Heartleaf Philodendron

The heartleaf philodendron is a vining houseplant that will grow rapidly in the right conditions. If you buy a smaller plant or if you’re propagating from a cutting, be sure you have space for this plant to grow into. You can let these plants cascade over a pot, traverse a desk or tabletop, or climb up a shelf or wall space. Like most philodendrons, this popular species is easy to care for and frequently appears on lists of hard-to-kill houseplants.

Philodendron is Greek for a “love of trees,” while this individual species gets its common name from its heart-shaped leaves. Discover what makes the heartleaf philodendron among the most popular houseplants.

Plant Overview

Philodendron hederaceum

Indoor Size and Growth Habits: Fast-growing vining plant that can reach up to 10 feet.

Light Requirements: 2-4

Water Frequency & Soil Moisture: 3

Potting Mix, Fertilizer & pH: Use a standard potting mix with a pH between 5.0-7.0. Likes but does not require fertilizer.

Humidity & Temperature: Tolerates dry air but prefers extra humidity. Likes room temperatures between 60-80 degrees.

Toxicity Level: Mild to moderate

Cost: $

Placement: Light, Size, and Décor

This plant will tolerate low-light conditions but will flourish with plenty of indirect light. Avoid a lot of direct sunlight, but even in rooms with southern and western exposure, the plant should be fine so long as it’s not directly in the window. In very low-light conditions, the foliage can get leggy with long stems but stunted leaves. Once you find the right placement for the heartleaf philodendron, it becomes a truly easy-care houseplant.

Outdoors, these philodendrons can reach lengths of several dozen feet. Indoors, the vines don’t get much beyond 10 feet. Still, it’s great to watch this vining plant grow and the obvious symbolism of its leaves. You can let the vines cascade down on their own or train them to grown on some type of shelf. The heartleaf philodendron can also be a great look if you like the slightly wild look of a plant that has a mind of its own.

Care: Water, Potting, and Soil

The heartleaf philodendron is a medium water houseplant. Vulnerable to root rot, it’s important to let the top layer of soil dry out completely between watering. Usually, you will want to water a philodendron about once a week during the summer and closer to once every other week during the winter. So long as you don’t ignore the houseplant for weeks at a time, you can also watch for droopy leaves the first time around to know how often to water. It’s also normal for these plants to have a relatively high turnover rate in which older leaves die off and are replenished by new leaves. A standard potting mix for philodendrons with slight acidity in a pot with drainage holes will provide a good start for this houseplant.

Pests and Other Problems

The philodendron is not easily infested with pests unless the plant has been weakened by poor plant care practices. When pests do attack the plant, it usually occurs in late fall and early winter when humidity levels drop, and outdoor potted plants are making their transition back inside for the winter. The most common culprits are aphids, scale, mealybugs, and spider mites. Despite having a considerable margin for error, both under- and over-watering are common problems. Also, these plants won’t kill your pet, but the trailing vines can look like a play toy, creating repeated problems.

Cost and Availability

Popular and easy to grow, it’s no surprise that the heartleaf philodendron is a very affordable houseplant. You will usually find these plants sold online and at local plant stores for between $5-$25.  You may also be able to find friends or family who can give a free cutting to grow your own plant.

Propagation and Repotting

Even as a fast-growing plant, the heartleaf philodendron won’t need repotting until it becomes seriously pot-bound. This can be every couple years to a handful of years or more between potting. You should use pots with good drainage for most houseplants, and the philodendron is no exception. The drainage will allow you to provide a good amount of water without creating soggy soil and root rot. Propagation is also incredibly easy by taking a cutting with a few aerial roots, which can be repotted and turned into soil roots.

Similar Types of Houseplants

Other types of philodendrons can be more carefully curated to a specific size and shape. The moonlight and Prince of Orange philodendrons aren’t vining varieties and still modest in size. and winterbourne    The winterbourne and tree philodendrons, which will growth 3-5 feet high, are perfect for someone looking to fill a larger space without having to add support for vining growth.

There are lots of different kinds of philodendrons, but the houseplant most confused with the heartleaf philodendron is the pothos plant. It can be hard to tell the difference. Also in the Araceae family, the peace lily, dieffenbachia, and ZZ plant are other popular houseplants with similar foliage.