Philodendron Burle Marx is a lovely bushy variety of the philodendron genus that will make a great statement plant in a room. Learn all about how to care for it here!
How to care for the gorgeous Philodendron Burle Marx
Philodendrons are widely known and loved for their gorgeous green foliage and the minimal effort they require. The Philodendron Burle Marx is no exception—they make a great choice to add to your collection, even if you don’t have much experience.
The Burle Marx is extremely versatile; it can be used outdoors as ground cover if you live in the right climate. It can climb like a vine with aerial roots. Or it can stay small-to-medium-sized in a decorative pot. They are fast-growing and low-maintenance—what’s not to love?
The scientific name for this plant is Philodendron burle-marxii. This species was named after Roberto Burle Marx, a Brazilian landscape architect whose innovative, modern designs revolutionized gardens in the 20th century.
According to Metropolis Magazine, Burle Marx “elevated landscape to art” with his use of plants native to Brazil, including the Philodendron Burle Marx.
The Philodendron Burle Marx is native to the tropical jungles of Brazil where it grows in clumps and spreads as both ground cover and climbing vines. This plant boasts leathery, emerald leaves that grow in an upright pattern.
Unlike some other Philodendron species like the Philodendron Giganteum or the Philodendron Gloriosum, Burle Marx has slender leaves that do not grow very large. They are also longer than they are wide and kind of remind me of elephant ear plants in that way.
Are Philodendron Burle Marx rare?
As of writing this in 2022, I would say no, Philodendron Burle Marx is not rare. It’s an excellent choice for a houseplant hobbyist looking to diversify their collection of otherwise common plants, though. You don’t see it everyday in the states. But I wouldn’t call it rare. I got a nice-sized plant online for about $20.
Is Philodendron Burle Marx a climbing or vining plant?
You’re probably reading this because you either own or are thinking about getting a Burle Marx as a houseplant. So that means you’re probably less worried about how this plant grows in the wild and more worried about how to keep it happy indoors.
While Burle Marx is indeed both a spreading ground cover and a vining climber, it’s probably easiest to grow it as a climbing or vining plant indoors. You can add a moss pole and use vinyl plant tape to tie the stems up to the pole.
This helps train the plant to grow up. Burle Marx can have quite the spread as you can see from the pictures in this post. I don’t yet have mine on any type of pole, but it’s getting to the point of needing one!
If you choose not to use a moss mole or trellis, that’s also fine. You can trim the plant to encourage a certain growth habit or to control its size. Or you can just let it go wild and spread down the sides of its pot.
How much light does a Burle Marx need?
What is the secret to growing a beautiful Burle Marx? Indirect sunlight! These plants grow beneath thick canopies in Brazilian jungles, so they are not accustomed to direct light. Their leaves will actually start to drop if they get too much direct sunlight.
Place your plant near a window that gets sunlight throughout the day. If the light is too intense, like in a south-facing window, use curtains or shades to filter the light. Luckily the Burle Marx is very tolerant of different light levels, which makes it great for offices and dimly lit rooms.
Just know that while it can withstand lower light levels, its growth will probably slow. Keep an eye on the new growth to make sure the plant doesn’t seem to be suffering.
If you choose to take the Burle Marx outdoors for the spring and summer, make sure to keep it in the shade under a tree, shade cloth, or covered patio. In addition to drooping in too much direct sunlight, the plant’s leaves will also burn.
As with all tropical Philodendrons, well-draining soil is essential. The roots need aeration and lots of oxygen, so heavy, dense soils will choke the plant. A high-quality indoor or houseplant potting mix with a neutral pH should work just fine.
If you need to improve your soil’s drainage, you can mix in orchid bark, coconut husks, or organic perlite. Some garden centers also sell aroid soil mixes, which is the family Philodendron is part of. These mixes do the work for you by mixing potting soil, perlite, orchid bark, worm castings, and other things.
My Burle Marx is still in the soil mix I purchased it in because I haven’t felt the need to repot it yet. However, when I do, I’ll probably use my trusty bag of Fox Farm soil and throw in some shredded coconut coir, perlite, and orchid bark or coconut husks.
How often should I water a Philodendron Burle Marx?
You should definitely know the growing seasons for your plants in order to provide the best possible care for them. This Philodendron’s growing period is in the spring and summer. During that period, the soil should be kept consistently moist.
