The breathtakingly beautiful Philodendron Birkin is one of the latest and most exciting additions to the houseplant market.
Appearing in late 2020 as a lab-bred “designer” plant, this gorgeous species results from a once-off mutation of the Philodendron Rojo Congo, which saw its regular green leaves emerge with stunning bright cream pinstripes.
Now, the world can’t get enough of them. Indeed, the Birkin plant is quite unlike the Philodendrons we’re accustomed to. It has large, oval leaves that are slightly pointed, thick stems, and a clustered growth habit.
And as mentioned, the Birkin’s most striking characteristic is its stripey coloring, which is prevalent across the entire surface area of each leaf.
If you’re considering investing in a Philodendron Birkin, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, I’ll take you through everything you need to know about them – from how to care for one to how to diagnose ill health and help your Birkin thrive.
How to care for a philodendron birkin
The best way to care for a Philodendron Birkin is to try and emulate its natural, tropical environment as closely as possible. This involves providing it with bright, indirect light, plenty of warmth and humidity, well-draining soil, good hydration, and seasonal feeding. Occasional pruning and cleaning also help your Philodendron Birkin’ overall well-being.
Philodendron Birkin make great houseplants, and if you have any hesitation about their care, worry no further. These gracious green beauties are low-maintenance and straightforward in terms of their needs, making them perfect for even beginner plant parents.
Bearing in mind that Philodendron Birkin are tropical plants, the best environment you can offer them is one where they’ll have a sunny spot with lots of light, relative humidity, and plenty of moisture.
In good news, most homes are already set up for this with East and South-facing windows and a generalized humidity level of around 50%. To supplement the rest of their care needs, you just need to ensure your Philodendron Birkin stays hydrated, is fed with both good soil and that you occasionally fertilize your philodendron.
In the following sections, we’ll look at Philodendron Birkin care in greater detail to equip you with everything you need to help your houseplants thrive.
How much light does a philodendron birkin need?
Philodendron Birkin prefer at least six to eight hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day. As their leaves can be vulnerable if they receive too much light, keep an eye out for any signs of sunburn on your Philodendron Birkin’s leaves, such as yellowing leaves or brown spots appearing.
Most (if not all) plants depend on sunlight energy to grow, and Philodendron Birkin are no different. Native to tropical America, they’re accustomed to dappled light from the jungle canopies above them, which you can try to mimic in the home with clever positioning.
In the winter, when it starts to cool down, and there is less indoor sun available, a Philodendron Birkin’s light needs can be augmented with a bit of time spent outdoors on a sheltered patio or balcony. The fresh air will do them good, too.
Find out more: Philodendron Light Needs: The Ultimate Guide
What is the right temperature for philodendron birkin?
Your Philodendron Birkin will thrive in temperatures between 75°F and 85°F (23°C to 29°C). While they can survive at lower temperatures than this, don’t let them stay for too long anywhere less than 65°F (18°C) as your plant may not survive.
Clearly some plants, like Philodendron Birkin, like it hot. However, the real kicker is ensuring your Philodendron Birkin are placed in an area with mid-to-high humidity.
What are the best humidity levels for a philodendron birkin?
Philodendron Birkin prefer humidity levels of around 65% to 80%. Given that they are native to tropical Central and South America, they thrive in humidity conditions similar to their natural habitat. However, most homes won’t reach these levels, so you may need to boost this for your Philodendron Birkin to thrive.
Houseplants that receive adequate amounts of sunlight daily generally don’t require supplementary humidity, particularly if you consider most homes fall in the 40% to 50% range. However, with their tropical inclinations, Philodendron Birkin can benefit from a little extra care in this regard.
The easiest, in my opinion, is to invest in a small plug-in humidifier. Alternatively, you can rest your Philodendron Birkin on a damp pebble tray, making sure not to let their roots touch the water.
Alternatively, if you have a whole collection of houseplants, cluster them together so they can benefit from each other’s transpiration processes. It has the added benefit of looking great too!
What soil is best for philodendron birkin?
A Philodendron Birkin’s soil mix should be loosely clustered, nutrient-rich, and well-draining. The high nutrient level emulates its natural habitat, where plant material in the rainforest falls onto Philodendron Birkin and nourishes them. Having light and airy potting mix helps to avoid the soil staying too soggy, which can lead to root rot.
