Philodendrons are beautiful plants that grow quickly, and don’t need a lot of attention in order to thrive. One variety that is particularly beautiful is Philodendron Brasil, thanks to its boldly variegated foliage.
It’s not a complicated plant, but there are some things you should know in order to get it looking at its best.
Let’s take a look at what this plant needs, how to keep the growth dense and vigorous, and how to propagate it.
How To Care For Philodendron Brasil
It’s worth noting that some people, including sellers, will describe this plant as Philodendron Brazil, and it’s the exact same plant, so don’t worry if you see the name spelled slightly differently.
Sunlight And Position
Many philodendron species are sold under the label ‘tolerates low light’, and the important word here is tolerate.
Philodendrons will cope with low light situations, but they tend to do better with a brighter position, putting out more growth than they would in low light conditions.
While that’s true for philodendrons that are wholly green (see also Philodendron Silver Sword Care), it’s important to give variegated varieties such as Brasil more light, as they have less chlorophyll in their variegated leaves to work with.
This means that the plant has to work harder to produce the energy it needs, so keeping it somewhere bright will help a lot when it comes to keeping this plant healthy and happy.
If you do have little natural light or no suitable windows that you can put a philodendron near, you could use a grow light instead.
If the light levels really are too low, a variegated plant may revert to its solid coloring to survive, and the variegation won’t come back in the leaves that have reverted.
Having said that, it’s important to strike a balance between too much and too little light. Don’t leave a philodendron in full sunlight all day, as it will practically bake.
If you do have windows with morning sunlight, this is a great place for philodendrons, as they can tolerate the weaker sunlight that comes in the morning.
But that’s not to say that you can’t grow a philodendron Brasil if all you have is South-facing windows with lots of sunlight.
You just need to adjust the light, either with a sheer curtain, a blind, or positioning your philodendron further away from the window rather than directly next to it.
Keep an eye on your plant, and if you find that some of the leaves are scorching and turning brown, put it somewhere with a little less light, and see if the plant improves.
Temperature And Humidity Needs
Philodendrons aren’t particularly demanding when it comes to temperature and humidity. But they are houseplants, so temperatures between 60°F and 85°F (or 16°C and 29°C) are best.
Don’t place your plant near sources of heat or cold drafts, and you’ll find that your philodendron Brasil will do just fine.
In terms of humidity, these plants will do fine with the average levels of humidity in most rooms, provided that you avoid sources of heat or drafts, which do dry out the air.
Soil Requirements For Philodendron Brasil
Philodendrons are not that fussy when it comes to soil, though one thing to keep in mind is that these plants love a well-draining potting mix.
As this is a tropical plant, a houseplant mix will do, but a good way and simple trick to improve the soil is to add some orchid bark to it, which will improve the drainage and aerate the roots.
When To Water A Philodendron Brazil
Always check if your philodendron needs water, about once a week or so, as the plant hates being too dry, but it also hates being too wet.
Let the top inch of the soil dry out before you water, and when it has gone dry, it’s time to give your philodendron Brasil another drink.
It’s worth knowing that a philodendron Brazil will tolerate some dry spells, but not for too long.
If you grow your philodendron Brasil as a trailing plant, you may know that watering can be a little tricky.
Not just because hanging pots tend to have deeper reservoirs, but also because you don’t want water all over the room!
It’s a lot easier to take the plant down and water it over the sink or the shower than it is to mop up the waterfall that comes out of the bottom of the pot!
With hanging pots, it is worth angling the pot to let the water in the reservoir completely come out, and this will also help to prevent root rot.
Should You Use A Water Meter To See When Your Plants Need Watering?
The theory behind water meters is that you stick the pointed end into the compost, and it tells you exactly how much moisture is left in the soil.
In the beginning, this can help you to understand what the soil looks and feels like when it has different levels of moisture, as well as what the plant itself can tell you from its appearance.
Apart from that, you should not rely on a moisture meter. Some of them can be pretty inaccurate, to start with, and that’s a large problem all on its own.
