How to Care For Philodendron Brasil

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Philodendron brasil is a great beginner plant. They’re easy to take of, pretty cheap, look incredible, and there are a few advanced tips that can take your p. brasil from ‘hmm, nice’ to ‘WOW’ that you can try once you’ve got the basics taken care of.

Here’s mine:

What is a Philodendron brasil?

It’s a heartleaf philodendron with a yellow stripe down the leaf. Here is a stock image of one because the light on mine is terrible:

You can also pay a frankly astonishing amount of money to have exactly the same plant but see the yellow bit? Yeah? Have that bit be white. Not even white, more like cream. If that sounds like your jam, look out for Philodendron cream splash.

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How often should I water my Philodendron brasil?

Like a lot of heartleaf Philodendrons, you can let these guys seriously dry out and they won’t be that fussed. My regular green heartleaf philo lives on top of my kitchen cabinets and gets watered very rarely and she’s fine.

HOWEVER

That is not a good way to get a plant to grow big and full and beautiful. If you’re using a moisture metre, let the plant dry out to the 2/3 three level before watering. If you’re using your finger, water when the soil is pretty dry, but not powerdery/bone dry.

I like to bottom water my philodendrons, but top watering is fine too. Try to avoid wetting the leaves as it can cause fungus, but don’t worry about that too much – they’re honestly not that fussed.

I’ve never had an issue using tap water on heartleaf philodendrons, but they’ve been in cultivation for so long they’re probably used to it. For this reason, I’d add dechlorinator to any newer* cultivars like the cream splash.

Using fancy water on fancy plants is a pretty good of thumb anyhow.

*Honestly, I have no idea how long cream splash has been around. It could be hundreds of years. But if I think it’s new, and it was expensive, I crack out the fancy water.

I like to use room temperature water on all my plants (and I’ve recently started using tepid water in winter as a little treat for them, because I’m wild like that) but if I only had cold water (i.e. if i were in a rush) your Philodendron brasil will probably be ok with it. They’re pretty chill.

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Do Philodendron brasil like to be misted?

I wouldn’t recommend misting plants with big leaves like Phildoendron brasil because I already mentioned, they can end up with fungal infections.

I have a whole article here explaining why misting shouldn’t be as big of a thing as it is. Honestly, when Monty Don was doing it on Gardener’s World I was aghast. Get yourself a humidifier, Monty!

Ideally, they would like a humidity level of around 60%, so perhaps provide a humidifier (I like this one) if you have suuuuper dry air, but anything above 30% should be enough to keep a Phildeodnron brasil alive.

My Philodendron brasil LOVED living in my bathroom, specifically on the sink. For reasons best known to myself, I can tell you that they don’t mind being accidentally sprayed with toothpaste (I have an electric toothbrush. They cause spatter).

Actually it was the move into my office that set it on it’s no-leaves-only-roots journey. No idea why, the light in there is technically better and it’s warmer too.

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Do Philodendron brasil need sunlight?

Yes, all plants need sunlight.

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How do you keep a Philodendron brasil yellow?

The yellow marks on a Philodendron brasil are variegation and the key to keeping variegation going string is to increase the light as much as you can without damaging the plant. Gradually increase the light over a few weeks to reduce the chance of burning.

THAT BEING SAID

Phildendron brasil rarely stay uniform in their variegation.

It’s extremely common for them to have a couple of non-variegated vines. They may have an all green vine and an all neon vine.

If you don’t like the way that looks, you can cut back the vines, but they’ll keep regrowing. There’s nothing wrong with the plant, it’s just doing its thing.

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Is Philodendron brasil a pothos?

No.

There are a few key differences:

  • Pothos leaves are more elongated, rather than heart shaped
  • Pothos have thicker aerial roots, and only usually one per node. Philodendrons have multiple aerial roots, but they’re very thin and dry up if they’re not, er, used
  • Philodendron don’t shed their cataphylls, so you can see little brown sheathes on the stem

There’s more, and I intended to lin kto an article I wrote about this, only to discover I actually haven’t written it yet. I’m quite surprised, I was SURE I’d written it.