While many Philodendron Birkin varieties have aerial roots as well as ground-dwelling (terrestrial) roots, they receive the bulk of their vitamins and minerals from their soil, making it an essential part of their fundamental care.
Top pick: My preferred soil for Philodendron Birkin is the Miracle-Gro Tropical Potting Mix (check the latest price here).
It’s very well draining and will feed nutrients to your Philodendron Birkin for up to six months. For a tropical plant like the Philodendron Birkin, it’s got everything you need.
Buying pre-blended Philodendron Birkin soil from most garden centers is a simple option. Alternatively, you can easily mix your own by combining potting soil with chunky bits of bark (grab some here) and moisture-retentive perlite (get it here).
If you’re buying your Philodendron Birkin pre-potted, they’ll likely arrive in appropriate soil from the get-go. Even so, you’ll need to replace their soil every 18 to 24 months to prevent a build-up of salts or eliminate any beasties and creatures like pests, fungi, or bacteria, so make sure you’re replanting them in the best soil for philodendrons so they continue to thrive.
Indeed, this is a good maintenance practice for all houseplants, not just Philodendron Birkin!
How often should you water philodendron birkin?
You should water your Philodendron Birkin when the top two inches of its soil has dried out, which you can test by sticking your finger into your plant’s potting mix. In summer, this will be around once per week, but may be less frequent in the cooler months.
It’s always good to have a watering schedule for your plants, but with so many factors (like season and sunlight) at play, I prefer to meet my Philodendron Birkin’s watering needs as required – by waiting for their top inch of soil to dry out before hydrating.
The reason for this is that the leading cause of fatality in Philodendron Birkin is root rot, which they tend to contract from overly soggy soil or from standing in pooled water. As they’re pretty drought-tolerant, it’s best to err on the side of caution and only water philodendrons as they need it rather than strictly once-per-week.
That said, when you do water them, a hearty dose of moisture is great, provided it doesn’t make their soil soggy and heavy, which weighs down on their root systems.
When should I fertilize my philodendron birkin?
Philodendron Birkin likes some fertilizer every now and again. In fact, they do their best when they are fed twice a month during their active growing season, which is the spring and summer. However, you shouldn’t fertilize your Philodendron Birkin during its dormant period in the cooler months.
This is because feeding the plant during this time can interfere with its natural growing cycle.
Overall, though, occasional feeding with a balanced fertilizer is greatly beneficial for Philodendron Birkin, especially at the start of their growing seasons in the spring and summer months.
If you think about it, these jungle-dwellers are used to all the rich, dense nutrients they have access to from the forest floor, which can’t be substituted by typical potting soil. An all-purpose liquid fertilizer at half strength is a good way to replace their natural feeding schedule, providing them with an extra dose of energy for new growth.
My top pick: My recommendation for the best fertilizer for your Philodendron Birkin is EZ-Gro 20-20-20 All Purpose Liquid Fertilizer.
It’s extremely easy to use and has the perfect balance of nutrients for Philodendron Birkin. You can check the latest price here.
Should I prune my philodendron birkin?
You should prune your Philodendron Birkin from time to time as part of their regular maintenance, with spring being the best time of the year to do this. Removing dead foliage or browning stems will allow robust leaves and vines to draw in more sunlight and stop your plant from wasting energy.
Just like humans shower, cut their hair, and clip their nails, Philodendron Birkin can do with occasional grooming, especially when it comes to eradicating old or dying growth. Fortunately, trimming your philodendron really isn’t hard to do.
When it comes to cleaning, remember that each large leaf of your Philodendron Birkin is full of sunlight receptors that are easily blocked by dust or grime. Wiping down your leaves with a damp cloth keeps them clean and free to function at their best.
When should I repot my philodendron birkin
The Philodendron Birkin is not a plant that needs to be repotted regularly, with it often only needing to be transplanted every two to three years. With that said, however, you should repot your Philodendron Birkin if you see roots growing out of the drainage holes.
In fact, this plant does well when it is rootbound. That said, when you do transplant a Philodendron Birkin, do so in spring before the plant starts to produce new growth, and select a pot that is about 3 sizes larger than the current pot.
