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Philodendron hastatum – Silver Sword Philodendron Care and Varieties

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Silver Sword Philodendron, scientifically known as Philodendron hastatum, is a rare, red-listed endangered species native to SE. Brazil. You can help save it from extinction by buying one. Etsy.com, Facebook, Instagram, eBay, etc., have it.

This aroid has lovely green leaves with a blue, gray, silvery hue that stands out. These leaves are oval in juvenile plants and have an elongated anterior lobe and outward pointing posterior lobe in the mature specimen, a possible reason for the moniker silver sword.

Discover more about Silver Sword Philodendron and how to identify it for both juvenile and mature plants. We will also discuss variegated, narrow-leaf, red, and green varieties or forms.

That is not all. We have everything on how to care for your Philodendron hastatum, including soil, light requirements, watering, humidity, etc., and how to propagate it. You will also know its prices and where to buy it.

Lastly, we have a part covering this plant’s issues, including leaves curling, turning yellow or brown, or these plants having smaller leaves.

Juvenile Philodendron hastatum (Philodendron silver sword)
Juvenile Philodendron hastatum (Philodendron silver sword): See latest prices.
Subadult Philodendron hastatum or Silver sword Philodendron plant
Subadult Silver sword Philodendron plant: Check the latest prices.
Philodendron hastatum (silver sword Philodendron) narrow leaf form
Narrow-leaf form: Check the latest prices.

About Philodendron hastatum

Philodendron hastatum K.Koch & Sello, first published in 1854, is an accepted Philodendron species native to SE. Brazil, Rio de Jeneiro and Minas Gerais states.

  • Scientific name: Philodendron hastatum 
  • Synonyms (heterotypic):  Philodendron simsii (K.Koch), Philodendron elongatum (Engl.)
  • Common names: Silver Sword Philodendron or Philodendron Silver Sword
  • Family: Araceae
  • Maintenance: Easy to care for or low maintenance
  • Toxicity: Moderately toxic to humans, cats, dogs, and other pets since it has insoluble calcium oxalates

Contrary to what many plant collectors and horticulturalists claim, Philodendron hastatum isn’t the same, or its name has never changed to Philodendron domesticum Hort. The latter is a hybrid that doesn’t exist in the wild. Also, it is not the same as Philodendron subhastatum.

1. Growing habits, growth rate, and size

Philodendron hastatum is an evergreen climbing hemiepiphyte. However, it can also grow terrestrially. This vining plant occurs at 0-1958 feet (0-597m) above sea level in tropical wet rainforests.

Hastatum has moderate to relatively fast growth rates in ideal conditions and can grow up to 4 to 8 feet at home but needs a place to climb. It will grow much taller in the wild, especially if it has a climbing place.

2. How to identify Philodendron hastatum

P. hastatum shows much morphological variation in juvenile and mature plants, especially in leaf size and appearance. These variations are the reason why it ended up with several synonyms.

Let us take you through how you can easily identify this plant, considering its stems, leaves, and flowers.

a). Stems  

Hastatum has vining, green stems with internodes 0.6-3.2 inches long and narrowly triangular glossy, pale green cataphylls. These cataphylls measure about 9.8 inches long by 1.8 inches wide.

b). Juvenile and mature leaves

Juvenile Philodendron hastatum will have smaller, oval to elongated oval leaves with a blue, gray, silvery hue. However, as these plants grow, they will start to morph, i.e., begin developing large leaves with anterior lobes.

Mature Philodendron Silver Sword, on the other hand, will have larger (7.9-17.9 inches long by 2.8-5.9 inches wide), narrowly oval to oval-triangular, papery, dark green leaves with outward pointing posterior lobes. The upper side is semi-glossy to glossy and may have a blue, gray silvery sheen, while the lower side is pale-green.

These leaves have an elongated posterior lobe (about three times the posterior) with 5-8 primary lateral veins and a nearly acute to rounded apex.

On the other hand, the posterior lobes have 1-3 basal veins, one free to the base, and a rear rib that is partly naked (1.2-1.6 inches long) with arcuate sinuses.

Lastly, the hastatum has smooth, firm, flexible, nearly rounded (slightly flatted above, rounded on beneath) green petioles that are 5.4-17.7 inches long.

c). Philodendron hastatum flower

This aroid will hardly flower under cultivation. However, mature plants will bloom in the wild from August to December, with immature infructescences seen in December.

When it flowers, this aroid will produce one inflorescence per sympodium with a weakly constricted spathe and spadix longer than its green peduncle. The spathe is cream-white on the inside and greenish outside.

