The Red Heart Philodendron, also known as Philodendron erubescens or Philodendron scandens subsp. oxycardium, is a popular houseplant that is prized for its deep red, heart-shaped leaves and low-maintenance requirements.
Native to South America, this tropical plant is a member of the Araceae family, which also includes other popular houseplants like pothos, monsteras, and peace lilies.
With its striking foliage and easy-care nature, the Red Heart Philodendron is a great choice for both experienced and novice plant enthusiasts alike.
In this article, we will explore more about the Red Heart Philodendron, including its care requirements, propagation, and some tips for keeping it healthy and thriving in your home or garden.
The Red Heart Philodendron, also known as Philodendron erubescens or Philodendron scandens subsp. oxycardium, is a tropical plant that is native to South America, specifically Brazil, Bolivia, and Argentina. It belongs to the Araceae family and is related to other popular houseplants such as pothos, monsteras, and peace lilies.
The Red Heart is a popular houseplant due to its striking deep red, heart-shaped leaves that can add a pop of color to any room. The leaves start out bright red and gradually mature to a deeper, more muted shade of green as they age.
This plant is relatively easy to care for and can thrive in a variety of growing conditions, making it a great choice for novice plant enthusiasts. It can grow up to 3-6 feet in length and is commonly used as a trailing or climbing plant.
In its natural habitat, philodendrons grow as an epiphyte, meaning it attaches itself to other plants for support. It can also grow in soil, as long as it is well-draining and kept moist.
Overall, the Red Heart Philodendron is a beautiful and easy-to-care-for houseplant that can add a touch of tropical flair to any home or garden.
Quick Summary Guide
- Sunlight: The Red Heart Philodendron prefers bright, indirect light, but can also tolerate low-light conditions.
- Growth: This plant is a vining plant that can grow up to 3-6 feet in length. It can be grown as a hanging plant, or trained to climb up a support structure.
- Soil: Well-draining potting soil is best for the Red Heart Philodendron. It also benefits from the addition of organic matter like peat moss or compost.
- Watering: The Red Heart Philodendron prefers moist soil, but is sensitive to overwatering. Water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch, and be sure to allow excess water to drain away from the pot.
- Humidity: This plant thrives in high humidity, but can tolerate lower humidity levels as well. It can benefit from occasional misting or the use of a humidifier.
- Temperature: The Red Heart Philodendron prefers temperatures between 65-80°F (18-27°C), but can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures as well.
- Toxicity: The Red Heart Philodendron is toxic to humans and pets if ingested. Its sap can also cause skin irritation, so it’s important to handle the plant with care.
Red Heart Philodendron Care:
The Red Heart Philodendron prefers bright, indirect light. This means that it should be placed near a window where it can receive plenty of natural light, but not in direct sunlight where the leaves can become burned or damaged.
If you don’t have a window that provides enough light, you can supplement the plant’s light needs with artificial grow lights.
Place the lights 6-12 inches above the plant, and keep them on for 12-14 hours a day to simulate natural daylight.
On the other hand, if the plant receives too little light, it can become leggy and lose its vibrant coloration. If this happens, try moving the plant to a brighter location or supplementing its light with grow lights.
If the leaves are yellowing or turning brown, it may be a sign that the plant is receiving too much direct sunlight, and you should move it to a more shaded location.
In general, it’s a good idea to rotate the plant occasionally so that all sides of the plant receive equal amounts of light, and to avoid placing it near any heating or cooling vents that can create hot or cold drafts that may harm the plant.
The most important thing to keep in mind when watering your Red Heart Philodendron is to avoid overwatering.
The plant is sensitive to sitting in waterlogged soil, which can lead to root rot and other issues. It’s best to water the plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Stick your finger into the soil – if it feels dry at a depth of 1-2 inches, it’s time to water.
When you water your Red Heart Philodendron, be sure to do so thoroughly. Water the soil until excess water drains out of the bottom of the pot, and then empty the saucer underneath to prevent the plant from sitting in standing water.
It’s also important to use room-temperature water when watering your Red Heart Philodendron. Cold water can shock the plant’s roots, while hot water can scald them. If possible, let the water sit out for a day or so before using it, as this can help to dissipate any chlorine or other chemicals that may be present in tap water.
