Heartleaf philodendron (philodendron hederaceum) is among the most beautiful houseplants that bring tropical vibes. This sweetheart plant is easy to grow despite the need for extra attention. But any slight neglect will make this houseplant struggle with foliage coloration and growth.
Heartleaf philodendron care involves the provision of bright indirect sunlight, well-draining soil, and slightly moist soil. Feed the houseplant every month during spring and summer. Be sure to reduce the watering frequency in winter due to dormancy.
This article will take you through everything about heartleaf philodendron care. Take the time to read through the potting and planting tips for successful growth. The information will also help you avoid common problems affecting the houseplant.
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What Does Heartleaf Philodendron Look Like?
Heartleaf philodendron is also called the sweetheart plant. The heart-shaped foliages are the reason behind the heartleaf philodendron name.
The philodendron species belong to the Araceae family. The spathe and spadix blooms are the prominent features for identifying this tropical plant.
Indoor heartleaf philodendrons do not bloom despite providing all the requirements. It generates yellow-green spathes that surround the spadix with tiny white flowers under bright light.
The glossy leaves can reach three inches long and get arranged alternately on the green stems. It grows about four to six feet in length to create trailing vines.
The philodendron type can be trained or supported to climb. It is the best option for hanging baskets and shelf climbers.
Philodendron micans is the most common type of heartleaf philodendron. It hails from Central American and the Caribbean.
Keep this philodendron species away from pets and toddlers. The leaves contain calcium oxalate, which causes itching and inflammation. It also causes nausea and vomiting if ingested.
The sweetheart plant is known for air purification despite being poisonous. Research shows that heartleaf philodendrons are the most effective air-purifying houseplants. (Source: NASA).
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Heartleaf Philodendron Care Details
|Origin||Caribbean and Central America|
|Scientific Name||Philodendron hederaceum or Philodendron scandens|
|Common Names||Heartleaf philodendron or Sweetheart plant|
|Light Requirements||Bright indirect sunlight. Can also tolerate low light levels.|
|Watering Frequency||Potting soil needs to have consistent moisture during the growing season. Reduce watering rate in winter due to dormancy.|
|Soil Requirement||Choose a well-draining potting soil.|
|Temperature Range||70-80oF (24-27oC). Temperature below 55oF (13oC) is harmful to the plant.|
|Fertilizer Application||Feed the houseplant every 3-4 weeks during spring and summer. Use a balanced fertilizer soluble in water.|
|Humidity Requirement||Medium to high humidity.|
|Flowering||Indoor heartleaf philodendron does not bloom.|
|Pruning and Maintenance||Pinch back stems to enhance the bushy appearance or control the size.|
|Propagation||Stem cuttings via water or soil|
|Re-potting||Every 2-3 years to avoid root-bound issues and refresh the potting mix.|
|Pests and Diseases||Pests: Aphids, spider mites, fungus gnats, and mealybugs. Diseases: Root rot due to overwatering.|
|Toxicity||Poisonous to pets and humans|
How to Care for a Heartleaf Philodendron Plant
Heartleaf Philodendron Soil Mix
The sweetheart plants prefer a well-draining soil that facilitates proper roots aeration and water drainage. All-purpose potting soil is the best option for heartleaf philodendrons.
Avoid potting mix formulated for specific houseplants like succulents or acid-loving plants. It will make your favorite houseplant not thrive.
Most commercial potting soils consist of peat moss, coconut coir, pine bark, and perlite or vermiculite. (Check the Best Deals on Amazon). They have better drainage and soil fertility.
Heartleaf Philodendron Light Requirements
The heartleaf philodendrons are among the few philodendron varieties that survive under low light conditions. The tropical plant is native to the Central American jungle.
The sweetheart plants grow under the canopy and receive little direct sunlight. You can keep the houseplant under bright indirect sunlight for three to four hours a day.
The bright indirect sunlight enhances striking and vibrant foliage colors. Use artificial fluorescent lights (Check Best Deals on Amazon) in rooms receiving very low natural light.
Do not place these plants to direct sunlight since it will scorch the leaves. It would be best to note that low light causes stunted growth and small leaves development.
Heartleaf Philodendron Water Requirements
The sweetheart plants do experience active growth during spring and summer. Ensure the potting soil stays moist without getting soggy throughout the two seasons.
The heartleaf philodendron experience slow growth in winter. I recommend reducing the watering frequency to allow topsoil enough time to dry.
Too much soil moisture will cause yellow leaves, while too little water causes brown leaves. It would be best to avoid both overwatering and under-watering issues.
The golden rule is to insert the index finger in the 2-3 inches of topsoil. Soak the soil with either distilled water or rainwater if it is completely dry.
Best Temperature Range for Heartleaf Philodendron
Heartleaf philodendrons prefer the same temperature range as human beings. It is one of the reasons behind the ability to survive indoors.
The best temperature range for the sweetheart plant is 70-80oF (24-27oC) during the day and 55oF (13oC) during the night. Low temperatures will trigger the plant dormancy phase.
Remember to keep your favorite houseplant away from windows and register vents that cause drafts. Both hot and cold drafts may ruin the general appearance of heartleaf philodendron.
Use a digital thermometer (Check the Best Deals on Amazon) to help monitor the indoor temperature. The reading values will help to create a conducive environment.
Humidity Requirements for Heartleaf Philodendron
Heartleaf philodendrons thrive in homes with medium to the high humidity level. The philodendron species can survive in the bathroom, receiving bright indirect sunlight.
The warm and moist air tends to resemble its native habitat. High humidity makes the sweetheart philodendron develop large and vibrant foliages.
