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Philodendron Birkin Care Guide and Profile

The Philodendrons Birkin is a stylish exotic designer plant that requires little maintenance . It has thick, glossy leaves with interesting variegation. The upright bushy growth habit of the birkin sets it apart from other philodendrons.

The Birkin is a tropical plant whose natural habitat is the tropical rain forests of Central and South America. It is now a popular houseplant with over 100 cultivars available. 

This bushy compact plant has a history of use as an ornamental plant in tropical environments since 1828 when it first arrived from South America to Europe.

But it’s recently become more popular as a houseplant, if still somewhat difficult to source. Like most philodendrons, with only a little attention, this beautiful plant will add a lovely bit of fresh, green life to your home.

Easy care, tolerant, and slow growing birkin is a good choice for beginner plant owners. Let it grow on a shelf or tabletop when small. Eventually you can move it to the floor and enjoy it as a small indoor bush.

Read our list of top plants for beginner plant parents and find more plants like this one that filter the air of toxic chemicals in your home.

birkin-leaf detail

What is Special About a Philodendron Birkin?

The Birkin is a special and unique plant. This beauty provides a wonderful focal point in your home. It is a very interesting, easy care house plant. Birkins are great houseplants because they tolerate low light conditions and thrive indoors. In addition, they are easy to grow and propagate from cuttings.

  • The Birkin plant is special since it is a spontaneous mutation and cannot be produced by seed. Rather, the chimeric mutation responsible for the pinstripe variegation in the birkin must be cultivated by tissue propagation. This keeps the plant less available since mass production is difficult.
  • Birkin philodendron grows as a bush rather than a climbing vine which is unusual in the Philodendrons.
  • This Philodendron Birkin is great at filtering the air in your home. Read our list of air filtering plants in this post. The birkin removes VOC gases from the room you place them in. And they take in carbon monoxcide and give back oxygen to the room as they respire.
  • The birkin is easy to get along with in your home. It is not fussy or sensitive. The birkin will even tolerate some neglect.

You won’t find many plants like the birkin.

Plants and people go together. Live greenery is therapeutic for humans and Improves our Home Environment.

Is the Philodendron Birkin Rare?

The Philodedron Birkin is a newer tropical plant variety. And difficult to mass produce.

Even though it is a trendy plant and well sought after, the Philodendron Birkin is still considered rare. However, It is becoming more available in plant shops.

the intricate leaves and unusual leaf colors keep this plant interesting and worth looking around for.

If you cannot find a White Wave Birkin or other Birkin cultivars you want in your local plant shops, we recommend you order a Birkin from a reputable Etsy shop. Etsy shops with a good seller rating are quite reliable small retailers.

Purchase the Philodendron Birkin from Etsy

birkin as a table top plant.

Can The Philodendron Birkin Revert?

Philodendron birkin can revert to green leaves or show different looks in the variegated leaves, even occasionally the original red ‘congo rojo’ type leaves.

This happens because the chimeric mutation responsible for the color variegation in the Birkin Philodendron is a spontaneous color mutation. This type of mutation is most often stable, so the variegation is likely to grow true.

However that is not always the case. New leaves can grow in as completely green leaves. These most likely will change into pinstripe variegated leaves as they mature. But not always. Alternately, new leaves can be white, or even pink and then gain more chlorophyll as the leaves age.

What Kind Of Light Does A Philodendron Birkin Need?

The Philodendron Birkin variegation is light sensitive. for the best color set the birkin in bright indirect lighting.

The Birkin will fit in anywhere you have a spot with medium or bright indirect light. The Birkin can tolerate low light but the plant will not give you the brightest variegations.

A Philodendron birkin must have adequate light to show it’s brightest colorations. The variegations will fade and disappear in very low light since the plant must produce more chlorophyll to feed itself in low light.

Lighting also affects birkin growth. This plant is a slow grower in moderate light. If you set it in a lower light area the growth will slow down to almost nothing.

Fortunately, the white wave grows well under both artificial lights and natural light. Supplement natural light as necessary to keep the birkin under strong indirect lighting for 12 hours a day. This will keep the leaf coloration at its best through even the shortest, darkest winter months.

philodendron birkin-close up
bright indirect light gives Birkin the best color variegation

Philodendron Birkin Watering:

The native rainforest environment under the tree canopy where this plant grows is surprisingly dry. The soil is intermittently saturated by drops of water falling from the tree canopy above the birkin. Birkins receive plenty of moisture from air humidity.

Water the birkin philodendron when the soil is dry down to the root zone, about two inches into the soil. You don’t want a completely dry soil but a light moisture level is all the roots can tolerate. Aroids like the birkin need a light friable soil so the roots can move and access oxygen.

OverWatering will kill birkins. Too much extra moisture will smother the roots. Do not water your birkin when the soil is already wet through. Constant overwatering will cause your Birkin to get root rot, fungus gnats, moldy soil and viruses.

