Variegated philodendron billietiae is a sub-variety of the beautiful philodendron plant known among houseplant enthusiasts as one of the most attractive examples of a variegated vine climbing plant. Like most philodendron plants, this plant has an impressive and distinct Araceae family's 'elephant ear' shape that is very attractive and sought-after. It is considered an intermediate-level houseplant in terms of care, and the variegated plants in this family of tropical plant types make for a stunning focal point in any home.
Finding variegated billietiae for sale can be a challenge as they are very rare and can be somewhat expensive. However, caring for philodendron billietiae plant species isn't particularly hard. They just need a more closely regulated and controlled environment and have a narrow margin for error when it comes to their care.
The plant can do well provided it gets the right light source, soil requirements, moisture levels, and general care. This care guide will ensure your philodendron billietiae looks great and will give you everything you need to know about its care, from daily routines to things to do every few weeks. So, let's jump right into it!
What is a Variegated philodendron billietiae?
Philodendron billietiae is a fairly compact plant compared to other examples of philodendron. It produces long, strap-shaped leaves known for deep rich foliage, including orange stems and aerial roots. It's a must-have for a collector.
It is a climbing plant by nature and usually reaches around three feet and a spread of less than a foot, though they can get bigger at times. It has long and prominent petioles, which would grow up to one foot long when it matures. Provided with support for the plant itself and the right set of environmental factors, it can grow surprisingly large leaves that make a statement!
Size and Structure
These plants will grow as big as their environment allows in good conditions. Indoors are often limited by pot size and location in the home. If they are grown in warmer climates outside with tall trees, they can grow more than five feet at times.
Leaves of this plant are arrowhead-like in appearance and get wavy or crinkly in appearance with age. Mature leaves top over 3 feet long and 10 inches wide, though most houseplant specimens are smaller.
Thanks to the abundance of aerial roots, the philodendron billietiae can either be an epiphyte or a semi-epiphyte. The external roots attach to poles and other climbing surfaces, while the abundant underground roots provide nutrients from the ground.
These plants produce flowers, though this is very rare for indoor specimens of these plants. If it does bloom, you will find white or off-white flowers most common in the warmer seasons. They have typical spathe and spadix arrangements.
Is It Toxic?
These plants are toxic due to calcium oxalate in the plant. Ingestion can cause stomach problems, and the sap can also cause skin irritations. Make sure that the plant is kept out of the reach of children and pets to avoid potential poisoning issues.
This sub-variety offers the striking size and shape of leaves with added white to cream-colored patches on the leaves. Variegated philodendron billietiae needs the same environment other than requiring brighter light to maintain its variegation.
Caring for this plant directly impacts the way it grows, so meeting the right parameters will ensure you have success with the normal and the variegated version of this plant.
Basics of Variegated Philodendron Billietiae Care
Ideal Soil Type
Proper watering and moisture levels are a must. Using well-draining soil with peat, perlite, vermiculite, and an airy texture works best. Lomi by Pela can also help you break down wastes and turn them into nutrient-rich dirt. Soils rich in organic matter and well-draining soil options can help ensure good moisture balance control.
Your philodendron billietiae can't tolerate direct sunlight. Bright, indirect light will be best, as too much intense sun and heat can cause the beautiful leaves to become scorched. They will turn brown, yellow, or fall off completely.
As plant roots grow in and out of the soil, good drainage is a must. This variety is particularly susceptible to root rot and other issues related to overwatering. So, avoiding issues before they start is the best option overall.
The size of the pot will directly impact the growth and health of your plant. Smaller pots will keep your plant from getting too big by restricting root growth. However, if the roots get too compacted in a small pot, the plant will start to wilt and fade.
This plant thrives in moist soil and should not be allowed to dry to the point the leaves wilt. However, Soggy soil is not good either as the long-term exposure to water can damage the roots and cause root rot to set in and kill the plant quickly.
The recommended temps fall between 65 F – 80 F for day and between 55 F and 65 F. at night. It will not tolerate anything close to freezing temperatures as it is a tropical plant and should never be exposed to any lower than 50-55 F.
Indoors these plants need humidity and will thrive in average to high humidity. Humidifiers or a pebble tray with water set near the plant pot will increase humidity levels. This is important indoors because heating and air conditioning will dry the air.
