Philodendron birkins are beautiful, tropical plants covered in stripes. Caring for these plants is easy, but are there any misconceptions you should avoid? The truth is, yes! Here are some of the factors you should keep in mind when caring for this plant.
To grow philodendron birkin successfully, they must be grown in terracotta pots, watered only when the soil is dry, and given at least 8 hours of strong, diffused sunlight per day. It must be fertilized in spring and summer with calcium and magnesium and pruned only when dead foliage is present.
White waves, or philodendron birkins, are highly sought after for their unique variegation and their low-maintenance care. To make caring for this plant even easier, just keep on reading to see how you can properly care for your own philodendron birkin at home!
Table of Contents
- 1 Planters
- 2 Soil
- 3 Watering
- 4 Lighting
- 5 Fertilizer
- 6 Pruning
- 7 6 Most Common Philodendron Birkin Pests and Problems
- 8 FAQs
- 9 Summary of Caring for Philodendron Birkin
- 10 Sources
In general, younger philodendron birkins should only be grown in 6-inch pots. Overly large containers should be avoided as they could retain a higher amount of water and potentially kill the plant. To help the philodendron thrive, grow them in pots made of a porous material like terracotta.
One of the great things about caring for philodendrons is that they do not need to be placed in overly sunny areas, making the selection of pots less strict.
Since philodendrons are highly susceptible to overwatering, it’s best to avoid planters that are too large. For example, if your new philodendron birkin originally came in a 4-inch pot, don’t move it to a pot over 6-inches in diameter!
It might be tempting to place your philodendron birkin in a large, new pot to help it grow. But these plants rarely grow over 3 feet and do not need anything too big, as this will only retain more moisture than the plant needs and might even drown your plant without you realizing it.
On average, planters made of terracotta or unglazed clay are ideal for growing philodendron birkins. These materials are porous and help increase soil aeration, which will benefit the plant greatly.
Choosing the best material for your planter is essential in properly caring for your philodendron birkin.
The best planter you can use for your philodendron birkin would be those made of terracotta or unglazed clay.
This brand of terracotta pots is usually what I recommend.
Plastic is convenient but because this material is nonporous, it retains a higher amount of water and is far less forgiving for those who tend to overwater.
Metal pots add a nice accent, but they tend to absorb heat more readily than other materials, and may not be a good option for those in hotter climates. Wood planters can help give a natural look to further capture the jungle feel of your philodendron birkin and is a great option!
Always make sure to ask more about your chosen pot and if it is porous or not, to best understand how to utilize whatever planter you choose.
Philodendron birkins grow slowly and typically only require repotting once roots can be seen through drainage holes. When repotting, the plant should be watered the day before and the roots checked before moving to a new pot 2 inches larger in height and diameter than the previous pot.
Whether you’ve chosen a pretty plastic pot or a classic terracotta container, always pick whatever works best for you and your home.
Many folks seem to agree that this young cultivar grows slower than its other family members. How quickly it grows will also depend on other factors, like its lighting.
In other words, you do not need to repot it often! But a good rule of thumb to follow is to repot it whenever you see its tan roots by the pot’s drainage holes.
To help encourage growth without dwarfing your plant, just add a couple more inches to the size of your new pot. For example, if you keep your plant in a 4-inch pot, consider moving it to one that is 6-inches.
If this is a newer pot, you can just wipe it down with some wet wipes and alcohol.
But if you plan to re-use an older pot that previously housed another plant, you’ll need to give it a more thorough cleaning to ensure no diseases or bacteria are waiting.
Clean both the inside and the outside of the pot with 1 part unscented bleach with 9 parts water using a stiff brush and let air dry.
>>> Learn more about this in our article here on how to properly clean pots after root rot.
Water your philodendron the day before you repot to help lower the transplant stress it may go through.
Since philodendron birkins grow slowly, they do not often get repotted and must be given proper care to ensure they do not die afterward. Be sure to only repot this plant in the spring or summer when it grows the most, as this makes it more likely to survive once it’s moved.
Philodendrons produce sap that can be severely irritating to the skin, so make sure you wear gloves for this process.
Loosen the soil from the pot by gently tapping the pot on all sides and carefully turning the pot upside down.
If this is a larger plant, you may need extra help with this. Hold the plant by its base and gently release the plant from the pot.
When the plant has been released, this is a great time to examine its root system and make sure the roots are healthy.
