How to Care for “Silver Sword” Philodendron (Philodendron hastatum “Silver Sword”)

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The Silver Sword Philodendron is an elegant houseplant loved for its dramatic silver leaves. In this post, we’ll explore the characteristics of this tropical plant, its growth method, as well as its light, humidity, and maintenance requirements to add a refined and dazzling touch to your interior.

The Silver Sword Philodendron, scientifically known as Philodendron hastatum “Silver Sword,” is a member of the Araceae family, native to the rainforests of America and the Caribbean, where it thrives in the lush, tropical environment.

Unfortunately, this philodendron is considered endangered in the wild due to habitat deconstruction, with jungles and trees getting cut down. However, thanks to the efforts of growers and cultivators, this remarkable plant has been preserved and is now available for us to enjoy in our homes.

One of the most striking features of the Silver Sword Philodendron is its long, blade-shaped leaves. These leaves range in color from pale gray to dark green, with a mesmerizing bluish-grayish silver hue. It is this metallic sheen that sets the Silver Sword Philodendron apart from other philodendron varieties, making it truly unique and eye-catching. In fact, If you look closely at it you will immediately understand why it’s named Silver Sword.

As the plant matures, the leaves grow longer and extend outward, resembling the shape of a sword. This growth pattern is where the plant gets its name, as it truly resembles a silver sword. There are two variations of the Silver Sword Philodendron: one with wide leaves and another with narrow leaves. Both versions are equally stunning and will add a touch of elegance to your indoor space.

In addition to its visual appeal, the Silver Sword Philodendron also has a velvety texture to its leaves, making it a delight to touch. This tactile experience adds another layer of allure to this already captivating plant. With its silver foliage and velvety leaves, the Silver Sword Philodendron is the perfect choice for creating a tropical jungle atmosphere in your home.

Growth Habit

The Silver Sword Philodendron is a fast-growing plant that grows in an upright motion, with the tips of the leaves reaching for the sun or sky. Once it matures, it can reach up to about 10 feet in length. You, therefore, need to ensure that you have ample space and also a structure that can support the weight of its growth.

This variety of philodendron is also a climbing plant known to grow on trees and other vegetation, providing a majestic look to your space. It can be grown as a trailing plant if trained onto a support or trellis.

As the Silver Sword Philodendron grows larger, it may become top-heavy and droop over. To prevent this, you can consider potting the plant against a moss pole, trellis, or wooden stake. This allows the plant to grow upward and mimic its natural growth pattern along the sides of trees. It adds an interesting and visually appealing aspect to the plant’s overall appearance.

This is a very easy-to-grow plant, considered a low-maintenance plant, and is quite hardy and aggressive in its growth.

Silver Sword Philodendron care

The Silver Sword Philodendron grows quickly and is easy to care for, as it is a strong plant and naturally grows in the shade of large trees. So let’s go ahead and discuss how to grow and care for this plant.

Light

The best lighting condition for the Silver Sword philodendron is bright indirect sunlight to give it its best growth potential. Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible as it can scorch and burn the plant’s leaves, leading to discoloration and crispiness. These plants are naturally accustomed to the sheltered environment of a jungle canopy, where they receive dappled sunlight filtering through the trees.

While the Silver Sword philodendron can tolerate shadier conditions, it may exhibit leggy growth and produce smaller leaves when kept in too much shade. If you have a window that faces south or west and becomes excessively hot during the afternoon, it’s advisable to move the plant a few feet away from the window to prevent leaf burn. You want to make sure that the leaves have an unobstructed view of the sky.

Additionally, to keep the silver leaves vibrant and make sure that they’re absorbing as much light as possible, wipe them regularly with a damp cloth to remove dust and dirt.

Watering

Proper watering techniques are crucial for the health of your plants. To avoid root rot, it’s recommended to let the soil dry slightly between each watering while keeping it slightly moist but well-drained. Water your plant when the top layer of soil, about an inch or two, becomes dry.

During the active growth period in spring and summer, water when the soil is 25 percent dry, and during the dormant period in winter, when the plant is dormant and there’s little to no new growth, water when the soil is 50 percent dry.

Regardless of the time of year, when you water the plant, ensure a full soak, saturating every bit of soil in the pot, with excess water draining out, but avoid letting the plant sit in water by providing proper drainage.

Philodendron plants are forgiving when it comes to overwatering, but it’s still important to let the top two inches of soil dry out completely between waterings.

Temperature

The Silver Sword Philodendron is a tropical plant that prefers temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 29 degrees Celsius). It can tolerate slightly lower temperatures but should be protected from prolonged exposure to temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).

High temperatures above 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) should also be avoided. By maintaining the appropriate temperature range, you can ensure the optimal growth and health of your Silver Sword Philodendron.

So, don’t fret, this is a tolerant plant, it can survive in warmer and colder conditions.

Humidity

Native to tropical regions, Philodendron hastatum ‘Silver Sword’ appreciates high ambient humidity. You can increase humidity by placing a humidifier near the plant or spraying it regularly. Providing it with a pebble tray will also help this to grow and prevent it from drying out or getting those crispy leaves.

However, the great thing about the Silver Sword Philodendron is that it is not overly demanding when it comes to humidity levels. It can adapt well to the typical humidity and temperature conditions found in most homes. But if you are able to provide a little bit of extra humidity, it will greatly benefit the plant’s growth and overall health.

However, they’re not very picky, which makes them very good for home environments. They’re going to be just fine with the typical humidity and temperature of your home. But if you are able to give them a little bit of extra humidity, it is going to boost that growth.

