The Philodendron Birkin is a newer philodendron variety. It is simple to care for, slow-growing and compact.
The most eye-catching aspect of the Birkin is its round, dark green leaves, with slightly pointed tips that have delicate, white pinstripes. (White is the most common, but it has also been known to produce red and cream-colored leaves, as well).
Their foliage is evergreen – meaning it survives throughout the year.
Philodendron Birkin’s leaves can grow as long as 7 inches. The plants themselves can grow between 1.5-3 feet tall, but they are slow-growing plants, so it can take a while for them to reach their full, mature size.
|Botanical Name||Philodendron Birkin|
|Common Name||Philodendron Birkin|
|Size||up to 3 feet|
|Pet Friendly||No, Toxic to pets|
Philodendron Birkin Origin
Philodendrons as a group were discovered in the 1600s in Brazil. They originate in the Caribbean, Colombia, Brazil, and Venezuela. Today, they also grow in Asia.
There are hundreds of varieties of Philodendrons, and several have become very popular houseplants because of their impressive foliage and easy-to-maintain care requirements.
Birkins, however, are a unique variation of the Philodendrons. They do not exist in the wild. Instead, they developed due to a rare mutation in the Philodendron Rojo Congo.
The Philodendron Rojo Congo – with naturally red foliage – mutated to develop a plant with white and cream pinstripes.
This mutation developed near the apical zone (an abnormality referred to as spontaneous chimeric mutation), which means that all cells followed the mutation afterward.
The propagations of this variegation were somewhat stable (unlike some variegations), and voila! The Philodendron Birkin was born.
Though the variegation was stable enough to support propagation, the Philodendron Birkin can sometimes revert to its original variation, Rojo Congo, or mutate even more. We’ll touch more on this below!
How to Care for Philodendron Birkin
The Philodendron Birkin is a relatively easy plant to care for. We’ll cover a few high-level tips below. But once you have a grasp on the primary care requirements, you should have very few issues helping your Philodendron Birkin to thrive.
Light and Temperature
When thinking about light and temperature, it is helpful to consider your Philodendron Birkin’s natural, tropical habitat, where it would likely grow beneath a canopy of taller trees.
Keeping this in mind, it makes sense that Birkin plants do not like direct sunlight. In fact, too much direct sunlight can burn your plant’s leaves and dry out its leaves.
Instead, it is best to make sure your plant is in indirect sunlight – by an east-facing window or in a room that has shades over the windows – for at least 12 hours a day.
If you live in a region that does not have a lot of sunlight, consider purchasing a grow light for your plant! These can help provide extra sunlight for your plant.
You can find grow lights online or at your local big-box store.
If you can provide the proper light environment for your Birkin, you can actually encourage the brightness of the plant’s delicate, white pinstripes, causing a starker contrast to that of the rest of the leaf and encouraging its unique appearance.
In terms of temperature, regular household temperatures should be suitable for your Philodendron Birkin.
Try to keep your plant between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Lower temperatures around 60 degrees Fahrenheit are okay for the evening but do try to avoid temperatures much colder than that, as they can unnecessarily stress your plant.
Water & Humidity
Proper watering is essential for your Philodendron Birkin. During their growing season (spring and summer), they like their soil to be damp. Typically, this means watering it 1-2 times per week, waiting until the topsoil is dry before watering again.
Of course, you always want to avoid root rot and waterlogged plants. To keep from drowning your plant, be sure it has a well-draining pot.
If you notice your plant’s leaves are drooping, it is likely due to improper watering habits. Check your plant’s soil more frequently and adjust your watering accordingly.
Yellow leaves are also a sign of improper watering – typically overwatering, specifically. Be sure that your Philodendron Birkin’s soil is draining properly, and consider repotting if it appears to be waterlogged.
In the winter, water your Philodendron Birkin less. It is best if you let your Birkin’s soil dry out more before watering it again.
It is a good rule of thumb to always test your plant’s soil before watering. Using your index finger is a simple method. If the soil is dry up to your first knuckle, you should water your plant.
You can also purchase a soil meter to help you gauge how wet/dry your plant is, as well.
Testing with your finger or using a moisture meter can help you avoid overwatering, especially in the winter, when it may take longer for your plant to dry out.
It is helpful to remember that Philodendrons come from tropical regions, so they love humidity.
Consider keeping your Birkin in a room that has higher humidity (i.e., a room with a humidifier or your bathroom).
You can also mist your plant regularly (every two days during the growing season and once a week during the winter) to replicate its native moisture-rich air.
Pebble Trays are also helpful to increase the humidity around your plant. To create a pebble tray, simply fill a shallow container with pebbles and water (be sure the water does not cover the pebbles completely), and place your plant on top.
As the water from the pebble tray evaporates, it increases the humidity around your plant.
The Philodendron Birkin is slow-growing and does not need to be replanted often (more on this below). Because of this, it is important to replenish the top with fresh nutrient-rich soil at least once a year.
This new soil should provide your plant with all the nutrients it needs, but you can also fertilize it in the summer and spring if you like.