The sweetheart philodendrons can also tolerate low indoor humidity. But they risk developing brown leaf tips and edges due to the dry air.
Mist the leaves a couple of times a week in case of low indoor humidity. Another excellent option is to use a humidifier (Check the Best Deals on Amazon) to increase the humidity level.
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Heartleaf Philodendron Fertilizer Requirements
The sweetheart philodendrons are tropical plants and low-feeder houseplants. These tropical plants can thrive with or without artificial fertilizer application.
But the fertilizer nutrients help to foster vegetative growth and vibrant green foliages. Use the recommended dosage to avoid ruining your houseplant.
Feed the sweetheart philodendron lightly every 3-4 weeks during spring and summer. Use either liquid all-purpose or water-soluble fertilizer (Check the Best Deals on Amazon).
Too much fertilizer around the heartleaf philodendron roots might cause leaves to turn brown due to salt toxicity. Flush the soil with distilled water to get rid of the excess salt.
I recommend the use of homemade fertilizer for houseplants over commercial counterparts. It would be best to read my article on How to Make Homemade Fertilizer for Houseplants.
Heartleaf Philodendron Flowers
Indoor heartleaf philodendrons do not bloom. It only occurs when the sweetheart philodendron is fully mature at fifteen to sixteen years old.
Flowering happens in May and July for reproduction purposes. Each plant produces 2-3 flowers that stay open for a couple of days.
The heartleaf philodendrons produce a yellow-green spathe that surrounds the spadix. The spadix contains both male and female fertile flowers.
I recommend cutting the flowers to conserve energy. These unimpressive flowers will ruin the plant’s general appearance.
Pruning and Maintenance
The heartleaf philodendrons are more vulnerable to getting leggy. Be sure to pinch the stems to promote a bushy appearance and control its size.
Remember to pinch the thin stems during springtime for faster growth. Use a sharp and sterilized blade to create a clean-cut directly after the leaf node.
Heartleaf Philodendron Propagation
Heartleaf philodendron propagation is a no-brainer task. Starting a new plant doesn’t require any level of expertise. These tropical plants have aerial roots that develop from stem nodes.
Nodes have cells that will develop into new roots. It is the reason why stem cutting is the best heartleaf philodendron propagation method to consider.
Cut 3-4 inch long stem with a node and three leaves during spring or early summer. Place the stem cuttings in a jar with clean water or plant in a moist potting mix.
How to Repot Heartleaf Philodendron
The sweetheart philodendron needs re-potting every 2-3 years to avoid root-bound issues and refresh the potting soil. The plant root-bound causes a slow growth rate.
Use a large container with drainage holes at the bottom. It will be able to accommodate all the heartleaf philodendron roots with ease.
Avoid using drainage layers since it causes soggy soil. The practice is only advisable for season growers and not beginners.
Common Problems and Solutions
Pest infestation is the leading challenge to heartleaf philodendrons. These sap-sucking insects munch on leaves and damage the delicate tissues.
Heartleaf philodendron leaves curling and turning yellow are clear indicators of insect infestations. Be sure to isolate the houseplant from your indoor plant collection.
Aphids, spider mites, fungus gnats, scales, and mealybugs are the most common pests attacking this sweetheart philodendron.
Use an insecticidal soap (Check the Best Deals on Amazon) to spray and eradicate the pests from your houseplant. Perform the task every week until all the insects get disappear.
Heartleaf philodendrons are more vulnerable to root rot disease only. The sweetheart philodendron leaves turning yellow and brown are the main manifestation.
Root rot occurs due to improper soil drainage and lack of drainage holes at the bottom of the container. Lack of oxygen makes the roots die and enhance the growth of soil fungus.
The best option is to consider re-potting the houseplant at the early stages. It will help to inhibit leaves turning yellow, wilting, and drooping.
Be sure to inspect the soil moisture content before watering your houseplant. Use well-draining soil and container with drainage holes at the bottom to get rid of excess water.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Heartleaf Philodendron Poisonous?
Yes. The leaves contain calcium oxalate that triggers mild allergic reactions among people and pets. Chewing the leaves can also cause oral discomfort, drooling, and foaming in the mouth.
Seek immediate medical help from professionals. Be sure to keep the houseplant away from pets and toddlers to avoid destruction.
Why Are My Heartleaf Philodendron Leaves Turning Yellow?
Yellow heartleaf philodendron leaves are due to overwatering. Allow the potting mix to dry between the watering to prevent the yellowing of leaves.
Other possible causes are nutritional deficiencies and root-bound issues. Feed your houseplant every 3-4 weeks during spring and summer. Re-pot the plant in case of a root-bound problem.
Why Are My Heartleaf Philodendron Leaves Curling?
Inconsistent watering habit is the leading cause of heartleaf philodendron leaves curling. Inspect the soil moisture content by inserting your index finger to 2-3 inches of topsoil.
Soak the potting soil until excess water runs through the drainage holes. Check the roots for rotting issues. Root rot is another possible cause of curly leaves.
Should I Mist Heartleaf Philodendron
Yes. Heartleaf philodendrons prefer high humidity to thrive. Misting the leaves help to boost indoor humidity level.
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Heartleaf philodendrons are exciting and beautiful philodendron varieties. The trailing vines and dark-green foliages bring a lasting tropical feeling to the home.
Philodendron micans are the most popular heartleaf philodendron species in the market. The information above will help you grow and maintain it without challenges.
How to care for a heartleaf philodendron involves the provision of well-draining soil, high humidity level, regular watering, and feeding every 3-4 weeks during active growth season.
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