What is sweetheart plant? How to take its care


Sweetheart plants are beautiful indoor plants or houseplants. There are different varieties of sweetheart plants namely Philodendron bipennifolium or panda plant, Philodendron bipinnatifidum, P. hederaceum. These plants are either creepers or upright in structure. Mostly having green or reddish-brown foliage with the aerial root system. Because of their aerial root system or creeping structure, it is suggested to tie them neatly to the main stem or for good support. The following article is all about what sweetheart plants and how they propagate and how to take care of them.

Varieties of sweetheart plants

Philodendron bipennifolium

This plant has large shiny olive green leathery leaves. The shape of the leaves of a violin or horse’s head grows with the support of a tree trunk or pole (1). This plant can grow to a height of 2 m (6 ft) and needs good support. Other common names are horsehead philodendron, and fiddleleaf philodendron.

Philodendron bipinnatifidum

Another name for this plant is the lacy tree philodendron. It is a large and strongly growing epiphyte originating from southern Brazil and reaches a height of 2 meters.  This plant can be grown both as a potted plant and an outdoor plant. The decorative value of ornamental plants is determined by their morphological traits, such as habit, the mass of green parts, and leaf color intensity (2)

Philodendron hederaceum

The common name of this plant is parlor Ivy. It is a tropical evergreen trailing or climbing vine and is grown as a houseplant in temperate climates. This plant is desired for its glossy, green leaves on cascading stems. It is able to survive for long periods in extremely low light. Prefers medium light,  but will tolerate low light. It prefers average indoor air temperatures and can tolerate dry air although it prefers medium relative humidity and moist soil and it appreciates misting (3). Pinch out the growing tips regularly to stop the plant from struggling.

Philodendron hastatum

Philodendron hastatum

It has a great vegetative morphological variation, particularly in leaf shape. Mainly occurs in south-eastern Brazil growing in humid forests as a hemiepiphyte (4). It has broad arrow-shaped leaves and the stem requires good support.

Philodendron wendlandii

It is a non-climbing plant having leaves arranged in the shape of a shuttlecock.

How to propagate a sweetheart plant

1. Propagation by seeds

The seeds of these plants germinate at a temperature of 21 degrees Celcius (70 degrees F). The germination of seeds is mainly done by a mixture of pet and sand and is kept moist and covered under a thin layer of soil. The seeds should not be disturbed until several small leaves come out. After that they are transferred to small pots with peat mixture.

2. Propagation via stem cutting

These sweetheart plants are available throughout the year and are very hardy plants hence require very little care. Cut a stem having three or four leaves and pot them with a mixture of peat and sand and water them properly.

How to take care of a sweetheart plant

Most of the plants need a little care only regular feeding and watering are enough for their proper growth and development. They should be kept under indirect sunlight and are happy to grow and thrive.

1. Temperature

The best temperature is 15-21 degrees Celcius (59-70 degrees F). During summer when the temperature is above 21 occasional sprayings is appreciable.

2. Water

Grows under moist conditions. Water whenever the topsoil dries up.

3. Soil

Peat-based potting composed is best for its growth and development. Large and big plants need more soil and firm support to grow.

4. Light

Indirect sunlight is best for these plants. Direct sunlight may harm the normal growth of this plant.

5. Other problems of pests and bugs

Proper caring and removing the older leaves occasionally helps this plant to thrive and survive.

1. Mealybug: Can be removed manually, if necessary spray with insecticides.

2. Blackleg: Not curable. Cut the portion and burn it.

3. Root failure: Due to excessive watering and cold temperature. Proper care is important in this case.

4. Slugs: proper cleaning and removing soft and tender leaves is important.

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