Looking for a houseplant that’s easy to take care of but that has more than a little bit of flair? Look no further than Philodendron Brasil.
Philodendron Brasil is a fantastic vining plant that offers a low-maintenance way to add a bit of green to your home without worrying about difficult care.
In this easy care guide we’ll cover keeping your plant healthy, the common issues which come up, and how to propagate the Philodendron Brasil so all of your friends can enjoy its dark-green leaves and variegated stripes.
Let’s get growing!
Philodendron Brasil Care Guide
History, habitat, and characteristics
Philodendron Brasil (botanical name Philodendron hederaceum ‘Brasil’) is a brand new cultivar discovered in 1991 by Ruben Ernesto Acosta in Holambra, Brazil. Many say that the plant was named for how its leaves mimic the look of the Brazilian flag, but this seems to be an apocryphal account.
What is for sure is that the Philodendron Brasil plant has taken the indoor plant world by storm due to its dark green heart-shaped leaves with yellow-green variegation throughout.
This tropical plant is a climber, meaning it will vine and spread outwards if given the chance. In its natural habitat, Philodendron Brasil would grow up trees, using their trunks as support to reach the sunlight it needs to thrive.
When grown indoors, you can provide this support by training your Philodendron Brasil to climb a moss pole or trellis.
For optimal growth, Philodendron Brasil should be placed in an area with bright, indirect sunlight. If you don’t have any free windows, artificial grow lights work too. Whatever the light source, make sure to avoid any areas with direct sun exposure as this will scorch its leaves.
Because this plant has variegated foliage, you’ll want to track that you don’t overexpose it to light (even if it’s not direct sunlight). Too little sunlight can cause the variegated leaves to lose their lime green color and instead revert to a single hue of dark green. You’ll soon see your plant growing leggy vines too as it seeks out more natural, bright light.
If you notice that happening either add a covering to your window or inch the plant back and continue to observe its leaves.
Watering a Philodendron Brasil is pretty forgiving and like with most indoor plants the most important measurement you have is the top 2-3 inches of soil.
These plants don’t like to be waterlogged, so make sure you let the soil dry out in between watering. Usually watering every 7-10 days in a container with drainage holes will work great, but you can always stick a finger in those top few inches and check to make sure they’re dry.
Look out for:
- Leaves going limp. These indicate your Philodendron Brasil is thirsty and it’s time to water your houseplant. Keep track of how long it took for this to happen, and that can be the basis for your watering schedule so that you don’t have to worry about shocking it with inconsistent watering.
- Soggy soil. If your soil isn’t drying out or feels water-logged even after a few weeks you’ll want to check out our soil section below for the optimal potting mix for this plant.
- During the winter months, you can reduce watering to every other week.
Temperature and humidity
As a tropical plant originally cultivated in Brasil, Philodendron Brasil prefers warm temperatures and high humidity. As a houseplant however it does have a flexible range of conditions it can thrive in.
Let’s explore those:
Temperature: The ideal temperature range for Philodendron Brasil plants is between 65-77 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember it’s often a bit cooler near vents, or warmer near a window or in a bathroom. If you’re noticing wilting leaves (warmer temperatures are usually well-tolerated), check your plant’s location/local temperature and see if you can warm it up a little bit.
Humidity: Philodendrons love humidity, but humans (like you presumably are) likely have trouble tolerating much higher than 50% indoors. If you can, cluster plants together to achieve that higher humidity or set up a pebble tray. A pebble tray is basically what it sounds like, a wide tray filled with rocks that you set your plant on top of. Fill the tray with water, and the local evaporation should increase the humidity by 4-5% without raising humidity throughout your house. Avoid misting your leaves with water as this can attract diseases/pests.
Soil and planting
Philodendron Brasil plants (like other Philodendron plants) prefer a well-aerated potting soil mix that drains easily.
If you only have bagged potting soil mix available, this can work great (make sure it doesn’t have fertilizer added). You might also want to add one of the following to improve drainage:
- orchid bark
- worm castings (if you don’t compost, see if you can find a neighbor who does!)
- horticulture charcoal
(All of these will help you control soil moisture.)
Philodendron Brasil plants tend to like an airy, chunky soil mix. If you can, start with a cactus/succulent soil and mix in whatever you have available from the above list until it gets chunky and a bit less dense. You can really just feel it out as the soil takes on a new characteristic.
So, which pot size for repotting?
General rule of thumb is to increase the size by around 2 inches with plants like Philodendron Brasil. Their root growth is fast enough to take advantage of the additional soil, so you don’t have to worry about them getting lost in the [soil] mix.
If you notice roots bunching up near the drainage holes near the bottom of your pot, you can gently lift your plant out of its container and observe the root structure. If you see them snaking back up the sides too, it’s definitely time to consider a larger pot for new growth.
Last tip: when moving into a larger pot (this goes for any plant, really) you’ll want to slightly untangle some of the roots so that you increase the surface area for nutrient absorption. This will let the root structure reform for the new medium and optimally seek out nutrients without getting entangled/stuck.
The main risk of going too large with a new pot is that the soil relies on your plant to wick moisture out. Too large of a pot and the soil will remain damp and that makes one unhappy Philodendron Brasil.
That’s it for our Philodendron Brasil care section, now we’ll get into how to propagate your healthy plant.