Alternatively, you can wait until fall to perform the transplant.
Find out more: 7 Simple Steps to Repot Philodendrons (+ When To Do It)
How to propagate a philodendron birkin
The easiest way to propagate your Philodendron Birkin is to root it in water. Simply place your cutting into a jar with water in it and place it in a warm sunny spot, and wait. Refresh the water once a week to keep it oxygenated and, in six to eight weeks, new roots will appear.
At that point, your Philodendron Birkin cutting will be ready for transplantation!
Propagating Philodendron Birkin from stem cuttings is usually the easiest method, provided they have a visible node and a leaf or two to draw in moisture from the air. You can either root your cuttings in water first or plant them directly into soil.
Find out more: 10 Easy Steps to Propagate Philodendron Cuttings
Alternatively, if you only have a small piece of stem, you can try to root them in a nutrient-rich growing medium with concentrated humidity.
That is, a second option is to place your cutting directly into a planter with soil. This is slightly riskier as they require a lot of humidity to make up for the moisture they’d usually draw via roots, but it can be equally effective with proper care.
If your cutting has no leaves, try laying it on a bed of peat moss and covering the tray or container with plastic to retain humidity. While this method isn’t always effective, it’s worth a try to avoid throwing away any pieces of your precious plants.
Is a philodendron birkin easy to care for?
The Philodendron Birkin is considered low-maintenance and, therefore, relatively easy to care for. Its main requirements are regular hydration, nutrient-rich soil, bright, indirect light, and plenty of humidity. As a slow-growing philodendron, the Birkin doesn’t require regular repotting or pruning.
I always view it as a huge bonus when a good-looking houseplant is also easy to maintain. And Philodendron Birkin care couldn’t be simpler, provided you have the proper fundamentals in place in terms of water, light, and heat.
From a hydration point of view, Birkins enjoy moist soil that is permitted to dry out occasionally. I recommend watering once per week, lengthening this duration slightly in the colder months of the year. Water retention is directly related to your Philodendron Birkin’s soil, which should contain perlite for drainage and peat moss or orchid bark for air circulation.
A Philodendron Birkin’s light requirements are bright or medium indirect light for 6 to 8 hours daily. To achieve this, the best positioning for your Birkin is close to a window that receives morning to midday light rather than in direct rays. Harsh sun can cause sunburn, which drains your plant’s energy and damages it over time.
As tropical plants, it’s also good to remember that philodendrons like a lot of heat and warmth and do best in environments with plenty of moisture in the air to keep their big glossy leaves hydrated. With all these measures in place, your Birkin should have no issues thriving.
Does philodendron birkin need a humidifier?
The Philodendron Birkin doesn’t always need a humidifier although, in cooler and drier environments, Birkins can benefit from supplemental humidity. One way to achieve this is to invest in a small plug-in humidifier which you position close to your plant.
To identify if your philodendron is lacking humidity, monitor its behavior. Any signs of wilting or drooping indicate a care deficit relating to warmth, water, soil, or illness. If you’re confident your Birkin’s other needs are met, a lack of humidity may be the issue at hand.
Can you grow philodendron birkin in water?
While Birkins do better in soil, where they have access to more significant reserves of nutrients, they can also grow in water for extended periods of time, with sufficient access to humidity and light. Indeed, if you are propagating a Birkin cutting, it’s advisable first to root it in water.
You can keep this plant in water until such a time that there is enough new growth for its roots to take and hold in soil before transplanting it.
Is a birkin philodendron rare?
The Philodendron Birkin is a designer, lab-bred plant, so it is not as freely available as other varieties. However, due to its rise in popularity, it is becoming more obtainable and inexpensive over time. You may not find one in your local nursery, but Birkins are available from most specialist suppliers.
As a relatively new houseplant on the market, it makes sense that the Birkin is not as well-known as some of its cousins. That said, it’s seen an enormous uptake in trendiness thanks mainly to its prevalence on social media platforms and plant forums.
Today, there is an overwhelming demand for this beauty in homes all over the world. Consequently, the tissue labs responsible for the Birkin are producing them at a higher rate monthly. And together with this, successful propagation means trading and selling Birkins is becoming a popular way to get your hands on one.
