Looking for silver sword philodendron care tips? The gorgeous and somewhat rare philodendron hastatum has one of my favorite things—a silver sheen on its leaves. It’s easy to get for and easy to propagate. Here’s now!
Silver sword philodendron care (philodendron hastatum)
Today we’re talking about silver sword philodendron care—aka the philodendron hastatum. When I first got this plant, I had never seen one in person. I had seen people selling them online in plant groups, and I’d see them on Instagram plant accounts. But seeing them in person is another thing—and affording it when you do see it is, too!
So when a local plant friend of mine messaged me on Facebook to tell me that she saw silver sword philodendrons at Weis grocery stores, of all places, and asked if I wanted one—the answer was YES! For a price tag of about $15, if I remember correctly. And the plant looked great with tons of new growth.
How do you take care of a philodendron silver sword?
This philodendron hastatum is nicknamed the “silver sword” because of its distinct glossy leaves that come to a sharp point, similar to a sword. This plant is the perfect addition to your home decor because of its silverish leaves that have a metallic shine. This philodendron is a climbing vine with a thick stem, so it can grow up a simple stake or climb across a trellis as it matures
The silver sword philodendron is relatively easy to care for, is not high-maintenance, and adapts to almost any indoor conditions. It follows typical watering requirements, is not very susceptible to pests, and prefers bright, indirect sun like most indoor plants. Finding the right lighting conditions will help your plant look fuller and more vibrant, filling your indoor space up just right.
Is philodendron silver sword rare, and where does it come from?
I would say yes, it is reasonably rare. And I say that because I had never seen it in person, and I go to a lot of plant nurseries! I think that when it does hit stores, it really gets bought up quickly. Just like my friend did for all of us when she saw them at the grocery store! Love good grocery store finds.
The silver sword originated in the rainforests of Brazil. So be sure to keep its tropical origins in mind when caring for it. It grows abundantly in Rio de Janeiro, but unfortunately it is now on the list of endangered species of plants because of deforestation. These days, this plant is sadly being reduced to only a decorative houseplant. A philodendron hastatum reaches maturity after about ten years, and only then will it produce beautiful small white flowers.
How much light does a silver sword plant need?
These philodendrons grow beneath the canopies of the rainforest, so they are not big fans of direct sunlight. Its unique leaves burn quickly, so the best placement is by a window where no direct rays touch the leaves. But make sure the plant still gets enough bright, indirect light.
If the stems begin to appear long and leggy and you notice leaves growing further apart, it’s an indication that the plant is not getting enough light. This happens because the plant grows longer in search of more light. It can appear somewhat lanky since its thick stems climb up poles and trellises, but if the plant looks healthy, it’s probably not leggy.
Why is my silver sword yellow?
Yellowing leaves can mean a lot of different things. If the silver sword philodendron leaves start to yellow, the first thing to check is the sunlight. If it is receiving too much sunlight, the leaves can yellow. On the flip side, too little light can lead to yellowing leaves and brown tips.
Yellow or droopy leaves can also be a sign that the plant need more humidity, so that’s the second thing you should check after lighting. Keep in mind that yellowing leaves are natural in small numbers, but if several begin to yellow at once, there might be something wrong.
How much water does the hastatum need?
Water your hastatum two to three times a week during its growing season in the spring and summer months. In the winter, decrease to once a week, only to keep the plant from drying out. This may be slightly less than once a week depending on the temperature and air in your home—I typically water my plants once every 10 days or so in the winter.
Ensure the top two inches of soil is dry before you water, as this plant is susceptible to root rot. Droopy leaves are a sign that you aren’t watering it properly, but they should recover quickly once you find an adequate watering schedule. Do not water the leaves, and wipe them clean every now and then. (See my post about how to clean houseplant leaves, and don’t use leaf shine!)
Silver sword philodendron soil needs
Soil is an important part of silver sword philodendron care. Like most other philodendrons, this plant does best in well-draining soil that is loose and moist, but not overly wet. Additionally, since this plant is a climber it prefers soil with high organic matter. In nature the silver sword climbs on other plants, taking its nutrients from other plants (organic matter).
Soil plays a huge part in meeting the plant’s water and nutritional needs. You can use a generic potting mix and add compost or well-composted manure to increase the organic matter composition, or use soilless mixtures like peat-vermiculite or peat-perlite. To increase draining, add perlite to the mix.
Temperature & humidity
The philodendron hastatum is native to the rainforests of Brazil and even some parts of Australia, which should tell you it prefers warmer temperatures. The optimal temperature to grow a silver sword is between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It isn’t tolerant of cooler temperatures or frost, so the plant will suffer and possibly die if exposed to the cold for long periods of time.
If you’re growing it indoors, maintaining a good temperature shouldn’t be difficult, just keep it away from radiators, vents, and drafts. I find that my plant is very tolerant of all normal household temps.
The rainforest is not only warm, it’s also extremely humid. If you want your silver sword to really flourish and its leaves to look as metallic and stunning as possible, you have to artificially increase the humidity in your home. Common ways of doing this is to keep the plant in the bathroom, place it next to other plants, put it on a pebble tray with water, mist frequently, or use a humidifier.
I like to keep mine in my Ikea greenhouse cabinet; since it’s enclosed, the ambient moisture from the plants tends to keep things a bit more humid even without a humidifier. During the winter months when the air becomes very dry, it’s important to watch out for yellow and droopy leaves as this is a sign it needs more moisture.
Silver sword philodendron propagation
Stem cuttings are the best method of propagating your silver sword philodendron. Cut a healthy stem that has several nodes, then clip the leaves off leaving two to three nodes bare. You can choose to plant the stem cutting in either moist, rich soil or simply root it in water.
Keep it very humid by covering it with a plastic bag, and if the cutting is in soil, gently water every three days. After about six weeks you will notice small roots sprouting, as well as small leaves. By this time, you can water it only twice a week and add fertilizer to help it grow faster.
If you choose to propagate in water, once you’ve noticed roots sprouting after six to eight weeks, it can be safely transferred to a new pot. Keep in mind that these are water roots, so there could be some shock when you transplant it to soil as it develops its soil roots. But it should perk back up.