Plants have always gained special attention and love from human beings. Nature has created copious varieties of plants. Each plant is unique in its appearance, nature, and requirements gaining a special position in the ecosystem. Philodendron hastatum is one such rare domestic plant. It has unique leaves of metallic silver shade.
Hastatum commonly grows in the eastern region of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro. This region has suffered a lot due to deforestation. This results in the extinction of many species including this plant. However, it is abundantly found in domestic plantations and collections.
In this article, we will highlight important features of Philodendron hastatum along with its basic requirements and growth timeline.
Philodendron Hastatum Classification
The classification of the plant is as under:
Species: P. hastatum.
Philodendron is a vast genus of flowering plants of Arads (Araceae). It is the second-largest genus in its family. According to the world checklist of selective plant families it has around 489 species. Furthermore, they are native to central and Southern regions and rain forests of America. Although cherished in folk art and medicine in the sixteenth century, Charles Plumier officially introduced them after the middle of the 16th century.
Philodendron Hastatum Other Names
In older classifications, it had different names due to the close morphological resemblances with other plants. Popular synonyms include; Philodendron hastifolium, Philodendron domesticum, and Philodendron elongatum.
Due to its silvery-gray or bluish-gray foliage in its mature form, it is commonly known as the ‘Silver Sword Philodendron’. Other common names include Philodendron hastatum silver and Philodendron hastatum silvery blue.
Philodendron Hastatum Growth Habit
- A common plant can reach up to 3-meter height in a domestic pot. However, ancient wild hastatums could grow much taller. Its width is usually twice more than its height.
- Hastatum is a short node species with a relatively thick stem.
- The growth speed is fast, just like the majority of other philodendrons.
- Philodendron hastatum silver has a climbing growth habit. Thus, it is included in climbing philodendrons. The climbing philodendrons have a nature to climb up on nearby supports. Other common examples include Heartleaf philodendrons and Blushing philodendrons.
- In the domestic environment, the Hastatum Philodendron does great. Additionally, it needs a totem or support to get healthy foliage by following its climbing nature. Philodendron hastatum leaves and Flowers:
- This plant is a rare species with its smooth and mildly lustrous leaves. These leaves are pale gray or dark green in their youth. However, in their juvenile form, they become a combination of green and unique colors which can be described as metallic gray, blue, or bluish silver.
- The baby leaf is covered and protected by a bract-like modified leaf, the cataphyll. Along with color, the shape of the leaves also changes with age. The heart-like leaves get their specific elongated arrow-like shape on maturity.
- When the hastatum gets mature, it may produce white flowers. These flowers are arranged in spathe structures. This maturity is achieved when the plant is usually around a decade older or even more than that.
- These plants are pretty resilient towards diseases and pets. However, in unfavorable growth environments, mealybugs and spider mites may attack.
Toxicity Just like its other family members; this plant is also toxic. Ingestion may lead to irritation and ulceration in the throat and esophagus. We always advise keeping babies and pets away from the toxic philodendrons.
Philodendron Hastatum Care
This is an easy to grow and low maintenance plant. Important information about the care and requirements of this plant are mentioned below:
Philodendrons always prefer moist and well-drained soil. Thus, you need to water the plant twice or thrice a week. However, the frequency can be reduced in winters. Always make sure that the upper two inches of soil should be dry before watering again. Excess watering may lead to health issues for the plant starting from droopy leaves and leading to root rot.
As the philodendrons are native to rain forests, they prefer a humid environment. You need to keep an eye on the humidity level of your house. We recommend increasing the moisture by artificial means, in case the atmosphere is dry.
If you see that the leaves are getting lumpy or yellow and the atmosphere is dry. You should consider increasing the humidity.
You can add a watered pebble tray under the pot. Furthermore, you can introduce a humidifier in the room.
This plant prefers moist and organically rich soil. Sphagnum peat moss is an excellent match with this plant. Soilless mixtures like peat-vermiculite and peat-pearlite are also great. Additionally, muddy, soggy, and sandy soils are not suitable for the hastatum philodendrons.
Philodendrons need 70 to 85% sunlight. Furthermore, they prefer bright indirect sunlight exposure. Long exposures to direct sunlight may burn the plant. Browning of leaves, especially starting from the edges may be an indication that the plant is receiving too much light. You need to transfer them to a corner with filtered light. On the other hand, a leggy stem is an indication of low light exposure.
