Philodendron Cordatum: Heart-Leaf Philodendron Plant Care

Philodendron cordatum, commonly known as Heart-Leaf philodendron or Sweetheart vine, is one of the more popular philodendrons.

It is easy to care for and can be grown in a variety of environments.

This article will provide tips on how to care for your Philodendron cordatum plant, including watering, propagating, and pruning.

What is Philodendron cordatum?

What-Is-Philodendron-Cordatum

Philodendron cordatum is grown as an indoor house plant that has large, emerald green, heart-shaped leaves.

In its natural habitat in South America, the Philodendron cordatum can grow up to 15 feet tall with spathes of white flowers when it matures.

Philodendron cordatum is also commonly referred to as the Sweetheart plant, Sweetheart vine, or Heart-Leaf Philodendron because of its large heart-shaped leaves. In fact, the plant’s name is derived from the Latin word “cordate” which means “heart-shaped.” 

Relative to other indoor plants, the Philodendron cordatum plant is very easy to grow and care for. Even if you don’t plant a Philodendron in an optimal environment, the plant will still grow. In fact, providing the plant with the basics (water, light, and nutrient soil) is all you need for it to thrive.

In fact, since the Victorian era, this species has been one of the most widespread indoor plants to have as home decor.

While Philodendron cordatum could be a trailing plant (or creeping plant) in a hanging basket or shelf, this indoor house plant also develops aerial roots that allow it to become a climbing plant if given a trellis or moss pole to grow upwards.

Philodendron Cordatum Versus Philodendron Hederaceum

There is a common misconception (and confusion) that the Philodendron cordatum is the same as the Philodendron hederaceum—to be clear, they are not the same plant.

Many online plant care resources provide inconsistent care instructions because these two species of Philodendron are always thought of as the same plant. However, we here at UrbanOrganicYield.com want to provide the most up-to-date and correct plant care instructions for your Philodendron cordatum.

First off, the Philodendron cordatum is from South America, while the Philodendron hederaceum is native to Central America.

Secondly, there are several varieties of Philodendron hederaceum. For instance, the Philodendron brasil, Philodendron micans, and Philodendron lemon-lime are variations of the Philodendron hederaceum.

Cordatum and Hederaceum Leaves Are Different

The two plants are very easy to confuse, as both Philodendron cordatum and Philodendron hederaceum have large, green, heart-shaped leaves.

However, the slight difference is that the color of Philodendron cordatum leaves is a lighter and brighter green (almost an emerald color) with fainter vein lines.

In addition, the leaves have a rougher appearance than those of Philodendron hederaceum. Further, in a young Philodendron hederaceum plant, the leaves are pale and slightly brownish in color, whereas the Philodendron cordatum does not.

Lastly, as the Philodendron cordatum ages, the leaves actually get darker and become grayish-green.

Philodendron cordatum Plant Care

Plant care for Philodendron cordatum can be summed up as follows:

  • Light: It thrives in bright indirect light and requires a lot of moisture (humidity levels of around 70% to 80%).
  • Temperature: Temperatures should be kept between 65° and 80° Fahrenheit.
  • Water: Water often and thoroughly until you see the water come out of the drainage holes at the bottom.
  • Soil: As for soil, a well-draining potting mix that can retain some moisture is best.
  • Fertilizer: In spring and summer, apply organic fertilizer every two to three weeks.

Temperature

The best temperature for the Sweetheart plant is between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. At night, don’t let temperatures go below 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

Philodendron cordatum plants are not cold hardy and in a chilly environment, growth will be stunted.

If you decide to plant Philodendron cordatum outside, it does well in warmer USDA hardiness zones 10 through 12. However, if the weather starts to cool down, it is best that you take it inside.

Humidity

As tropical plants, Philodendron cordatum prefers high humidity levels of 70 to 80% relative humidity. However, an average household humidity level should be sufficient in most cases.

However, if you do live in a drier climate, try keeping your Philodendron cordatum in or near the bathroom or other high humid areas.

Bottom line, when possible give your plant a humid environment and it will grow fuller.

Ideas to increase humidity are to use humidity trays (also called pebble trays), mist them regularly or simply have a humidifier close to the plant. are a great way to keep this plant happy.

For those who are wondering what a humidity tray (pebble tray) is: it’s simply a plant saucer filled with water and small rocks or pebbles. The pot of the plant sits on rocks and the sitting water will evaporate upwards providing humidity to the plant.

Lighting Conditions

The Heart-Leaf Philodendron needs bright but indirect light (or medium-light) to thrive.

What this means is that the light needs to be in a room that is lit by sunlight but not directly in the sunlight.

This is good news because it means the plant can thrive in any medium-light space like a home or office.

An idea for indirect light is to place it close to the side of a window. If you decide to have it directly in the middle of the window, make sure there is some kind of sheer or partial shade to cut down the sun, giving your plant bright indirect light.

