Philodendron Billietiae, with its beautiful heart-shaped wavy leaves and yellow-orange petioles, is a plant that anyone can appreciate.
This plant may appear simple at first glance, however, there are many beautiful surprises that you will discover when caring for one of your own.
As each leaf unfolds, you’ll fall deeper in love with this unique plant.
While the care for Philodendron Billietiae is fairly easy, there are definitely some important things you will want to know in order to keep it happy and healthy.
Like with all house plants, knowing exactly what care it needs is the best way to keep it thriving, especially when it comes to a fairly rare plant like this one.
In The Wild
While you may be used to seeing Philodendron Billietiae as a house plant that reaches a few feet in total size, in the wild, each leaf alone can reach 3 feet in length.
Native to French Guiana and Brazil, this large Philodendron prefers warm tropical climates and high humidity. This plant can grow in many different settings from on the ground near rocks to up a tree in the rainforest.
In its natural habitat, Philodendron Billietiae is most commonly found by rivers and prefers bright open areas with slightly filtered light.
Its root system is large and can travel anywhere between 50 – 100 feet to find water. This most commonly occurs when this Philodendron is growing among trees, however, they naturally have invasive roots and will take over whatever soil space is near them.
As An Indoor Plant
In captivity, Philodendron Billietiae is kept at much smaller sizes and it doesn’t tend to mind this adjustment. As long as the indoor climate replicates its natural climate, this plant is easy to take care of and requires little care or attention.
Philodendron Billietiae is a rarer species of Philodendron, so it typically isn’t a common house plant companion, however, it does just as well indoors as any other house plant would. With basic care needs and easy growth habits, it is now easier than ever to bring nature indoors.
Lighting For A Philodendron Billitiae
To keep this Philodendron happy as a house plant, you will need to replicate the lighting that it is used to in its natural environment. As mentioned,
Philodendron Billietiae is most commonly found in bright open areas with slightly filtered light. This plant loves to soak up its fair share of sunlight, but it doesn’t like direct exposure.
The best lighting for this plant is bright indirect sunlight. This type of lighting will give your Philodendron just the right amount of light that it needs to grow its beautiful heart-shaped foliage.
If you don’t have this type of lighting in your home, there is no need to worry! Philodendron Billietiae can also be grown with artificial light. Similar to natural lighting, just make sure to keep the plant slightly away from direct exposure.
If you are giving this plant too much light, you won’t have to wonder, it will let you know.
Direct exposure to both natural and artificial light will burn the leaves, leaving scorch marks or even turn the leaves yellow. If this happens simply move the plant into lighting that is better filtered and give it some time to re-adjust.
Ideal Location For Your Philodendron Billitiae
Location and lighting go hand in hand for Philodendron Billietiae as a house plant. Many people think placing a plant directly on a windowsill is the best location for bright indirect light and that usually isn’t the case.
While sunlight does have to travel through the window to get to your plant, that doesn’t necessarily make it indirect light.
Sunlight through a window can be just as harsh as it is outside. Unless there are trees or other structures blocking some of the direct exposure, you won’t want to put your Philodendron Billietiae in this kind of setting.
This Philodendron will do best when placed at an east or north-facing window a few feet away.
Since the sun rises in the east, the light at this angle is the least harsh and provides sunlight during the beginning cooler part of the day. If you have a window that is east-facing, it will be the best option for this plant and it allows you to place the plant closer to the window.
If you have a north-facing window the sunlight will be a bit harsher, however, not as harsh as a south or west-facing window.
A north-facing window is still a great option for your Philodendron, but you’ll want to make sure it is placed a few feet away from the direct sunlight.
Ideal Temperature For A Philodendron Billitiae
Philodendron Billietiae is a tropical plant that prefers warm temperatures. This plant does not like cold weather of any kind, so you’ll need to make sure the indoor temperature is to its liking.
The ideal temperature for this plant ranges between 65 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 55 – 65 degrees Fahrenheit at night. If you have central heating in your home or live in a warm climate, these temperatures will be easy to maintain.
During the warmer seasons, some people like to leave their house plants outside.
If you choose to do this with your Philodendron Billietiae, you will have to consistently check the weather forecast at night to make sure it does not get below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
This plant will die very quickly if exposed to cold temperatures or any frost.
