Philodendron hederaceum care infographicPhilodendron hederaceum is a beautiful houseplant that is commonly known as the heart-leaf philodendron or sweetheart plant due to its heart-shaped, emerald-colored glossy leaves with pointed tips.

Philodendrons are tropical plants that are grown as climbers and form gorgeous vines. Read this article to know more about this wonderful plant and how to properly care for it.

Quick Overview

Here is a handy table of this plant’s requirements.

Requirements Philodendron Hederaceum
Light Needs medium to bright indirect light for optimal growth
Water Water when the soil is dry
Soil Needs soil that provides an excellent drainage system
Temperature Temperatures between 55-95 degrees Fahrenheit
Humidity Needs high humidity levels
Fertilizer Needs fertilizer during the growing season

What Is Philodendron hederaceum?

Philodendron hederaceum, also known as the heart-leaf philodendron or sweetheart plant, is a tropical climber with beautiful vines and heart-shaped, emerald-colored glossy leaves with pointed tips. It is part of the family Araceae and has occasional flowers.

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of its care, here is some basic information about the stunning Philodendron hederaceum plant.

– Origin

Philodendron Hederaceum-Home PlantFamily: Araceae

This family contains monocotyledonous flowering plants.

Some species of this family show decorative or ornamental leaves, and the Araceae family is comprised of 114 genera and approximately 3,750 flowering species.

The genera of Philodendron are Alocasia, ZZ plants, and Peace Lillies. Heart-leaf philodendron originated from Central America and the Caribbean.

– Habitat

Philodendron hederaceum aureum is the inhabitant of tropical forests. It is a creeper and uses its vines to climb high up in the trees. Tropical plants naturally grow tall, but plants with less favorable conditions or smaller root systems can not grow to more than 5 feet in height.

– Leaves 

Philodendron has beautiful glossy green heart-shaped leaves, which are 2-3 inches long and 3 inches wide with leaf stalks. The stem that comes on the heels of the plant is of brownish bronze color. When they get older, the mature color of the leaves changes to a vibrant green.

– Flowers

Philodendron hederaceum flowers appear occasionally. The sweetheart plant rarely blooms indoors, but flowering is for reproduction and takes place between May and July. The flowers stay open only for a couple of days.

When flowering starts, the plant produces a spathe, which is oval in shape and green in color. The spathe has a long spadix which consists of both male and female fertile flowers.

Care

Philodendron hederaceum is a fast-growing and easy to care for plant. You can place your Philodendron on a tabletop or in a hanging basket and let the vines cascade down for a tropical vibe. The height of the sweetheart plant is not more than 2-3 feet, but it may reach up to 5 feet with a width of about 3 meters.

The Philodendron hederaceum mature plant sometimes produces spathes of a green-white color. Apart from its beautiful foliage, this plant is known to be the best air purifier and can remove toxins from the air.

Let us look at its basic needs in detail throughout this care guide.

– Water

Philodendron hederaceum grows better when the soil is dry, so always check your philodendron plant before watering. Check the soil with your finger to see if it is dry or still moist. The best time to water is when the soil is already dry, as leaf spots and root rot happen in moist soil.

– Light

The sweetheart plant needs medium to bright indirect light for its optimal growth, but it can also grow under low light. The more light it gets, the bushier and faster it grows.

– Temperature

Philodendrons need a minimum temperature of between 55-95 degrees Fahrenheit during the daytime. It requires above 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

It is an indoor plant, so if you wish to bring the plant outdoors, do not allow the plant to remain in direct sunlight for more than an hour. If the plant is kept outdoors for too long, the leaves will burn. Always keep an eye out for the presence of pests when you shift the plant back indoors.

– Fertilizer

The heart-leaf philodendron hederaceum needs fertilizer during the growing season. Fertilize your plant once a month with diluted liquid fertilizer for lush green plants. Suitable fertilizer should include charcoal, orchid bark, perlite or pumice. 

Coco coir acts as a water-retentive base. Use fertilizers that promote airflow in the roots area and allow proper drainage.

– Humidity

Philodendron hederaceum is a tropical indoor plant that requires humidity. This plant loves a humid environment but can also tolerate dry air conditions. Mist your plant regularly to get your plant moist and happy.

If the humidity level is somewhat below average, you can also use a humidifier or leave a full watering can around the room to evaporate.

