It often seems that the more popular a plant genus is, the more controversies surround it.
This is true of philodendrons, the topic of more debates than agreements. For example, let’s look at the philodendron known as Burle Marx.
Named after the famous landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, this plant has become the topic of many hot debates on whether it’s an actual species or a cultivar.
It’s usually listed under the scientific name Philodendron burle-marxii (fil-oh-DEN-dron burl-MARKS-ee-eye).
Still, many philodendron enthusiasts identify it as Philodendron ‘Burle Marx.’
There’s some reason to believe the plant is a cultivar of Philodendron imbe. The validity of this argument has yet to be scientifically tested.
As a result, cultivars of this plant suffer many names. Two other popular hybrids are ‘Albo Variegata’ and ‘Fantasy.’
This perennial member of the Araceae family can be found growing wild in much of Brazil.
Burle Marx Philodendron Care
Size And Growth
Burle Marx is a surprisingly small philodendron, perhaps one of the smallest.
It will only reach about 2′ feet tall in captivity and 2′ to 4′ feet wide.
But, this fast grower has another unusual trait compared to its sibling plants.
In the wild, it’s a hemiepiphyte, which trails along the ground until it finds a tree or other vertical place to climb.
When grown indoors, this growth habit is entirely different. The plant grows as tiny shrubs instead of vining outwards, although it can still be somewhat leggy if not pruned.
The leaves on Burle Marx are roughly heart-shaped but quite elongated, giving them a unique appearance.
Depending upon the cultivar, the shiny leaves may be a bright green, dark green, or variegated.
As the plant fills out domestically, these crinkled leaves overlap in layers, giving it a robust form.
Flowering And Fragrance
As with other philodendrons, getting this plant to bloom in captivity is almost impossible.
When it does bloom, expect to see reddish-purple spathes and an otherwise unimpressive inflorescence.
Light And Temperature
Burle Marx does well in bright, indirect sunlight, although it can also handle light shade.
Direct sunlight can easily lead to scorched leaves during the midday heat.
Provide direct sunlight in the morning or evening if there’s shade in the afternoon.
Other options include keeping it beside a window or at a window with a sheer curtain to diffuse the light.
Note that variegated versions of this plant will lose their coloration if left in the shade too long.
This plant can grow in humidity levels of 40% to 80% percent, although higher humidity tends to get better results.
Levels below 40% percent are too dry for the plant. Levels above 80% percent result in a high risk of fungal infections.
Kitchens and bathrooms have higher humidity levels. To augment the humidity, utilize a simple pebble tray, group plants, or use a humidifier.
While this Philo can be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11, it’s most often grown indoors.
The ideal temperature range is 65° to 80° degrees Fahrenheit. Exposure to temps 64° degrees Fahrenheit or lower for extended periods stunts its growth.
The highest tolerances are 50° to 90° degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperatures outside this range can harm or even kill the plant.
Watering And Feeding
As with most plants, the soak and dry method work best for your Burle Marx.
Stick your finger into the soil and water if it feels dry 2″ inches down.
Use room temperature distilled water or natural rainwater. Pour slowly and evenly, working your way around the plant.
Stop watering when you see moisture seep from the drainage holes or the surface of your planting medium cannot absorb at the same rate you pour.
Philodendrons don’t need a lot of feeding, and you can grow a healthy Burle Marx without feeding it, although its growth would be slow.
To encourage growth, give your plant a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted by half every two months during spring and summer.
Be sure to cut back in the fall and winter while the plant is dormant.
Soil And Transplanting
Give your Burlee Marx a soil that’s organically rich and well-draining.
African violet mixes with a bit of perlite are a great option, or you can create your own soil-free mix.
For the perfect soilless blend, mix:
- 4 parts coconut coir
- 2 parts of orchid bark
- 1 part perlite
- 1part pumice
- 1 part activated charcoal
- 1 part worm castings
If you want to add a bit of organic material to potting soil, use peat moss instead of sphagnum moss.
Peat helps increase the acidity slightly, which is important for this plant.
Ideally, you’ll want a soil pH of 5.6 to 6.5.
Repot your Burle Marx every 2 to 3 years to get a fresh potting medium.
If you see roots poking out of the surface or drainage holes, graduate to one container size larger.
Grooming And Maintenance
You likely won’t have to worry about any maintenance with this plant.
Pruning to shape and encourage new growth will produce a much fuller plant.
Also, prune away damaged or diseased leaves to maintain good plant health and appearance.
How To Propagate Philodendron’ Burle Marx’?
It’s uncommon for a Burle Marx to bloom, so propagating via seeds is unusual.
Instead, using air layering or stem cuttings are far more common methods.
Burle Marx Philodendron Pests Or Diseases
This plant shares the philodendron’s reputation for being reasonably resistant to pests and disease. But it can still suffer when not correctly cared for.
Mealybugs, thrips, and whiteflies tend to be the most common pests. Root rot and fungal infections such as leaf spots are the most common disease risks.
However, remember that philodendrons contain a large amount of calcium oxalate crystals and are toxic to humans and pets.
Philodendron Burle-Marxii Uses
The smaller size of Burle Marx makes it perfect for hanging baskets and tables.
It’s also a clean air plant, which helps remove toxic substances from the air.