Philodendron Hederaceum: Heart Leaf Philodendron Care Guide

Philodendron hederaceum, also called heart leaf philodendron, or Philodendron scandens is known for its lush emerald green heart-shaped leaves.

The warm, steamy rain forests of Central America and the Caribbean are its natural habitat.

This humidity-loving plant is super easy to care for and is suited for small indoor spaces, such as offices and apartments due to its diminutive size.

Commonly called the sweetheart philodendron, you will soon find yourself in love with the Philodendron hederaceum

How do you care for Philodendron hederaceum? Provide access to bright diffused or fluorescent light. Keep the temperature in a moderate range of 70-80℉ (24-27℃). The soil should be kept moist, and avoid overwatering. Fertilize every three weeks in the spring and summer with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer. 

Caring for Philodendron Hederaceum: Basic Guidelines

The above table covers the main discussion points found in this guide. 

The comprehensive guide below covers all aspects of care, including how to deal with common pests and diseases. 

The helpful hints and frequently asked questions sections include easy-to-follow instructions for caring for your new heart leaf philodendron

Are you ready to have the best Philodendron hederaceum in town? Let’s get started.

Complete Care Guide for Philodendron Hederaceum

This comprehensive guide will arm you with the knowledge necessary to keep your Philodendron hederaceum healthy and thriving.

Simply provide the ideal conditions outlined below, and your plant will reward you for years to come.

Philodendron Hederaceum at a Glance 

  • Scientific Name: Philodendron hederaceum
  • Plant Type: Tropical
  • Average Height: 6 feet (2 m)
  • Average Width: 9 feet (3 m)
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Produces Flowers: Rarely but possible
  • Common Pests: Spider mites, fungus gnats, aphids
  • Level of Care: Low maintenance

What To Do When You First Get Your Philodendron Hederaceum

A Philodendron hederaceum in a terra cotta pot against a light gray background.

Inspect the container to ensure the plant is not rootbound, the container has suitable drainage holes, and the soil is slightly moist.

Place the plant in bright filtered light avoiding direct sun, which can burn the leaves.

Use a sheer curtain to filter direct sunlight, and position the plant on a humidity tray (like this decorative pebble tray) to increase humidity levels.

Avoid placing the plant in drafts or near heating or air conditioning units as they can reduce moisture levels in the air.

Ideal Soil for Philodendron Hederaceum 

The Philodendron hederaceum prefers light, well-aerated soil. The soil should drain well to prevent the roots from standing for long periods in soggy soil.

A good soil mix to use is equal parts of peat moss, perlite, and good quality potting soil. This plant enjoys slightly acidic soil with pH levels of between 6-7.

You can use a pH probe (like this tester that also monitors light and moisture) to check the soil’s pH levels, but most all-purpose potting soils are suitable for potting this plant.

Philodendron Hederaceum Water Requirements 

The Philodendron hederaceum does not appreciate overwatering and can tolerate being slightly underwatered.

Check that the top layer of soil has dried between waterings to prevent yellow leaves and root rot. 

Philodendron Hederaceum Lighting Needs 

Its natural habitat finds it growing beneath the forest canopy out of the sun’s direct rays.

The Philodendron hederaceum is tolerant of bright, indirect light and low-lit partial shade.

The use of fluorescent lighting can be beneficial if your apartment or office provides low lighting conditions. 

Ideal Temperature Range for Philodendron Hederaceum

Given this plant’s love of warmer temperatures, it does well when grown indoors.

Optimum temperatures for this plant range between 70-80℉ (24-27℃) and should not dip below 55℉ (13℃) at night. 

Ideal Humidity Level for Philodendron Hederaceum 

While it loves higher humidity levels of 60%, it is tolerant of lower humidity levels found in most homes and offices.

However, humidity levels mustn’t be allowed to drop too low as this can cause brown leaves and dry papery leaf tips.

Best Location for Philodendron Hederaceum 

The position of the plant depends mainly on the levels of warmth and humidity that can be supplied.

Ideally, rooms with higher humidity levels, such as the bathroom and kitchen, provide a pleasantly warm and humid environment.

