How to Care for a Heartleaf Philodendron Houseplant: The Ultimate Guide


By the time you finish reading this post, you'll be a houseplant-care expert!

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If you’re like most people, you probably kill every houseplant you own. It’s not your fault, though! People are bad at plants because no one ever taught us how to care for them properly. Well, that’s about to change.

This blog post will teach you everything you need to know about taking care of a Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron scandens). We’ll cover everything from watering to fertilizing to pruning and repotting! By the time you finish reading this post, you’ll be a plant-care expert!

It’s time for another #stopkillinghouseplants post!! I hope my #stopkillingyourhouseplants series can help you end your stint as a 🔪🌿 houseplant serial killer.

How to Care for a Heartleaf Philodendron Houseplant: The Ultimate Guide

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About the Heartleaf Philodendron Houseplant

Philodendron Scandens is one of the most popular indoor houseplants ever. It’s no wonder that this plant is so sought after because it’s easy to care for and will thrive in almost any condition!

The Philodendron is a popular houseplant because it’s easy to care for and forgive if you forget to water it occasionally. It’s also very adaptable to different light conditions. There are many philodendrons, but the most common is the heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron scandens). If you’re new to houseplant care, the heartleaf philodendron is a good one to start with.

Heartleaf Philodendron Overview

  • Scientific Name: Philodendron scandens
  • Common Names: Heartleaf Philodendron, Sweetheart Plant, Sweetheart philodendron, Painted Philodendron
  • Origin: Central America
  • Appearance: A Heartleaf Philodendron is a climbing vining plant with dark green glossy heart-shaped leaves. They are known for their beautiful trailing vines and are easy-going plants. They are great for beginners!
  • Toxicity: Yes, the Heartleaf Philodendron plant is poisonous. If you have pets that like to snack on houseplants or small children in your home, I do not recommend having this type of houseplant.

How to Care for a Heartleaf Philodendron Houseplant

Lighting Requirements for Heartleaf Philodendron

Heartleaf Philodendrons love bright, indirect sunlight. Be sure to keep it away from the harsh rays of the sun as it will burn the leaves.

Watering Requirements for Heartleaf Philodendron

To prevent root rot, keep the soil moist but not soggy. Do not allow the plant to sit in water. Water once or twice per week depending on conditions such as the time of year, where you live, humidity level of your home, soil health, and what type of planter your Philodendron is planted in.

Humidity Needs of Heartleaf Philodendron

Medium to high humidity levels (40-60%) is ideal for the Heartleaf Philodendron plant.

Heartleaf Philodendron Fertilization Requirements

Feed this common houseplant with a half dilution of general-purpose houseplant fertilizer every two weeks during spring and summer.

Pruning Requirements for a Heartleaf Philodendron

The only time you need to prune your Philodendron is if it is growing too large for its pot or if you’re trying to shape it into a particular form. In either case, use clean, sharp scissors and cut the stem just above where a leaf is growing.

Repotting Requirements for Heartleaf Philodendron

When it comes to the soil for your Heartleaf Philodendron, you want something that will hold moisture well but will also allow for drainage. A great option is a potting mix precisely for houseplants that mix regular potting soil with Perlite. I  use Miracle Grow Organic & Natural Potting Soil mixed with Perlite for my houseplants.

This plant will thrive in almost any type of container. Just make sure it has drainage holes so you can avoid root rot!

It would help if you repotted your Philodendron once every two to three years. When it’s time to repot, use a pot about one size larger than the current container and ensure it has drainage holes in the bottom.

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Propagating Heartleaf Philodendron

Propagating a Heartleaf Philodendron is extremely easy! All you have to do is take a cutting from the plant and place it in water. A root system will start developing on your cutting within just a few weeks!

Once these roots are about one inch long (or longer), then you can transplant them into the soil, where they’ll continue growing for years to come!

