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The Philodendron Birkin is easy to care for and doesn’t need much. With the right light, warmth, humidity, and water – your Birkin will reward you with healthy green leaves and beautiful white pinstripes.
About a year ago, Philodendron Birkin became one of the most coveted and rarest houseplants in all of America.
The Birkin was cultivated privately and because it didn’t occur naturally, it became a hard-to-come-by collector’s item.
These days, supply has caught up with demand thanks to trusty science and tissue cultures.
If you’re smart about it, you could probably start propagating it from a fellow plant-loving friend.
Many people have started collecting various types of philodendron plants simply because of how unique and beautiful each one can be.
In this guide, you’ll find all things Philodendron Birkin care. You can find information on how to care for it, what the plant likes and how to troubleshoot any plant problems that may arise.
The philodendron genus of plants was originally found in the tropics. Favoring areas with a tropical climate of high humidity and warmth, like Brazil, Columbia, and Venezuela.
Science has since made it possible for other cool species within the genus and lots of variations to be created as well.
The Philodendron Birkin is a hybrid and could be considered a “designer plant” because it doesn’t occur naturally in the wild.
Your elegant green plant with white stripes was mutated from the Philodendron Rojo Congo species and is one of the few variegated Philodendron plants out there.
While they may seem picky and demanding at first, as long as you’re keen to try and mimic its natural environment, you’ll be in luck.
It can be quite difficult if your natural environment is cold and dry but with a good understanding of the plant’s natural life cycle, a few tweaks to light, water, and growing medium will make this plant as easy as your favorite pothos plants.
The first step to creating the perfect environment is to ensure that your plant has the right space in your home.
You want to give it a fighting chance and ensuring that the light is perfect will only enhance the effect of a perfect growing medium.
Since the Philodendron plants hail from tropic regions, your growing medium has to emulate that as best as possible.
You have a few options to choose from as far as growing mediums go, you can choose between traditional soil, you can grow it hydroponically by using just water or you can go the inorganic route and use LECA.
Soil has been the traditional substrate for plants since the beginning of houseplants. It’s known to help in carbon sequestration and therefore is a great option for any plant.
Using the correct soil mix for your Philodendron Birkin means that you might have to concoct a particular potting mixture. It should allow your Birkin the right kind of drainage while still being able to retain moisture.
Products like coco-coir chips and peat moss are a great addition to amend soil that doesn’t retain moisture. These materials store water and allow your plant to use what it needs before drying out too fast.
On the other hand, you’ll need to ensure that you’ve got good drainage as well. Elements like vermiculite or perlite can increase drainage by allowing enough space for water to run through.
Vermiculite has the benefit of improving drainage as well as retaining moisture. If you only have perlite on hand, that can add some acidity to the soil and is a great addition if your soil appears more alkaline on a pH test.
Since soil is a breeding ground for things like bacteria, fungi, and pests, you have to be careful when reusing old soil or when buying pre-mixed soil from an untrusted vendor.
The best soil mix for Philodendron Birkin is Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix, which is premixed with all the nutritious things your plant will need to grow happily and healthily.
Growing your philodendron in water is useful for plants that started as propagations. It allows the plant to suck up all the nutrients it needs while staying fully hydrated.
Ensure that you’re filtering out old water or replacing the water every couple of weeks so that there’s always oxygen present in the water.
You might also want to consider adding a diluted liquid fertilizer into the water to ensure that there are enough nutrients for the plant.
Because of its huge leaves, growing a philodendron will be a lot more difficult than growing a peace lily for example. As a beginner, you might want to leave your Philodendron in soil or LECA until you have a better grip on hydroponic houseplants.
LECA is a beautiful substrate for those of us who struggle with overwatering or getting the humidity just right.
These inorganic clay pebbles allow your plant to live semi-hydroponically. This means that it always has a water supply available but isn’t floating in water completely.
These LECA balls are easy to use and as long as you’re giving your roots a proper rinse before placing them in the pot, your plant will not have to contend with pests.
Note: You will have to dilute a liquid fertilizer before adding it to your LECA medium.
All of the indirect light but none of the direct light. Philodendron Birkin loves light, and it needs as much light as possible to produce the yellowish-white striped variegation.
Your Philodendron Birkin will need at least ten to 12 hours of sunlight during the day.
