It hasn’t been around long, but the Philodendron Birkin is a beautiful plant to have indoors. Its dark green leaves make a striking statement, with the vivid pinstripes and large shape. And it’s not a difficult plant, although you may have to watch for overwatering!
The most important aspect of Philodendron Birkin care is to keep it in bright, indirect light. Keep it near a window, but not in direct sunlight, which can burn the leaves. You should also plant it in moist soil, and let it dry out between waterings. Other things to remember include keeping a mild and slightly humid environment, and using an organic or water soluble fertiliser.
Do you have a couple of Birkins in your home, or are you looking to own one? Here’s your how-to guide for Philodendron Birkin plant care!
Philodendron Birkin Overview
About the Philodendron Birkin
This philodendron variegation is actually a spontaneous mutation in the Philodendron Rojo Congo. As a variegated plant, its leaves were then separated and propagated. It’s also called Philodendron ‘White Wave’, and is now commonly sold as an indoor houseplant.
Interestingly enough, the Philodendron Birkin is actually an ‘unstable’ variegation — meaning it can ‘revert’ to resembling its parent plant. It can also produce completely white leaves, or ones that have pink accents.
These tropical plants are great philodendrons for beginners, since they’re very easygoing and show when they’re unhappy. Just make sure you’re not keeping one around pets, since its leaves and stems contain calcium oxalate crystals, which are toxic!
Growing Philodendron Birkin
One good way of growing a Philodendron Birkin plant is by propagation. Take stem cuttings in the spring, when plant growth is particularly strong and will have the best chance to thrive. Cuttings should have at least one growth node, preferably with some aerial roots.
Propagate Birkin cuttings in water for about 6-8 weeks until you see new roots. You can then transfer them into a pot with potting mix, or plant them directly in soil.
As for Philodendron Birkin size — Birkin plants can grow from half a metre to one metre in height.
Philodendron Birkin Care
The Philodendron Birkin really likes moist soil that drains well. Standard potting mix with perlite is an excellent option for your Birkin as an indoor houseplant. You can also add some peat moss, or mix in some organic compost to help the soil retain moisture. Adding perlite and peat moss also prevents the soil from compacting and clumping too much.
NOTE: Sphagnum moss is also an option if it’s available!
For your Philodendron Birkin, you want soil that retains moisture but dries out between waterings. Birkin plants tolerate drought better than they do over-watering. In terms of schedule — water once a week, but check first if the top inch of soil feels dry. During winter, let the soil dry more thoroughly before giving your plant a spritz.
The Philodendron Birkin is excellent for indoor conditions since it doesn’t like low light, but also doesn’t like direct sunlight. The deep green leaves will sunburn if you expose it to full sun, but they’ll fade if you have too little sun.
Instead, the perfect conditions for your Birkin are bright, indirect sunlight for 12 hours a day — enough to grow, but not enough to burn. Place it near a window or in a well-lit room, and check on the leaves to make sure it’s healthy!
(Also, the Philodendron Birkin is a fast-growing plant, so keep an eye on it in case you need to prune it back — see next section.)
No need to prune your Birkin unless there are dead or damaged leaves. You can leave yellowed, ageing leaves alone, but make sure they’re not a sign of issues with your plant.
Birkin plants do well in warm and humid rooms that mimic their tropical origins. A good temperature is around 18°–30°, but never lower than 13°.
Keep your Birkin plants out of any drafts or strong wind.
In terms of humidity, a healthy plant thrives in 40–70% humidity. You can achieve this by misting your Philodendron Birkin ever so often, or keeping it with other houseplants. The other plants will help raise the humidity of your growing environment.
You can fertilise your Birkin plant every 2-4 weeks in the spring and summer, with organic compost or water soluble fertiliser. Compost or mulch will also help in retaining moisture in your soil, but be careful not to mix too much or you could impair the drainage!
Since the Philodendron Birkin is such a fast-growing plant, it’s advisable not to keep it in the same pot for more than two years. In fact, your Birkin plant may outgrow its pot within a growing season! The best timing for repotting your Birkin is about once a year, or once it starts showing signs of becoming rootbound — this will restrict its growth.
To repot Birkin plants, pick a planter that’s 2.5–5cm bigger than their current pot size. (Don’t forget the drainage holes!) This gives it plenty of space to grow, but doesn’t risk overwatering in a pot that’s too big.
White or deep green leaves
New Philodendron Birkin leaves will be almost all white to full white. As they age, their colour will progressively deepen to a dark green. Maturing leaves will have the signature white stripes of a Birkin plant.
Yellow leaves are either a sign of old age, or overwatering. Leaves near the bottom that have paled in colour are old, and may be left to fall off naturally. Discoloured leaves higher up mean you are overwatering your plant, and should let the soil dry out before watering again.
Brown leaves mean your Philodendron Birkin plant is too dry, and needs more humidity or more water. Brittle, brownish leaves are a sign that you should find a more humid spot, or move it to a less sunny location.
Root rot is one of the more frequent issues in a Philodendron Birkin. The most common causes are overwatering, poorly draining soil, overly large pots, or too-cool temperatures — all of which lead to too much moisture in the soil.
Symptoms of root rot are mainly wilted, discoloured leaves, stunted growth, and soggy soil. If you check the roots of your plant, you may find they’ve become white or black and soft to touch.
To treat root rot, you will need to remove the plant from its pot and rinse off the roots under running water. Toss away the original soil and replace it with a fresh mix of potting soil and perlite. Trim away any affected roots and leaves, then replant your Philodendron Birkin. Keep watch to make sure it recovers — and watch how much you water!
Fungi and bacteria
Overwatering can cause bacterial leaf spot (Xanthomonas) or bacterial blight (Ewinia).
Spider mites are some of the worst pests to invade your Philodendron Birkin plants. These are small, reddish-brown pests that use up all the nutrients of your plant by eating its leaves, which will dry up and fall off. To treat your Birkin plant, you can manually remove the bugs with a damp cloth or spray of water. Then prune off all the affected leaves, then use a gentle insecticide soap to clean the plant.
Thrips are also a common pest for Birkins. These are very small bugs with a pale yellow or black colour. If the leaves of your Birkin plant become pale and splotchy, you’ll know you have an infestation. Again, prune any affected growths and use an insecticide soap to get rid of them.
Don’t forget to check for infestations in your other houseplants, too!
Other Philodendron Birkin Care Tips
If you live in a dry climate or want to boost the humidity of the room your Philodendron Birkin is in, try using a small humidifier or humidity tray. Alternatively, you can keep your plant in the bathroom, which has a higher humidity than most rooms in your home.
One other good way to maintain humidity and make your watering routine more efficient is by grouping a Philodendron Birkin with other plants! This way, they increase the moisture in the air around them, and you can water your plants in one go — just test the soil first.
Chance to climb
If given the chance, your Philodendron Birkin loves climbing! Give it a moss pole or similar support so it doesn’t become too top-heavy over time. They don’t have vines, though, but other philodendrons do!
Care and attention
Birkins are easygoing plants, so long as you pay extra care to make sure you’re not getting them too wet. If you get the soil mix right and don’t overwater, they’re a very ‘chill’ plant to have indoors. And if you need some extra help, call a quality garden service to give you a hand in maintaining your indoor and/or outdoor plants!
Philodendron Birkin care may be easy, but don’t forget to check your plant every once in a while to make sure it’s healthy — a little extra love and attention can go a long way to making a plant thrive!