How to Care For Philodendron Brasil

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Philodendron brasil are a great option for houseplant beginners. They’re cheap, easy to care for, a little bit different to something like a Golden Pothos, and they look stunning when cared for properly.

They’ll tolerate a wide variety of conditions, but will only thrive in specific circumstances. This article will give you options for both surviving and thriving.

We’ll start off discussing their light requirements, because in my opinion, if you get the lighting right, everything else is WAY easier. A plant with great lighting can tolerate subpar care. A plant with bad light won’t thrive despite awesome care in every other aspect.

(This is true for 99% of plants).

philodendron brasil

Philodendron brasil light requirements

Philodendron brasil can tolerate a wide range of lighting options. They can manage in lower light levels, and bright light, and even do well in terrariums under artificial light.

Ideally, they want a high volume of light, but aren’t fussed about high light intensity. Long hours of lower light levels are better than a couple of hours of bright light BUT in all honestly, a brasil will most likely manage just fine in either situation.

  • Any window, facing whatever direction, is fine, assuming it isn’t entirely blocked by something outdoors.
  • 14 hours of light is ideal – if it’s bright enough that you can read a book without turning a lamp on, that’s great
  • They can tolerate way less – so don’t worry if you’re only getting seven hours or so in winter – but for optimal growth you need 14 hours.

Direct sunlight

Philodendron brasil don’t particularly crave direct sunlight, but they can tolerate it.

I keep mine in direct sunlight BUT it’s in a north-facing window so the light volume is much lower than if it was in south-facing window.

I could move it to a south-facing window, and it might do marginally better, but the difference wouldn’t be significant.

There’s a point of diminishing returns when it comes to light and heart-leaf Philodendrons. At a certain level, more light won’t make a difference – unlike Monstera deliciosa that would probably grow on the surface of the sun if it wasn’t so freaking hot (jokes, jokes).

In short, if you want your Philodendron brasil to live in direct light, that’s fine BUT if there’s a plant more deserving of that spot, then move your brasil to indirect light.

Low light

Philodendron brasil grow ok in low light.

Now, low light is not the same as no light. It will need some light. Philodendron brasil are vines (they just look bushy because we’re sold multiple plants in one pot) and when they’re not given enough light they grow long, thin vines, with very long spaces between the leaves in an effort to find more light.

This doesn’t look particularly aesthetically pleasing. If your Philodendron brasil has grown long and leggy that’s a sign that it’s not getting enough light.

There is a huge amount of variation between Philodendron brasil specimens when it comes to tolerance to low light levels. You may find that two identical plants grow differently in the same light. This largely comes down to genetic differences and there’s not much you can do about it.

Grow lights

In my experience, heartleaf Philodendron grow well under artificial light. I’ve grown them in tanks under aquarium lighting, under professional grow lights and sustained them in winter under normal LED lights.

They do need to acclimate whenever you dramatically change the lighting, so gradually increase/decrease the light over a couple of weeks to reduce the chances of burning and/or transplant shock.

How do I know if my Philodendron brasil is getting enough light?

The general rule of thumb for beginners is that if you’re worried it’s not getting enough light, it probably isn’t – especially if it isn’t near a window.

I try to avoid looking at the plant itself to tell me what it needs, because one symptom can a have several causes, and they can be contradictory – for example, yellow leaves can mean that your plant isn’t getting enough light, but it can also be caused by bleaching (too much light) and also over or underwatering.

There’s just too much to go wrong.

Ideally I could give you a number. You could buy a light meter, and move the plant around until it’s getting the amount of light I recommend. There are, unfortunately, a few reasons that this doesn’t work.

  1. Lumen light meters are cheap, but lumens measure the light humans can see, not the light plants need to photosynthesize. There are conversion calculations you can do but they’re not really comparable.
  2. PAR meters are pricey.
  3. We don’t know how many PAR Philodendron brasil need. There are too many other factors at play.
philodendron brasil hanging in window

Philodendron brasil humidity requirements

Don’t sweat too much about this unless your humidity is lower than 25%. In which case, you need a humidifier just as much as your plants do.

Philodendron brasil have a very wide tolerance for humidity levels.

Do Philodendron brasil need high humidity?

No, absolutely not. They grow perfectly well in lower humidity levels. However, there are some benefits to providing high humidity for your Philodendron brasil:

  • Leaves will size up quicker
  • New leaves emerge in better condition – fewer imperfections like rips and brown marks
  • Aerial roots grip better in higher humidity
  • Soil stays moist for longer

If you’re looking to grow your Philodendron brasil up a moss pole or support of some kind, providing humidity levels of over 65% can really help move this process forward.

It’s definitely not necessary, but if your approach to plant care is decidedly hands off, then increasing the humidity can really help.

