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Philodendrons have been backbone plants in indoor gardening for so long and it cuts no wonder since they are easy to grow and comfortable in the same environments that suit people. Even though the word philodendron loosely translates as “tree-loving” with reference to the often vining habit, not all philodendrons exhibit it. Those that climb need a support post to hold onto and secured with a florist’s tape or pins.
Care guide highlights: Philodendron Birkin prefers medium light and warm and humid environment. You should water it about once a week since it likes moist soil. Repot this plant once a year in the warmer months. Be careful not to overfertilize it and inspect it regularly so to avoid pest infestation. Keep in mind that this Philodendron is poisonous to pets and people.
Philodendrons are extremely responsive, which makes taking care of them all the more rewarding, especially when they surprise you with a fast flush of new growth.
One such species is Philodendron Birkin, so here’s what this guide will tell you about:
- Philodendron highlights
- Position and light requirements
- Does it require a higher temperature?
- Optimal humidity levels for Philodendron Birkin
- What type of soil is preferred?
- Watering Philodendron Birkin
- How often to repot?
- Is fertilizing necessary?
- Propagation tips
- Common issues and solutions
Read on to learn about this rare and exquisite philodendron species and how to care for it!
Philodendron includes more than 700 species from tropical America and it belongs to the Araceae family of over 115 genera and 1800 species. Many philodendrons are cultivated as foliage plants indoors or outdoors, usually in containers with a post for climbing.
Young leaves are almost heart-shaped, while adult ones are lobed. They produce spade-shaped flowers and tiny seeds when grown outdoors in tropical climates, but it is extremely rare for them to bloom as houseplants.
The leaves exhibit a variety of different leaf colors. Initially white, but maturing to become darker and greener, whereas others will develop white stripes. They look as if drawn by a paintbrush.
Their longevity is usually 7-10 years and during that time, they will become something like house members.
Keep reading to find out more about how to care for Philodendron Birkin!
Position and Light Requirements
Keep your philodendrons indoors throughout the year or take them outside in the summer in a shady spot- they will like it either way. Indoor-grown philodendrons like being taken outside few times during the summer for a thorough cleaning with fresh water.
What’s more, they don’t mind being moved from place to place and it doesn’t cause any stress to them, unlike other plants.
Philodendron Birkin enjoys medium light, which refers to bright indirect light from the eastern or western exposure. Windowsills are hence ideal for it because they are not in direct sunlight and not in low light.
Exposed to too much sun, the plant will be sunburn, whereas in low light white lines will start fading away and the plant will start leaning towards the sun. When no shade is available to offer respite, a simple way is to use shade cloth.
That said, provide bright indirect light for at least 12 hours per day. If your conditions don’t offer a sufficient amount of light, consider using supplemental lighting.
Artificial lights are great for additional light supplementation and here you will need to consider light intensity, light color, and how long to keep grow lights on.
Does It Require Higher Temperature?
Philodendron Birkin is a tropical plant. As such, it prefers warm and humid environments to thrive well and it is incumbent upon us to create an environment similar to its natural habitat.
That said, the ideal room temperature for Philodendron Birkin is between 18 and 23 degrees C during the day. However, temperatures should be lower at night and in the winter season. In any case, the minimum temperature should be 12 degrees C.
Install ventilation or fans if you are growing it in a greenhouse and provide good airflow at all times, away from draughty windows, hallways, and air conditioners.
Optimal Humidity Levels for Philodendron Birkin
Philodendron Birkin enjoys humidity and there are numerous ways to increase it. Some plant lovers and growers recommend purchasing a Levoit humidifier and that’s a good idea if you want to invest.
Another alternative is to move the plant to the kitchen or bathroom, which are clearly more humid than most indoor spaces and they have pros and cons. They can be easier to ventilate, but bathrooms are usually poorly lit. Kitchens can lead to grease accumulating on the leaves, so if you cater to these flaws, your plant will be grateful.
Or, offer your plant an indoor spa or pool by grouping plants together in a nice spot. When each plant releases water as vapor, the relative humidity increases and hence reduces the frequency of watering.
Create a dry well or a tray of pebbles covered with water where your plants sit. As the water evaporates from around and beneath the pebbles, it humidifies the air around the plants.
What Type of Soil Is Preferred?
Philodendrons prefer a light, peaty mix that drains well rather than a heavy potting mix that can cause plants to drop. It should be loose, well-draining, and well-aerated, retaining moisture at the same time.
Soil-based potting mix is ideal for moisture-loving plants because it retains water longer than soilless mixes and drains more slowly, thus decreasing the frequency of watering. It usually contains sterilized, loamy soil; sand/perlite for drainage, sphagnum for moisture, and peat moss for airiness, water retention, and aeration.
The all-purpose mix consists of 3 parts bark, 1 part peat moss, and 1 part perlite. Additionally, the moisture-retentive mix consists of 2 parts peat moss, ½ part perlite, and 2 parts sterilized soil. Both options work fine for Philodendron Birkin.
Watering Philodendron Birkin
With watering, there is no set schedule to be followed, but there are several tips to master, including how a plant absorbs water.
Water enters a plant through its roots and travels up through the leaves and is then released into the air- a process called transpiration. When watering a plant, the air spaces between soil bits fill with water. A plant needs both water and oxygen, so it is vital to find the right balance in your watering schedule. Let the soil dry to provide the plant’s roots with oxygen because if the soil is mostly damp, the plant can’t breathe.
