Philodendron Birkin is one of many varieties of philodendron grown as houseplants around the world. This particular philodendron has gained much popularity in recent years because of its attractive and interesting foliage.
What is Philodendron Birkin?
Philodendron ‘Birkin’ is a mutation of a hybrid philodendron cultivar called ‘Rojo Congo’. This hybrid philodendron is also popular. But the mutation that causes white and sometimes yellow patterns on the leaves sets Philodendron ‘Birkin’ apart.
Variegated foliage houseplants are ever-popular for the variety they provide and their visual appeal. But Philodendron ‘Birkin’ needs to grow to maturity before the unique pinstripe streaks of white and yellow appear.
Occasionally, the plants’ leaves also develop redding tones here and there – further adding to the interest. But the plants can also easily revert and produce plain green leaves once more so this is something to look out for.
Unfortunately, sometimes the plants will revert to look like ‘Rojo Congo’ once more, and while still attractive, they will not always retain the variegation. This is just because the mutation is not stable and there is not anything you can do about this.
This plant has an upright grown habit and, once mature, a somewhat tree-like look – growing as much as 3ft tall and wide. It can look wonderful within a home, especially with all its variegation. But it is important to note before you decide to grow it that it is toxic to both people and pets.
Where to Grow Philodendron Birkin
Philodendron ‘Birkin’ is a good low-maintenance choice that is suitable for beginners. But to grow it successfully you do need to understand the conditions it requires.
Like most other Philodendrons, this one likes a location with bright but filtered light. An east-facing window getting some morning light, and indirect light later in the day should be ideal.
Light levels are important for variegation and general growth. Too little light can diminish the variegation, while too much can lead to leggy and weak growth. The plant will want to grow towards the light so it is a good idea to turn it regularly to ensure even growth.
Temperature & Humidity Requirements
Remember, these hybrids are derived from tropical plants. Like the wild parent varieties from which they are cultivated, they enjoy warm and humid conditions.
Temperatures for Philodendron ‘Birkin’ must remain above 12 degrees Celsius at all times. And ideal temperatures for its growth are between 18 and 29 degrees Celsius.
Ideally, the humidity should remain between 50 and 60%. Centrally heated homes can dry out too much, so these can be good choices for a steamy bathroom that is frequently used or another more humid location within a home.
To keep up humidity, you can also group houseplants together, mist regularly, and/or place pots onto pebble-filled trays of water.
Soil/ Growing Medium
Philodendrons prefer to have a growing medium that is moist yet free-draining. You can choose a range of different good-quality potting mixes that are on sale, or you can make your own. For environmental reasons, you should always make sure you choose a peat-free potting mix.
Planting Philodendron Birkin
When potting up this philodendron, remember that whatever container you choose should have good drainage holes at the base. These plants don’t like the medium to dry out entirely, but they cannot tolerate waterlogging either.
Plant your Philodendron ‘Birkin’ into a new container just slightly larger than the existing root system. These are relatively slow-growing plants and will not appreciate a pot that is too large.
Caring for Philodendron Birkin
Watering, feeding, and looking out for potential issues are the main elements of caring for these plants. You certainly won’t find them difficult to grow as long as you have placed them in the right position within your home.
Wait until the top few centimeters of the growing medium feel dry, then water thoroughly. Overwatering is typically worse than not watering enough, though these are relatively unfussy and tolerant plants.
Just make sure you do not let the plant dry out completely, and always make sure excess water can drain away freely from your container.
You don’t typically need to feed these plants regularly at all. But it can be a good idea, especially if the plant looks a little lackluster, to feed your plant with an organic, balanced, liquid plant feed that is not too strong every couple of months through the growing season.
Philodendron ‘Birkin’ is slow growing and does not usually need much pruning. Simply remove any dead or damaged foliage so that the plant can focus on producing healthy new growth.
Serious problems are not particularly common and those that do arise are often due to poor placement or improper care.
Look out for yellowing leaves, which are often a sign of overwatering or over-fertilization, brown edges due to too much light, insufficient water or low humidity, and regularly dropping leaves which may indicate the plant needs a warmer spot…
You will not need to repot these slow-growing Philodendrons very often and will only need to do so when you notice the roots emerging through the holes at the base of the pot.
At this point, you should transfer the plant to a slightly larger pot than the one it is in currently, but not one that is too much bigger. Fill the new container with a new growing medium, and then be sure to return it to the same location to keep the same environmental conditions wherever you can.
Philodendron ‘Birkin’ is sometimes challenging to get hold of. But it can be an interesting plant to add to a houseplant collection and can be rewarding without involving too much time or attention.
The variegation makes this Philodendron stand out from the crowd – just remember that it needs the light to keep it vibrant, and may still revert to a solid-green leaved form.