The Philodendron Hastatum is a lush climber with fleshy, sword-shaped leaves. Unfortunately, it has been listed among the endangered plants in the wild. But thanks to houseplant enthusiasts, the hastatum species is resurging, and its existence is no longer threatened. It warms the heart to see gardening having a tremendous impact on wildlife preservation!
If you love Philodendrons, the silver sword philodendron hastatum is a must-have variety. In this article, I’ll provide you with a comprehensive guide on growing, caring, and propagating this exotic aroid plant.
Philodendron Hastatum Overview
Commonly known as the Silver Sword plant, the philodendron hastatum derives its name from sword-shaped glossy leaves. Found in South America, most particularly in the rainforest of Brazil, the philodendron hastatum belongs to the Araceae family. With proper care and growing conditions, the silver sword can reach 1 to 3 feet in height.
Other names for the philodendron hastatum include Elephant’s Ear, Spadeleaf, Spear Leaved Plant, and philodendron hastatum glaucophyllum, among many others.
The Silver Sword plant was known initially as a hemiepiphytic plant. It begins its life as a regular plant with the usual root system in the soil. Later on, it evolves into an epiphyte, climbing nearby trees to get sunlight above the rainforest canopy.
Like most Philodendron varieties (there are around 450 known species out there), the philodendron silver sword is a tough houseplant that will provide a year‐round stunning display and joy without elaborate care.
|Common Name||Philodendron Hastatum|
|Plant Type||Vine, foliage, large|
|Mature Size||6 inches – 3 feet (15 cm – 1 meter)|
|Sun Exposure||Moderate to bright, indirect sunlight|
|Soil Type||Soil Type Loamy, well-drained|
|Watering||Regular, even moisture|
|Humidity||Humidity Moderate to high humidity (50-85%)|
|Native Area||South America|
|Toxicity||Toxic to pets and humans|
Philodendron Hastatum Features
The Silver Sword is a vine type of philodendron. Like all popular aroid plants, the philodendron hastatum has all the benefits of robust growth, easy propagation, multiple ways to grow it, and less attention.
The philodendron silver sword features stunning foliage with glossy gray-green leaves. It thrives well both indoors or outdoors and is a perfect trailing plant to decorate a space. This silvery philodendron can also mix well with other plants.
A pole to support the upward trailing growth of the Silver Sword will encourage the plant to reach its growth potential. Of course, keeping it in a hanging basket will work as well.
Philodendron Hastatum Care Guide
When caring for your silver sword philodendron, aim to cultivate an environment that mimics the tropics. The hastatum variety loves warmth and moisture near a window with indirect sunlight.
During warm weather, you can put your philodendron outside. Place it in a shady spot to get some fresh air and natural light. Do not put the plant in an area with direct sunlight. This can burn the leaves. I suggest regularly wiping the silvery leaves of your philodendron hastatum with a damp cloth. This will give the silver sword leaves a shinier, more elegant appearance.
See how to grow and propagate this versatile houseplant below.
Ideal Growing Place
The Silver Sword Philodendron plants are fairly fast growers. They thrive well, either as outdoor or indoor plants. Under ideal conditions, which I’ll describe below, they can rapidly grow long vines and large sword-shaped leaves. This plant variety tends to reach 2-3 feet at maturity. But it will grow slower in a planter indoors.
If you cultivate the Silver Sword as a trailing plant, it will do so very quickly. Just provide a moss pole or any support for this captivating vine to thrive.
Water your philodendron hastatums regularly. Be sure its roots are properly aerated and not sitting in water. The best way to prevent suffocation of the plant due to overwatering is to use a planter with a drainage hole.
Do not allow the soil to go dry. Keep it moist. Water the plant and will enable the soil to dry between watering. When you see a little water coming out the bottom, that’s when you know you’re done. The silver sword philodendron thrives better in moist soil. This quality gained favor by many gardeners as a perfect plant for terrarium cultivation.
The philodendron silver sword plants grow best in moderate to bright, indirect sunlight. They quickly adapt to a dappled light environment under a tropical canopy, not direct sunlight. If you are growing them indoors, put them near a window that gets indirect light.
Low light exposure can cause a leggy stem and affect the growth of the silver sword leaves. Conversely, too much exposure to direct sunlight can cause yellow leaves. If you see a few yellowing leaves, that is typically normal aging of the leaves.
Keep the silver sword philodendron at temperatures between 60 to 80°F. As a tropical plant, the philodendron hastatum is frost-sensitive and naturally loves the warmth of a tropical environment with moderate humidity levels.
If you are growing a silver sword philodendron hastatum indoors, be sure to place the plant in a spot away from the air-conditioning vent. If you live in a dry climate, you can artificially increase the humidity in your home using a humidifier or mist.
Like other aroid plants, the Silver Sword Philodendron loves to grow in loose soil with a well-draining substrate. I highly recommend potting mediums filled with rich organic matter. You can improve the soil drainage by adding perlite, peat, and vermiculate.
Growing your silver sword philodendron in 100% sphagnum moss is also a good alternative. Always use an organically rich, well-draining soil mix with good aeration. Compaction in the soil prevents water from percolating easily. The result is root rot.