Is too much humidity bad for Philodendron brasil?

No, but they start to get real creepy with their aerial roots. Try growing a heartleaf Philodendron in a terrarium and you’ll understand what I mean.

Do Philodendron brasil like to be misted?

They don’t really care. They have quite thick leaves so you shouldn’t be plagued with brown marks from wet leaves, but it doesn’t benefit them other than knocking off a bit of dust.

Misting is NOT the same as humidity.

Philodendron leaves can sometimes get stuck in the cataphyll, and misting them can help it slide out. Be very very careful when helping new leaves as they’re very delicate. Brasil’s usually manage ok on their own (unlike Philodendron pink princess).

Do Philodendron brasil like being in the bathroom?

Again, they’re not really bothered. If the lighting is ok and it doesn’t get too cold in winter, they’ll be fine. Bathrooms aren’t much more humid than the rest of the house 99% of the time so they’re not inherently better or worse for plants than any other room.

philodendron brasil aerial roots

Philodendron brasil temperature requirements

Again Philodendron brasil will survive a wide range of temperatures, but there’s a big difference between survive and thrive.

Philodendron brasil’s ideal temperature

65-85˚F or 18-30˚C.

This temperature range is ideal for maximum growth. If it’s colder than this, then the plant stops growing and focuses all its energy on essential functions, like the maintenance of existing tissue.

If it gets hotter than this, then the plant closes its stomata to reduce moisture loss from the leaves. When the stomata are closed, the plant can’t photosynthesis.

Philodendron brasil cold tolerance

Heartleaf Philodendron are pretty cold tolerant, and brasil is no exception. They can definitely tolerate temperatures as low as 11˚C/51˚F because my kitchen window occasionally gets that cold in winter and my brasil doesn’t deteriorate at all, though of course it’s too cold for it to grow.

For those of you keeping your brasil outside, bring it in when temperatures look set to fall below 11˚C/51˚F. Though it might survive one mild frost, excessive exposure to low temperatures can cause cells in the leaves to freeze and then burst, permanently rupturing them.

Do Philodendron brasil burn?

Yes, if you leave it in direct sunlight without acclimating it (or it grows too close to the grow lights)the leaves will burn. The affected parts of the leaf won’t recover but the rest of the plant is more than likely to be fine. Even if all the leaves burn, you can cut the stem right back to a couple of nodes and in all likelihood, it’ll grow back quickly.

Acclimate plant by gradually increasing light exposure over a week or two. This stimulates the plant to produce carotenoids, which are, in layman’s terms, plant sunscreen.

Philodendron brasil watering requirements

How often to water Philodendron brasil

There are several factors that influence how often you’ll need to water your Philodendron brasil:

  • Light – more light is more water
  • Temperature – warmer temps means more water
  • Size of the plant – a large plant will use more water
  • Size of the pot – a large pot will retain more water so will need watering less frequently BUT it increases the chance of root rot
  • Humidity levels – high humidity helps the soil stay damp for longer because evaporation rates are lower
  • etc etc

In summer my Philodendron brasil needs watering around once a week. In winter it might go a month between waterings. I check the soil weekly year round, and only water when the soil is dry.

How to tell if your Philodendron brasil needs watering

Water when the soil is dry or nearly dry. Don’t look for signs that the plant is thirsty – if it’s wilting or starting to get brown leaves then it’s severely dehydrated and you’ve waited too long.

Philodendron brasil can 100% recover from underwatering BUT waiting so long between waterings can really slow down growth.

Check the soil is dry all the way through NOT just the top inch. Use a moisture meter, your finger, or a chopstick to tell. You can even slide the plant and soil out of the pot to see if it’s still moist at the bottom.

Check the soil, not the plant.

How much water to give your Philodendron brasil

It honestly doesn’t matter. If you’d prefer to give a little water more often, or really soak your plant less often, that’s up to you. Little and often can be a good way for overwaterers to avoid root rot.

From the plant’s perspective, it would prefer a deep watering, so make sure to thoroughly wet the soil until water is running out fo the drainage holes. Yes, you do need drainage holes.

The best way to water Philodendron brasil

It makes no difference whether you water from the top or the bottom. There are pros and cons to both methods, but makes a negligible difference to the plant.

Philodendron brasil and water quality

Philodendron brasil fertilising requirements

Don’t overthink fertilising houseplants. Make it as easy or as complicated as you like. I feed all my plants with General Hydroponic’s Flora series every other time I water.

Fertilising frequency

It honestly doesn’t really matter. Find a schedule that works for you – it can be as frequently as every time you water (though use something gentle or dilute it a lot) and as infrequent as…never. You can just add worm castings to the top of the soil every year instead of using a water in feed.

