Philodendron brandtianum is also known as philodendron silver leaf, and aka philodendron brandi. It is native to tropical areas and can be grown as both climbing and hanging plants. It produces olive green, and heart-shaped leaves which are distinguished by the presence of silver and white stripes, and patches. These plants are significantly important for air purification due to their excellent pollutant removal properties. These plants are greatly easy to grow and hard to kill. Thus, it is an ideal plant to grow at homes with minimal care and management. This plant is known to be native to Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru. This plant is unique in the fact that it can be grown as an epiphyte, hemi-epiphyte, and terrestrial plant.
While the height and size of the plant are greatly dependent on prevailing climatic conditions and the right application of inputs. Generally, the indoor growing plant can attain a maximum height of about five to six feet. While outdoor growing plants can reach a significant length. The leaf length is variable between four to seven inches and can grow to a maximum length of 12 inches. This plant undergoes various morphogenetic stages, and its physical appearance is changed many times during the growing phase. This plant is silver leaf philodendron and is different from the silver satin Pothos. Usually, people are considering these plants like the same ones but there are significantly major differences among these two plants.
Philodendron brandtianum grows well in the USDA zone of 9b-11. It is a hardy plant and can easily tolerate some fluctuation in the growing conditions and mismanagement. However, in areas other than this zone, growers must maintain the optimal conditions to assure the best growth because they cannot tolerate too many unfavorable conditions.
Soil and pH Requirements
Use the fertile growing mix and soil with a good drainage capacity to get the best growth results. These plants need more water than the other houseplants, but the drainage of excess water is essentially important. The use of fertile soil causes a significant increase in growth. The addition of compost, organic materials, compost tea, eggshells, and well-managed kitchen waste is also helpful to improve growth on a sustainable basis. Better growth can be observed by maintaining the soil pH between 6.1-7.3. Soils in the different regions have variable physical, chemical, and biological properties.
Soil fertility, pH, and nutrient absorption can be enhanced by adding specific amendments to the soil. Soil testing before adding any inputs is an ideal way to get an idea about its constituents and what more is required. Growers can contact local agricultural extension services, services of private companies, and soil and water testing laboratories. Usually, agricultural researchers and laboratory scientists also provide details about the use of specific amendments and organic substances. The addition of compost, organic matter, sphagnum peat moss, and perlite is helpful to improve its drainage, water holding capacity, and nutrient provision capacity.
This plant needs indirect and bright light like the other philodendron plants. Direct placement of the plant in the intense and scorching light can cause foliage burning. Growers can also place shade cloths on the plants to provide filtered light. Ideally, this plant can be placed in outdoor conditions and on the porch. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause fading and yellowing of the beautiful olive-colored leaves.
This plant is native to tropical areas and requires good watering for better growth and development. It requires watering at least three times a week during the summer seasons, but watering frequency and intensity should be reduced in the winter and spring. The watering requirements of plants are greatly variable according to prevailing climatic conditions. water only when the top two to three inches of the soil is dried.
Checking the soil moisture status by inserting the fingers in it is the best way to get an idea about its watering requirements. Avoid leaf wetting during watering as it may cause disease development, insect pest attacks, and foliage problems. Many growers have reported that overwatering causes leaf dropping during the winter months. However, this plant enjoys humid and damp conditions in the summer season. So, there should be a regular adjustment of the watering schedule according to seasonal variation.
The ideal growing temperature for the philodendron brandtianum ranges between 18-35 degrees Celsius. Growers can move the plant in the outdoor place during the summer conditions. Must place the plants indoors in the winters as frost can kill the plants. Avoid harsh temperatures around the plants and keep the plants away from vents, radiators, heaters, and air-conditioners. This plant can tolerate light frost and the growth is resumed at the start and mid of the spring season. The optimal daytime temperature for this plant is between 20-25 degrees Celsius and the average optimal nighttime temperature ranges between 12-18 degrees Celsius.
This plant needs about 60-70% humidity for better survival and growers must maintain the ideal humidity in its surroundings. The humidity levels for indoor plants can be improved by the water misting and placing the plant in the moisture-filled pebble trays. Regular misting is not a good approach as it may cause bacterial and fungal infections and disease attacks. So, growers should do misting occasionally to promote aeration and to protect the growing plants from root rotting and fungus.
