If you want a quick-growing and low-maintenance plant that brings out the tropical and exotic vibe in your home, you’ll love the Philodendron Burle Marx.
This plant is a low-growing tropical shrub named after Roberto Burle Marx, the first-ever architect who used a native plant in modern designs. This is a popular plant not only for its attractiveness but also for its ease of growth—even beginners can grow it.
Read on as we show you what you need to know about this amazing Burle Marx plant.
What is a Philodendron Burle Marx?
The Philodendron Burle Marx comes from the Araceae family, a low-growing shrub with heart-shaped and narrow leaves. Like other philodendron plants, it has glossy, dark green burle marx philodendron leaves filled with texture, donning the jungle-like and exotic foliage. It’s the rich texture that helps the plant adapt well to various environments!
Furthermore, its stem has a fun-looking, red color, adding to its exciting and tropical vibe. This climbing indoor plant can be pointed anywhere to grow in different areas however you prefer. For a more aesthetic look, you may also plant this in a hanging basket, then direct the stems that suit your home.
It also grows and spreads very quickly in the optimum growing environment, so if you’re not the patient gardener, you can enjoy a full-grown plant in no time. Just like other philodendrons, they have been very popular houseplants since the Victorian era.
Their ease of growth and propagation, along with their attractive beauty, are what make the philodendron such a popular plant to grow. Besides these, they are also known to help remove toxins from the air.
However, note that the plant contains high amounts of calcium oxalate crystals, which can negatively affect our body and immune system. Be sure to keep it out of reach from children and pets, and do NOT ingest any parts of this plant.
If you are looking for something a bit smaller to grow, then you’ll like this Philodendron Burle Marx. Some philodendrons can grow to over 6 feet tall, while this variety is small with a maximum height of 2 feet and maximum width of 2-4 feet.
Philodendron Burle Marx Care
Now that you are more familiar with the Burle Marx Philodendron plant, the next step is learning how to care for it.
While it doesn’t require too much maintenance, it still has individual needs and a preferred growing environment.
Its needs are similar to philodendrons, so follow these tips below:
– Light Requirements
When it comes to light, this plant requires bright and indirect light for it to thrive properly. While it can live in low light, it won’t grow as well as you would expect it to.
However, if your plant gets direct sunlight, it will burn your plant’s leaves as the light burns right through them. It will result in black scorch marks on your plant’s leaves or at least discolor them, turning yellow.
To give your plant indirect light, set it in an area where there is an east or north-facing window. This allows your plant to receive bright light that doesn’t sit under the sun.
– Water Requirements
Watering your Philodendron Burle Marx is similar to watering other philodendrons. The goal is to maintain its soil’s moisture and find the proper balance. You wouldn’t want to drench its soil, but you also shouldn’t dry it out.
If you overwater your plant, it will be at risk of various diseases, including root rot and other plant damage. If you see that you were overwatering your plant, you should take the plant out to see the root damage. If only small parts of the roots are in danger, prune the affected parts with a sterilized pruning tool. Unfortunately, if most parts of the root are in danger, there isn’t much that can be done to save it.
There are different watering requirements throughout the differing seasons. During the spring and summer, water it regularly (usually once a week or so) to maintain its moisture. However, when winter comes, you can allow the soil to dry out before watering your plant.
– Soil Requirements
This plant requires well-draining soil to ensure that excess water will drain from its pot. This will prevent extra moisture from building up in its soil. If there is a lot of water in the soil, it will block oxygen from getting through the roots, causing root rot.
Root rot is a serious condition that occurs when your plant’s roots begin to rot away. The roots will become brown or black, getting a rotting and/or mildew smell. When it spreads before you can stop it, this kills your plant. This is why you should prevent this from happening by using quality soil.
While this plant won’t need organic soil, it does love organic materials. You can use sphagnum peat moss as soil, which has optimum aeration, so excess water doesn’t stay if you overwater. Furthermore, the peat moss will hold on to the water for the plant.
Another option is peat-perlite, which works just as well as peat moss. Do NOT use clay or clay-like materials, as they won’t hold the necessary amount of water for your plant.
Besides this, the soil pH levels should be between 5.6 to 6.5, which is either mildly acidic or acidic.
– Temperature and Humidity
When talking about the optimum temperatures for this plant, the Philodendron Burle Marx prefers room temperatures between 60 to 75 degrees F. They can also tolerate lower temperature conditions than other houseplants. However, do not let it drop below 50 degrees F, nor should you let it be exposed to frost, or your plant will stop growing.