During the winter months, when the plant is in its dormant phase, you may need to reduce watering frequency. Allow the soil to dry out a bit more between waterings, and be careful not to let the plant sit in cold or drafty conditions.
Overall, the Red Heart Philodendron does not have any special watering requirements beyond those that are typical of most houseplants. Just be sure to avoid overwatering, and to use room-temperature water when you do water the plant
The Red Heart Philodendron is native to tropical regions of South America, so it prefers a humid environment. Ideally, the plant should be kept in an environment with humidity levels between 40-60%.
If the air in your home is dry, you can increase humidity levels around the plant by using a humidifier, placing a tray of water near the plant, or misting the leaves with water.
Just be sure not to mist the plant too often, as this can encourage fungal growth or cause water to collect in the leaf axils and cause rot.
Another option is to group the Philodendron with other plants. Plants naturally release moisture into the air through a process called transpiration, and grouping plants together can create a microclimate with higher humidity levels.
In addition to helping to prevent dry air, maintaining proper humidity levels can also help to prevent issues such as brown tips on the leaves, which can occur if the air is too dry.
Overall, providing adequate humidity is an important part of caring for your plant.
The Philodendron Red Heart prefers temperatures between 65-80°F (18-27°C), but can tolerate slightly cooler temperatures as well.
The Red Heart Philodendron prefers well-draining soil that retains moisture without becoming waterlogged.
You can use a pre-mixed potting soil or create your own by mixing equal parts of peat moss, perlite, and coarse sand.
It’s also a good idea to add some organic matter, such as compost, to the soil mix to provide the plant with nutrients and improve soil structure.
The Red Heart Philodendron benefits from regular fertilization to promote healthy growth and maintain vibrant foliage.
During the growing season (spring and summer), fertilize the plant every 2-4 weeks with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Be sure to follow the package instructions and avoid over-fertilizing, which can lead to burnt leaves or other issues.
During the dormant season (fall and winter), you can reduce the frequency of fertilization to once a month or suspend fertilization altogether. This is because the plant’s growth slows down during this time, and it doesn’t require as much nutrients.
In addition to regular fertilization, it’s also a good idea to periodically repot your Red Heart Philodendron into fresh soil, especially if it’s outgrown its current pot. This can help to ensure that the plant has access to enough nutrients and that the soil remains well-draining.
The Red Heart can benefit from occasional pruning to encourage new growth and maintain its shape. Prune back any dead or yellowing leaves, or trim back any excessively long vines.
The Red Heart Philodendron is toxic to humans and pets if ingested. Its sap can also cause skin irritation, so it’s important to handle the plant with care.
How to Propagate the Red Heart Philodendron
The Red Heart Philodendron can be propagated in a few different ways, including stem cuttings and division.
Here’s how to do each method:
Stem cuttings: Most common method of propagating Philodendrons.
- Take a stem cutting that is around 4-6 inches long and has a few leaves. Make sure to cut below a node (the point where leaves attach to the stem) to encourage root growth.
- Remove the lower leaves from the stem cutting, leaving only 1-2 leaves at the top.
- Dip the cut end of the stem cutting into rooting hormone, which can help to encourage root growth.
- Plant the stem cutting in a well-draining
potting mixand water it thoroughly.
- Place the pot in a bright, warm area, but out of direct sunlight.
- Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, and mist the cutting occasionally to help it retain moisture.
Within a few weeks to a few months, you should start to see roots and new growth on the cutting.
Division: Divide it into smaller sections.
- Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently separate the roots into two or more sections.
- Use a clean, sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears to trim any damaged or unhealthy roots.
- Plant each section in a separate pot filled with fresh potting soil or a mix of peat moss and perlite.
- Water the new plants thoroughly and place them in a warm, bright spot out of direct sunlight.
- Keep the soil moist but not waterlogged, and mist the leaves occasionally.
- After a few weeks, new growth should appear and the plants should begin to thrive.
Propagation is a great way to expand your collection of Red Heart Philodendron plants or share them with friends and family. Just be sure to be patient and give the new plants plenty of care and attention as they establish themselves.
Common Problems with the Philodendron Red Heart
If the leaves of your Red Heart Philodendron are turning yellow, it may be a sign of overwatering, underwatering, or poor drainage.
