Heartleaf Philodendron

Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron scandens) Plant Care

Heartleaf Philodendron, which also goes by the scientific name of Philodendron scandens (Philodendron hederaceum) already conquered the heart of many houseplant enthusiasts. It does so with its beautiful, glossy, heart-shaped leaves.

Another good reason why the Heartleaf Philodendron is that popular is probably the fact that it is pretty easy to care for. 

And it just looks so damn good, no matter if you are having it on your table in a regular pot, in a hanging basket or even trained to a moss pole. 

Now, without further ado, let us have a look at the ideal plant care for this wonderful evergreen perennial plant.   

 

Heartleaf Philodendron Plant Care Basics

 

Soil

Heartleaf Philodendron likes a peaty potting soil mix. 

Aim for a soil pH value between 6 and 7. You can easily check the soil PH by using a soil meter

The cool thing about these meters is that they often offer 3-in-1 functionality: Soil pH, moisture level and sunlight intensity. So besides pH levels, you can also use these meters to adjust your watering routine and even to make sure that your leafy friend is getting an adequate amount of sunshine.

 

Light

As a tropical jungle plant, Philodendrons generally prefer humid and bright spots. Heartleaf Philodendron, however, feels comfortable with moderate light.

Even in winter, when lots of plants struggle due to different light conditions, Philodendron scandens usually does pretty well, even in lower light conditions. 

Other houseplants that thrive well in moderate light are begonias and also different kinds of orchids, for instance, moth orchids. 

 

Watering

Compared with other Philodendrons such as the majestic Philodendron Selloum or the elegant Philodendron Pink Princess, the Heartleaf Philodendron does not need that much water. 

Strive to water your leafy friend in a way that allows the soil to become slightly dry between waterings. Never completely dry, though. 

So how often should I water my Heartleaf Philodendron then?

To be honest, it usually does not make a whole lot of sense to further specify the exact watering intervals.

The problem with that is really that adequate watering of your houseplants always depends on various factors such as the size of the plant, the location of the plant, the hardiness zone of the area that you are living in, the choice of soil and many others, making it impossible to exactly tell you how often you will need to water your Heartleaf Philodendron. 

Can you at least tell me what kind of water I should use then?

Yes, I think so.

Rainwater is always a good way to go about it. Distilled water is also a safe bet. When using tap water, make sure that the water is lukewarm. 

 

Temperature

Average room temperature will make your Heartleaf Philodendron feel right at home. Everything between 16 to 24°C  (62―75°F)  is acceptable. 

In winter, make sure that your plant does not have to deal with temperatures below 16°C.

Generally speaking, Philodendron can’t tolerate temperatures below 16 degrees, with one exception though: Philodendron Selloum.

 

Humidity

As a tropical plant, Heartleaf Philodendron prefers high humidity. However, the plant is not very delicate in this respect and even if the humidity should be not all that high, the chances of survival of your plant are still pretty good. 

Since mimicking the natural environment of any houseplant usually gives the best results, it is still a good idea to give your heart-shaped philodendron a high level of humidity as this will promote the healthy growth of your plant.

There are a couple of ways to ensure high humidity. One method to increase the humidity consists in regularly misting the plant. 

You could also just simply place your Heartleaf Philodendron in your bathroom, as bathrooms are generally locations with high humidity. And as Heartleaf Philodendrons can tolerate lower light conditions, the bathroom might indeed be a great location for your green companion.

If Bathroom Houseplants is what you are looking for, you might want to pay some attention to our article “The 12 Best Houseplants for your bathroom.” Just in case, you know? 

 

Fertilizer

As far as fertilizer goes, Heartleaf Philodendron has no special requirements. Feeding your plant twice a week with half-diluted liquid fertilizer during growing season (spring and summer) is more than sufficient.

In colder months, feeding your Heartleaf Philodendron once a month produces the best results. As far as the choice of fertilizer goes, a balanced houseplant fertilizer will do the trick.

