Philodendron hastatum (Silver Sword Philodendron)

Philodendron Silver Sword

Philodendron hastatum

The Silver Sword Philodendron gets its name from the silver-bluish color of its sword-shaped leaves. Some cultivars of this plant actually change the shape of their leaves into a something more arrow shaped as it matures. This unique quality and the striking color help the Philodendron hastatum stand out as a centerpiece in any terrarium.

In the regions of Brazil where the Silver Sword Philodendron grows naturally, it’s become endangered because of deforestation and recent fires. So, by bringing this plant into your home and giving it the proper care, you’re actually helping to preserve its species! If you keep a close eye on your Philodendron and catch problems before they become real issues, you will have a happy Silver Sword on your hands.

At a Glance

 

Where to Buy Philodendron hastatum (Philodendron Silver Sword)

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Terrarium Plant Guide

Philodendron hastatum Care & Growth

Lighting

The Silver Sword Philodendron is native to the jungles of Brazil, where it enjoys moderate to bright indirect light on the shady forest floor. If you see your plant growing leggy or looking stretched out, it needs more light, while a lot of yellow on the leaves is a sign of too much light. The leaves of this Philodendron are typically thin but when you find the amount of sun that’s just right, they can grow thicker and more resilient over time.

Watering

Because the Philodendron hastatum is originally from the tropical rainforests of Brazil, this plant has evolved to thrive in moisture. As an epiphytic plant, regular watering is welcoming so long as its roots are aerated and not sitting and suffocating in water. However, the Silver Sword is one of the few Philodendron that can withstand the occasional overwatering if its given time to dry out in between next time around.

Substrate

Like other Aroids, the Silver Sword Philodendron prefers a loose, well-draining substrate that stays aerated without any extra assistance. Although this plant loves its fair share of moisture, it’s still susceptible to root rot and can easily fall to it if you don’t catch it quick enough. Consider using additives like orchid bark and coco coir in your terrarium floor keep your Philodendron hastatum healthy and growing.

Temperature & Humidity

This plant is far from needy in terms of its temperature and humidity preferences. Average room temperatures and humidity levels are good enough for the Philodendron hastatum. However, if you start to see your leaves begin to yellow and droop, that means it isn’t receiving enough moisture and it may be time to add a little extra water to its terrarium.

Growth

When the Silver Sword Philodendron begins its life, it starts out as an epiphyte growing on the surfaces of other plants – mostly trees. Unlike other epiphytes, however, this plant reaches into the soil and develops an extensive root system instead: this is known as a hemi-epiphytic plant. Typically, this Philodendron begins to care for itself and relinquishes its epiphyte card once it is given a moss pole or trellis to climb; the longer its vines grow, the bigger the root system.

Propagation

As with most Philodendron or other epiphytes, this plant prefers to propagate via stem cuttings. Before the Silver Sword puts out full-sized aerial roots, they begin as nodes; these little brown bumps on the stems of your plants are vital during propagation, so make sure one or two are toward the bottom of your cutting so they can turn into regular roots. You can put your cutting in a hydroponic set-up (pop into a glass with some water), or a semi-hydroponic (everything from before, but some sphagnum or perlite thrown into the mix) arrangement, too – this plant isn’t picky!

Varieties & Similar Plants

The bluish-silver color of the Philodendron hastatum is eye-catching and rare, but not as uncommon as you might think. This plant often confused with and misclassified as the Epipremnum pinnatum, aka the Pothos Cebu Blue. Some cultivars of the Silver Sword Philodendron can change the shape of its leaves as it gets older, going from the sword-like shape to more of an arrowhead. When this happens, the Philodendron starts to look a little more like a Syngonium on steroids.

Common Problems

While this Philodendron is hardy to most pests and diseases, it can occasionally attract spider mites and mealy bugs when its in an open environment or a terrarium with a draft. Make sure to pick up your hastatum from a trusted grower and quarantine it for a few days before planting it in its new home.

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