Philodendron Cordatum is a rare, epiphytic Philodendron that makes for a great trailing plant to keep in indoor house spaces. This Philodendron thrives on neglect which is what also makes it one of the easiest to care for houseplants.
Our gardening experts have prepared the most accurate and holistic care guide for you to learn all about the beauty of a plant.
- What Is the Philodendron Cordatum?
- Philodendron Cordatum Care
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is the Philodendron Cordatum?
Philodendron Cordatum is a perennial heartleaf Philodendron native to Southeastern Brazil. The plant belonging to the Araceae family is an epiphytic, vining plant that grows best in tropical environments. It is also commonly called Sweetheart plant, the Heart Leaf Philodendron and Philodendron Angra dos Reis.
Philodendron Cordatum Care
– Water Requirements
If you are confused about how to determine whether your plant needs to be watered or not, look for the signs your plant is trying to give to you. If the leaves are turning crisp and brown, then your plant is underwatered and needs to be watered.
If you see that the leaves turning yellow and mushy, it is probably because the plant is overwatered and you need to keep a check on the watering schedule. Overwatering is a big no for this plant. Infact, it thrives on neglect when it comes to watering this amazing plant.
If tap water in your area is hard, avoid using it to water the plants. Hard water causes mineral or salt build-up in the soil that further causes root burn. This effect will further show an effect on the leaves.
A great thing about the leaves is that they can survive for many months in water. You can place these gorgeous leaves in a vase or jar to beautify any space in your home. It is key to keep in mind to change the water every few days.
Keep in mind that each time you water your plant, make sure you do it thoroughly, moistening the soil evenly such that excess water drains out of the bottom drainage holes. Allow more than one third of the soil to dry out in between the watering sessions, you may also wipe the plant occasionally with a moist cloth to prevent dust from clogging the leaf pores.
– Light Requirements
When it comes to the light, remember to provide your plant bright, indirect light for it to thrive.
Curtain-filtered light during the day in a north or east-facing window works well for its growth. Rotate the plant from time to time and dust the leaves so that it can photosynthesize properly.
It can tolerate low to medium or partially shaded conditions but poor lighting can affect the size of the leaves and growth of the plant.
Keep in mind that the leaves look pale and dull in lack of bright light, which means the growth slows down in low-light but the plant will remain healthy as long as you do not overwater it.
Avoid exposing your plant to direct sunlight, especially in the afternoons. A handful of direct sunlight in mornings and evenings is fine but avoid the contact with direct sunlight in the afternoons to prevent leaf burns.
– Soil Requirements
Use a well-draining soil mix that is rich in organic matter instead of using the standard potting soil. Aeration is extremely important in the potting mix to keep the plant healthy and protect it from overwatering-related problems such as root rot and fungal infections.
To prepare an airy and chunky soil medium, mix one part peat, one part sphagnum moss, half part perlite and half part wood bark. You can adjust the quantity of each component according to soil and weather-related factors in your area. Do have in mind that you can always add more perlite or sand in case there is a risk of overwatering.
– Temperature Requirements
The Cordatum Philodendron thrives in the temperature range of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Do not expose your plant to temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit as it is a warm-growing plant and cannot tolerate frosty winter time temperatures.
In extremely hot and cold temperatures, you may move your plant to a spot where the temperatures are moderately warm. Cold and dry weather conditions make the leaves look pale and hot temperatures make the leaves lose their shine and become crispy and wrinkled.
– Humidity Requirements
The Sweetheart Philodendron prefers high humidity conditions to grow well. However, regular humidity levels in most homes work well but increasing the humidity can make your plant healthier with bigger foliage.
Try and maintain the humidity level above 60 percent at most times to keep your Philodendron happy. You can also keep the plant in bathrooms for increased humidity exposure. Increase the humidity levels by placing a humidifier or a humidity tray near the plant.
To prepare a humidity tray, fill it with some pebbles and water and place the potted plant above it. Remember that as the water evaporates, the plant will absorb the moisture from the air.
