Philodendron rio care infographicPhilodendron Rio is a fairly new variety of Philodendron and has become one of the most sought-after Philodendron over recent years. Many people still are not aware of this good-looking plant, so if you are one of them, you have to know that is a fast-growing and easy-care Philodendron variety.

Read our care guide to learn all about the growth requirements, propagation, and problems of Philodendron Rio.

What Is Philodendron Rio?

Philodendron Rio is a vining Philodendron species native to tropical rainforests of Brazil and some other parts of South America.

Some of its other names include Philodendron Hederaceum Rio, Rio Sport, Philodendron Silver Stripe, Heartleaf Philodendron, and Philodendron Cream Stripe. It is an expensive plant because of its rarity. Its variegation is a mutation that is rare to find.

– Size and Growth

Philodendron Rio is an aggressive grower that grows like a vine. It comes from Florida and has some physical characteristics similar to Philodendron Brazil. That is why it was named Philodendron ‘Rio’. Moreover, its stems that go down into the soil are called plugs.

Philodendron Rio is unique because it is the only cultivar of Philodendron Brazil with silver as the center most color.

This low-maintenance Philodendron does not require too much light, water, or fertilizer but providing the right balance of these helps it to grow fast.

If you let the plant grow vertically like a vine, it can reach a height of about 5 feet.

– Foliage

Unlike Philodendron Brazil which has rounded and heart-shaped foliage, Philodendron Rio has far more elongated and pointed leaves. The leaves have consistent variegation patterns and colors. Its dramatic variegation is something that catches the eye. The white and cream-striped color sets it apart from Philodendron Brazil.

Philodendron rio plant

The glossy and variegated leaves make it a perfect plant for both home and office spaces. This is because it has stable foliage that does not vary from leaf to leaf. The leaves start with a light green and a silver shade in the center followed by the dark green color on the corners. It is the variegated foliage with shades of cream and silver that makes it more appealing.

When the light is too strong, the leaves turn a pale green shade. However, prolonged periods of direct, harsh sunlight can kill the plant. If the plant is kept in dark conditions, the leaves will have a dark green shade. So, too little light hampers the process of photosynthesis and slows down the plant’s growth.

What we’re getting at is that you have to find the right balance between too little and too much light, since that’s what the plant prefers.

– Roots

Healthy roots look plump and light. Whereas, a darker color indicates that there might be some infection or pest problem with the plant. Moreover, Philodendrons like to be a little bit root-bound, so frequent repotting is not required.

Philodendron Rio Care

Philodendron Rio has care requirements similar to other Philodendrons. Apart from the variegation patterns, the basic care of both Philodendron Brazil and Philodendron Rio remains the same. The actual growing potential will be determined by the location, season, and local weather.

So buckle up and get ready to learn all about its basic growth and care requirements.

– Light Requirements

Philodendron Rio grows well in medium to bright, indirect light. It can tolerate low-light conditions better than most other Philodendrons. It is a great plant for starters due to its adaptability to low light conditions.

Light Conditions for Philodendron rio

However, you do have to avoid direct sunlight as it could lead to burns and brown spots on the foliage. Keep it about six feet away from the window to avoid burns from direct sunlight.

On the contrary, very low-light and direct sunlight can make your plant leggy and cause the leaves to wilt. Sometimes, the plant may also lose its variegation due to unwanted or less light. So keep your plant in such a spot where it receives bright, indirect light during the day.

A south-facing window is a great spot. If you have placed your plant near a window, remember to keep it slightly away from open windows in winters. Strong western or southern window exposure for longer periods will make the leaves dry and pale.

– Water Requirements

Watering Philodendron Rio should be frequent like most other Philodendrons. Water them as soon as the top one to one and a half inches of soil dries out.

Frequent watering in summers keeps them healthy as it prefers moist soil at most times. However, you should slow down on watering during the winter months. Allow the first inch of the soil to dry out before watering again during the wintertime.

Water every two to three days in summer and once a week in winters. This frequency will change depending on other factors in your area. If it is too dry, you might have to increase the watering frequency and vice versa.

Check once or twice a week to see if the top few inches of the soil have dried. If it feels dry, water your plant thoroughly. Remember that too little water can cause brown patches on its leaves.

Dry and wilted foliage is a sign that your plant needs more water. At the same time, avoid overwatering your plant as it may cause root rot and fungal diseases.

