright, indirect light and maintains a warm temperature. 
  5. After 3 to 4 weeks, check for root development. For cuttings grown in water, it will be easy to spot the thin, white roots emerging from the stem. When cuttings are planted in soil, very lightly grasp the stem and pull, checking for resistance from newly-formed roots. When evidence of roots exists, transfer the plant to a pot with well-draining soil and water thoroughly. 

Potting and Repotting Philodendron Brandtianum

For a healthy Philodendron brandtianum, you’ll need to repot the plant occasionally. To determine if it’s time to repot your plant, check if any visible roots are poking out from the carnage holes at the bottom of the pot. If so, pick a pot about two inches larger with plenty of drainage holes. 

To repot, gently loosen the soil around all sides of the pot until the plant and its root ball are freed. Fill the new pot with a loose but rich potting mix that is well-draining. Plant your Philodendron brandtianum to the same depth in the soil and then cover the roots with soil. Water thoroughly. 

Common Problems With Philodendron Brandtianum

As a group, philodendrons are known to be easy-to-grow plants. Philodendron brandtianum upholds the easy-keeper reputation but there are a few potential challenges you may face when caring for this houseplant. 

Leaves Turning Yellow

If your silver leaf philodendron is starting to develop yellow leaves, it’s an indicator that something is out of balance in the plant’s environment. Yellow leaves usually signal two possibilities: not enough sunlight or too much water. 

Start by checking the moisture level of the soil. Is it overly damp and soggy? You should also examine the plant’s root system for signs of rot, like mushy, foul-smelling roots that are dark in color rather than whiteish and firm. 

If your plant shows no evidence of overwatering, the problem may be not enough sun exposure. While Philodendron brandtianum shouldn’t receive prolonged direct sunlight, these plants do thrive in bright light conditions. As an example of what constitutes bright, indirect light, look for a room with enough light that you could comfortably read a book without turning on a lamp.  

Browning Tips

Another problem that sometimes develops in Philodendron brandtianum is browning on the tips of the leaves. This signals that the plant is receiving too much sun. As tropical epiphytes, these plants are accustomed to receiving filtered light. Too much direct sun can cause the leaves to turn brown and crispy. 

While there is nothing that can be done to reverse the browning effect, you can take steps to prevent the problem from becoming more widespread. Move your plant to a location with less direct sun. Plenty of light should still fill the room, but be sure that the plant is not sitting on a windowsill or on a table near the window. 

FAQ
  • How fast does Philodendron brandtianum grow?

    Philodendron brandtianum is a moderately fast-growing species that will reach a total height of four to five feet when grown as a houseplant

  • Are Philodendron brandtianum hard to care for?

    Philodendrons are easy-to-grow plants and Philodendron brandtianum is no exception. Philodendron brantianum is easy to care for as long as you provide the right water, light, and humidity conditions.

  • What is the difference between Philodendron brandtianum and brandtianum wild form?

    The main difference between Philodendron brandtianum and brandtianum wild form is their leaf size and variegation—brandtianum wild form has larger, thicker leaves.

  • Where should I put Philodendron brandtianum in my house?

    Since philodendron brandi does best with bright, indirect light, an east-facing window is the best choice for this plant. If that’s not possible, a west-facing or south-facing window may work also, as long as you keep the plant at least several feet away from the window itself.

  • Is Philodendron brandtianum a climbing plant?

    Philodendron brandtianum is a vine and, when given support, it has a climbing growth habit. However, you don't need to provide this plant with a structure to climb. In the absence of a moss pole or other stake, the plant will have a trailing growth habit, with stems and leaves cascading over the edge of the pot it's planted in.

  • Is Philodendron brandtianum rare?

    While philodendrons as a whole are a common houseplant, philodendron brandi plants are rarer and harder to find than other varieties. They are highly prized for their unique silver leaf markings.

Article Sources
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  1. Are philodendrons poisonous. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.