When it comes to eye-catching leaf colour, it’s hard to top the Philodendron family’s array of rainbow foliage. From the bubblegum pink colour of the Pink Princess and lime green leaves of the Philodendron Brasil, to the white variegation of the White Knight, White Princess and White Wizard, you’re never going to lack for variety.
While those mentioned above have spectacular splashes of colour, there is a low-key variety that is secondary to none in elegance: the Philodendron Silver Sword. As its name suggests, this Philodendron variety has slender silver-toned leaves shaped like a sword. If it’s understated sophistication you’re after, there’s no better plant for you than the Philodendron Silver Sword.
Learn more about this lovely low-maintenance variety with our comprehensive care guide below.
The Silver Sword Philodendron: an overview
The Philodendron Hastatum, or the Silver Sword Philodendron as it is commonly called, is an attractive vining plant with bluish-silver lance-like leaves. Younger Philodendron Hastatum foliage has a more pronounced silver colour and sword shape — as the plant grows, it takes on a greener colour and a more arrowhead-like form.
It’s one of the Philodendron varieties that exhibit a unique leaf shape — additional types that have a striking leaf shape are Philodendron Xanadu, Philodendron Selloum and Heartleaf Philodendron, among others.
Philodendron Silver Swords have a peculiar growth cycle. These Philodendrons start off as terrestrial plants. As they continue to grow, they shed their hemiepiphytic nature and become full-fledged aerial plants. The Silver Sword Philodendron is an Aroid plant and exhibits qualities similar to those in this plant group.
Silver Swords are fast growers. When given structural support to climb onto, these plants grow quicker and develop larger leaves. A hanging Philodendron Silver Sword is equally beautiful because of its trailing habit. Just place your Philodendrons in hanging baskets to fully capture their dramatic foliage. With the right conditions, a Silver Sword Philodendron can reach a height of 1m.
Philodendron Silver Sword care
Philodendron Hastatum care is a no-brainer — it can easily be done by anyone. Like its other Philodendron cousins, the Silver Sword Philodendron belongs to the Araceae family, which means it thrives in similar environmental conditions.
The Silver Sword enjoys bright indirect sunlight, moist and well-drained soil, and moderate to high humidity. Water your houseplant regularly to keep the soil moist, but avoid water logging as this causes root rot.
The Philodendron Silver Sword can handle a wide range of light requirements. You may see your Philodendron Hastatum look less robust when placed in areas with lower light levels, but it will still survive.
It fares best when allowed to soak in bright, indirect sunlight, however. Your plant will have vital-looking foliage and vivacious growth when placed near a window with indirect sun streaming in. A leggy stem or two can be a sign of inadequate lighting.
What the Philodendron Silver Sword cannot survive from is prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. The light and high temperature from the sun’s rays can scorch the foliage of your plant and cause permanent damage.
Loose, well draining soil
As one of the aroid plants, the Silver Sword Philodendron thrives in loose, well-drained soil. A mixture of coco coir, perlite, and organic matter (earthworm castings work well!) is the ideal soil combination for a Silver Sword. For better drainage, use pots with holes to allow excess water to drain off.
Make the most out of your potted Silver Sword Philodendrons by placing them in hanging baskets. This tropical plant will exhibit a graceful trailing form that any plant lover will go crazy over.
Among the Philodendron varieties, this moisture-loving type is one of the few that can withstand a little overwatering here and there. Maintain your plant’s hydration by having a regular watering schedule. You’ll know it’s time for a dose of TLC when the top layer of the soil feels dry.
Moderate to high humidity levels
Because Philodendrons’ natural habitat is a tropical rainforest, it’s only fitting that they seek a similar environment. A humidity level of 75% will ensure a plump Philodendron Silver Sword houseplant.
No worries if your home tends to have cool, dry air. You can still recreate the humid conditions of a South American rainforest for your plant. Gardening professionals suggest the following tricks for making the environment conducive for your Silver Sword Philodendron:
Drooping leaves can be a sign of low humidity in your plant’s surrounding area. During dry weather, give your plant a light spray to help increase hydration.
To build a pebble tray, simply put some pebbles and water on a dish. Make sure the surface is flat so that your potted plant remains stable. Place your Philodendron Silver Sword on the pebble tray and watch it plump back up again.
Clustering Philodendrons together
There’s strength in numbers! During dry weather, gather the Philodendrons in your home and place them in one area. This mimics the environment in a rainforest and optimises the humidity produced from the plants’ foliage. Grouping houseplants together also achieves a fuller, lusher look for your Philodendrons.
Placing it in the bathroom
Low humidity? No problem! Make your bathroom your Philodendron Silver Sword’s new home — your plant will grow comfortably there because of the high humidity level. The instant beautifying effect of having the gorgeous Silver Sword in your bathroom is an added bonus.
Average room temperature is the ideal range for your Philodendron Hastatum. Between 150-260C, your plant will grow steadily and be free from plant stress. Extremely low or high temperatures, however, may push a Silver Sword past its resilient limits, and cause permanent damage.
Fertilising is to Philodendrons as taking supplements is to humans — they’re not necessarily a need. That is, until you start developing a deficiency and find yourself physically weaker.
As a general rule of thumb, it is recommended to fertilise your Silver Sword Philodendron monthly during spring and summer. These are the growth months of your houseplant. Your Philodendron will benefit greatly from a nutritional boost during these seasons.
Prune a Philodendron Silver Sword to manage its size and appearance. Remove sick or brown leaves as well — these consume much-needed nutrients intended for healthier parts of the plant.
Philodendron Silver Sword propagation
As with other Philodendrons, the Philodendron Hastatum can be easily grown from stem cuttings. Spread some silvery foliage love by propagating this variety at home with these easy steps:
Step 1. Pick a healthy Philodendron Hastatum plant
Start your Philodendron Hastatum propagation by picking a healthy base plant. Well-nourished, disease-free Philodendrons produce healthier cuttings. This translates to more robust foliage and a healthy root system for your new plant.
You’ll want to avoid base plants that have a sick stem or leaf, as these Philodendrons have a weaker resistance to disease and infestation.
Step 2. Locate where the nodes are
The next step in the propagation process is to identify where the nodes are. Nodes are the brown knobs on a Philodendron’s stem and have the potential to develop into roots.
Pick a stem with a few nodes near the end where you’ll make your cut — this will help you propagate your cutting successfully.
Step 3. Cut below the node
Using clean, sharp scissors, make a cut below the node in one swift motion. Avoid multiple cuts to prevent causing any distress to your plant.
Step 4. Place your stem cutting in water
As soon as you have successfully made your cuttings, place them in a jar filled with clean water. Make sure to replace the water from time to time to prevent bacterial growth. Allow the roots to grow out — this usually takes about a few weeks or so.
Step 5. Transfer the stem cutting to a planting site
When the roots are a few centimetres long, transfer the cuttings to a pot or garden plot and watch your plants grow!