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5 Tips to Get More White Variegation on Philodendron Birkin

5 Tips to Get More White Variegation on Philodendron Birkin

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When I think of a Philodendron birkin plant, I think of a lucky packet.

You know the ones, right? Where you bought a packet with various activity items like a coloring sheet, pencils, activity sheet, stickers, and a surprise item or two.

My Philodendron birkin has some all-green leaves, a few with variegated white stripes, and there’s even an all-white(ish) leaf.

I’ve seen some other Philodendron birkin, and it seems like no two plants look alike.

But I really like the white variegation and wondered how to get more white variegation on Philodendron birkin

Here’s what I discovered and did to achieve that goal.


How to Get More White Variegation on Philodendron birkin

To increase white stripes on the dark green leaves of the Philodendron birkin, you can propagate the plant using a stem cut back to the last leaf with variegation, move the plant to a location where it receives brighter indirect sunlight, and boost it with a low-level nitrogen fertilizer.

How to Get More White Variegation on Philodendron Birkin

How to Get More White Variegation on Philodendron birkin


A Brief Look at the Origins of the Philodendron birkin

You may wonder what does the origin of the Philodendron birkin have to do with its variegation and how you can get more white pinstripes on the green foliage.

The answer: pretty much everything.

The Philodendron birkin plant doesn’t occur naturally in nature.

It is a chimeric or spontaneous mutation and cultivar of the Philodendron Rojo Congo (or Red Congo), which is a hybridized cross between the Philodendron Imperial Red and Philodendron Tatei.

How the Philodendron birkin with its dark green leaves and white variegation came to be from the philodendron Red Congo with its uncurling red leaves is anyone’s guess.


Philodendron birkin’s Variegation

The variegation of the Philodendron birkin isn’t stable, and because of this, the variegated leaves have a limited amount of chlorophyll.

A juvenile Philodendron birkin will have all-green leaves, and as the plant matures, variegation may result.

A juvenile Philodendron Birkin starts off with all-green leaves

A juvenile Philodendron birkin starts off with all-green leaves

You’ll notice thin white stripes on all or some of the leaves, and sometimes, a Philodendron birkin will have one or a few all-white or cream-colored leaves, or even half-moon color zones.

Some Philodendron Birkins will have leaves all green in color, some will have all-white, or half-moon zone

Some Philodendron birkin will have leaves all green in color, some will have all-white, or half-moon zone

Some Philodendron birkin also grow gray and pink/red variegated leaves to loosely resemble its parent plant, Philodendron Rojo Congo.

Since the Philodendron birkin has an unstable variegation, the plant can revert too, losing its variegation as the interesting non-all-green leaves turn solid green again.

The Philodendron birkin can even fully revert to the Philodendron Rojo Congo.

Philodendron birkin’s variegation is not stable because it originated as an unplanned chimeric mutation of the hybrid philodendron Rojo Congo plant.


5 Tips to Get More White Variegation on Your Philodendron birkin

Now that you know a little about the Philodendron birkin’s history and how this chimeric mutated plant has resulted in leaves with unstable variegation, you may realize that getting more white stripes on the green leaves isn’t a sure thing.

But you can still try these tips to get more white variegation on the Philodendron birkin, also appropriately called the Philodendron White Wave.


Tip 1: Propagate a Variegated Stem Cutting

To increase the white variegation of your Philodendron birkin, I suggest propagating back to the last leaf that had the most variegation.

You can propagate the Philodendron birkin via three methods: stem cutting in water, air layering, and division.

When I propagate my Philodendron birkin to increase the white variegation, I used the stem cutting in water method because it’s an easy way of propagating Philodendron birkin.

To propagate the most variegated part of your Philodendron birkin, look for a healthy stem with a leaf that has lots of white stripes on the green surface.


Choose a Philodendron Birkin stem that is healthy and who's leaf has lots of white stripes

Choose a Philodendron birkin leaf that has lots of white stripes

With a clean blade, cut the stem below the node, and if you can, choose a stem that has aerial roots to speed up the growing process and increase the chances of propagation success.

