How to Grow and Care for Philodendron Silver Sword

A small Philodendron silver sword in a white pot on a black table.

The Spruce / Cori Sears

The Philodendron silver sword (Philodendron hastatum ‘Silver Sword’) is a gorgeous climbing Philodendron that is beloved for its pale, silvery green color and arrow-shaped leaves. As it matures, its leaves become increasingly elongated and tri-lobed. Paired with its climbing growth habit, this impressive foliage adds an instant tropical feel to any room. While it is native to rainforests across South America, this Philodendron has become popular as a houseplant. Before adding one to your home, pet owners and parents of young children should be aware that like all Philodendrons, the Philodendron silver sword is considered toxic to pets and humans if ingested.

Common Name  Philodendron silver sword 
Botanical Name  Philodendron hastatum ‘Silver Sword’ 
Family  Araceae 
Plant Type  Perennial 
Mature Size  10-15 ft. tall (indoors), 20-30 ft. tall (outdoors) 
Sun Exposure  Partial 
Soil Type  Moist but well-drained 
Soil pH  Acidic 
Bloom Time  Spring, summer 
Flower Color  Green, white 
Hardiness Zones  9-11, USDA 
Native Area  South America 
Toxicity  Toxic to pets, toxic to people 

Philodendron Silver Sword Care

In its natural habitat, the Philodendron silver sword grows up trees and other vines in the understory of South America’s tropical rainforests. Consequently, it enjoys warm temperatures, filtered light, and consistent moisture. Since it has a climbing growth habit, it will also appreciate being given a moss pole or trellis to climb up as it matures. Don’t let these care requirements scare you off though—this plant is actually pretty easy to care for indoors. 

Close up shot of a new Philodendron silver sword leaf emerging.

The Spruce / Cori Sears

Close up of a Philodendron silver sword leaf on a small plant.

The Spruce / Cori Sears


This Philodendron thrives with plenty of bright, indirect light. Choose a spot directly next to a sunny window, but avoid prolonged exposure to harsh, direct sunlight if possible. At the same time, be aware that a lack of light will result in lackluster-looking leaves and leggy, stunted growth.


As an aroid, the Philodendron silver sword needs an airy soil mix that retains some moisture but drains well. You can find soil mixes designed for aroids online or at specialty plant shops, or you can easily make your own. Combine equal parts indoor potting soil, perlite, and orchid bark mix for a chunky, rich soil mix that your Philodendron silver sword will love.


It’s important to keep these plants watered well, especially during the spring and summer. The soil should stay evenly moist, but not soggy. To prevent overwatering, allow the top inch of soil to dry slightly between waterings and then water well. Always allow the excess water to drain from the pot’s drainage holes to avoid drowning the roots and causing root rot.

Temperature and Humidity

Native to rainforest conditions, these Philodendrons appreciate warm temperatures and medium to high humidity. Standard household temperatures are usually ideal, just ensure you don’t expose your plant to any extreme fluctuations or temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (or 15 degrees Celsius) for an extended period of time. While the Philodendron silver sword can grow in average household humidity levels too, they tend to run on the dry side for this plant. If you really want to encourage lush, healthy growth, increasing the humidity around your plant is a great way to do so. Try grouping it with other houseplants, placing it on a pebble tray filled with water, or putting it near a humidifier to provide it with humidity it will love.


During the active growing period, the Philodendron silver sword benefits from regular fertilization and a soil mix rich with organic materials. During the spring and summer, apply a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strength once every two to four weeks during watering. Stop fertilizing in the fall and winter when the plant enters dormancy.

Propagating Philodendron Silver Sword

Like most Philodendrons, the Philodendron silver sword is most easily propagated by stem cuttings. Propagating is a great way to grow new plants to share with friends or fill out an existing plant with more stems. Compared to some houseplants, this Philodendron is relatively simple to propagate and you should begin to see results within just a couple of weeks. Here’s how to propagate the Philodendron silver sword in a few simple steps. 

