Wondering how to care for a philodendron silver stripe? My care guide will walk you through caring for this variegated stunner, including how to tell a silver stripe apart from a Brasil, Rio, and cream splash!
How do you care for a philodendron silver stripe?
I have another philodendron post for you today—and it’s for a variety that is very similar to one I’ve written about before–the philodendron Brasil. Both the philodendron Brasil and the philodendron silver stripe are types of philodendron hederaceum.
The leaf size and shape, as well as the plant’s overall vining growth pattern, is nearly identical to the Brasil. So what makes the silver stripe special? Well, it has more variegation in size, shape, and color range.
What is philodendron silver stripe?
Philodendron silver stripe is a type of variegated philodendron hederaceum that differs from the Brasil. Brasil has variegation that can vary from yellow to lime green bordered by dark green.
Silver stripe is a result of a sport variegation (or genetic mutation) in the hederaceum plant. While the silver stipe has a yellow-green variegation as well, it is bordered by a grayish-silver stripe before the leaf turns dark green.
Are cream splash and silver stripe the same?
The variegation on a silver stripe seems to be relatively stable. However, the plant can continue mutating and develop cream as well. That can make it tricky to differentiate from another variety, the cream splash.
Contributing further to this confusion, highly variegated silver stripes are sometimes sold as cream splashes. But they aren’t the same…or maye they are?! Because I couldn’t find anything to prove that cream splashes are actually a different plant. That is, I can’t find where the cream splash came from.
It appears that “cream splash” plants have the lime green, yellow, and dark green—but instead of the silver variegation, they have more of a cream. More to come I suppose…if you have any more info or sourcing, let me know!
Is silver stripe the same as the Rio philodendron?
And finally, let’s touch on the philodendron Rio, another variety that looks an awful lot like a silver stripe. The Rio variety also has silver, creamish yellow, and dark green. However, the Rio has silver in the center, and it’s the only variety that does.
Rio also has a very stable variegation. The grower Gabriella Plants created the philodendron Rio as early as 2009, so they are to thank for this lovely variety! This lovely art print from Aaron Apsley also shows the variegation differences.
Silver stripe lighting needs
Much like other variegated types of philodendron hederaceum, silver stripe enjoys bright indirect light. It can also tolerate medium light levels, but the leaves may get smaller and farther apart (which is referred to as “leggy” growth).
While I have seen hederaceum varieties referred to as “low-light” plants, I would disagree with that. Especially the variegated types. They need more light than their non-variegated relatives. More bright indirect light will also encourage great variegation.
Even the all-green philodendron hederaceum grows smaller, slower, and leggier in low-light conditions. Not the end of the world, for sure—but something to keep in mind. Bright indirect light is best.
Too much direct light will burn the leaves, so make sure you monitor the plant if you have it in a super sunny window or outdoors. Some direct morning sun will likely be okay since that sun isn’t as strong.
Water & soil
Plant your philodendron silver stripe in a well-draining soil mix. Something labeled as “houseplant soil” or “indoor plant soil” works great. It will come pre-mixed with things to help facilitate drainage and encourage lightweight moisture retention.
Make sure your pot has at least one large drainage hole so that the soil doesn’t retain too much water. And when you water the plant, do so deeply and thoroughly. Completely soak the soil, letting all of the excess water drain before putting the plant back.
Don’t water the plant again until the top half or so of soil has dried out completely. Depending on the size of your plant, you can usually tell if it’s good and dry by sticking your finger down into the soil. (Or get a moisture meter like a civilized person.)
Overwatering the plant through watering too frequently, having standing water in the bottom of the pot, or having soil that is too dense—or any combination of these three things—will lead to root rot. The plant will drown.
For plants like these with long, tangly stems and leaves, I like to do the watering in a sink with a handheld sink attachment or in a shower. That way I can completely rinse off all of the foliage while soaking the soil.
Temperature & humidity
Philodendron silver stripe does well in a variety of normal household temperature and humidity levels. However, it will do best in the 70s, 80s, and even lower 90s Fahrenheit.
It is not cold or frost hardy and will start suffering majorly in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. In freezing temperatures, it will definitely die.
And while it tolerates normal household humidity levels fine, it will thrive in higher humidity. You can add a humidifier or throw it outside in the shade during the summer if you live somewhere humid. You’ll notice the leaves explode in size!
Encouraging fullness in a silver stripe
The best way to encourage fullness—in addition to following an optimal care routine for light, water, soil, temperature, and humidity—is to prune your plant. Cutting your plants can be scary, but I do it all the time! It helps encourage full, healthy new growth.
Pruning is also a great way to help your plant rebound from leggy growth. Whether it was due to the winter or being in a dark room, you can simply trim the leggy areas off. New growth will sprout from the growth point just above where you cut.
Growth rate & repotting needs
The philodendron silver stripe is generally a fast grower if it is in ideal conditions. However, as a variegated type of hederaceum, I’d say this plant grows a tad bit slower than the all-green philodendron hederaceum.
I’d wait to repot the plant until it becomes root- or pot-bound. If the plant starts poking its roots out the bottom of the pot’s drainage holes, it’s time! Wait until the spring or summer to repot if you can, and size up only an inch or so on the pot size.
Toxicity & pets
Philodendron plants in general are not meant to be ingested by humans or animals. They contain toxic insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, according to the ASPCA. They can lead to oral irritation, pain and, swelling of mouth, tongue, and lips; excessive drooling; vomiting; and difficulty swallowing.
How do you propagate a philodendron silver stripe?
Philodendron hederaceum is super easy to propagate using stem cuttings. That goes for all philodendron hederaceum varieties, including silver stripe. And it starts with taking a good cutting.
First cut a piece from a healthy stem in the spring or summer. Ensure it has 1-3 leaves on it and a few growth points. Grow points are where the leaves meet the stem, and you can expose them by removing a set of leaves.
I would recommend using water or a mixture of damp sphagnum moss and perlite to root your cutting. Water is usually just fine for rooting philodendron hederaceum varieties, and they look lovely sitting on a table while they’re doing so. Below is an example of a philodendron hederaceum micans rooting in water.
However, the transition from water to soil can sometimes lead to a bit of shock. Rooting the cuttings in damp moss and perlite can help build stronger roots from the outset. (Read more about sphagnum moss and perlite propagation if you’re new to it.)
Once the roots are several inches long, you can transplant the cutting to a small pot with fresh, well-draining soil. Keep the soil moist but not wet to encourage further root development.