Variegated heart leaf philodendrons are rare plants that have a unique appearance compared to any common philodendron.
Their leaves are of two different colors because of the lack of green pigment chlorophyll in some plant cells. The variegation of the plants occurs either genetically or chimerically.
Chimeric variegation is a type where the mutation of genetics occurs, forming a plant with more than one genotype. It does not make a stable coloration when compared to genetic variegation due to the mutation of the cells.
Genetic variegation is a type where the variegation is seen because of the inheritance from the parent plant. It shows stable coloration as all the upcoming generations of the parent plant will have similar characteristics.
Characteristics of Variegation Heart Leaf Philodendron
The mature size of these plants is seen to be 20 feet high in their natural habitat. However, under low light conditions inside a house, they can still grow above 4 feet of height.
It can be pinched to make it bushy and full. Pinch the leaf out from the place where it is attached to the stem as it will grow a new stem from that particular place, allowing your plant to grow with multiple stems.
Dark green heart-shaped leaves truly capture the heart of their beholders with their beauty. Due to variegation, the dark green color mixed with white spots multiplies its beauty with its perfect contrast with the original color of the foliage.
The leaves of the plant contain calcium oxalate crystals which are poisonous to human beings and pets. Consuming it would be life-threatening, so you should keep your pets and children away from these plants.
Its symptoms include swelling of the mouth, appetite decrease, and vomiting. You should take your pet to the doctor immediately if any of the mentioned symptoms are noticed.
These plants have a trailing nature, as they would climb up your bookshelf or hang below your window depending on where you place them.
If you want your plant to climb, you need to tie its stems up the pole or anything to which you want it to climb. These plants adjust themselves at any place you like, which makes them quite user-friendly.
The USDA hardiness zone level of these plants is 9-11. Despite being tropical, these plants are dry air tolerant. Seldom misting would keep it resist dry weather well; however, they can still thrive without water for days.
Heartleaf philodendron gives its user a tropical forests vibe because of its dark green trailing leaves. Their native areas are Brazil, Mexico, and West Indies, which completely justifies their tropical behavior.
They bloom quite infrequently, but when they do, the beauty of the whole place gets uplifted with its charming vision.
Caring Tips for Variegated Heart Leaf Philodendron
Direct sunlight is dangerous as it can burn its leaves. It requires indirect, bright sunlight to thrive at its maximum pace.
If the leaves are less than 3 to 4 inches long, you must place them at a place where more indirect sunlight can reach the beautiful heart-shaped leaves. The size and vigorous growth of the leaves determine if the optimum level of light is reaching the plant.
Overwatering of the plant can cause its leaves to turn yellow. Make sure that the soil is dry when you water the plant. These plants do not require a lot of water as they have water conservation ability.
Moreover, using water at a temperature ranging between 60 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit as cold water is often seen to damage the roots of the plant.
Peat Moss-based mix soil is recommended for heart leaf philodendrons. You can improve the drainage of the soil with the addition of perlite as it can protect the plant from overwatering. African violet potting mix is one of the best peat moss-based mix soil for your plant to grow healthy.
Spring and summer are the growth season for the philodendrons. Feed the plant with diluted fertilizer once every month in these seasons to boost growth.
Long stems should be removed from the place just after the leaf node, ensuring that it does not damage the node. Pruning helps the plant grow in a regular shape with more leaves and multiple stems.
Potting should be changed every two to three years to protect the plant from root rots. Repotting must be done carefully by losing the potting soil around the plant’s roots and placing it into the new pot with new potting soil.
Pest and Disease Protection
Fungus gnats are the most common enemies of these plants, as they can be seen crawling on the surface upon close inspection. Wet potting mixes attract these gnats, so make sure that you allow your potting medium to dry out to keep these black insects away from your plant.
Variegated Heart Leaf Philodendron Propagation
Propagation of Heartleaf is similar to other philodendrons, but there are tips to keep in mind while propagating variegated plants to ensure that the parent plant color is carried through to the future generation of the plant.
Following are the steps to propagate a variegated heart leaf properly
- Choose the stem with the most variegated leaves of your plant.
- Cut the stem 3 to 4 inches with at least 3 leaves attached to it with the nodes undamaged.
- Plant them in moist soil with at least one node below the soil.
- Once the new root system is established, the new roots will grow from the node below the soil.
Variegated heart leaf philodendrons are rare as only 1 in 10,000 plants are variegated through mutations. These plants are easy to care for, but their unique foliage and rare occurrence make them one of the most demanded plants in the world.
Propagating these plants also has a very low chance of producing another variegated version, making it one of the most desirable plants for all plant lovers around the globe.