The best fertiliser to use

Again, just use whatever you can find. A hydroponic fertiliser is a good option because it contains all the mirconutrients as well as the NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium).

How to fertilise Philodendron brasil

Follow the directions on the bottle when it comes to dosing. If you want to fertilise every time you water, add half the recommended amount of feed to the water. Then water your plants as normal with the nutrient water.

If you’re using worm castings, just a layer about a centimetre/half an inch thick to the top of your soil. It’ll mix it as you water it.

DIY fertilisers

Avoid all of them. Things like banana peels can be very nutritious and great for your plant but you’ll end up with fungus gnats.

Repotting Philodendron brasil

Philodendron brasil are a breeze to repot. They’re not prone to transplant shock and you can usually shift them from pot to pot without them so much as wilting.

When to repot Philodendron brasil

You only need to repot them when their roots have outgrown the pot. Whilst they don’t like to be rootbound, they do like to be snug in the pot, so you only need to repot when you take the plant out of the pot and you can see more root than soil.

You don’t need to repot it when you bring it home. I’m sure there are circumstances when it’s necessary, but usually it does more harm than good (though tbh it’s a bit like posting and leaf shine – both the positive and negative effects are grossly exaggerated and it has actually has little effect on the plant’s health).

The best way to repot Philodendron brasil

I put a layer of soil in the new pot, and sit the old pot on it – when both pots are level you have a deep enough layer on the bottom. Backfill around the old pot, remove it, then take out the plant and put it in the hole left by the pot.

You don’t need to tease the roots or anything – a quick transition is best.

The best soil for Philodendron brasil

It’s up to you. As always underwaterers need something that retains plenty of water, overwateres need something chunkier.

A few options:

  • Terrarium soil/LECA blend. This is my fave. I do a 50:50 mix.
  • Houseplant potting soil. Add perlite/leca to make it chunkier if you’re worried about overwatering
  • Aroid mix (bark, coir, perlite, worm castings 4:4:4:1)

One is not better than the other. I’ve tried all of these (and an amalgamation of all three) and Philodendron brasil genuinely don’t care which soil they’re in.

Philodendron brasil winter care

I’ve found that Philodendron brasil do pretty well over winter, so don’t worry unduly. I move a lot of my plants to the warmer side of the house, put PB staying in my cold, north-facing kitchen window year round and is happy enough.

I do have a few suggestions for winter care though:

  • Temperatures fluctuate, so continue to check soil moisture levels weekly. Sometimes it might be several weeks between waterings, sometimes it might only be a week or two
  • Check for pests frequently. Philodendron brasil aren’t particularly prone to them, but pests thrive when plant are struggling
  • Keep the leaves clean – it maximises light exposure and makes the plant less attractive to pests

How to clean Philodendron brasil

Philodendron brasil can be a bit of a pain to clean, because they have a lot of small leaves. Luckily, their leaves stand up quite straight so dust doesn’t land on them like it doesn’t on plants with flatter leaves.

Cleaning frequency

Ideally we want to be cleaning our plants monthly, if not more BUT I’d be lying if i said i cleaned them anywhere near that frequently.

The bare minimum is twice a year, in autumn and spring, to prepare for winter and the growing season.

Cleaning supplies

  • A microfibre cloth – I like the makeup removing ones
  • Cleaning solution in a spray bottle – water is fine, but a bit of neem oil and/or castile soap can help put off pests

Simply spray down the leaves then wipe them off.

If you’re using oil in your cleaner, make sure the leaves are dry before putting it in direct sunlight. The oil can make it burn.

Showering Philodendron brasil

Showering is a great way to clean heartleaf philodendrons. I only do it in summer, because excessively wet leaves in winter can cause bacterial infections (lack of air flow plus cold temps are a recipe for disaster).

Plants aren’t too fussed about being showered, because they need to close their stomata and it therefore interrupts photosynthesis. It is, however, by far the easiest way to clean the leaves, so I think it’s beneficial a couple of times a year.

In summary

Philodendron brasil are great plants.They’re very forgiving when it comes to things like overwatering and low light levels, but once you get to grips with their care, they grow big and lush quickly. There’s also a lot of variations in their markings, and no two look alike.

They’re also super easy to propagate (though that needs its own article) and a great project for newbies.

Caroline Cocker

Caroline is the founder and writer (and plant keeper) of Planet Houseplant

3 thoughts on “How to Care For Philodendron Brasil”

  1. Your guides are very helpful, another question..why my Brazil pothos leaves have some brown scratches?

  2. Brown lines are usually caused by physical damage – for example something’s (probs another leaf) brushed up against it before it hardened off. It’s rarely anything to worry about, but you also can’t reverse the damage.

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