Philodendron Hederaceum Growth Habits 

The growth rate of this plant is quite fast, and if grown outdoors, it can achieve heights of 10-20 feet (3-6 m).

The average size of an indoor Philodendron hederaceum is approximately 9 feet (3 m).

Ensure the plant receives plenty of light as low light conditions can slow growth and reduce leaf size.

Fertilization Type & Schedule for Philodendron Hederaceum

The Philodendron hederaceum enjoys a diet of all-purpose liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength. Feed your plant every three weeks during the growing season. 

Signs of Nutrient Deficiency 

Leaves begin to turn yellow, and new foliage is small and misshapen if lacking nutrients.

Inspect the plant to ensure it has not become rootbound as it may require repotting, and ensure it is receiving enough light. Apply a balanced fertilizer rich in nitrogen and phosphorus. 

Pruning Philodendron Hederaceum 

Pruning prevents the Philodendron hederaceum from becoming leggy and stick-like. It encourages the plant to produce new leaves at the nodes creating a bushier plant.

Use a sharp, sterilized pair of scissors to snip the stems back during the growing season. 

Does Philodendron Hederaceum Produce Flowers? 

The Philodendron hederaceum produces flowers once it reaches maturity, which can take up to 16 years.

It flowers for reproduction purposes only, so there won’t be vases full of flowers to display. It produces on average two to three flowers that bloom for a few days.

When flowering, the plant has a green spathe containing a white spadix, which holds both male and female flowers. 

Is Philodendron Hederaceum Toxic? 

The plant is toxic to both humans and pets as it contains insoluble oxalate crystals.

These crystals are needle sharp, and when chewed or swallowed, they pierce the soft tissue of the mouth and throat, causing intense pain and burning sensations.

The sap can also cause allergic reactions when it comes into contact with the skin. 

Philodendron Hederaceum Propagation

Propagation of the Philodendron hederaceum is extremely easy.

It develops aerial roots from the stem nodes that help the plant attach to trees when climbing in its natural habitat.

The nodes can also develop new roots, which makes stem cutting the most successful form of propagation.

Unfortunately, it rarely produces flowers, making seed propagation virtually impossible. 

Propagation of Philodendron Hederaceum With Stem Cuttings

Propagation should be done during the spring and summer when the plant is actively growing.

Stem cuttings can be grown in water or directly in the soil, depending on your preferred growth method.

To propagate this plant using stem cuttings, you’ll need the following tools: a pair of clean, sterilized scissors, and a clean jar of fresh warm water or a container of new potting soil.

In addition, we recommend that you wear protective gloves when handling this plant due to skin-irritating toxins in its leaves.

1. Choose a Healthy Plant and Cut a 3-Inch Long Stem Using Sterile Scissors

Ensure the stem cutting contains a node and at least three leaves. You should see tiny aerial roots sprouting right beneath the node.

2. Place the New Stem Cutting Onto a Clean Piece of Paper Towel

Allow the cutting to dry for about an hour. This allows the stem time to callous.

3. Dip the Stem Cutting Into Rooting Hormone Powder

Immerse the end of the stem into a rooting hormone powder (this one has always worked well for me) and gently shake off the excess powder.

4. Place the Stem Cutting Into Your Chosen Growing Medium 

Now is the time to choose between growing the cutting in water or soil.

If you are growing the cutting in water, place the cutting into the clean jar of warm water. Ensure the leaf node is submerged, and keep the water topped up.

For soil propagation, place the cutting into the container of fresh soil. The soil should drain well and be kept moist while waiting for rooting to take place. 

5. Place the Container in a Warm Room With Access to Bright Indirect Light

Position the cuttings container in a warm area, ensuring it receives enough indirect sunlight.

You can place a clear bag over the container to increase warmth and humidity levels for the cutting. Rooting can take two to four weeks. 

6. Repot Rooted Stem Cutting 

When rooting has taken place, you can place the baby plant into a multi-purpose potting mix. Add a little extra perlite to improve drainage if necessary.

Baby Philodendron hederaceum plants require the same care as parent plants. 

Repotting Philodendron Hederaceum

Repotting is required to prevent the Philodendron hederaceum plant from becoming rootbound and ensure it has access to fresh, nutrient-rich soil.