In terms of humidity, the Philodendron Burle Marx loves higher levels of humidity. While the plant can survive in environments with lower humidity levels, it won’t grow as well as you’d like it to. If they are in areas with completely dry air, they cannot live or grow at all.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to maintain proper moisture in the air to copy the tropical climates the plant would thrive in, such as the following:
- Use a humidifier for better humidity levels in the area your plant is in. This may be a bit expensive though.
- Mist your leaves with a spray bottle. When the water evaporates, it will create moisture around your plant. However, it’s difficult to control the humidity level unless you can measure it accurately with other tools.
- Use a pebble tray to increase humidity levels in the room, which is a favored and affordable method. Simply fill a tray with pebbles and pour water in it, ensuring that the water level is almost at the top but not overtaking the stones. Place your plant on top of the tray so evaporating air will go directly to the plant.
When fertilizing your plant, use a slow-release fertilizer or an all-purpose fertilizer that should be used at half-strength. Regardless of the kind of fertilizer used, you’d like a fertilizer higher in nitrogen, which allows the leaves to glow and grow.
Fertilize the plant once a week during its growing season. Note that these plants are heavy feeders because it’s a fast-growing plant. However, when the colder months come in, you’ll only have to fertilize your Philodendron Burle Marx once a month or you can cease fertilizing until the growing season returns.
Before fertilizing, water your plant, as the soil needs to be moist. If you fertilize your plant while the soil is dry, it can damage its roots.
This plant can live without fertilizer, though it’s best to give it the right type of fertilizer if you want it to reach its full potential. Not feeding your plant would only slow down its growth, but it won’t cause any damage or increase its risk of fatal diseases.
– Potting and Repotting
You know it would be time to repot your plant when its roots begin compacting, becoming a ball. If this happens, there isn’t enough room for the plant’s roots to stretch and grow further. Furthermore, it’s best to re-pot your plant before the growing season begins (early spring or later winter) before new growth occurs.
When repotting this plant, the new pot should only be 2-3 inches bigger than the current one it’s in.
Philodendron Burle Marx Propagation
– Stem Cuttings
Follow these steps when doing this method:
- Before cutting, you should be aware of what the optimum stem cutting is for your Philodendron Burle Marx. This should be around 2-4 inches long and cut right below its leaf node. Sterilize your pruning shears with isopropyl alcohol before you collect your stem cutting.
- Once you get your stem cutting, you need to cure it. Have it sit in a warm room for 7-10 days. During this period, you’ll see that one of the cutting’s ends will callous over. The calloused end is a sign that there is a higher chance that the cutting will root once planted.
- While your cutting is curing, you can get the pot and soil ready. We recommend that you use sphagnum peat moss for soil and a pot that has drainage holes.
- After the curing period is over, plant the stem cutting. You can use your finger, make a hole a few inches deep, and then place the stem cutting in that hole, packing soil around. If the stem cutting doesn’t stand upright, you can tie it to a straw for support. Place the pot in an east or north-facing window, watering and fertilizing it as you would with its mother plant.
- After a month or two, you will see that the stem cutting is rooting.
– Air Layering
When you are following the air layering process, follow these steps:
- The first thing you should do is to wound your mother plant using a sharp, sterilized knif (sterilize it using isopropyl alcohol). Once ready, cut a wound to the plant’s stem, which should be 2 inches long and 2 inches deep.
- After cutting, take a toothpick, push it through the plant’s wound and position it to keep it from closing. The wound should be accessible and open.
- Get a handful of sphagnum peat moss, moistening it a bit. Then, rub the peat moss around the stem and wound. The moistened peat moss will stick easier.
- Get a string, tying it around the peat moss and stem so it holds the wound. If the peat moss is already sticking to the wound, skip this step.
- Wrap plastic wrap around the plant’s stem and wound. Wrap tightly, but still, keep it loose enough for oxygen to come in. If the wrap doesn’t stick on its own, use duct tape.
- As you wait for the roots to grow, prepare your plant pot and soil. Use well-draining soil and a pot that has drainage holes.
- In 3 weeks or so, you’ll see roots growing from the wound and peat moss. When roots are 3 inches long, remove the plant from its mother plant, cutting above and below the peat moss.
- Now, remove the plastic wrap very carefully so as not to injure your new plant’s roots. You can now plant the new Philodendron Burle Marx. Make sure that the roots are under the soil for it to expand well.