Since your plant is most active during the warm summer months, you’ll have to keep in mind how important bright indirect light is for the plant.
Do not put it in direct sunlight as this could easily scorch and ruin your baby Birkin!
Your Philodendron might start showing signs of distress when it isn’t getting the right amount of light and you’ll notice this through its leaves.
Without enough light, your Birkin might start reverting to a purely green-leaved Rojo-Congo plant.
The variegation will start to disappear, and you’ll begin to get green leaves all around. The best way to remedy this is to snip off the leaves you don’t want and relocate it to a brighter spot.
Your Philodendron, as previously mentioned, has its roots in tropical climates. Just to give you a hint, temperatures between 55℉ to 75℉ makes them happiest.
To ensure that your plant is happily humid, you may want to put it in a tray of pebbles and water. As the water evaporates, it increases the humidity around the plant.
Philodendron watering should become instinctual. You’ll have to monitor your soil and play around with a watering schedule to figure out what is right for your plant.
In some cases, you’ll have to water the plant more because it is actively producing new leaves and thus using more energy.
It might be in a brighter part of the room which will take more energy or it may be going dormant in which case you’ll have to water it a little bit less.
All of these factors into how often you water your plant but check your plant once a week and if the top two inches of soil are completely dry, you can give it a good watering.
If the soil is completely dry, you’ll have to water the plant. You can either use your finger to check, by dipping it into the soil to test for moisture, or you can use a stick or testing device.
But you might be wondering how often to water Philodendrons? You could water your Philodendron every week or every two weeks.
Some people suggest watering your plant in the morning because it allows the plant to dry out over the heat of the day.
It can also help to avoid any build-up of harmful fungi and bacteria over the course of the colder nights. This is however a personal choice.
Leaves are quite helpful when trying to discern whether you’re guilty of giving too much or too little water to your plants.
Like us when we’re hangry, your plant will show signs of distress. This is noticeable through the leaves. If the leaves are droopy, curling up, or crisping up at the edges, you might want to double-check your soil because the plant could be too dry.
Overwatering is less forgiving and can result in root rot, or soft limp leaves. While it seems dire, it is possible to save your plant from overwatering.
This plant does not need any trimming at all. You could cut back a few dead leaves and anything that you feel doesn’t look healthy.
Other than that, this plant will grow upright, in a tree-like fashion, without any need to be trained or pruned like other Philodendron species.
Propagation affords you the opportunity to have more plant babies by doing the bare minimum. Make sure that you’re fully clued up on how to propagate before you do. As some methods (if done incorrectly) can harm your plant.
Here are a few of the most common techniques.
This is a great way to ensure that your new cuttings are rooting before moving them to a forever home.
Ensure that your cutting is done with clean and sharp pruning shears and at a diagonal, the more surface area available allows better root development.
Hydroponics are well on their way to becoming a houseplant trend as well. Get ahead of the trend by placing all of your cuttings in a beautiful propagation station. If the cuttings do well, you could use it as a vase as well.
LECA is a perfect propagation medium to make sure that new roots won’t be subjected to any forms of root rot or diseases left in soil.
This method benefits “lazy” plant parents because all you have to do is cut it, add water, and make sure that it stays in a low light area until you see some growth with the new cutting.
While it is a traditional method of taking cuttings, soil-rooted cuttings are a bit of a gamble. Since you’re unable to check whether your plant baby is rooting, you’ll have to do many propagations to ensure that at least one survives.
Soil is a great growing medium for lots of plants, but it does take some practice getting it right. As you won’t be able to check the health of the developing root ball, be sure to use the best soil for your Philodendron Birkin.
If you’re one for science experiments, air-layering plants as a way of propagation is definitely for you. The method is a bit advanced, so try a few practice rounds on your less common Philodendron variety first.
Keep in mind that this method is best for hardwood, so you’ll make this cutting along the hardened stem of the plant instead of from the leaves.
While this method of surgery on your Birkin is possible, you may want to consider understanding the dynamics behind this propagation method before taking out the scissors.
As they say, practice makes perfect, which goes with any of the propagation methods.
As with any houseplant, your Philodendron Birkin is at risk of pests and diseases.
