Philodendron scandens

Heart leaf Philodendron

Heart leaf philodendron is the common name for the Philodendron scandens and because it is simple to grow it has become a popular plant around the home.

Its unique heart shaped leaves make this plant stand out whilst its adaptability to various conditions enables growers to spend less time concerned about caring for it.

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The Philodendron scandens is native to Mexico, Brazil and the West Indies and is one of the most common and popular species of Philodendron sold today. It is part of the Aracae family and is known as a vine and climber due to its ability to grow to huge heights given the right conditions. These plants are naturally found in humid tropical rainforests but they are also found in swamps and river banks.

Due to their climbing nature they climb tree trunks and other plants in their natural habitat. The leaves have a pointy tip and have a brown tint to them, however, they rapidly turn to a lush deep green color as they mature.

It is a versatile plant that can be grown in a number of different conditions which makes it perfect for both outdoor growing and indoor growing. This is a plant that has caused much discussion over its name, a discussion which has last for around 200 years. It is also known as Philodendron Oxycardium and Philodendron Cordatum, the varied names are down to the fact that it has a diverse habitat.

Foliage: This is a plant that can gain some incredible height but it is really known for its heart shaped leaves. The leaves can take on a number of different colors but in the main they become a dark and glossy green color but they can almost look transparent at times.

The leaves can grow up to a length of 10 inches whilst its stems have the ability to grow to 4ft long or more but it can take up to ten years to reach its ultimate height. Its foliage remains green all year round making it the perfect evergreen plant for both the home and garden.

Flowering: This is not a plant that is particularly known for its stunning flowers but it does occasionally produce spathes of white flowers especially on mature plants. The flowers on this plant can appear at any time of the year but mainly in summer but it is common for those plants that are kept indoors to not flower. Whilst it is called a flower, the spathe that this plant produces is more like a flower holder and is a green color and oval in shape.

Displaying and growing: The Heart leaf can be grown as a trailer or climber plant. To grow as a trailer pinch out the stem tips and allow the plant to grow bushy in appearance.

Growing as a climber involves using a moss stick for the plant to attach to and climb. This in my opinion is the best way to grow and much more fun.


Origin: South America.
Names: Heart leaf Philodendron, sweetheart plant (common names). Philodendron scandens (scientific/botanical name).
Max Growth (approx): 1 - 1.5m or more.
Poisonous for pets: Toxic to cats and dogs.

Climbing Philodendron With Other Plants

Climbing philodendron with other plants

Heartleaf Philodendron Care

Temperature: The ideal temperature for this plant is 60-75ºF/16-24ºC. Temperatures above and beyond this could cause the plants growth to slow down.
Light: This plant is relatively durable and it can thrive in many different conditions but it is more suited to bright light but not direct sun. It can, however, cope with low light.
Watering: Through Spring and Summer the soil should be kept moist but during winter the soil should be allowed to dry out between waterings.
Soil: It requires a chalky, sandy soil that drains quickly. A mix of 2 parts peat and 1 part perlite and maybe a bit of added sand is a good choice.
Re-Potting: When the roots compact and form a tight ball it is time for the plant to be repotted into a planter that is around 2-3 inches larger. Repotting should take place during the latter part of winter or spring before the plant begins to grow new leaves.
Fertilizer: The Philodendron Scandens is a plant that grows very quickly and should be fed every month from during spring and summer especially when new leaves are growing. During the winter, feeding can take place every other month using a basic houseplant food.
Humidity: This species is quite tolerant of dry conditions. During summer it's good practice to mist the leaves.
Propagation: The best time to take stem tip cuttings is during spring or early summer. Place the stem in water or moist soil and they should root quite easily.

Potential Problems

  • Yellow Leaves: The leaves may wilt and become yellow looking, if so this is likely to be due to over-watering. If the plant has not been over-watered then it could suggest that the soil needs fertilizer.

  • Pests: The plant could be attacked by pests such as scale insects.

  • Stem rot: Most likely cause is overwatering during winter with temperatures a little too cold. Move fast to repot and try if you would like to save the plant.

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