Philodendron hastatum is a tropical plant belonging to the genus Philodendron. It is native to southeast Brazil, where it thrives in the humid and subtropical climate.
This striking plant is highly decorative and eye-catching, mainly for its unusual, almost metallic-looking foliage, setting this succulent apart from numerous others in the genus. Would you like to add it to your home garden? You’re in the right place to find some useful information and tips!
- Philodendron Hastatum: The Origin of the Name
- What Is Philodendron Hastatum
- How to Care for Philodendron Hastatum
- How to propagate Philodendron hastatum
- Philodendron Hastatum Problems
- Frequently Asked Questions
Philodendron Hastatum: The Origin of the Name
Previously known as Philodendron domesticum, it now carries the name silver sword Philodendron due to its unique blue-tinged leaves shaped like a sword.
Philodendron blooms with inconspicuous flowers reminiscent of kale, although this rarely happens in species that grow at home. If pollinated from flowers, the Philodendron hastatum seeds will develop.
What Is Philodendron Hastatum
Philodendron Hastatum, similar to other aroid plants, has its origins in the humid rainforests where it can grow up to 10 feet. Its most distinctive characteristic are its spectacular glossy sword-shaped leaves, which can reach the length of 3 feet.
As the plant matures, the leaves take on a more triangular and sword-resembling shape. The heavy and shiny leaves grow on sturdy stems.
Considering its tendency to climb, you can add a pillar or coco pole to support its leaves, enabling it to reach its full growth potential. Like many other vining Philodendrons, it is vital to do so as the alternative — leaving your Philodendron to grow straggly and drooping — is not a graceful sight.
How to Care for Philodendron Hastatum
Similar to other Philodendrons, Philodendron hastatum is not a high-maintenance plant and can adapt to most indoor surroundings. This means that you do not have to create any special conditions for its cultivation. All you have to do is make sure that you fulfill its basic requirements.
– Soil Requirements
This spectacular plant enjoys loose and well-drained soil, which provides aeration and prevents water retention. Even though it generally prefers moisture and soil with high organic matter, this does not mean its roots should be soaking wet.
On the contrary, this metallic sword-like beauty can survive in dry conditions and does not like excessive watering. It thrives mainly in growth mediums containing perlite, vermiculite, and peat, which improve the structure of the substrate and soil drainage.
– Water Requirements
As you might expect from a tropical plant, Philodendron hastatum thrives in moisture. It should be watered two to three times a week during his growing season, in spring and summer.
However, Philodendron is a dormant plant that, in fall and winter, decreases its function to a bare minimum due to reduced sunlight. Watering should be reduced to about once a week. The exact timing will depend on the indoor conditions, such as temperature and air humidity.
There is a general rule to determine when to water when it comes to these plants. Before watering, feel the soil with the tip of your fingers. If the substrate is moist, skip watering for a couple of days. Even though the Philodendron hastatum enjoys moisture, sometimes too much water can lead to root rot, which will severely harm the plant’s health.
The ideal time to water is when the 1 to 3 inches of the substrate are dry. Additionally, when watering this beautiful vine, avoid the leaves and wipe them from time to time. If your Philodendron is droopy, that might be the sign you have overwatered your Philodendron Hastatum. In most cases, if you find a correct watering regime, the plant will quickly recover.
– Light Requirements
Similar to other tropical plants, Philodendron hastatum is fond of moderate and indirect sunlight. Exposing your Philodendron hastatum to direct sunlight might burn its leaves. Considering its natural habitat, you should try to recreate those conditions indoors for your plant to thrive.
These plants live underneath the rainforest canopy, in the shade, and with a lot of diffused light. Therefore, it is vital to keep your plant in similar conditions, ensuring that it receives enough indirect sunlight.
If the stems of your Philodendron hastatum appear to be droopy and excessively long, this might be the indicator that your plant is not getting enough light. In fact, these plants will grow in length like any other vine, searching for light.
Additionally, from time to time, you might find one or two older leaves have become yellowish. Don’t worry: an infrequent yellow leaf is a common occurrence. However, if you notice several other leaves turning yellow, it might indicate a high level of sun exposure. On the other hand, not providing enough bright light to your Philodendron can cause its stems to become leggy.
– Temperature Requirements
Philodendron hastatum, originating from the rainforests in Brazil, prefers warmer temperatures and high humidity. The silver sword’s ideal temperature is between 60 to 80 °F. Given it’s a tropical plant that likes heat, Philodendron generally does not cope well with cooler temperatures. Prolonged exposure to low temperatures in most cases damages or kills the plant.
While growing the Philodendron hastatum indoors is not a particular challenge in terms of its temperature requirements, you should keep the plant away from radiators and vents.
Given that rainforests are not only shady and warm but also very humid, Philodendrons generally enjoy moisture. The optimal level of humidity is around 70-90 percent. If you want to recreate the perfect conditions for your silver leaf Philodendron to thrive, you can use humidifiers to increase the level of humidity.
Another option is to use a pebble tray with water, and mist the plant frequently. When winter sets in, you should watch out for yellow and droopy leaves, which are usually an indication that your plant lacks moisture.
If your plant is growing very long, this is your sign that you should prune it. The benefits of pruning are several. If you want to keep your plant bushy and full, rather than resembling a long vine, you might want to prune your silver sword.
Most plants generally respond well to pruning, as it encourages a fuller, denser, and happier plant. The best period to prune your Philodendron hastatum is in summer and spring when the growth increases, even though you can prune it anytime to keep it in the desired shape.
When pruning, you might want to cut the longest and oldest stems, which appear to be yellowish or simply too long for your indoor space. You want to cut at the joints, where they meet the main crown of the plant. If your stems are falling beneath the soil level, cut them at the soil line and water after pruning.