The roots should be light in color and easy to bend. If the roots are rotting or appear to be rootbound, tackle them immediately to help save your plant.
If you see any dead or soft roots, you can trim this off. But take care not to disrupt the roots too much, especially if the plant is young.
Once you’ve inspected the philodendron birkins roots and are completely satisfied with its overall health, place the plant in the center of the pot and slowly add fresh potting mix all around the sides.
Make sure the roots are properly covered and that the soil is not compact.
Water it the next day and place it in a bright spot free from direct sun. But avoid fertilizing immediately and take care not to overwater it, as your plant is probably already stressed and needs time to recover.
Philodendron birkin plants flourish in peat-based potting mixes that are lightweight and high in nutrients. A suitable mix can include peat moss, coco coir, orchid bark, and perlite to ensure soil aeration.
Your philodendron birkin may be a relatively new cultivar but they are still aroid plants and tend to grow better in light but nutrient-rich soils.
Soil that is evenly moist throughout is recommended but the soil must also be well-drained to prevent the plant from potentially rotting.
Consider using peat-based potting mediums with coco coir, orchid bark, and perlite to help absorb excess moisture and increase soil aeration. With this formula, you can make your own potting mix at home or save time by buying a good-quality potting mix.
This brand of potting mix is what I usually recommend.
To further increase the aeration of the soil, just tap on the sides of the pot frequently to break up the soil and help prevent the soil from becoming compact.
In general, philodendron birkins flourish when grown in evenly moist soil. However, it is important not to overwater this plant and only water once the soil is completely dry. Watering should be minimized in the winter to prevent root rot.
Your philodendron may like living in moist soils, but this does not mean you should water it heavily on a day-to-day basis. This could lead to a boggy and overwatered plant, and this might kill it!
Some folks say you should water these plants once every few days, and this might be the perfect routine for you and your plant. But how much water you should give your plant heavily depends on your own plants’ needs and what type of climate you have.
Check the top 2-3 inches of soil and always make sure to let this dry completely before giving it more water and stop as soon as you see water run out of its drainage holes.
In the summer, you may need to water this plant twice a week or more to help it survive those rising temperatures.
But when winter comes, adjust your watering sessions accordingly by watering them every week or two. Plant growth and activity usually come to a halt during the winter, meaning your plant requires far less water to function.
Philodendron birkins require at least 8 hours of strong but well-filtered sunlight and will thrive placed near covered, south-facing windows. Exposure to direct sunlight can damage foliage and must be avoided at all times.
Now, you might think because this is a tropical plant, then it will do best in the full and unfiltered sun. But the reality is, this couldn’t be farther from the truth!
The worst place you could put them is in front of open and sunny windows to absorb hours of direct sunlight. Too much direct light can actually damage the leaves of the philodendron birkin and cause them to droop.
The eye-catching stripes of white against the green leaves are where much of its beauty is found. To help preserve this variegation, keep your plant in a place where it can receive at least 8 hours of soft, diffused light.
Consider keeping your philodendron birkins near a south-facing window with curtains. This placement seems to be the best spot their birkin can be, as the curtains help in providing the birkin with bright filtered light.
The Philodendron birkin does not require heavy feeding. For optimum growth, a liquid fertilizer high in calcium and magnesium can be provided 1-2 times a month during its active growing seasons, such as spring and summer. Fertilizer is not needed in fall and winter.
Consistency is key when it comes to feeding this plant. Philodendrons do not require a large amount of fertilizer, but they’ll greatly benefit from being given fertilizer that is high in magnesium and calcium on a regular schedule.
Liquid fertilizer can be given 1-2 times a month in spring and summer. At these times it is still actively growing.
You may also opt for a slow-releasing fertilizer. But take care not to feed this plant too much fertilizer, especially in fall and winter when growth is slower.
Too much fertilizer and your philodendron birkin may suffer root damage, so be gentle with this plant.
Generally, philodendron Birkins do not require pruning unless pests or sunburned leaves are present. Dead and damaged leaves should be cut while one wears gloves and uses sterilized scissors to ensure the health of the plant.
Philodendron birkins rarely ever require pruning, which further emphasizes how easy it is to care for them.
In most cases, sunburned leaves that have turned yellow will not turn green again. Leaves like this that are damaged or dead will need to be removed to help keep the plant healthy.
You can prune your plant anytime you see fit, but try to avoid heavy pruning in the winter when it will be more difficult for the plant to heal and grow back.