The application of water-soluble and liquid fertilizers is significantly important to provide a steady supply of nutrients to the growing plants. Unfertilized plants have a slower growth rate and stunted appearance. Feeding the philodendron brandtianum plants with slow-release, water-soluble and general-purpose fertilizer is helpful to improve the growth and development. There is no need to fertilize the plants during the cold months. Feeding the growing plants at least once a month during the summer and spring seasons is greatly recommended.
The use of synthetic fertilizers can cause the buildup of salts in the soil and exerts negative effects on the soil biodiversity. Thus, the natural capacity of the soil to release nutrients for plant uptake is reduced. Whereas the use of organic fertilizers greatly improves all physical, chemical, and biological soil properties. These fertilizers also support the beneficial microbial communities and suppress pathogenic populations.
This plant develops leaves in a close association with both climbing and trailing habits. Therefore, it requires good pruning one to two times a year. The denser leaves and foliage hinder the proper air circulation and the retention of water drops can cause adverse effects on its health and development. Removal of dead and damaged leaves is also critically important to improving to improve beauty and looks of the plant.
Philodendron Brandtianum Growing Tips and Guide
- Follow all instructions to grow this plant both in indoor and outdoor conditions.
- Purchase the plant, or cuttings from reliable and recommended sources only.
- Use good quality soil, and potting mix to grow the plant. Always perform testing analysis to check the feasibility of soil to be used for growing.
- The use of contaminated resources can negatively affect its growth and also causes concerns for the pets, children, and environment.
- Always grow the plant in the recommended environmental conditions or grow zones. Manage the indoor temperature exactly according to the needs of growing plants.
- Use devise for monitoring the temperature, pH, humidity, and aeration in the surroundings.
- Never place the plants near the air conditioners, heaters, and vents.
- Regularly check the health of plants and the presence of insect pests, and diseases.
- Always prioritize the use of organic management measures than the use of synthetic chemicals.
- Keep the plant away from the reach of children, and pets.
- Adjust the watering, and fertilization schedule according to the exact needs of plants.
- Replace the water from the container after every few days if it is grown in the water.
- Use contaminant-free water for watering the plants and always test the water quality in terms of physical, chemical, and biological aspects.
- Prune the growing plants according to their needs.
- Immediately remove the diseased, infected, and dead plant parts.
Philodendron Brandtianum Propagation Methods: Step by Step Guide
- This plant is well known for its ease of propagation.
- Take the cuttings from healthy growing stems and plants during the growing season.
- The obtained cuttings can be placed both in the water and soil for further growth and development.
- Growers can also grow this plant permanently in the water.
- Fill a clear container or jar with the contaminant-free and good quality water. The use of tap water is not a good approach as it may contain impurities. However, if tap water of a certain area is good enough, it can be used for growing the plants.
- Leave space of about one inch near the mouth of the jar or container.
- Allow the water to settle overnight as it favors the chlorine evaporation and chances of damage to the newly obtained cuttings can be reduced.
- Take 5-8 inches long cutting from disease-free, and vigorously growing plants.
- Cut the stems immediately below the nodes with the help of sharp gardening clippers, knives, scissors, or shears.
- Remove all the leaves on the stems and only allow two nodes to stay on the stem.
- Place the leafless cutting having nodes in the water.
- Keep the container in the bright but indirect light to support maximum growth and development.
- Replace the water regularly after the three days to avoid the buildup of toxic materials and pathogenic populations.
- Root growth will be evident within 10-21 days of placing cuttings in the water.
- Growers can plant these cutting in the potting mix or soil or can also support the growth in water-filled containers.
Air Layering Philodendron Brandtianum
- Select a healthy growing stem and carefully place a cut of 1-1.5 inches immediately below the nodes.
- Prepare sphagnum moss or the contaminant-free organic and carefully wrap this around the cuttings.
- Secure the moss in its place by using first-aid tape or plastic wrap.
- The appearance of roots will be evident after 3-4 weeks of performing the above-mentioned practice.
- The cutting is ready for planting in the water containers, and potting mix, or soil.