Philodendron hastatum is a plant that grows relatively quickly, which means that it needs a lot of energy and therefore quickly consumes nutrients. In such a situation, the plant will grow better and faster if you feed it regularly
Once a month, from spring to autumn, add a balanced liquid fertilizer with an NPK ratio of 20:20: 20. In winter, when the plant is resting, it is not necessary to feed it.
How to propagate Philodendron hastatum
If you are wondering how to propagate your Philodendron hastatum, no worries, we got you covered. Similar to other epiphytes, Philodendron hastatum is very easy to propagate. The Silver leaf Philodendron is not demanding, and they quickly root up. The process involves just a couple of simple steps, which require tools commonly found in every household.
– Stem Cutting
The best and most used method of propagating is stem cutting. For propagation, you will need clean and sterile tools, such as gardening scissors or a knife. Additionally, it is advised to use gloves while handling Philodendrons as they are known to be toxic.
Make a clean cut of the stem below the nod or the thicker part of the plant, where the roots are forming. If you cut a large part of your Philodendron Hastatum, you can divide the piece further, as not all propagation cutting will survive.
Put the stem cutting into a medium filled with water and wait for several weeks, regularly changing the water to create a consistent supply of minerals enabling root formation.
Place your water-filled pot with the baby Hastatum in a shady spot with little indirect sunlight, additionally covering it with a plastic bag to increase humidity.
After your Philodendron hastatum has developed a root, place it in a small pot with a soil rich in nutrients and continue watering after the roots grow to a couple of inches.
If you are not keen on propagating Philodendron hastatum in a glass filled with water, you can use a semi-hydroponic setup, including a glass of water with a mix of perlite. If you choose the latter option of propagating, make sure you water it regularly.
Philodendron Hastatum Problems
Even though Philodendron hastatum is relatively easy to take care of, it does come with a set of potential issues.
– Leaf Spot Diseases
One of the most common problems with Philodendron hastatum is leaf spot disease, caused by bacteria or fungus, which are usually a consequence of unfavorable indoor conditions, such as excessive humidity or damp soil.
This disease is very tricky, and it is vital to notice it during its early stages, when you have more chances to treat it. If you are familiar with the natural color variations on the leaves of your Philodendron hastatum, you will have no problem spotting leaf spot disease, known as bacterial leaf spot.
As soon as you notice brown, yellow, or black spots on the leaves, it is essential to immediately remove these leaves with sterile scissors so that the disease does not spread further. Then, treat the plant with some mild fungicides. You can get them at any better-equipped garden centers.
– Yellowing of the Leaves
Excessive watering of the plant causes metabolic disorders that often translate into an unhealthy yellowing on the leaves. Those leaves cannot recover, and it is best to remove them and adjust the watering regime to the plant’s basic needs. For a few weeks, skip the watering to allow the substrate to dry out, creating a pleasant environment for the plant.
– Wilting of the Leaves
Although Philodendron hastatum will not mind if you skip watering a few times, extended periods without water will still have consequences on its leaves, such as twisting and wilting. Fortunately, this is a problem you can solve by changing the rhythm of watering. The good news is that the leaf can recover if it has not been exposed to severe dehydration.
– Leaf Color Loss
The silvery tone that distinguishes this plant from other Philodendrons is directly related to the amount of light the plant receives. In the absence of light, this tone gradually fades, which indicates that the plant needs a better spot with enough sunlight. Additionally, the plant in an unfavorable place bends towards the light source, develops irregularly, and loses shape.
Even though the plant is very resilient, it is not to say that it cannot be exposed to vicious pests attacks. The most common invaders are spider mites and mealybugs. Spider mites like dry conditions and will settle on your plant if you do not provide an adequate level of humidity.
Ofter, you cannot notice them with the naked eye, but you can detect them by the reddish spider webs between the leaves. On the other hand, mealy bugs leave honeydew on the leaves as they feed on the sap of the plant. They reproduce quickly and easily transmit to other plants.
In any case, if you notice signs of their presence, do not hesitate to deal with this problem immediately. You have several effective remedies at your disposal: neem oil solution, cotton balls dipped in rubbing alcohol, or, ultimately, industrial insecticide for house plants’ pests. You should take into account that some pests may still survive, so it is best to repeat the treatment one or two more times.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can Philodendron Hastatum be grown with other plants?
Yes, Philodendron Hastatum can be grown with other plants. However, it’s important to ensure that the other plants have similar light and moisture requirements to prevent competition for resources.
2. What are the signs that Philodendron Hastatum is unhealthy?
Yellowing or wilting leaves, stunted growth, and pest infestations are signs of an unhealthy Philodendron Hastatum.
3. How can I keep my pets safe around Philodendron Hastatum?
To keep your pets safe around Philodendron Hastatum, make sure to keep the plant out of reach or consider choosing pet-safe plants instead.
Whether you are a plantsman or someone who simply enjoys having plants, a silver sword Philodendron is an unmistakably great choice of a houseplant. Following our tips listed below, you would be able to grow it and take care of it successfully.
- Place the plant in the spot with bright indirect sunlight
- Provide it with good and well-drained nutritious soil
- Keep it away from low temperatures. The plant suffers when the temperature drops under 55 °F.
- The plant enjoys humidity, so try to provide it either by misting it or using a humidifier.
- You could transplant your Philodendron hastatum into an inch larger pot when the roots start coming out through the drainage holes.
- Water it two to three times a week in the growing season, less in winter
- Feed it once a month during summer and spring, skip during winter and fall.
With all these tips and tricks, you are good to start your adventure growing a Philodendron hastatum!
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