– Soil

Heartleaf Philodendrons grow best in the soil, which provides an excellent drainage system. The soil used to pot the plant should be rich in organic matter, and the plant grows well if the potting mix has sphagnum peat moss.

Take note that waterlogged soil is the leading cause of indoor plant destruction as it can cause root rot and leaf spots.

– Pruning

Prune the plant to display it in its best state. Keeping the long vines pruned will give the plant a fuller look; without pruning, your sweetheart plant will look leggy. Pinch right behind a leaf node so that a beautiful new stem will grow from that node. Remember to always use clean scissors for pruning to reduce the chances of fungal or bacterial diseases.

Remove the dying and yellow leaves, and plant debris for better-growing conditions of your plant. Do not make unnecessary incisions because they can cause weakened growth of the plant.

– Repotting

Repotting is necessary for the plant to grow well. When you see the roots popping out of the drainage hole, you should repot your plant quickly. Always repot your plant every two years during late spring or early summer.

Philodendron hederaceum gets altered by the salts that accumulate in the soil from watering. It is highly advisable to change or replace the soil every two to three years.

– Toxicity

Take note that the Philodendron hederaceum is a poisonous plant. This is because it contains calcium oxalate crystals around its body that is toxic to animals or pets such as cats and dogs. It is also harmful to humans, and chewing the leaves releases toxic crystals which irritate the mouth and the digestive system.

 

Propagation

The sweetheart plant propagates by different methods, such as stem cutting, soil and division method.

– Propagation by Stem

Stem propagation is one of the easiest and most common propagation methods of Philodendron hederaceum. Before you cut the stem, check your plant first to make sure it’s healthy and has enough leaves. Here are the steps you can do to successfully propagate by stem:

  1. Cut the tips off the stems with the help of a clean pair of scissors.
  2. Cut the stem right in front of the node. This is the point where new roots will sprout.
  3. Let the newly cut stem dry out for at least 20 minutes.
  4. Place the cutting in a glass pot filled with water. The water should be lukewarm.
  5. Do not forget to place at least one node underwater.
  6. Change the water regularly as it will get slimy. You can add more water as the liquid will evaporate.
  7. Watch and wait for the roots to develop.
  8. Repot the cutting in fresh soil when the roots have grown from the stem.
  9. Make sure you place your pot in a warm spot where the plant will get bright, indirect light.

– Propagation by Air Layering 

This method of propagation of the Philodendron hederaceum does not require cutting of your plant. You can opt for this method if you do not want to trim your plant, as this allows your plant to grow roots from a node.

  1. Choose a part of your plant consisting of at least one node. If more than one node is present, there is a greater chance of successful rooting.
  2. Cover your section in moist moss with clingfilm.
  3. Spray the covered section with water for the new roots to sprout.
  4. Regularly check your plant for the root system to develop.
  5. The proper rooting process will take one week to several months.
  6. Once the root system has developed, cut the stem and repot it.

– Propagation by Division Method

The division method is another great way to propagate a healthy Philodendron hederaceum. 

  1. Water your plant thoroughly before dividing the plant.
  2. Take out the plant from the pot.
  3. Split the shoots into bundles. If your plant is mature, you can make two or more bundles.
  4. Plant them in the pot as individual plants.
  5. Fill 3/4 of your new pot with fresh soil and carefully place your plant inside. Spread its roots and cover it back up with more soil.
  6. Water your plant and put it in a spot with bright, indirect sunlight.

Problems

Here are some common problems that owners of Philodendron hederaceum plants usually report.

– Pests

Philodendron hederaceum plants are susceptible to attack by spider mites, aphids, scales and mealybugs. These bugs are the most common inhabitants of this plant and are usually not visible when they invade because they are tiny and transparent.

They roam around the leaves to hide their eggs and get chlorophyll from the plant. Afterward, they develop white cotton webs across the stem of the plant.

– Aphids

Aphids are the type of pests that attack indoor plants. They are tiny and pear-shaped, and they suck the sap from the plant tissues and distort the foliage. Eventually, leaves will drop and your plant will suffer.

– Spider mites

Spider mites are the sucking pests. They are tiny and attach to the undersides of the leaves, feeding on the fluid of the plant found inside its leaves.

The leaves will become yellow, and the spider mites will make web-like structures between the base of the plant and the leaves.

– Fungus Gnats

Fungus Gnats are small, dark mosquito-like flies. They are tiny and live in a damp environment, creating minor damages to the plant. 

