Philodendron Birkin: White Wave Philodendron Plant Care

Philodendron Birkin is a vining houseplant that is known for its large, dark-green leaves with white wave-like stripes.

To make it even more special, each leaf is unique, contributing to this houseplant’s exceptional beauty.

This plant is easy to care for, making it a great choice for those who are new to growing plants.

In this article, we will cover a range of topics, including watering and feeding your plant; growing it indoors; how much light it should get; and other tips on Philodendron birkin care. 

What is a Philodendron Birkin?

What-Is-A-Philodendron-Birkin

Philodendron Birkin is a tropical plant that produces large, deep green, heart-shaped leaves that have streaks of white that look like waves in the ocean.

Each leaf is round with a pointed tip and a glossy surface. The stems are thick and bright green.

The Philodendron birkin is believed to have evolved from a cross between a Philodendron rojo congo and a Philodendron green imperial.

Philodendron Birkin is a slow-growing plant and can reach a maximum size of 20–40 inches (50–100 cm).

Stripes on Philodendron Birkin Leaves

The white patterns on the leaves are crafted perfectly along the veins, making them a very attractive houseplant for any home decor.

Because of these streaky patterns, Philodendron birkin is commonly referred to as the “White Wave” philodendron.

The variegation becomes visible once the plant matures. Each leaf can grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) in length.

Further, it has been discovered that a unique mutation is the cause of the Philodendron birkin’s distinctive stripes. This mutation process is a very rare spontaneous chimera mutation.

The mutation originates from the leaf’s developing tip. As a result, the mutation affects all other cells in the apical tip of the leaf.

Because the streaks are caused by a mutation, the Philodendron birkin variegation and pattern are inconsistent. For instance, the Philodendron birkin can sometimes develop a red variegated pattern, but that is a rare occurrence.

Due to the fact that it originated from a mutation, Philodendron birkin does not have a natural habitat.

So, when nurseries and garden centers get Philodendron birkin plants, more often than not, they are created by using tissue culture that has Philodendron birkin DNA.

Philodendron Birkin Care Tips

Philodendron birkin plants are popular houseplants because of their large patterned leaves. However, like all plants, they require regular care to keep them healthy and happy.

This includes watering them regularly but not overwatering to protect their roots.

You can also prune them to help shape their growth and fertilize them on occasion with a diluted balanced solution.

Below we go into Philodendron birkin care tips and other things you need to keep in mind when growing them.

Temperature

Keeping temperatures warm, or at least room temperature, is best for Philodendron birkin plants. However, they will thrive in temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Never keep your plants in an area that has a temperature that is below 65 degrees Fahrenheit for an extended period of time.

Because a Philodendron birkin is effectively a tropical plant, it can not definitely survive freezing temperatures.

Humidity Levels

Philodendron birkin will thrive in an area where humidity ranges from 65 to 80% relative humidity.

You can provide a sufficiently humid environment by keeping it in areas of high humidity, such as a bathroom.

With that said, you can still grow it in any other areas of your house or office, but if you can either regularly mist the plant, add a pebble tray underneath the pot, or put a humidifier nearby.

Another solution for increasing humidity is to group plants together.

By grouping plants together, they create a miniature forest where neighboring plants symbiotically help each other out.

Light

light-for-Philodendron-Birkin

Philodendron birkin loves bright, indirect light.

This Philodendron variety hates direct sunlight. Direct light damages the foliage of these tropical plants and dries out the soil faster.

The best spot for growing the Philodendron Birkin is a shaded spot. You can also grow it under bright indirect light.

Wipe the leaves clean with a damp cloth to ensure the plant can absorb light for growth.

Keeping this plant under dim light will help it develop bright white variegation.

Unlike other variegated plants, Philodendron Birkins tend to keep their variegated colors better.

If light conditions are not ideal, especially in the winter, you can use artificial lights. A grow light can provide the light needed for your plant to go through photosynthesis.