Check the soil moisture level and adjust your watering routine as needed. Make sure the pot has drainage holes and that excess water can escape easily.
Brown leaf tips
Brown leaf tips can be caused by low humidity, over-fertilization, or excess salt buildup in the soil. Try increasing the humidity around the plant by misting the leaves or placing a tray of water nearby.
Reduce the amount of fertilizer you’re using or flush the soil with water to remove excess salt.
Common pests that can affect Red Heart Philodendrons include spider mites, mealybugs, and scale insects. If you notice small webs or sticky residue on the leaves, or if the leaves are covered in small bumps or white fluffy patches, you may have a pest problem.
Treat the plant with a natural insecticidal soap or neem oil, or consult with a professional if the infestation is severe.
Root rot can be caused by overwatering, poor drainage, or using soil that’s too heavy or dense. If you notice a foul odor coming from the soil or if the leaves begin to wilt and turn yellow, your plant may have root rot.
Repot the plant in fresh, well-draining soil and adjust your watering routine to prevent future problems.
By being vigilant and responding quickly to any issues, you can help keep your Philodendron healthy and thriving.
Philodendron Brasil – This plant has similar heart-shaped leaves with a vibrant green color and yellow variegation. It is also a trailing plant that can be grown in a hanging basket or trained to climb up a support.
Pothos – Pothos plants have heart-shaped leaves that are similar in shape to those of the Red Heart Philodendron, but they are typically smaller and have a slightly different texture.
Pothos is also a trailing plant that is easy to care for and can be grown in a variety of lighting conditions.
Monstera deliciosa – This plant has large, perforated leaves that are reminiscent of the Red Heart Philodendron, but with a more distinctive shape.
Monstera deliciosa is a popular houseplant that can add a bold tropical accent to any room.
Philodendron Prince of Orange – This plant has heart-shaped leaves that are a vibrant orange color when young and then mature to a dark green with orange veins.
It is a relatively new cultivar but has quickly gained popularity for its striking appearance.
Heartleaf philodendron – This plant has heart-shaped leaves like the Red Heart Philodendron, but is smaller and more compact.
It is a versatile and easy-to-care-for houseplant that can be grown in a variety of lighting conditions.
Q: Is the Philodendron toxic to pets?
A: Yes, the Red Heart Philodendron is toxic to both cats and dogs. It contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause swelling, burning, and irritation in the mouth and throat if ingested.
Q: Can the Red Heart grow in low light conditions?
A: While the Red Heart Philodendron prefers bright, indirect light, it can tolerate low light conditions for short periods of time. However, if the plant is kept in low light for an extended period, it may become leggy and the leaves may lose their vibrant color.
Q: How often should I fertilize my Red Heart Philodendron?
A: You can fertilize your Red Heart Philodendron every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) using a balanced liquid fertilizer. During the dormant season (fall and winter), you can reduce or stop fertilization.
Q: How often should I prune my Red Heart plant?
A: You can prune your plant as needed to control its size or shape. Pruning can also encourage bushier growth and stimulate new leaves. You can prune the plant at any time of year, but it’s best to avoid major pruning during the winter when the plant is dormant.
Q: Can I grow my Philodendron outdoors?
A: While the Red Heart Philodendron is typically grown as a houseplant, it can be grown outdoors in warm, humid climates.
However, it’s important to protect the plant from direct sunlight and cold temperatures, as this can cause damage to the leaves and slow growth.
Q: Is the Red Heart Philodendron Rare?
A: Yes, it is quite an uncommon plant and not often found in nurseries. You might be able to locate a plant online but always do you due diligence to ensure its the real thing.
This rare Philodendron is a beautiful and relatively easy-to-care-for houseplant that can add a touch of tropical elegance to any indoor space.
To care for this plant, it is important to provide it with bright, indirect light, well-draining soil, regular watering, and moderate to high humidity.
Fertilization every 4-6 weeks during the growing season can also promote healthy growth. While this plant is generally hardy and resilient, it may be susceptible to pests and diseases, so it’s important to monitor it regularly and take prompt action if any issues arise.
With a little attention and care, the Red Heart Philodendron can thrive and provide many years of enjoyment.