Philodendron Birkin Care โ€“ The Mysterious Philodendron

This Philodendron Birkin plant care guide will teach you all you need to know about caring for this once rare tropical plant. You will learn about temperature, humidity, plant origins, toxicity, Philodendron Birkin soil requirements, lighting, watering and more. If you don’t have time to read the entire article, sign up below to download the complete care guide.

The Birkin was once a rare houseplant but is now found in many big box stores and one of the main commercial suppliers of this plant in the US is Costa Farms.

Philodendron Birkin Origin

Philodendron Birkin is a rather easy houseplant to grow, but figuring out where it originated from is the tricky part. The Birkin does not appear in nature and has only been available to consumers for a few years now. It results from a process of plant reproduction called tissue culturing. Which is basically taking a small amount of plant tissue and multiplying it hundreds of times until you get thousands of baby plants which you can then grow out and sell to nurseries. The process is much more complex than that, but for the purpose of this article, we will stick with it.

During this process, there can be mutations of the plant cells which sometimes result in new plants altogether. The Philodendron Birkin is just that, a spontaneous cell mutation formed during tissue culturing of the Philodendron Rojo Congo. They noticed this strange mutated plant, grew it out and then it became the Philodendron Birkin. The Rojo Congo itself is also not found in nature and is a hybrid of Philodendron ‘Imperial Red’ and a Philodendron tatei. The Philodendron Rojo and Birkin look quite different. Here’s a photo of the Rojo Congo so you can see just how wild it is that the Birkin came from it.

Philodendron Rojo Congo for comparison
Philodendron ‘Rojo Congo’

Philodendron Birkin Toxicity

Just like all plants of the Philodendron genus, the Birkin contains high amounts of calcium oxalate crystals. These are not digestible to cats and dogs and can cause irritation of the mouth and gums, vomiting and diarrhea, and possibly even death. Large amounts of this tropical plant are deadly if consumed. So if you have animals that like to munch on all things green, keep this one out of reach. We want to help you keep your furry friends safe and well. That’s why we didn’t bury this section at the bottom of this post. Now that we have that out of the way, we can move on to the Birkin plant care itself.

Light Requirements

The Philodendron Birkin needs bright indirect light. This houseplant will not do well in medium to low light conditions. If your Birkin Philodendron is growing very leggy or leaning heavily in one direction, then it needs more light. Also, you may notice that a leaf comes out all green with little to no variegation when it is not getting adequate light. If you notice dry brown spots on leaves, then it is getting too much direct sunlight. You will know when you have placed it in bright indirect light when the shadow that it casts is dark with defined edges. If you are still unsure of your lighting situation, you can pick up a light meter to help you gauge the best possible position for your Birkin.

This Philodendron plant also grows well under grow lights. Just make sure that you purchase ones labeled “full spectrum”.

Philodendron Birkin Care
Philodendron Birkin

Philodendron Birkin Care – Watering & Soil

Philodendron Birkin watering requirements are medium to high. Ours require watering approximately once a week. Your plant’s requirements may vary from ours depending on relative humidity, pots size, plant size and soil used. You should never water your plants on a schedule. Water needs fluctuate with the seasons, temperature, and humidity. Always check the soil with either a moisture meter or your finger to make sure that the plant actually needs a drink before watering again.

So many houseplants are prone to root rot and the Birkin is no exception. To prevent root rot, pot it in a fast draining Aroid mix that will retain moisture but not get waterlogged. Our Aroid mix comprises 40% Coco Coir, 30% Coco Chips, 10% Biochar chips, 10% Worm Castings, 10% Peat Moss. This is the mix that we currently use for all of our philodendrons. Birkin philodendrons like to have moist soil but not soggy soil. The roots need to breathe and a regular potting soil will smother your roots, leading to root rot, poor growth, and eventually plant death. If you don’t use an Aroid mix, then allow the top couple inches of soil to dry between waterings. Provide your plant with a pot that has drainage holes to allow for deep thorough waterings.

Humidity & Temperature

Philodendron Birkin needs medium to high humidity levels and average household room temperature between 65ยบF and 90ยบF. They will perform best in 50% to 70% relative humidity. If grown in low humidity, we find our Birkin leaves droop constantly, even with adequate watering. Also, if the tips of your Birkin plant’s leaves are brown and crispy, then you need to increase the relative humidity around your plants. Philodendron Birkin leaves curling can also be a sign that the humidity is too low.

The easiest, most efficient way that we have found to increase the humidity levels for our plants is with a humidifier. They are easy to maintain and are excellent at increasing humidity with very little effort. If you don’t want to commit to buying a humidifier, then you can try placing your plants on a pebble tray or group them together to increase the humidity levels. All tropical plants will enjoy increased humidity levels, so grouping these plants together is always a good idea.