Droopy leaves and yellowing leaves may signify that the humidity levels in your home may be too low. Improve the humidity level in your home by misting. You can mist your philodendron silver sword plant every few days with a spray bottle.
During the growing season, fertilize your silver sword philodendron once a month using a balanced foliage fertilizer. The best time to fertilize these tropical plants is during spring and summer. Be sure to reduce the feeding to every 8 weeks in the fall and winter.
Proper feeding of your Silver Sword Hastatum ensures healthy foliage growth. If your houseplant is not getting enough nutrients, its growth will be stunted, especially the leaves, which will appear smaller than average.
It is best to dilute store-bought fertilizer to avoid burning. Moist the soil first before feeding with fertilizer. Flush the soil periodically to eliminate any potential mineral build-up.
To encourage the healthy growth of your philodendron silver sword, pruning or pinching the plant is required. The philodendron hastatum silvery-blue variety tends to grow in a leggy pattern. Pinching it back will help prevent this houseplant from growing too straggly.
If you see your philodendron hastatum plant with leggy stems, pinch the plant close to the node. To help maintain its bushier shape, prune your hastatum philodendron plant periodically by pinching back the leggy growth.
Potting and Re-potting
The Philodendron Silver Sword grows relatively quickly. When potting the new plant, always use a planter with drain holes. Most houseplant lovers prefer round pots. But hanging baskets also work well.
I recommend re-potting your hastatum house plants every second year from the first potting. But if you see roots coming out of the drainage holes, it is time to transfer the plant to a new planter.
When re-potting, choose a new pot that is 2 inches wider in diameter than the current pot. This will encourage faster growth. However, if you don’t want faster growth for your Silver Sword, use the next size-up pot.
Re-potting the philodendron hastatum is relatively easy. Just be sure to water the soil the day before the scheduled re-potting. Then, remove the plant gently from the original pot. Check the root ball thoroughly for signs of rotting. If you find any, remove the rotting parts before transplanting the hastatum to a new pot.
For outdoors, the suitable USDA growth zone for the philodendron silver sword ranges from 9b to 11. Otherwise, if you want to grow the plant on the patio, growth zone 4a to 11 is ideal.
Common Pests, Toxins, Diseases & Other Problems
The philodendron hastatum plants are pretty resilient to common pests or diseases. But this does not mean they are invulnerable to mealybugs, scale, aphids, and spider mites. Simple fight these pests with a natural insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Although this philodendron variety loves moisture, it is still susceptible to root rot. Early detection is key to treating it. You can avoid this problem by keeping its planter well-drained. Using a terra cotta container that breathes is also a good alternative.
All Philodendrons contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to pets and humans. So keep these exotic tropical plants out of reach of your kids and pets. Always wear your gardening gloves when handling the Silver Sword houseplant.
- Like most Philodendrons, the Hastatum prefers to propagate through stem cuttings. Here’s a step-by-step guide to stem cutting or propagating your Silver Sword plant:
- Use sterilized cutting tools and wear gardening gloves
- Be sure to cut a stem with 1 or 2 nodes so they can develop into regular roots. Select the part with a few leaves.
- Put the stem cutting in a jar or a container filled with water
- Place the container in a spot with indirect sunlight and allow several weeks or even a month for the roots to grow
- Make sure that you change the water regularly
- When the roots reach a couple of inches long, it is time to plant them into a pot with fertilized soil.
Check the sections above on the proper temperature and humidity for your brand new Hastatum plants.
Philodendron Hastatum Mature Timeline
Day 1: Put the fresh stem cutting in moist soil or a jar or a container filled with water
Day 2-20: Place the plant under ideal conditions for optimal growth.
Day 20-50: Consistent watering routine.
Day 50-90: Tiny heart-shaped leaves will start to appear.
Day 90-170: The Silver Sword plant will keep growing new glossy leaves. Keep watering at least twice a week during this period. Be sure not to let the plant sit in water. Feed it with a bit of amount of fertilizer. Soil-propagated plants can now be planted.
Day 170-190: The new plant at this time will become self-sufficient. This means it no longer requires too much attention but just the basic care for your houseplants. The trailing Hastatum will start to climb up any support nearby.
Day 190-300: With lowered temperatures at this time, be sure to relocate your philodendron silver sword plant if needed to a warm spot with adequate sunlight.
Day 300-350: With the arrival of spring, the philodendron hastatum silver sword will experience significant growth. Water it thrice a week and feed the appropriate amount of fertilizers.
Day 350 and Above: The plant at this time may require watering every other day. Keep the humidity at the right level and fertilize the plant once a month.
Is Philodendron Hastatum Rare?
Due mainly to deforestation in the South American regions where it naturally grows, the philodendron hastatum has become rare. The other reason is that the rainforest insects that pollinate the silver sword plant are also becoming extinct in the wild due to habitat destruction.
However, the Silver Sword Philodendron is available in most houseplant markets. The philodendron silver sword is no longer considered a particularly rare plant, thanks to gardeners and houseplant growers.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a versatile houseplant that provides a stunning year‐round display, the Hastatum is the perfect indoor plant for you. This silver sword philodendron variety is a fast-growing houseplant that is also easy to keep indoors and outdoors.
If you understand its origin and apply the tips I provided above, you can make this plant grow and thrive beautifully in your home.