Secrets To Growing Philodendron Birkin: A Beginner’s Guide
Philodendron ‘Birkin’ is a reasonably new cultivar on the market, and it’s taking the world by storm–– we think it might just be the perfect plant. Not only is it easy to grow indoors, this intriguing houseplant sports heart-shaped, glossy dark green leaves that look stunning in any home. Plant lovers everywhere are obsessed.
Philodendron Birkin (sometimes called the White Wave) is, hands down, one of our favorite indoor small plants we’ve seen this year, and it’s just as easy to care for as common houseplants, such as succulents and Monstera.
In this guide, we’ll look at how to care for Philodendron Birkin, as well as the best ways to troubleshoot potential problems with your houseplant.
A Word Of Birkin Caution
There is a lot of conjecture around the Philodendron Birkin, primarily because of its newness to the market. We’ve done our best to compile reports and data from credible sources, but some data across the globe – whether in the United States, New Zealand, or China – conflicts. This guide will provide the most recent and relevant info on the Philodendron Birkin, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on these recommendations quite yet. As more information and testing becomes available, we will make updates. Until then, feel free to experiment with this beautiful cultivar from the comfort of your home.
Philodendron Birkin Plants Details
This article provides a deep dive into the ins and outs of growing Philodendron Birkin plants. It will end up being very long (spoiler alert), and you may not have time for that. For your convenience, we’ll add some quick facts below. If you need more information, you can scroll down and see full details and recommendations.
- Scientific/Common Name: Philodendron Birkin
- Genus: Philodendron
- Scientific Family: Araceae Family
- Origin: It’s thought that the Philodendron Birkin started as a mutation of the Philodendron “Rojo Congo” and was then separated and cultivated.
- Mature Height: 19″ to 38″ (Note: this is such a young cultivar that this data could change as new information becomes available)
- Distinguishing Features: Dark green leaves with dramatic variegated pinstripe lines – the Philodendron Birkin variegation is its most distinguishing feature.
- Home Placement: You can place the Philodendron anywhere in the home with indirect light. The other main requirement for healthy Philodendron Birkin’s is high humidity. Because of this, a restroom or kitchen is often considered a good place for this houseplant to grow.
— joey isip (@jo_plant_daddy) January 15, 2021
- Growth Speed: Slow to moderate
- Light Requirements: Philodendron Birkin prefers bright, indirect light. This helps promote healthy growth and mimic the growing conditions of a Philodendron’s natural habitat on a tropical forest floor. Consider placing your houseplant in a west or southeast window. If you notice that your leaves are yellowing, you may be giving it too much light.
- Watering Requirements: Typically, you only need to water the Philodendron Birkin plant once weekly. Let your soil dry out between waterings.
- Soil Requirements:
- The Philodendron Birkin prefers a soil or other growing medium that retains a little moisture but doesn’t hold water. Try a rich peat-based soil or potting mix. If you’re not getting the drainage you need, you should consider repotting and adding perlite.
- Temperature: At a minimum, the temperature for a Philodendron Birkin is 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 5-10 more than that during the day. The ideal temperature is 65-70 during the night and 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit during the day.
- Fertilizer: Balanced, water-soluble fertilizer should be applied once a week during all seasons but winter. During winter, you’ll typically only need to fertilize your Philodendron Birkin once a month.
- Humidity: Since Philodendron Birkin is a tropical plant, it requires high humidity. Try staying between a range of 60-70% humidity. A humidifier can help with this, or you can place your houseplant in a high-humid space, such as a bathroom or sauna. A hygrometer can help you monitor humidity.
- Flowering:You won’t likely see Philodendron Birkin plants flower indoors. It’s a designer plant that primarily propagates through stem cuttings.
- Pruning: The main reason to prune your Birkin is to remove dead or discolored leaves and stems. Cut below the area in question. This will remove any disease before it can spread to other limbs, and it will direct energy toward the creation of healthy new leaves.
- Propagation: Stem cuttings are easily propagated in soil or water.
- Repotting: Annual repotting in spring will help immensely.
- Diseases and Pests: High humidity and overwatering can cause various issues such as powdery mildew, botrytis, bacterial leaf spot, and root rot.
- Toxicity: The Philodendron Birkin is toxic to children and pets if ingested
- Where To Buy: You can purchase Philodendron Birkin through Etsy, one of the best places to buy houseplants online. Here are some of the top-rated places to buy the Philodendron Birkin.