3 Quick Steps to Propagate a Heartleaf Philodendron Houseplant

  1. Propagate your Philodendron by cutting off a stem that has at least two or three leaves on it with visible nodes.
  2. Place the cut end of the stem into the water and change out the water every few days until roots begin to grow.
  3. When you see one inch of healthy root growth, transfer the cutting to a small pot filled with soil.

For a more in-depth explanation on how to propagate a Heartleaf Philodendron, visit THIS blog post I wrote.

Heartleaf Philodendron Pests

Philodendron plants are prone to aphids, fungus gnats, mealybugs, mites, and scale. They can also be susceptible to root rot if they’re overwatered or planted in a container that lacks drainage holes.

How to Get Rid of Common Annoying Heartleaf Philodendron Pests

  • Aphids: Aphids can be controlled with neem oil, insecticidal soaps, and horticultural oils. Keep track of the application instructions on the product’s label. Wipe or spray the plant’s leaves with mild water and a few drops of dish soap to eliminate aphids frequently.
  • Mealybugs: While many plant pesticides will kill mealybugs, the best solution I’ve found to kill them is 70% isopropyl alcohol 30% water. To kill the mealybugs with the alcohol spray, spray the alcohol directly on the mealybugs twice daily for no less than two weeks. Check on the leaves, under the leaves, and on the stems. YOu can wipe off the dead carcasses with a damp paper towel.
  • Spider mites: Use mixture of alcohol and water 70% alcohol 30% water to remove and kill visible spider mites. Dilute 1 cup of alcohol in 30 oz of water and pour this solution into the spray bottle. Spray both sides of leaves well and wipe them off with a paper towel.
  • Scale: The easiest way to get rid of scale is to use a mixture of Dawn Dish Soap and Water. Apply the soapy mixture to all surfaces of the plant. Let sit for about 20 minutes, and then take a damp towel and wipe it off with room temperature water.
  • Fungus Gnats: Fungus gnats are fruit fly–sized insect pests attracted to the moisture of potting soil of houseplants. Adult gnats lay their eggs (up to about 200) on the soil surface; the eggs hatch into larvae, which burrow into the soil to feed on fungi and decaying plant material. Adult gnats emerge from the soil two weeks later to repeat the process. The best way to get rid of Fungus gnats is to use sticky traps. The traps are yellow notecards covered in a sticky adhesive. They are most effective when placed directly on top of the soil. Adult gnats will fly or crawl onto the card and become trapped in the glue. You can buy some on Amazon.


Can I use a hanging planter for my Philodendron?

Yes! Hanging planters are perfect for this type of plant! They love to hang over and fall downwards over the side of the planter. I have ours planted in these cute hanging planters from Target and Etsy.

When should I repot my Heartleaf Philodendron houseplant?

Examining the health of the roots will help you know if it is time to repot your plant. You will need to look for indications that roots emerge from the container or are rootbound. If that’s the case, you’ll need to move your philodendron plant to a bigger container.

How often should I water my Heartleaf Philodendron houseplant?

The watering schedule for your philodendron plant depends on the season. You will want to make sure it is watered every week in spring and summer. Then during fall and winter, cut back on how much you are watering your plant.

Why does my Heartleaf Philodendron have brown leaves?

  • Too Much Bright Light: Philodendrons require a certain amount of light, but too much direct sunshine can cause dry brown tips or brown patches on the leaves. The ideal location receives strong, filtered light streaming in through a window with a northern or eastern exposure. If you think intense sunlight is to blame, remove the browned leaves and move your plant to a spot with less direct light.
  • Needs More or Less Water: Brown leaf tips on a philodendron may be caused by a lack of moisture. Moist soil is required for philodendrons to flourish, but you must use a potting medium with good drainage. Too much or too little water can cause wilting and yellowing leaves.
  • Too Much Fertilizer: If the leaves curl downward before turning brown, the problem might be tip curl, which is caused by too much fertilizer. Water the plant thoroughly to leach out excess fertilizer. Going forward, feed your Philodendron with 1/2 teaspoon granular fertilizer diluted in 1 quart of water, every three to four weeks during the summer. Check the package instructions for dilution rates as they vary among brands. During the winter, fertilize Philodendron every six to eight weeks.