– Soil Mix

Philodendron Rio prefers a loose, well-draining soil mix composed of regular soil and compost. Avoid reusing the older potting mix as you never know how long it has been sitting out. Instead, prepare a new soil mixture or use a ready-made, well-draining grow mix.

What’s more, you can add some perlite for additional drainage. Allow the soil to dry out a bit in winters so that the plant remains healthy in the long run. You can also add vermiculite and coco coir to improve soil quality throughout all seasons.

If you have ordered the plant online and it is small, keep it in sphagnum moss for a few days. When you see some new growth, plant it in a pot full of well-draining soil mix. Begin in a four-inch pot and shift to larger pots as the plant size increases.

– Temperature

Philodendron Rio grows well in the temperature range of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Although it can tolerate temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit too, avoid placing it outside if the weather is frosty. In winters, move the pot to a warmer spot indoors.

Also, avoid placing the plant in very high temperatures as water and humidity needs will increase. Try to avoid both extremes and keep your plant in moderate temperatures to keep it healthy and happy.

Curled or droopy leaves are usually a sign of shock due to frost. Leggy plants indicate very high temperatures. If the plant begins to get leggy, shift it to a cooler spot with less light. As we said before, avoid both extremes in temperatures and your plant will grow optimally.

Just keep in mind that Philodendron Rio is an easy plant but can be sensitive to sudden changes in temperatures.

– Humidity

Philodendron Rio likes to grow in 50 to 60 percent humidity levels. It can be a sensitive plant when it comes to humidity levels and temperature, so avoid sudden changes in humidity.

Keep Philodendron Rio Ideal Humidity Level

Keep the plant in a spot where it receives consistent levels of humidity most of the year. Shifting it repeatedly can make it go into a shock and its leaves drop as a result.

If the humidity levels are very low in your home, use humidifiers or humidity trays around the plant to keep the humidity level high. You can also prepare a humidity tray by filling some water and keeping pebbles in it and keeping the pot on top of this tray.

As the water evaporates, the plant will absorb moisture from the air. Another thing you can do is to group many plants to help maintain the humidity levels.

Moreover, keep your plant away from air conditioner vents as too much cold air without humidity can make it wilt. High humidity levels can make your plant leaves grow larger and shinier, but a lack of proper humidity levels can make the leaves look droopy and less glossy.

Keep the plant in a spot where there is a good balance of light, temperature, and humidity. As you might have gathered by now, extremes in any of these affect the plant’s growth negatively.

– Fertilizer

Philodendron Rio needs very little care and fertilization, although it does grow well if you feed it with a good-quality fertilizer monthly. From spring until autumn, fertilize your plant monthly, but do not fertilize if the winters are too extreme in your area. Resume fertilizing in spring when new growth begins to appear.

Use a good-quality balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer containing macro-nutrients to fertilize your plant. NPK 20:20:20 works quite well for its growth.

Use the fertilizer monthly for the best growth results and a nitrogen-rich fertilizer works best for that as it boosts growth immensely. If you are looking for a homemade solution, add coffee grounds to the soil regularly to keep the plant growing and keep its leaves vibrant.


Since Philodendrons like to be root-bound for some time, you do not have to worry so much about repotting them. But Philodendron Rio is a fast-grower and will eventually, after a couple of years, need some shifting.

Repot the plant only when you see it outgrowing the pot and it is possible to make more plants out of it. An easy way to determine if your plant needs repotting or not is by looking at its size. If it has doubled in size, it might need to be placed in a larger pot.

Shifting the plant every two to three years works well in encouraging new growth and providing the essential nutrients. The best time to shift plants is in spring when the plants show new growth. It gives them ample time to adjust to new environments without affecting their growth. Repotting at the right time also helps in replenishing the nutrients in the soil.


Propagate Philodendron Rio by keeping a few things in mind: divide it and make more plants out of the old one when it has outgrown the existing pot.

Soil Adjustment for Haworthia Retusa

To do that, gently pull out the plant without disturbing the roots. Try to separate the plant and see if some parts separate naturally. In any case, gently separate the intertwined parts with your hands and plant them in different pots.

Choose a pot that is at least two inches bigger than the previous one, when you want to propagate the plant. Do not fill the pot with soil to the top and leave one to two inches of the pots’ top empty for watering.