 

Propagation 

Heartleaf Philodendron is an easy plant to care for. And what’s more, Heartleaf Philodendron is also easy to propagate.

The plant is best propagated by stem tip cuttings

 

Growth 

Some philodendron species truly get huge and this genus of flowering plants often features plants with huge leaves. Philodendron selloum, aka Philodendron bipinnatifidum comes to mind. 

As for Philodendron hederaceum, an evergreen climber, it can grow to 3-6 meters (10–20 feet) tall. In indoor environments, hence when kept as a houseplant, a height of 3 meters can be achieved but only when your plant has support from growth aids such as moss poles. 

 

(Re)potting 

Repotting with Heartleaf Philodendron is usually only required once every couple of years. As a general rule, just repot your plant when it outgrows the pot or when propagating. 

As almost always with houseplants, you should only use pots with drainage holes when (re)potting your Heartleaf Philodendron.

The reason for this seems obvious enough, yet a lot of people seem to ignore this simple, yet very important “rule” when choosing a (new) pot for their houseplants. Please don’t make this mistake, so as to avoid many problems with your Heartleaf Philodendron, such as possible root rot

Instead of putting your Heartleaf Philodendron in a regular pot, hanging baskets are also well-suited for this tropical plant. 

Heartleaf Philodendron is best repotted in spring.

 

How to propagate Heartleaf Philodendron

Heartleaf Philodendrons are best propagated by stem tip cuttings.

Your Heartleaf Philodendron should be in good shape when propagation.

In fact, every houseplant that you wish to propagate should be in good shape before you actually even consider propagating it. 

Now, to propagate your healthy Philodendron scandens, there are a couple of important things to note. But don’t worry. We got your back!

Just follow this simple step-by-step guide to propagate your Heartleaf Philodendron.

 

Step 1: Wash your hands

Step 2: Prepare clean containers with your medium (potting soil mix) of choice. Dampen the soil well

Step 3: Use a chopstick (or something similar) to make holes for the stem tip cuttings

Step 4: Search your Heartleaf Philodendron for healthy stems

Step 5: Use a sharp, sterile knife and cut the stems directly below the leaf node (the stem should be between 7 to 10 cms long!)

Step 6: Remove all leaves but the topmost leaves from the cuttings that you just took

Step 7: Dip the cuttings (just the cut end!) in water and then in your rooting hormone of choice. 

Step 8: Now poke the stem tip cutting in its prepared hole (the hole you did in step 3). Make sure that the soil is firm, so that your cuttings can root well. 

Step 9: Enclose your cuttings in a plastic bag or anything else that can serve as a humidity chamber (don’t seal the bag completely as some airflow is necessary!)

Step 10: Keep the cuttings in the plastic bag for about two weeks. Make sure to mist the cuttings daily (best done in the morning) and to keep the soil slightly moist at all times (not too wet either, though!)

Step 10: After around 2 weeks, you can remove the plastic bag and after about 3 weeks you can expect some growth (cuttings will begin to root). Please be patient. In some cases, it might take a little bit longer than just 3 weeks. Maybe 4 or 5. Patience is key, really. 

Step 11: From time to time, gently pull on the cuttings to check if they are already rooted or not. If they are (resistance will tell)….congratulations! You did it! Now, move these new plant babies into its own container!

 

Heartleaf Philodendron & Plant Pests & Diseases

Plant pests are not a huge problem for Heartleaf Philodendron. However, at some point, your leafy friend might be facing insects or fungal problems. 

As for insects, the usual suspects such as mealy bugs, scale insects and spider mites are possible enemies of your Philodendron hederaceum. 

As for fungal problems, root rot is a plant disease that could potentially threaten your green companion. 

Luckily, we got two neat articles on that very topic. 

The first article, “Root Rot Causes & Symptoms” will help you in identifying root rot, which is not always an easy task to begin with because root rot symptoms can easily be mistaken for other plant diseases. 

