How to Grow and Care for Silver Sword Philodendron (Philodendron hastatum) Indoors


Silver Sword Philodendron, Philodendron hastatum

Botanical name: Philodendron hastatum
Family: Araceae
Common names: Silver Sword Philodendron

Description

Philodendron hastatum commonly called Silver Sword Philodendron is an evergreen climber which bears glossy, large, sword-shaped leaves with a silver sheen.

Silver Sword Philodendron is ideal for a hanging basket or can be grown as a climber on a trellis or moss stick. Firm support for the stems needs to be provided for the climber.

Size

Silver Sword Philodendron can grow to a height of 10 ft and 5 ft wide in its native habitat but it only grows to about 5 ft when grown indoors.

Origin

Philodendron hastatum is native to the tropical rainforests in Southeast Brazil where it grows as an epiphyte on trees, climbing by means of the aerial roots to the tree canopies in search of light.

Silver Sword Philodendron is considered an endangered species in its native habitat due to deforestation but the plant is readily available for sale.

Where to Buy

Beautiful Silver Sword Philodendrons are available online at Etsy. Buy Silver Sword Philodendron (Philodendron hastatum) online from Etsy.

Silver Sword Philodendron, Philodendron hastatum

Photo Credit: Plants for All Seasons

Philodendron hastatum Care Indoors

Silver Sword Philodendron (Philodendron hastatum) thrives in bright indirect light away from direct sunlight, warm and humid conditions and moderately moist, fertile, well-drained soils coupled with regular feeding during the growing season.

Philodendron hastatum requires regular pruning to keep the plant neat, encourage a bushy growth and rejuvenate growth. Repotting of the young plant is needed when it becomes pot-bound while the large plants require annual replenishment of the soil. Continue reading for a detailed account on these conditions and how to achieve them.

Light Requirements

Silver Sword Philodendron grows best in bright indirect light away from direct sunlight. It can also grow under a grow light where natural light is inadequate.

Keep Silver Sword Philodendron away from direct sunlight as direct sunlight can cause scorching of the leaves. Inadequate light will result in leggy growth and small-sized pale leaves

Turn the pot regularly to ensure that the plant receives light on all sides for uniform growth.

Watering

Water Silver Sword Philodendron thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2-3 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.

Reduce watering during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time. Water the plant with water that is at room temperature to avoid shocking this tropical plant leading to reduced growth.

Ensure that the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.


Temperature

Silver Sword Philodendron prefers average warmth within the range of 18-270C. Temperature outside this range may harm the plant.

Keep the plant away from cold and hot draughts to prevent extreme temperatures. Too high temperatures may cause yellowing of leaves while too low temperatures will cause the plant to stop growing.

Humidity

Silver Sword Philodendron requires a humid environment inorder to thrive. However the plant can withstand dry air for short periods but low humidity for prolonged periods will result in brown leaf tips and edges.

Keep the air moist through out the growing period by setting the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity.

Regularly clean the leaves by damp-wiping to get rid of dust and to discourage pest infestation.

Fertilizer (Feeding)

Feed Silver Sword Philodendron every 3-4 weeks during the growing season with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer.

Withhold feeding during the cold season as growth is minimal at this time and feeding at this time may cause fertilizer burn and eventual death of the plant.

Repotting

Repot young Silver Sword Philodendron at the beginning of the growing period. Use a pot that is 1 size larger and loose, free-draining soil that is rich in organic matter.

Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.

Large Silver Sword Philodendron may be impossible to repot due to their enormous size. Therefore, replenish the top 2-3 in. of soil at the beginning of the growing season or as necessary. Take care not to injure the roots to avoid fungal infestations.

Pruning

Pruning Silver Sword Philodendron involves removal of yellow and dead leaves to maintain the plant neat and tidy.

To encourage a bushy and compact growth for Silver Sword Philodendron, pinch off the growing tips at a point above the node as new growth emerges from a node. The tips can be used to propagate new plants.

Cut back the leggy stems at the beginning of the growing season to rejuvenate growth.

Propagation

Silver Sword Philodendron (Philodendron hastatum) propagation can be done during the growing season from stem cuttings or by plant division. The stem cuttings can be rooted in soil or in water.

How to propagate Silver Sword Philodendron from stem cuttings in soil

Take a stem cutting of about 4-5 in. long from a healthy Silver Sword Philodendron by cutting the stem below a leaf node. Strip off the lower leaves.

Insert the cutting in moist, well-drained soil while ensuring at least on leaf node is below the soil.

Place the set up in a warm, well-lit place and maintain the soil moist until new growth has emerged.

Allow the new Philodendron hastatum to be well established before transplanting after which you can begin routine care.

How to propagate Silver Sword Philodendron from stem cuttings in water

Take a stem cutting of about 4-5 in. long from a healthy Silver Sword Philodendron by cutting the stem below a leaf node. Strip off the lower leaves.