If you expose this plant to direct sunlight for a long period, it may harm the plant. If you notice browning leaves, it is a good indication that your plant has been sunburnt-move your plant away from the direct sun.

Watering

watering-Philodendron-Cordatum

Philodendron cordatum is a thirsty plant, so water it generously at least once a week.

We suggest you water until you see water draining out of the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot. Ensure you keep the soil evenly moist by watering around the whole pot, and not just one side of it.

During the growing season, from spring through summer, water Philodendron cordatum when the top portion of the soil has dried out.

Even if you have very good draining soil, do not water your plant everyday!

In low to medium light, such as fall and winter, we think you water when the plant needs it. In other words, monitor the soil dryness and the condition of the leaves. If it looks healthy, hold back some water. If the leaves start to wilt, curl, or droop, it is a sign that your plant needs water.

Lastly, do not overwater your Philodendron cordatum plant. How do you know if you’re overwatering? If the soil is consistently moist, if your plant starts turning yellow, or if your plant just seems unhealthy, these are all signs of root rot.

If you suspect you have root rot, you’ll need to pull the plant to check its roots.

Fertilizing

Like other Philodendron plants, the Sweetheart vine can grow without fertilizer for years.

However, if you think your plant could get an extra boost, you can add some general houseplant fertilizer once a month.

Just follow the instructions on the packaging on how to dilute and add fertilizer to your plant.

You don’t want to give your plant too much fertilizer, otherwise, the plant won’t be able to handle the extra nutrients and may start turning yellow due to fertilizer burn.

As for when to apply fertilizer, the best time to add fertilizer to Philodendron cordatum is during the growing season, which is spring through summer.

Whatever you decide on fertilizer, there is one rule that all Philodendron owners agree on, do not give fertilizer to your Heart-Leaf Philodendron in the winter. During this time, they are dormant and do not need the extra nutrients.

Soil

Soil-And-Repotting-Philodendron-Cordatum

As with any Philodendron plant, the Philodendron cordatum likes well-draining soil that can also retain moisture.

Hence, the perfect potting mix for this indoor house plant is a base of coarse potting soil with soil amendments like peat moss (for moisture retention) and perlite (for drainage).

Lastly, if your potting soil does not contain any nutrients, you can add a little fertilizer to the soil.

Repotting

You should repot a Heart-Leaf Philodendron every 2-3 years, or only when it’s required.

The primary reason for repotting your Philodendron cordatum is to prevent the plant from becoming root-bound. For instance, if the roots are visible through the drainage holes at the bottom of the container.

Another reason is when you think the soil’s quality is deteriorating, you can repot it so it has fresh soil to grow in.

Lastly, repot your plant is when your plant is infected with a plant disease (like fungus) or infested with pests (like gnats).

In all cases, you should use fresh soil and definitely use a pot with drainage holes.

If you’re looking for a pot with drainage holes, how about one that waters itself? This self-watering container is what we use for our houseplants.

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Propagation

Propagation-Philodendron-Cordatum

The best method for propagating Philodendron cordatum is to use stem cuttings.

There are other methods of propagating, but stem cuttings are, by far, the easiest and simplest method to have the best probability of success in producing roots.

Start by cutting off the stems right below a leaf node. Make sure you use a clean, sharp knife or pruning shears (some sharp scissors will do as well).

As an aside, if you’re looking for a pair of garden shears, we highly suggest these super-sharp pruning shears. They are not too expensive, and they seem to never get dull. Plus, they are easy on the hands.

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Note that if the mother plant is large, it is possible to get several cuttings at once.

Next, remove all of the leaves from the cutting and leave several leaves on the stem.

Place the stem cutting into a cup of water or moist paper towel (leave the leaves dry) and place it in bright, indirect sunlight.

If you use a moist paper towel, make sure you keep it moist every day.

In two to three weeks, the stem cuttings will produce roots and possibly new leaves. Wait till the roots are about an inch long and plant the new plants into pots with fresh soil.

At this point, take care of your new Philodendron cordatum plant as normal. But, since they are young plants, you should water them often and expose them to more direct sunlight.

If the stem cuttings are failing to get your stem cuttings to root, you should consider using rooting hormones (also referred to as rooting powder).

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

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Pests

Philodendron cordatum is susceptible to pests like spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, fungus gnats, and scales.

Indications that your plant is infested with pests are when you see the pests crawling on the plant leaves, traces of pests like cobwebs, or when it gets really bad, leaves start falling.

Do not ignore pest infestations. Once you see them, take action immediately. First, isolate the plant, as this will prevent any spread to other houseplants you may have.

Secondly, wipe all the visible pests you can see with cotton balls dipped in isopropyl alcohol-this works very well.

Next, you will need to apply an insecticide. Insecticides will kill most pests and prevent future infestations by killing off the eggs.

If you are looking for an insecticide spray, may we suggest this particular Neem oil spray? It’s nothing fancy, but we’ve used it on our pest infestations and it simply works.