Philodendron Brandtianum Potting and Repotting.
This plant is ideal for growing in terrestrial pots, terrariums, and hanging baskets. So growers can select any container according to their preferences and growing requirements. Repotting is required if this plant is cramped and crowded at its place or in the container. Small-sized pots and containers cannot support the larger growth of roots and stems and the growth is stopped at a specific point. The plant must be repotted at this point to assure better growth and development. Usually, this plant requires repotting in two to three years. It is important to note that the health and length of the plant can be greatly improved by keeping its roots loose. In this way, roots can get more oxygen, moisture, and nutrients and support the vigorous growth of philodendron brandtianum.
Philodendron Brandtianum Common Problems and How to Manage
Bringing newer plants in the homes may pose serious contamination threats and insect pest attacks. Purchasing the plants from reliable stores is helpful to get good results. Disinfecting the new plants with alcohol-dipped swabs and washing with soap-based solutions is a good choice to get rid of pests and disease spread. However, the growing plants are always prone to insects and diseases as any mismanagement and fluctuation make plants more susceptible.
Leaf drooping in the philodendron brandtianum is caused due to various biotic and abiotic stresses. However, the common reason for drooping includes excessive watering, over-fertilization, downy mildew, and mealybugs. Growers can easily avoid the problem by maintaining the right growing conditions and keeping a good eye on plant health.
Philodendron brandtianum requires appropriate watering for healthier growth. Both overirrigation and under irrigation can cause a significant problem for its growth and development. This plant requires more moisture and humidity than the other plants, but mismanaged watering may cause the browning of leaves. Water the plant thoroughly until there is an emergence of water from the drainage holes. Wait for the drying of the soil before scheduling the next watering. Although this plant needs more water, it is not capable of surviving in overly wet and soggy soil.
This problem is caused by overfertilization, and this problem can be greatly avoided by adjusting the fertilizer application according to the requirements of growing plants. Thoroughly watering the plant in the clean sink or under the shower is also a good approach to remove excessive fertilizer. Repotting is also a recommended practice to avoid the adverse effects of the excessively applied slow-released fertilizer.
This problem occurs when there is an appearance of reddish-brown colored larger spots with irregular shapes, and yellow centers. Growers can avoid this problem by the timely removal of damaged leaves and avoiding overwatering. Drain the excessive water in the tray and saucer because it is also a major reason for leaf spots and root rotting.
Excessive soil moisture and overwatering the plant cause fungal and bacterial infections and root rotting. Growers can easily avoid the problem by adjusting the watering schedules and early detecting and treating the fungal and bacterial attacks and diseases. The plants growing in the excessively wet soil are deprived of oxygen and are not able to breathe appropriately. Thus, the functioning of roots for nutrient absorption, and metabolic activities is reduced, and the growth of plants is stunted. The use of well-drained soils improves the aeration, and drainage and helps to minimize the chances of root rotting.
The appearance of V-Shaped Yellow Areas
The appearance of V-shaped yellowish areas on the leaves is most common in cool greenhouses. This problem is associated with magnesium deficiency and can be easily avoided by the right management and control of the fertilization practices. Application of one teaspoon or calculated amount of magnesium sulfate per one gallon of good quality water is helpful to avoid V-shaped yellow leaf areas. Magnesium sulfate is easily available in fertilizer shops and gardening stores.
Cold injuries on this plant cause appearance of dark green and brown blotches between the veins of the leaves. Growers can avoid cold injuries by the maintenance of the right growing environment according to its requirements. Management of the outdoor environment is a difficult task, but they can always protect the plants by moving the containers or pots indoors. Indoor temperature monitoring devices are easily available in the markets and their use helps to improve the sustainability of indoor growing.
It is caused by the Erwinia caratovora PV. carotovora E. chrysanthemi causes the development of dark green and small spots on the leaves. These spots rapidly spread and expand to the petioles and cause collapsing of leaves in a wet rot that produces a foul smell. This problem can be easily avoided by minimizing the overhead watering. Immediate removal of infected leaves is greatly recommended to avoid further spread of the problem. Careful watering with detailed monitoring is also helpful to protect leaf surfaces and petioles from wetting.
