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Philodendron hederaceum Growing Guide

Philodendron hederaceum Growing Guide

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Philodendron hederaceum is a vigorous grower and easy-to-care-for plant that can liven up a home. It practically thrives on neglect, making it a perfect choice if your thumb isn’t exactly the greenest.

In this article, we’ll dive into Heartleaf philodendron care in greater detail so you can raise this popular plant.

What Is Philodendron hederaceum?

The Philodendron hederaceum, also called Heartleaf philodendron, Sweetheart plant, and Philodendron micans, has heart-shaped dark green, light green, or bronze leaves and is known for its heart-shaped emerald leaves. 

Heartleaf philodendron houseplants can grow well near an east and north-facing window setting, and they can live in even low-light situations.

Origin And Family

From the genus Philodendron, the Heartleaf philodendron is native to the rainforest regions of Central America and the Caribbean. 

Discovered in 1793 by Captain William Bligh, this perennial climbing plant makes an excellent addition to any home.

This Philodendron is often mistaken for a Pothos plant. The main way to tell the difference is in the shine of the leaves. While Epipremnum (Pothos) has glossy leaves, the hederaceum has more matte-green leaves and the petioles are considered “entire,” instead of grooved.

Where To Buy

Philodendron hederaceum can be purchased in a nursery or a home improvement store. It’s better to buy it on Etsy, where you’ll likely find more affordable options. It frequently provides me with the opportunity to receive fantastic prices from plant enthusiasts who cultivate Philodendron hederaceum themselves.

Philodendron hederaceum ranges from $10 for cuttings to $60 for larger or more mature plants. Buy on Etsy.

philodendron hederaceum buy etsy

Philodendron hederaceum Plant Size

The Philodendron hederaceum grows to about 3-4 feet tall as a houseplant. This stunning evergreen climber prefers to be placed near an east or north-facing window and is considered a fast grower.

Philodendron hederaceum Care Needs

Like many other indoor plants, this tropical plant will flourish if you care for it correctly. With its unique heart-shaped leaves, this Sweetheart plant loves partial sunlight and needs evenly moist soil throughout the year.

Water your Philodendron when half of the soil is dry. When watering, allow it to drain from the holes along the bottom of the pot. In regards to light, this lovely plant thrives in bright indirect sunlight.

To see the various tips, check the specific care guidelines below.

Care Difficulty

In terms of care difficulty, the Philodendron hederaceum is easy-to-care-for, needing only simple light and the well-draining-soil requirements. It’s pest and disease resistant too, meaning you don’t need to put much thought into raising this beauty.

Growth Rate

The Philodendron hederaceum plant grows to a mature height of 3-4 feet. Their active growing season is between spring and summer.

The majority of Philodendron species, including the Heartleaf Philodendron, grow quickly.

Water

Heartleaf Philodendrons are partial sunlight-loving plants that need evenly moist soil throughout the year.

During the spring and summer, water your plant when half of the soil is dry. It doesn’t need too much water, so, if you’re using a collection tray, toss out the excess water to fend off root rot.

You can also use a self-watering planter, which is a great option if you don’t want to worry about watering as regularly.

self watering pots

In the winter months, you won’t need to water as much. Water your plants deeply but less frequently.

Potting

In terms of pot size, it’s generally acceptable to use a medium pot or anything that’s half a size bigger than the plant. Potting material isn’t a big deal for this plant, so you can use plastic, terracotta, or clay. Drainage is a big deal, so make sure your pot has holes in the bottom of it, so excess water can escape.

Philodendron plants do not like to sit in water and will get root rot without proper care.

Repotting

As your Philodendron hederaceum grows and expands, you might consider upgrading from your current pot to a new pot on an as-needed basis. Typically, this will occur every 2-3 years because sweetheart philodendron plants grow quickly.

In between potting changes, it’s a good thing to refresh your plant’s potting mix with a new moisture control potting soil to freshen up your hederaceum plant each year.

Soil

Heartleaf philodendron plants can grow well with a moisture control potting soil. Use peat moss or perlite to create your growing medium. Remember that your soil should be evenly moist to provide your Heartleaf Philodendron the environment it needs to thrive.

These potting mixtures are what we recommend:

Photo Title Price Buy
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting...image Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix 6 qt., Grows beautiful Houseplants, 2-Pack $12.96
Burpee, 9 Quarts...image Burpee, 9 Quarts | Premium Organic Potting Natural Soil Mix Food Ideal for Container Garden-Vegetable, Flower & Herb Use for Indoor Outdoor Plant $12.99
Sun Gro Horticulture...image Sun Gro Horticulture Black Gold 1310102 8-Quart All Purpose Potting Soil With Control, Brown/A $18.06
Miracle-Gro Potting Mix Miracle-Gro Potting Mix $16.99
FoxFarm Ocean Forest...image FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix Indoor Outdoor for Garden and Plants | Plant Fertilizer | 12 Quart + THCity Stake $19.99

Furthermore, appropriate drainage is necessary for the plant’s health in order to avoid disease, root rot, and other problems. This robust growing species, like other plants, appreciates proper drainage.

pH

For this Heartleaf Philodendron, you’ll need a soil pH of around 5.5-6.0, which is neutral to acidic. If you’re worried about pH, you can purchase a simple online pH test to check it. From there, there are a few tricks to either lowering or increasing your pH.

