Heartleaf Philodendron Care – How to Grow Philodendron hederaceum


Heartleaf philodendrons (Philodendron hederaceum) are beloved by houseplant enthusiasts and beginners alike due to their low-maintenance nature and rewardingly leafy, attractive aesthetics.

These plants are ideal for beginners as heartleaf philodendron care is quite straightforward. Once potted, these plants require little watering, indirect sunlight, and can grow to astonishing lengths in the right environment. They’re often considered harder to kill than to keep alive.

Heartleaf philodendrons are thought by many to represent love or romance due to the heart shape of their leaves (it’s right there in the name!). They’re easily propagated, so a potted offcut makes a perfect gift for a loved one, or to wish someone love and happiness in their new home. 

Given perfect conditions, these plants can grow up to 10ft long indoors, so they’re a wonderful addition to your décor – but you can also keep them trimmed to your preferred length, or train them up a pole.

Here’s all the heartleaf philodendron care tips to keep your plant as happy as possible:

heartleaf philodendron care - allowing plant to trail down bookshelf

Light requirements

Heartleaf philodendrons prefer indirect light, particularly filtered sunlight or light shade, but not directly shining onto its leaves. Given the right light level, you’ll notice the plant keeps growing and producing healthy leaves at a steady pace. However, if you place it in direct sunlight, its leaves may begin to scorch. 

As they can survive in lower light environments, this would be a good choice in a north facing room.

Heartleaf philodendrons also thrive under fluorescent light, so if you’re looking for an office plant, give this one a go. 

Temperature requirements

The heartleaf philodendron is quite adaptable to different heats and humidity levels, but it doesn’t like to be too hot, or receive direct light – don’t place it in your sunroom, or right beside a heater or fireplace. An ideal temperature is 60-75oF (16-24oC).

It prefers low to moderate humidity (about 40%), and above this level, can begin to develop leaf fungus. It can tolerate dry air, but you may find with a bit more humidity, you’ll see more growth. 

Watering requirements

This is a low-maintenance plant, and that means you don’t need to water it too often. If you over-water, the leaves may begin to turn yellow. Its watering needs will change season-to-season, so a good measure is to wait for the top of the soil to dry out before you water – usually, that’s every 1-2 weeks.

Also, ensure that the water you use for this plant is tepid, not cold. It’s a tropical plant, and water that’s too cold can shock its roots. 

Soil requirements

Heartleaf philodendrons prefer a soil that drains well. Most commercial soils are suitable as long as they’re ‘all-purpose’ type soils; avoid soils that are specifically designed for other plant types, such as acidic soils. 

You can also add a drainage material into the pot using perlite, or alternatively, opt for a pot specifically designed to aid drainage. 

Special care

The heartleaf philodendron likes to be repotted every two to three years. This is to prevent the roots from becoming ‘root-bound’, which will slow the growth of the plant, but also to provide it with fresh potting mix. 

When re-potting, gently shake the old soil from the roots, and plant it in a new container that is big enough to allow the root system room to breathe, again ensuring you use a soil that allows for drainage. 

It is common to grow this plant on a moss pole which will give it support. Spraying the moss pole with water will also increase the humidity around the plant.

Propagating

Stem cuttings are incredibly easy to propagate from heartleaf philodendrons. 

In the spring or summer, you can cut a section of the plant that has at least a few leaves attached, ideally 3-4 inches long, and ensuring you cut just below a leaf node – this is where the leaf attaches to the stem. 

From here, you can either put the cutting into a glass of water, waiting for roots to develop before potting it, or you can plant the cutting straight into a pot of potting mix, ensuring the mix is freshly watered. 

Pests & problems

While this philodendron is particularly low-maintenance, it can have problems in the form of fungus gnats, as well as leaf fungus. 

To combat fungus gnats, simply let the soil dry out between watering, and the gnats should leave the plant. You may also find aphids on the plant, which can usually be dealt with using a diluted vinegar spray.

Leaf fungus can be targeted using ¼ teaspoon baking soda mixed with a quart of water, sprayed on the plant’s leaves weekly. You can also use Neem oil for this purpose. 

Toxicity

Heartleaf philodendrons have a non-lethal sap, but it is still poisonous. If ingested, it can lead to skin irritation, vomiting, and burning in the mouth. It can also cause skin irritation just through contact with the sap, so be careful when handling. With this in mind, it’s best to keep heartleaf philodendrons out of reach of children.

The ASPCA also notes that philodendrons are toxic to dogs, cats and horses, so be sure to keep the plant out of reach of your animals.  

Common questions about heartleaf philodendron care

Should I mist my heartleaf philodendron?

In summer, you can mist your philodendron a couple of times a day if it’s particularly hot. This plant likes a bit of humidity, even if it doesn’t like its soil to be too moist, so it will appreciate a bit of water on its leaves in the hot weather. 

In winter, cut back on the water and misting, but if the air is particularly dry, it might benefit from a sporadic misting.

Should I fertilize my heartleaf philodendron?

Philodendrons can survive without fertilizer for long periods of time. If you want to encourage growth and keep your plant at its best health, though, fertilize it monthly with houseplant food in the warmer months.

Keep in mind that plants should only be fertilized during growing season, so ensure it’s actually producing leaves when you’re fertilizing – if it’s dormant, lay off for a while. 

Should I clean the heartleaf philodendron’s leaves?

It can be helpful to clean the plant’s leaves gently with a damp cloth, or by popping it under the shower, from time to time – getting rid of the build-up of dust and dirt will help the plant to photosynthesize. 

About the author 

Paul - Better Houseplants

Loves orchids and foliage houseplants. Always trying to be a better plant parent. Let's get growing!

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