Philodendron Brandtianum: Silver-Leaf Philodendron Plant Care

Philodendron brandtianum, also known as Philodendron brandi or Silver Leaf Philodendron, is a beautiful tropical plant that can be used as a hanging or climbing plant.

It is an easy-to-care-for tropical plant that will provide a splash of color to any indoor garden.

This indoor plant has a particular look and texture that indoor gardeners adore.

In this blog post, we will cover Silver Leaf Philodendron care in depth so that you will have the confidence to grow this plant.

What is Philodendron Brandtianum?

Philodendron Brandtianum plant

Philodendron brandtianum is a tropical plant that is referred to as Philodendron brandi, Brandi Philodendron, or more commonly as the Silver Leaf Philodendron.

In the wild, Philodendron brandi can be found in South and Central America, from Ecuador all the way south to Brazil.

Even though they are tropical plants, they make great indoor houseplants or outdoors in terrestrial pots in the backyard.

The Silver Leaf Philodendron is a climber and can be grown in hanging planters or in pots with a moss pole.

Philodendrons are either crawling (or creeping) or climbing plants. For those new gardeners, when someone says “crawling” or “creeping”, it means the plant grows its stems horizontally along the ground. On the other hand, climbers have aerial roots (little spikes on their stems) that can grab hold of any upright structures (like a trellis or moss pole) to “climb” or grow upwards.

The Philodendron brandtianum plant is unique from other plants in the Philodendron genus because it can grow as either:

  • Epiphyte: a plant that grows on top of another plant.
  • Hemiepiphyte: a plant that originally starts as an epiphyte but then sends its own roots to the ground.
  • Terrestrial: a plant that grows on land.

On average, the Philodendron brandtianum plant can grow as tall as 4–5 feet when planted indoors, but even taller when grown outdoors.

Silver Leaf Philodendron Leaves and Stems

Philodendron brandtianum is different from the other philodendron species because of its heart-shaped, olive-green leaves with silvery-white patches, spots, and stripes.

The name Silver Leaf is derived from the very distinctive silver to grayish-white patches that contrast with its olive-green leaves.

At first sight, the variegation on the leaves of the Silver Leaf Philodendron might mislead you to think there is an accumulation of snow and ice on your plant; however, it is not.

The silvery patching on its leaves is its natural color, which gives Philodendron brandtianum an alluring look to add to any home decor.

Both the plant’s height and the size of its leaves are heavily influenced by factors such as the temperature, the amount of sunlight, and the type of soil.

For instance, the more indirect sunlight it gets, the larger the leaves will become.

Silver Leaf Philodendron vs. Silver Satin Pothos

The Silver Leaf Philodendron (Philodendron brandtianum) is not the same plant as the Silver Satin Pothos (Scindapsus pictus).

Many confuse the plants because their variegation and silvery markings are very much alike.

However, they belong to entirely different genera of plants. Scindapsus pictus is a member of the Scindapsus genus, while Philodendron brandi belongs to the Philodendron genus.

Although they are members of the large Araceae plant family (commonly known as Aroids). There are over 100 genera and almost 4,000 types of plants in the Araceae family, so there will be some similarities.

Silver Leaf Philodendron: An Air Purifying Plant

Plants in the Philodendron genus are known to purify the surrounding air environment by absorbing and eliminating toxins such as formaldehyde.

According to research conducted by the University of Florida, NASA has recognized Philodendron as a plant that may purify the air by removing formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (or VOCs).[1]

Formaldehyde is a naturally occurring organic compound that is odorless and colorless and is utilized in various items that are used in the home. It is harmful because it causes skin irritation and affects the eyes, nose, and throat. In fact, high levels of exposure can cause some types of cancer.

Silver-Leaf Philodendron Brandtianum Care

Philodendron plants, and in particular the Silver Leaf Philodendron, are noted for being “the simplest to grow and the toughest to kill.”

This makes the Philodendron brandtianum plants perfect for beginners and those looking for a low-maintenance houseplant.