It could be placed on top of or next to the pot where the Philodendrons are located. Be sure that the light does not shine directly into the plants, as it may burn the leaves and damage them.

Watering

It is best to water Philodendron birkin once (and maybe twice) a week during active growth, from spring through summer, depending on the temperature and light.

Philodendron birkin is a very thirsty plant, so you need to keep it well-watered, but not overwatered.

A good indication of when to add more water is to check the top layer of soil. If the soil is dry, add water; if not, wait a couple of days before watering it again.

During the fall and winter, reduce the watering frequency and just monitor the soil. Allow the top layer of soil to dry out before watering your plant again.

We highly suggest you plant your plants in a pot that has drainage holes to allow any excess water to drain out. You can even add a pebble tray underneath to catch the water and humidify the air around your plant.

A final note on Philodendron birkin watering: although they need more moisture than other houseplants, to keep a healthy plant and, more importantly, to prevent root rot, avoid overwatering your plant.

Soil

Soil-And-Fertilizer-Philodendron-Birkin

Philodendron birkin is a moisture-loving plant; therefore, use potting soil with excellent water retention.

The soil should also be able to retain moisture but, at the same time, have the ability to drain away any excess water.

A soil mixture with soil amendments such as peat moss (retains moisture without oversaturating the soil) and perlite or orchid bark (to add aeration and give the soil the ability to allow excess water to drain out).

The basic houseplant potting soil that we always rely on is this houseplant potting soil. It does contain some perlite, but more than anything, it works well for all our indoor plants—plus, it’s inexpensive.

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Fertilizer

Fertilize Philodendron birkin once every month during the growing season (spring through summer). While during the fall through winter, you don’t need to provide it with any fertilizer.

Fertilizing your plant will provide it with the necessary nutrients and energy to continue growing.

There are different types of fertilizer you can give your Philodendron birkin. You can feed your plants with fertilizer sticks, dissolving balls, or liquid fertilizer.

The most effective method of fertilizing Philodendron birkin we have discovered that this houseplant slow-release fertilizer is fantastic. It’s super simple to use.

Once you set it in the soil, you don’t need to worry about it. It’s been a game-changer for all our indoor houseplants.

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Repotting

Philodendron birkin is a slow-growing plant, so repotting is not needed very often.

However, repot your plant to a larger pot if you notice excessive root growth appearing outside the pot.

Repot Philodendron birkin after two years or so, but check for signs of root-bound growth every year. If possible, refresh the soil on an annual basis.

We recommend a pot that is made out of terracotta (clay) or plastic, and definitely use one that has a drainage hole at the bottom.

If you’re looking for a pot with drainage holes, we suggest this self-watering container. It is what we use for our indoor plants. No more stressing about overwatering your plants.

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Propagation

Propagation-Philodendron-Birkin

The easiest method to propagate Philodendron birkin is to use stem cuttings.

The best time to propagate is during its growing season, from spring to summer.

Start by trimming and taking stem cuttings right below a leaf node (they’ll look a lot like aerial roots). Make sure there are still several leaves attached.

Plant the stem cuttings in a peat moss or coco coir-based potting mix and keep the pot in a warm spot with indirect sunlight and lots of humidity.

Peat moss (or sphagnum moss) or coco coir are great seed starting mediums because the structure of these soil amendments improves the soil’s aeration abilities and helps retain water, allowing for adequate airflow and moisture for new root growth.

Every few days, mist the peat moss-based soil with water to keep it from drying out. New roots and leaves should sprout within 2-3 weeks.

Once roots reach a length of 1 to 2 inches, you repot them into their own pots with fresh potting soil.

The new growth should be about 1/2 inch long when it first appears on the leaf tips.

If you are having issues propagating a Philodendron birkin, we highly suggest using a rooting hormone (or rooting powder) to help stimulate root growth.