A big thing to consider is that a lot of us get into houseplants to help ground ourselves, be present, and reconnect with nature.
If you are letting the technology tell you when your plant needs something, you’re missing the point a bit.
With time and a little trial and error, you can tell what a plant needs just by looking at it. You won’t learn this valuable skill without using your hands and eyes.
This skill develops over time, and while you won’t notice to begin with (and probably struggle to know what is right), you’ll eventually get to the point where you automatically adjust your plant’s care to its needs, and find that your plants will absolutely flourish.
We’ve been doing this for centuries, after all.
If you rely solely on a moisture meter, with the best-case scenario, you will only be able to tell when the plant wants water, and if another element of the growing conditions are wrong, you won’t know how to fix it.
It also helps that using your hands and eyes to tell is absolutely free. You don’t have to invest in anything else but time, a little trust, and confidence.
In fact, you’d be surprised at just how much confidence you can gain by looking after your plants and watching them thrive under your care. It’s one of the many magical things about plants.
When To Feed A Philodendron Brazil
It’s important with any plant not to overdo it when it comes to fertilizing.
This can cause a lot of problems, and because there are usually some slow-release fertilizers in most compost mixes, you don’t need to worry about feeding your plants too often.
This is also true of philodendron Brasil, as it is a fast-growing plant that doesn’t need a lot of extra nutrients.
But it is helpful to feed it once or twice a month during the spring and summer months, with a balanced houseplant feed.
This will give your philodendron Brazil a good boost during the active growing season, without causing any extra problems.
It is worth noting that indoor plants will lose nutrients faster than those planted in the ground, as there is less organic matter, and it doesn’t replenish itself, but you can replace the majority of these when you repot your plant with fresh soil.
How To Propagate A Philodendron Brazil
Philodendrons are one of the easiest plants to propagate, not only because they grow quickly, but also because they root really well.
There are two main ways that people use to propagate philodendrons, and both work for philodendron Brasil.
Whichever method you use, you will need to take cuttings that have at least one node on the stem. This is where new growth emerges, whether that’s as roots or brand-new stems.
Aim for two where possible, with roughly one leaf per cutting. This will support the plant’s growth without taking the energy away from growing new roots.
Always propagate your plants during the active growing season – for philodendrons this is during spring and summer – as they will more likely to be successful, and they will also root quicker.
Ensure that you take more than one cutting, so that if one fails, you should still have some success with another.
Propagating Using Soil
Bury the nodes of the cuttings into soil, deep enough so that they won’t fall out, and they should form roots within a couple of weeks.
If you can, make sure that the potting soil is wet to begin with, as this will make planting the cuttings that much easier, and will encourage them to form roots.
You can stick a bunch of cuttings in one pot, or use several containers, aiming for at least 3 cuttings per pot. Any less than that and you won’t see much growth.
Just make sure that the container isn’t too big for the cuttings to begin with, as you might end up overwatering them before they have a chance to start!.
You can always move the plants to a new container once they are big enough.
Propagating Using Water
Water propagation is also pretty simple. Put the cuttings in water, making sure that no leaves touch the water, and once the roots are about an inch long, you can plant them up in soil.
How To Make Sure Your Philodendron Brazil Stays Healthy
There are several things you can do to make sure that your philodendron Brasil is at its peak health, and this will help prevent problems such as pests or disease, as a healthy plant is more resilient to both.
Always remove any dead leaves, not allowing them to touch the surface of the soil. This helps prevent disease, and makes a big difference in the appearance of the plant, keeping it looking tidy.
If your plant hasn’t had enough light lately and the vines are looking leggy, you can chop these vines off and propagate them back into the pot.
This will make for a denser growth habit, and it will also invigorate the plant, encouraging it to produce more growth.
While you can grow philodendrons as trailing or hanging plants, they often do better as climbers, so if you prefer, you can grow them up supports rather than letting them trail down.
It’s worth knowing that the leaves will get much larger if you let the plant climb.
If the variegation has become unbalanced, it’s time to do something about it. Your plant may be putting out too many green leaves, or too many leaves with lots of variegation and not enough chlorophyll.
