The Philodendron Billietiae is a more recent find for plant enthusiasts who love Philodendrons and is often compared to the Philodendron Atabapoense. The Billietiae was only recently discovered in the 1980s and is just now starting to become more popular with plant lovers who like to keep plants in their homes. It has a unique-looking leaf, elongated with wrinkles that look like it was bunched up along the middle of the leaf. The petioles are orange and yellow and make a striking contrast against the large dark green leaves. If you have picked up one of these beauties or are thinking of getting one then you might be wondering how to care for it. In this article, we provide a plant care guide for the Philodendron Billietiae to help you let your plant thrive.
- Quick Overview: Philodendron Billietiae Care and Tips
- Philodendron Billietiae Growth
- Is the Philodendron Billietiae Toxic to Pets?
- Philodendron Billietiae Common Problems
- Frequently Asked Questions
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The Philodendron Billietiae was discovered in 1981 by Frieda Billiet in French Guiana. She collected the first specimen but it wasn’t named until some years later. It has also been seen growing in Brazil and Guyana.
This Philodendron is considered a hemiephphyte. This means that they start growing along the ground when they are juveniles and then begin to climb as they start their mature stage. In its natural habitat, it can have leaves that are up to 3 feet long. When allowed to climb the plant can grow up to 5 feet tall.
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Quick Overview: Philodendron Billietiae Care and Tips
- Bright indirect light.
- Water once top few inches of soil are dry.
- 50% to 80% humidity.
- Well draining soil.
- Temperature range: 65° F to 80° F
- Propagate via stem cutting or air-layering.
- Use a slow-releasing houseplant fertilizer.
Like many Philodendrons, the Philodendron Billietiae prefers bright indirect light. A south-facing window with filtered light is a great option for these plants. They will still survive in lower light levels. But the leaves will be smaller and the growth rate will slow down.
Also, make sure not to leave your plant where the sun can shine on it directly. Direct sunlight can cause the leaves to burn. So you want to be sure to filter any sun coming through the window.
The Philodendron Billietiae likes moist soil. But do not leave it in permanent soggy soil. Leaving the plant in soggy soil leads to root rot, which is very hard to bring a plant back from.
When you are going to water your plant, you want to check the top few inches of the soil to see if it has become dry. The best way to do this is to stick your finger into the soil to check the moisture. If it is still moist do not water it and check back again in a day or two.
Philodendron Billietiae Humidity
Like many Philodendrons, the Philodendron Billietiae comes from a tropical climate and they prefer high humidity. They can tolerate the average humidity that is found in the home but will thrive with high humidity levels. The higher humidity levels, along with optimal light levels, will allow the plant to produce bigger leaves and grow faster.
50% to 80% is optimal. These humidity levels can be hard for some to maintain all year round. Using humidifiers when the natural humidity is low is a great option to help keep the levels elevated. Pebble trays will usually not provide enough humidity to make a difference for these plants.
The higher the humidity the more likely it will be that the Billietiae will grow aerial roots. This allows the plant to climb easier and reach its mature growth stage.
You want to use a potting mix that is well-draining. Add perlite or vermiculite to the soil to help with the drainage. This will allow excess water to drain from the soil and not build up. Soil that doesn’t have good drainage and retains water can lead to root rot and also stave the roots of oxygen.
The ideal temperature for the Philodendron Billietiae is 65° F to 80° F. They can tolerate temperatures down to 55° F but should never drop below that.
Slow releasing fertilizer is what is usually recommended for Philodendron Billietiaes. When using a slow-releasing fertilizer you only need to fertilize your plant every 2 to 3 months.
Philodendron Billietiae Growth
When allowed to climb the plant itself can grow up to 5 feet tall and individual leaves can grow up to 3 feet tall.
The growth rate of the Philodendron Billietiae will depend on the amount of light that it has and the amount of humidity. If either the humidity or the light drops the plant slows its growth. Along with slowing the growth rate this will also cause new leaves to not be as big as previous ones that the plant grew when the environment was optimal.
There are two main ways that people propagate the Philodendron Billietiae, by stem cuttings or air layering. Stem cutting is the most common way to propagate them and is the process we will cover below.
In order to propagate the Philodendron Billietiae, it is best for them to be a few years old. Juvenile Philodendron Billietiaes often have short vines with very little space between nodes. Most owners of these plants use a plant that is 2 years or older. Some growers still have luck with younger plants, but it is easier to damage the cuttings when the nodes are so close together.
Stem Cutting Propagation
- Get a stem cutting from the plant by using sterilized scissors or pruning shears. You will want to find a node along the vine. This is where the leaves come out of the vine and make a cut leaving much room as you can on each side from the node. The younger the plant the harder it is to get a good amount of space on the sides of the nodes due to the leaves growing out of the vine very close together.
- After you have your cutting you can either put the node in soil or in water. Both ways will have root growth off the node. Some people prefer water because this makes it easier to keep an eye on the root growth.
- After roots have grown abundantly off of the node, you can plant the cutting in a pot with well-draining soil. This can take up to 6 weeks to get to this point in propagation.
- New growth on your cutting will have smaller leaves at first. Sometimes people will notice that the initial new growth also is not shaped right at the top of the leaf. This is normal and the leaves will start to grow correctly as time goes on.
Is the Philodendron Billietiae Toxic to Pets?
Yes, the Philodendron Billietiae is toxic to pets. According to the ASPCA all Philodendrons contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can harm pets. Chewing or biting the plant or its leaves can cause irritation in the mouth and the GI tract. On some rare occasions, there can also be swelling of the upper airway.
Philodendron Billietiae Common Problems
Luckily the Philodendron Billietiae doesn’t have too many problems that come up. They are relatively easy to care for plants.
Mealybugs, fungus gnats, and aphids are the most common pests that people encounter with the Philodendron Billietiae. The easiest way to take care of an infestation of any of these pests is to use Insecticidal Soap or Neem Oil as soon as you see them.
Most often curling tips on the leaves of the Philodendron Billietiae is due to getting too much fertilizer. If you see curling tips it is best to replace the soil that your plant is in and cut back on the amount of fertilizer you are giving the plant.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Philodendron Billietiae is more expensive than other Philodendrons that you normally see because of its rarity. Although over the last year the price has gone down some from growers. This is not a Philodendron that is commonly grown by large plant nurseries and therefore is not found in many big box stores. The most common places to locate these right now are local plant nurseries or Etsy.
Yes, the Philodendron Billietiae is a climber. While they can grow along the ground and climb trees in their natural habitat, for bigger leaves you want to allow the plant to climb. Many owners of this type of Philodendron like to use moss poles for their plants to climb. But you can also use wooden boards or even an ornamental tree limb.
Yes, the Philodendron Billietiae is easy to grow. Many people think that due to the rarity of this plant that it is harder to take care of, but it is a very hardy plant that doesn’t get too many issues. The thing that people who have these have to pay attention to the most is the soil moisture levels. They like moist soil but they don’t like sitting in soggy soil or water.
The best way to make your Billietiae grow faster is to provide abundant filtered light and high humidity levels. These Philodendrons prefer brighter conditions than most other Philodendrons. And high humidity levels allow the plant to utilize aerial roots so it can climb and reach its full growth potential.
- 285. PHILODENDRON BILLIETIAE: Araceae, Frieda Billiet, Jstor.org; https://www.jstor.org/stable/45065142
- Philodendron, ASPCA; https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/philodendron/