Place the cutting in a jar of clean water while ensuring at least on leaf node is below the water surface.

Place the set up in a well-lit place and change the water every 5-7 days until roots have developed.

Transfer the new Silver Sword Philodendron into individual pots in moist, free-draining soil when the roots are about 4 in. long.

Maintain the soil moist until new growth has emerged on the new Silver Sword Philodendron cuttings.

Allow the new Philodendron hastatum to be well established before transfering the pots to their permanent position after which you can begin routine.

How to propagate Silver Sword Philodendron by plant division

During repotting, divide large Silver Sword Philodendron into several sections. Ensure each section has adequate healthy roots.

Plant the sections in individual pots in moist, free-draining soil and place in a well-lit shaded place.

Maintain the soil moist until the new Philodendron hastatum is well established and begin routine care.

Silver Sword Philodendron, Philodendron hastatum

Photo Credit: Hello Hello Plants & Garden Supplies

Philodendron hastatum Problems Indoors

Silver Sword Philodendron (Philodendron hastatum) problems when grown indoors include yellow leaves, dropping leaves, brown leaf tips and edges, rotting, pests and diseases among others. Continue reading for more on these problems and how to fix them.

Yellow leaves

Overwatering Silver Sword Philodendron is the reason for yellow leaves if many leaves are affected and there are signs of wilting and rotting.

Water the Silver Sword Philodendron thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings.

If there is no wilting and rotting, underfeeding is the cause of yellow leaves.

Feed the Silver Sword Philodendron every 3-4 weeks during the growing season with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer and withhold feeding during the cold season to avoid fertilizer burn.

If only lower leaves are affected and have dark spots and new leaves are dark and small, then underwatering is the cause of the yellow leaves.

The solution is to water the Silver Sword Philodendron thoroughly during the growing season while allowing the top 2 in. of soil to dry out between waterings but never allow the soil to dry out completely.

If leaves are pale colored and have straw-colored patches the cause of yellow leaves is exposure to direct sunlight. Protect the Silver Sword Philodendron or keep it away from direct sunlight.

Brown leaf tips and edges

There are two possible causes of brown leaf tips and edges in Silver Sword Philodendron. One possible cause of brown leaf tips and edges is dry air.

Set the pot on a wet pebble tray or use a cool mist humidifier to raise humidity for the plant.

The second possible cause of brown leaf tips and edges in Silver Sword Philodendron is that the plant is pot-bound.

Repot the Silver Sword Philodendron into a pot 1 size larger. Ensure the pot has a drainage hole to prevent the soil from getting soggy as it can lead to root-rot disease and eventual death of the plant.

Leggy growth and small pale leaves

Too little light is the cause of leggy growth and small pale leaves. Silver Sword Philodendron will not thrive in shade.

Move the Silver Sword Philodendron to a more brighter spot where it will receive bright indirect light or instal a grow light where natural light is inadequate.

Dropping leaves

The lower leaves in Silver Sword Philodendron will drop as they age but if there is an abnormal leaf drop, the reason is sudden change of the growing conditions.

Avoid moving the Silver Sword Philodendron to a new position before acclimatizing it gradually to prevent leaf drop.

If the leaves turn brown and dry before they drop, then too high temperature is the cause of leaf drop.

Philodendron hastatum prefers average warmth with a minimum of 180C. Protect it from hot draughts; keep the plant away from hot air vents or near any heat source.

Rotting stems

The reason for rotting stems in Silver Sword Philodendron is the fungal stem-rot disease which is promoted by high moisture and too little warmth.

To save the plant repot it in fresh dry soil and keep the soil dry and warm for a period of time before watering. Read more on how to treat stem-rot disease in houseplants.

Diseases

Apart from stem-rot disease, Silver Sword Philodendron is also prone to leaf spot disease which is promoted by overwet conditions coupled with poor air circulation.

Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to the rest of the houseplants and spray it with a fungicidal solution. Ensure to cover the entire plant; the leaves and the stems.

To prevent future infestation, avoid wetting the foliage and water from the bottom instead. Also ensure that there is good air circulation for the plant.

Pests

The common pests in Silver Sword Philodendron are Aphids, Scales, Whiteflies and Mealybugs. Isolate the affected plant to prevent spread to other houseplants and treat it with Neem oil or Insecticidal soap.

Is Silver Sword Philodendron toxic?

According to National Capital Poison Center, Silver Sword Philodendron (Philodendron hastatum) like other Philodendrons are toxic to both humans and pets. The plant contains Calcium oxalate crystals.

If ingested, these crystals can cause burning and swelling in the mouth and throat, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pains. Therefore, keep your Silver Sword Philodendron away from the reach of children and pets.

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