What does “rootbound” mean?

If the roots have filled the pot and grow out of the drainage holes, your plant is rootbound. This means it’s time to repot your Philodendron into a larger container.

How often should you water a philodendron houseplant?

Watering a philodendron houseplant can be tricky because the amount of water you need to give it depends on the season, how much light it’s getting, and whether or not it’s in a pot with good drainage. In general, you will want to water your plant when the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Therefore, you will want to water it less in the winter and more in the summer.

Can philodendrons grow outside?

Philodendron plants can be grown outdoors, but they do not like direct sunlight. Instead, they prefer partial shade or dappled light of an area that only receives filtered morning sun or afternoon sun. This plant is perennial in the tropics but annual in temperate zones.

Is my Heartleaf Philodendron Scandens plant poisonous?

Yes, all parts of the Philodendron are poisonous if ingested. The sap can also cause skin irritation, so it’s best to wear gloves when handling this plant. If you think your pet or child has ingested some of the plants, seek medical help immediately.

What type of fertilizer should I use for a philodendron?

Fertilize a philodendron with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every three to four weeks during the summer. Check the package instructions for dilution rates as they vary among brands. During the winter, fertilize Philodendron every six to eight weeks. You can also use an organic liquid fertilizer such as fish emulsion. I prefer fish emulsion over other types of fertilizer. You can buy some HERE.

How big can a philodendron get?

The size of a philodendron plant depends on the variety. The largest species, the royal or tree Philodendron Maxiumum, can have four-foot-long leaves!

When should I prune my philodendron plant?

The best time to prune a philodendron is when it’s actively growing, usually in the spring and summer. Cut off vines that are growing in the wrong direction or cut back the stem to a healthy leaf node. You can also prune to maintain the size of your plant.

Can philodendrons be propagated from cuttings?

Yes, philodendrons can be propagated from stem cuttings. First, cut a healthy, mature vine from the mother plant and remove any leaves from the bottom two inches of the cutting. Dip the cutting in rooting hormone powder and place it in moistened potting mix. Keep the soil moist and wait for new roots to form before transplanting into a larger pot.

What is the difference between a philodendron and a pothos?

The main difference between a philodendron and a pothos is that Philodendrons are climbers while Pothos are vines. In addition, philodendrons have large, glossy leaves, while pothos leaves are smaller and more heart-shaped.

My Philodendron scandens is drooping – what’s wrong with it?

It’s possible that your Philodendron scandens are not getting enough light. Move it to a location where it will receive more light, or rotate the plant every other week, so all the leaves get a chance to receive direct sunlight.

My Philodendron has brown leaves – what do I do?

If your Philodendron has brown leaves, it’s most likely getting too much sun or not enough water. You can try moving the plant to a location where it will receive less sunlight or trimming off dead leaves and stalks.

My Philodendron has yellow leaves – what do I do?

If your Philodendron has yellow leaves, it’s most likely getting too much water or insufficient fertilizer. Try watering the plant less often and fertilize it with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every three to four weeks.

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More Houseplant Care Posts You May Enjoy

Heartleaf Philodendron

Description: Over 200 different philodendron plants come in different sizes, colors, and even leaf shapes! The heartleaf has dark green, shiny, heart-shaped leaves. Heartleaf philodendrons are great for homes or in your cubicle, to keep you company at work! I love to put my Heart-leafed friends on shelves and in hanging planters!

Why I Love It: I love Heartleaf Philodendrons because they are so pretty to look at, easy to take care of because they do not require a lot of light or daily watering! And, best of all! Heartleaf Philodendrons remove air-born toxins such as formaldehyde from the air!!

My Quick Care Tip: They love being neglected! The easiest way to kill them is by overwatering them. I love philodendron plants because they are so pretty, easy to take care of, and they remove air-born toxins such as formaldehyde from the air!!

Where to Buy It: You may be able to find it at Home Depot or your local farmer’s market, but if not, you can order a Heart Leaf Philodendron online.

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