- Tropical Plants FL ($39.95)
- Honey Plant Co ($25.99)
- Planttopia ($16.00)
- Main Line Plants ($26.00)
Philodendron Birkin Plants: Family and Origin
Philodendron Birkin is a member of the Philodendron genus in the Araceae family (sometimes called Aroids). Philodendrons come from Central and South America (Brazil, Paraguay, etc.) and grow in Asia. There are 489 plants in the Philodendron Genus, making it the second-largest member of the Aceraceae family. Of those, about ten are considered houseplants. The name Philodendron comes from the Greek words “Philo,” meaning love, and “dendron,” meaning tree.
Philodendrons were collected as early as 1644 by Georg Marcgraf, but Charles Plumier first classified the genus. The Philodendron has specific traits that make it a good houseplant. First and foremost, it’s relatively simple to find new characteristics of Philodendron and propagate entirely new cultivars, and it’s easy to mix and match traits. This is why you might see new cultivars of Philodendron popping up every few years, such as the Philodendron Birkin.
And because Philodendrons typically grow under the canopy of tropical places, they’re used to indirect light and moderate temperatures. This is similar to the climate in most homes, give or take some humidity.
Where Did The Philodendron Birkin Come From?
The Philodendron Birkin’s origin is still a little fuzzy, and it has started appearing on message boards, journals, and blogs in late 2019 and early 2020. The Birkin seems to be a spontaneous mutation of the Philodendron Rojo Congo, and it was then separated from the original plant and propagated as a new hybrid. It seems Birkins were introduced out of China and slowly made their way to New Zealand and the U.S.
Concerns About Phildendron Birkin Stability
There’s some concern about the stability of the Philodendron Birkin. Since it’s such a new cultivar, there hasn’t been enough time to see how it develops. Some people report the ideal Philodendron Birkin, with dark, glossy-green leaves and linear variegated white stripes. Still, others see Philodendron Birkins with no lines and light green leaves – and some end up looking like Rojo Congo. And there have been several concerns of these houseplants “reverting,” meaning they lose traits that make them look like the Philodendron Birkin we all know and love.
Philodendron Birkin Toxicity
Like other Philodendrons, the Philodendron Birkin contains many calcium oxalate crystals. This is considered toxic to cats, dogs, and even small children. Though small amounts ingested generally result in only mild symptoms in most cases. There are some reports of dogs and cats having extreme symptoms, such as severe ocular pain, conjunctival swelling, and severe inflammation, and these symptoms are rare. If your pet has ingested a leaf or stem of the Philodendron Birkin, start by rinsing out the mouth and then calling your veterinarian.
Other Philodendron’s in the Araceae Family
There are hundreds of Philodendrons currently classified, and they’re known for their typical large leaves and aerial roots. Beyond Philodendron Birkin, here’s the top list of Philodendrons to grow as houseplants:
- Philodendron erubescens (Pink Princess)
- Philodendron Moonlight
- Philodendron bipinnatifidum (Selloum, Hope Plant)
- Philodendron White Knight
- Philodendron hederaceum (Heartleaf, Sweetheart)
- Philodendron Xanadu (Winterbourne)
- Philodendron Micans (Velvet-leaf Philodendron)
- Philodendron Gloriosum
- Philodendron Brasil (Cream splash, Silver stripe)
You can check out many of these varieties on either Etsy or Amazon.
— Michelle Vitztum (@MVitztumMPH) June 22, 2020
Philodendron Birkin Traits
Like many Philodendrons, the Birkin has glossy oval leaves with slight creamy-white variegation. Each leaf has slightly different marks on its broad-shaped leaves. These white pinstripe lines only appear when the indoor plant has reached maturity, so you typically won’t see them on new leaves. It’s also known to sport a lime-green stem that contrasts nicely with the color of the leaves.
Are Philodendron Birkins Rare?
With its dark green foliage, the Philodendron Birkin is one of the rarest houseplants. The gorgeous leaves are variegated with a bright yellow hue. Birkins stand out from the other houseplants and provide uniqueness to your environment.
How Big Does A Philodendron Birkin Get?
The Philodendron Birkin can grow between one and a half feet to just over three feet in height. If you need to manage your houseplant size, you can prune mature leaves, resulting in flourishing new leaves.
