Looking for philodendron brandtianum care tips? This gorgeous silver-leaf philodendron only looks high maintenance. It’s an easy-to-care-for aroid that will make an amazing addition to your houseplant collection. Also learn how to propagate it.
How to care for philodendron brandtianum (philodendron brandi)
Philodendron brandtianum, aka philodendron brandi or silver leaf philodendron, is a lovely tropical plant that works well as both a hanging or a climbing plant. Philodendron brandi has olive green leaves in the shape of a heart that are marked by silver or white patches and stripes, giving it its name.
Philodendrons are known to actually clean its surroundings by removing pollutants and chemicals like formaldehyde from the air. Plants from the philodendron genus are also known to be the “easiest to grow and hardest to kill.” That makes the philodendron brandi ideal for a beginner or anyone looking to spruce up their home without too much effort!
What is the silver leaf philodendron from?
The philodendron brandi can be found abundantly in Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia. Brandi is really unique in that it can grow as an epiphyte (grows on other plants), hemiepiphyte (begins life as a seed on the ground), or terrestrial plant (grows on land). The plant’s height and leaf size depend largely on its environment, soil type, sunlight, and temperature. The more sunlight it receives, the larger the leaves will grow.
Silver leaf philodendron (philodendron brandtianum) vs. scindapsus pictus (silver satin “pothos”)
I want to talk about a common source of confusion before we jump head first into care tips—the difference between the philodendron brandtianum, which is often referred to as the silver leaf philodendron, and the scindapsus pictus, which is often referred to as “silver satin pothos.” Even though scindapsus pictus isn’t a pothos…but that’s another rant 🙂
These are not the same plant. Full stop. Their markings might look a bit similar, and they both have the same silver sheen, but they are from completely different genera (which I just learned is the plural form of “genus”). Scindapsus pictus is from the scindapsus genus, and philodendron brandi is from the philodendron genus.
While they are both members of the arceae family (aka “aroids”), that is a big family. Scindapsus and philodendron are just 2 of 114 genera in the arceae family…and the fam has about 3,750 known species. So they’re related like I’m related to like a distant cousin from my great great great great great great great great great grandmother.
Here are some differences to look for when trying to figure out which plant you have—
- Scindapsus pictus leaves are thick, and the silver areas are a bit raised-looking; philodendron brandi leaves are thinner, are often a bit larger if the plant is mature, and have a bit more of a heart-shape to them.
- Both plants can be climbers, but scindapsus pictus tends to have more trailing properties. The brandi tends to be more of a climber.
- If your nurseries are anything like mine are, scindapsus pictus is probably easier to find. I have been seeing them pop up in box box garden stores for a while now, but I rarely even see brandis at specialty nurseries where I am!
How much light does the philodendron brandi need?
Like most tropical plants, the silver leaf philodendron needs bright, indirect sunlight. They are happiest in an unimpeded north or east-facing window. Another way to make sure your plant is getting the right light is by putting up a shade cloth to filter the sunlight that gets through.
This is particularly helpful if you plan on keeping it on the porch or outdoors. It’s important that you keep it out of direct sunlight, especially at peak hours, because too much sun will cause the beautiful olive leaves to yellow or fade. I experienced this myself when I had my brandi in my Ikea greenhouse cabinet too close to the grow light—the top-most leaf began to yellow.
Since the philodendron brandtianum belongs to the tropics, it requires a decent amount of water. The plant should be regularly watered; wait until the top 2” of soil is dry to water again. In summer, it should be watered about 3 times a week because the soil will dry out faster. Monitor it if you have it outside to ensure it doesn’t dry out too fast.
During winter months it should be fine only getting water once a week or less. Brandi will live without too much of a fuss if you forget to water it once or twice. However if you notice the leaves begin to curl and droop, it’s a sign you’re underwatering. Avoid wetting the leaves when you water, or wipe them down after, since this could cause bacteria to grow and spread.
Silver leaf philodendron soil
The silver leaf philodendron requires rich, well-draining potting soil. To make a typical potting mix more fertile, add compost or a bit of well-composted manure to the mix. During its growing season, the soil must remain consistently moist but not soaking wet. So if it’s in soil that does not drain well, it will become soggy, waterlogged, and possibly harm the plant.
Make sure the container it’s in has drainage holes at the bottom. Soil mixtures with coco coir or fine moss added in are all perfect for growing silver leaf philodendrons because these mixtures retain moisture and nutrients very well. I usually use a soil labeled for houseplants or indoor plants and mix in additional coco coir.
Temperature & humidity
Since the philodendron brandi hails from the tropics of South America, it’s safe to assume it thrives in warmer temperatures. The ideal temperature range is between 60 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit, which is perfect for keeping it indoors. This plant does not tolerate cold or frost well, and it will die if the temperature is below 60 degrees F for extended periods of time. Avoid keeping the plant near air conditioner vents, radiators, or heaters.
This tropical plant loves humidity. High humidity will allow its leaves to grow larger and more vibrant. You might need to artificially raise the humidity levels in your home, especially during the winter months when the air becomes dry. To do this, mist the plant’s leaves occasionally (but not too much, remember—bacteria!), place it on a pebble tray with water, or keep it near other plants.
Philodendron brandtianum propagation
Philodendron brandi is easily propagated, and the most popular method uses stem cuttings. Fill a jar with tap water, leaving only an inch from the top. Cut a healthy stem just below the nodes. Leave only one or two leaves on the stem, and cut the rest off. Put the nodes of the stem down in the water. Keep the jar in a bright place with temperatures in the 70s for the best root growth.
Replace the jar’s water every three days or so. When doing this, allow the water to sit overnight before using, to evaporate the chlorine. You should expect to see roots in three weeks or less. Once roots have sprouted, you can transfer the plant to potting soil, or continue to grow it in water, either way you’ll have a brand new, beautiful Silver leaf Philodendron!
You can also choose to plant the silver leaf philodendron stem cutting right in soil. If you do this, make sure you keep the soil evenly moist to encourage root development. You can dip the cut end of the stem into rooting hormone powder before planting it. Keep is in relatively high humidity—a plastic bag over top works just fine! After a few weeks, roots should begin to develop.