Many perennial genera in the Araceae family have become popular houseplants, but few have had the success of the many types of philodendrons.
Native to the rainforests of South America, these easy-to-grow plants are either climbers or creepers and tend to be cherished for their foliage.
One particularly shining example is Philodendron hederaceum ‘Brasil’ (fil-oh-DEN-dron hed-er-ah-SEE-um), a cultivar that earned its moniker because it resembles the Brazilian flag.
It’s also sometimes referred to as the following:
- Brazil philodendron
- Philodendron Brazil
- Variegated heart-leaf philodendron.
Philodendron ‘Brasil’ Care
Size And Growth
This fast-growing climber adds around 2′ feet to its height per year and can reach a width of 1′ to 3′ feet.
It can also climb or stretch as far as 10′ to 20′ feet when adequately supported by a trellis, bamboo pole, or similar climbable surface.
It’s best known for the glossy, heart-shaped green foliage like Philodendron cordatum, but it bears broad yellow stripes, causing it to be easily associated with the Brazillian flag.
Flowering And Fragrance
The chances of ever seeing a philodendron ‘Brazil’ bloom are about as high as the chances your garden will earn you a tax deduction.
However, you’re not really missing anything, as the unremarkable inflorescences are 12” inches of spathe and spadix with no interesting shapes, colors, or scents.
These simple blooms occur between May and July, with only 2 to 3 per plant and a bloom time of only 48 hours.
Even less appealing is that this philodendron cultivar has a long lifespan and won’t even reach sexual maturity until about 15 years after germination.
Light And Temperature
Philodendron ‘Brazil’ is a variegated plant, meaning it can handle partial shade like any other Philo, but this will cost you its striping.
Philodendrons are also adapted for growing under forest canopies, so direct sunlight can easily scorch the foliage.
As a result, you’ll want to keep your ‘Brazil’ in a spot where it can get 6 to 10 hours of bright, indirect sunlight per day.
Filtered light, such as through a sheer curtain or dappled sunlight, is also great.
All philodendrons love humidity, although most will tolerate a wide range of moisture levels.
In the case of ‘Brazil,’ you’ll want to aim for a little above 60% percent for the best results, but it can handle average household levels of 40% percent.
‘Brazil’ is cold intolerant and cannot handle temperatures outside 50° to 86° degrees Fahrenheit.
Ideal temperatures are between 60° and 75° degrees Fahrenheit, with a difference of 5° to 10° degrees Fahrenheit between day and night.
While it’s possible to grow Brazil philodendrons outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 11 to 12, it’s usually just easier to keep the plant indoors regardless of your zone.
Soil And Transplanting
This medium-sized epiphyte likes rich, humusy soil designed for use with aroids.
However, it can still thrive in an amended standard potting mix as long as it’s well-draining and has a mildly acidic pH (6.5 to 7.0)
A perfect homemade mix is 1 part each of quality potting soil, such as:
- Orchid bark
You will need to repot your plant every 2 to 3 years.
If you see roots beginning to poke out of the drainage holes, it’s a good sign that a spring repotting into a slightly larger container is necessary.
However, if you don’t see signs of root binding, you should still repot after 3 years to give the plant some fresh medium.
Grooming And Maintenance
The foliage on your ‘Brazil’ is much like your own hair—the better you care for it, the faster it will grow.
This means you’ll need to do a bit of pruning now and then for shape, fullness, and bigger, healthier leaves.
Aim to do this little bit of maintenance in spring to early summer so the plant can begin growing replacement foliage and make sure you don’t go overboard.
Aim for leggy stems as well as damaged, diseased, or dying leaves.
You can even save the stem cuttings for propagation.
How To Propagate Variegated Heart-Leaf Philodendron?
As is common with philodendrons, ‘Brazil’ is best propagated through stem cuttings, which may take root in either a soil or water medium.
However, you can also cultivate the plant through seeds or division if you’re feeling adventurous.
Brazil Philodendron Pests Or Diseases
‘Brazil’ is cold-intolerant and should be kept clear of drafts and temperatures below 50° degrees Fahrenheit.
That said, it’s not prone to illness or infestations, even when somewhat neglected.
The three most common pests for this cultivar are:
- Spider mites
While they’re not likely to infest the plant directly, aphids, fungus gnats, thrips, and whiteflies may migrate to your ‘Brazil’ from nearby infested plants.
Root rot and leaf spot are generally the worst risks and tend to show up only when too much moisture is in the soil.
If you have an infestation, honeydew may also attract powdery mildew or sooty mold spores.
All philodendrons contain calcium oxalate crystals, a substance considered toxic due to the body’s inability to digest them.
While they exist in much smaller quantities in many vegetables (such as broccoli), the amount in Philos can cause the following:
- Other symptoms in humans.
They can also cause kidney stones.
Pets are less fortunate, and the crystals are moderately toxic to dogs and potentially deadly to cats.
As a result, you’ll want to keep your ‘Brazil’ out of the reach of curious hands, paws, and mouths.
Uses Of Philodendron hederaceum ‘Brasil’
Like all philodendrons, ‘Brazil’ is considered a clean air plant.
Therefore, it makes for a great corner or bookcase climber.
Conversely, it can give spider plants a run for their money when kept in hanging baskets.