How to Grow Philodendron Brasil

Close up shot of a philodendron Brasil leaf with the plant in a striped pot on a wood shelf.

 tbgrant / Getty Images

In This Article

The philodendron Brasil is a cultivator of the popular heartleaf philodendron and is just as easy to care for. Characterized by dark green, heart-shaped leaves with splashes of variegation in shades of lime green, the Philodendron hederaceum 'Brasil' gained its common name due to its resemblance to the Brazilian flag.

As a cultivator of the heartleaf philodendron, philodendron Brasil are considered mildly toxic to pets and humans.

Botanical Name Philodendron hederaceum ‘Brasil’
Common Name  Philodendron Brasil, variegated heart leaf philodendron 
Family  Araceae 
Plant Type  Perennial, vine 
Mature Size  6-36 in. tall, 12-36 in. wide
Sun Exposure  Partial 
Soil Type  Loamy, moist but well-drained 
Soil pH  Acidic 
Bloom Time  Spring, summer 
Flower Color  Green, white 
Hardiness Zones  11a, 11b, 12a, 12b 
Native Area  South America
Philodendron Brasil leaves close up showing shades of green variegation.
 Firn / Getty Images

Philodendron Brasil Care

Native to tropical rainforests of South America, this gorgeous vining plant is surprisingly low-maintenance and easy to grow indoors. Provide it with bright light, regular watering, and well-draining conditions and it will thrive. While philodendron Brasil flower, they are primarily grown for their brilliant foliage as their blooms are rather insignificant and rare when grown indoors. However, if you notice a green and white spathe growing from your plant, congratulations—your Brasil is blooming!

While philodendron Brasil are not prone to any particular pests or diseases, keep an eye out for some common houseplant pests such as mealybugs, scale, spider mites, and fungus gnats. Regularly inspecting your plants for pests; proactive treatment is the key to preventing infestations.

Light

Philodendron Brasil can survive in a range of lighting conditions but will show its variegation best in bright, indirect light. Low-light conditions will cause the variegation to begin reverting and may result in leggy growth. You should also avoid exposing your philodendron Brasil to prolonged periods of direct sunlight as this can burn the leaves.

Soil

A loamy, well-draining soil mix that is slightly acidic is ideal for this tropical aroid. While philodendron Brasil can survive in a standard indoor potting mix, it will thrive in a mix that is designed for aroids. Try mixing together 1 part potting soil, 1 part perlite, and 1 part orchid bark for a well-draining mixture that your philodendron Brasil will love.

Water

Allow the top 2-3 inches of soil to dry out between waterings and then water well. Philodendron Brasil are sensitive to overwatering and should never be left in soggy soil for extended periods of time. 

Temperature and Humidity

Native to the tropical rainforests of South America, philodendron Brasil grow best in warm, humid conditions. That being said, they do well growing indoors in typical household temperature and humidity levels, although providing your Brasil with extra humidity will encourage larger and more vigorous growth. These philodendrons are not cold tolerant and should never be left in temperatures below 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fertilizer

During the growing season philodendron Brasil benefit from regular applications of a balanced liquid fertilizer, although they will continue to grow well without fertilizer as well. Apply the fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer months, and stop fertilizing altogether in the fall and winter as the plant enters dormancy.

Pruning

Under the right conditions, philodendron Brasil are fast-growers and may require some pruning in order to keep their size manageable indoors. Pruning also helps to encourage fuller growth and larger leaves. Pruning should be done in the spring or early summer while your philodendron Brasil is actively growing. 

Using a pair of clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears prune any stems that are particularly long or unruly, or have started to grow small leaves. Set the stem cuttings aside—you can use them for propagation.

Propagating Philodendron Brasil

As with many plants in the philodendron genus, philodendron Brasil can be propagated by stem cuttings. Propagating is a great way to start new plants, or create a fuller plant by rooting the cuttings and then planting them back in the original pot. Here is how you can stem propagate your philodendron Brasil in just a few easy steps:

  1. Take 4-5 inch stem cuttings from your philodendron Brasil using a pair of sharp scissors or pruning shears. Ensure that each cutting has at least 4-6 leaves on the stem.
  2. Remove the bottom 2-3 leaves from each stem cutting to expose the nodes along the stem - leaving 2-3 leaves on each cutting. 
  3. Place the cuttings in water, ensuring that the exposed nodes are submerged while the leaves remain above the water, and put the cuttings in an area that receives bright, indirect light. 
  4. Within 2-4 weeks you should begin to see small white roots sprouting from the nodes below the water. Once the roots have reached 1 inch in length, the cuttings can be moved back to soil. 
  5. Plant the newly rooted cuttings in a container full of moist, well-draining soil mix and return them to the same location they have been growing in for the past several weeks. 
  6. For the first 2-3 weeks after planting, keep the soil regularly moist (but not soggy) to help the newly sprouted roots acclimate to the soil.

Common Problems With Philodendron Brasil

Philodendron Brasil are low-maintenance plants that are generally problem-free when grown under the right conditions. However, you may notice some of these common problems if something is off with your watering schedule or lighting conditions.

Curling Leaves

Curling leaves are an indication that your plant is not receiving enough water. Ensure that you are watering once the top couple inches of soil have dried out, and avoid letting your plant sit in fully dry soil for too long. Sometimes, if you forgot to water your plant for an extended period of time, the roots of your plant may have dried up meaning it can’t absorb water even when it is watered now. If this is the case, you will need to regrow the roots in order to save your plant, which can be done by following the stem cuttings propagation steps.

Browning Tips

Browning leaf tips can be a result of a couple of different things. Usually, it’s a result of your philodendron being exposed to overly dry conditions. Ensure that you don’t have an air vent blowing directly on the leaves, and consider providing your plant with extra humidity using a pebble tray or humidifier. Browning tips can also be a result of too much direct sunlight which has resulted in burnt leaves. Lastly, browning leaves can be a result of a lack of watering. Ensure that you don’t allow your Brasil to dry out too much between waterings.

FAQ
  • Why is my philodendron Brasil losing its variegation?

    Loss of variegation is due to a lack of light. In low light conditions the philodendron Brasil will begin to revert back to a standard heartleaf philodendron. Ensure that you move your plant to a brighter location, and cut off the pieces of the plant that have reverted in order to promote new variegated growth.

  • Should I cut off damaged philodendron leaves?

    Once the leaves of your philodendron Brasil are damaged (yellowed, browning tips, or physical damage, like a tear) unfortunately there is no way to reverse the damage; these leaves can be removed from the plant. Regularly removing dead or damaged leaves helps your plant focus its energy on its healthy leaves and new growth.

  • Why is my philodendron Brasil dripping water from its leaves?

    Don’t worry, your philodendron isn’t crying! Water droplets hanging from the leaves are just an indication that your plant has more water than it needs in order to stay healthy. This is a great early warning to cut back slightly on your watering —you don’t want your plant to suffer from root rot!

Article Sources
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  1. University of California Agriculture, and Natural Resources. “Toxic Plants (by Common Name).” Ucanr.edu. N.p., n.d. Web.

  2. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “Heartleaf Philodendron.” Aspca.org. N.p., n.d. Web.