philodendron brandtianum

Philodendron Brandtianum: Silver-Leafed Climber

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Philodendrons are one of the most popular indoor plants, but they vary significantly in their care requirements. One species that typically enjoy medium to high light and can be grown in cooler temperatures is Philodendron brandtianum, commonly known as the silver-leafed climber. The silver color of its leaves is unique within the genus.

Philodendron brandtianum Overview

P. brandtianum is a terrestrial plant native to Brazil but was first discovered in Paraguay by the botanist Auguste de Saint-Hilaire. The brandi plant comes from the sixteenth-century Swiss physician and naturalist Philibert Commerson. Commerson gave many lectures about his expeditions throughout the world. In one of his lectures, he showed the audience members specimens of a plant that he found in Brazil, which had heart-shaped leaves and climbed like ivy. Soon after, Commerson named the plant Philodendron after himself.

Silver Leaf Philodendrons are tropical plants part of the subfamily Philodendroideae. This includes approximately 2,700 species divided into 73 genera. This subfamily is known for climbing or twining plants with heart-shaped leaves and woody stems. There are members of this subfamily found in various habitats.

Philo brandtianum can be identified by its silver-colored leaves, typically around three feet long and 2 inches wide. The silver color is due to the veins transporting photosynthetic products through the plant, running parallel rather than branching off.

There are two distinct plant varieties of P. brandtianum: var. brandtianum, which is the wild-type variety, and var. hortorum, which is an artificially selected form with more deeply lobed leaves than the wild type. The latter variety cannot survive outdoors in many locations because it requires high humidity to thrive.

Botanical NamePhilodendron Brandtianum
FamilyAraceae
GenusPhilodendron
OriginSouth America
SunlightMedium to high, bright indirect light
WateringFrequent watering
SoilRich, porous soil
Temperature70°F to 75°F (21°C to 23°C)
PropagationStem cuttings, air layering, or dividing the root ball
Re-PottingEvery two to three years
Pests and DiseasesSusceptible to pests
ToxicityToxic to dogs, cats, and people

Philodendron Brandtianum Features

Philodendron brandi is a climbing plant that can reach 15 feet, resulting in the need for tall structures to climb.

During the summer growing season, P. brandtianum can grow about an inch per month in ideal conditions. Typically the Silver Leaf Philodendron is a slow-growing plant, but this growth rate is related to abundant rainfall and warm daytime temperatures. In cultivation, this plant may only grow about a half-inch per month in areas with cooler weather conditions.

Like other members of the genus Philodendron, P. brandtianum can spread laterally along a surface by adventitious roots. Leaf nodes produce these roots, which are the points along the stem where leaves attach to each other in an alternating spiral pattern. Adventitious roots may also develop from stems that touch the soil.

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Philodendron Brandtianum Care Guide

To care for Philodendron brandtianum adequately, it needs to have the right amount of light. It enjoys medium-light to high light, so place the plant closer to a bright window if possible. If it receives too little light, its leaves will become spotted or pale in color.

Like most plants, P. brandtianum is sensitive to fluoride and salt buildup in the soil. Therefore, when growing this plant indoors, use rainwater to water and fertilize. Before watering the plant, remove all fluoride and salts when using tap water. 

Philodendron brandtianum prefers warm daytime temperatures between 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit and can tolerate nighttime temperatures of 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit for short periods.

When growing P. brandtianum, keep the soil moist at all times but not soggy. Although this plant is drought-tolerant, it prefers evenly moist soil.

P. brandtianum requires high humidity to thrive and produce small white flowers in the summer if provided with sufficiently high humidity levels.

Ideal Growing Place

Brandtianum Philodendron typically enjoys medium to high light and can be grown in cooler temperatures. They also do well in east and north-facing locations.

Water

Like other philodendrons, the Philodendron brandtianum plant requires frequent watering. You should water your plants about three times per week during the summer. The frequency can be reduced during colder times to once a week.

Let the top layer of soil dry before watering again to avoid overwatering.

Water supply may be inadequate if its olive green leaves are limp and curly.

Sunlight

Philodendron brandtianum enjoys medium to high, bright indirect light, so place the plant closer to a bright window if possible. If it receives too little light, its leaves will become spotted or pale in color.

Temperature

Philodendrons such as P. brandtianum enjoy warm daytime temperatures between 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit and tolerate nighttime temperatures of 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit for short periods.

Soil

Philodendron brandtianum prefers rich, porous soil that is moist at all times. A standard potting soil will work just fine. However, when located in hanging baskets, terrestrial pots, or with other outdoor container plants, make sure your brandtianum plants have adequate soil quality to promote a healthy stem and foliage growth.

Humidity

This plant is drought-tolerant but prefers evenly moist soil. At 50%-60%, growing Silver Leaf Philodendrons require above average humidity levels. Therefore, four outdoor plants utilize a pebble tray to keep humidity levels up.

Fertilizer

During the growing season (spring and summer), nitrogen-rich fertilizers should be utilized. You can use organic plant food, water-soluble houseplant fertilizers, liquid fertilizer, or fish emulsion when growing philodendron brandtianum. Whichever you choose, use a good quality fertilizer.

Pinching/Pruning

Remove dead growth and a few leaves from the lower region and any plant parts with brown leaf tips to maintain the outlook and boost plant growth. You should complete this procedure every year or two.

Use scissors to cut back on long stems to maintain their natural shape if you find your silver-leafed climber becoming lanky or leggy due to growing towards the light. You can also prune out any dead stems and leaves as they occur.

