Some philodendron varieties — like the Philodendron Brasil — look grand but are actually low-key when it comes to plant care.
Get to know why the Philodendron Brasil is the gardening beginner’s favourite type of Philodendron, and how to take care of this plant with the least fuss! Here’s the ultimate cheat sheet straight from the gardening experts.
What does the Philodendron Brasil look like?
The Philodendron Brasil looks as festive as its name. With emerald green foliage variegated with neon green splotches, this houseplant is a party waiting to happen. The heart-shaped leaves have a glossy texture and are accented with a white stripe in the center. The Philodendron Brasil is a climbing variety — a vigorous plant that is well taken care of can reach up to 3-6m in height.
How to grow Philodendron Brasil
If you’re a beginning gardener looking for a Philodendron variety that’s virtually unkillable, the Brasil is the indoor plant for you. Whether you smother or neglect it, it will stand by you through thick or thin. Of course, it won’t hurt if you want to fatten your Philodendron up and grow it to its peak health.
For a flourishing plant, your low-maintenance Philodendron Brasil only needs bright indirect light, a warm environment with normal to high humidity, and loose well-draining potting medium. A Brasil plant placed in an area with insufficient light will still survive, but it can look leggy and lose its dazzling variegation. An undernourished Philodendron Brasil will also suffer from slow growth and less foliage.
There’s no need to worry about pests or disease — the Brasil is resistant to them! Give your Brasil some love and fertilise it during the growing season. Save the cuttings every time you prune off a plant part and use these to grow a new Brasil plant. This variety is prolific, so much so that the only plant part you won’t be able to cultivate is the tips!
How to propagate Philodendron Brasil
Step 1. Cut below the node
To begin propagating your Brasil, use stem cuttings with nodes that already have roots. Remove any new leaves that are still attached to the stem, if there are any.
Tip: Make sure to cut below the node when preparing your cuttings, as this is the site where new growth will appear.
Step 2. Let the roots grow out
You can propagate a stem cutting in either water or a potting medium. Each method has its own merits — the choice is completely up to you!
To grow roots from cuttings in water, simply submerge the part with the node in clean water. Don’t add anything to the water — even fertiliser — and change the water when it starts to look murky or dirty. Changing the water every few days ensures that bacteria won’t grow in the water and contaminate the cutting. Once you see that the roots are at least 2.5cm long, you can transplant the cutting to a potting mix.
Another option is to plant the cutting directly into the soil. Make sure that the planting soil is slightly moist — this will help boost root growth.
Step 3. Give water and sunlight
Water the newly planted cutting to help establish the roots. An area with bright indirect sunlight and warm temperature will aid the growth of your Brasil.
Philodendron Brasil care
Most indoor plant owners agree: the Philodendron Brasil is one of the easiest plants to care for. Don’t mistake its gorgeous leaves as a sign that the Brasil is high-maintenance. This variety is one of the hardiest Philodendrons around! All you need to do is follow these steps, and you have a tropical beauty for keeps:
Vivid neon green variegation is a Philodendron Brasil’s trademark. To ensure that your plant retains its beautiful markings, position it in an area where there is bright indirect sunlight. Place your Brasil near an east- or west-facing window for ample lighting. For low light conditions, artificial illumination is a great option! With artificial lighting, you’re sure to have a healthy Philodendron Brasil even in areas where natural light is scarce.
Traditional soil won’t work well for your Brasil, as this plant is an hemiepiphyte (meaning it spends part of its life cycle as an epiphyte, a plant with aerial roots). A planting mix with excellent drainage is what you’re looking for if you want your Brasil to reach its greatest growth potential.
Recommended: Philodendron Super Soil
Planthood Potting Mix
Designed exactly with your philodendron’s origins in mind, Planthood’s barky mix mimics the origins of these tree-huggers which thrive on aerial roots and attach on other trees for support. Get ready for your plant to grow wild!
Knowing when to water your Brasil is as much of an art as it is a science. Simply following a fixed schedule won’t work at all. This is because other conditions come into play which affect your plant’s hydration.
During hot weather, you may need to water more frequently, as your plant loses water faster than usual. The type of material used for your plant’s pot also affects its rate of dehydration. Plastic pots are known to hold water longer, while terracotta pots tend to let water evaporate quickly.
With all these factors in mind, how will you know the right time to water your plant? When the soil or potting medium is dry halfway — 5cm of dry potting medium is good measure — it’s time to water.
Water just enough to moisten the soil through, but not more. While it’s tempting to shower your Brasil with extra TLC, watering too much can bring more harm than good. Soil that is waterlogged for a long time can cause root rot in your Brasil as well as other Philodendron varieties. Overwatering also leads to slow growth and smaller leaves.
