19 Jun Philodendron hederaceum
It’s easy to keep this houseplant, with its beautiful heart-shaped leaves and the instant tropical vibe it brings to a room.
With its long, creeping vines, Philodendron hederaceum is very suitable as hanging plant, but can also be stimulated to climb up against whatever you want.
Common name: Heart-leaf philodendron
Meaning name: Philodendron means treehugger, as most Philodendrons love to climb high up trees.
Common misnomers: Philodendron scandens, Philodendron oxycardium, Pothos hederaceus.
Family: Araceae. The same family as Monstera, Zamioculcas, Dieffenbachia, Epipremnum, Scindapsus, Alocasia.
Origin: Central America and the Caribbean.
History: It was brought from the West Indies in 1793 to the Royal Botanic Gardens in England, by Captain William Bligh – The Captain Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty. It remained more or less a botanical specimen until the Depression, when nursery owners discovered that it was a plant that was easy to keep and propagate. It was then that the mass-marketing of the plant was launched, shipping millions of plants to five-and-ten-cent stores.
Similar plants: Often confused with its close relatives, Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) and Scindapsus. Can be distinguished by having matte young leaves, whereas the young leaves of Scindapsus and Epipremnum are glossy. New leaves of Philodendron hederaceum are also protected by thin brown sheaths, which later fall off.
Habitat: Humid tropical forests, where it uses its vines to climb up trees. Large trees protect the plant from receiving direct sunlight, which makes this plant adapted to lower light intensities.
Light: Tolerates half-shade and indirect light. Do not place the plant close to a South-facing window where it will be in full sunlight all day. Move it a few meters away from the window or opt for a West, East or North-facing windowsill.
Water: Keep the soil humid, but not wet.
Air humidity: Likes humid air, as all tropical plants do. Spray the plant with water once a week. Especially in winter with the heating on, the air can get very dry. You can place bowls with water on the heater to raise air humidity.
Propagation: If your Philodendron hederaceum is growing a bit too enthusiastically, you can propagate the plant by cutting off stems. Cut the tips off the stems with a clean pair of scissors, including least one node. Place the cutting in a glass or bottle of water, and repot when roots have grown from the stem. You can also add the cuttings to the mother plant pot, giving it a more full appearance.