Cut back the leaves that you have too many of, and your plant will throw out more leaves that are a little more balanced.
This not only improves the look of the plant, but it also results in a healthier, more stable plant anyway.
Common Philodendron Brasil Problems And Solutions
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell exactly what is wrong with your plants, but you can usually tell something is up when the leaves are looking unhealthy.
Let’s take a look at the most common signs of problems, and what they might mean.
Usually when a philodendron Brazil’s leaves start to wrinkle, this means that the soil has been too dry for too long.
If left for long periods of time, this will also mean that any new growth that the plant puts out will be misshapen, and might not develop properly at all.
Check the moisture level in the soil by putting a finger into the compost. If it is dry, it’s time to water the plant.
Avoid feeding it when your plant is showing signs of dehydration, as this can burn the roots and damage the plant’s health.
Philodendron Brasil Leaves Curling
If the leaves of your philodendron Brasil are curling, this is usually a sign of one of two things: either the room is too cold, or the plant’s compost has been dry for too long.
Check the soil with a finger as soon as you see curling leaves. If the soil is completely dry, give the plant a good drink to rehydrate it and the soil itself.
Leaves Turning Yellow
If the leaves of a philodendron Brazil are going yellow, this usually means that something is wrong with the water content in the soil.
It’s either been too dry or too wet for too long, and either option is causing your plant to suffer.
Check the moisture level in the soil. If it’s bone-dry, it’s time to give the plant a good drink.
If it’s too wet, it might be worth repotting it in a drier soil mix to make sure the roots don’t rot, or put it in a warmer position so that the soil dries out more quickly.
The first solution is usually better than the second, as it gives the roots a chance to dry out, and it’s a good idea to check the health of the roots.
If there is a chance that some of the roots have started to rot, you’ll need to cut them from the rest of the plant to stop it from spreading.
You might be able to prevent the death of the plant if you do so quick enough, but by the time the leaves have started to yellow it can be too late in some cases.
Philodendron Brasil Only Growing Small Leaves
If your philodendron Brazil is only putting out tiny leaves in new growth, it’s not getting the growing conditions it needs.
Most of the time, this means that the plant isn’t getting enough sunlight, so try to move it to a brighter spot.
However, it’s worth noting that if you have only recently got the plant, and it’s doing this, it will take a while for the plant to adapt to its new environment.
Don’t forget that many plants are often grown in greenhouses when they are sold commercially, which means they get much more light than they do in our homes.
It could also be that the soil is too dry, or, the plant has run out of nutrients because it is root bound, or there are none left in the soil.
Philodendron Brasil Turning Pink
It’s quite normal for the philodendron Brazil to throw out pink leaves as new growth, and these will eventually turn green as they mature.
However, if your plant is producing lots of foliage with red leaves, this can be your plant saying it’s unhappy with the growing conditions.
Usually this happens when the plant is getting too much direct sunlight, causing the leaves to scorch, but it can also mean that the watering schedule is wrong, or you’re feeding the plant too much or too little.
Philodendron Brasil Is Losing Leaves
If your philodendron Brazil is dropping a lot of its leaves, this can be a sign of a big problem.
In most cases, this is a signal that there isn’t enough light, or the plant is too dry, and both of these are easy to fix.
However, it can also mean that the plant is suffering with pests or some sort of disease, especially if it’s the new growth that keeps falling off.
Check the undersides of the leaves as well as the soil, as this will give you a better idea of what the problem is.
Philodendron Brazil is a beautiful plant which will fill any space with plenty of color, and it doesn’t take a lot to look after this plant.
The best thing you can do for it is to keep an eye on it often, noticing when the leaves start to look unusual or the growth gets leggy.
It makes a good beginner plant because not only is it quite forgiving, it’s also a good teacher in terms of recognizing what the plant wants as its appearance changes readily.
Once you’ve grasped how to diagnose problems with a plant like this, much more difficult plants will be a lot easier to keep, and your philodendron may live for years and years.