Best Method to water philodendron birkin: Allow the soil to almost dry out then give it a good soaking. Allow the soil to almost dry out. Then water it again. Check the soil weekly to see if it needs watering.

The watering schedule will change through the seasons as humidity and temperatures in the home move up and down.

The Birkins watering needs are affected by several factors. Is it growing fast or slow? If you are giving your birkin lots of bright indirect light, good soil, a good sized pot to fits the roots and regular fertilizing, expect it to need more water to support the plant growth.

During dormancy in winter, Birkin will slow down it’s growth and need less water to maintain itself. If you see yellow leaves you are most likely overwatering your birkin.

Excess water will injure the roots and cause the plant to quit feeding some of the leaves. So those leaves, usually on the bottom of the plant will yellow and die.

Philodendron Birkin Needs Humidity: 

The birkin enjoys a humid environment with air humidity levels of 40% or more. Like most plants living under canopy of trees in a tropical rainforest environment, this philodendron absorbs plenty of moisture through the leaves. 

When the birkin philodendron sits in low humidity it will get dry leaf tips.. The dry leaf tips will turn brown. If you see brown leaf tips, increase air humidity to the plant.

Most homes and humans are comfortable at 40% humidity and that is a good low point for the birkin. However, some climates are naturally very dry. Also, in cooler winter months heating systems blow dry warm air that dries out the home environment.

If your indoor climate is dry under 40% humidity you will need to improve your homes humidity levels to avoid dry leaf tips that turn to brown leaf tips.

When the birkin philodendron leaves dry out, the dry leaf tips turn brown. If you see brown tips on the leaves your air moisture is too dry.

How Big Does The Philodendron Birkin Get?

The Philodendron birkin grows as an upright bush to about three feet tall as a mature plant. The Birkin is not a climbing vine like other philodendrons and requires no stake or pruning.

The birkin makes a nice table top plant as a youth. It matures into a beautiful accent plant for the floor or short plant stand.

philodendron birkin care

Can You Propagate A Philodendron Birkin?

You can propagate a Birkin in three ways. Stem cuttings, root division and air layering.

The birkins are not propagated by seed since the mutation responsible for the variegation in this plant can only be reproduced with tissue propagation.

Root division is the simplest way to propagate a Birkin without a node. When the plant is ready for repotting carefully unpot the plant. Gently pull apart the plant roots where new philodendron birkin pups grow alongside the mother plant. When you see the plant unpotted, the division points are fairly easy to see. Plant the two parts in separate pots and you have propagated your birkin.

Can you propagate philodendron birkin from a leaf? Stem cuttings are easy to make from a leaf and leaf node. This can be done anytime without repotting. In our printable care guide we list the steps for the stem cutting method.

In the Video below, Kayti discusses the care and stem cutting propagation of the Birkin.

Air layering is also possible with the birkin, but not often done. Stem cuttings and division are much quicker and simpler to do.

Is Philodendron Birkin Poisonous?

The Birkin, like All philodendrons are toxic to dogs, cats and humans and should be kept away from pets and children. Philodendrons contain toxic calcium oxalate crystals in the leaves which is a digestive and skin irritant.

Mouth and throat irritation, rashes and digestive upset are the usual symptoms of poisoning with the birkin.

Symptoms of poisoning are not normally fatal. This is considered a mild to moderate toxin. However, if you see signs of poisoning call the vet or your doctor immediately..

philodendron birkin-spot light

How do you Care For a Philodendron Birkin?

Here’s our quick care guide:

Familiar NamesPhilodendron Birkin, birkin, White Wave, birkin philodendron
Scientific NamePhilodendron Birkin
Plant FamilyAraceae
Care DifficultyEasy
Temperature65 to 85 degrees F.
WateringWater throughly when plant soil is dry down halfway. Allow soil to dry to the root zone before watering again.
SoilAroids like the Birkin require a light soil mix. We use 2 parts soil mix to one part perlite and one part orchid bark.
LightingPhilodendron Birkin requires moderate to bright light to ensure proper variegation and color distinctions.
Pests:Spider mites, mealy bugs and all the other common pests can attack birkin. Learn how to identify, prevent and treat the & common plant pests here.
GrowthThe Birkin grows slowly to 3 feet in a bush form. This Philodendron is not a climbing vine.

Here is a more detailed printable care guide for the Birkin.

Yield: Printable Care Guide

Philodendron Birkin Care Guide

philodendron birkin care

The Birkin Philodendron is a stylish plant with interesting variegations.

This Lovely plant grows to about three feet tall as a houseplant in a bushy upright shape.

This Care Guide will teach you how to keep this tropical Aroid happy all through the year.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Difficulty easy

Instructions

What is the best soli for a Birkin?