To properly care for a Philodendron Brandtianum, simply plant it in potting mix that has good drainage and ensures that the plant has a constant supply of water.

However, before watering again, you should always let the top layer of soil dry off.

The temperature should range from 65 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of above 60%.

As for lighting, bright indirect sunlight (not direct sunlight) is the best.

Finally, use a diluted general fertilizer once a month during its growing season, which runs from spring through summer.

Temperature

When growing Silver Leaf Philodendrons, keep them at a temperature that ranges from 50 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.

They are not cold-hardy and can not cope well in temperatures less than 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Silver Leaf Philodendrons thrive in USDA hardiness zones 9b–11. So, if you live in these zones, they will do well outdoors. Just make sure to bring them in if the weather starts to get cold.

Lastly, and this is not a requirement, but since these are tropical plants, it is probably best to move them away from any cold air vents or air conditioners.

Humidity

Humidifying Philodendron brandi is a good idea as they thrive in above-average humidity levels in excess of 60%.

If you live in a dry climate, you can increase humidity by misting the plant, placing a water-filled pebble tray under the pot, or putting a humidifier nearby.

A quick note on misting: you can definitely mist the plant on occasion, but make sure there is adequate ventilation (or air flow) around the plant.

Any excess moisture on the leaves will protect them from plant diseases like fungus and leaf rot.

Light

Light-For-Philodendron-Brandtianum

Philodendron brandi plants will thrive in medium to bright indirect light.

Give your plant at least 3 to 4 hours of indirect sunlight or filtered sunlight each day. If the sun is not out long enough during the day, artificial lighting like grow lights will work just as well.

If you don’t give your plant enough sunlight, it can develop yellow leaves.

Protect your plant from intense sunlight because it can be damaged by exposure to direct sunlight for too long.

Watering

A big part of Philodendron brandtianum care is how much water to give it.

During its growing season, which is from spring through summer, more water is needed as it is actively growing and the heat will evaporate the water more quickly.

The opposite is true during the winter. During this time, it is dormant and does not need as much water to survive.

In fact, if you give your Philodendron brandi more water than it can handle, it will cause droopy leaves.

How to Water Philodendron Brandtianum

The best way to water the Silver Leaf Philodendrons is the soak and dry method.

This method is quite simple. Water your plant thoroughly (and evenly) until the excess water drains out of the drainage hole of the pot. Next, be patient and let the soil completely dry before watering your plant again.

Using the soak and dry method will help you avoid overwatering your plant.

Overwatering is the cause of a lot of plant problems, including root rot.

What we highly suggest is to get a pot with drainage holes. This self-watering pot is what we use for our indoor plants. There’s no need to worry about overwatering.

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Fertilizing

Philodendron brandi plants are relatively slow-growing plants and thus do not need as much fertilizer as other plants.

Nonetheless, give it a good quality fertilizer once a month and only do so in the growing season (spring through summer).

It is a good idea to dilute the fertilizer to half strength to avoid overfertilizing your plant.

If you see any browning leaves, stop giving them fertilizer. This is a sign that the plant can handle the excess nutrients.

You can help your plant by repotting it using fresh soil or giving the soil a good flush.

We know of gardeners who use water-soluble houseplant fertilizers, but we prefer a simpler solution.

We really like this slow-release fertilizer. It’s super simple to use because all you have to do is put it in the soil. It’s been a game-changer for our indoor houseplants, plus we never worry about overfertilizing our plants.

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Soil

Soil-For-Philodendron-Brandtianum

Grow your Philodendron brandtianum plant in a potting mix that is rich in nutrients and well-draining.

You can either buy your potting soil pre-mixed or make your own potting mix.

Start by using a general houseplant potting soil and adding some soil amendments like peat moss (sphagnum moss) for moisture retention, perlite for drainage, and an organic nutrient booster like compost to increase soil quality.

