Philodendron Birkin Care: How to Grow A Healthy Philodendron Birkin

The trendy Philodendron Birkin is a self-supporting and compact plant — a good option for interior decorating. Its main selling point are the white pinstripes showcasing a striking contrast against the dark green leaves.

As a new cultivar, the Philodendron ‘Birkin’ quickly rose to fame among plant lovers during the pandemic. It entered the market as a luxurious rarity with sky-high prices, but it has now become easily accessible to the masses!

In this detailed Philodendron Birkin care guide, we are sharing with you all the dos, don’ts, and everything else you need to know to keep this beautiful houseplant at its happiest. 

We’re also dissecting many mysteries about its origin and uncanny growth behavior in the FAQ below. In fact, you will soon learn that owning a P. Birkin comes with the excitement of seeing your plant morphing into unique forms. Read on!

My Experience With Philodendron Birkin

I [Allison the editor] have had my Philodendron Birkin for about six months and I’ve watched this gorgeous plant thrive and grow under my care!

It started off in an aroid soil mix, but I later converted it to LECA in a self-watering pot. It’s doing really well in that set-up.

My Birkin has produced a lot of pinstripe variegated leaves, and I noticed that the newer leaves at the top are dominantly white. Over time, these beautiful leaves will naturally fade to a more basic green color, which is perfectly normal for Philodendron Birkin plants!

Where Can I Find a Philodendron Birkin for Sale? 

Philodendron Birkin in a decorative hemp twine pot displayed on a round table

Philodendron Birkin is not a difficult plant to find nowadays. You can readily get it from Home Depot, Lowe’s, and other big box stores. If it’s not available in your local nurseries, you can always look online on Etsy and Facebook Marketplace.

Philodendron Birkin Cuttings

You can grow a Philodendron Birkin from a cutting as long as it has a leaf node. Roots will develop faster if you let the cutting sit in damp moss or perlite!

This seller on Etsy sells cuttings as well as full-grown plants.

Philodendron Birkin Plants

This Etsy seller has tons of Philodendron Birkin plants for you to purchase.

You can also buy a more established 6″ Philodendron Birkin from this Etsy seller.

Philodendron Birkin Overview & Origin

Sometimes called White Wave Philodendron, the Philodendron Birkin is a new hybrid that is prized by houseplant collectors for its unique look and texture. Its waxy green leaves are lined with white lines of variegation that stick out when touched.

You will mostly see the prominent white lines on the top leaves, but the older, lower leaves on a mature plant will eventually fade to green. Another point of interest is the blushing pink color of the petioles (or leaf stalks).

While there is no accessible documentation on the origin of Philodendron Birkin, the plant community has generally come to accept that it’s a spontaneous mutation (or a “sport”) of Philodendron Rojo Congo (a.k.a Red Congo).

Google Trends reveals that the first search engine appearance of “Philodendron Birkin” was only in 2019! 

Because there hasn’t been enough observations of this lovely plant when allowed to grow in a wild environment for a long time, we simply cannot predict what it will look like in the long term.

In fact, it is typical for a Philodendron Birkin to revert (it’s been jokingly dubbed as Revirkin) or even develop new variegation patterns anytime. With a Philodendron Birkin, the aesthetic possibilities are endless!

Philodendron Birkin Variegation Types

While it’s usual for plant hybrids with unstable mutations to show a changing display of colors (such as the Philodendron Brasil for example), there is almost no plant out there that can match the variability of the Birkin in color, shape, and texture. 

The hashtag #philodendronbirkinvariegata on Instagram showcases many different faces of this plant. Here are some of them:

  • Half-moon variegation

A half-moon leaf will have one side having white stripes like a Birkin and the other side being greenish brown like a Rojo Congo (its parent plant).

This type of variegation is not only aesthetically-pleasing, it is also healthy for your plant in the long run. Each leaf will have a balanced amount of green surfaces for photosynthesis.

  • Sectoral variegation

Sectoral variegation means that some leaves can have big “sectors” or chunks of colors. In the case of P. Birkin, the colors might come in shades of white, pink, brown, or black.