Your plant is a great communicator though so if you see something funky, take note of it but don’t stress out and begin to overcompensate. Ensure that you know what the cause is before taking action.
Root rot occurs when your plant has been sitting in water for too long. It’s usually a product of overwatering but is difficult to diagnose unless you take the plant out and look at the roots.
If root rot sets in, you may notice your Philodendron leaves turning yellow or looking limp and sad.
The best way to prevent this is to ensure that your plant isn’t in a pot that is too big, to allow the soil to dry out before watering and to make sure that your plant gets the right amount of light and humidity.
In your home, insects such as scale, spider mites, and thrips can cause visible damage to your plants.
Before bringing a new plant into your home, try washing it off in the shower or with a hose outside. This will ensure that any unwanted creatures won’t come into your home and infect your other plants.
Sometimes, we do happen to miss things and you might start noticing insects anyway. In this case, you’ll want to move your affected plant from the rest of your collection and send your Birkin straight into quarantine.
You can start treating it with a neem oil solution or trim away any of the infected leaves.
As beginner plant parents, we may interpret dropping leaves as a sign of neglect or mismanagement.
Sometimes, dropping brown leaves is completely normal as the cycle of life of the leaves has come to an end.
If you see that relatively new leaves are dropping, and they are leaning toward an unhealthy look, you may want to start taking action.
If your Philodendron leaves are dry and falling off, this means that your plant is underwatered. All you have to do is keep an eye on your watering schedule.
Here are a few frequently asked questions about the Philodendron Birkin. If you’ve got a different answer to these questions, share them down below.
Philodendron Birkin doesn’t necessarily have a dormant phase. As with many philodendrons, you can trick it into always being active by providing the right amount of heat and the right kind of light.
Although, it is better to ensure that your plant has some kind of “downtime”. You’ll want to allow your plant to become dormant during the winter season when it is naturally colder and darker.
For your Philodendron Birkin to survive the winter, you’ll have to make sure that it is still receiving a minimum of six to eight hours of light a day.
Your plant will need less water and nutrients because it isn’t growing as much which means that it’s using less energy. So, you can hold back on watering and fertilizing in winter.
Winter is a crucial time for any plant parent. Our routine watering and feeding schedule will change according to what the plant needs during the colder months.
Since the plant is likely to be dormant and shouldn’t require as much attention. Just ensure that the soil is moist and that it can get as much bright indirect light as possible.
Yes, Philodendron Birkin can also grow well under basic office fluorescent lights. It does, however, mean that you run the risk of losing some of the variegation.
If you’re growing your Birkin indoors and aren’t sure about the amount of light it is getting you can supplement its intake with a grow light.
Some grow lights can burn your plants, so you’ll want to know exactly where grow lights should go.
While not seriously poisonous, Philodendron Birkin is known to be toxic to pets and humans if ingested. Like all of the Philodendron family, these tropical beauties are usually toxic because of the calcium oxalate.
An extreme overdose of calcium oxalate in humans can result in kidney stones. Your furry friends on the other hand might experience extreme gastrointestinal discomfort as this toxicity inhibits the intake of beneficial nutrients.
Philodendron Birkin is a slow grower. But, you can always help it along by ensuring that it is well looked after.
Ensure that your plant has the right growing conditions and add a fertilizer every few weeks and your plant will continue to look great.
It won’t speed up the natural growth rate but will allow your plant to grow as quickly and healthily as it naturally can.
Most Philodendron favorites happen to either climb or vine. This particular species does not. Philodendron Birkin grows upright – similar to a tree.
You’ll most likely find diseases caused by overwatering. This means that your plant will have signs of bacterial infection like blight or brown spots on its leaves.
Pests are less common if you ensure that all of your plants are quarantined before assuming their position within the home.
Philodendron Birkin could be affected by spider mites, scale, or mealybugs. Most of these are easily treated with neem oil or a diluted DIY mixture of vegetable oil, water, and dishwashing liquid.
So, why do philodendrons make excellent houseplants? They do so much for empty spaces and are especially interesting to observe as they grow.
These plants are easy to care for once you have an understanding of the plant and hopefully this guide has helped you to figure it out.
Philodendron Birkins are a wonderful addition to any plant collection. They work well alongside ZZ plants and other tropical wonders. Go ahead and add a Philodendron Birkin to your indoor jungle.