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Can Philodendron brasil climb?

Yes, but their aerial roots have a pretty short shelf life – if they don’t find something to attach to they’ll wither and drop off pretty quickly.

If you lean it against a wall or plank of wood, it’ll eventually attach to that and climb up it. You can convince them to attach to moss poles, but it’s not easy, as the aerial roots are pretty small and flimsy.

If you do want to grow your Philodendron up a pole to get bigger leaves, I’d go for something like this, rather than a traditional coir pole:

They’re WAY easier to keep moist, which is what you’ll need if you want your brasil to attach itself.

Here are some pretty much brand new aerial roots in a medium-humidity room (around 60%):

If you’re really interested in growing out the aerial roots and growing it up a moss pole, you’ll need humidity.

And lots of it.

I have an article here on why loads of house plants need humidity, and the impact humidity can have on plants, but my Philodendron brasil, fresh from the nursery, has all the stages that they go through.

The picture above shows what the aerial roots look like on new growth. They’re prepared to grow and latch onto a nearby tree (alas, hard to come by in my spare room). BUT in the next few weeks they’ll probs turn into this:

philodendron brasil dried up aerial root

These aerial roots are, er, dead. There’s nothing wrong with the plant itself – it’s growing fine. The aerial roots didn’t find anything to climb up, or enough humidity that they’d attach to ANYTHING, so the plant decided that they weren’t worth sending energy to (dramatic much?).

Don’t worry if any of your heartleaf philodendrons do this – it’s just what they do.

HOWEVER

One of the nodes on my Philodendron brasil looks like this:

philodendron brasil fuzzy aerial root

You can see from the colour that this aerial root is on its way out. Live ones are white and fuzzy, like these ones from my regular green heartleaf philodendron:

heartleaf philodendron aerial roots

This is in my terrarium and it USES its aerial roots. Clearly, it’s trying to get out.

To achieve this yourself you’ll need, like 80% humidity or higher. I wouldn’t recommend a humidifier for that unless you have a tiny room. A terrarium or clear plastic box with some damp coir on the bottom is a better bet.

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How do I make my Philodendron brasil fuller?

If you keep cutting your Philodendron back you can encourage it to branch out and look fuller.

You need to make sure that you’re providing enough light, humidity, and water to sustain multiple growth points at once, otherwise it’ll only grow one leaf at a time and you’ll end up with one long vine.

If you do have one long vine, you can pin the vine into the soil so nodes are touching the surface.

Keep the top of the soil moist and some of the nodes will root.

This is a simple way to get several vines growing at once without buying multiple plants. You can also take several cuttings and plant them all together. A lot of plant stores sell them like that – here’s mine:

There’s literally a dozen growth points on it. We love.

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How do you get big leaves on aPhilodendron brasil?

Big leaves come with time and a lot of light.

It’s also worth noting that plants that trail down (rather than grown up a plant support) tend to get small leaves over time, as the newer leaves are probably getting less light than the ones at the top.

Plants that are grown up a support, grow bigger mature leaves – I’m not sure of the science here, but as they climb trees in the wild, they grow bigger, mature leaves. My heartleaf philodendron climbed up the back of the terrarium and the leaves at the top are more than twice the size of the ones that are trailing and it’s literally two inches off the bottom.

Here’s photo comparing the two and they grow literally two inches apart – the only difference is that one has started to climb:

For reference, the aglaonema that’s in the bottom right of the picture on the right, is between my fingers in the upper right of the picture on the left.

As I mentioned before, hollow moss poles filled with moss (rather than coir ones) are easier to convince plants to climb up. I bought mine from Amazon.

I love these particular ones because as the plant grows bigger, you can just add more moss pole sections, rather than having to swap it out for a whole new one.

It’s extremely difficult to grow big, mature leaves indoors without effective grow lights, so your best bet might be putting your plant outdoors in the summer (as always, make sure you acclimatise it properly).

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DoPhilodendron brasil flower?