As a foliage plant, the philodendrons need a lot of nitrogen fertilizers. You can add slow-release fertilizer every 2-3 months. A foliage plant fertilizer can be mixed in water, diluted to half strength, and used every 4-6 weeks, so a plant absorbs it slowly.
Following these basic care tips can help ensure your plant is healthy and strong to resist common plant diseases and other issues. Of course, mature plant specimens need more space and water, and the taller plants will need more care and attention to ensure the plant grows healthy and strong. Your plant will appreciate close adherence to these care basics, from healthy leaves and mature leaves to healthy roots and strong roots.
How to Grow Philodendron Billietiae Indoors
These plants can be fairly slow in their growth compared to other common houseplants, but their growing season can be pretty active during the warmer months. Like other plants in the philodendron genus, these plants thrive in an environment where they can spread their leaves and roots.
In their native habitat of tropical rainforests, they will grow trees and other environmental features. Aerial roots will form at a leaf node and help the plant anchor itself and absorb nutrients and moisture. Indoors, you need to duplicate that same environment. Indirect rather than direct sunlight is best, and you should avoid putting the plant directly in drafty areas where the air conditioner or heater will impact it. Following the tips outlined here will ensure you have great success.
Propagating Philodendron Billietiae
At times with philodendron billietiae care, you may want to try propagating your plant so you can get more of them to enjoy. You can use two methods to propagate your philodendron plants — stem cuttings and air layering.
Stem cuttings involve removing a part of the stem that includes at last 1-2 leaves and some aerial roots. The cuttings can be placed in a new pot and grown as a separate plant identical to the original plant.
The air layering process involves removing the part in a small stem area. You will then wrap the area with sphagnum or peat moss and keep it moist so roots will begin to form. Once the plant's roots are visible, you can cut away and pot it up like normal.
No matter how you go about propagation, it is important to remember the plant's sap can be toxic. Wearing gloves and washing your hands afterward is a must. It is the best way to avoid accidental ingestion and skin allergies
Growing cuttings and new plants in lower indirect light can help avoid extra stress as the plants become established and grow new and healthy leaves. The mother plant's wound should heal quickly from where the new plant was removed.
It is still worth watching for the first week to make sure no rot or other issues arise. Using a rooting hormone compound for both methods can ensure rapid rooting of this rare philodendron and greater success with your propagation attempts.
Plant Pests and Plant Diseases
This is a relatively hardy plant that thankfully has minimal issues with pests and diseases, especially when compared to other indoor plants.
There are very few pests that can lead to an infested plant, including:
Aphids are pear-shaped bugs and tend to gather in leaf nodes and on fresh growth. These pests would feed off the sap in your plant, using their needle-like noses to suck out the water and nutrients from your plant. This causes a lot of stress and robs your plant of what it needs to stay healthy and beautiful.
Mealybugs are unique insect pests that are easy to identify due to the cotton-like substance covering them. These pests also feed on a plant's sap, piercing through the plant and drinking the nutrients right out of the plant. A bad infestation can lead to stunted growth and even plant death if left untreated.
Philodendron plants are resilient plants however, some of the diseases they might experience are:
If your plant suddenly develops white or pale-colored leaves that are droopy and wilted looking, then your plant is experiencing a cold shock. Exposure to low temperatures will damage the leaves, often beyond repair. Keeping your plants in a warm, humid area will ensure the leaves stay shiny and healthy-looking.
The final issue to watch for with these tropical plants is magnesium deficiency. The appearance of a V-shaped-looking stain on the leaves can come from a lack of this essential nutrient. Left untreated, it can result in brown necrosis that leads to the infected leaves dying, and eventually, the entire plant can die from root rot.
Many plants in the Araceae family of tropical foliage plants are resistant to common disease and pest infestation. But careful monitoring is needed every few weeks. While they have minimal issues to worry about, the ones that can affect variegated philodendron billietiae can quickly lead to plant death if left untreated. This is a plant that can make an excellent specimen to show off in your home, which is why it remains a popular choice, even today! Philodendron billietiae care is relatively easy. With this guide in hand, you can rest assured that when you find variegated billietiae for sale, you will be able to add it to your collection confidently!