Plant Spotlight: Philodendron Birkin


Photo by Christina Nguyen @c_nguyen21

The philodendron birkin's bright contrasting stripes has won the hearts of many plant parents, rapidly propelling its recent growth in popularity. They are a relatively new philodendron cultivar as a spontaneous genetic mutation of the rojo congo. Birkins tend to grow more compact and bushy than other philodendrons, making them great indoor plants, especially for small spaces. Philodendrons are native to tropical Central and South America and share common growing conditions with many other aroids.


LIGHT

The birkin prefers bright indirect light, like the dappled sunlight that filters down through the canopy of the rainforest. Philodendrons generally tend to be hardy plants, so it will tolerate moderate light with very little fuss. However, it will not grow as large or as quickly, and the variegation on its leaves (the bright striping patterns that make it special) requires more maintenance than solid green plants. If not given enough light, the birkin's leaves will lose its white, creamy variegation in favor of more chlorophyll to process as much of the light as they can, therefore growing more solid green with less stripes. (Note that juvenile birkins start off with solid green leaves and will become more variegated as they mature if given enough light.)


WATER AND SOIL

Root rot is one of the most common ailments of aroids, including philodendrons. To avoid this, only water it when the top 2 inches of the soil is dry, and err on the dry side if you're not sure. I highly recommend using a moisture meter for accurate moisture level readings of the soil, rather than just using a finger and guessing. Use a well-draining soil mix that contains ingredients that help the water drain through rather than retain it, such as perlite, orchid bark, etc.


HUMIDITY

While it will do just fine with normal household humidity levels at around 30-40%, it will thrive if given upwards of 60-70% humidity. The more you can replicate its native jungle environment, the more it will love you! Use a hygrometer to check your humidity levels and a humidifier to bump up the moisture.



It's easy to see how the philodendron birkin has become such a popular plant in a short amount of time. Its beautiful pinstripes coupled with its relative ease of care makes this plant a no-brainer for house plant parents. If you're a proud owner of a philodendron birkin, please feel free to share comments and photos with me on Instagram @sen.shoppe!