Do Philodendron Birkins Climb?
Though its stems and leaves can become long and leggy, Philodendron Birkin is not considered a climbing variety. But with biannual pruning, it will keep its bushier form. If the Philodendron Birkin can grow without pruning, the leaves can spread up to eight inches in diameter.
How Do You Care For A Philodendron Birkin?
If you know what you’re doing, Philodendron Birkin Care is not a particularly difficult plant to care for. During the first 12 weeks of growth in your new plant, apply mulch and water often. Provide lots of robust growth through filtered light for the best effects. Avoid overwatering by insulating it from the cold and keeping it wet during warmer weather. Philodendrons thrive in moist environments, so spray them often to keep them healthy. During the growing season (spring and summer), it is crucial to provide enough light for this philodendron plant as this is the best time to maximize optimal growth.
Light for Philodendron Birkin
Does the Birkin Philodendron need a lot of light? Like many tropical plants, Philodendron Birkin grows best in bright indirect light. Indirect sunlight mimics how Philodendrons live under the canopy in a tropical forest, resulting in optimal growth. Bright indirect light means the sunlight reaches this compact plant but is not directly pelting it with its rays.
You want to find a space around the house where the sun casts a soft shadow. If you decide to place your Philodendron Birkin on a windowsill, make sure it’s not getting too much light. Consider putting it in a west-facing window or an east-facing window. These typically have less intense sunlight than north or south-facing windows.
It’s essential to keep your Philodendron Birkin in a sweet spot between too much light and too much darkness. You could potentially scorch the leaves with direct sun and even kill the plant. But with too little light, your Birkin’s leaves could sag and fall off.
If your home isn’t in the Goldilocks zone for light, you may need to supplement the natural rays with a grow light. You can see a few of our favorite options here. It’s crucial that you only light your Philodendron Birken for 12-13 hours a day, and too much daylight (and not enough darkness) can be harmful. Also, be sure that your grow light doesn’t overheat your houseplant, which needs to remain at temperatures of 60-75ºF.
Ford – my #philodendronbirkin is throwing out his new leaf SO quickly🥰
🪴 i use my personal, chunky soil mix – prefers medium/bright indirect light; water when soil is almost fully dry and plant fertilize monthly at most 🪴 pic.twitter.com/wuerKKd58Z
— 𝖒𝖎𝖘𝖘 𝖝 𝖒𝖔𝖓𝖘𝖙𝖊𝖗𝖆 🪴 (@missxmonstera) March 21, 2021
What Kind Of Soil Do Philodendron Birkins Like?
Philodendron Birkins grow best in loose soil or other growing mediums high in organic matter with good drainage. They will grow in sphagnum peat moss (or peat moss potting mix), as well as peat-perlite and peat vermiculite. The benefit of peat moss and sphagnum moss is that their texture allows water to drain nicely, protecting your Birkin from root rot or other water-related issues.
Water for Philodendron Birkin
Like most Philodendrons, the Birkin prefers moist, but not soggy, soil. Make sure you never allow your potting mix or soil to dry out completely. According to the University of Connecticut, you’ll want to use ample water to keep your leaves growing uniformly. But much like light intensity, you need to have a happy balance with the Philodendron Birkin’s moisture level. While it needs lots of H20 to grow, too much – or poor drainage – can cause injury to the roots. Too much water can also cause leaves to fall off or turn yellow. So make sure you have moist soil, but don’t get carried away.
Potting for Philodendron Birkin
Philodendrons are perfect houseplants. They grow at a moderate temperature and require a reasonable amount of light. These houseplants also grow well in indoor containers. You’ll want them to have enough room to grow – generally a 10-20″ diameter, 10″ deep pot. You want room for the roots to be loose, which will result in healthier plants. We recommend repotting when the roots have reached the bottom of your pot. At this point, you should consider a larger size.
Make sure that whatever vessel you choose has at least one drainage hole to release excess water. Water-logged soil is the best way to kill this beautiful plant –– and well, any house plant for that matter. If you’ve got a plastic nursery pot, it likely already has drainage holes in it. If your current vessel does not, consider getting a new pot, perhaps from somewhere as simple as Home Depot. It doesn’t have to be a larger pot or anything fancy.