If you’re looking at rooting hormones for the first time, we suggest this particular rooting hormone. We’ve used it in the past and it simply works – roots sprout every time.

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Pruning

If you notice any brown or yellow leaves on your Philodendron birkin, prune the damaged leaves.

Philodendron birkin leaves will stay green throughout the year, so there is not much pruning to be done. However, you can prune your plant to shape it or prune some of the stems to induce new growth.

Remember, before any pruning, clean your cutting tool (garden shears or knife) to avoid any spread of plant diseases.

If you’re looking for a pair of pruning shears, we suggest these super-sharp pruning shears. They are fairly priced and seem to never get dull. Plus, they are easy to handle.

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In worst cases, your Philodendron Birkin might stop producing the variegated leaves and start reverting to the non-variegated version.

You need to perform heavy pruning to eliminate all the non-variegated leaves so that the plant is left with variegated leaves only.

Your plant will regain its variegation if things go well after this pruning.

Lastly, philodendrons are climbers, so growing these plants with a support stick or a moss pole can help prevent bunching as they can get quite top-heavy.

Pests

Philodendron birkin is reasonably resistant to pest infestations. However, common plant pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, scale, and thrips may infest them.

The best way to get rid of these pests is to check your plants regularly. If you spot any of these pests, act quickly and treat them right away.

Spider Mites

The high humidity needs of Philodendron birkin make it vulnerable to spider mite infestation- spider mites love humid environments.

If you notice any cobwebs or spider webs on the underside of the leaf or where the leaf joins the stem, it is a clear indication you have a spider mite infestation. If it is a really bad infestation, it will appear as if you have dust-like clusters on the leaves of the plant that will look like it has been coated with pollen.

Once you have determined you have spider mites, quarantine this plant from the rest of your houseplants. Next, spray, or wash off, as many spider mites as possible. Use the shower or take your plants outside.

Finally, spray and treat your plant with Neem oil or any other plant insecticide spray.

Hopefully, this will take care of the spider mite infestation. If not, repeat the steps listed above.

If you are looking for a Neem oil spray, may we suggest this particular Neem oil spray? It’s nothing fancy, but it has simply worked on our spider mite infestations.

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Diseases

When a plant disease strikes your Philodendron birkin plant, it can get very bad.

Plant diseases are always hard to figure out because they are caused by different kinds of fungi or bacteria.

To combat the plant disease, you need to know what you’re up against. Philodendron birkin plants are afflicted by two diseases: Erwinia blight and leaf spot.

Erwinia blight can kill plants in a few days because it rots the stems and leaves from the inside out. Whereas, leaf spot disease shows up as spots on the leaves that start to rot. Eventually, the leaves start to fall off.

If you see a sick Philodendron birkin, isolate it immediately. To try to save your plant, cut off any leaves that have been affected. If the disease has spread, you won’t be able to save the plant.

These plant diseases like warm and humid places, so do not overwater your plant and try to keep the temperature between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

FAQ

How do I get more stripes on my Philodendron birkin?

To get more stripes on my Philodendron birkin, ensure you provide bright, indirect light for most of the day. If you can’t give your plant enough light, consider artificial lights or grow lights. Unfortunately, plants that get insufficient light will develop fewer stripes and streaks. Worse, poor light exposure will cause the leaves of this plant to revert to a solid green.

How can I make sure that my Philodendron birkin does not revert to color?

Unfortunately, there is no 100% way to make sure your Philodendron birkin doesn’t revert color. Because the streaks or stripes are caused by a mutation, each new leaf that your plant produces will be patterned and colored differently. No two leaves are the same. The best advice is to provide it with bright, indirect light and water when needed (Philodendron birkin is a thirsty plant).

Why does my Philodendron birkin have brown leaves?

Philodendron birkin has brown leaves because there is an imbalance in soil moisture. You either left the plant to dry out too long and it is excessively dry, or you have overwatered your plant and the water has not drained out properly.

Why does my Philodendron birkin have yellow leaves or yellow spots?