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Fungus Gnats

While some of these pests can infest Philodendron cordatum because they are near other infestations, fungus gnats, on the other hand, are likely caused by overwatering.

Constantly wet soil is a great environment to stimulate fungal growth. This fungus is what the gnat larvae eat.

Generally, cutting down on your watering will resolve most fungus gnat infestations.

So, when you water your Philodendron cordatum, water it deeply when the soil is dry. When you water your plant deeply, ensure that the pot has enough drainage and that the saucer does not contain too much-standing water.

Repotting the plant may be necessary. Remove the old soil but be careful not to hurt or destroy the roots. Before putting the plant back into the pot, clean the pot and use new and fresh potting soil.

Diseases

When a plant disease affects your Philodendron cordatum plant, the results might be disastrous.

Plant diseases are notoriously hard to figure out because they can be caused by many different kinds of fungi and bacteria.

To tackle the plant’s illness, you need to determine what is infecting it.

Two diseases that affect Philodendron plants are Erwinia blight and leaf spot.

These plant diseases grow best in warm, humid places. To keep your plant healthy, don’t overwater it and keep the temperature between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Erwinia Blight

Erwinia blight rots stems and leaves from the inside out. It can kill plants within a few days.

If you observe a sick Philodendron, immediately isolate it. In an effort to salvage your plant, infected leaves should be removed before symptoms appear. If the illness has spread, the plant can no longer be saved.

Erwinia attacks below or at the soil level, generating tiny water-soaked patches on the plant stem that turns tan and then eventually black. The rotting leaves may also emit an awful odor.

Plants lose their leaves when the bacteria reach the petioles. If the plant resists, the bacteria will spread to the leaves and restrict growth. Young leaves yellow, while older leaves get damp tan lesions. Eventually, this will lead to leaf drop as the leaves die.

Leaf Spot

In contrast, leaf spot disease manifests as rotting dots on the leaves. Eventually, the leaves will begin to fall.

Leaf spot disease is the most prevalent cause of brown, yellow, or black spots on Philodendron leaves. This is the result of fungi introduced from the outside environment-especially in high humidity conditions. If caught early, leaf spot disease can be treated.

FAQ

Is a philodendron cordatum rare?

Heart-leaf philodendron is not the rarest of the philodendron species but, it is often hard to find it sold in local plant nurseries or plant stores. Most sellers will propagate their own plants to breed more Philodendron cordatum plants. With that said, it is abundant in coastal areas in South America.

Are Philodendron Hederaceum And Philodendron Cordatum the Same Plant?

Philodendron cordatum is not the same as the the Philodendron hederaceum. Both plants feature heart-shaped, green leaves. However, Philodendron cordatum leaves have a lighter green (nearly emerald) with fainter vein lines, while Philodendron hederaceum has tougher leaves. Young Philodendron hederaceum leaves are pale and brownish, but not Philodendron cordatum. Lastly, mature Philodendron cordatum leaves become grayish-green and Hederaceum does not.

Is philodendron cordatum the same as heart leaf philodendron?

Yes, Philodendron cordatum is the same plant as the Heart Leaf philodendron. Cordatum is derived from the Latin word “cordate” which means “heart-shaped.” 

Conclusion

Philodendron cordatum is an indoor house plant that provides numerous benefits in the home.

Aside from its beautiful heart-shaped leaves, it also helps with oxygenation and detoxification of the environment—even removing formaldehyde from the air.

Nonetheless, it is ironic that a plant known as the Sweetheart vine can be toxic to humans and animals as it causes skin irritation and it contains calcium oxalate crystals, which are known to be toxic.

For outdoor use, Heart Leaf philodendron is an excellent hanging plant for balconies and patios, and an indoor houseplant if planted with a moss pole it can be a climbing plant.

Other Philodendron Plants

Philodendron cordatum is a great houseplant to grow in your home or office. However, there are so many other types of philodendron plants that you can choose to grow. We compiled a list of other Philodendron plants to consider for your home, office, or outdoor garden.

Philodendron Xanadu: The Winterbourn philodendron is notable for its large, deep-green dissected leaf fenestrations. It is planted as a landscaping plant in tropical and warm temperate climates, but it can also be grown indoors. They are well-liked by many Instagram influencers and are frequently featured in houseplant publications. Prior to its current classification, Xanadu philodendron was known as Thaumatophyllum Xanadu.

Philodendron Brandtianum: The Silver-Leaf philodendron is a tropical plant with olive-green leaves with silver streaks. They can get bushier than other philodendrons. They thrive as hanging plants, but can also be trained to climb a trellis or moss pole.

Philodendron Micans: Known as the Velvet Leaf Philodendron, this philodendron is similar to other philodendrons in that it is a vining plant that has heart-shaped leaves, but different in that the Philodendron micans does not have glossy, green leaves, rather has velvety-textured greenish-bronze leaves with crimson-brown undersides.

References

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