Philodendron Brasil Propagation guide
When propagating Philodendron Brasil you have a few options (water, soil, perlite, leca), but we’re going to cover stem cuttings in water propagation.
Water propagation is my favorite technique because you get immediate feedback on how the roots are growing, with other techniques you can’t always monitor their growth so it’s a lot of patience and positive thoughts until you finally see progress.
To get started with water propagation, you’ll need a clean knife or pair of scissors and a small jar/cup of clean water (filtered works great).
- Take your scissors and cut a section 4-6 inches from your Philodendron Brasil, trying to include at least 5 leaves.
- Cut off the bottom leaves so that just 2-3 are remaining on the top of the stem cuttings. This exposes the stem nodes on those bottom leaves and this is where your plant will root from.
- Place each stem cutting in the water (you can do a few in each jar, or separate for each), making sure the exposed nodes are submerged and that the leaves aren’t.
- Place your jars in indirect light, just like you would for the mother plant.
In a few weeks, you’ll start to see roots growing! Once they’re 2 inches long you can transfer your cuttings into one of the soil mixtures discussed in the soil section above!
The only thing left to do is pass out these young Philodendron Brasil plants to your friends!
Philodendron Brasil doesn’t suffer from unique issues, just the same that can come along with most indoor plants. The only distinct problem we really see are with some subtle variations: crinkly leaves, irregular-shaped leaves, and leaves that tilt at an angle away from the light.
(It certainly doesn’t have the velvety leaves of the Philodendron Gloriosum.)
With another plant, you might troubleshoot and try to figure out why. Is it getting too much light and trying to face its leaves away from the source? Does it have a pest issue leading to weak or irregular leaves? Nope, these are just some of the hallmarks of this plant, which some people love and others are trying to fix (to no avail).
Okay, so we’ve covered the eccentricities of the plant a little bit, now let’s dig into the real issues which do need some problem-solving:
Transparent/thin leaves: This happens with sudden [and frequent] changes in temperature, like if you bought the plant in the winter and had to move it through a cold environment, or if you have it close to an air conditioner duct. Also possible that the water you’re using is too cold, so let it come up to room temperature, stabilize the indoor temperatures, and likely you’ll see normal leaf growth soon.
Yellow leaves: If you notice your Philodendron Brasil turning yellow with leaves falling off, this is likely due to too much direct sunlight. These plants like bright, indirect light best so if you’re seeing these symptoms try moving it away from any windows or skylights.
Drooping leaves: If your Philodendron Brasil’s leaves are drooping but not yellow, your plant is thirsty. If you check the soil and it’s moist, you might want to check out your soil mix to make sure it’s aerated enough. Check our soil section above and add one of the listed ingredients to improve the draining so that you can water more frequently. If the soil is dry, well it’s time to give your plant a drink. If the leaves are wilted and yellow, that’s an indication of both too little water and too much sunlight or an issue with the roots (which we’ll cover in the next section).
Diseases and pests
Bugs: Philodendron Brasil plants are fairly resistant to pests, but mealybugs and spider mites can still be a problem. Check the underside of leaves and around the stems for small white bugs or webbing. If you see any, isolate the plant from your others and treat with some soapy water.
Root rot: If you’re seeing yellowing and wilting of the leaves as well as brown spots, this could be an indication of root rot. The first step is to check the soil. If it’s waterlogged, that’s your issue. Let the soil dry out and don’t water again until it’s bone-dry to the touch. You’ll also want to pull the plant out of its soil and check the roots. If they’re slimy or mushy, cut those roots off. If the problem persists, repot with fresh aerated soil and let it thoroughly dry between waterings.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide on Philodendron Brasil care. These plants are unique, beautiful, and easy to take care of with just a little bit of attention. With the right soil mix, watering schedule, and location they can thrive indoors for years to come.
Philodendron Brasil care summary:
- water every 6-10 days in a container with drainage holes;
- place your plant in an area with bright, indirect light and look out for leggy vines;
- if its variegated leaves are turning solid green, try to increase the amount of light;
- cluster with other plants to increase the local humidity above 50% if possible.
If this article helped you out, feel free to share it with a friend who might be looking for help on their own indoor plant journey! If you have any suggestions or questions, reach out to us on Instagram or Twitter!
What are aerial roots?
An aerial root is a root that sprouts from any part of the plant above the soil. They’re often found on climbing plants, and allow those plants to take root in areas outside of the soil. These roots are great for propagation, so keep an eye out for them.
Should I worry about Philodendron Brasil reverting?
Some plants can revert to a previous cultivar, but what people usually observe as reverting is leaves turning solid green and losing their variegation. This happens mostly with tropical plants that are in low light conditions as they create more chlorophyll to capture more energy. Increase the light and you should see the variegated growth return.
Can I put a philodendron Brasil in a hanging pot?
Absolutely! As an air purifying plant with hanging stems, this plant works great in a hanging basket.
How is the Philodendron Brasil related to the Heartleaf Philodendron?
Philodendron Brasil is a cultivar of the Heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron scandens oxycardium), meaning that it was created by a process of selective breeding for certain attributes. Plants that showed these attributes were preserved and the process of selection continued until unique traits started to emerge.
Does Philodendron Brasil grow indoors easily?
Absolutely! It’s a gorgeous plant as long as it’s given plenty of natural light and you pay attention to humidity levels.