The plant has dark green, heart-shaped leaves that are generally two to three inches across. If you grow them outdoors in high humidity and warm conditions, they may grow larger.
While maintaining high humidity levels, make sure that you keep good air movement near the plant. Lack of air circulation with high humidity can cause rot and fungal diseases.
– Fertilizer Requirements
The Cordatum Philodendron needs regular fertilizing when it is growing rapidly in summers. Feed the plant with a well-balanced, liquid fertilizer monthly in the spring and summer months. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer label and dilute it to half the recommended dose mentioned on the label.
Don’t fertilize the plant in fall and winters as the plant hardly shows any new growth since fertilizing at this time can cause the plant roots to burn. Wait until early spring to resume fertilizing. We recommend using organic fertilizers over the chemical ones as they are much gentle and also help in preventing fertilizer burn.
Avoid overfertilizing the plant even during the spring and summer months as too much fertilizer causes salt build-up that leads the roots to burn and affects the plant’s overall health. It can also kill the plant over time.
The plant needs transplanting only when its roots take up the space in the existing pot and there is no more space for them to grow. Trim back the long and stretched out stems to make the plant bushier and to keep it compact.
Be careful while picking the pot to shift your plant. Do not transplant the Philodendron in a much bigger pot as it leads to root rot and fungus growth due to overwatering. Go only one size up to prevent such problems. For example, if the plant is in a four inch pot, move to a six inch pot.
It is easy to propagate the Sweetheart vine from stem cuttings. Use the trimmed cuttings while pruning to propagate this hard to kill plant. You can propagate the cuttings in soil, water and sphagnum moss depending on other weather-related factors in your area.
– Stem Cutting Propagation
Stem cutting propagation is the easiest and one of the most successful way of propagating the Cordatum Philodendron. Choose a healthy and pest-free stem with at least one node and one leaf on. A node is the point from where roots will develop.
If you want to take a bigger cutting, make sure that it has at least three to four nodes for proper root development. But be careful not to remove a major part of the main plant. However, remember that you may also propagate this cutting in water and even in soil.
– Water Propagation
Place your stem cutting in a jar of water making sure that the nodes are dipped in the water and leaves are above it. Remove the bottom leaves to prevent rot. Change the water every few days to prevent rot and fungus growth.
Place the jar of water in a bright and warm spot. Once the roots are about one-inch long, you can shift the rooted cutting to a well-aerated soil mix. Water propagation is a great way of propagation if you like to watch the roots grow.
– Soil Propagation
Prepare a well-draining soil mix composed of peat, sphagnum moss and perlite. You can use 100 percent sphagnum moss too but it would require higher watering frequency. The node should be in contact with the soil medium but not completely submerged.
Cover the potted cutting with a transpired plastic bag for increased humidity as it leads to faster root growth. Remove the plastic every few days to prevent rot. Once the roots are about one to two inches long, you can shift the cutting to a regular-sized pot in an aerated potting medium.
Manage to have the soil evenly moist at all times as the plant is sensitive at this point and needs some time to adjust to the new surroundings. Keep it in a partially shaded spot for a few days until it fully adjusts.
Although it is not too common to see the Cordatum Philodendron face many problems but it can at times, face issues such as pests and yellowing and browning of the leaves. Here are some common problems faced by the Cordatum Philodendron.
– Wilting and Curling Foliage
If the leaves of your plant have started to wilt and curl, one probable reason behind it could be underwatering. Improper and irregular watering schedule makes it all the more hard to keep the plant healthy. Long term effects of underwatering include leggy and stretched out stems with fewer leaves.
Make sure you water the plant as soon as you spot slight curling or wilting. Water the plant when the top few inches dry out. Do not let the soil be bone-dry in between the watering sessions as dry soil causes stress and makes the plant weak.
– Yellowing and Browning of Foliage
If you notice the leaves of your plant yellowing, it could be due to underwatering. However; if you see they are turning yellow and brown simultaneously, it is most likely because the plant is overwatered.