Humidity For A Philodendron Billitiae
Like any plant located in a tropical climate, this Philodendron prefers medium to high levels of humidity. Controlling humidity levels indoors will require some work, as most homes are naturally dry.
In fact, most people try to keep their living environment within low humidity levels, so if this sounds like your situation, you are not alone.
There are many ways to give your Philodendron the humidity it needs to thrive, despite the overall humidity in your home.
One of the easiest ways to do this is by filling a tray with pebbles and water. There should be a decent amount of water in the tray but not enough to fully cover the pebbles.
After you finish setting that up, all you need to do is place your potted Philodendron on top. Over time, the water in the tray will evaporate providing just enough humidity for your plant.
Another way to give your Philodendron the right amount of humidity is by using a humidifier such as this one on Amazon. This method is very efficient and is easy to control.
Many humidifiers allow you to change the settings to a level that is just right for each plant so you will never have to worry about achieving the right humidity.
If these two methods aren’t an option for you then the only other way to provide humidity is with a spray bottle. You’ll want to be extra careful if you choose to do this, as too much moisture can harm your plant and cause fungal growth.
Simply mist your plant lightly and create a regular schedule to avoid any complications.
Watering A Philodendron Billitiae
A healthy Philodendron Billietiae needs moist soil to thrive. It’s important to know exactly how much water is the right amount as too much or too little will cause your plant to die.
The first rule of thumb when it comes to watering is to always check the soil first. To do this, simply stick your finger two inches down, about knuckle deep, in the soil to test the moisture.
If the soil feels dry all the way to the tip of your finger, it is safe to water. If the soil still feels moist, give it some more time to dry out.
When the soil is ready for another dose of water, make sure you water it thoroughly until water starts to come out the bottom holes in your pot. If your pot does not have holes at the bottom, change it immediately to a pot that does.
The holes at the bottom allow water to drain out properly and without it, your plant will become overwatered.
Philodendrons also like to dry out in between watering. The best schedule for watering this plant is about once every 1 – 2 weeks. Any more than that and your Philodendron Billietiae will suffer from overwatering.
Overwatering is one of the biggest concerns with any plant. Too much water over time will cause root rot which is hard to identify and is usually too late to revive once you do.
If you have overwatered your plant will not show very many symptoms above the soil so the best way to check is again, by sticking your finger in the soil.
If the soil your Philodendron is in appears to be consistently wet, the soil may not provide enough drainage. If this is the case, you’ll want to change the soil it’s in sooner rather than later.
Soil For Philodendrons
Philodendrons prefer well-draining soil in order to thrive and Philodendron Billietiae is no exception to this.
Well-draining soil is vital for providing their roots with the perfect amount of water and limiting the possibility for fungal growth and root rot.
When discussing well-draining soil, it may seem a bit confusing at first since it doesn’t point to any specific soil type. Well-draining soil can be a combination of many different ingredients.
The most common mixtures will include peat-moss, perlite, or vermiculite. These ingredients provide excellent drainage while also allowing water to still hydrate the roots.
Well-draining soil is vital to the health of your Philodendron Billietiae as it also allows oxygen to enter the soil and roots. Without it, the soil would begin to grow fungus and damage the roots. Not all fungi are harmful to your plants, but the ones that are will kill your Philodendron fairly quickly.
Since watering and soil go hand in hand, you’ll want to make sure you have these two important aspects down to properly care for your Philodendron.
There are many good soil mixtures to choose from and you can even create your own. Whether you choose to buy soil from your local garden store or make your own, you’ll want to make sure that drainage is the key feature.
For the health of your Philodendron, you’ll want to stay away from any heavy soils like potting soil or planting mix. Plus, you want to check if there are any pests in there before you place your plant in it.
If this is the only soil you have available at the time, you can also purchase one of the additives like perlite and mix it in yourself.
Fertilizing Your Philodendron
Fertilizing is another important aspect of any plant care. As plants continue to grow they pull nutrients out of the soil which eventually will deplete unless replenished.
Philodendron Billietiae is no different and needs a regular dose of nutrients in order to stay happy and healthy.
Fertilizing can be a dangerous task if you don’t use the right fertilizer, however, as long as you know what nutrients your plant needs you should never have to worry about it.
Many fertilizers are made for a variety of plants so you don’t need to get too specific about exact nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels.