What is the best watering schedule for a Burle Marx? It depends! If your plant is in a medium-sized pot with average humidity levels and warm temps, you can expect to water it once a week. Ensure the pot has proper drainage holes and well-draining soil so as to not damage the roots.
Overwatering is a common issue with Burle Marx. Be sure to wait until at least the top few inches of soil are completely dry before watering again. Watering will undoubtedly harm the plant.
Why is my Burle Marx yellowing?
Your Burle Marx plant could be yellowing for a lot of different reasons. I’m putting it right after the watering section, though, because yellowing leaves on a tropical plant are often a sign of overwatering and root issues.
If you notice yellow leaves and the soil has been wet or you’ve been watering frequently, it’s likely overwatering. Back off the watering, and if the plant isn’t too far gone, it will rebound.
If the plant is in a lot of light, the foliage could be fading to a dull green that resembles yellow. Remember that too much direct light is not great for this plant—it wants bright indirect light or even medium light levels.
If it’s only older leaves that are yellowing and dying off and it isn’t that frequent, take a sigh of relief. This is a normal part of the plant’s life, and it doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong. Just keep an eye on things to make sure it doesn’t increase.
Temperature & humidity
If there are two things you pay attention to when caring for the Burle Marx, please let it be the temperature and humidity. As you might imagine, Brazilian jungles are very hot and humid, so this plant LOVES heat and humidity!
Philodendron Burle Marx grows best at temperatures between 64-80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is thankfully right around room temperature or slightly above. You can seriously harm your plant if it is below 64 degrees for extended periods of time.
If you are growing your plant outdoors, be conscious of temperature drops at night and during the winter. This plant is not cold or frost hardy, but like a lot of other Philodendrons, it can survive a nightly cold snap or two.
Humidity is important for the health and vitality of a Burle Marx. In a perfect world we could keep all our houseplants in a greenhouse, but that just isn’t possible for most of us. At the very least, the surrounding humidity levels should be around or above 50%.
Otherwise the leaves can develop brown dry patches. It’s not necessary to artificially increase the humidity if you strategically place your Burle Marx near other plants and away from vents, drafts, and bright, drying light sources.
Does Burle Marx grow fast?
Yes, Philodendron Burle Marx is quite a prolific grower. Don’t be surprised if you need to repot your plant every spring based on its growth the previous season.
I would wait until the roots are popping out of the pot’s drainage holes before repotting the plant, though. Size up only an inch or two, and make sure to use fresh well-draining soil to replenish nutrient loss in the old soil.
How big does Burle Marx get?
When I first got a Burle Marx, I thought it would be a relatively large plant. And it doesn’t really stay small, but it isn’t huge, either. It can grow to be about 2 feet tall. You could probably give it some extra height by training it up a pole.
Like I mentioned earlier, though—it’s a bushy queen that definitely grows wider than it does tall if you let it! It can easily have a spread of double its heigh—so, at max size, it can be up to 4 feet wide, give or take.
Can you propagate Burle Marx?
Yesm you can propagate a Philodendron Burle Marx. Using stem cuttings is the propagation method with the highest rate of success. If you’ve ever propagated a plant using stem cuttings before, then you will find this pretty simple.
Only propagate during springtime, otherwise they might not root. (If you prop during the winter, I’d recommend using a heat mat at the very least.)
Use sharp scissors to clip off a healthy stem. This stem should have at least 2 mature leaves and nodes for rooting. Use a jar with fresh water and place the stem cutting node-side down. Place the jar near a window for bright indirect light, and replenish the water about twice a week.
You can choose to cover the top of the jar loosely with a plastic bag to increase humidity. You will notice roots in about 3-4 weeks, then the stem cuttings can be planted into a container with a well-draining potting mix.
If you aren’t a big fan of water propagation, this plant can of course be propagated in a number of other ways. Due to the leaf size, I think I’d also favor LECA since it will help keep the plant stable instead of flopping around like it would in just water.
Is Burle Marx poisonous?
Yes, according to the ASPCA, Philodendron plants are toxic if ingested. This goes for humans and pets. They contain insuluble calcium oxalate crystals.
Ingesting these could lead to oral irritation; pain and swelling of mouth, tongue and lips; excessive drooling; vomiting; and difficulty swallowing. Don’t eat it, and keep it out of reach from those who might.