If you’re concerned that the pH of your Philodendron hederaceum is too high or low, you can use sulfur or aluminum sulfate to adjust it, respectively.

Light

For ideal growing conditions, give your Philodendron bright indirect light for at least 3-4 hours a day. It would grow well in an east-or-west-facing window. If you only have a south-facing window, move the plant inward about three feet so the light is less direct.

You’ll know your Heartleaf philodendron is getting too much light when its leaves and stems slowly burn and turn a rusty color, so do not leave it under direct sunlight for long periods. Instead, put it under partial shade for faster growth and glossy leaves. On the flip side, if this plant gets very little light, its leaves may grow smaller.

Drooping and yellow leaves can be a sign of too much light, but they can also be caused by low fertility. 

Fertilizer

A water-soluble fertilizer is ideal for the Philodendron hederaceum. JR Peters All Purpose Plant Food, for example, would work. During the spring and summer, feed the plant once a month.

In winter, you fertilize every other month. Simulate the nutrients Heartleaf Philodendron would normally obtain from the ideal conditions of Central America and the Caribbean, many of which are available in the soil. 

Read about this plant’s moisture control potting soil requirements in the section above.

Propagating Philodendron hederaceum

If you want to grow more Philodendron hederaceum, it can be done with the proper propagation method. Here are some steps to propagate this vigorous growing plant indoors.

Stem Cuttings In Soil

One of the best options for propagating Philodendron hederaceum is through stem tip cuttings in soil. If you don’t have your own plant for propagation, you can often purchase a cutting off of Etsy or Facebook marketplace. 

We usually propagate philodendrons from spring to summer, as it’s during the plant’s growing season. You want to choose a cutting that’s healthy and preferably newer growth – which you’ll find at the end of the Philodendron vine.

A cutting should be three inches at least and include a few leaves and a few nodes. Make sure you’re using sterile scissors for this part of the process.

Place the stem nodes in a damp potting soil cup and pinch the soil around the stem to help hold the baby plant in place.

No leaves should be buried in the soil. Place your container near a window in bright, indirect sunshine and keep the soil moist.

You can expect new roots in about 2-3 weeks!

Stem Cuttings In Water

To propagate in water, follow all of the same steps for harvesting a cutting in the section above, but place the stem in a cup of water – with nodes fully submerged and the leaves above the surface. 

Place the cutting in indirect light (I usually give my cuttings a bit stronger light than the mother plant), and you should see roots start to form in a couple of weeks.

At this point, you can either plant the cutting in soil, or you could technically keep growing it in water

The following are the steps for successfully taking stem cuttings and developing them in water.

Humidity

Philodendron hederaceum or Sweetheart plant is a vigorous grower perennial that prefers moderate to high humidity– for best results; we recommend you stay within 40% humidity.

If you’re concerned about humidity or if you see brown edges on your plants, consider getting a humidifier or placing your plant in a space naturally higher in moisture (like a bathroom or kitchen).

Temperature

Generally, cool temperatures are best for your Heartleaf Philodendron plant, but it can thrive in a temperature range of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

As with most houseplants, they like consistent temperatures. Keep this Philodendron away from vents, drafts, windows, and anywhere else that’s chilly.

Flowers

The Philodendron hederaceum rarely produces flowers indoors and requires a mature plant of more than 15 years old to bear its small white flowers.

Toxic

Sweetheart plants are considered toxic to humans (so keep out of reach of children), dogs, and cats. If any part of the plant is eaten, it can cause the following symptoms: oral irritation, pain and swelling of the tongue, mouth, and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

Care TypeCare Specifics
Botanical NamePhilodendron hederaceum
Common NameHeartleaf philodendron, Sweetheart plant, Philodendron Micans
Plant FamilyAraceae
OriginCentral America and the Caribbean
Plant Typeperennial
Leaf Shapeheart-shaped
Leaf Colordark green, light green, or bronze
Recommended Home Placementnear a north-facing window
Growth Ratefast
Lightbright indirect light
Soilmoisture control potting soil
When To WaterWater when half of the soil is dry.
When To Fertilizeonce a month during growing season
Preferred pH5.5-6.0
Humidity Range60-80%
Toxic To Pets?Yes - symptoms include Oral irritation, pain and swelling of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing
Common Pests & Diseasespowder mildrew, white flied, scale insects, yellow leaves, root rot, aphids, mealy bugs, drooping leaves

Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems

The Heartleaf philodendron is a disease and pest-resistant plant in most cases. However, there are certain frequent disorders that can wreak havoc on it. 

