Philodendron Scandens (Heartleaf Philodendron) Care Guide {essential steps to maximize its growth}

Heartleaf Philodendron

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How do you keep a Heartleaf Philodendron alive?

  1. Simple. Place the plant in an area preferably with plenty of light, but will still survive with low lighting.
  2. Keep the soil moist with daily misting to maintain the moisture in the summer
  3. Only water (with tepid water) when the soil is dry in the winter.
  4. Oh and lastly, provide plenty of love and the plant will come out looking as amazing as ever.

History of Heartleaf Philodendron

Looking for a lovely houseplant that requires very little effort to grow and maintain? Then the heartleaf philodendron plant will be an ideal houseplant for you! This plant, with its adorable heart-shaped leaves and easy to grow nature, makes it a favourite of many homemakers. Also known as the sweetheart plant, heartleaf philodendrons originated from the tropics, so it is a given that they grow best in tropical regions. But really, philodendrons can acclimatize to any place with a humid and warm climate that characterizes the tropics. Even so, it can be grown nearly almost anywhere, given that it receives proper care and attention!

So, if this popular houseplant interests you, here is how you can grow and care for them!

What is a Philodendron Scandens plant?

Originated from South America, this plant thrives being in a warm climate so much that it needs to be grown indoors. They also make for a great hanging plant. Their vines will grow up to 4 ft long with each leave being about 3 inches long.

You have two options for when the stem grows too long.

You can pinch them once they get too long to prevent the plant from becoming too lanky. Pinching the leaves will also promote the growth of healthier leaves. Using sharp scissors or a pruner should help avoid rough tears to the stems. Keep in mind that you will need to cut as close to the node as possible to prevent that stem from dying, which will lead to the node not being able to grow a new stem. The node is the part where the leaf attaches to the stem.


should you mist Heartleaf Philodendron

You can let it grow as long as nature will allow it. This is perfect if you wanted to hang your plant to allow the stems to dangle. You could also allow it to trail if placed on a surface such as a bookshelf. A really cool thing about this plant is that you can teach it to wrap upwards around a moss pole by using floral tape to stick the stems onto the pole until its aerial roots sink in.

Why choose a Philodendron Scandens plant?

In Greece, the name means love tree. Who wouldn’t want a love plant in their own home?

And not only is the plant a gorgeous heart leaf a trailing vine plant, but it is also super easy to care for and maintain! The plant only requires minimal lighting, so it can be placed anywhere. Because it has a trailing vine that can grow up to 10 feet long, you can be as creative as you want when using it to spice up the look of your home.

It is also known as an air purifier plant. It helps clean the air by getting rid of toxins that come from carpets, cleaning supplies, laminated counters, or even furniture. Having an air purifying plant for every 100 sq ft of your home will do wonders for your air quality and your respiratory tract, which will reduce the number of headaches and fatigues you get on a weekly basis.

How to care for a (Heartleaf) Philodendron Scandens?

How much light does a (Heartleaf) Philodendron Scandens need?

In this regard, philodendrons do not prove to be difficult to accommodate. Do they need direct sunlight? No, Any place that does not receive direct sunlight, is suitable for them. For best results, make sure they receive indirect light or light that is filtered. Under this condition, they will have a speedy growth while the number of leaves also proliferates.

As philodendrons are easy to grow, places that receive moderate to very little light, are also fit for growing heartleaf philodendrons. Hence, not only can they thrive in most homes but also most offices that may not have the most favorable lighting.

Poor lighting will barely harm the plant or stop their growth. The worst that could happen is that the leaves will not be as lustrous or glossy as the leaves of a philodendron that received moderate, filtered, or indirect light.

Best soil for Philodendron Scandens

As you may already know, the type of soil used dictates the growth of a plant. In the right soil, the plant will thrive. For heartleaf philodendron plants, you could grow them in potting soil that is of good quality and is well-drained.

Other than this, you can make your own soil as an alternative. You can combine some perlite with coarse sand, sterilized garden loam, and peat moss.

How often do you need to water a philodendron?

This will probably be the only aspect of caring for a heartleaf philodendron that you would need to pay some attention to.

Tropical plants love humid or damp spaces to grow in. So, make sure the soil in which they are growing, is kept moist for the majority of the time. But remember the soil most definitely should not resemble a swamp. That is, the soil should not be extremely wet or water-logged. Ensure that the plant has the facility of a decent drainage system – a hole at the bottom of the pot along with well-drained soil.  

how often do you need to water a philodendron?

