Philodendron Brandtianum Care – Growing Silver Leaf Philodendrons
The most common name for silver leaf philodendrons (PLS) is “silverleaf” or simply “brandt”. They are a small tree species native to the United States and Canada. PLS grow from 3 – 5 feet tall with silver leaves and white flowers. The leaves are edible when young but turn brown and fall off within a few years.
Older leaves can be used fresh or dried.
Silverleaf philodendrons are not easy to grow in the garden because they require very cold winters and hot summers. However, if grown properly they will produce large amounts of beautiful silver foliage in their lifetime!
Growing Silverleaf Philodendrons
There are many ways to grow silverleaf philodendrons. You could plant them in pots where they will get sun all day long and then water them every couple days. Or you could try growing them in containers that have holes drilled into the bottom so that they can receive full sunlight year round. If you want to grow your plants outdoors, make sure that the soil is well drained and does not hold too much moisture.
The soil should have good drainage in any container you are growing them in. The best soil to use is cactus potting mix. If water gets on the leaves and they start to turn a bit brown that’s okay, just don’t let them stay soggy for too long.
Silver leafs need a lot of light! Try to pick a spot in your house that is sunny most of the day. If you are growing your silvers in containers, make sure they get lots of sun through out the day. If they are getting less than 8 hours of sun a day, you should move them closer to a window or get a grow light and keep them on for longer than 8 hours.
Keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. Water lightly once a week and more often if it is very hot in your house.
You can use a water soluble fertilizer but it is not necessary. If you would like to fertilize, use a weak solution every few weeks.
The less you prune the better. The only time you may want to prune is when you notice your plant getting too tall and reaching for the ceiling. Also if you notice browning leaves at the top of the plant pruning may encourage new growth. It is also a good idea to prune off any dead or diseased looking limbs.
Once every two years or when your plant gets too big for its current pot. Use a well draining soil and make sure not to over water. Water stored in the roots is the #1 killer of house plants.
Benefits of Growing Silverleafs
Many people don’t realize how easy it is to grow philodendrons. All they think about are the cute little heart or virus shaped leaves on the branches of their plant. They don’t know that when grown and cared for properly philodendrons can turn into large trees with huge leaves! All you have to do is wait!
If you don’t want to wait around for a tree, there is another way to grow a silver leaf into a larger plant. Find some shallow container (such as a pie pan) that will fit underneath the root system of your plant. Place small stones (like pebbles) in the pan and then pour water up to the top of the stones. Allow the water to slowly soak up into the soil until the soil becomes wet but not soggy.
Do this every time the soil becomes dry. Within a few months you should notice that the plant is much bigger than it originally was. You can use this same project with other Philodendrons, Ferns or even some varieties of bulbs to increase their size.
The plant on the left has not been subjected to root restraint and the plant on the right has. Note the size difference!