Bearing in mind that the Birkin came into being due to a once-off chimeric mutation, it is never found in the wild. A general rule of thumb is that naturally-occurring plants are easier to obtain than lab-bred ones.
Still, with ever-expanding globalization and online merchants and traders, this is changing for the world at large, making your dream of owning a Birkin a genuine possibility.
Where to find a philodendron birkin for sale
As a commonly known and well-loved houseplant, Philodendron Birkin are easy to find and can be purchased from most nurseries or garden centers. To buy them online, Etsy is always a good option. Rarer varieties can be bought from online merchants or specialized breeders or traded among collectors.
In the mood for a Philodendron Birkin? You’re in luck. These beauties are freely available on the market and are considered one of the most popular houseplants around.
Of course, if you’re after rare collector’s items, you may need to double down on your search and rely on specialists. But if you’re simply looking for some of these beauties to adorn your home (which is definitely a good idea!), you can pop out and get one from your local nursery today.
What is special about the philodendron birkin?
The better question is – what isn’t special about the Philodendron Birkin? This beautiful houseplant looks like few other varieties in the philodendron family, especially with its large, rounded leaves, making it a fan favorite among aroid plant lovers, particularly those with a penchant for variegation.
That is, its leaves are large and rounder than they are oval, with a mildly pointed tip. This is quite unusual compared to the more heart-shaped leaves we associate with philodendrons. Most notably, the Philodendron Birkin’s variegation is striped, in bright hues of cream and white, covering large portions of the plant.
Considering its unique aesthetic, the Birkin is also quite hardy, unlike many rarer variegated plants. With Birkin plant care being super straightforward, it’s perfect for beginners and experts alike. In other words, it’s a great showpiece you won’t knock off in a hurry.
What’s a standard philodendron birkin price?
Previously, a mature Philodendron Birkin could set you back a few hundred dollars. But in good news, with their rise in popularity, it is now possible to purchase a juvenile plant for as little as $20 or a mid-size one for $50.
These prices may vary depending on where you’re located, but they are a good point of departure for what you can expect to pay.
How big will a philodendron birkin get?
The Birkin is a medium-sized variety of philodendron and will only reach a maximum size of roughly 3 feet wide and 3 feet tall (1 x 1 meter) indoors. This is, of course, dependent on a few factors, such as its growing environment, planter size, and overall health. In outdoor conservatories, they may become slightly larger.
Because of its stately leaves (7 inches/20 centimeters), the Birkin gives the impression that it will become a large plant. However, comparatively, it’s pretty diminutive in stature, with hefty indoor specimens usually only reaching top sizes of around 3 feet all round.
With that said, much of how your Birkin performs correlates with how much it loves its growing environment. With plenty of water, light, humidity, and nutrient-dense soil, they will thrive and grow with little to no issues.
However, if one of these is lacking, their growth will slow, or they will become leggy, making it much harder for them to reach their full size.
How do you make a philodendron birkin bushy?
Ironically, the best way to make a Birkin bushy is to keep pruning it in its growing seasons, which are in the spring and summer. Pruning should not be too enthusiastic but instead reserved for dead or dying leaves. This prevents your plant from expending energy on “hopeless” foliage and paves the way for new growth.
Regularly turning your plant so that all its angles receive sunlight is another good way to ensure consistent, rounded, and aesthetic growth with a clustered appearance. You can also use a moss pole so that your Birkin has space to climb upwards, which is what it would do in its natural environment – aiming upwards towards a source of light.
Does philodendron birkin grow fast?
The Philodendron Birkin is considered a slow-growing philodendron variety, only gaining around 1 foot (30 centimeters) of growth per year in optimal conditions. A large Philodendron Birkin will grow slightly faster than a small one. However, inadequate care or pot size can slow its growth, too.
While a Birkin’s beauty is undeniable, it’s in no hurry to show off its gorgeous foliage and will grow at the expected rate of highly variegated plants – which is slower than most. This is because its leaves contain less energy-converting chlorophyll cells in the areas where it is cream and white.