It’s important to note that a rootbound plant will have a reduced growth rate. 

When To Repot Philodendron Hederaceum 

Generally, a Philodendron hederaceum will need to repotted every two to three years, preferably in the spring.

If you notice deformed or yellow leaves, visible roots, or a drop in growth outside of these guidelines, don’t hesitate to repot to provide the plant with roomier conditions and fresh soil.

Signs That It’s Time To Repot 

  • Yellowing leaves
  • Small, misshapen leaves 
  • Reduced growth
  • Roots visible above the soil
  • Roots growing through the containers drainage holes

How To Repot Philodendron Hederaceum 

The repotting process is easy and relatively fuss free. However, some basic equipment is needed for a smooth pot transition: protective gloves, a new container, fresh potting mix, and water.

Always wear protective gloves when handling this plant, as the sap can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions.

1. Select a Suitable Container for Repotting

The new container should be a maximum of 2 inches larger than the current one. It should also have enough drainage holes to prevent water buildup.

2. Water the Plant before Repotting

To reduce plant stress, water the plant thoroughly before repotting. This will make removing the plant from its current container easier as it will loosen the soil and roots.

3. Place the Container on Its Side and Remove the Current Container

Use one hand to balance the plant on its side, and with your free hand, remove the container.

You may need to gently tip the plant upside down to encourage the roots to slip out of the container.

Gravity is a significant force, so remember to keep hold of the plant as you don’t want it landing on the floor. 

4. Place Fresh Well-draining Potting Soil Into the New Container

Inspect the roots for signs of disease, and trim off any mushy or brittle roots. Healthy roots are light brown and white.

Half fill the new container with suitable soil, and place the root ball on top of this layer.

5. Use Fresh Potting Soil To Completely Fill the New Container

Ensure the potting soil used is light and airy as Philodendron hederaceum prefers less-compact soils.

Mix equal parts of peat moss, perlite, and potting soil to achieve excellent draining soil for your plant.

Water the newly potted plant thoroughly until you can see the excess water draining freely. 

Philodendron Hederaceum Common Problems & Solutions That Work 

Philodendron Hederaceum Common Pests

All house plants eventually face a pesky pest problem, and the Philodendron hederaceum is no exception.

Most pests are quickly eradicated if infestations are treated immediately. 

Aphids

Signs of Trouble 

Stunted growth, and sticky residue on the plant leaves.

Solution 

Make a nontoxic pesticide suitable for indoor use using neem oil (I’ve always had success with this organic neem).

Mix a solution of 1 quart lukewarm water, 2 teaspoons neem oil, and 1 teaspoon dish soap.

Fill a reusable spray bottle halfway with the solution and liberally apply to the plant’s leaves.

Prevention 

Weekly applications of the neem oil solution to the foliage of the plants will keep aphids and other pests at bay.

Regularly inspect the leaves and flowers for signs of pests to help prevent an infestation.

Mealybugs

Signs of Trouble 

Yellowing and dropping leaves. Sooty secretions from the mealybugs can be seen on the plant’s leaves.

Solution 

Remove mealybugs from your Philodendron hederaceum using a garlic spray.

Puree two garlic bulbs in a blender. Pour one teaspoon of dish washing soap into a spray bottle. Then fill the bottle halfway with warm water and vigorously shake.

Spray the solution liberally onto the leaves and stems of the plant.

Prevention 

Weekly application of the garlic solution will help prevent further infestation.

Avoid excessive misting, which attracts these moisture-loving insects. Check the underside of new leaves and stems for mealybugs regularly.

Philodendron Hederaceum Common Diseases

Most diseases that affect the Philodendron hederaceum are the result of bacteria and fungi caused by damp conditions. 

Leaf Spot Disease

Signs of Trouble 

Leaves display dirty brown spots with yellow halos encircling them. Spots grow larger, and leaves become thin and brittle. Leaves drop off easily. 

Solution 

Isolate the infected plant, and do not mist the plant as leaf spot spreads in moisture. Prune diseased foliage and dispose of them away from garden compost and other plants.

Treat the plant with a copper fungicide (I recommend this organic spray). Spray the leaves and stems thoroughly to prevent the spread of the disease. 