– Mealybugs

Mealybugs are insects with soft bodies. Waxy, cotton-like, white-colored material is present on the body of mealybugs, and they attach themselves to the stem of Philodendrons. Mealybugs feed on the fluid of plants by injecting toxins and causing deformity in the leaves of the plant. 

– Scales

Scales are a threat to indoor plants. They invade the plant and feed on its fluid. This pest will damage all the parts of your plant.

– Solutions for Pest Attacks

You can get rid of most pests by washing the plant with soapy water and spraying diluted neem oil on the foliage.

– Root Rot

Overwatering leads to several problems for your philodendron hederaceum plant. Root rot is one of the most common problems caused by overwatering, as it does not let the roots receive oxygen, which is the most important thing the plant needs. Moist or overwatered soil also restricts airflow.

Some prominent symptoms of root rot include the yellowing of leaves, a rotten brown base, and stunted growth of the philodendron plant. Always keep the following signs in consideration when watering your sweetheart plant:

  • Overwatering your plant can change the emerald green leaves into a yellow color.
  • Underwatering the plant can result in wilting leaves, indicating that your plant is thirsty and needs water.

Always plant your sweetheart plant in a pot with holes on the bottom, and when you notice that the soil is dried out, water your plant thoroughly. Excess water can drain out from the holes at the bottom of the pot, and good drainage is a must to prevent soggy soil disasters.

Use a good soil-based potting mix and try to occasionally take your plant out to inspect its health. If it appears that the roots are yellowish, it means that your plant is in good condition, and if they are brown and mushy, your plant is in danger of becoming rotten.

– Low Light

When the vining philodendron hederaceum does not get enough light, they become leggy. The leaves of the plant will grow further apart and of smaller size. Too much direct sunlight can result in scorching and getting the color of the leaves to turn rusty.

Place your plant a couple of feet away from the window where it will get as much light as it can. Direct afternoon sunlight is harmful to the plant, especially in summer. You can protect the plant by covering the window with a light-colored curtain to avoid direct exposure to sunlight, as adequate protection can prevent the leaves from burning.

– Over-Fertilizing

Fertilize your plant only when it’s needed. Over and under-fertilizing can damage or kill your healthy, growing plant. Before giving fertilizer to your plant, always follow the instructions written on the packet. Take note that different varieties of Philodendron require different types of fertilizers.

– Low Humidity

Philodendron hederaceum requires optimal humidity for its growth. When the humidity level is low, the tips of the leaves of the plant get brown and crisp.

Use a humidifier or a pebble tray to maintain the optimal humidity level. You can also place your plant in the surroundings of some other plants because it may create pockets of higher humidity in that area. Higher humidity levels show that plants get bigger leaves.

Toxicity

The sweetheart plant is an indoor plant. Pets usually come in contact with the hanging leaves of the plant, and if they accidentally chew the leaves, it may cause harmful effects such as drooling, decreased appetite and vomiting.

It’s always a good idea to keep your pets and kids out of reach of the plants to avoid any problems.

– Symptom Checker 

Symptom Reason
Wilting, browning and edged leaves These are the signs of under-watering the philodendron plant.
Long stems and smaller leaves These signs indicate that the plant is getting less than the light it requires.
Yellow leaves This sign indicates that your plant is getting more water than is required.
Black or soft stem A black stem in the Philodendron hederaceum indicates that your plant is getting too much water. This also indicates root rot.
Yellowing lower leaves This yellowing lower leaf close to the soil is the sign of overwatering the plant. The plant may also be getting less light.

 

– Philodendron Hederaceum Varieties

The beautiful houseplant Philodendron hederaceum has a lot of common varieties. There are currently approximately 480 recognized types. Philodendron hederaceum plants are divided into two main categories:

  1. Trailing or Climbing Philodendron: These grow and develop beautiful vines. Climbers are usually placed indoors in homes, offices, etc.
  2. Upright Plants: This category includes Birkin philodendron. They grow upward in the upright position and make a rosette shape. The non-climbers or the upright plant grows immensely and are usually displayed in public spaces such as shopping malls.

Some of the Philodendron hederaceum varieties are: 

  • Philodendron Hederaceum Micans

This variety of philodendrons has trailing vines. Their leaves have tiny hairs and young plants have velvety textures and reddish undersides.

