Philodendron Birkin is one of the most beautiful houseplants to have in your home. Its large, dark green leaves are delicately striped with white that becomes more apparent as the plant gets older.
The Birkin may not be the easiest plant to grow and care for, but its care is still pretty straightforward and, if you have at least some experience with houseplants, you should have no problem keeping it alive.
One of the common signs that a Philodendron Birkin is not feeling right is when the entire plant starts to look limp and droopy. This is most likely due to an environmental factor that is causing the plant significant stress, and the most probable culprits are low temperatures, not enough water, too much water, or disease.
In this article, we will discuss the different causes of a drooping Philodendron Birkin, and what you can do to remedy the problem and return your plant to good health.
Why is my Philodendron Birkin drooping?
Philodendron Birkin is native to the tropics and therefore thrives in warm temperatures, making it unsuitable for homes where the indoor temperature is chilly. Although you may not be aware of cold air leaking through cracks in doors and windows, if your Birkin is right next to them, the constant stream of cold air from outside can cause serious shock and damage to the plant.
Keep your plant safe in the winter by insulating any windows or doors nearby.
During the summer, keep it away from air conditioning vents, because the cold air from these can also be harmful, despite the warm weather outside.
If you keep your Philodendron Birkin in a chilly room, it will be more susceptible to overwatering and root rot. Because the soil will take much longer to dry out, your plant will require water less often. Problems such as root rot are more likely to occur in these conditions, which is why you should exercise extra caution when caring for plants in the winter or in colder parts of your home.
The ideal room temperature for your Philodendron Birkin is between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Try not to expose the plant to temperatures lower or higher than that range and it is unlikely to droop due to temperature changes.
Not enough water
Drooping leaves on a Philodendron Birkin can also be caused by insufficient watering. Sometimes we all get a little caught up in other things we have going on in life, and before we know it, our plants have not been watered for weeks.
Consistent underwatering can result in a variety of problems, including the death of the plant if the issue is not addressed quickly. Even occasional underwatering can cause drooping leaves.
If the leaves are extremely dry and droopy, you should suspect underwatering to be the source of the problem. However, before increasing your watering frequency, remove the plant from the pot and feel how dry the potting mix is on your fingers. You want to make sure that underwatering is indeed the problem, otherwise you may end up inadvertently overwatering the plant.
Once you are certain that the soil is completely dry and underwatering has caused the drooping, you can begin to gradually reintroduce watering.
It is natural to want to drown the plant in water to compensate for all the time it has been without water, but doing so can actually cause more damage and more brown leaves. This is because plants are shocked by any sudden environmental change.
It is preferable, and most effective, to water your thirsty Philodendron Birkin in small amounts, once or twice daily, for a week.
You can return to your normal watering routine after a week or so, making sure to check the moisture in the soil on a regular basis to prevent the leaves from drooping again.
It will be easier to keep track of moisture levels if you use a moisture meter, but if you do not have one, you can check the soil’s moisture by touching it with your fingers. If the top two inches of soil are dry to the touch, water the plant, but if the soil is still damp, wait one or two days before checking again.
Too much water
Overwatering is one of the most common reasons your Philodendron Birkin might droop. There are several ways you can overwater your plant: by giving it too much water every time you water it, watering it more often than you should, using poorly-draining soil or pots, or not adjusting your watering habits to changes in the weather, season or climate.
The leaves of an overwatered plant will be quite soft and mushy to the touch, because when the soil does not drain fast enough, the roots will continue to absorb water to the point that the cells in the leaves burst from the overload, hence their mushy texture.
Because the soil is unable to drain the excess water, the plant’s entire root system will begin to rot. A weakened root system means that the plant will be unable to absorb the nutrients it requires, and the roots will be unable to support the plant’s growth; hence, the stems and leaves begin to droop as a result.
If you are unable to catch the root rot in its early stages, things can turn from bad to worse in no time and your plant may even die.
If your Philodendron Birkin has been overwatered and is showing signs of drooping, simply stop watering it until the soil has completely dried out. Before watering it again, make sure that the top two inches of soil are completely dry.
If you suspect root rot, you will have to unpot the plant and gently remove as much soil as you can from the roots as you can. The roots will be very delicate at this point, and you do not want to damage them further by handling them carelessly.