Prevention 

Regularly inspect the plant for signs of leaf spot and treat immediately.

Avoid overwatering as moisture logged soil provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Increase air circulation around the plant, and ensure soil is not compacted. 

Other Common Problems 

Philodendron hederaceum is a relatively low-maintenance species with few health problems.

However, some fairly common issues do arise that can easily be resolved with patience and continued care.

Yellow Leaves 

Signs of Trouble 

Leaves become yellow and limp.

Solution 

Check that the soil is draining efficiently and has not become waterlogged. Decrease your watering routine until the soil has dried out.

Soil should be moist but not soggy or dehydrated. The use of self-watering plant containers can aid in the prevention of overwatering. 

Prevention 

Water the plant once the top layer of soil has dried between waterings. Use your index finger to push into the soil to check the moisture level.

If the top inch of soil is dry to the touch, then it is safe to water. It’s good to note that  Philodendron hederaceum can tolerate a little underwatering. 

Philodendron Hederaceum Common Questions

A Philodendron hederaceum plant in a geometric pot against a pink background.

How Much Does a Heart Leaf Philodendron Cost? 

The lovely heart leaf philodendron is generously kind on the pocket and reasonably priced between $25 – $35 by most online suppliers. 

How Big Do Heartleaf Philodendrons Get? 

The heartleaf philodendron can reach heights of 4-6 feet (1.2-1.8 meters).

By providing support for this beauty to climb on and regularly pruning new growth, the heartleaf philodendron will stay bushy and compact, ideally suited for indoor spaces. 

Where Is Philodendron Hederaceum Native To?

The Philodendron hederaceum is native to the hot steamy rain forests of Central America and the Caribbean.

This humid environment is easily replicated when growing the plant indoors. 

What Is a Sweetheart Plant? 

This is the common name given to the Philodendron hederaceum because of its heart-shaped leaves.

It is a vining Philodendron that can grow supported as a climber or trailing from a hanging basket. 

How Do You Get Big Leaves on Heartleaf Philodendron?

Increasing the humidity levels around the heartleaf philodendron will result in larger leaves. You can do this by misting the plant once or twice a week or by using a humidifier.

Alternatively, place the plant on a water-filled pebble tray and group houseplants together to increase humidity levels. 

Can You Bottom Water a Philodendron? 

Philodendrons prefer moist, almost dry soil. Bottom watering the plant will allow the roots to stand in water for an extended period, resulting in root rot.

Root rot is one of the main causes of death in philodendrons. It’s best to water philodendrons when the top layer of soil is dry to the touch. 

Philodendron Hederaceum vs. Micans 

The Philodendron ‘Mican’, also called the velvet leaf philodendron, is a flowering plant of the Araceae family.

This trailing plant is also native to Central America and the Caribbean but has color-changing leaves which transition from purple to green as they mature. 

Philodendron Scandens vs. Hederaceum

Philodendron scandens is another name given to the Philodendron hederaceum. This trailing plant is also called the sweetheart plant or heart-leaf. 

Heart Leaf Philodendron vs. Pothos 

These two plants are often confused due to their similar looks. The pothos belongs to the Epipremnum genus and the philodendron to the Philodendron genus.

However, these plants are easily told apart by their leaves. Philodendrons have thinner leaves with a softer texture, while pothos leaves are more prominent, waxy, and thicker. 

Philodendron Cordatum vs. Hederaceum 

Philodendron cordatum is the old name for the Philodendron hederaceum, which is the correct name to use. Interestingly a cordate leaf means a heart-shaped leaf. 

5 Key Tips for Success With Philodendron Hederaceum

  • Provide the plant with lots of bright indirect sunlight.
  • Increase humidity levels for larger leaf size.
  • Prune regularly to encourage growth and fuller foliage.
  • Fertilize using an all-purpose liquid fertilizer.
  • Use a trellis or moss pole to allow the plant to climb.

Conclusion

This trailing heart-leafed beauty queen is content to fit into your heart and home with relative ease.

By following the guidelines provided, we are sure your Philodendron hederaceum will continue to produce tender sweetheart leaves as it climbs or trails in the toasty confines of your home or office.

Graphic outlining care of Philodendron hederaceum