And just like you would avoid growing the plant in soil that is too wet, avoid growing it in one that is equally too dry. Try to find an in-between that will not hinder the growth of the philodendron. In the warmer months, when its most active, water the plant generously and spray the leaves with water.

Should you mist Heartleaf Philodendron?

Yes. Spritz water on the leaves two times every day when the summer months begin. In the winter, you can wait to water the plants until the soil is dry enough because it won’t be as active in the cold. You could also lightly dab the leaves with a dampened cloth as an alternative.

It is easy to understand whether your plant is receiving enough water by just observing the plant. If the leaves develop a yellowish color, it indicates that you are watering it too much. On the other hand, if the leaves are brown, it indicates that you have not been watering it enough.

Kitchens and bathrooms in our houses tend to be humid, providing the perfect conditions for the growth of heartleaf philodendrons. So, you could easily plant them in these indoor spaces of your home.

Heartleaf Philodendron in water!

Although we may have been focusing more on heartleaf philodendrons planted in soil and how to water them properly, we must mention that they can also grow in water alone. All in all, the soil is not essential for their growth. So, a hassle-free way to grow one could be to simply put it in a container filled with water.

does a heartleaf philodendron need to be fertilized

Also, remember that switching the medium in which the plant has grown with another (soil for water or vice versa) may not be a smart idea. This is because a plant could get accustomed to growing in a particular one and they may not be able to adapt to the new setting.

Does a Heartleaf Philodendron need to be fertilized?

One of the plus points of growing philodendrons is that it does not require any special fertilizer. Just choose one that has the necessary nutrients in the right amounts and is water-soluble (this would make it easier to be taken up by the plant). Fertilizing once a month in the spring till the fall will work just fine as long as the quality is good and the nutrients are well-proportioned.

When wintertime comes, you will no longer need to fertilize the plant. However, just know that it is possible for philodendrons to make it without being fertilized for years. Hence, you do not need to stress over this much.

Make sure that you stick to the directions on the fertilizer package or do some research before you use it. In that way, you can avoid any possible mishaps

Best temperature and humidity for Heartleaf Philodendron

Heartleaf philodendron plants love the moisture but will adapt to any type of climate, making them suitable to be placed anywhere. They prefer room temperatures around 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit or 18-24 degrees Celsius but will endure temperatures around 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the wintertime.

does a heartleaf philodendron need to be fertilized?

Should I mist my philodendron? Yes, but only in the warmer seasons to help maintain its humidity level. You can stop misting in the winter when it’s growth slows down.

How to repot a Heartleaf Philodendron?

When the philodendron grows too big for its original pot, you should definitely repot it to a bigger pot. Typically, a pot that has a two-inch larger radius, compared to the previous one, should be enough to accommodate the plant. And of course, it should have a hole (or a few) at the bottom to allow proper drainage. The recommended seasons for repotting is spring or early summer. And it is done after every 2 or 3 years during which the plant is likely to grow substantially

Steps to take to repot philodendron plants

A simple tip to make the transfer process easier will be to generously water the plant almost a day before moving it to the new pot. This works fantastically because any stress or strain on the plant is relieved.

Also, give the plant a good pruning if it needs it and take a look at the root ball to make sure it is not decaying. As you separate the roots, use a light hand to avoid damaging it. Following this advice will lead to a growth spurt in the plant.

As mentioned before, for heartleaf plants, well-drained soil is what you need. So, fill your pot with it and once the plant safely resides in it, water it so much so that the water streams out of the hole at the bottom.

You must not forget to use well-drained soil in this case because without it, there is a chance that the soil will eventually become densely packed as you water it. And if that happens, you will be stuck with soil clogged in water, which will harm the roots and the plant.

Pruning Heartleaf Philodendron

Pruning heartleaf philodendron is essential just like every other plant. When you trim away all the branches, stems, and leaves that are dead or overgrown, you are stimulating its growth. This, of course, is beneficial for the plant as it looks more healthy, rich, and green.

how to repot a Heartleaf Philodendron

In philodendron plants, make sure to trim the stems that have become too long and straggly, right at the end of a node (part of a stem, which allows a single leaf or multiple ones to grow from it, forming a small swelling, is called a node). The plant then will experience an increase in growth and will look fuller.

A clean-cut is preferred over a rough, uneven one. So, use appropriate tools like pruning shears, scissors, etc. To avoid an uneven cut, do not use any equipment that may be dull. You can even use your fingernails if the tools are not on hand. And of course, remember to be careful when handling sharp objects.

