Philodendron Burle Marx – Care Tips, Common Problems

Philodendron Burle Marx is an easy plant to grow and has beautiful narrow heart-shaped leaves. This is a lovely houseplant that is popular with many enthusiasts and helps to remove toxins from the air. Here are some tips for growing this lovely indoor plant.

Quickstart Guide For Growing Philodendron Burle Marx

  • Use a well-draining premium potting mix with a pH between 5.6 and 6.5.
  • Place your Philodendron near a bright window so that it receives bright, indirect light.
  • Keep the soil moist but allow for free-drainage.
  • Provide extra humidity to help your plant thrive when your indoor air is too dry.
  • Feed your plant lightly once a week in spring and summer and only once a month in the cooler weather.
MokkieCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

About Philodendron Burle Marx

Philodendron Burle Marx was named after landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx who was the first to use native plants in modern landscape designs. Marx used this lovely Philodendron in many of his garden designs during the 1930s.

This Philodendron comes from the tropical rainforests of Brazil and, therefore, thrives in a warm and humid climate. It’s relatively low-growing and only reaches a height of around 2 feet. However, the plant will spread to a width of around 2 to 4 feet.

The leaves of this plant are a lovely dark green color and are heart-shaped. It’s rare for this plant to produce flowers when grown indoors.

What Soil Is Best For Philodendron Burle Marx

You can use a commercial potting mix for your Philodendron but ensure that it’s free-draining. It’s also a good idea to add some organic matter as this will aid in moisture retention and help to feed the plant as well. This organic matter can be in the form of well-aged compost or even coconut coir.

The soil pH should be between 5.6 and 6.5. This is a little on the acidic side. The addition of some compost to the potting mix will help to increase the acidity.

Light Requirements For Philodendron Burle Marx

Philodendron Burle Marx prefers bright, indirect light. It can handle low light conditions, but this will generally stunt the growth of your plant, and it won’t be as lush as it could be. A north or east-facing window is the ideal spot for your Philodendron.

Make sure, though, that you keep your plant out of direct sunlight as this can easily burn the leaves leaving black scorch marks. Too much sun can also make the leaves go yellow.

Temperature Requirements For Philodendron Burle Marx

Philodendron Burle Marx likes a relatively warm temperature for it to grow nice and lush. If the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius), your plant will stop growing.

While low temperatures won’t necessarily kill your plant, it won’t thrive under cold conditions either. That’s exactly why this is such a great houseplant, as most people keep their interior temperatures at a comfortably warm level.

Ideally, the perfect temperature should be between 64 and 79 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 26 degrees Celsius).

What Size Pot Should You Use For Philodendron Burle Marx

Ideally, the pot you should use for your Philodendron should be around two to three inches larger than the actual root ball of the plant. This will give the roots plenty of room to grow and spread out.

As your plant grows, it will need to be repotted into a larger pot once you notice that the roots are becoming compacted. Repotting should be done at the end of winter before the plant starts to grow again actively. As a general rule, you should repot your Philodendron every two years.

Once again, choose a pot that is around two to three inches larger than the current one.

Watering Requirements For Philodendron Burle Marx

Your Philodendron requires moist soil that is free-draining. This means that you don’t want to let the soil dry completely, but you don’t want it to remain too soggy either. It’s important to get the watering just right because overwatering could cause root rot, while underwatering will stunt the growth of your plant.

During winter, however, you can let the soil dry out before you add more water.

As a general rule of thumb, you should water your plant around every 3 to 4 days in summer and only once a week in winter. However, it’s always recommended that you check the moisture level of the soil before you add any more water.

Humidity Requirements For Philodendron Burle Marx

Because this plant originates from the tropical rainforests of Brazil, it does like a fair bit of humidity. Around 70 to 80 percent would be ideal. Therefore, growing your Philodendron in the bathroom or the kitchen immediately supplies it with plenty of moist air.

If this is not possible or these rooms don’t get enough light, there are other ways that you can increase the humidity around your plant. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Use a humidifier in the room where your Philodendron lives.
  • Mist the leaves on a regular basis with a sprayer filled with water.
  • Use a tray filled with pebbles or decorative stones. Add water to the tray so that the level comes halfway up the level of the stones. Sit your plant on top of the pebbles ensuring that the bottom of the pot is not sitting in water. Remember to top up the water as it evaporates.

Fertilizer Requirements For Philodendron Burle Marx

One of the best ways to keep your Philodendron well-fed is to use a slow-release fertilizer. These fertilizers are normally available in granules, and you can get them specially formulated for houseplants.