Eventually, all these colors will darken to a deep green shade as the leaves mature.

  • Splashed variegation

The Philodendron Birkin can also occasionally sprout leaves that are dashed with multiple colors everywhere. This pattern of variegation is almost reminiscent of a Pink Princess Philodendron.

Although there is no guarantee that your Birkin can develop this variegation pattern, it appears to be a commonplace experience for many owners of this beautiful plant!

  • Yellow variegation

There is a newer type of variegation for the Philodendron Birkin, characterized by streaks of yellow (usually referred to as “Aurea”) instead of white.

There is little known information about this specimen, but it could be a result of genetic alteration via tissue culture.

With the Philodendron Birkin, you’ll never know what you’re gonna get next. If the possibility of leaf variation excites you, then this Philodendron plant is the perfect plant for you! 

Philodendron Birkin Care Guide

Philodendron Birkin is a slow growing but easy-to-care-for indoor plant. It will reach its optimal growth when placed in warm, humid, and well-lit spaces of your home.

Although P. Birkin is a hybrid cultivar that does not exist in the wild, we can figure out the best way to care for this house plant based on the growth behavior of its parent– the Philodendron Rojo Congo.

The Philodendron genus belongs to the Araceae family of tropical plants. Their natural habitat is in Central and South America. As houseplants, they are known to be quite forgiving when slightly neglected. 

It is no surprise that Philodendrons are the favorite of many plant parents!

The Philodendron Birkin is generally pest-resistant, but it can occasionally attract spider mites, thrips, and mealybugs. When dealing with pests, choose organic products that are safe for indoor use. Neem oil, horticultural oils, or insecticidal soap will usually do the trick!

Philodendron Birkin Light Needs

Variegated plants such as the Philodendron Birkin require a delicate balance of bright indirect sunlight. Full sun can scorch the sensitive white leaves, while too much shade can cause your plant to lose its variegation.

Place your Philodendron Birkin next to textured or tinted windows to filter some of the sunlight coming in. Curtains or blinds can also help regulate the light intensity.

If you can give your Birkin as much light as possible (that isn’t hot to the touch), you will notice that the beautiful white lines will get more prominent in time. Don’t forget to rotate the pot regularly for even growth on all sides!

In low light corners of the room, or when the daylight is shorter in the winter months, you can supplement your P. Birkin with a full-spectrum grow light.

Philodendron Birkin Watering Needs

P. Birkin has a dark green pigment and a thick waxy coating, indicating that its leaves can store water for quite some time. As such, this plant is sensitive to overwatering. Allow the soil to dry about half-way through the pot before giving your Philodendron Birkin a drink.

When watering, deeply drench the soil until water drips down from the pot’s holes. Deep-watering shouldn’t be a problem as long as you have a loose soil and a pot with good drainage. 

Chlorine-treated tap water may burn the edges or cause brown spots on the leaves of houseplants. To hydrate your plants, you can use distilled water, collected rainwater, or water that’s been mixed with a few drops of hydrogen peroxide.

Your Birkin will let you know that it needs a drink when it looks a little droopy, or when the leaves feel thinner or flimsier than usual.

Philodendron Birkin Soil Needs

Like most houseplants, your Philodendron Birkin prefers a growing medium that is airy and fast-draining.

Peat-based soil mixes can retain water to nourish the roots, but they are also light enough to allow the roots to breathe. If you are looking for an exact recipe, we have a DIY aroid soil mix for you!

Pre-packed products such as bonsai mix or aroid potting mix will work fine for your Philodendron Birkin. Just add in some cocopeat or sphagnum peat moss if you’re not satisfied with these products’ water retention.

Another option is LECA which is an excellent deterrent of root rot in houseplants!

Philodendron Birkin Temperature & Humidity Needs

Philodendrons naturally grow in rainforests so they respond well to warmth and moisture. To keep your Philodendron Birkin healthy, maintain the room temperature between 60-85°F (15-29°C) and the humidity levels at 50% or higher.

