The Philodendron Brandtianum has become quite a popular choice with plant hobbyists for its unique coloring – though it may take a bit of digging to find one.
Often called the “Silver Leaf Philodendron,” it can be easily recognized by its heart-shaped olive leaves and tell-tale silver markings. With the ability to climb with support, or cascade from a hanging planter, this vining variety is perfect for any plant collection.
Not to mention, caring for a philodendron brandtianum is fairly easy – much easier than caring for a calathea for example.
Despite favoring the warm, humid conditions of their native home, the Philodendron Brandi and most other Philo’s are known to be pretty low maintenance.
They have a few basic requirements that need to be met, like any plant, but nothing extreme or demanding.
Philodendron Brandtianum History & Origin
This gorgeous plant, like all philodendrons, hails from the deep jungles and rainforests of South America, mainly in the areas of Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia.
The interesting thing about P. Brandtianum is that they are quite versatile. When grown naturally, they can be found either on the ground (terrestrial), growing on other plants (known as an epiphyte), or they may begin growing on the ground as a seed (aka hemiepiphyte).
This versatile trait is what makes them great accessories for any space – they can climb or cascade from hanging pots!
Philodendron Brandtianum Care
So long as you provide your Silver Leaf Philodendron with a healthy soil mix, and the right amount of sun, light, and fertilizer, you’ll have a happy, healthy plant – and the happier and healthier your plant, the bigger it will grow!
Philodendrons thrive best in a well-draining, nutrient-dense potting mix that can retain some moisture. The most important thing is that your plant doesn’t sit in water.
To avoid saturation, make sure the potting soil is not too heavy by mixing soil with organic matter and other add-ins. You can also buy a premixed aroid mix that has everything your Silver Leaf Philodendron will need.
To mix your own lightweight mix that’s rich in nutrients, blend soil with 2-3 of these substrates;
- Coarse sand
- Orchid bark
- Peat moss
In their natural habitat, philodendrons are found at the foot of large rainforest trees. Sheltered from the sun, vining varieties such as the Brandi use their ariel roots to climb the tree trunks in search of light.
To get the most out of your Philodendron Brandtianum, replicate these conditions by providing it with plenty of indirect sunlight.
Pay close attention to your plant to be sure it’s getting the right amount of light. If it hasn’t produced a new leaf in a while, it may not be.
Your plant will survive lower lit conditions, but for a strong healthy philodendron to produce plenty of large leaves, you’ll need to adjust its positioning.
On the other hand, your plant could be scorched from too much sun, so look out for brown, crispy leaves. Place your plant a few feet away from a window that receives plenty of indirect, filtered light for the best growth.
If there’s one thing this plant is picky about, it’s being overwatered, so you’re best to avoid it. To avoid overwatering, and possible root rot, always check the moisture of your Philo’s soil before watering.
Stick your finger, or a piece of wood like a toothpick, into the soil about 2 inches deep. Do not water your plant until the top 1-2 inches of the soil is dry.
Water drainage is key for a happy philodendron, they hate when their roots sit in water!
To encourage proper drainage, all your plants’ pots and containers should have holes in the bottom for water to escape. You might also want a tray or dish to catch any excess and avoid a potential mess.
The Philodendron Brandtianum will grow without the use of fertilization, but a well-fed Philo will always be stronger and more robust.
Fertilizing your indoor plant can be tricky though, as over-fertilizing can result in high salt content in the soil – which Philo’s are not fond of! To avoid any fertilizer mishaps, use it sparingly and follow the directions closely.
Philodendrons will experience the best growth on a modest fertilization schedule during their growth period.
From the spring through to the summer, feed your plant with a high-quality liquid fertilizer that’s been appropriately diluted for indoor potted plants. They’ll do great with 3 feeds per growing season – every 4-6 weeks or so.
One of the easiest parts of caring for a P. Brandi is providing it with the right temperature and humidity.
Even though they prefer warm, humid conditions like their natural tropical habitat, Philo’s are known for being adaptable.
While it’s important there are no sudden changes in temperature – watch out for vents, A/C units, and drafty windows – they’re not too picky otherwise.
The Philodendron Brandtianum thrives well in temperatures ranging between 65-80°F (18-27°C) – making it a great indoor plant (though they may thrive outdoors in the right zone).
These plants aren’t fond of winter weather though, so be careful not to let temps drop below 60°F (16°C). Too much exposure to cold can result in cold damage, stunted growth, or a dead plant.
The humidity in your home is probably suitable for a philodendron as well, but if you’re not sure you can pick up a hygrometer for better accuracy.
In an ideal environment, Philo’s prefer humidity levels around 80% – but that’s pretty high for the average home.
A level of 40-60% humidity is more than enough to keep your plant happy, but if you find your home is on the dry side, there are some things you can do to help increase the humidity near your plant.
- Place your plant pots on top of a pebble tray with water, or humidity tray.
- Place plants near one another to increase transpiration and evaporation.
- Keep plants in a humid space, like the basement or laundry room.
- Use a humidifier in your tropical plant room.
Size – How Big Do Philodendron Brandiatums Become?