Water the plant thoroughly and leave it in a shaded spot for a few days before placing it in the final spot. You should always avoid direct sun as it can cause leaf burns.

You can also propagate Philodendron Rio in water if you like to see the root development. But we recommend propagating them directly in the soil as they develop roots quite easily in soil.

Its propagation is quite fast and works most of the time. Even if you are new to gardening, you should definitely try to propagate Philodendron Rio because it will give you a new plant with minimum effort.


Philodendron Rio is an easy-to-care-for plant, but sometimes, it does face certain problems such as root rot and loss of variegation. We have explained their causes and prevention below.

– Root Rot

Root rot is the result of either too much care or lack of care. It is difficult to save the plant from root rot but is possible if caught in the early stage.

The most common cause of root rot is over-watering. Some other causes of root rot are poor drainage, soil mix with little nutrients or a heavy soil mix, lack of air movement, and over-fertilization.

The plants show signs of root rot through their leaves and soil. Some signs of root rot include droopy leaves, brown spots on the foliage, and stunted growth. If you ignore these signs for too long, the plant may eventually die.

To avoid root rot, you should choose a pot with sufficient drainage holes and plant your Philodendron in a soil mix with a balance of all essential nutrients. Also, it’s a good idea to use an airy soil mix that provides enough air circulation around the plant roots.

Make sure that you drain your plant in water once a month to avoid salt buildup due to over-fertilization. The plant grows the best with little water and fertilization, so avoid using an excess of both.

– Loss of Variegation

Loss of variegation on the leaves is a very common issue faced by Philodendron Rio. Low-light conditions cause the plant to go leggy and it loses the variegation in its foliage.

Loss of variegation on the leaves

Move your plant to a brighter spot if the variegation begins to disappear. Keep your plant in a spot where it receives bright, curtain-filtered sunlight throughout the day.

To maintain a healthy Philodendron, remember to prune, clean, and repot your plant at the right time. Removing dry and dead leaves all year round and pruning in spring helps in fostering new growth. You should also clean the plant leaves every month to avoid fungal infections and clean the foliage using soft tissues. It helps in absorbing more light.


Is Philodendron Rio stable?

Yes, Philodendron Rio is generally stable and known for its hardiness and adaptability.

What are the benefits of Philodendron Rio?

Philodendron Rio offers benefits such as improved indoor air quality, enhanced aesthetics, and easy maintenance.

Can I mist Philodendron Rio leaves?

It’s recommended to avoid misting Philodendron Rio leaves as it can lead to fungal issues. Instead, provide indirect humidity by placing a tray of water nearby.


Philodendron Rio is easy to grow and requires little care and maintenance. So if you are looking for a fuss-free plant, then this hardy but exotic-looking plant is the one for you!

Let us summarize all the important points to be kept in mind before growing this beauty:

  • Philodendron Rio is a fast-growing, vining Philodendron native to the tropical rainforests of southern Brazil
  • It is popular for its elongated and variegated foliage that is derived from Philodendron Brazil, but the bright silver and white center striped variegation sets it apart from Philodendron Brazil.
  • It prefers medium to bright, indirect light to grow well. Too much or too little light can wilt its leaves and make the plant leggy. Moreover, keep the plant away from the window in hot summers and the colder winter months.
  • It needs regular watering and evenly moist soil to grow well, so water your Philodendron abundantly and frequently in spring and summer. Slow down in the winter months. Long gaps in the watering can cause the plant to wilt.
  • Prepare a well-draining and airy soil mix composed of loose soil, compost, and perlite.
  • It prefers moderate temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit to be healthy.
  • This tropical plant prefers high-humidity conditions but in homes, it can grow well in humidity levels of 50 to 60 percent.
  • It is not a heavy feeder but fertilizing once a month during spring and summer encourages new growth.
  • Take a Philodendron Rio cutting to propagate it in either water or soil. It is easier in the soil as the plant finds it easier to adjust directly in the soil.
  • The plant can face problems such as root rot and loss of variegation if you ignore some of its basic growth needs. Regular pruning, cleaning, and repotting the plant helps in keeping it free of such problems.
  • Repot your plant when it has outgrown the existing pot and there is no more scope for it to grow. The ideal time to repot is in early spring when new growth begins to appear.

The Heart-Shaped Philodendron is a must-have if you want a low-maintenance and good-looking plant!

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