philodendron brasil care: how to keep them happy

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philodendron brasil care: how to keep them happy

plant description

Earning its name from vibrant green and yellow streaked leaves resembling the Brazilian flag, the Philodendron Brasil is a popular variegated cultivar of the Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum). This resilient tropical plant is loved for its lush, colorful foliage and abundant growth. And it’s super easy to care for! The Philodendron Brasil is commonly used in hanging baskets or as a tabletop plant.

With heart-shaped leaves, creamy-pink stems, and abstract variegation patterns, this species of Philodendron can grow up to 20 feet. Philodendron Brasil is typically variegated with strokes of yellow and light green, though neon shades are not uncommon.

The Philodendron Brasil is part of the Araceae family, and is native to tropical and subtropical climates across Central America and the Caribbean. These plants share characteristic trailing vines and abundant foliage with Pothos, also in the Araceae family.

plant facts

common nameVariegated Heart Leaf Philodendron, Philodendron Scanden
botanical namePhilodendron hederaceum ‘Brasil’
no. of varieties1
biological life cycleperennial
mature size10-20 feet long
time to maturity15-16 years
originCentral American and the Caribbean
light conditionsbright, indirect light
soil typewell-draining and rich potting soil
soil pHslightly acidic
USDA Zone11-12
toxicitytoxic to people and pets

Popular varieties of the Boston fern include Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Compacta’, Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Dallas Jewel’, Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Golden Boston’, Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Verona’, and Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Fluffy Ruffles’,

how to take care of a split leaf philodendron

light 🔆

Best light: bright, indirect light

Although the Philodendron Brasil can tolerate a variety of light conditions, it should be placed in a bright light location to encourage variegation. While they do enjoy plenty of light, it’s best to avoid placing Philodendron Brasil in direct light as this can cause leaf burn.

water 💧

Water requirements: moist, not soggy soil; water when top layer of soil is dry

Philodendron Brasil prefers to be watered when the top 1-2 inches of soil dries out. Water until it starts flowing from the drainage holes, then drain excess from the plant dish. Philodendron plants dislike sitting in wet soil, so ensure that soil is moist but not soggy. 

two large philodendron brasil plants growing in baskets
Source: Pinterest

humidity 🌫️

As a tropical plant, the Philodendron Brasil enjoys a high humidity environment. Although they can tolerate lower humidity levels, high humidity encourages more growth and larger foliage. To increase humidity in the air, mist the plant regularly, place a pebble tray with water nearby the pot, or invest in a humidifier and place it near your Philodendron Brasil.

temperature 🌡️

The Philodendron Brasil prefers temperatures between 65°F (18°C) to 80°F (27°C). Avoid temperatures below 59°F (15°C) and place this plant away from draft.

philodendron brasil

fertilizer 💩

fertilizer preferences: Philodendron plants are naturally heavy feeders. The Philodendron Brasil can be fertilized with a liquid fertilizer once or twice a month in the spring and summer. Fertilizer encourages abundant foliage growth and provides rich nutrients to maintain the vibrant variegation the plant is known for. Slow down the fertilizing during winter months to let the plant recharge.


soil type: well-draining and rich potting soil

pH level: slightly acidic

Philodendron Brasil plants need a rich, moisture-retentive and well-draining potting mix. Mix perlite and peat moss (sphagnum moss) into a standard potting mix for the best results. A well-draining soil and pot are important to help your Philodendron thrive.

Add a layer of compost to the topsoil once per growing season for additional richness. Philodendron Brasil prefers a slightly acidic soil.


Re-pot the Philodendron Brasil as needed. As a fast-growing houseplant, this might mean repotting every growing season to free up space for root growth and nutrient-rich soil. Philodendron roots often peek out of drainage holes when the plant has outgrown its pot, so watch for this telltale sign that your plant needs a new home!

Select a new pot that’s about 2-3 inches larger than the previous pot in diameter. This will allow more space for root growth while preventing shock from too much space. Repot your Philodendron Brasil with fresh, well-draining soil, then water thoroughly and place in a bright light location. 

propagation 🌱

It’s super easy to propagate Philodendrons by taking cuttings because it roots quickly.

Cut a 6-inch section of stem including a couple of leaves from just above an existing node on the mother plant, then follow the instruction for planting in soil or water, as you prefer:

Growing in soil:

  1. Place your cutting about 1-inch deep in a small pot liner filled with fine soil
  2. Wrap your cutting in a plastic bag to create a greenhouse environment with warmer temperatures and higher humidity
  3. Remove the bag for a few hours daily to promote air circulation and avoid mold growth in the soil, and water consistently to keep the soil moist
  4. Roots should take hold in about 4 weeks. At that point, remove the bag and repot your gorgeous new Philodendron Brasil in a slightly larger home!

Growing in water: this method is a fun alternative to growing in soil because you can actually see the roots in your baby plant growing. So cool!!

  1. Simply place your cutting in water after removing it from the mother plant
  2. Ensure that the bottom 1-2 inches of the stem are stripped of leaves
  3. Change the water for your cutting frequently, whenever it appears cloudy or begins to smell
  4. Once roots have grown about 2 inches long, transplant your cutting into a pot with fresh soil
beautiful yellow, green variegation patterns on a philodendron brasil leaf
Source: Reddit

pruning 🌿

Pruning keeps the Boston Fern healthy, full, and pest-resistant. Regularly remove dead fronds or any tips that are drooping and brown. It’s best to prune from the sides as opposed to the top of sword ferns since new growth typically sprouts from the center of the plant. Pruning can release spores that stain hands and furniture, so bring your sword fern outside for its haircut if you’re worried about the mess.

pests and diseases 🐛

pests: spider mites, mealybug, scale, caterpillars, and thrips

Grown indoors, Boston Ferns occasionally fall prey to spider mites, mealybugs, scale, caterpillars, and thrips. If you notice wilting, sticky residue on leaf fronds, or stunted growth, your fern may have a scale infestation. Examine the underside of fronds regularly for mealybug, paying attention to where fronds meet the main stem. Use an insecticide as soon as you identify pests, and keep your fern away from other houseplants until the infestation is under control. 

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plant care tips

1. As an epiphyte, the wax plant absorbs some essential nutrients through its leaves. 1. As well as being a popular house plant option indoors, this evergreen fern is a popular outdoor plant. Plant this fern outside in USDA zones 10-12.

Common Problems / FAQs: 

1. Fronds turn yellow, brown

→ dry air, increase humidity

2. Grey fronds, wilting, slowed growth

→ It’s possible the plant is experiencing root rot. Check the roots to see if they are mushy or grey in color. If the roots are rotting, it’s best to remove them with shear, add fresh soil to the pot, and replant the fern.

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