Poor quality soil can stunt the growth of your plants. We know of gardeners who even use well-composted manure as their nutrient supplement to ensure the soil quality is top-notch.

Most importantly, though it’s not soil-related, make sure you get a container or pot that has drainage holes.

A well-draining soil combined with a pot with drainage holes will help reduce the risk of your plant sitting in water, keeping it aerated and thus mitigating any overwatering issues like root rot.

Alternatively, you can buy this premixed fast-draining potting soil. It’s a little pricier than your general potting soil, but it’s worth it. We use it for our special houseplants and it seems to work because they thrive in it.

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Philodendron Brandtianum Propagation

Propagating-Philodendron-Brandtianum

Propagate Philodendron brandtianum by using stem cuttings. There are other methods to propagate your plant, such as air-layering, but stem cuttings are by far the easiest.

The best time to propagate your plant is during the growing season.

In fact, just like lucky bamboo plants, Philodendron plants are among the few houseplants that can grow permanently in water; albeit they will not grow larger in water.

Below is a step-by-step instruction on how to propagate Philodendron brandi plants.

  1. First, use a sterilized sharp pruning shear or knife to cut a healthy stem. Cut just below the leaf node of the plant.
  2. Next, put the stem cuttings in a jar of water or wrap them in a moist paper towel. Note: If you do use a moist paper towel, you will need to mist or soak the paper towel every day.
  3. Change the water or paper towel every 3 to 4 days to prevent any fungal or bacterial growth.
  4. Keep the stem cuttings in bright indirect light during this period.
  5. In a few weeks, you should see roots developing from the stem cuttings.
  6. Transplant the new baby plants into fresh, well-draining soil.
  7. Congratulations, now you have a new Silver Leaf Philodendron plant.

Now, if you have difficulties or any problems with your stem cuttings not sprouting roots, we highly recommend you use rooting hormones (rooting powder) to help stimulate your stem cuttings to grow roots.

Most people probably have never heard of rooting hormones. So, 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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Common Problems

Despite the best plant care you provide your Philodendron brandi plant, problems do arise.

The Philodendron brandtianum is not resistant to disease and pests. From time to time, you’ll need to know how to treat pests or plant diseases that affect your plant.

Pests and diseases can be caused by overwatering and overfertilizing.

The tip of the leaves could curl or develop spots. While tip curls are caused by overfertilizing and can be resolved by not fertilizing your plant, leaf spot disease could be the result of overwatering or infections like Erwinia blight.

Disease

The effects of plant disease on your Philodendron brandi plant could be severe.

Plant diseases are notoriously difficult to diagnose due to the wide variety of fungi and bacteria that can cause them.

To treat the plant’s disease, it is necessary to identify its pathogen.

Leaf spot and Erwinia blight are two diseases that harm Philodendron plants.

These plant diseases thrive in warm, humid environments, so try not to overwater and keep the temperature between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pests

Philodendron brandtianum care means you have may have to treat pests that infest your plant.

Common plant-damaging insects include aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and whiteflies.

Depending on the pest, the leaf, stem, or roots can be affected resulting in slowed growth or death.

Mealybugs: These sap-sucking insects can cause severe damage to a plant’s leaves and stems. Because they like to lurk deep within the plant’s tissue, eradicating these pests is notoriously challenging.

Spider Mites: They are little, sap-sucking insects capable of causing considerable plant harm. They are found on practically any plant that has large foliage. If spider mites are not treated, they can rapidly proliferate and cause considerable plant damage.

There are numerous methods for eliminating spider mites from a Philodendron plant. Using an insecticide such as neem oil is one option. Neem oil is a powerful natural pesticide against spider mites. It is also harmless for use on plants and has no negative side effects.

If you are looking for a Neem oil spray, consider this particular Neem oil spray. There are some Neem oil insecticides that you have to mix yourself, but we like this because it’s pre-mixed. More importantly, we’ve used it on our pest infestations and it simply works.

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FAQ

Is the Silver Leaf Philodendron the same as the Satin Pothos?