For your safety—and your plant’s—always wear gloves when pruning this philodendron and make sure your scissors are sharp as well as sterilized. Scissors that have not been cleaned thoroughly may spread bacteria and diseases to your houseplants, so take caution.
The 6 most common problems and pests philodendron birkins face are:
- Leaves reverting
- Yellow leaves
- Root rot
- Spider mites
White waves are incredibly easy houseplants but this doesn’t mean caring for this plant is without its problems. Here are some of the most common challenges you could potentially face when growing this cultivar.
Philodendron birkins are a unique mutation of the philodendron Rojo Congo. While this plant is becoming more and more common as time goes on, this cultivar is young and can sometimes be unstable.
It doesn’t always happen, but there are many cases where people notice their philodendron birkin reverting and producing green or white leaves completely free of variegation.
If your philodendron starts to revert to its normal Rojo Congo state, you can attempt to reverse this process.
To help stop philodendrons from reverting, try cutting above the last variegated leaf and monitoring it closely for the next few days to see if this has encouraged more variegation.
But take note this process is not entirely foolproof, and philodendron birkins are highly unstable and may still revert at any time.
When yellow leaves are seen on philodendron birkins, this is typically caused when there is too much water in the soil and can often lead to leaves drooping and falling off entirely.
Since this cultivar prefers moist soils, it’s no wonder some gardeners accidentally overwater their plants.
If you can see the edges of your leaves starting to turn yellow, ease up on the watering and make sure the drainage holes are not clogged.
If you were unable to spot the yellow leaves from earlier, the excess water could potentially lead to root rot.
Root rot is unfortunately common for many philodendron birkin owners and can be seen when the plant has stunted growth or is wilting, despite proper care.
To be certain, you can carefully inspect the roots of your philodendron birkin. If they look soft and mushy, this is a tell-tale sign the plant is starting to undergo root rot.
Plants suffering from root rot need to be rescued ASAP and moved to a different pot.
Spider mites are harmful pests that feed on a wide range of plants, and philodendrons are sadly not exempt from this.
However, you might not be able to see them with a naked eye. The presence of spider mites can be detected by checking the underside of leaves and looking for their soft, white webs.
Spider mites feed by sucking the plant sap out with its mouthpart and can reproduce at rapid speeds. Individual female spider mites can lay up to a hundred eggs, so be careful not to let this get out of hand!
If spider mites can be found on your white wave plants, consider hitting the plant with a strong spray of water to knock them off and cleaning its leaves with soapy water.
Scales tend to camouflage themselves and can be tricky to find. Inspect all parts of the white wave plant if possible and look for their sticky secretions and bumpy-like bodies laying flat against the plant.
Because of their careful disguise, scales are sometimes only noticed until the plant is suffering from being invaded by a massive number of scales.
To prevent scales from appearing on your philodendron birkins, you can regularly spray your plants with organic neem oil or dust the top of the soil with diatomaceous earth.
And last but not least, thrips. These pests are known to be quite difficult to get rid of, if not handled immediately.
You can tell if your philodendron birkin has thrips by checking for their black-spotted feces. If the infestation is severe, you may even see the white, moving bodies of their larvae feeding off the leaves.
The best way to prevent thrips is by regularly inspecting your plants and always making sure new plants are free of pests.
If you’ve just bought yourself a new philodendron birkin, be sure it doesn’t have any signs of thrips and spray it with neem oil or a mixture of 2 teaspoons of castile soap with 0.95 liters of water, just in case.
Are philodendron birkin plants rare?
Philodendron birkin plants are a unique mutation of the existing philodendron hybrid called Rojo Congo. Originally, this cultivar was extremely difficult to find and often expensive. Nowadays, however, the philodendron birkin has become more readily available in plant centers everywhere and can be found in many nurseries.
Is philodendron birkin toxic?
Philodendron birkins are ornamental houseplants and typically contain calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals can be toxic and harmful if they are ingested by humans, cats, and dogs. It is also recommended to always wear gloves when handling this plant, as its sap can cause contact dermatitis and must be avoided.
Philodendron birkins are relatively easy houseplants to care for. As such they are a good option for beginner home gardeners.
For optimum care, philodendron birkins must be kept in pots made of a non-porous material like terracotta or unglazed clay and watered only when dry to help prevent root rot.
Fertilize this plant only during its active growing seasons spring and summer, and only prune dead or damaged leaves. 10-12 hours of strong but filtered sun daily is required for it to thrive.