Philodendron Birkin is a popular houseplant known for its beautiful, dark green leaves that have yellowish or cream-colored variegation. The lighter colors are spread across the leaves as if a paintbrush had been gently dragged across them.
Although this plant may look delicate, it is actually quite easy to grow and care for, as long as you have done your research regarding the specific cultural care it needs to survive and to thrive.
In this article, we will tackle everything there is to know about caring for this majestic plant, so if you are planning on adding a Philodendron Birkin to your collection, just keep reading.
A Philodendron Birkin should be watered once the top two inches of soil are completely dry, which is usually about once a week. It is important to avoid overwatering the plant so that the soil does not become waterlogged. Overwatering is a common problem for philodendrons, so the practice of waiting for the top two inches of soil to dry out is an easy way to keep from watering your plant when you do not actually need to.
To check the moisture level of the soil, stick your left index finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. Remove that finger from the soil and stick your right index finger into the same hole, also up to the second knuckle. Having removed your right index finger from the hole, look at the soil or dirt sticking to the finger. If the finger is dry with minimal soil on it, that means the top two inches of soil have dried out. If there is wet soil sticking to the tip of your finger, you may need to wait one or two more days before checking the soil again.
Try not to allow the soil to dry out too much below two inches from the surface, or you risk drying it out to the point that the plant becomes underwatered.
When you water this plant, make sure that all of the soil gets soaked. You will know this has been achieved when you see excess water flowing out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
It is important to actively adjust your watering techniques to changes in the weather, season and climate, as these factors affect the plant’s requirements.
Bright, indirect light is ideal for your Philodendron Birkin. You want to create a similar environment to the plant’s natural habitat, which is under a tropical forest canopy.
Leaves that are exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period of time will turn yellow or brown, curl up, wrinkle, and fall off. This is due to damage from the sun’s intense heat and light.
That said, your Birkin is equally vulnerable to the dangers of too much shade. This can cause the plant to become leggy, which will make the stems sag. The Philodendron Birkin, like all plants, needs light in order to survive. Light deprivation for prolonged periods will eventually kill the plant.
If you are growing your Philodendron Birkin indoors, place it next to a north- or east-facing window. These windows let in bright light in the morning, but will be shady by the afternoon when the sun is at its hottest.
If the only windows in your home let in harsh light, you can still place your plant near them, but place a curtain over the window to reduce the light’s intensity.
If you live in a place where sunlight is scarce for a few months each year, you can use a grow light on the plant for 12 hours per day, but make sure not to exceed that time.
The Birkin’s soil should be well-draining but not too loose. It must also retain enough water to satisfy the plant’s moisture requirements.
Excess water must be able to drain easily to prevent the roots getting wet feet. Wet feet always result in root rot, which could mean the death of the plant.
Philodendron Birkin grows best in an aroid mix that contains peat moss, perlite, charcoal, orchid bark and potting soil.
Peat moss has a coarse and airy texture, and retains water due to this texture. Potting soil added into the mix can also help to retain some moisture to satiate the plant until its next watering. Perlite, charcoal and orchid bark will all promote good drainage and airflow, so that the roots are able to breathe and rot is prevented.
Temperature and humidity requirements
Because it is a tropical plant, the Birkin thrives in a warm, humid environment.
The best temperature for it is anywhere between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, which is roughly room temperature. At night, the temperature should be 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature of the room should never fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, as the plant does not do well in low temperatures for long periods.
With regard to humidity, it should be 60 percent or higher for a Philodendron Birkin. These plants thrive in high humidity, similar to the conditions in their natural habitat.
They can also survive in moderate humidity, but the closer to ideal the humidity is, the healthier the plant will be.
Humidity becomes a huge factor if you live in a dry climate. You can try keeping the plant in one of the more humid rooms in your house, like the bathroom or the kitchen.
Another popular method of creating humidity for indoor plants is to place your plant on top of a tray filled with pebbles and water. As the water in the tray evaporates, it will moisten the air around the plant.
If you have other plants that enjoy high humidity, you can group them together with your Philodendron and allow them all to create a microclimate around each other.
Finally, if you have the means, you can always use a humidifier. This device will automatically regulate the humidity in the room, so that you do not have to worry.
In order to have a healthy Philodendron Birkin with large, beautiful leaves, fertilizer is an absolute must. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer that contains calcium and magnesium, once a week, to keep your plant healthy. These are two of the most critical nutrients for Philodendrons’ growth.
During the winter months, you will only need to fertilize the plant once a month, at the most.
The frequency of repotting your Philodendron Birkin will depend on the rate of the plant’s growth. A foolproof way to gauge whether or not your plant needs repotting is to look at the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. If you can see roots growing out of the holes, that means the plant has outgrown its pot. Some Birkins can live for up to a year in an overgrown pot, while others can even go on as long as two years.
When choosing a new pot, make sure that it is not significantly larger than the previous one. Your plant can become stressed if it is given too much space.
The day before you plan to repot it, water the Philodendron thoroughly. This reduces transplant stress while maintaining the structural integrity of the roots. Additionally, it makes unpotting the plant much simpler.
Prepare the new, slightly larger and well-draining pot ahead of time. Fill it with enough well-draining potting soil to cover the bottom of the pot and a little more to accommodate the root ball.
Take the Philodendron Birkin out of its old pot by turning the pot upside down and, while holding the plant’s base, gently wiggle the plant free from the soil. You can also use a trowel to dislodge it if it does not come out so easily.
After you have unpotted the plant, gently shake off the old soil from the root ball. Inspect the roots and see if there are sections that have turned brown or black. These roots are rotten and will have to be removed using a sterile knife or scissors.
If the root ball has become very tightly tangled, you might have to detangle it or cut away the parts that cannot be separated. This will aid the growth and development of new roots.
Place the plant in its new container and add more potting medium until all of the roots are covered, up to the base of the plant. Do not press down too hard on the soil because this plant prefers loose soil; you can suffocate your Philodendron Birkin by compacting the potting soil.
Water the plant the following day and check for any signs of transplant shock. Water it again only after the top two inches of soil have dried out.
The Philodendron Birkin is a beautiful and popular houseplant whose dark green leaves have characteristic cream or yellow-colored variegation. While it may seem like a high-maintenance plant because of its appearance, it is actually quite easy to grow and care for.
The plant likes bright, indirect light, whether it is grown outdoors or indoors. It only needs to be watered when the top two inches of soil are dry to the touch, and it is important not to overwater it because this can lead to root rot.
Keep the temperature around your Birkin between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit in the daytime, and between 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Being a tropical plant, it likes humidity, so make sure that you take the necessary measures to maintain sufficient humidity around it in your home.
This plant likes loose, airy soil that is still able to retain some water, and its pot should have drainage holes at the bottom to allow excess water to escape easily. It does not need to be repotted very often; you usually only need to do this every one or two years.
Image: istockphoto.com / Marina Meshcherskaia