While the full size of your plant is determined by its growing conditions, such as water, light, and fertilizer, the average plant can produce vines up to 4-5 feet (120-150cm) long. With beautiful silvery leaves that can reach up to 4-7 inches (10-18cm), this Philo can be quite impressive!
The Philodendron Brandtianum is a vining variety that can climb, trail, and cascade, depending on what you prefer. If you want your plant to climb, just provide it with strong support, such as a moss totem.
This Philo variety grows at a relatively slow pace – though, with some carefully planned fertilization, you may get it growing quicker.
Again, the conditions in your plants’ environment will affect their growth rate, so be sure to review the suggestions above so your Brandi gets what it needs to thrive.
Due to the slower growth rate of this philodendron, you likely won’t need to repot it often. Wait for signs that repotting is necessary before upgrading the pot size though.
A pot that’s too big can encourage overwatering and cause your plant more harm than good.
Once you notice your plant is getting overcrowded, or its roots are escaping from the pot’s drainage holes – it’s time to repot! Choose a pot that’s only 1-2 inches (2-5cm) bigger to be on the safe side.
Propagating and Pruning
There is little to no pruning needed for philodendrons of any variety – you only need to prune your P. Brandtianum to keep it healthy or to propagate it. T
o keep your plant growing strong and steady, trim away any wilted, damaged, or diseased leaves.
Use a clean, sharp pair of clippers to avoid contamination and cut the leaf as close to the stem as possible, without damaging healthy leaves nearby.
You can propagate a clipping from your Silver Leaf Philodendron in water using these steps:
- Cut a stem with 3 leaves, below a node – use sharp, sanitized scissors.
- Water the mother plant immediately to avoid shock and stress.
- To root the clipping and increase its chance for survival, place it in water near a window that receives plenty of indirect light. Remember to replace the water daily, and in a few weeks, the root will be 1-2 inches long and ready to plant in soil.
- Place the clipping in bright, indirect sunlight wait for new growth in a few short weeks.
Problems and Pests – Ones to Watch Out For
Philodendrons are known for being pretty resistant to pests, but they’re definitely still possible. Keep watch for signs of pests, such as yellowing, spotting, and small holes – or the pests themselves!
Spider mites, aphids, scale, and mealybugs are all common in houseplants, but luckily can be easily treated.
Dust can attract pests, so be sure to wipe the leaves down with a damp cloth regularly to avoid pests problems.
If you’re not so lucky and start to notice signs they’re poking around, you may need to take action.
A quick, brisk shower will take care of some pests, but a stubborn infestation may need intense treatment with isopropyl alcohol, horticultural soap, or diluted neem oil.
Disease and Distress – Why is My Philodendron Dying?
Unfortunately, plant care isn’t always sunshine and new leaves – sometimes we run into issues.
Many things can cause yellowing, browning, crispy leaves, or other changes to your plant, but it’s usually a result of their conditions. The most common problem experienced by philodendron keepers is a result of their own hands.
Overwatering is so easy to do, which is why I stress the importance of checking the soil before watering. If you feel that you’re not watering your P. Brandi that often, but the soil still feels very wet, there could be another issue.
Well-draining soil or lack of drainage holes in your plants’ pot could be the problem, or it could also be that your Philo isn’t getting enough light.
Discoloration in your plant may not be a result of overwatering, or lack of light though, it could also be too much sunlight.
This is why it’s very important to pay close attention to your plant’s environmental conditions – the resulting issues look very similar. Brown, crispiness in the leaves of your plant could mean you need to move it to a new spot that receives less direct light.
Plant Toxicity – Is this Plant Safe?
All philodendrons contain a toxic substance called calcium oxalate, which is important to keep away from children and pets.
Keep your Philo’s of all varieties in a safe place that’s out of reach. If you do suspect contact, keep watch for changes to the lips, mouth, or throat, or any rashes, and contact medical professionals immediately.
Philodendron Brandtianum vs Satin Pothos – What’s the Difference?
There can be some confusion between this Philo variety, also known as Philodendron Brandi for short, and the “Satin Pothos” or Scindapsus Pictus plant.
They do have similarities, and they both are members of the aroid or Araceae family, but the Scindapsus isn’t even a philodendron – so they are quite different.
The Satin Pothos is part of the Scindapsus genus, whereas the Brandtianum is from the philodendron genus – only two of over 114 genera of plants within the Araceae family.
FAQs – Common Questions Answered
Q: Is the Philodendron Brandtianum a climber or crawler?
A: This variety is a climber, with the help of good support. However, they’re also trailers that cascade beautifully from a hanging pot.
Q: Which plants pair well with philodendrons?
A: Philo’s pair well with a variety of other indoor plant varieties. The important thing when pairing plants is that their conditions are very similar. Peace lilies, Scheffleras, Pothos, and Red Aglaonema, are all fantastic options.
Q: Why isn’t my Philodendron Brandtianum growing fast despite fertilizer feedings every 2 weeks?
A: There is such thing as too much of a good thing, and that’s what this sounds like. Overfeeding your philodendron can affect the pH and salt content of the soil, which they really don’t like.
More is less when it comes to fertilizing these plants, so be sure to space your fertilizing schedule out. If you’ve already done the damage, you can use dolomitic lime to help break down the excess fertilizer.