Philodendron hastatum varieties or forms

When looking for this lovely aroid, you will come across various probably forms, cultivars, or varieties, including Philodendron hastatum narrow, glaucophyllum, red, green, variegated, and so on. Let us look at each to clarify things for you.

1. Is there Philodendron glaucophyllum?

A common question I receive is to confirm whether Philodendron glaucophyllum exists and how it differs from hastatum. Some even call it Philodendron hastatum glaucophyllum or glaucophyllum Silver Sword.

No. Philodendron glaucophyllum is only a fictitious or made-up name that may appear scientific. There is no record of such a plant species or even a hybrid. Try searching for it on International Plant Name Index, Royal Botanic Garden Kew, or even Tropicos (Missouri Botanical Garden), and you will get no such name.

Usually, vendors use the name Philodendron glaucophyllum to imply that their play has bluish or greyish-blue or glaucous leaves.

2. Philodendron hastatum narrow form

What vendors sell as the hastatum narrow form is a variety that has more elongated, lance-shaped leaves with a blue, gray, and silvery hue. Also, they claim that it grows slowly, remains smaller or compact, and doesn’t have lobes.

However, we cannot verify the claim that it doesn’t grow lobes. What they describe could be only the juvenile form. Also, it is hard to tell if it is a cultivar or hybrid.

3. Philodendron hastatum green

I have seen vendors, especially from Asia, selling a Philodendron hastatum green, which doesn’t have the blue-grayish leaves or the grayish-silvery sheen.

Such a variation is possible with this plant being highly variable. Also, the mature leaves of this plant can be dark green. However, we haven’t had the plant and cannot confirm its authenticity.

4. Philodendron hastatum red

The red form variety looks like other hastatum but has reddish petioles, not the usual green. Also, it has green leaves without a blue, gray, or silvery hue.

According to one vendor that sells it, it grows a little larger and probably came from Panama in the 1970s, not SE. Brazil. Unfortunately, like its vendor, we cannot confirm if it is a P. hastatum cultivar, hybrid, or variety.

5. Are there variegated Silver Sword Philodendron plants?

Yes. There are variegated Philodendron hastatum plants with mint, creamy-white, or even yellowish marbling, streaks, or sectors on their blue, gray silvery-hued leaves.

They occur from a rare cell mutation and are both super rare and expensive. Expect to spend anything from $800 to $3500, depending on the level of variegation, plant size, and where you buy it.

Philodendron hastatum vs. curvilobum

The outward pointed posterior lobe and a long anterior lobe make the hastatum resemble the Philodendron curvilobum Schott. However, P. curvilobum has a long cuspidate lamina apex, while the hastatum has a rounded to acute apex.

How to care for your Silver Sword Philodendron?

Grow your Philodendron hastatum in a warm (60-80°F), humid (>40% RH place with bright indirect light. The soil should be slightly acidic, well-drained, aerated, and rich in organic matter, and you should water it when the top few inches of the potting mix feel dry. Also, it needs support, feeding, pruning, and repotting.

Here is more on Philodendron silver sword care and ideal growing conditions.

1. Temperature and humidity

These tropical plants love the warm, humid area with an ideal temperature of 60-80°F and humidity of at least 40%, ideally 60% or more. Avoid places with cold drafts, temp below 50°F, or near heat sources, as they will stress these plants. Also, they don’t like sudden temperature changes.

If your house has very low humidity but a humidifier, have a pebble tray or group your plants. Also, you can mist or move these plants to more humid rooms like your bathroom.

Lastly, outdoors grow them in hardiness zone 10-11 and move them indoors when temperatures fall below 50°F.

2. Light requirements

The Silver Sword Philodendron will grow optimally in bright, indirect light. Medium bright, indirect light will do but for variegated plants, stick to bright indirect light.

Please, avoid direct sunlight as it will burn leaves, making them look washed out or have brown spots, edges, or tips. Similarly, too little light will make your plant leggy and have smaller yellow or paler leaves.

If grown outdoors, select a place with dappled light, just like in their natural tropical rainforest habitats.

3. What is the best soil for Philodendron Silver Sword plants?

Grow your silver sword Philodendron plants in airy, well-drained soil rich in organic matter and with an ideal of 5.0-6.0, but up to 7.0 is ok. These plants are not so fussy regarding growth media or soil mix. Even a soilless blend will do.

I either grow this plant in an aroid mix from Etsy.com or make one at home. To make yours, take about 50% potting soil and add perlite, bark chips, peat moss, and worm castings (or compost). Just ensure it can hold moisture but drains.