Below, we’ll go through some of the most common problems and methods for protecting your Philodendron hederaceum.

Spider Mites

Unfortunately, spider mites are pretty widespread, and Heartleaf Philodendrons are sometimes vulnerable. Spider mite damage appears on the Philodendron’s leaves as tiny brown or yellow patches. You might also see webbing.

Begin by spraying your Philodendron hederaceum with a sink nozzle with water. The spider mites are dislodged from the plant as a result of this. If the first treatment fails, an insecticidal oil like neem oil would come in handy.

Ladybugs can aid in reducing spider mite populations if you desire a more organic option. In addition, there’s an option known as the “spider mite destroyer,” which I don’t know a lot about – but the name speaks for itself!

Fungus Gnats

The fungus gnat is one of the most prevalent pests that infest Philodendrons. Their larvae can attack the roots of your vigorous grower plant, causing withering and poor growth.

Bottom watering, which involves placing your Heartleaf philodendron in a bowl of water, is one method for reducing fungus gnats. After about 10 minutes, the roots have absorbed the water, and the dirt in the pot is less damp. So your plant gets a drink, and the soil isn’t as appealing for gnat larvae.

Downy Mildew

Downy mildew is a fungus that mostly affects greenhouse-grown plants such as the Heartleaf Philodendron.

Downy mildew thrives in moist, cool environments. Your Heartleaf philodendron may become a breeding ground for this fungus since it should be kept uniformly moist.

If you see downy mildew, you should quarantine the plant so it doesn’t affect any other houseplants.

If you catch the fungus early, you can use a fungicide to bring your plant back from the brink. But if over 1/3-1/2 of the plant is covered in fungus, it may be best to throw it out and start again. I know this is sad, but it’s better to get rid of a single plant instead of your whole garden! 

If your plant is past the point of return, you could propagate a single (unaffected) stem and leaf. This could be a way to keep the plant you love alive in a new form.

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is a fungus that grows on your Philodendron hederaceum as a result of heat and inadequate air circulation. It is distinguished by the presence of grey or white patches on affected leaves or blossoms.

Powdery mildew can be treated with fungicides. In a pinch, mouthwash mixed with water can suffice.

White Flies

Whiteflies are gnat-like insects that consume the undersides of plant leaves.

Whiteflies are a severe issue in warm or tropical areas, particularly in greenhouses. Annual global economic losses are estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

When looking for the right pesticide, there’s a lot to consider. The following neonicotinoid chemicals are regularly used as active components in whitefly pesticides: clothianidin (commercial), dinotefuran (over-the-counter and commercial), imidacloprid (commercial), and thiamethoxam (commercial).

Scale Insects

Scale insects might appear as lumps on plant stems or branches on your Philodendron hederaceum. The tiny bugs usually stay put once they’ve latched on to a plant.

If your infestation isn’t too severe — on a single plant or part of a single plant — you can use a teaspoon of neem oil in four cups of water to help discourage fresh scale insects from attacking this vigorous grower houseplant. Similar to spider mites, you should take a spray bottle and vigorously spritz the plant.

While neem oil and other horticultural oils will not kill everything, they will undoubtedly cause some damage. There are numerous insecticide sprays for Sweetheart plants regarded as safe to treat this.

Aphids

Aphids can do some damage to your leaves, resulting in black and brown spots.

To get rid of aphids, use insecticidal soap or neem oil, or prepare your own with Ivory Liquid dish detergent (make sure it doesn’t have fragrances). 

Combine the soap and water in a low concentration (starting with one teaspoon per gallon and increasing as necessary). Thoroughly spray the plants, paying special attention to the undersides of the leaves.

Mealybugs Infestation

Mealybugs may infest your Philodendron hederaceum. These tiny parasites damage your Philodendron by sucking on the sap of the plant, and Mealybugs can weaken or kill your Heartleaf philodendron.

To fight against the mealybug invasion, the best thing to do is to take a cotton swab, soak it in rubbing alcohol, and rub it over the heart-shaped-shaped leaves and stem. I also recommend Neem oil mixed with water as a preventative spray.

Brown Leaf Tips

If the tops of your Heartleaf philodendron begin turning brown, it could mean it’s getting too much light. It can also be a sign that you need to increase the humidity in your home.  

Root Rot

The most important part of care for the Philodendron hederaceum is to avoid excessive wetness or dryness in the soil. Excessive moisture in the soil can induce root rot and other fungal diseases, as well as bacterial infections.

You must offer appropriate water to a healthy Heartleaf philodendron to keep it healthy. If you overwater it, the plant will succumb to any variety of illnesses that could otherwise be introduced. You should also make sure that the water is aerated enough to promote drainage.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a popular plant that’s hard to kill, the Philodendron hederaceum is a fine choice. While perhaps not as vibrant as some other Philodendron types, it’s still a very solid plant you should consider.

Can’t get enough of Philodendron plant guides? Check out this guide to some of our favorite Philodendrons on the market. 

Let's grow together!