Potting and Re-potting

How often you should repot depends on the size of your specific plant. However, potting is usually done every two to three years in spring or early summer. Also, whenever the plant has outgrown its pot, you will have to upgrade to a larger one to avoid a compact growth habitat. Repot in an equal mix of soil and compost.

Growth Zone

USDA plant hardiness zones for this plant are 10a through 11. In the New England area of the United States, expect the silver-leafed climber to grow in a zone between 7 and 10.

The yearly average minimum temperature in this zone is -5 degrees Fahrenheit, while the average maximum is 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Average monthly rainfall ranges from 0 to 3 inches.  

In the Philippines, where the Silver Leaf Philodendron originated, expect it to thrive in a USDA zone between 10 and 11. The average yearly minimum temperature is 23 degrees Fahrenheit in this area, while the maximum temperature is 79 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, the average rainfall per month for this region ranges from 0.4 to 4 inches.

Common Pests, Toxins, Diseases & Other Problems

Philodendron brandtianum is especially vulnerable to rotting of the roots, which causes the roots to turn black and die back. This plant also prefers high humidity, so ensure the leaves are not touching freshly-moistened soil.

Like many plants, the Philodendron plant is susceptible to pests like Spider Mites and Mealybugs. To remove these pests, make a solution of rubbing alcohol with a concentration below 70% and rub infected areas with a rag, cotton ball, or swab. To address disease, create a mild dish soap and water solution and wipe down the affected areas. This will work to eliminate the diseased parts of the plant.

Propagation

This plant can be propagated through rooting stem cuttings, air layering, or dividing the root ball. However, note that it is possible to propagate the plant through seed as well.

Herbaceous stem cuttings: Using a sharp knife, cut off the lower leaves that are about 2-3 inches long to just below the nodes. Place the bare leaf nodes into the water, forming roots in as little as ten days. Be sure not to let the leaf fall below the water to avoid leaf rot and change the water every few days.

Air Layering: Air layering is similar to stem cutting without placing your stem in water. You will need to cut up to about the node. Wrap damp sphagnum moss or peat moss around the step and hold it together with plastic wrap to keep it secure. Root growth will occur in about 3 weeks.

Division: Part the mature plant into smaller sections and repot.

Silver Leaf Philodendron Brandtianum Mature Timeline

Week 1: The silver-leafed climber will take about a week to sprout green leaves. The stem will lengthen rapidly and can grow up to 20 feet long if tied to an object such as another robust plant, moss-covered pole, or outside the structure. Remember that it takes one to two years before the plant blooms.

Three months: If you have a green thumb, the plant will be about a yard tall and growing at a steady rate. A mature silver-leafed climber has large, shiny green leaves that can grow up to 4 feet long. The stems are available in shades from light to dark green.

One year: Leaves will grow quickly, reaching 2-3 feet long by late spring or summer. The stem will also lengthen and can reach 8-10 feet if allowed to climb upward with support. If you provide this plant with rich soil and high humidity, expect up to a foot of new growth per month.

Philodendron Brandtianum FAQ

Is Philodendron Brandtianum Toxic to Dogs and Cats?

Philodendron Brandtianum is toxic to dogs, cats, and people so it is very important that they are not ingested. Toxic calcium oxalate crystals can cause allergies in addition to vomiting, trouble swallowing, and a burning sensation around the mouth.

Which Plants Complement Philodendrons?

The following plants compliment Philodendron: Cordyline, Dracaena fragrant, Sansevieria trifasciata, Alocasia spp., Calathea spp., Maranta arundinacea, Spathiphyllum, and Syngonium.

Is Philodendron Brandtianums Rare?

While there is a demand for the var. hortorum, it is not considered rare.

Is Philodendron Brandtianum a Fast Grower?

No, Philodendron brandtianum is considered slow-growing, but if kept in the recommended conditions, will grow consistently.

Why Is My Philodendron Dying?

The following are a few common reasons a Philodendron may die: Root rot, insect infestations, over/under watering, and improper light.

For plants that have dried out to the point of dying, you should try the dry plant resuscitation procedure (also known as the drastic pot submerging method) to rehydrate and save your plant. This method involves soaking the roots and soil of your failing plant in a bucket or sink of water. This will rehydrate the roots. Repot and ensure the soil stays damp, but not wet, while the plant grows back to its normal healthy state.

Just like with other plants, improper lighting such as intense sunlight or too much light can cause brown or yellow leaves to develop. If this happens, considered moving where your plant grows.

What Are the Dark Dead Areas on the Philodendron Brandtianum?

The dead areas are signs of root rot. If this occurs, stop watering until the soil becomes dry before watering again. You will typically water your plant a few times during the week during warmer months, but less during colder months.

What Are These Dots on My Philodendron Brandtianum?

The dots are signs of insect infestation such as Spider Mites and Mealy Bugs. Use the above-mentioned rubbing alcohol and water solutions to kill any harmful pests that make their home in your plant.

The Bottom Line

The Philodendron brandtianum, aka the Silver-Leafed climber, is an easy plant to care for but requires moist soil and high humidity. It enjoys filtered sunlight or low light, so place in a not direct sunlight location. If your plant begins to droop or its leaves turn yellow, reduce watering or move to a shadier area. You can propagate the Silver Leaf Philodendron by rooting a cutting in moist soil. While it may never flower, you can enjoy this plant for its shiny green leaves and attractive stem.

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