The Silver Leaf Philodendron (or Philodendron brandtianum) and the Satin pothos (Scindapsus pictus) seem remarkably alike, but they are not the same plant and actually belong to separate plant genera. Both have large leaves that trail, and most striking are the similar silver markings or variegation on both plants. The common names, Silver Leaf and Satin, also cause confusion because they are often used interchangeably. Lastly, when they were first classified, botanists included both plants in the same genus, the Epipremnum genus, which cause more confusion.

Is Philodendron brandtianum rare?

Yes, the Philodendron brandtianum plant is considered rare. While the plant is popular among plant enthusiasts, it is very hard to find them in a plant store or nursery because it’s not widely produced.

Does philodendron Brandtianum grow fast?

Philodendron brandi is a relatively slow-growing plant. However, if you want it to grow faster, make sure you give it several hours of bright indirect light, water when needed, and fertilizer once a month to give it the nutrients it needs.

Are There Other Forms or Variations of Philodendron Brandtianum Plant?

Yes, there is a wild form of the Philodendron brandtianum. Known as “Philodendron brandtianum aff. wild form”, it is a bigger variety of the plant that has larger and thicker leaves with a distinct leaf pattern. The pattern is not as widespread as the regular form—you could say the leaf patterns are more contained within the borders. With that said, the plant care for both is the same.

Conclusion

Philodendron brandtianum plants can easily be grown in a home, balcony, patio, or any tropical environment. It is a good plant to have because it is robust, does well in low light, and is low-maintenance. If you do get your hands on one, consider yourself lucky!

Other Philodendron Plants

The Silver Leaf Philodendron is definitely a houseplant you should grow in your garden. The distinctive markings on the plant give it a unique and wow factor in any home decor.

Plus, Philodendrons in general are a good traditional, fail-safe houseplant because they are so easy to grow.

However, there are so many more Philodendron plants you can choose from. We have compiled a list of more than 30 plants to grow, and below is just a sample of some of them.

Philodendron Birkin: The Philodendron Birkin is distinguished by its luxuriant heart-shaped green foliage with white-yellow stripe patterns that look like small waves. Also known as the White Wave Philodendron, it is very hard to find in your local plant store and cannot be found in the wild because it is a cross-bred hybrid.

Philodendron Xanadu: It is commonly known as Winterbourn philodendron and is distinguished by its enormous evergreens with deep green leaf slits. This plant is cultivated as a landscaping plant in tropical and warm-temperate regions, but it may also be grown indoors. It is commonly featured as an Instagram photo and is frequently featured in books about houseplants. Prior to its current classification, the Xanadu philodendron was referred to as Thaumatophyllum Xanadu.

Philodendron Melanochrysum: The Black Gold Philodendron is a rare variety of vining philodendron that has become increasingly popular as an indoor plant due to the stunning leaves that it produces. Their leaves have a velvety texture, and the dark green coloration is contrasted with bright yellow veins that can be up to 2 feet. Any home decor would be enhanced by adding a few Black Gold Philodendrons.

References

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  • [1] Felter, L. (2021). Plants Improve Indoor Air Quality. University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension Orange County. URL: https://blogs.ifas.ufl.edu/orangeco/2021/07/23/plants-improve-indoor-air-quality/
  • New York Botanical Garden. (2001). Philodendron brandtianum K.Krause. The New York Botanical Garden. URL: http://sweetgum.nybg.org/science/vh/specimen-details/?irn=1244445
  • Missouri Botanical Garden. Philodendron brandtianum. Missouri Botanical Garden. URL: http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/
  • Russ, K. & Pertuit, A. (Revised 2016 by Smith, B.). Philodendron Factsheet. HGIC 1509. Clemson University, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences. URL: https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/philodendron-pothos-monstera/
  • American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (n.d.). 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/split-leaf-philodendron
  • About/mentions: Philodendron brandtianum, philodendron, houseplant

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