Place the stem in a glass filled with room temperature filtered water, and place this in an area with lots of bright, indirect light.

Add a natural rooting hormone usch as honey to promote growth, keep the water fresh, and transplant the new Philodendron birkin when the roots are a few inches long.


Tip 2: Move the Philodendron birkin to a Brighter Area

Another way you can encourage more white variegation on your Philodendron birkin is to move the plant to an area with more (indirect but) intense sunlight as this will stimulate the chlorophyll, causing variegation of certain leaves.


Tip 3: Stick to the Watering Schedule

With variegated plants, you want to ensure that the variegations remain as “stable” as possible.

The water requirements of a plant are an essential component to ensure the plant stays healthy and builds the chlorophyll it needs.

This increases the chances of your Philodendron birkin producing more white stripes on the green leaves.

If you overwater a Philodendron birkin, then the roots will become waterlogged, meaning the leaves can’t get the nutrients they need to thrive.

Avoid waterlogging your Philodendron Birkin so it won't lose its white variegation

Avoid waterlogging your Philodendron birkin so it won’t lose its white variegation

The leaves will discolor, turning yellow and brown because the plant lacks the nutrients to maintain the pigmentation of the chlorophyll.

Thus, the Philodendron birkin will lose its variegation.

So sticking to the watering schedule for your Philodendron birkin is one of the best ways to ensure the plant preserves its variegation.

Philodendron birkin need to be watered once a week. If you aren’t sure when to water the plant, then check the topsoil.

If the top 1-2 inches of soil is dry (2.5-5cm), then you know your Philodendron birkin needs to be watered.


Tip 4: Ensure Consistent Temperature

Like with sticking to the plant’s water requirements, ensuring the plant has the best chance to variegate, placing the Philodendron birkin in an area where the temperature doesn’t dramatically increase or drop will increase the chances of successful variegation.

Maintaining a consistent temperature and meeting a plant’s ideal temperature requirements ensure it doesn’t go into shock, which can result in the Philodendron birkin losing its variegation.

The ideal temperature for Philodendron birkin is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18C – 24C).

Keeping your Philodendron birkin indoors helps you better control the temperature and prevents cold snaps and heatwaves negatively affecting the plant’s growth and variegation.

Place your Philodendron Birkin in an indoor area to meet the plant's temperature requirements

Place your Philodendron birkin in an indoor area to meet the plant’s temperature requirements


Tip 5: Use a Low-Level Nitrogen Fertilizer

Variegated plants like the Philodendron birkin are highly sensitive to fertilizers.

A fertilizer that contains a lot of nitrogen will stimulate chlorophyll production, “greening” the plant, thus reducing variegation.

Using a low-level nitrogen fertilizer for your Philodendron birkin will keep the chlorophyll production under control while helping your plant retain its variegated leaves.

In fact, the low-level nitrogen fertilizer can even improve the white variegation on the Philodendron birkin’s green leaves.


Frequently Asked Questions about How to Get More White Variegation on Philodendron birkin


Is Philodendron birkin variegated?

Philodendron birkin is a Philodendron that has variegated leaves. The leaves are typically dark green, while the variegated leaves have white or pale yellow stripes.


Can a Philodendron birkin revert?

Since the Philodendron birkin is a chimeric mutation of the philodendron Rojo Congo, it is possible for the Philodendron birkin to revert (or lose its variegation). So the variegated green leaves with thin white stripes will turn plain green.


Conclusion About How to Get More White Variegation on Philodendron Birkin

I always refer to my Philodendron birkin as my lucky packet plant because I just never know what variegated leaf is going to sprout next.

I make sure that the White Wave’s plant care requirements are met to increase the chances of variegated leaves growing, and then I also move the plant to get more sunlight (while still remaining shaded) and remove the all-green leaves.