Last Updated on May 31, 2021 by Sophie
Characterised by its compact nature and dainty pin-striped leaves, the Philodendron Birkin is a delightful aroid which will make a wonderful addition to your indoor garden collection. Here’s a complete Philodendron Birkin care guide, as well as watering tips and how to propagate this aroid plant.
Rather rarer than some other varieties of philodendron, the Philodendron Birkin is characterised by its glossy, dark green leaves which come to a point and are streaked with pale green/ white/ yellow lines which resemble brush strokes. What’s more, is that every single leaf is slightly different and no two are the same.
Please note that all parts of the Philodendron Birkin are toxic to people and pets. The plants contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause irritation and issues with kidneys.
Why haven’t I heard of the Philodendron Birkin before?
You may well not have heard of the Birkin yet as it’s a rather new Philodendron hybrid variety. Part of the Araceae family, and almost as easy as to care for as something such as the heart leaf philodendron, you certainly won’t regret adding this beauty to your indoor jungle!
The new(ish) plant actually originated quite by accident. The plant is actually the result of a mutation on the Rojo Congo Philodendron which seems pretty stable, though buyers should note that a mature Philodendron Birkin always has the possibility of reverting back to the Rojo Congo.
Philodendron Birkin: hanging or climbing plant?
Though most varieties of Philodendron tend to trail or climb by nature, the Philodendron Birkin is rather unique in that it actually grows as a small shrub and never really reaches more than a few foot across and tall.
Philodendron Birkin Plant Care & Watering Guide
Watering your Birkin Philodendron
Unlike some other Philodendrons, the plant doesn’t like to dry out between waterings, though nor does it want to become too waterlogged. As such, the best course of action when watering the Philodendron is to water it little but often.
Philodendrons come from the jungle and so enjoy environments with high humidity. This can often be difficult in homes, especially during the winter months when central heating can dry out the air in your house.
One of the best ways to keep humidity high for your plants is to group them together. You can also mist the Birkin every so often to keep the plant and leaves nice and hydrated. If your plant is not receiving enough humidity, then it might start to develop ‘crispy edges’ on its leaves or even brown spots. Though this can sometimes be the sign of a Philodendron Birkin pest, it’s more than likely that the indoor plant will be suffering from a humidity issue.
Best soil conditions for the Philodendron
Unlike some other varieties of Philodendron, the Birkin is particularly slow growing and won’t need changing pots nearly as often as many other houseplants. In fact, it’s quite likely that it will be several years before you even need to think about repotting the gorgeous variegated plant.
With this being said, like many other houseplants, the Birkin enjoys a well-draining soil mix which will ensure that its roots don’t stay sitting in water for too long (a common cause of plant death is root rot as, once a plant has root rot, there is little chance of recovery).
If your plant leaves are starting to droop, then this is quite often a sign that your plant is not receiving enough water. Though the plant will not need repotting for a long time, it will need fertilising during the summer months to ensure that it gets the nutrients it needs. The plant should be fertilised at least once a month during the summertime.
Best light conditions for the Philodendron Birkin
Be sure to avoid bright sunlight as this can burn the leaves, dry out the plant too quickly, and there is little chance of recovering sunburnt leaves on a plant. The best kind of light for the Birkin philodendron is bright, indirect sunlight.
The plant will need more light than its other Philodendron non-variegated counterparts (variegated plants have less Chlorophyll in their leaves and so need more light to photosynthesise) but will do well near a shaded window or by an east facing window.
Conversely, you’ll soon notice if your plant is not receiving enough sunlight as it will start to become leggy and grow towards the light source. If variegated plants are grown in too little light, the new leaves will come through with less variegation and the plant will no longer look as bright and colourful as it should be.
How to make your Philodendron Birkin bushy
As previously mentioned, the Phildendron Birkin is not a vining or creeping variety but is instead rather rare when it comes Philodendron varieties in that it grows in a bush form. In order to stop the plant from becoming leggy and growing in a straggly manner, it’s important to prune your plant during the growing season (spring and summer).
The Birkin should also be pruned on a regular basis by cutting the leaves off at a 45 degree angle just above the leaf node. This will encourage the lower down nodes to grow more leaves, thus allowing for a fuller plant.
How to propagate the Philodendron Birkin
There are a few ways to propagate birkin but the easiest by far is by stem cuttings or by division. You can also propagate the plant by layering but this is a complex process which is harder to get better results from.
The easiest propagation method by far is to take stem cuttings. All you need to do is to find a node (a lumpy part of the stem which will have several new stems coming out of it) and cut at a 45 degree angle below the node. Make sure that the stem cutting has at least two or three leaves.
Then, you need to place the stem cuttings in fresh water and be sure to change the water every week or so. After around a month (though it can be longer depending on when you took the cuttings), the cutting will start to grow roots. Once the cutting has roots which are a couple of inches long, you can pot the plant up. Take care not to overwater the newly rooted cutting.
Do not propagate stem nodes which have produced only green leaves. This means that these nodes have reverted back to their original form before the chimeric mutation and will no longer produce green and white striped leaves.
Common Philodendron Birkin pests and problems
Why are my Philodendron Birkin leaves yellowing?
If you notice that the leaves of your philodendron plant are starting to turn yellow, then the most common cause of this is overwatering or improper watering. If the plant has been watered sufficiently, then the leaves could have turned yellow because the soil mixture is retaining too much water between waterings and is not draining well enough.
Unfortunately, once a leaf has turned yellow, it won’t turn back to green. If the plant has enough other foliage, then yellow leaves should be removed from the plant.
Why is my Philodendron Birkin green?
One of the most common Birkin problems which will not cause any issues to the plant itself but will completely alter the look of the philodendron is that the leaves revert to fully green. This can happen because the spontaneous chimeric mutation from Philodendron Rojo is completely spontaneous and so can spontaneously revert back to plain green at any time.
Unfortunately, once the leaf has reverted back to green, it will not change back to striped again. Try pruning the nodes and leaves of the plant that have reverted to full green as they will continue to produce only green leaves. Alternatively, due to the unstable mutation, new leaves can also be produced which have completely different pattern or looks to the rest of the birkin philodendorn.
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