Burle Marx Philodendron Plant Care Guide (with Propagating Steps)
For an injection of plush green foliage in your garden, you cannot pass up the Philodendron Burle Marx.
We love this plant because:
- they are low – maintenance plants, perfect for those who are time poor.
- They look great growing indoors on moss poles, or outdoors as ground cover for your garden.
- Are easy to propagate (using steps in this care guide) so you can grow your indoor plant collection.
Today’s feature plant at the Garden Bench Top is the beautiful and luscious Burle Marx Philodendron plant. They are wonderful specimens that will bring a jungle like atmosphere into any space – in or out.
In this care guide we’ll be exploring how to care for these magnificent plants, as well as exploring their origins.
So if you are ready, grab a coffee and let’s begin.
The Burle Marx Philodendron is actually one of over fifty plants that have the curious ‘Burle Marx‘ tag attached to their name. Roberto Burle Marx is a world-famous Brazilian architect who introduced modern landscape design to Brazil. Throughout his career he used particular plants in his landscape designs (this particular philodendron being one), which earned each plant their association with his name.
The botanical name for this plant is Philodendron burle-marxii G.M Barroso, but this is a bit of a mouthful, so it has been shortened to the more palatable Burle Marx Philodendron. Gardeners are even known to condense these shortened name even further to Philo Burle Marx or Burle Marx Philo.
Appearance of Burle Marx Philodendron
Philodendrons are such unique looking plants. And the Philodendron Burle Marx plant is no exception.
They belong to the Araceae family and are very popular among indoor plant enthusiasts for their elongated dark green leaves.
They deliver a wonderful contrast to any space – indoors and out. Once they have matured and formed a nice cluster of long heart-shaped leaves, they take on a Mesozoic era appearance. You could almost imagine being on the set of Jurassic Park.
The Philodendron Burle Marx can also be trained to climb, which is fantastic if you need a bit of height in a particular space. Many people use moss poles to encourage their plants to grow vertically.
Finally, there is one last surprise in the Burle Marx Phile variety. For a touch of something different, try finding the variegated Philodendron Burle Marx, where each leaf is an art piece on its own. The variegated version has the same shape and size as the original, only with splashes of yellow plastered throughout the dark green leaves.
Origin of the Burle Marx Philodendron
The majority of philodendrons grow in the tropical climates throughout the Americas and the West Indies. However, our Philodendron, Burle Marx is unique and is one of the native plants from sunny Brazil.
To see the Burle Marx in its natural habitat, you will have to travel into the tropical forests of Brazil, where you can see them covering the ground like a lush green carpet. It truly is a spectacular site to see when they are en masse.
They are also known to climb, so you may even be lucky enough to see them scaling their way up a tree trunk.
Those who have visited the Garden Bench Top will know that we place a lot of emphasis on knowing the origins of your plants. We believe understanding your plants natural environment will help care for your plant and give you the best chance for success (and trouble – free journey).
For example, we know Brazil mostly has a humid tropical and subtropical climate that receives 40-70 inches of rain (on average). From this, we can already derive the Burle Marx Philodendron should be kept in a humid and warm environment. Because it is a tropical plant, it will also need plenty of water to keep it happy and healthy.
For more specific care advice, let’s dive into our Burle Marx Philodendron Care Guide.
How to Grow Philodendron Burle Marx – Care Guide
In this section of the guide we’ll be detailing the usual husbandry responsibilities a Burle Marx plant require on a daily, week and monthly basis.
Philodendron Burle Marx Care Difficulty
One of the main attractions of these wonderful plants is their ease of care. We group these plants in the EASY category, and are perfect for beginner or novice gardeners.
The Burle Marx Philodendron is as easy as it comes when it comes to the difficulty of care.
Once you set them up right with the right potting soil mix and a regular watering regime, they will thrive and reward you with prolific and vigorous foliage.
Speaking of setting them up correctly, let’s look at the lighting requirements for the Burle Marx Philo.
Being a tropical plant, philodendrons do prefer a well lit position. However, as a ground dwelling plant in the tropical forests, they cannot withstand direct sunlight. If your plant is in a spot that receives morning or evening dappled sunlight, for an hour or two, it should be fine.
We recommend placing them in a spot that will receive 6-8 hours of bright indirect light.
Temperature & Humidity
As we’ve already deduced from their country of origin (Brazil), Burle Marx plants love their humidity and warmth.
If you one of those individuals that like a number to aim for, we’d suggest keeping your humidity levels at 60% or above.
In terms of temperature, we suggest keeping your philo Burle Marx in spaces that are between 60-85° F (15-30° C).
TOP TIP – If you find yourself struggling to provide enough humidity, don’t think your only option is to run a clunky, expensive humidifier. There are many options for making your own DIY humidifier that are effective and budget friendly.
As green thumbs, we all have different ways that we approach the regular maintenance requirements for our gardens. For those that prefer to run their husbandry responsibilities in a routine, watering your Burle Marx Philodendrons once a week is a good general rule to follow. You may need to increase your watering during the spring and summer months – depending on your humidity levels.
For new green thumbs, we recognize over watering can be a problem that can lead to issues like root rot and soft leaves. That’s why we recommend using the finger soil moisture test to provide you with a guide for when your plants need water.