Sometimes, it could be due to root rot that the leaves are showing the symptoms by yellowed foliage. Keep a check on watering and treat the plant as soon as you spot these symptoms.
– Spider Mites
Spider mites are small insects that can cause major damage to your plant. They cause yellowing and drooping in foliage. Always check the undersides of the leaves and the internodes because oftentimes, pests are hidden in such curves and crevices.
Since these pests thrive in warm and dry weather conditions, make sure you increase the humidity levels and you will notice their population decreases significantly. Use neem oil solution regularly for more severe infestations and to control their spread.
Aphids are tiny insects that look like lice and live and feed off the young, tender growing parts of the plant. Some species are also capable of affecting the plant roots. They feed on the plant sap juices and make the plant deficient in essential nutrients.
For severe infestations, use the alcohol and neem oil spray more frequently to get rid of aphids. You can also use horticultural oils to control aphids. Use insecticidal soap solutions for the more severely affected plants. Trim off the branches and leaves that cannot be recovered.
Mealybugs are quite common on most house plants. They are attracted to damp and humid weather conditions and target the stems and leaves of the plant by sucking their sap. These soft-scale insects look like white cotton-like powdery substances on the leaves.
One of the easiest methods to control them is by applying alcohol using cotton swabs on the infected parts. Regular wiping of the foliage also helps keep these unwanted insects away. Use neem oil spray if the plant is severely infected and you wish to use a natural insecticide.
Frequently Asked Questions
– Is the Philodendron Cordatum Toxic?
The Cordatum Philodendron is highly toxic and can cause severe problems if ingested. You must keep it away from the reach of kids and pets to avoid the risks.
– Does the Cordatum Philodendron Need the Support of a Trellis?
It is always better to provide support from trellis or moss poles if you are growing it in a pot upwards. Be gentle while wrapping the plant stems around the trellis. Otherwise, you can also grow it in a hanging basket trailing downwards. Prune the old and damaged leaves to prevent the plant from getting unruly and too big.
– Should I Repott the Philodendron Cordatum Plant?
The plant needs repotting every eighteen to twenty four months depending on its size. Try to shift the plant in early spring when the new growth just begins to show.
Prepare a well-aerated soil mix to transplant the plant in the new pot. Add lots of perlite to keep it draining and to avoid the risk of root rot.
However, after removing the plant, check for dead roots and remove the damaged roots. Gently place the plant in the new soil mix and keep the newly potted plant in a shaded spot for a few days until it fully acclimatizes to the new soil environment. Keep the soil evenly moist at all times.
– Is the Cordatum Philodendron a Beginner-friendly Plant?
It is an easy-to-care for plant that needs little to no care to grow well. All you have to do is provide it with bright, warm and humid conditions and keep it away from direct sun. Watch out for pests and diseases and replant it in a well-draining soil mix every few years to rejuvenate the growth pattern.
– What Is the Size of Philodendron Cordatum?
The Cordatum Philodendron can grow up to 50 feet on large trees with some of the leaves growing as long as three feet.
It has an amazing growth rate as it is fast-growing. In its natural environment, this Philodendron grows epiphytically, trailing upwards with the support of bigger trees. The plant’s long stems have several internodes.
Generally the notion doesn’t mean that it is impossible to grow it indoors. With the support of moss poles and trellis, you can keep it indoors. However, the growth would not be as fast and big.
Let us quickly sum up the most important plant care requirements you must remember before growing this Heartleaf Philodendron.
- Philodendron Cordatum is a perennial, trailing, epiphytic plant native to South America.
- The rich green heart leaves love bright light but direct sunlight can cause burns.
- The plant thrives in moderately warm temperatures with humidity levels above 50 percent and cannot tolerate temperatures lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Feed the plant monthly from spring to summer during its active growing season to enable healthy growth.
- Sometimes, the plant can face certain issues such as pests like aphids and mealybugs and wilting, curling and yellowing of leaves. Treat them early on to protect your plant.
If you found our plant care tips helpful, get this gorgeous indoor plant for yourself and give your home garden a stunning tropical vibe.