- While your new plant may not look like the mother plant yet, you should care for it like it is one.
Philodendron Burle Marx Problems
While an easy plant to maintain, you may come across a few minor issues with the Philodendron Burle Marx, those of which are pretty easy to treat and prevent.
1. Pest Infestation
Just like other philodendron varieties, the occurrence of pests on a Philodendron Burle Marx isn’t an issue. However, there may be a few pests that can find their way to the plant.
One common plant pest is the thrip, which is a tiny creature looking like a little thread. These pests can fly, though with weak wings, they don’t fly very far, as they would hover for a few seconds before going back down.
Thrips would steal sap from your plant, using their mouths to pierce through your plant to its sap, sucking it like they’re sipping from straws. This is NOT good, as your plant relies on the sap in carrying water and nutrients. If left untreated, it can have pretty dire consequences, including death.
Mealybugs are also common pests that the Philodendron Burle Marx may have. They are awkward-looking and waxy bugs that have cotton-like substances wrapped around them. That substance is what protects them since they have soft bodies. You will know if there is a mealybug infestation if you see cotton around your plant’s leaves.
Mealybugs will reproduce quickly and increase the severity of the infestation. Like thrips, mealybugs would suck sap from your plant, which can lead to its death.
To get rid of and prevent bugs from harming your plant, you can try neem oil. Spray neem oil around your plant and wipe down the infected leaf or leaves, doing so twice a week until there are no more signs of bugs around your plant.
2. Brown Leaves
There are several reasons why your Philodendron Burle Marx has brown leaves.
It might be due to overwatering and/or not receiving enough humidity. However, if your plant has adapted to lower humidity levels, you can cross that reason out. If your soil isn’t drenched, then you can rule this reason out as well.
The next cause of browning leaves is salt building up in the soil. When you fertilize your plant, you add salt to its soil. After numerous feedings, it may end up with too much salt, which will then take over your soil. Too much salt can make the plant sick.
You can get rid of the salt by performing a soil flush every few months or only as needed. Do this by turning on your hose or faucet, not in full blast, but just a slow flow. Allow the water to run all over the areas of the plant’s soil. The water will push salt out from your pot’s drainage holes.
3. Wilting Leaves
If you see that your plant’s leaves begin to wilt, this shows that you’re underwatering it. When you underwater your plant, it becomes dehydrated. Being starved from water, it needs to survive and undergo photosynthesis.
If overwatering is an issue, underwatering will also have similar consequences. You will know that your leaves wilt from underwatering by checking the soil. If it is dry even past inches deep, then your plant doesn’t get enough moisture.
Remedy this by watering your plant immediately, then check the soil every 3-4 days to see if it needs more watering. You may want to have a consistent watering schedule for the plant, depending on the season.
4. Leaves Dropping
Is your plant losing leaves and dropping a lot of them? Then this may indicate that it’s overwatered this time. For this reason, check its soil before watering your plants. It should not be drenched in water.
If the soil is so soaked that it looks like the plant and the soil stays drenched for a long time, then it’s best to change out the soil rather than let the plant sit on it. If it has too much water, it will block out oxygen from getting to your plant’s roots, resulting in root rot. It all boils down to providing your plant proper amounts of water.
5. Water Spots
If there are water spots on your growing Burle Marx Philodendron’s leaves, then you are most likely using hard water when watering your plant. You need soft water to have it grow and thrive well, as this won’t have harsh minerals that affect your plant’s leaves and growth. If you only have hard water, let it sit overnight for the chlorine and other chemicals to disappear.
Wrapping It Up
Now that you know all about the Philodendron Burle Marx, let’s take note of the essential points to remember:
- The Philodendron Burle Marx is popular because of its aesthetic quality, adaptiveness, and easy maintenance.
- It has slender and heart-shaped leaves that have a tropical vibe.
- It requires proper watering and bright, indirect light, and regular fertilizing, as they are heavy feeders.
- You can expect them to grow quickly, though not over 2 feet high.
- Propagation is very simple, using either two methods: stem cutting or air layering.
- Be careful when handling the plant and never ingest parts of it.
- They are great at clearing out toxins in the air.
- Problems like pests and wilting leaves can easily be prevented and treated.
We hope that this guide on the Philodendron Burle Marx gave you sufficient information on the plant and how you can grow it successfully. Don’t wait any longer and begin your journey to planting this fantastic tropical plant, either through seedlings or stem cutting propagation. Good luck!