Simply push your finger into the soil (about knuckle deep) and see if the soil feels moist or dry. You can judge if your plant needs water by the amount of soil that sticks to your finger.
Growing Medium & Supplements
Tropical plants love moist, but well-drained soil. And the Philodendron Burle Marx is no exception.
Using a potting mix that has good water retaining properties will help maintain the necessary moisture your plant needs to stay strong and healthy. We love using medium like coco coir because it absorbs water, but at the same time keeps the soil light and airy for optimal drainage.
Try to keep your soil at a neutral pH level, however the Burle Marx can tolerate a bit of acidity. Anything between 5.8 – 7 pH level will suffice.
If you don’t already, we recommend making your own indoor plant soil. Once you have your core ingredients, it is a simple process of combining and mixing as you need it. What we love about making our own DIY soil is the control you have over the growing mediums and substrate you include. You know exactly what is going into your soil, and you can control the properties of the soil, like pH level and water retention and drainage.
When it comes to feeding your philodendron, and all-purpose fertilizer will help to provide your plant with the necessary minerals and nutrients it requires for optimal growth. You can also feed a liquid fertilizer once a month at half strength, while you water your plants.
Since Philodendron Burle Marx plants are easy growers, you can afford to grow them in smallish pots. Ensure there are adequate drainage holes in the pot. As we mentioned under the water requirements section, drainage is key for a Philodendron’s survival.
Drainage holes also help you to understand when your Burle Marx Philodendron requires repotting. When you find roots protruding out from the drainage holes, it is time for a repotting.
Graduate your Philodendron up to the next sized pot and refresh the indoor soil with some homemade potting soil we described earlier.
How to Propagate Phildendron Burle Marx
Our favorite method for propagating Burle Marx Philodendrons is by cutting. It is one of the easiest methods for propagation, and we prefer this method because beginners can see the results when roots begin to grow.
Before you begin, you will need:
- sterilized sharp knife or a pair of garden secateurs,
- distilled water
- water absorbent growing medium (like peat moss or sphagnum moss)
- small pot with drainage holes (very important!)
The propagation steps are as follows:
- Identify a stem to propagate from your mother plant. For the best chance of success, you should look for a stem that is healthy (no signs of stress or disease), tall (approximately 3-4 inches long) and has a clear leaf node. This is important, because you need to use your sterilized knife or secateurs to cut below the leaf node for the stem to root.
- Allow the stem to air dry on a bench that is in a room that is warm and humid for a week. Try to place it out of the way, so it isn’t disturbed or accidentally knocked onto the floor. The process of air drying allows the wound to heal and form a callous. This is necessary to prevent the stem from rotting or becoming infected while in the water or moist soil. NOTE – if the wound doesn’t look fully healed after 7 days, try moving the stem to a different location for a few more days.
- Prepare your propagating pot and soil. While your stem is drying, you can prepare for the next stage of propagation. Fill your pot with your choice of water absorbent growing medium (we like sphagnum moss). When your stem has healed, moisten your soil with the distilled water. We like to use the bottom up watering method. Simply fill a container with distilled water and submerge your pot halfway up, and leave for 10 minutes. Your growing medium will soak up the water via the drainage holes. Lift the pot out of the water and wait 30 seconds while the excess water drains.
- Plant your stem in the soil by pushing your finger into the center of the pot a few inches into the soil. Carefully place the stem into the hole and make sure to fill the hole around the stem, to hold it in place. Place your stem next to your mother plant in a bright location.
- Ongoing care involves watering and fertilizing your stem until roots form and mature. The most important element you will want to monitor is the water content. Your Burle Marx Philodendron will need a constant source of water, so make sure you are checking on the moisture levels in the soil.
Once you have completed the propagation steps, it is simply a waiting game. After a month or so, you should see roots forming. When they have matured, you can graduate your stem cutting to a regular indoor potting mix.
Here is a quick video from Van Loan Garden showing their preferred method for propagating Burle Marx Philodendrons
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section we attempt to answer all your ‘other’ questions that may not be addressed in the care guide.
If you don’t find an answer to your question, please send us a message via our CONTACT page. We will endeavor to respond with a timely answer, and include it in our growing FAQ section below.
Do Burle Marx Philodendrons climb?
Philodendron Burle Marx plants are known to be good climbers when given the opportunity. In fact, many indoor plant enthusiasts use moss poles to encourage their Burle Marx plants to grow vertically. We love the look of the large long leaves cascading down the pole, providing a beautiful jungle atmosphere to the space it occupies.
Is Philodendron Burle Marx rare?
While they are not considered a rare species per se, they may still be hard to come by at your local nursery. Given they are a tropical plant, their availability will be influenced by your local climate. For obvious reasons, climates that are not conducive to growing these plants (cold and dry), will not readily stock Philodendrons.
Does a philodendron Burle Marx need a moss pole?
YES – moss poles are a fantastic growing companion for the Burle Marx Philodendron. Moss poles provide the necessary infrastructure for your plant to climb and grow upwards. Also, by their very nature, moss poles are also great for encouraging root growth from the vines because they can stay moist for long periods of time, making it easier to care for your plant.