The Heartleaf Philodendron is a vigorously growing vine that is covered with glossy, heart shaped leaves. There are several varieties, some that have a yellowish or off white variegation and the original dark green variety.
The vines can reach an almost unlimited length is well cared for. The heart shaped leaves are normally anywhere from 2-6 inches in width, but can reach as much as 12 inches on large mature plants.
When kept in a hanging pot the vines will gracefully hang, but it will cling and climb if given a vertical support.
Philodendron’s can survive a wide variety of lighting conditions. They prefer indirect sunlight, but will often even thrive in low light areas of your home.
Philodendron’s like moist environments and soil should be kept moist at all times, but not soaked. They need good drainage, soggy soil will cause the roots to quickly rot.
The plant should be watered sparingly during the winter months, with the top 1/2 inch being allowed to dry before re-watering. But, during the growing season water as often as needed to retain soil moisture. Frequently mist the leaves and wipe with a damp cloth to remove any dust.
A good quality, well draining potting soil will work fine with Philodendron’s. If you’d like to mix your own soil use equal parts of sterilized garden loam, coarse sand or Perlite mixed with 1/2 the amount of peat moss.
A standard, high quality houseplant food is sufficient and can be used regularly. They should not be fed during the fall and winter months when plant growth is slower.
The Sweetheart plant is one of the easiest to propagate. Just snip the vines off below one of the leaf nodules, remove several leaves and place the stem in water. Roots are usually quick to appear and the plant can then be placed in soil.
New plants can also be started by carefully dividing the root clump. Make sure that each new section has some well established roots for the best results.
The leaves and juices of the Philodendron contain calcium oxalate and asparagine. The poison is in both the leaves and stems and general symptoms include inflammation and reddening of the skin and itchiness.
More serious symptoms are slurred speech, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. There may also be swelling of the mouth and tongue and burning in the mouth, throat and eyes. In rare cases the throat may swell blocking airways.
Use a cold, wet rag to wipe out the mouth and wash any of the plant sap off of the skin. If the plant was ingested seek medical help immediately.
The Philodendron will let you know if you’re watering it correctly. If the leaves start to turn yellow, you’re giving the plant too much water. If the leaves turn brown, it’s not receiving enough water!
If the plant is kept in very low light conditions, the leaves will be spread out farther apart on the vines. And, the leaf colors won’t be as deep and glossy.
- Common Name: Heartleaf Philodendron, Sweetheart Plant
- Genus: Philodendron
- Family: Araceae
- Plant Type: Perennial
- Origin: Tropical America
- Blooming Time: Rarely blooms in captivity
- Humidity: Moderate
- Temperature: 60-85°F
- Height: Almost unlimited
- Color: Dark green, variegated
- Insects and Diseases: Generally pest free when grown indoors
Written by Connie Corder for HouseplantsForYou.com, Copyright 2008 All Rights Reserved