  1. The birkin is an aroid that requires a light friable soil that will not condense with watering so the roots stay aerated.
  2. A mix of potting soil, perlite and orchid bark will keep the roots happiest.
  3. Here is our mix.aroid soil mix
  4. Two parts potting soil to one part perlite to one part orchid bark.
  5. A heavy soil potting mix is not recommended for aroids.

Best Pot Size and Type for The Birkin:

  1. The Birkin Philodendron can be grown in relatively small pots since they are fairly slow growers.
  2. If you want to encourage faster growth choose a pot about 2 inches wider in diameter than the current pot.
  3. Any well drained pot can be used. It MUST have drainage.
  4. Repot every second year or when roots come out the drainage holes on the pot bottom To the next pot size up.
  5. Don't jump to a huge pot from a small one unless you wish to encourage faster growth. Just go to the next size up pot.

What kind of Lighting Does the philodendron birkin need?

  1. The birkin enjoys moderate to bright indirect light 6 to 8 hours a day for best variegation..
  2. It will tolerate lower indirect light it if has some brighter moments in the day.
  3. Some filtered sunlight from a window will be appreciated.
  4. Shield this aroid from strong direct light in summer south and west sunny windows. The leaves will burn.
  5. Tip: Window sheers or blinds can offset some brief periods of high direct light.

Watering Philodenron Birkin:

  1. Water your Birkin when the soil is dry. Aroids do not like to be overly wet. Try a watering schedule of every other week.
  2. Watering is best by thoroughly soaking the soil and then allowing the soil to dry down to the root zone. Check the soil weekly on a regular schedule so the plant is not over or under watered. Both can cause stress on the plant.
  3. This tropical plant enjoys humidity. In dry climates this Philodendron will thrive with a humidifier nearby. OR use a pebble tray under the pot filled half way with water.
  4. In dormant winter months reduce watering to when the soil is dry.
  5. Never let this plant get wet feet. Water when the top 2 inches of soil are dry. If the soil is compacted the bottom of the soil can remain wet which encourages root rot. Heavy wet soils attract Fungus Gnats.

How to Fertilize the philodendron Birkin:

  1. Apply a good quality fertilizer (linked in materials) monthly through Spring and summer.
  2. Decrease feedings by late Fall and allow the philodendron birkin to rest through the winter months.

What temperature do the Birkin need?

  1. Keep the Birkin at a low of 65 Degrees F. to upward of 85 Degrees F. It enjoys warmth and humidity.

Pruning and Training:

  1. The Birkin require no pruning. Just snip off old dead leaves.
  2. This philodendron is not a climbing vine and does not require staking or training.
  3. Sharp Hand pruners are preferred for pruning off dead leaves. They will give a clean cut that will heal quickly.
  4. The birkin grows as a compact plant in an upright bushy form. It's great for a table top, shelf or floor plant.
  5. What Pests bother the philodendron Birkin?

  1. The birkin is not fussy and resists pests. However all plants can get attacked by pests.
  2. Stress by longterm overwatering, poor light, extreme temperatures and soil conditions are contributors to plant stress..
  3. Spider mites, mealy bugs, scale, thrips and whitefly are the most common houseplant pests you will see. Read our post on the seven most common pests for houseplants and how to kill them.
  4. Read our post on How to get rid of aphids and other pests with our homemade pesticide soap recipe or neems oil.
  5. To minimize the possibility of pests be sure to check all nursery plants before bringing them home.
  6. Quarantine all new plants until you are sure no pests live in them.

How to Propagate Philodendron Birkin:

  1. Propagation is easily done through leaf node stem cuttings.
  2. You need a 3 to 6 inch leaf stem with a couple of nodes and healthy growth.
  3. Cut your start in the internodal zone This more easily seen on vines but the birkin has nodes at the leaf base too.
  4. Cut a long stem from the mother plant as close to the base of the plant as possible.
  5. Place the node into a jar with water. Use tap water that has settled 24 hours in the jar to dissipate chemicals harmful to the philodendron birkin.
  6. Set the jar in a well lit area.
  7. After several weeks roots will grow. Allow the roots to get an inch or more in length.
  8. Plant gently and firmly into pot with proper soil mix.
  9. Make sure to keep the soil moist until the roots begin to set into the soil.

More Easy Care Plants:

If you enjoy the diversity, beauty and simple care needs of philodendrons explore these varieties. There are so many varieties to love.

More from the Contented Plant:

You may also find our plant problems and helps section helpful. It covers how to fix root rot in houseplants and we have a guide specifically on orchid root rot. Other posts in this section cover plant pests, diseases and management problems.

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Caring for the philodendron birkin plant-plant image
The Philodendron Birkin is a beautiful and stylishly exotic house plant. Its easy care and slow growing habit make it a good choice for beginners plant owners.

Plantipus

Tuesday 7th of June 2022

good article, thanks for the information .

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