Also known as the Sweetheart Plant, Heartleaf philodendrons (Philodendron hederaceum) are easy to grow, though they need a specific watering schedule for optimal growth and health. In this guide, I’ll run through when and how I water my Heartleaf Philodendron plants at home throughout the year.
When Should I Water My Heartleaf Philodendron? Key Takeaways
Ensure your Heartleaf philodendrons do not dry out entirely, as they prefer moist soil. Soils that are too soggy may lead to root rot and attract unwanted pests and diseases. Water every 7 to 10 days throughout the year, ensuring the 2 top inches of soil have dried out before watering. Lukewarm or room temperature water is best, as cold water can shock the roots.
When to Water
Knowing when to water your Heartleaf philodendron is essential for keeping your plant happy. Here’s what I look out for to help determine the optimal time to water my plant:
The Soil Check
If the top two inches of topsoil are dry, then you know that your plant needs water. Other indicators include your plant’s leaves turning brown, wilting, and falling off.
I check to see if my Heartleaf philodendron needs water by a simple finger test, feeling how dry or moist the top two inches of soil are to the touch.
The Chopstick Check:
If you’d rather not get your hands dirty, a chopstick can also be helpful to assess relative moisture content. Slide it into the soil down to the roots, pull it out, and check if it’s dry or damp to the touch.
For more technical solutions, moisture meters or probes are also available, which will monitor moisture content and alert you when the soil base is drying out.
Typically, if you keep your Heartleaf philodendrons indoors in an average climate, it would be optimal to water them every 7 to 10 days during spring and summer and typically every 10 to 14 days during late fall and through the winter months.
If your plant is in an area that receives good indirect sunlight, such as a south-facing window, it will need watering more often than in an area of low light or near a north-facing window. The same situation will apply to a plant that grows in a warmer climate than one in a cooler climate.
Other factors, such as in-room heaters or air conditioning units, also have a habit of sucking moisture from the air and causing faster rates of perspiration in plant life.
In my experience, your plant will need more water during the warmer spring and summer months than during the cooler winter and fall months.
How to Water
Knowing when to water your Heartleaf philodendron is just one aspect of the overall watering regime of your plant. The second part is knowing the best method for watering your plant to care for it correctly.
The Fundamental Importance of Good Drainage
Good drainage is essential, especially in Heartleaf philodendron plants. It decreases the risk of soggy soils resulting in root rot and other diseases. The outcome of soils that are not well-drained, such as root rot, can result in the death of your plant if not addressed soon enough.
What Type of Water Is Best?
Heartleaf philodendron plants do best if watered with lukewarm water. If the water is too cold, the roots can react adversely.
Tap water in most areas is fine, though it’s often prudent to allow it to stand for 12 hours or more to let fluoride and chlorine settle.
The Best Watering Techniques
Heartleaf philodendrons are easiest to water with a top-down approach. Bottom-up or standing the plant in a water container for too long can have adverse side effects for your plant, such as drainage and water retention issues.
Step-by-Step Guide for Top Watering
Once you have established that the top two inches of soil are completely dry, it is safe to water your plant. The amount of water you supply to your plant depends on size.
For a plant growing in a pot 10 to 12 inches tall, around ¾ to a gallon of water could be required. This water intake will increase depending on the size of your container. You will need less water for a smaller pot and more for a larger container.
Heartleaf philodendrons require a good soaking. The best method for watering your Heartleaf philodendron is to water it with a watering can around the plant’s base:
- Continue to pour water into your plants’ container until it begins to drain out the bottom
- Once this has occurred, you know that you have provided enough water to reach the lowest roots
- Leave your plant for a short while, and then empty the saucer if feasible (a little leftover water is fine).
Signs You Might Be Overwatering
Overwatering your Heartleaf philodendron can result in your plant’s leaves turning yellow. They can also start to sag and fall off. Other indicators of overwatering are slimy stems and foul-smelling soil.
If you have been overwatering your heartleaf philodendron, the best thing to do is to place your plant in an area that receives bright indirect sunlight and wait for it to dry out sufficiently for you to water again. Ensure that the first inch of topsoil is dry before watering again.
Signs You Might Be Underwatering
The typical signs of an underwatered plant are brown leaves that can begin to wilt and even fall off if the lack of water continues. Lack of water can cause your plant to become unhappy, and unhappy plants are susceptible to pests and other diseases.
Main Things to Keep an Eye On
Between your plants’ watering cycles, keeping your eye on its leaves is always a good idea. Are they wilting or turning brown? Ensuring you keep your eye on the topsoil that it isn’t becoming too dry and the overall health of your plant, making sure it retains its usual vibrancy.
The Role of Water in Plant Health and Development
Water makes up 95% of plant tissue. It is vital during seed germination and plant growth and is responsible for several crucial functions within a plant’s tissue, carrying nutrients through the plant.
During photosynthesis, plants use water, carbon dioxide, and light to produce glucose, a plant food source. The water is absorbed through the plant’s roots and evaporates off the leaves in transpiration. Transpiration helps prevent overheating, especially in dry, warm, and windy environments.
Water dissolves the nutrients and sugars produced during photosynthesis, carrying them from areas of high concentration, such as the roots, to areas of low concentration, such as the stems, blooms, and leaves, for reproduction and growth.
Should You Consider Misting In-Between Watering Cycles?
Heartleaf philodendrons come from a natural habitat of high humidity. If you keep them in a relatively dry area, they will benefit from misting now and again to increase their humidity levels. Just be careful not to oversaturate the leaves.
Will These Plants Benefit From Sitting on a Humidity Tray?
A humidity tray is another way to improve your plant’s humidity levels. The humidity tray will be helpful if you live in a relatively dry area, as heartleaf philodendrons’ natural habitat is in a tropical rainforest. Thus, they prefer higher humidity levels.
What Are the Most Common Signs Heartleaf Philodendrons Need Watering?
The most common sign that your Heartleaf philodendron needs water is its leaves turning brown or getting crispy, wilting, and falling off the plant.
What Is the Best Way to Water?
The best way to water your Heartleaf philodendron is from the top with a watering can. Keep giving it water until water comes out of the drainage holes at the bottom. Ensure your plant’s container does not sit in stagnant water for too long.
How Much Water Do They Need?
Water your Heartleaf philodendrons once every one to two weeks once the first inch of topsoil is dry to the touch. They require a good soaking when you water them, allowing the water to begin to drain out of the bottom of the pot before you stop giving water.
Is It OK to Get Water on the Leaves?
Yes, it is OK to get water on their leaves. Heartleaf philodendrons grow naturally in tropical forests where the humidity levels are high. The high humidity levels would make their leaves moist on a regular occasion.
What Do I Do if I Over Water My Plant?
If you have overwatered your Heartleaf philodendron, the best thing to do is place it in an area that receives excellent indirect light and allows it to dry out practically. After this, you can resume watering, ensuring that the first inch of topsoil is dry to the touch the next time you water.
Can I Water With Tap Water?
Yes, you can utilize tap water when watering your Heartleaf philodendron as long as you ensure the water is lukewarm before you water your plant, as these plants do not appreciate cold water.
Heartleaf philodendrons are easy-to-care for plants, making them excellent choices for indoor growing. You only need to water them once every one to two weeks. They prefer slightly moist soil and only require you to water them once their first two inches of topsoil is dry. Water these plants with lukewarm water as they do not appreciate cold water.
For more, see our in-depth guide to the best types of philodendrons to grow as houseplants.