The second article, “Root Rot Treatment” will be very helpful as soon as you know that you are most certainly dealing with root rot. 

 

5 tips to keep your Heartleaf Philodendron happy

  1. Keep it out of direct sunlight
  2. Prune your Heartleaf Philodendron from time to time to encourage more vigorous growth & a bushy look
  3. When kept indoors as a houseplant, Heartleaf Philodendrons can grow up to 3 meters tall, provided they are supported by moss poles
  4. When it comes to the right care, Philodendron scandens and Dieffenbachia have pretty similar requirements
  5. Don’t keep your plant in a spot that is too shady. This will have a negative impact on the leaves (= leaves will be less shiny and the color of the leaves will be less intense). 

 

Is Heartleaf Philodendron easy to care for?

Heartleaf Philodendron is pretty easy to care for. Caring for a Heartleaf Philodendron is pretty similar as caring for a Dieffenbachia (also known as Dumb Cane…what a nickname, right?).

The general rule when caring for plants is always that the natural environment of the plant should be mimicked as well as possible. This will ensure that your plant enjoys healthy growth and thrives to the fullest. 

However, some plants are more forgiving than others!

For instance, philodendron plants generally require high humidity because of their tropical nature. Yet, Heartleaf Philodendron does pretty well, even if high humidity is not guaranteed. 

And also when it comes to the right watering routine, providing appropriate soil and finding the perfect spot for your green companion, Heartleaf Philodendron can be considered as a plant that is pretty forgiving, even if the conditions are far from ideal.

That said, if you only recently turned to the hobby of houseplants and would like to start with something easy, then the Heartleaf Philodendron is certainly a good choice.

Other low-maintenance plants that are suitable for beginners include Spider plants, Peace Lilies, Snake plants & Pothos

   

Heartleaf Philodendron FAQ

 

What is the scientific name for the Heartleaf Philodendron?

The scientific name for the Heartleaf Philodendron is either Philodendron hederaceum or Philodendron scandens.

 
What about the longevity of Heartleaf Philodendron?

Heartleaf Philodendron plants can get very old. 10 years or even more is not uncommon. If propagated, these plants can literally survive almost forever. 

 

Do Heartleaf Philodendrons produce flowers when kept as houseplants?

Flowering is very rare for Heartleaf Philodendron when kept as houseplants. 

 

Do plant pests like the Heartleaf Philodendron?

While plant pests are not a huge problem with Heartleaf Philodendrons, you might still have to go to battle with aphids, mealybugs, scale insects & spider mites. 

 

Do Heartleaf Philodendrons go dormant in winter?

No. Philodendrons generally don’t go dormant in winter. There is, however, one exception: Philodendron bipinnatifidum aka Philodendron selloum.

 

Is the Heartleaf Philodendron toxic to cats?

Heartleaf Philodendron is indeed toxic to cats. A good reference when it comes to the toxicity of houseplants is the ASPCA, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. As you can see on their homepage, Philodendron hederaceum is toxic to cats. There are, however, many houseplants that are deemed non-toxic to cats as per the ASPCA. Please have a look at our article: 18 Cat-Safe Houseplants your Kitties will Surely Enjoy to get a good idea about cat-friendly houseplants.

 
Is Heartleaf Philodendron toxic to dogs?

As per the ASPCA, Heartleaf Philodendron is toxic to dogs. 

 
Any display tips for Heartleaf Philodendron plants, please?

Some plants like Goldfish plant are perfect for hanging baskets,  while others like Heartleaf Philodendron are perfect for the table. Heartleaf Philodendron also looks gorgeous when trained to a pole (post). In fact, Heartleaf Philodendron are often sold that way (trained to a moss pole). 

 

What are some of the most striking Heartleaf Philodendron varieties?

The regular Heartleaf Philodendron features green, heart-shaped leaves. If you are aiming for something slightly different, though, there are also variegated Heartleaf Philodendrons on the market. 

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