They do in the wild, but are very unlikely to do so in, er, captivity. There’s just not enough light indoors to stimulate the plant to go to seed.

Philodendron flowers are your typical spathe and spadix affair (similar in construct to a peace lily flower) so you’re not missing out on spectacular blooms or anything. With Philodendrons, I definitely think the beauty is in the foliage.

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How to propagatePhilodendron brasil

I’ve already mentioned pining the vines into soil – that way works well if you’ve had, for example, a pest orburning nightmare and all the leaves have dropped off. Just lay the vine on the soil and pin it down if the dnodes aren’t in contact.

Water thoroughly when the soil is dry, but keep the top of the soil moist using a spray bottle (so you might spray every couple of days, but only water the whole thing every other week).

i don’t have a Philodendron brasil example to show you of this method, but here’s a golden pothos I did earlier:

golden pothos propagating multiple nodes at once

Please excuse my hand, but I’m trying to show all four nodes. As you can see, they’ve done better on one side, and that’s just down to the light. It’s next to my Aerogarden, which is great for stimulating the nodes to grow, but unfortunately, as you can see, burns the leaves.

I’m not too fussed about the burn marks, tbh, as the new leaves grow, they’ll become more accumstomed to the light.

You can also take cuttings and propagate them in water (full article on that here), in leca, in the aerogarden, or in soil.

In my experience Philodendron brasil propapagate pretty easily.

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Are philodendron brasil expensive?

The regular ones are pretty cheap. I got mine for £16.99 and it’s a really nice size.

Here are some links to Etsy shops in the US that sell them at reasonable prices (if you’re in the UK a lot of big garden centres sell them, ranging from a tenner to £50 depending on the size).

Expect to pay at lease twice that for a Cream Splash. If it’s super cheap, you’ll probably just be getting a regular brasil.

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Why is myPhilodendron brasil drooping?

In my experience, Philodendron brasil aren’t a particularly droopy plant. If yours is doing so, it’s probably thirsty.

Give it a good soak (preferably bottom water to make sure the water is getting to the roots, not just running through the soil) to ensure that any hydrophobic soil, er, stops being hydrophobic.

If you’re pretty sure watering isn’t the issue it’s probably a temperature thing. Check that your Philodendron brasil isn’t too cold (or too hot) and if it is, move it to a better spot.

The reason I moved mine out of the bathroom is that it’s just too cold in winter. Lovely and cool in summer but waaaay too cold in winter.

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Best soil and pot forPhilodendron brasil

Philodendrons grow well in a well-draining soil, so even if you buy your soil in, add some perlite and//or orchid bark to encourage water to drain out quickly. I use a homemade mix of coir, perlite, bark, charcoal, and worm castings, and they really seem to like it.

As an underwaterer, I would discourage other underwaterers to use terracotta pots. My Pothos love terracotta, and so do my peperomia, but my heartleaf philodendrons aren’t fans at all. For some reason it really encourages them to just grow roots, not leaves.

I also find that whilst terracotta is great for allowing soil to dry out pretty quickly, it doesn’t so in a pretty uneven manner. I have no idea why – it could be the way the soil mix is settling in the pot.

Either way, I’d definitely stick with a nursery pot for as long as possible, and just switch to a bigger plastic pot as needed.

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Do you need to fertilisePhilodendron brasil?

Heartleaf philodendrons don’t seem to be particularly hungry plants, so you can get away with not fertilising them. However, half strength house plant fertiliser every six weeks can really help shoot out new, larger growth and give the plant a bit of extra energy.

Can you grow Philodendron brasil in leca?

I haven’t tried, but I’m going to when I replace the one that just died. I do have a Philodendro hastatum and a pothos in leca though, so I can’t imagine it wouldn’t do well.

Final thoughts

Philodendron brasil are a great gift to give. I usually stick with gifting scindapsus pictus because they’re happy in medium light and curl their leaves when they’re thirsty, but P. brasil is also a great option.

They’re pretty beginner-friendly but also a bit fancier than a regular green heartleaf philodendron.

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