Last Updated on May 31, 2021 by Sophie
So-called thanks to its blue-tinged leaves and arrow/ sword-resembling leaf shape, the Philodendron Hastatum will make a unique and wonderful addition to your home collection. Best-grown in medium light, though lower light levels are acceptable, the plant is also often referred to as the Silver Sword Philodendron. Here’s a care guide, as well as plant tips and how to propagate the silver sword.
Though many philodendron varieties are more green in the appearance of their leaves, that of the Silver Sword is unique with its shiny mirror-like leaves which almost glitter and glisten in bright natural light. This means that, though the Silver Sword can be harder to find than other types of Philodendron, it will most certainly make for a unique addition to your indoor jungle collection.
The plant get its nickname silver sword from the fact that the foliage grows in a long form which resembles swords or arrow. The plant originates from the rainforest in Brazil and is part of the Araceae family. Given the right growing conditions, the plant can reach up to a metre in height.
All philodendrons are toxic to animals and so should be kept out of reach of pets and children.
Silver sword Philodendron: Vine/ bush/ creeping?
One thing to know about philodendrons is that they are not all vining. Philodendrons can be vining which means that, like Philodendron micans (for example), they will put out new leaves on vines which can be grown up a moss pole or left to trail.
Philodendrons can also grow in bush like formations or can creep along the ground (though creeping varieties are not commonly kept as houseplants due to the fact that they need a lot of space to grow).
In nature, the Silver Sword plant is a climbing vine, meaning that you should provide a cane or moss poll on which it can climb. Due to the thickness of the stem, I would not recommend trying to grow the Philodendron hastatum as a trailing vine as it will easily break and snap. Pruning/ pinching may be required so that the plant doesn’t grow too straggly.
Philodendron Hastatum Care Guide
Best lighting for the silver sword philodendron
Like most philodendrons, the Hastatum enjoys bright, indirect sunlight. The plant is generally easy to grow, has few pests, and boasts glossy silver-grey-green leaves which will usually tolerate lower light conditions (though this is not ideal).
In your home, this could be a place close to a window (for example, a few feet away from an east or west facing window), but not directly in front of, as this can lead to the foliage burning. One of the most common symptoms that the plant is receiving too much bright, direct sunlight can be that the foliage becomes dull and loses its sheen.
If this happens, then a new placement for the plant should be considered immediately. Once the leaves are burned, they will not return to their original hue and should be removed from the plant (provided that enough healthy foliage remains on the plant).
Best soil for the Philodendron hastatum
Like other aroid plants, Philodendron Hastatums enjoy well-draining soil. Silver Sword likes to be moist but doesn’t want to have its roots too wet as this can lead to root rot, from which there is little chance that the plant will recover.
As such, make sure the top inch of the soil is dry before re-watering the plant. Humidity requirements are average. The Hastatum can also be grown in 100% sphagnum moss. If the plant is grown in moss, it will require watering more frequently, so sticking to a substrate which is part organic material, part well draining material such as sand or perlite is your safest bet if you’re looking for an easy care routine.
As there is no set substrate mix or recipe to create a soil for indoor plants, it can be difficult to work out how to create a soil blend for yourself. Luckily, most plant centres which sell indoor plants will sell soil mixes which are specifically formulated for indoor houseplants which originate from the jungle.
Watering guide for the silver sword philodendron
Philodendrons are pretty easy to care for plants, as long as they’re watered the correct amount and fertilised around once a month during the growing season (spring and summer). Philodendrons don’t like to dry out completely between waterings but should not be overwatered as this can cause yellowing leaves as well as root rot.
As a general rule of thumb, the silver sword should be re-watered when the top inch or two of the soil has dried out. When it comes to fertilising the plant, ensure that the plant has been recently watered and that the roots are not completely dry prior to fertilisation. After all, putting too strong a concentration of fertiliser or fertiliser onto dry roots can cause root burn, from which the plant will find it hard to recover.
Common problems with the philodendron silver sword
Though not as susceptible to house pests as most Calathea varieties, when it comes to the Philodendron hastatum, aphids and mealybugs can cause problems. Mealybugs are easy to spot and are fairly easier to treat in comparison with other pests.
Silver Sword Propagation
Like many other aroid plants, the Silver Sword is easy enough to propagate via stem cuttings. Simply cut the plant with a section that includes one, and preferably two, nodes. Then place in water and wait for several weeks, and sometimes over a month, for roots to form. Then pot up in well-draining potting mix and you’ll have a brand new plant addition to your home, or alternatively a fantastic gift for another plant lover in your life.
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