In tandem with water, sun, and oxygen, chlorophyll energy is responsible for a plant’s growth rate. It follows that fewer of these cells mean slower output and less new leaves and stems per week or month. However, it doesn’t mean your plant is unhealthy – it’s simply taking its time.
If there is anything to be concerned about, it’s leggy or sparse growth, which means long stems devoid of many leaves. This indicates that your plant needs a little more light or water. Fortunately, both are easily rectified with proper care.
Does a philodendron birkin flower?
While biologically, the Philodendron Birkin is considered a flowering plant, or rather, is capable of flowering, it will almost certainly not flower indoors. At best, it may develop leaf bracts, which are light-colored leaf coverings that resemble arum lilies. These are not actually flowers though.
It is possible to emulate a tropical environment in the home and make your philodendrons comfortable. Still, it is highly unlikely that indoor varieties like the Birkin will ever fully feel the same effect.
The reason for this is that potting soil blends cannot compensate for the nutrients of the jungle floor, nor for the space required for them to reach the size needed for flowering.
Even so, the Philodendron Birkin is still a gorgeous ornamental plant and is marketed as just that. With proper care, they grow to be large, full plants with beautiful wavy white leaves.
Are philodendron birkins stable?
Philodendron Birkins are remarkably stable, considering their high density of variegation. In simple terms, this means that they retain their cream and white coloring, even in low-light conditions. This is not to say that they cannot lose their variegation, but instead that it will take a long time for them to do so.
One of the many reasons we love Birkins is that they retain their beautiful coloring in a variety of conditions. While they prefer light, you can get away with lower-sun areas, provided they still receive lots of humidity. Even in less-than-ideal environments, they retain their bright cream stripes.
That said, consistent and prolonged exposure to low light can result in a reversion of variegation to plain green, in line with the Birkin’s parent plant, the Rojo Congo. It will take time, but it does happen, and signs of this should be addressed with maintenance procedures such as pruning.
While not scientifically proven, it is suggested that moving your Birkin to a brighter area and pruning away all leaves, barring those with existing variegation, can encourage rejuvenated growth. If color is what you’re after, this is worth a try, but I wouldn’t recommend stripping more than 30% of your plant.
Why doesn’t my birkin have white stripes?
If your Birkin suddenly starts sprouting leaves without any white or cream stripes, it means it isn’t getting enough light, as mentioned above. What is happening is that your plant is trying to compensate for a lack of chlorophyll cells by reverting to a fuller green color.
You should check where the plant is positioned and consider moving it somewhere where its getting all of its light needs met (without burning it though!)
How do I stop my birkin from reverting?
To stop your Birkin from reverting, you need to ensure that it receives adequate light. A large Philodendron Birkin needs at least 6 to 8 hours of bright, indirect light daily. Without this, it may suffer slowed or leggy growth or lose its signature variegation.
If your Philodendron Birkin is losing variegation, moving it to a sunny location will usually fix things up in time. However, it’s also beneficial to ensure the rest of its needs are being met, so you can fully enjoy your Philodendron Birkin’s variegation, full growth, and vining patterns.
Do philodendron birkin like to be root bound?
No plant likes to be root bound, and a Philodendron Birkin is no different. While it is slow-growing and, therefore, only requires repotting once every 2 to 3 years, it may suffer from ill health if it has no space to develop, which can be fatal over time.
When we use the term “root bound,” we refer to plants that have outgrown their living space, namely their pot or planter. A consequence of this is that your Birkin’s roots take up the areas reserved for soil and water, making it difficult to access the nutrients it needs to grow.
Initially, all that will happen is that your Birkin will stop growing because it has no more space to maneuver. Over time, however, it will also develop problems like wilting and drooping from a lack of energy. In worst-case scenarios, the roots will start to die, which can be irreversible if unattended.
To prevent this, you should repot your Birkin as soon as you notice a halt in growth, or you can see the roots peeking out of your pot’s drainage holes.
Does a birkin need a moss pole?
For the Philodendron Birkin, a moss pole is not necessary, but it is beneficial. These plants are naturally vining, which means they grow long stems that dangle and trail. However, a moss pole lends to aesthetic, clustered upward growth as they will opt to weave themselves upwards around it.
I’m always a fan of a moss pole, especially when it comes to philodendrons. They love to climb, which is one benefit, but another is that moss poles provide additional nutrients for aerial roots, making for a healthier plant overall.