Philodendron Billietiae doesn’t need nutrients in high doses and it tends to be on the low side when it comes to fertilizing. This plant prefers nitrogen over the other nutrients but still not in very high levels.
Many house plants, like this one, tend to need smaller doses of nutrients because they aren’t growing at the same rate that they would grow outside.
If you’re looking at number ratios, anything close to the smaller scale of nutrients like 3-1-2 is best. Slow-release fertilizers tend to be a better option as well, that way you don’t have to stick to a regular schedule.
These types of fertilizers can last between 2 – 3 months and release their nutrients every time you water.
When applying fertilizer, it’s important to always remember to wait until your plant needs to be watered. If you apply fertilizer to dry soil, the nutrients can burn the roots or leaves it is touching. Always use small amounts as well. Applying too many nutrients can also have the same effect.
You also don’t need to fertilize your Philodendron year-round. It is best to fertilize only during growing seasons like spring and summer. During the fall and winter seasons, plant growth will slow significantly so there is no need to provide extra nutrients if they are not going to be utilized.
Philodendron Billietiae has a few different options for growing. While many people choose to grow this beautiful plant in a regular pot, you can also grow it in a hanging basket or add something for it to climb on.
As mentioned, in the wild this Philodendron can be found climbing up trees or growing gracefully on the rainforest floor. It is a highly versatile plant and will make the best of its environment regardless of the location.
This plant will usually reach heights of about 3 feet. If it is grown in a regular pot it may grow out in all directions until it spills over with an abundance of leaves. If it’s grown with some sort of support for it to climb on, then it will grow upwards showing off its large leaves.
Regardless of how you choose to grow it, it’s always good to rotate it so that all sides of the plant are receiving equal sunlight. This also helps the plant to grow more full instead of reaching only towards one direction.
If your Philodendron Billietiae is thriving, you may be considering propagating it instead of paying a high price for another one. The good news is that you can easily do this with cuttings! There are other methods for propagating as well, like air layering, however, taking cuttings is the easiest way to do this.
To take a cutting, find a healthy stem with a few leaves on it. With sharp sheers cut the stem right below a leaf node. Once you do this, you have two options. You can dip the end of the cutting in a rooting powder and place it in soil or skip the rooting powder and place the end directly in a small container of water.
Both options will eventually give you the same results, however, many people find that putting cuttings in water is a lot easier. This also allows you to watch for root growth and know when it’s time to plant it into the soil.
If you do end up taking cuttings, the best time to do it is during the Philodendrons’ growing seasons. If you take too many cuttings or do it during its off-seasons, your plant may go into shock and have a harder time growing those leaves back.
Philodendron Billietiae typically only needs to be transplanted once every two years. While the roots can grow at a fast pace, the indoor setting tends to slow this growth down significantly. Some occasions require this plant to be transplanted more frequently, however, that is under the perfect growing conditions.
If you notice your Philodendron putting out fewer new leaves than it normally does, it may be a good idea to check on the roots.
While this plant can withstand a root-bound environment for a decent amount of time, it generally does not prefer this.
When the plant dries out, you can carefully take it out of its pot to check on it. If the roots are visibly wrapping around the entire soil area, then it is time for a transplant.
If there are some roots visible but a lot of soil space still available, then you can continue to let it grow in its original pot.
When transplanting it is always important to be very careful with the roots. This transition does not need to be a drastic one, in fact, it is preferred to move just one size up when transplanting.
This prevents overwatering and gives the plants’ roots an understanding of just how much extra room is available.
Fertilizing during a transplant is also a good idea to prevent shock from the transition. Your Philodendron may not mind being moved, but if it does this is a great way to get it to bounce back to its original health.
When keeping any plant indoors, it’s always a good idea to know whether it is toxic or not, especially if you have animals or children in your home. Like any Philodendron, this plant is highly toxic to humans and animals. If you have animals or children in your home it is not recommended to keep this plant in reach of any of them.
If consumed, this plant can cause burning, swelling, vomiting and other unwanted side effects. It is best to keep this plant far out of anyone’s reach.
One of the best options for keeping this plant if you do have animals or children is to grow it in a hanging basket away from the ground. As long as the plant is out of reach you shouldn’t ever have to worry about dealing with the side effects from toxicity.