4. How to properly water your Philodendron hastatum?

Thoroughly water this plant when the top few inches, up to the first knuckle of your finger, feels dry or the moisture meter reading is in the dry zone. I water when my XLUX soil moisture meter reads three or less.

Please don’t follow any schedule you find online size water needs vary with your conditions, plant size, or pot size. And when watering, slowly saturate the soil until the excess runs out from drainage holes. Then, discard any that collects on the saucer.

Ensure you never overwater this plant. It will make leaves turn yellow and may result in root rot. Also, letting the potting mix bone dry will affect its growth.

5. Does Philodendron hastatum need a moss pole?

Yes. We highly recommend you give and train your silver sword Philodendron on a moss pole, trellis, totem, or a place to climb. This plant is a climber, not a ground trailer or hanging plant.  

6. More care needs

Besides the above care needs, additional ones include:

  • Feeding: Feed it once a month with a balanced, liquid houseplant fertilizer. However, slow-release or unbalanced formula for potted or houseplants is ok.
  • Pruning: Regularly check for and cut any dead, damaged, or diseased leaves or parts with sterilized gardening scissors. Also, you can cut back a few stems to control growth, shape, or size in growing months.
  • Repotting: Repotting is after 1-2 years or if rootbound. Select a pot 2-3 inches wider in diameter.

 How to propagate philodendron silver sword

Silver Sword Philodendron propagation is mainly by stem cutting either in water or potting. The cutting must have at least a node. Additionally, you can go for air layering. Seeds are rare to find.

We prefer water propagation as it allows us to see the rooting process. Get a glass jar, sterilized gardening scissors, and rooting hormone to use this method.

Here is how to go about it:

  • Step 01: Select a mature, healthy stem with at least 2-3 nodes and cut it below the lower node. If it has more than three leaves, snip off the lower ones.
  • Step 02: Apply your rooting hormone on the cut end. Not mandatory but will spur faster rooting and prevent rot. A brand like HydroDynamics Clonex Rooting Gel is perfect.
  • Step 03: Dip the cutting in a jar filled with water, ensuring at least a node is under water. Don’t immerse leaves.
  • Step 04: Place your Philodendron hastatum cutting in a warm place with bright, indirect light.
  • Step 05: After every 4-5 days, replace the water. Also, add more water when the level falls.

After a few weeks, you will notice roots growing from nodes. Wait until they are at least 2-3 inches long before transplanting them.

Silver Sword Philodendron issues or problems

No issues, pests, or diseases are specific to the Philodendron silver sword except those that affect other plants in this genus. However, improper care, pests, diseases, and wrong growing conditions may result in these problems.

  • Leaves turning yellow: It indicates you are overwatering your plant. Other possible reasons are overwatering, cold drafts, too much sunlight, overfeeding, or nutrient deficiency. Also, pests and diseases can be a cause, especially if you see yellow spots.
  • Leaves are curling: Most likely reasons are underwatering, low humidity, and too much heat or light. However, pests, diseases, a rootbound plant, and overwatering may also be to blame.
  • Plant drooping: Likely causes are underwatering, low humidity, heat stress, and too much light, among others.
  • Brown tips, edges, spots, or brown leaves: Causes include underwatering, too much light, fertilizer burns, heat stress, pests, diseases, and cold drafts.
  • Your plant has smaller leaves: It may indicate too little light, underwatering, nutritional deficiency, or your plant is rootbound.

Frequently asked questions

Is Philodendron hastatum endangered?

Yes. Philodendron hastatum is red-listed as endangered in its native habitat. Aluminum mining, expansion of towns, and clearing of forests for farming or logging are key reasons for its diminishing population.

Is Philodendron Silver Sword rare?

Yes, but not super rare. Besides being endangered in its natural habitat, this plant is available in the houseplant trade. You won’t fail to find a vendor, especially online, near you or those who will ship it to your location.

Philodendron Silver Queen vs. Silver Sword: What is the difference?

In the houseplant trade, Philodendron Silver Queen means the same as Philodendron Silver Sword, i.e., they are the same plant. However, some vendors mislabel or consider Philodendron Silver Queen a common name of Monstera pinnatipartita.

What is the Silver Sword Philodendron price?

The price of philodendron hastatum, including the green and narrow leaf, ranges between $15 to $120 for small to large plants. But if you want variegated plants, they cost $800 to $3500.

Where do I find Philodendron Silver Sword on sale?

Etsy.com is the best place to buy Silver Sword Philodendron. It has vendors from the US, Canada, Australia, the UK, Asia, etc. Also, you can find this aroid on Facebook, Instagram, eBay, and a few more online sites.