Philodendron Birkin Care
Philodendron Birkin

Fertilizing

The Philodendron Birkin plant needs to be fertilized every 2-4 weeks with a balanced organic fertilizer. We fertilize ours with every other watering. This insures that our plants are getting the nutrients that they need to grow fast and strong. If you notice your Birkin has stopped growing and you have not fertilized in a while, this is probably the cause. To correct the issue, give your plant a good fertilizing to stimulate fresh growth.

Tip: Never fertilize on dry soil. Wet the soil first and then pour over your fertilizer mix.

Propagation

Propagating your plants is an excellent way to grow your plant collection, share plants with friends and family, or to sell online.

P. Birkin propagation is very easy. You can propagate it by top cuttings rooted in either water or soil. In order for this to be successful, make sure you have at least 2 nodes per cutting. After taking the top cutting, your Birkin plant will branch just below the cut. This is can be really nice if you want a fuller plant.

Potting Philodendron Birkin

When given the correct care, Birkin philodendrons can be fast growers and need to be repotted every year. If allowed to get root bound, their growth and vigor will decrease. When repotting, never increase the pot size by over 2-4 inches. Doing so will increase the likelihood of root rot and over-watering issues.

Since Birkin plants dislike it when their soil dries out completely, I prefer to only use plastic or glazed ceramic pots. Clay pots might allow the soil to dry out too quickly. Remember to always select a pot with drainage holes. If you have a pot without drainage holes and want to figure out the best way to use it, check out this post – Easiest Way to Use Pots Without Drainage Holes.

Pests & Problems

Although not usually plagued by pests, spider mites and aphids can both quickly become an issue. To keep your plants pest free, clean and check your plants at least once a month. We love placing our plants in the shower and giving them a good spray to keep the leaves dust and insect free. Philodendron Birkin care is pretty easy when it comes to pests. They respond well to Neem treatments and the leaves are easy to spray or wipe down if you find yourself battling an infestation.

Root rot is also a common problem that many people run into with Birkin plants. Follow the soil and watering care guides to prevent this in your plants.

Philodendron Birkin
A young Philodendron Birkin

Philodendron Birkin Care – Growth

Like its parent plant the Rojo Congo, the Birkin is self-heading and self-supporting and does not climb. With the right care, the Birkin is a fairly quick grower; putting out new leaves weekly on our plant. However, that does not mean that it gets big quickly. The Birkin Philodendron is a compact grower and may only grow roughly 12 inches in a year. The overall or final height of this plant is not really clear. Since the plant has only been around for a few years now, no one has had one long enough to speak with much confidence on the subject. Most sources state that the Birkin will reach a mature height of 3 feet and grow approximately 3 feet wide.

Although the variegation of the P. Birkin is considered stable, sometimes it may surprise you with a full on Rojo Congo leaf, partial red leaf, all white leaf, or even a pink leaf. That’s one thing that we absolutely love about this plant; It’s full of surprises!

Philodendron ‘Birkin’ FAQ

Is Philodendron ‘Birkin’ rare?

No, this Philodendron is not considered rare since it is widely available in big box stores and online. It is however highly sought after which can make it difficult to get your hands on depending on where you are located.

How big does Philodendron ‘Birkin’ get?

The Philo. Birkin will reach approximately 3 feet tall and wide.

Is Philodendron ‘Birkin’ a climber?

The Birkin is not a climber. It is a self-heading, self-supporting, clumping variety of Philodendron. No need to use a moss pole here ๐Ÿ™‚

Is Philodendron ‘Birkin’ poisonous?

This tropical plant is considered poisonous or toxic to cats and dogs. Keep it out of reach since it can be deadly if consumed in large quantities.

Will my Philodendron ‘Birkin’ revert?

In short, maybe. This plant’s variegation is fairly stable however, you may end up with a Rojo Congo leaf, full white leaves, pink, or part Rojo Congo leaf. The Birkin is kind of like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.

Why is my Birkin dying?

Most likely, your Birkin is dying from over watering/root rot. This is the most common cause of houseplant death. However, occasionally it is because of under watering. If you have not watered in the past two weeks and the soil looks dry, give your plant a good soaking. If the soil is fully saturated, check the roots. A plant suffering from root rot will have soggy, black, foul smelling roots. Trim off all the dead roots and repot into a pot with good drainage and Aroid potting mix and hope that you caught it in time. You can also try propagating the top two to three nodes in order to save the plant.

Why are Birkin leaves coming out all white?

All white leaves are common for the Birkin. As the leaf ages, it will typically become more green. However, all white leaves are most likely due to excessive amounts of light. Move your Birkin further away from the light source to correct the issue.

For more tips on keeping your houseplants happy, check out this post – Houseplant Care Tips for Thriving Plants!

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