Finding yellowing leaves or spots on your Philodendron birkin could be due to either overwatering or you having an aging plant. Overwatering your plants is the number one cause of many problems. Even though the philodendron birkin is a thirsty plant, try only watering when the top of the soil is dry. In addition, make sure you have a drainage hole in your pot to drain out the excess water. Secondly, yellow leaves are sometimes a result of an old plant. If your plant is old, don’t worry; just prune the leaves and new growth should appear soon.

What is unique about the Philodendron Birkin?

The Philodendron Birkin is a little houseplant with striking green, white, and yellow pinstripe leaves that grow erect. The variegation may be seen on both sides of the leaves. This plant is very interesting to see since each new leaf that emerges is entirely different from the previous one.

Is a Philodendron Birkin plant rare?

Birkins is a new addition to the aroid family created with the mutation of two Philodendron varieties – Philodendron Rojo Congo and Philodendron Green Imperial. Therefore it’s rare to find this plant in shops or nurseries.

Does Philodendron Birkin grow fast?

The exact growth rate of this plant depends on the growing conditions. If the right conditions are maintained, this variety has a moderate pace. Otherwise, it’s a slow grower and will not take over the space.

Can my philodendron Birkin plant hurt my pets?

Yes. Philodendron plants have a chemical compound called calcium oxalate, which is toxic and can make your pet sick when they eat it – this is the same for kids. It is safer to keep your philodendrons away from pets and children.

Conclusion

The Philodendron Birkin is a hybrid philodendron that is a beautiful houseplant for any indoor garden.

They are such good-looking plants that they look like they belong in an interior decorating magazine.

The white stripes, which look like white waves in the ocean, are such a unique feature in a Philodendron plant. Since they are caused by a mutation, they are not really found in the wild and are thus rare plants to come by.

Do not let the exotic white wave pattern of this variegated variety scare you away. It may look challenging to care for, but all the Philodendron birkin needs is moist soil, loads of humidity, and indirect light.

This beautiful variegated Philodendron birkin is toxic for humans and animals because of the calcium oxalate crystals, so grow it away from the reach of kids and pets.

Other Philodendron Plants

Philodendron birkin is indeed a great houseplant to have. However, there are other philodendron plants that make great houseplants too.

Philodendrons come in a variety of sizes and have various leaf patterns. Here is a sample of other Philodendron plants to consider for your home, office, or outdoor garden.

Philodendron Hope Selloum: Also known as Philodendron bipinnatifidum or Philodendron selloum, and commonly referred to as the Tree Philodendron, it is a large plant that is native to South America. It is a popular vining houseplant as it is an easy-to-grow plant with large, sprawling leaves that give any room a tropical feel.

Philodendron Gloriosum: Commonly referred to as the Velvet Philodendron because of its velvety leaves, the Philodendron gloriosum is a thin plant that grows in the wild on the ground in South America. Its leaves are heart-shaped and have a velvety texture with pink edges, and prominent veins that are white, pink, or pale green.

Philodendron Melanochrysum: The Black Gold Philodendron is an uncommon type of vining philodendron that has gained popularity as a houseplant due to its beautiful foliage. Their velvety dark green leaves are contrasted with vibrant yellow veins that reach up to 24 inches in length. It’s definitely a stunning plant to have in any home.

References

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  • UConn Home and Garden Education Center. (n.d.). Philodendron. University of Connecticut Extension, Home & Garden Education Center. URL: http://www.ladybug.uconn.edu/FactSheets/philodendron—-.php
  • UF/IFAS Extension: Solutions for Your Life. (2014). Philodendrons. University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, Gardening Solutions. URL: https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/houseplants/philodendrons.html
  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (n.d.). Variegated Philodendron. Pet Care Animal Poison Control Toxic and Non-toxic Plants, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). URL: https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/variegated-philodendron
  • About/mentions: philodendron, houseplant

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