Fertilizer for Philodendron Birkin
The glossy-green variegated leaves signature to the Philodendron Birkin need fertilizer to stay healthy and grow. All types of fertilizer formulated for houseplants will work well for the Birkin, whether that’s power, pellet, tablet, or liquid. Typically, though, the liquid fertilizer is suitable for balanced fertilization. Ensure the variety you choose includes the micro-nutrients your Birkin needs, such as Calcium, magnesium, and Nitrogen.
Be sure only to apply fertilizer to moist soil. It’s generally better/safer to fertilize in a smaller amount than a single, more extensive feeding. Too much fertilizer can damage the plant. You should typically water this lovely plant with fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer and once every 1.5 to 2 months in autumn and winter.
Humidity for Philodendron Birkin
Philodendron Birkins are native to tropical areas and usually struggle in dry climates. To thrive, they need moderate to high humidity levels. To create the perfect humid environment, you can do one of a few things. First, you could simply spray the plant’s foliage with a spray bottle. You could also get a humidifier that can create the humidity levels your Birkin needs. Alternative methods include using a pebble tray and creating a microclimate by placing several houseplants in a single area.
Beautiful Birkins! These Philodendrons love high humidity and an east or west-facing window, but don’t want to be in any direct sunlight.#PhilodendronBirkin #PlantShop #PlantShopYYC #PlantsForThePeople pic.twitter.com/gU7iTJLHmH
— Plant (@Plantshopyyc) January 23, 2021
Slow growing on this gorgeous plant could be caused by the dry air of the winter months. Drafty windows or the low light of December will stunt even a mature plant. If you notice that the beautiful leaves are taking an incredibly long time to develop, try adjusting the room temperature or the extent to which you provide full sun to this beautiful houseplant. Wiping the leaves with a damp cloth or introducing a small humidifier may also be a good option for pushing this philodendron variety through to the summer months.
Propagating Philodendron Birkin
Philodendron Birkin is so beautiful that it’s easy to see why you’d want to make more (without going back to the store). There are a few different ways to propagate your Philodendron Birkin – we usually recommend methods that require stem cuttings.
The YouTube channel Onlyplants does a great job of walking you through the process step by step:
Pruning Your Philodendron Birkin
The main reasons for pruning your Philodendron are if the plant is taking up too much space or the plant’s stems are looking too leggy. Typically, you’ll want to prune in either the spring or fall and be sure to use pruning shears to create a clean cut. Also, throughout the year, you can safely give your Birkin a light trim, removing any yellowing leaves or areas infected by pests or disease.
Do Philodendron Birkin houseplants have vines?
Unlike many other philodendron cultivars, the Philodendron Birkin does not have vines. The Philodendron Birkin is known for its small white leaves, white pinstripes on variegated leaves, and a general striking contrast jutting off of each leaf node.
Can A Philodendron Birkin Revert?
There is some discussion and concern about the stability of the Philodendron Birkin. Since it’s such a new cultivar, there are a lot of unknowns. But there have been reports that the Birkin plants, produced with tissue culture, can revert to their parent plant – a Rojo Congo. There’s also the possibility that Philodendron Birkin can mutate into something else entirely. Even if the plant looks like the perfect Philodendron Birkin, there’s a possibility that the new leaves come in without the same white variegation we have come to expect with this houseplant.
Potential Birkin Problems
Among other common problems, yellow leaves could be a sign that your Philodendron Birkin plant is receiving too much light. Move the plant into a space where the sun’s rays aren’t directly shining upon your plant.
While it seems counterintuitive, dry leaves could be a sign that your plant is receiving too much water. Make sure your potting mix allows for good drainage.
Brown Spots on Leaves
Brown spots on leaves can signify that the air is too dry. You may need to improve the humidity in the room. One easy way to do this is by misting the plant regularly with a spray bottle.
You may also detect “spider webs” at the leaf-stem junction or even on the leaf underside. The spider mites weave these webs to defend themselves from predators and create some refuge. “Cobwebs?” I wondered when I first saw them. Then I remembered Spider Mite webbing and rushed the pot into a room devoid of plants. Isolation is the first treatment!
Buying The Birkin
The Philodendron Birkin is one of our favorite houseplants of the year. And we’ve started to notice sellers popping up around the country, meaning that this houseplant is becoming more and more accessible. And the more growers, the more likely they’ll work out the kinks with this unique cultivar. We have high hopes for the Birkin, and we hope you give it a try.