When constantly exposed to dry air, your Birkin might start producing tiny, crumpled leaves. The older leaves might also start to feel crispy, with some browning on the edges.

To maintain a humid environment, you can install a small humidifier machine or you can huddle your plants closely together. Placing a pebble tray underneath the pot works just as well. Don’t pour too much water on the tray, then allow it to slowly evaporate.

The Philodendron Birkin is sensitive to sudden swings in temperature. Protect your plant during the winter by closing drafty windows. Also, keep your plant away from direct sources of heat such as radiators and vents.

Philodendron Birkin Fertilization Needs

The Philodendron Birkin is said to have a slow, compact growth. Generally, slow-growing plants won’t need a lot of food because they don’t use up too much energy to grow. Limit fertilizers to a monthly application at half-dosage or lower. 

Many sources claim that it will take years for the Philodendron Birkin to reach a maximum height of 3 feet indoors. However, this plant has only been around in the market for 3 years and these observations can change over time.

On the contrary, some owners of this plant have shared that their Birkin is putting out new growth at a consistent and fast rate!

Whichever the case, remember that the best time to feed your plant is when it’s actively sprouting new leaves. Usually, this will happen at a faster rate during its growing season in the summer months.

When the weather gets cold or when growth slows down, avoid giving your plant too much fertilizer. Common problems related to overfeeding include yellow leaves, browning edges, wilting, drooping, and foliage loss.

Pruning Philodendron Birkin

Prune your Philodendron Birkin to encourage new growth points, balance its posture and weight distribution, and remove damaged foliage.

The Birkin can look unruly with some browning cataphylls, which are thin sheaths that protect the leaves before they unfurl. Trim them off along with any drying leaves, because these unhealthy sections of the plant can attract bugs. 

With other variegated plants such as the Monstera Albo, pruning might help maintain the variegation. However, in the case of the Birkin, the variegation is simply too unstable to control. 

Since Philodendron Birkin is not a vining plant that can be trained to climb up a pole, you can chop the top off once the stem gets too tall. This will thicken off the stem and the foliage. 

You can then propagate the top cutting into a new plant! Read the next section to see how.

Propagating Philodendron Birkin

The Philodendron Birkin shoots out plenty of aerial roots. This increases the chances of success for propagation via stem cuttings.

When cutting the stem of your Birkin, exercise extreme caution because the nodes are so compact and close together, just like a Monstera Thai Constellation.

Here are 3 effective methods to propagate the Philodendron Birkin:

1. Division Technique: If your plant has multiple stems clustered together, the division technique might be the way to go. Dig up your plant, gently separate the stems, and carefully untangle the roots. You’ll end up with a few small plants, each one needing a plastic nursery pot with moist soil.

2. Water propagation: You can take a cutting from your Birkin and let it sit in a glass of water until roots appear. To avoid rot, replace the water every 3-5 days. Once the roots have grown long enough, plant the cutting into soil. Keep the soil moist so the roots can adjust well.

3. Propagating in Perlite or Moss: Putting cuttings in perlite or in sphagnum moss speeds up the rooting process. Simply place the base of the cutting inside a plastic container with the nodes buried in damp perlite or moss. Roots should appear in 1-3 weeks!

Repotting Philodendron Birkin

The Philodendron Birkin has an extensive root system that develops quickly. You may need to repot your plant once a year, ideally in the spring or summer so the roots can easily recover.

If your plant is always showing signs of thirst despite frequent watering, or if you notice roots protruding from the bottom of the pot, then it’s time to repot your Birkin.

Move your plant from its current pot into a larger pot so the roots can expand, but make sure the new pot isn’t too big. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of having excess water sitting at the bottom. This can rot the roots of your Birkin.

Of course, it’s important to make sure that the pot has at least one drainage hole. You can also opt for porous materials such as terracotta, unglazed ceramic, or cement. 

Philodendron Birkin FAQ

Now that you know how to care for your Philodendron Birkin, stay with us as we answer some more questions about this plant’s interesting origin and uncanny growth behavior!