You’ll know that your Philodendron is overwatered when you start to see yellowing leaves. On the other hand, brown edges on your plant’s foliage signal that your Brasil is underwatered. Wilting leaves can mean either overwatering or underwatering — too little water causes the leaves to look limp, while too much water causes root rot. Root rot, in turn, leads to starved and weak-looking leaves.
Tip: Treat your Philodendron Brasil like that low-maintenance friend who just needs a check-in from time to time. Get to know your plant’s rhythm and responses to your environment, and trust the process. Your plant will do the rest! When it comes to successful watering, moderation is the secret sauce.
It doesn’t take much to make a Philodendron Brasil happy. This variety is highly tolerant of room temperature. In fact, any temperature between the range of 15-300C is just right for your Brasil. Because the Philodendron Brasil is a tropical plant, it can tolerate temperatures even higher than 300C. You’ll need to check on it to ensure that it doesn’t get dehydrated, however.
When the weather hits 380C or higher, continue to position your Brasil under bright direct light, but remember to moisten the potting medium from time to time.
The only extreme temperature that Brasils can’t tolerate is frost. An environment that can reach 100C or below is not a suitable site for this Philodendron. During the winter months, be sure to position your plant in a warmer area of your home.
Your Brasil plant will do well in an environment with normal humidity. It can even tolerate dry indoor air for quite some time.
If you’re looking for optimal conditions for your Brasil, however, nothing beats a highly humid environment. As any Philodendron owner knows, it’s in the Philodendron’s DNA to thrive in this particular setting. That’s when you’ll see the Brasil at its best, robust and full of brightly-coloured leaves.
Tip: Does your houseplant suffer from lackluster leaves with browning edges during winter? It can be an effect of indoor heating. Revive your Philodendron by creating a humid micro-environment for your plant. Grouping it together with other houseplants or placing it in the bathroom (where there is plenty of humidity) can rejuvenate your Brasil.
The general rule of thumb when fertilising a Philodendron Brasil is to feed it according to its rate of growth. Depending on your plant, you can fertilise twice or thrice from spring through summer, or fertilise monthly using half of the prescribed amount. You can also dilute the fertiliser with water to lessen the concentration, and use the solution when you water.
We recommend using any of the following fertilisers for your Philodendron Brasil:
- Fish emulsion
- Worm castings
- Slow-release blend
- Liquid fertilisers
Tip: It’s time to fertilise when your plant is growing slowly, even when the weather is warm and there is sufficient light and water. Another sign you’ll want to look out for is small leaves. When your Philodendron is sprouting smaller than usual growth, it can be undernourished and needs to be fertilised. Pale-looking leaves are also an indication of undernourishment. An application of micronutrient-rich fertiliser (look for the ones with calcium or magnesium) will bring your plant back to life in no time.
Pruning a Philodendron Brasil is one of the easiest pruning projects you can take on. It is quick, simple, and easy to do — it is also impactful on your plant’s health in a lot of positive ways. To prune a Philodendron Brasil, remove dead or damaged foliage and stems. You also want to cut back the leggy vines of the plant. This will help your plant concentrate the nutrients on stronger plant parts.
On top of these benefits, pruning also makes for a bushier houseplant. When you prune your Philodendron regularly, the nodes of your plant are stimulated to sprout new growth. Remember to use cutting tools sterilised in isopropyl alcohol whenever you prune.
Even with repotting, Philodendron Brasils aren’t too fussy. Two years is a good enough time to scale up to the next pot size, or when you notice that your plant is becoming dehydrated quicker than usual. Roots coming out of the pot holes is another indication that your plant should be transferred to another pot.
Repotting is also a good gardening practice when you want to move your plant out of a disease- or pest-infested pot and into a sterile uncontaminated environment. The best time to re-pot is spring, but you can still do this any time during the plant’s growth.
Tip: Contrary to popular belief, a Philodendron Brasil is known to have more robust growth when it’s snug in its pot. To ensure that your plant produces large leaves, take care not to use a pot that’s too large for your Brasil. A pot that’s too big will retain more water than it should — a big no-no for your houseplant.
Pest and disease control
Heaps of good stuff can be said about the Philodendron Brasil, but this has to be one of the best things: it is disease-resistant! Fast growth coupled with sturdy leaves make the Brasil practically impervious to pest infestation and infection.
There are times however when certain living conditions can push your plant to its limits, and you start to see mealybugs, aphids, or gnats on the foliage of your Philodendron. A quick swab of isopropyl alcohol on the affected area should be enough to remove the pests. In more severe cases, it’s better to prune off the infected part. A light application of horticultural oil or insecticidal soap is equally effective in protecting your plant.
Leaf spot is another issue that you may encounter. This infection attacks the leaves of your Philodendron and damages them. A healthy, well-nourished Brasil is the best preventive measure against leaf spot. That, together with watering from below to avoid getting the leaves wet, will keep any fungi or bacteria from growing on the leaves of your plant.