Heartleaf Philodendron

Botanical Name: Philodendron scandens

Heartleaf philodendron is a popular house plant because it is extremely easy to grow. It's also known as the Sweetheart Plant.

Heart-shaped, glossy leaves emerge bronze, then quickly turn green. The leaves are typically 2-4 in (5-10 cm) long, and cover its long, slender stems that can grow to 4 ft (1.2 m) or more.

Pinch your plant. Without pinching, it will grow with long, single stems and become lanky. You can pinch it back anytime to help it branch out, keeping the plant bushy and full. Always pinch after a leaf node (the place where a leaf is attached to the stem). A new stem will grow from that node.

Pinching tip: Try to pinch close to the node because any bare stem that is left will die, and the node will not grow a new stem. Make a clean cut -- you want to avoid jagged tears, which can attract disease. You can use your fingernails to pinch, or use sharp scissors or pruners.

Or let it grow. Few house plants are as eager to climb as a heartleaf philodendron. If you allow the long stems to grow, put the plant in a hanging basket, or let it trail from a shelf or bookcase. To train it to climb a moss pole, use floral tape to hold the stems up to the pole, until its aerial roots sink in.

It will thrive in a small pot for years with little care. Despite its tropical origins, this beautiful evergreen plant is tolerant of dry air, although it appreciates occasional misting. Keep its leaves clean by wiping them with a damp cloth.

Repot every 2-3 years, in spring or early summer. Use a container with drainage holes to prevent root rot. If you want to use a decorative container without drainage, use it as a cachepot -- just slip your plain nursery pot into the cachepot. I like to cover the bottom of a cachepot with pebbles to keep the plant above the drainage water.

Heartleaf Philodendron Care Tips

heartleaf philodendron, philodendron scandens, sweetheart plant

Origin: South America

Height: Climbs or trails to 4 ft (1.2 m) or more.

Light: Moderate to bright light. Small leaves or long spaces between leaves show that the plant is not getting enough light. Move your philodendron plant to a brighter location, but not into direct sun.

Water: Keep soil lightly moist spring through fall. Allow surface to dry out between waterings in winter. Yellow leaves are caused by overwatering.

Humidity: Tolerant of dry air, but likes humidity. Mist foliage occasionally. Brown leaf tips are a symptom of dry air.

Temperature: Average room temperature 60-75°F/16-24°C

Soil: Peat moss-based mix, such as African violet potting mix.

Fertilizer: Feed monthly spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.

Propagation: Take stem tip cuttings in spring or early summer. It roots easily in water or moist soil.

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