Is Philodendron Birkin rare?

No! The Philodendron is readily available at many gardening centers and online plant stores, thus it’s not a rare nor an expensive variety anymore.

When it was introduced to the market 3 years ago, the Philodendron Birkin was highly sought-after. The prices went up to triple digits at that time.

In fact, the Philodendron Birkin is named after the iconic designer handbag from Hermes. [Note: For those who are out of the loop, the Hermes Birkin sells for at least $12,000 apiece!]

Nowadays, the Philodendron Birkin is quickly being mass-reproduced through tissue culture in laboratories so the supply can easily keep up with the demand.

What plants make a Philodendron Birkin?

Although there is not much available information on the Philodendron Birkin, it’s generally assumed that it’s a sport mutation and possibly a hybrid of P. Rojo Congo. 

The Rojo Congo is a patented cultivar, and we can trace back its lineage to Philodendron ‘Imperial Red’ crossed with Philodendron Tatei.

All this genetic mishmash of the many ancestors of the Philodendron Birkin is what’s causing the plant to morph into different forms, hence the interesting colors and shapes that we see on the leaves!

Some sources claim that the Philodendron Birkin originated in Thailand, but there is no way to verify that as of writing.

Does Philodendron Birkin revert?

Yes! It is very common for the Philodendron Birkin to partially or fully revert, producing green or brown leaves. The white variegated lines will also naturally fade on the lower leaves.

The variegation of the Philodendron Birkin is a spontaneous chimeric mutation, which means it is highly unstable and unpredictable. There’s simply no fool-proof way to maintain the variegation.

In fact, it is possible for your Birkin to completely revert and resemble the appearance of its parent plant! This photo on Reddit shows a Philodendron Birkin suddenly producing the larger, reddish green leaves of a Rojo Congo. 

So don’t be alarmed when a leaf comes out different than what your plant usually looks like. Half-reverted leaves can look cool too! 

How do I make my Birkin more white?

You can provide your Philodendron Birkin with ample lighting and occasional pruning to encourage the white variegation to come out. However, there is no guarantee that your plant will not revert.

In its juvenile stages, the Philodendron Birkin will initially produce green foliage. The white lines of variegation will appear on top as more leaves emerge.

When a P. Birkin is receiving adequate humidity and light, its variegation becomes more evident. Give your plant plenty of bright indirect light and high humidity for optimal health.

As the plant matures, you can expect the white stripes and even the reddish bronze color on the leaves to slowly darken to a deep green.

Why is my Birkin growing white leaves?

Sometimes, the Philodendron Birkin can produce completely white (also called albo) top leaves. This is completely normal and nothing to be worried about. 

Variegated plants that are exposed to plenty of bright light can produce more white leaves than usual which might be harmful for the plant. In the case of the Philodendron Birkin, however, these white leaves will naturally fade to a lighter green color in time.

As long as your Birkin looks healthy, there is no need to cut off its white leaves. In fact, the Birkin is specifically bred for the aesthetic purpose of this white variegation.

Does Philodendron Birkin climb?

No! Unlike other climbing Philodendrons which rely on nearby structures for support, the Birkin is labeled as a self-heading plant. This means P. Birkin has rigid and robust stems that can hold the heavy foliage upright for several years.

However, plants will only develop strong, thick stems if they get enough light. Too much shade can cause lanky stems that lean to one side. Make sure to expose your Philodendron Birkin to plenty of bright filtered sunlight.

Supporting your Birkin with bamboo sticks won’t hurt, either! Stake them all around the main stem if the top leaves grow too big and heavy.

Is Philodendron Birkin toxic?

Any Philodendron variety is toxic to humans and animals alike, and that includes the Birkin Philodendron. These plants contain calcium oxalate crystals that can cause lip, tongue, and throat swelling, as well as vomiting and diarrhea.

The plant sap can also act as a skin irritant. Please use gloves when handling your houseplants, and keep them out of reach of small children and pets.

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