Inspect all of the roots and, if there are sections that have turned brown or black, they will have to be pruned off as they are rotten. Remove all of the rotten foliage along with the rotten roots, making sure that only white, healthy roots remain.
Place the plant on a dry surface and allow the roots to air-dry for several hours.
Fill a new pot a third of the way with fresh, well-draining potting mix, place the plant in the middle of the pot, and add more soil to cover the roots.
You do not have to water the plant immediately after repotting it. It is best to wait at least a week before watering, so that the roots have enough time to recover from the trauma of repotting.
Avoid overwatering your plant in the future by checking the soil’s moisture to ensure that the top two inches of soil are dry before watering it.
If the stems of your Philodendron Birkin are drooping, a disease known as fire blight could be the culprit. In a short period of time, the disease can spread throughout the plant’s entire system. The Birkin’s leaves will become discolored and both the leaves and stems will start to droop. Aside from that, your plant will smell bad and have strange lesions on its stems.
If you catch the fire blight in time, you have a small window of opportunity to save the plant. Disinfect your pruning shears by dipping them in isopropyl alcohol, and then cut off any infected branches. In addition, you will need to heat-sterilize the soil.
When the disease first appears, you can also treat it with an antibiotic called streptomycin.
Philodendron Birkin care
Philodendron Birkin thrives in an aroid mix that includes peat, perlite, charcoal, orchid bark, and potting soil.
The soil should drain well but should not be too loose. It needs to keep the plant hydrated by retaining a certain amount of moisture, but excess water must be able to drain away from the roots to avoid wet feet.
The pot you use for the plant should have drainage holes at the bottom, also to ensure that any excess water can escape rather than accumulating around the plant’s roots.
Philodendron Birkin thrives in bright, indirect light. The aim is to simulate the lighting conditions of the plant’s natural habitat, where it grows under a tropical tree canopy.
If the leaves are exposed to direct sunlight for an extended period of time, they will dry out, wilt and fall off.
However, too much shade can also be harmful to your Birkin. This can cause too much space to develop between the leaves as the stems grow longer in search of light, and this in turn will cause the stems to sag.
If you are going to place your plant on a window sill, make sure it faces east or west. Another option is to use artificial lighting, rather than hoping your plant gets enough sunlight on a window sill. It needs at least 12 hours of light per day, but never expose it to light for 24 hours at a time.
Avoid overwatering your plant, because waterlogged soil will drown its roots. As mentioned earlier, check the moisture in the soil by touching the top two inches to see if they are dry. Do not water the plant if the soil is still damp.
Adjust the amount of water and the frequency according to your local climate and weather conditions.
Because it is a tropical plant, the Birkin thrives in a warm environment. During the day, a room temperature between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal, and at night, the temperature should be around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
Never allow the room’s temperature to fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
For tropical Philodendron Birkin, a humidity level of 60 percent or higher is ideal. It can survive in lower humidity, but will be healthier in a more humid environment.
If you live in a dry climate zone, you may need to take measures to increase the humidity around your plant. There are several ways to do this:
- Mist the plant with water in the mornings.
- Fill a tray with pebbles and water, and place the plant’s pot on top of the tray. As the water evaporates, it will moisten the air around the plant.
- Place the plant in the bathroom or the kitchen, because those are the most humid rooms in a house.
- If you have other plants that like high humidity, place them near your Birkin so that they can all create a microclimate around each other.
- If you have the means, a humidifier can do the heavy lifting by automatically regulating the humidity in the room where you keep the plant.
Fertilizer is the most important factor in growing a healthy Philodendron Birkin with large, attractive leaves. Once a week, fertilize your plant with a balanced liquid fertilizer.
Calcium and magnesium must be present in the fertilizer, as these are two of the most important micronutrients for philodendrons.
During the winter, reduce your fertilizing to once a month.
The Philodendron Birkin is one of the most attractive and eye-catching houseplants, thanks to its large green leaves with delicate white stripes.
This plant has a particular set of preferences when it comes to its living conditions, and if any of these factors are off, it can cause the plant to become stressed and start to droop.
The possible causes of a drooping Philodendron Birkin are low temperatures, not enough water, too much water, and disease.
The sooner you are able to identify the exact cause of your plant’s drooping, the faster you can treat it and return your plant to perfect health.
Image: istockphoto.com / Patcharamai Vutipapornkul