Bacterial Leaf Spot
It causes the appearance of translucent spots on the margins of leaves that becomes reddish-brown having yellowish halos. The size of these spots is also increased with time and they become more irregular shaped, and tan. It is caused by the Xanthomonas campestris PV. Dieffenbachia and the problem can be avoided by avoiding the overhead watering. Removal of infected leaves and purchasing the plants from reliable sources help to minimize the chances of this disease.
Philodendron brandtianum is commonly infested by spider mites and their populations can be seen on leaf borders and axils. Their presence is evident after watering and plant disturbances. Wipe the leaves with soap-based formulations or alcohol-dipped cotton swabs.
These insects survive well in the warmer areas and are commonly found on almost all houseplants. Their heavy infestation causes stunted growth and death of Philodendron brandtianum. These are soft-bodied and tiny insects and are surrounded by the white, fuzzy stuff on the leaf nodes and stems. These insects are very dangerous for the plants as they feed on the sap and thus photosynthetic capacity, and metabolic activities of plants are reduced.
Scales can be identified by the presence of lumps on their stems. Numerous bugs attacks these plants and the grower may confuse the presence of certain insects with different names. Light infestation of scales can be easily treated by using neem oil and water sprays. The application of horticultural oils helps control the pests but does not completely kill the pest populations. Introduction of ladybugs and other predators for biological control is also the best way to get rid of scales and other insect pests.
Aphids feed on this plant by eating their leaves and can be identified by the presence of brown and black leaf areas. Their populations can be controlled by using dish detergents, Ivory liquids, neem oil, and insecticidal soaps. Detergents and soaps that do not contain additives and perfumes are more effective against aphids. Also, check the lower sides of the leaves because pests also infest these parts.
Is the Philodendron Brandtianum a toxic plant?
This plant contains certain toxic compounds and can cause swelling, vomiting, breathing difficulties, and skin irritation. Swallowing its leaves and foliage may also cause mouth burning and irritation. It contains higher levels of calcium oxalate crystals, so its toxic and allergic nature is attributed to the presence of this compound. Growers must avoid the contact of this plant with pets and children to avoid serious problems.
How to support the Philodendron Brandtianum?
This is a well-known houseplant and can be easily trained for climbing. It has aerial roots, and its climbing growth can be supported by using different kinds of the trellis. Provision of damp and rough support is more helpful than the latticework and stakes. Many experienced gardeners and researchers have reported that sphagnum moss poles are greatly helpful for supporting this plant. Growers can easily make moss stuffed poles at home by rolling up hardware cloth to make a cylinder. The use of copper mesh is the best choice because it has rust-proof properties. Tie this wire with the cylinder sides and stuff it with the good quality wet sphagnum moss. There is no need to fill the parts that will be below the soil.
Growers can also make the covered pole by using PVC pipe. Tape a specific piece of copper wire or finishing line with the one end of the pole and wrap some sphagnum moss pieces around this pipe. Tightly secure the moss in its place by securely winding the copper wire. Insert the good support in the central point. Plant Philodendron brandtianum around this pole and tie this pole to some veins by using gardening tape or twine. Frequently mist the sphagnum moss to keep it moist for efficient functioning.
Is this plant rare or abundantly available?
This is a rare plant and is not available at all gardening stores and shops. Many shops and gardening stores are not selling locally because of their adaptation and survival in specific climatic conditions.
What growers can do to revive the infected philodendron brandtianum?
As a general rule, the infected plants must be isolated from the other plants and the same gardening tools should never be used for healthy and infected plants. Cut the yellow and brown leaves with clean shears and scissors and wash these cutting tools soon after use. The plants from the extreme yellowing, dead stems, and leaf falling can be saved by using the dry plants’ resuscitation process. Place the infected plant in the basin or sink and fill it with water. Again, it is important to note that water quality is a major concern and only clean water should be used for this purpose.
Let the plant stay in water for a few hours so that it can absorb the maximum water. Drastic pot submersion is also helpful for this purpose. Cut the brown and yellowish leaves and supply liquid fertilizer to help a plant grow in a better way. Moistening of potting soil instead of wetting is also essentially helpful in this perspective. Carefully monitor the plants for the next few weeks and adjust the care and management practices according to their needs.