Heartleaf Philodendron Care Instructions

Scientific name: Philodendron hederaceum
Synonyms: Sweetheart Vine, Heartleaf Philodendron, Philodendron Scandens, Parlor Ivy

The Heartleaf Philodendron is the quintessential indoor trailing houseplant for plant enthusiasts. It is touted as one of the best beginner plants due to its fuss-free nature and super ease of care. 

Although Heartleaf Philodendrons are fans of bright, indirect light, they are very tolerant of medium to low light exposure making them an excellent choice for high shelves or cabinets that don’t get too much natural light. 

As Natives to Central America, these lush plants are also lovers of humidity, however, will handle average room humidity, without fuss. Making them an all-around ideal houseplant.

Toxicity: Philodendron are known to cause stomach upset and irritation if consumed, best kept out of reach.

Common Symptoms

  • Drooping or Crisp foliage: This is an indication of underwatering, especially if the leaves are looking pale and lacklustre. Check the soil, and if it is extremely dry, adjust your watering needs to a more frequent rotation. Philodendron in general can tolerate drying out, however, prolonged dryness can weaken your plant.
  • Pale leaves: If you have ruled out underwatering and your soil is moist but your plant’s foliage is still pale, then consider the lighting conditions. A healthy happy Heartleaf should have deep green glossy foliage. A pale appearance can be an indication that your plant is receiving too much light, even though some sun is beneficial to this plant, it needs to be soft early morning or late afternoon, and midday direct sun should be avoided. Philodendron thrives in bright filtered light best. 
  • Yellowing leaves: There are a few factors that can cause yellowing foliage on your houseplant, often overwatering is cited as being the main culprit. However, if you find that leaves turn yellow infrequently, this is not a cause for concern as this is the natural lifecycle of most plants, though if yellowing happens on mass consider your watering regime. Philodendron does not like their soil staying wet and prefer drying out between each watering. If you discover your watering regime is fine, it may be that your plants may be under fertilised, feed with a well-balanced liquid fertilizer regularly, and you should see an improvement. 
  • Sparse leggy vines:  This is an indication of insufficient lighting, as much as the Heartleaf Philodendron can tolerate lower lighting conditions, if the light is too low it can hamper the growth of your vine, leading to stretched stems with large spacing between each leaf node. If your plant is looking leggy, we advise relocation to a bright light position.
  • Mushy brown leaf patches or stems: This can occur when your Heartleaf philodendron has been overwatered and root rot has set in. Often there will be large brown patches, that can on occasion smell putrid, this is a clear sign of a fungal or bacterial infection. Remove the affected leaf and spray the plant with a good quality fungicide such as Copper soap. 
  • Pests: The Heartleaf is a hardy houseplant and not often susceptible to pests but if care is not taken to keep your plant in its optimal conditions stress can occur. This will lead to pest infestations causing excessive yellowing fronds and leaf drop. Mealybug, scale and spider mites are common indoor plant pests and can weaken your plant relatively quickly if left untreated. Adjust environmental stressors for your house plant and treat infestations with an organic pesticide.

Care Instructions

  • Origin: Central America & Caribbean
  • Height: Averaging 2m long vines.
  • Light: Tolerant of a wide range of lighting, avoid direct sunlight or total darkness..
  • Water: Allow the soil to dry out two-thirds between watering, avoid prolonged dryness or excessive moisture.
  • Humidity: Average room humidity is fine. 
  • Temperature: Ideal temperatures range from 18°C - 26°C.
  • Soil: A well draining organic potting mix is sufficient.
  • Fertilizer: Use a well balanced organic fertilizer once every two weeks during Spring through Summer.
  • Repotting: These are fast-growing specimens and whilst young may need regular yearly maintenance. Repot once growth has slowed or your plant has become rootbound. Choose a planter no larger than 5cm wider than the previous, and plant into a well-draining, aerated mix, consisting of milled bark or perlite for extra drainage. 
  • Propagation: Heartleaf Philodendrons are fantastic plants to propagate. You will notice tiny little aerial roots coming out of the stems, usually near a leaf node. Take a cutting from your plant, snipping the main stem just before an aerial root (make sure your cutting has 1 -2 leaves) and simply pop that into a moist potting medium or use a propagation vase filled with water. Pot the rooted cutting into the soil once the roots have reached 3 - 6cm in length.

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