How to propogate Heartleaf Philodendron

The propagation or breeding of new baby plants from a grown philodendron plant requires very little effort on your part. Take a pair of scissors or garden shears and use it to snip away a single branch or more (if you plan to grow more than one) from the heartleaf plant.

However, not any branch will do – you should pick one that has quite a few nodes present on it. If needed, get rid of the leaves on the branch you have chosen. This will reveal more nodes from which the plant will grow without any difficulty.

Once you have the branch or branches in your hand, proceed to plant them in suitable pots. They will start growing without any hesitation. And to speed up their growth, make sure the plants receive a combination of damp soil and warm atmosphere.

You can also place the branches from the philodendron plant in containers filled with water, which too will lead them to grow into normal plants; the roots will form and the plants will develop. Then, you can choose to either leave them in the containers or transfer them to the soil once the roots have formed.

how to propagate Heartleaf Philodendron

Philodendrons can also be grown with seeds from the plant itself. In this case, too, you will need damp soil. The ideal temperatures for the seeds to germinate range from 66-75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Common diseases of Philodendron Scandens

Droopy and wilted leaves

This is a common problem that almost everyone with houseplants experiences. Wilting of leaves is a simple indication that the soil is drier than the plant usually prefers. Simply put in other words, your plant requires more water. So, water it to ‘shoo’ this trouble away.

If watering does not help, it means the leaves are wilting for the only other possible reason – root rot. Solve the problem of the roots, and your plant will once again display the vibrant green leaves it once used to sport.

Yellow leaves

Yellow leaves are a sure sign that the plant is receiving excess water which means the soil has become water-logged. While a day or two does not hurt the plant, a long period sure does. Hence, go easy on the watering and ensure that the plant is gifted with a good drainage system.

How can you ensure a good drainage system? You already know this – use pots with holes at the bottom to allow excess water to move out. And of course, remember to dump the water that accumulates in the drainage container.

Brown scorched marks

If you notice scorch marks on the leaves, then it may be a wise decision to change the location of your plant. This is because scorch marks are a result of subjecting the philodendron plant to direct light.

So, find a shadier spot that receives indirect light or where the light levels are much lower. This will keep the leaves of your plant safe from the brown scorch marks.

Brown spot

Fungus is the main reason behind this problem. It develops when water is sprayed on the leaves or is used to clean them but the water droplets accumulate on them. This wetness on the leaves that stays for a couple of hours (unless wiped off), is the perfect breeding ground for fungi.

Indoor philodendrons are mostly affected by such development of brown spots. This is because they are not subjected to as much air circulation as outdoor plants. This causes them to remain wet while water droplets on the outdoor plants quickly vaporize. This explains why outdoor philodendrons do not tend to have brown spots.

If your plant is already affected, get rid of all the leaves that have the spots. As it is a fast-growing plant, newer leaves will quickly appear in their place.

Heartleaf Philodendron

But if you are trying to avoid this problem, then simply make sure that water droplets on the leaves – when you spray them or otherwise – are blotted out with a clean, dry cloth.

Now that you know how easy it is to care for heartleaf philodendrons, hopefully, you will decide to decorate your home with its presence. One point you should keep in mind though is that the plant is toxic. If eaten by any chance, it can cause severe health problems for both humans and pets.

Pests and diseases

As with most other houseplants, heartleaf philodendrons can also get infested with insects or diseases. Even so, there is no need to worry since these insects or diseases are mostly ordinary. Spider mites, fungus gnats, mealybugs, and scale insects are some pests that often attack this plant. The diseases are caused by pathogens like fungi, bacteria, or viruses. Root rot, dasheen mosaic virus, or fungal and bacterial leaf spots are some typical ones.

It does not take long for such pests or plant illnesses to spread rapidly among other nearby plants. Hence, we suggest that you quickly try to resolve the problem by researching extensively and then giving the plant any necessary treatment. For example, fungus gnats can easily be driven away if you let the soil dry to some extent (the gnats are drawn to wet, peaty soil which is used for philodendrons).

If needed, contact an expert who has expert knowledge on how to treat pest or disease-ridden plants.

Conclusions of Philodendron Scandens

Its heart-shaped leaves and low maintenance care should have already won you over! This plant is a climber, so placing it somewhere high up, or even in a hanging basket will make the room feel like you’re one in nature. And with its low lighting requirements, it makes it even more ideal for it to have a place in your home.