Make sure to memorize the following:
- Water thoroughly each time you water Philodendron Birkin and it means watering until water runs through the drainage holes.
- Less frequent watering in winter is needed because there are reduced temperatures and shorter daylight hours.
- Wait until the soil is dry for the most part between water applications.
Too much water can cause recently potted plants to droop as well and you want to hydrate the plant, not overwater it and cause root rot.
It is recommended to water Philodendron Birkin occasionally about once a week since it likes moist soil. If you are unsure whether to water or not, run a finger test.
How Often to Repot?
Roots are usually damaged when repotting, so modest root pruning is necessary when repotting philodendrons. Use moist potting soil when doing it and water newly repotted plants very lightly for 2 weeks.
Find the right pot one size larger than your current container, around 3 cm larger. If u choose a lot larger pot, you run the risk of overwatering, which you want to avoid by all means.
Prepare a bag of fresh potting mix and remove the plant from its current pot, repot the rootball by placing it in the center of its new pot, pressing the new soil firmly, adding more. Water thoroughly and keep in a shady spot for a week.
Repot Philodendron Birkin once a year in the warmer months.
Is Fertilizing Necessary?
Plants have a small volume of potting medium from which to take nutrients. Peat or perlite don’t contain nutrients unlike bark and soil, but sometimes they are not sufficient. And the more you water, the more rapidly the plant uses those nutrients. So we can’t only rely on the nutrients contained in the potting mix, but we need to feed our plants to encourage them to grow healthy.
This plant is a fast-growing species so regular fertilizing is needed. Fertilize once or twice a month during the active growing season, in spring and summer, with a balanced fertilizer that contains equal amounts of each of the three macronutrients and encourages all-around growth. A balanced liquid fertilizer that has calcium and magnesium is ideal for Philodendron Birkin.
With fertilizers, more isn’t always better. And it is better to reduce the amount; overfertilization can be deadly and one sign of it is a white crusty build-up on the edge of the pot.
During the winter months, you don’t need to feed at all.
To propagate, take stem cuttings in March or April. Do it in the following way:
- Use a sterilized, sharp knife and cut a piece of the stem just below a node. It should be up to six inches in length.
- Ensure the lower nodes are bare, so remove lower leaves from the bottom of the stem.
- Fill a glass with water and let it sit overnight to dissipate chlorine.
- Put the stem cutting in the jar, making sure that the nodes are submerged in the water.
- Change water every two days. Roots will emerge from the bottom after a week or two.
- Once the roots have appeared, expose the jar to bright indirect light or under grow lights.
- When the roots have grown an inch, pot the cutting as per usual.
Some people are allergic to the sap Philodendron Birkin produces or any other philodendron, which can cause an itchy rash in susceptible people. Make sure to wear gloves and a long-sleeved shirt when repotting it to avoid this problem. Leaves are also poisonous to pets and people, though large amounts must be ingested to cause serious illness.
Common Issues and Solutions
Mature leaves on my Philodendron Birkin are turning yellow.
Cause: Cool temperatures, too much light, inadequate nutrition.
Solution: It is normal for them to shed some older leaves, the main cause they turn yellow is stress. If you keep the pots on cold floors in winter it may chill the roots. Other cases are too much light or insufficient fertilizer. Make sure the plant food you are using has magnesium and calcium.
Long and leggy stems with a wide gap between leaves.
Cause: A lack of sunlight.
Solution: They grow best if provided with bright indirect light, so move them outdoors in a shady spot or use supplemental lights in the winter.
Slow and small new growth.
Cause: Insufficient fertilizing.
Solution: Feed philodendrons every 2 weeks in summer.
New growth has yellow specks.
Solution: Rinse off, then spray leaves with insecticidal soap. Aphids usually occur if plants are kept outdoors.
White powder or web on stems or leaves.
Solution: Remove them with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol and repeat this after 5 days. Check other plants for signs of infection.
How big does Philodendron Birkin get?
Philodendron Birkin can reach the size of around 100 cm.
Can Philodendron Birkin revert?
Philodendron White Wave has variable variegation because it is actually a mutation of Philodendron Rojo Congo. So yes, it can revert to becoming entirely green, but it may also emerge in such a way that its leaves don’t look anything like other leaves of the same plant. This makes it an unpredictable plant, always full of surprises.
Should I mist my Philodendron Birkin?
Philodendron Birkin loves humidity and it would benefit the most from regular watering, having ensured that soil is well-draining, loose enough to provide oxygen as well. If you have met these two requirements, you won’t need to mist the leaves. What you can do instead is group watered plants together to increase humidity. In that way, you avoid any potential risks of splashing the leaves of Philodendron Birkin and inviting undesirable bacteria or fungi.
Does Philodendron Birkin grow fast?
Philodendrons are usually fast-growing plants and this species is no exception. It grows around 10 centimeters per week. However, it does not climb and it supports itself, so you won’t have to provide any additional support. Prune to keep it in shape.
Philodendron Birkin is one of many fast-growing plants that perform quite well indoors and it is an extremely rewarding companion. It will inject an artistic vibe into your home.
Are you already a proud owner of Philodendron Birkin, also known as Philodendron White Wave? If the answer is positive, share your precious experience with me, I’d like to hear from you!