The optimum temperature ranges are 55° to 80° Fahrenheit. They are not winder and frost hardy. Thus, experts recommend keeping them in warm temperature ranges. In the northern side of their growth zone, it is always better to bring the outdoor Hastatums inside to save them from dying in the frost.
These plant species prefer fertilized soil. While lacking fertilizer, they will exhibit a slow growth pattern and small unhealthy leaf structure.
New plants need a slow-release fertilizer thrice a year. A balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer is a good option for the adult plant. In spring and summer, a monthly fertilizing frequency will result in healthy foliage. However, in winters and fall, fertilizing the soil once in two or three months is enough. Always avoid using cheap fertilizers, as they will create a salt deposit in the soil. Consequently, it will disturb or destroy the plant.
You need to add a totem for support in the terrestrial pot. A moss-covered pole is also suitable. The pot should have a drainage hole at the base. The plant does pretty well in hanging baskets.
Pinching is essential to get a good shape and healthy foliage of this plant. Always pinch closer to the node because any bare stem will die. Additionally, the new stem will not grow out from the node. If your plant is tuning lanky, this is a sign that it needs pinching.
USDA growth zone 9b to 11 is suitable for outdoor growth. In the patio, zone 4a to 11 is ideal.
Philodendron hastatum silvery blue is easy to propagate. Cuttings are a common method of philodendron propagation.
Take about 6 inches of stem cuttings from a mature healthy plant. Use a sharp knife, scissors, or gardening sheer to cut just below a set of leaves. Now pinch at least three leaves set making two nodes in minimum. Finally, dip the leafless stem in water or moist organic-rich soil pot. Make sure to plant the stem at least 3 inches deep in the soil.
Gloves are always better during gardening. However, for the propagation of toxic philodendrons, wearing gloves and washing hands after the process are two important steps.
In this section, we are sharing an estimated guide about the growth pattern of the plant. However, keep observing the plant and adjust the requirements accordingly.
- Day 1: Planting a stem cutting from a healthy parent plant. It could be in water or in moist soil.
- Day 3 – Day 20: Just place the plant in suitable temperature and indirect low light. In water, the cutting does not need any further care at this step. However, the cutting planted n soil needs watering in low quantity every third day. Soil should neither be dry nor soggy.
- Day 20 – Day 50: Keeping the planted cutting under observation. And provide water according to the soil conditions.
- Day 50 – Day 90: (Root and shoot are emerging)Roots and shoot will start coming from the cutting. Tiny heart-shaped green leaves will occur covered by cataphyll. In water propagation, you can see the roots clearly. The baby plant still needs your observation.
- Day 90 – Day 170: (the plant is growing) By this time, many new leaves will be grown. Plant length and health should be increasing. The watering frequency of soil-plant can be twice a week by now. The rule of top 4 inches dry soil is applicable at this stage. You can add little quantity of suitable fertilizer. Never over-fertilize, as it will burn the young plant. In the case of water propagation, this is a suitable time to transfer the water plant to soil.
- Day 170 – Day 190: (Plant is getting stable) your plant does not need much attention now. Just provide the basic requirements of light, water temperature, and humidity. The leaves will be flourishing and the vine will be lengthening. In the case of the totem pot, you will see beautiful vines climbing up the support.
- Day 190 – Day 300(first winter): In winter make sure to transfer the plant into to warm region. Decrease the watering routine to once or twice a month. The plant can do fairly well in winter.
- Day 300 – DAY 350 (spring): This is the season of growth. You will notice quick and rich growth. The plant is beautifully growing up and becoming decorative. You can now add fertilizer and increase watering to thrice a week. Pruning is suitable at this step for healthy and well-developed foliage.
- Day 350 onwards (summer): In Hot Summer days, never forget to provide adequate water supply, usually every other day. Maintain appropriate humidity level and fertilizer once a month until the fall.
By this stage, many of the baby leaves will be turning into the typical, elongated metallic gray leaves. Now, simply fulfilling the typical basic requirements of the plant with a monthly close examination is enough.
- This is a popular indoor decorative plant. This vine can decorate your hanging pots or plant baskets. Additionally, it dwells great in terrestrial pots along with a totem or artificial support.
- It is a common air purifying plant.
The rare philodendron hastatum is typically admired for its unique metallic gray foliage in mature form. The baby leaves are usually heart-shaped and green in color. These plant species are climbing vines. Thus they need a supporting totem in their pot and make good hanging plant baskets. Like other philodendrons, these plants are air purifiers. Furthermore, they are toxic and unsuitable for pets and babies to be around them.