If you’re using a slow-release fertilizer, you only have to apply it once every six months. As your plant grows, the fertilizer will be made available to the roots of the plant as they need it.

Alternatively, you can use a liquid fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen. This will help to keep the leaves nice and green and promote new leaf growth. Make sure you use it half-strength and apply it once a week during the active growing season, which is in the warmer months.

During winter, you can reduce the liquid feed to around once a month.

Is Philodendron Burle Marx An Annual Or A Perennial?

Philodendron Burle Marx is actually a perennial climber. However, when grown indoors in a pot, it doesn’t get any taller than around 2 feet and will spread to around 4 feet if it’s allowed to.

Remember, you can always trim the plant to maintain a compact shape. Another idea is to put some sort of support into the pot for the aerial roots to wrap around.

If well taken care of, it should survive inside in a pot for many years.

How To Propagate Philodendron Burle Marx

One of the easiest ways to propagate new plants is to use stem cutting and to root them in water. To do this, all you have to do is cut off a healthy piece of stem that’s about three to six inches long with at least one leaf attached. You should cut this about one inch below a leaf node.

Make sure that the stem cutting has some healthy aerial roots that are visible or just starting to grow.

Place this in a clean glass or jar filled with water and make sure that the aerial roots are submerged in the water. Put the jar in a bright spot that gets plenty of indirect light. Change the water every three to four days.

Once the cutting has plenty of roots that are around two inches long, you can pot it up into some potting mix. It should take around a month for the roots to form.

Common Problems With Philodendron Burle Marx And How To Fix Them

There are not too many serious pests that you have to worry about when growing Philodendron Burle Marx. However, here are a few to look out for:

  • Thrips. These are tiny little flying insects that suck on the sap of the leaves and stems.
  • Mealybugs. These small bugs look like tiny pieces of cotton-wool on your plant. These are also sap-sucking insects.

To control these pests, you can spray your plant with a dilution of water and insecticidal soap or use neem oil instead of the soap. Keep applying the spray until you see no more signs of these insect pests on your plant.

Another problem to watch out for is root rot. Luckily, this only happens if you have a tendency to overwater your plant and it’s constantly sitting in water. Once root rot has set in, there’s not much you can do to save the plant. Therefore, it’s important not to overwater your plant in the first place.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my Philodendron Burle Marx have brown leaves?

This could either be a case of overwatering or a build-up of salt in the soil. You see, every time you fertilize your plant, you’re adding salt to the soil. This salt can then build up in the soil.

You can avoid this happening by completely drenching the soil with water once every few months. This is called a soil flush, and here’s how to do it:

  • Take your plant to the sink and turn on the tap so that the water is flowing at a slow pace.
  • Run the water over the surface of the soil making sure that you cover every exposed area of soil.

This method of soil flushing uses the water to flush any salt that may have accumulated in the soil out through the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Once you’ve finished flushing the soil, remember to let the pot drain fully before placing the plant back in its spot.

Why are the leaves wilting on my Philodendron?

The most likely cause of this is underwatering. This means the plant is not getting enough moisture to survive. Check the moisture level in the soil to work out whether this is the problem.

You can either do this by pushing your finger into the top two or three inches of soil or by using a moisture meter. If the soil feels dry, your plant definitely needs to be watered.

Ensure you give it a good drenching and let the excess water drain away. Check your plant again the following day to ensure that the soil is still moist.

Why is my Philodendron dropping leaves?

This is generally due to overwatering. If the soil is constantly damp rather than just moist, there is no room for air pockets. This means that the roots are actually starving for air, and hence, the plant drops its leaves.

Check the moisture level in the soil by using a moisture meter or sticking your finger in for about two to three inches. If the soil is really wet, you might have to take some measures to remedy this.

The best thing to do is to repot the plant into some fresh soil that isn’t saturated. When you do this, inspect the roots to ensure that no root rot has set in. This can be indicated by soft, mushy, brown roots. If you notice any damage, carefully prune away the damaged roots before you repot your plant.

Is Philodendron Burle Marx toxic?

This plant contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause irritation in the mouth and the esophagus. Therefore, ensure that you keep it away from small children and pets.

Should you prune your Philodendron Burle Marx?

As the plant continues to grow, you might want to retain its compact shape. To do this, just prune off any leaves that are getting too tall and leggy. Just cut back to a leaf node on the stem when you do this. This will encourage new growth to start from the node.

As you can see, Philodendron Burle Marx is a fairly easy plant to grow indoors and will give you many years of pleasure. All you have to worry about is getting the watering schedule right, repot your plant every couple of years, and making sure that it gets enough light and a regular feed.

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