If you choose to fertilize your Philodendron Birkin, be sure to use a general-purpose houseplant fertilizer and fertilize monthly.
Philodendron Birkins are a part of the flowering plant family Araceae. However, they will not flower when grown indoors.
Instead, focus on highlighting your Birkin’s lovely leaves – no two Birkin leaf patterns are alike! Consider regularly wiping off your plant’s leaves to keep the delicate pattern visible. (This regular cleaning is also very healthy for your plant and can help it grow!)
Pruning of your Philodendron Birkin is not necessary, apart from the periodic clean-up of dead or dying leaves.
Of course, if your plant develops a disease or a severe pest infection, pruning may be necessary to control the spread of the condition.
Other than that, do not worry about pruning your plant.
One of the perks of the Philodendron Birkin is that it grows slowly. You likely will not have to repot it very often if it is healthy and draining correctly.
Plan to repot your plant once every 2-3 years.
Replenish the soil regularly between re-potting to help keep your Birkin’s soil full of nutrients that will support its growth.
Peat-based soil is best for Philodendron Birkin, which will absorb moisture without becoming water-logged. Many plant owners like to add perlite, as well, to increase the aeration of the soil and improve drainage.
Choose a planter that is only 1.5-2 inches bigger than your plant’s current pot. This space will give your Birkin plenty of room to grow without shocking it from too much change in its environment.
Using a planter that is too big can sometimes make it easier to overwater your plants, as well.
When you come ready to move your plant, carefully remove it from its current pot. Inspect the roots for any sign of disease. If any roots appear brown and mushy, they likely have succumbed to root rot. Trim them up before moving the plant to a new pot to help ensure the proper future growth of your plant.
Break up the soil around the roots a little if it has become compact. This will encourage future growth.
Then, place your Birkin in its new pot with the peat-based or regular potting soil and water it. Lightly pack the soil to support your plant, but be sure not to pack it down too much.
Spider mites love warm, moist environments, so if you keep your Birkin plant in an adequately humid climate, you are prone to these little pests.
If you notice white webbing on the underside of your plant’s leaves, you likely have spider mites. Wipe your plant’s leaves down with a diluted mixture of rubbing alcohol and water (1 cup of alcohol to 30 oz of water). The alcohol will kill the spider mites.
After getting the infection under control, spray your plant regularly with organic neem oil to prevent future pests.
Most issues or diseases that you might run into with Philodendron Birkin are likely caused by overwatering.
Xanthomonas is a bacterial disease that can cause leaf spots on your Philodendron Birkin. A yellow “halo will surround these brown spots.”
Erwinia, too, is a bacterial disease that causes rotting of the plant’s stems and, consequently, drooping of its leaves.
Diseases such as these can be treated through pruning of the infected leaves. It is also imperative that you ensure your plant’s soil is not waterlogged – a prime environment for disease growth.
As with pests, take care to monitor your plant for signs of disease to ensure you can take care of the problem quickly.
How to Propagate Philodendron Birkin
Propagation of Philodendron Birkin can be done through plant cuttings. In the spring and summer, during your plant’s growing season, snip away a stem or two with clean, sharp shears.
Remove the lower leaves on your cutting and place them directly in moist, peat-based soil or a cup of water.
If you choose to propagate via water, wait until the cutting’s roots are a couple of inches long before planting in nutrient-rich, peat-based soil.
Consider dipping your rooted cutting (or your fresh cutting) in growth hormone before planting it in soil to encourage growth.
You should see new growth in about two to three weeks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Philodendron Birkin rare?
The Philodendron Birkin used to be a more rare houseplant, but tissue culture cultivation in recent years has allowed it to become much more popular (and affordable!).
Now, Philodendron Birkins can often be found at local nurseries or through sellers online.
How big will Philodendron Birkin grow?
Philodendron Birkins can grow up to three feet tall. However, they grow very slowly, so it will take them a while to reach their full, mature size.
Usually, you will see them at nurseries or online about 6-12 inches tall.
Is a Philodendron Birkin easy to grow?
The Philodendron Birkin is an overall easy plant to care for!
Simply ensure its light, temperature, and water requirements are where they should be, and your plant should have very few issues.
Is Philodendron Birkin toxic to pets?
Philodendron Birkin plants are toxic. They have calcium oxalate crystals in their foliage, which can cause problems in the kidney.
Because of this, do keep them away from children and your animals.
It is always best to keep plants out of reach of curious hands and paws. Try to keep them in areas where they are not likely to come in contact with your children or pets.
What to do if my plant loses its variegation?
If your Philodendron Birkin has new growth that looks non-variegated (i.e., there are no white stripes), they are likely reverting to their non-variegated form, the Philodendron Rojo Congo.
To avoid this, cut your plant back so that it only has its variegated leaves. This should help keep the non-variegated leaves at bay and, hopefully, encourage your Philodendron Birkin back to its variegated form.
If you are looking for a visually striking, compact, simple to care for plant, the Philodendron Birkin is the plant for you. Simply be sure its basic care requirements align with those of its tropical origin, and you should have very few issues with this plant.
Be sure to check out all of our Plant Care Guides!