  1. Using a pair of pruning shears or scissors, take one or more stem cuttings from a healthy and mature Philodendron silver sword. Each cutting should have at least one node along the stem, with between two to four being the ideal amount. Single-node cuttings tend to be riskier and have a greater failure rate than cuttings with multiple nodes.
  2. Remove the bottom one to two leaves from each cutting, ensuring there is at least one leaf left on the cutting (unless it's a single node cutting, in which case it should have no leaves).
  3. Fill a small glass jar or container with room temperature water and place the cuttings in the water, ensuring the bottom nodes are submerged while the remaining leaves sit above the surface.
  4. Place the cuttings in a warm location that receives medium to bright indirect light. Refresh the water once every one to two weeks. You should see new roots starting to grow within two to three weeks. Once the roots are at least an inch long, the cuttings can be planted in soil. 
  5. Fill a small plastic or terracotta pot with a chunky, well-draining soil mix and plant the freshly rooted cuttings. Water well. 
  6. Return the newly potted cuttings to a warm, bright location. For the first one to two weeks, ensure that you keep the soil evenly moist without letting it dry out at all to help the roots acclimate from water to soil. Then, you can slowly begin to resume a regular watering schedule.

Potting and Repotting Philodendron Silver Sword

This Philodendron should be repotted once every one to two years, or whenever it outgrows its previous potting container. Roots growing from the pot’s drainage holes or circling the inside of the pot are both indications that a plant is ready to be repotted. Ideally, repotting should be done during the active growing period (i.e. the spring and summer months) but it can technically be done at any time of the year if needed.

Common Pests and Plant Diseases

The Philodendron silver sword is susceptible to a few common pests and diseases that you should be aware of. Keep an eye out for houseplant pests like mealybugs, scale, thrips, and fungus gnats. Treat an affected plant with neem oil or an insecticide at the first sign of an infestation to prevent as much damage as possible. 

Like many Philodendrons, the silver sword can easily develop bacterial leaf spot diseases. These present as small, brown, or rust-colored dots on the leaves of the plant that are persistent and difficult to get rid of. Fungal diseases also spread easily so be sure to isolate an affected plant from your other houseplants as soon as possible. Treat bacterial leaf spot infections with a fungicidal spray.

Common Problems With Philodendron Silver Sword

For the most part, the Philodendron silver sword is pretty easy to care for. However, as a tropical plant, it does require certain conditions in order to grow well. If those conditions aren’t met your plant may experience the following common problems.

Yellow Leaves

There are a few different things that can cause yellow leaves on a Philodendron silver sword. Sometimes. A lack of light, underwatering, overwatering, pests, or even too much light can all cause yellow leaves. The only way to know for sure what is causing your plant’s leaves to yellow is to closely examine its growing environment. Keep in mind that it’s normal for older leaves to turn yellow and die off over time, so if your plant only has one or two yellow leaves every once and a while you probably don’t have anything to worry about.

Brown Spots

Brown spots on a Philodendron silver sword are usually a result of fungal infections, a lack of humidity, or leaf burn. If the spots are small and present on more than one leaf, a fungal leaf spot disease is likely the culprit. If you are seeing large, dry brown spots that are crispy, leaf burn or overly dry conditions are likely to blame. Ensure you keep your plant away from drafty air vents which can dry out the air, and don’t allow it to sit in direct sunlight to prevent leaf burn.

  • How do you make a Philodendron silver sword bushy?

    These Philodendrons have a climbing growth habit, so they won’t naturally grow bushy. If you want to make your plant look bushier, you will need to prune back its vines in order to encourage fuller growth.

  • Is Philodendron silver sword fast-growing?

    Philodendron silver swords are considered medium to fast growers, especially if they get the amount of light that they need.

  • Is Philodendron silver sword rare?

    The Philodendron silver sword is considered relatively rare, especially compared to more popular varieties like the heartleaf Philodendron. However, as it becomes more well-known it is being sold more often in nurseries and plant shops.

Article Sources
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  1. Steil, A. (no date) Are philodendrons poisonous?, Horticulture and Home Pest News. Iowa State University. Available at: (Accessed: January 18, 2023).