Poles and trellises also give Birkins a support structure which prevents them from becoming top-heavy. Plants with too much foliage can bend and snap, which is an awful way to lose your Birkin’s hard-earned growth.
Is the birkin plant poisonous?
Unfortunately, the Philodendron Birkin, like all species in the philodendron family, is toxic to humans and animals. This is because they contain crystal oxalate cells which cause irritation to the skin and gastrointestinal system. Skin contact may result in a rash, whereas ingestion can cause nausea and diarrhea.
We all want the best for our plants as well as for our pets and little ones, so it’s a good idea to keep them separate. While contact or ingestion is unlikely to cause lasting damage, it can be an unpleasant experience that requires medical treatment.
To avoid contact, keep your plants on surfaces curious hands and teeth can’t reach, or use an organic pet repellent from your local nursery or garden center.
Why are my philodendron birkin’s leaves turning yellow?
There are a few reasons why Philodendron Birkin leaves turn yellow, but the primary cause is overwatering, with yellowing leaves being an early sign of root rot. Damaged roots cannot transport nutrients, oxygen, and water to a plant’s leaves, which causes cell death, and by default, turns them yellow.
I find watering my plants to be the most cathartic exercise on earth. However, with some trial and error, I’ve learned that my Philodendron Birkin, in particular, doesn’t do well with being over-loved.
While they’re super hardy, too much hydration can quickly cause root rot in philodendrons – a fungal or bacterial infection that destroys your plant’s root system.
Therefore, if you notice yellowing leaves on your philodendron, run a diagnostic immediately. Is your soil damp or soggy? Allow it to dry out, which may reverse some of the damage. Lots of sun helps. Or if the damage is progressed, try repotting your Philodendron Birkin, removing damaging roots in the process.
A secondary cause of yellowing leaves is chemical burn, which your Philodendron Birkin may contract from over-fertilization. In this case, transplantation is also recommended, followed by a restriction of your feeding practices.
Why is my philodendron birkin drooping?
Drooping and wilting in Philodendron Birkin is more often than not related to watering practices. Too little water can cause fatigue which will make your plant look droopy, while too much water (or root rot) can also cause ill health. Generally, when a plant wilts, it is trying to communicate that it’s unwell.
While a drooping Philodendron Birkin is distressing, it’s not usually terribly serious and most likely due to dehydration. This can be solved with a dose of water and sunlight and, of course, more consistent care going forward. In no time, your plant should be back to its old self.
Conversely, if this doesn’t do the trick, your philodendron leaves curling may indicate an underlying issue like root rot, which, ironically, is caused by overwatering. If you suspect this is the case, you may be best off transplanting your Philodendron Birkin into fresh soil and readjusting your watering schedule.
A third cause of drooping is related to light. If a Philodendron Birkin isn’t receiving enough sun, it will tell you by dropping its leaves and wilting. Remember, six to eight hours a day is critical, and if you can’t provide this, mitigate potential drooping with supplementary grow lights.
Why are there brown spots on my philodendron birkin?
Like yellowing and drooping, brown spots on a Philodendron Birkin are a sign of a health ailment. Browning, in particular, is mainly caused by pest infestations or bacterial and fungal infections. The best way to get rid of brown spots is to identify the cause and then treat your plant accordingly.
None of us want to see our Philodendron Birkin suffer, and brown spots usually aren’t a very good sign. If you notice your philodendron leaves turning brown, the first thing you want to do is identify the cause, whether it be pests or soil-related.
In the case of creepy crawlies, you can treat your Philodendron Birkin by washing it down with a horticultural soap, followed by a wipe with neem oil. Remove damaged growth, and give your plant lots of love, water, and light.
On the other hand, bacterial and fungal infections are best treated by getting rid of old soil. I highly recommend transplanting your Philodendron Birkin (preferably in spring or summer), and cutting away any visible root and leaf damage, provided it’s not more than 30% of your plant’s total volume.
Brown spots on philodendrons can also be caused by sunburn, but in this case, they’ll look more like a sheen than a spot, per se. Sunburn can be prevented by keeping your Philodendron Birkin out of direct light.