  • Philodendron Rio

This variety of philodendrons has some silver or white variation stripe on the center of the leaf.

  •  Philodendron Silver Sword

This variety of philodendrons has some silvery sword-shaped leaves. This type has upright growth.

  •  Philodendron hederaceum Brasil

This variety of philodendrons is very similar to the sweetheart plant. The only difference between the two is that Brasil has stripes of yellow variation down the middle of the leaf.

  •  Philodendron Hederaceum Lemon Lime

This variety of philodendrons is very eye-catching due to its beautiful yellow-green foliage.

This variety of philodendrons is also an upright philodendron plant. The leaves are white or cream with pinstripes on the dark leaves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is The Philodendron Hederaceum poisonous?

Yes, Philodendron hederaceum is poisonous. It is highly toxic to pets and humans and can cause allergic reactions if ingested. It causes severe conditions such as drooling, vomiting and swelling of lips and tongue.

To avoid any problems, keep the plant away from the reach of pets and children.

Can I Keep This Plant Outside?

Yes, the Philodendron Hederaceum can be placed outside but only for a short period. Long exposure to direct sunlight can cause sun scorch.

Can Philodendron Hederaceum Grow in Low Light?

Philodendron hederaceum is a low-maintenance plant. It needs bright indirect sunlight but can tolerate low lighting conditions. 

They can also grow indoors under fluorescent lights.

If My Philodendron Hederaceum Is Overwatered, Can I Fix This Problem?

If the Philodendron hederaceum is overwatered, immediately check your plant for root rot. If the roots are not rotten, quickly repot the plant and remove the waterlogged soil from the tips of the roots of your plant. Put the plant in new soil that has good drainage capabilities.

How Can I Clean the Leaves of My Philodendron Hederaceum Plant?

Mist the plant regularly. You can easily clean dirt, dust or debris from the leaves of your plant by using a clean damp cloth to remove dirt from its leaves.

Why Are the Leaves of My Philodendron Hederaceum Plant Turning Yellow?

Yellow leaves on the sweetheart plant indicate that you are overwatering your plant. Allow the soil to dry out completely before you water the plant again.

What Is the Difference Between Philodendron Hederaceum and Pothos?

Philodendron hederaceum has dark, shiny, emerald-green leaves, while the Pothos has green leaves with white, yellow or gold variegation.

Does My Philodendron Hederaceum Plant Clean the Air?

Yes, Philodendron hederaceum is the best air purifier. They are the most effective indoor plants that can reduce air pollution.

How Fast Does Philodendron Hederaceum Grow?

Philodendron hederaceum is a tropical, easy-growing plant. Provided with suitable conditions, the sweetheart plant grows very fast, especially if you allow them to propagate during spring and mid-summer.

Conclusion

Philodendron Hederaceum-Diverse Evergreen PlantThe Philodendron hederaceum is an ornamental indoor plant with long creeping vines, is easy to care for and is fast-growing to boot. Here are some of the most important things we tackled in this article:

  • The Sweetheart plant belongs to the Araceae family
  • Philodendron hederaceum originated from Central America and the Caribbean
  • The sweetheart plant requires medium to bright indirect sunlight for growth
  • The plant grows best in evenly moist but well-drained, sandy soil
  • Philodendron needs medium humidity. The ideal humidity for the plant to grow well is 60-80 percent humidity
  • The ideal temperature for the growth of this tropical plant is between 55-95 degrees Fahrenheit
  • The tropical vine can grow up to 5 feet in height
  • If you want your sweetheart plant to grow better, you will need an excellent drainage system
  • Try to water your plant with lukewarm water instead of cold water
  • Give your Philodendron hederaceum a treat by adding suitable fertilizers 
  • Mature Philodendron hederaceum can have flowers too
  • Trimming your sweetheart plant can encourage bushy growth
  • Repot your plant to give it a new life
  • Philodendrons are susceptible to some pests and diseases
  • This is one of the best air-purifying plants and can remove airborne toxins from the atmosphere
  • The plant is toxic when ingested. Make sure to keep it out of reach of your pets and kids
  • There are different issues and problems your hederaceum plant may face, like wilting of leaves, spots on leaves, etc
  • Philodendron hederaceum can multiply by various propagation methods
  • Philodendron hederaceum plants have different varieties

Everyone loves Philodendrons for their beautiful foliage. This plant is versatile and displays different colors and shapes, perfect for decorating your house with!

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