With increased humidity, you can expect your Silver Sword to grow at a slightly faster rate. The leaves will also exhibit more vibrant colors, adding to the visual appeal of the plant. Furthermore, higher humidity levels can act as a deterrent to pests, helping to keep your plant healthy and pest-free.

Substrate

And when it comes to choosing the right soil for the Silver Sword Philodendron, it’s important to opt for a fast-draining and organic medium. The ideal soil should not retain excessive moisture, as this can lead to root rot and other issues. Compacted soil can also suffocate the roots, so it’s crucial to avoid such conditions.

While this plant prefers to be evenly moist, it does not appreciate sitting in waterlogged soil. Therefore, it’s essential to strike a balance and provide a well-draining soil mixture that allows excess water to flow through while retaining enough moisture for the plant’s needs.

To achieve this, you can create a soil mix by combining equal parts of peat moss, perlite, and well-aged compost. This combination ensures good drainage, aeration, and nutrient availability for the Silver Sword Philodendron. The peat moss retains some moisture, while the perlite provides excellent drainage and prevents compaction. The addition of well-aged compost enriches the soil with organic matter, promoting healthy root development.

Fertilization

To promote healthy growth, support the beauty of its silvery leaves, and ensure the Silver Sword Philodendron reaches its fullest and greatest potential, fertilization is key. It is recommended to fertilize about once a month during the growing season, which typically occurs in spring and summer.

When choosing a fertilizer, opt for a well-balanced houseplant fertilizer. A 20-20-20 fertilizer, such as the Jax classic all-purpose fertilizer, diluted to half strength, is ideal. Diluting the fertilizer prevents overfertilization, which can harm the plant. Follow the instructions provided on the fertilizer packaging for proper dilution.

Note that fertilization should be halted during the fall and winter months when the plant enters dormancy and new growth ceases. This allows the plant to rest and prepare for the upcoming growing season. Avoid fertilizing when the plant is not actively growing to prevent leaf burn and other potential issues.

Pruning

Pruning is another aspect of Silver Sword Philodendron care that can help control its size and encourage denser branching. By carefully pruning the stems, you can shape the plant to your desired form and promote a bushier growth habit. When pruning, make sure to use clean and sharp pruning shears to minimize any damage to the plant.

Silver Sword Philodendron Propagation

Propagating the Silver Sword Philodendron is relatively easy and can be done through stem cuttings. By taking cuttings from the plant and propagating them, you can expand your collection and enjoy more of these unique and beautiful plants. The process involves selecting a healthy stem, making a clean cut just below a node, and placing the cutting in water or a well-draining soil mix until roots develop.

Repotting

Repotting should be done every two years or when the roots start emerging from the bottom drainage holes of the current pot. When repotting, choose a container with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. Increase the pot size by one to two sizes, such as moving from a five-inch pot to a six or seven-inch pot.

For the soil mix, consider using an aroid soil mix available in stores or create a homemade mix consisting of one part houseplant soil and one part orchid bark. Adding crushed granite or perlite can enhance drainage.

When it comes to pots and potting soil, it’s important to provide a well-draining soil mix to prevent issues like root rot. A recommended soil mixture for the Silver Sword Philodendron is a combination of regular indoor potting mix, sphagnum moss, and orchid bark.

This mixture mimics the plant’s natural habitat and provides the necessary drainage. Combine one part indoor soil mix, one part peat moss, and one part orchid mix for optimal results.

FAQs

Is a Silver Sword philodendron rare?

The Silver Sword philodendron is considered a rare and sought-after variety among plant enthusiasts. Its unique silver foliage and striking appearance make it a prized addition to any plant collection.

Is philodendron Silver Sword hard to care for?

While the Silver Sword philodendron requires specific care, it is generally considered a moderately easy plant to care for. It thrives in bright indirect sunlight and requires well-draining soil. With proper watering and occasional fertilization, it can flourish in the right conditions.

Does philodendron Silver Sword grow fast?

The growth rate of the Silver Sword philodendron can vary depending on environmental factors and care. Under optimal conditions, it has the potential to grow relatively fast, producing new leaves and extending its vines. However, individual growth rates may vary.

Can philodendron Silver Sword take direct sunlight?

Direct sunlight should be avoided for the Silver Sword philodendron as it can lead to leaf burn and damage. It is best to provide bright indirect sunlight or dappled light to mimic its natural habitat in the jungle canopy.

Are philodendron Silver Sword poisonous?

Yes, like many other philodendron species, the Silver Sword philodendron is toxic to humans and pets. It contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause irritation and discomfort if ingested. It’s important to keep this plant out of reach of children and pets.

Can you propagate Silver Sword?

Yes, the Silver Sword philodendron can be propagated through stem cuttings. Take a healthy stem cutting with a few leaves and place it in water or a well-draining soil mix. With proper care and favorable conditions, the cutting will develop roots and grow into a new plant.

How long does it take for a Silver Sword philodendron to mature?

The time it takes for a Silver Sword philodendron to reach maturity can vary. Generally, it can take several years for the plant to fully mature and develop its characteristic silver foliage. Patience and consistent care are key to witnessing its full growth potential.

How often do you water a Silver Sword?

The watering frequency for a Silver Sword philodendron depends on various factors such as environmental conditions and the season. As a general guideline, water the plant when the top inch or two of soil becomes dry. Avoid overwatering and ensure proper drainage to prevent root rot.

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