Philodendron Silver Sword Care: How to Grow A Healthy Philodendron Hastatum

If you’re looking for a unique and eye-catching plant to add to your Philodendron collection without breaking the bank, look to the beautiful Philodendron Silver Sword.

As its name cleverly suggests, this gorgeous, no-fuss Philodendron resembles a silver sword with its pointed leaf blades and a silvery sheen to them!

From juvenile leaves that have a pointed ovoid shape, this plant will grow fast and eventually morph into its mature form with massive sword-shaped leaves, handles and all.

In this article, we’ll tell you exactly what you need to do to keep your Philodendron Silver Sword at its happiest!

My Experience With Philodendron Silver Sword

hand holding a philo silver sword

I [Allison, the editor] purchased a Philodendron Silver Sword online in December 2021, and it’s been putting out new growth at quite a consistent rate.

It definitely loves its trellis and is climbing quite easily! The leaves are growing larger because of this.

After having my Philodendron Silver Sword adjust from shipping cross-country for a few weeks, I converted my plant from its soil mix into LECA and it took to it quite well! I’ve had no issues with my Philo Silver Sword since putting it in LECA.

My plant is growing foliage at a rate of 1-2 new leaves per month (even though it’s winter/early spring here!) and they are getting larger over time.

Where Can I Find Philodendron Silver Sword for Sale?

Honestly, the Silver Sword Philodendron is rather affordable as a fully-established plant, so you may just want to opt for something that is already rooted and mature.

Philodendron Silver Sword Cuttings

That said, if budget is a concern — or if you simply find joy in nurturing a tiny cutting into a full-grown plant — you can find silver sword cuttings for sale on Etsy, such as from this seller.

Philodendron Silver Sword Plants

When picking a Philodendron Silver Sword, you can decide if you want a starter plant or a more mature plant. The leaf shape changes as the plant matures.

This seller on Etsy sells juvenile plants at an affordable price. As you can see, the leaves are more oval in shape with tapering pointed tips.

This seller on Etsy sells a more mature Philodendron Silver Sword. The leaf shape is more triangular and elongated like a sword, then it splits where it joins the petiole, giving the sword a “handle” of sorts.

Philodendron Silver Sword Overview & Origin

The Philodendron Silver Sword is prized by many plant collectors for its thick, elongated leaves with a bluish gray color. The silvery coating coupled with the sharpness of the tip makes each mature leaf look like a sword blade, hence the name!

The silvery sheen is not the only striking feature of this plant. It also feels velvety to the touch; and if you check the underside of the leaves, you’ll be delighted to find intricate lines. 

Silver Sword is scientifically listed as Philodendron hastatum K. Koch & Sellow. It was first described in the 1850s but it has captured the attention of many plant hobbyists in recent years.

It used to be a rare variety but because it’s such a resilient plant that’s easy to grow and propagate, it’s now commonly found in many plant shops and households all over the world! 

Regrettably, the Brazilian rainforests where P. Hastatum is naturally found are facing widespread deforestation, so if you have this plant in your collection, you’re actually helping save this species from extinction!

Philodendron Silver Sword: Baby vs. Mature Leaves

Living quite the double life, the juvenile leaves of Philodendron Hastatum appear significantly different from its mature leaves. Watching your plant transform through its growing cycle can be a fun experience!

juvenile leaves of a Philodendron Silver Sword as shown in two photos side-by-side
juvenile leaves of a Philodendron Hastatum

The juvenile leaves of P. Silver Sword will start off looking oval and pointed, and will typically need longer light exposures, higher humidity, and more frequent watering. 

As in the case with humans, baby plants will have more specific needs than their adult counterparts.

wet leaves of Philodendron Hastatum Silver Sword growing on a tree bark
mature leaves of a Philodendron Hastatum

As the Silver Sword reaches maturity, the adult leaves will start to grow into a triangular, arrowhead shape. They will eventually become more sword-like, so to speak. 

When grown in an optimal environment, the Philodendron Hastatum can reach heights up to 10 feet and produce leaves as wide as 18 inches! 

Those sizes are a little harder to achieve for a houseplant, but it’s not impossible as long as you give your Silver Sword ample lighting and watering, a supporting pole, and a lot of fertilizer and humidity.

Philodendron Silver Sword Care Guide

P. Silver Sword is renowned for being a low-maintenance plant that is pretty forgiving with a lot of neglect and mistakes, so it’s the perfect plant for beginners and so-called brown thumbs!

It’s also an aggressive grower. It puts out a lot of leaves in a short time; It gets large fairly quickly, so you’ll need to allocate plenty of vertical and horizontal space for your plant.

You can allow your Silver Sword to trail down from hanging pots, but be aware that this will lead to smaller and smaller leaves in time.

The better option is to train your plant to climb up a moss pole (or any vertical support, really) so it can replicate what it does in nature and produce gorgeous, big leaves.

The Philodendron Silver sword is not particularly susceptible to insect infestations. According to owners of this plant whom we’ve come across, it can quickly recover from foliage loss or any common disease!

Philodendron Silver Sword Light Needs

P. Silver Sword admires medium to bright indirect sunlight. It can, however, tolerate both slightly lower light conditions and a few hours of direct morning Sun.

In nature, P. Hastatum is typically found near the tropical forest floor, receiving light that is filtered through the canopy of greenery above– this is why it thrives better in indirect light in an indoor setting!

While many aroids can benefit from an application of neem or horticultural oils as a preventive measure against pests, silver-colored plants don’t like their leaves being shined with oils.

Oils can erase the waxy coating (which protects them from UV rays of the sun), or eventually cause foliar burn by suffocating the plant. If you must clean the leaves of your Silver Sword, plain water will get the job done!

Philodendron Silver Sword Watering Needs

Generally, P. Silver Sword is pretty forgiving with inconsistent watering. You can slightly overwater or underwater your plant, and still expect it to thrive!

As a fast-grower, your Silver Sword will appreciate a deep watering to fully hydrate the roots. Conversely, it has semi-succulent leaves that can hold water for a considerable amount of time, so it doesn’t mind drying out a little in between waterings.

Give your plant a drink when the top 2-3 inches of the soil feels dry to the touch. Water your plant generously, but make sure the pot drains right through.

Let the nursery pot finish dripping before putting it back to its cache pot (if you’re using one.) If you have a catch plate underneath the pot, throw out the collected water to avoid root rot.

The leaves of P. Silver Sword will usually curl downward when it’s thirsty but they will quickly perk back up once watered!

Philodendron Silver Sword Soil Needs

As is the case for most aroids, your Philodendron Silver Sword will do best in a fast-draining, loose and porous growing medium. 

When choosing a substrate for your houseplant, it is important to remember that the roots of aroids need a lot of breathing room and space to expand into. You can accomplish this by adding chunky materials such as horticultural coal, orchid bark, perlite, pumice, coco cubes, riversand, and lava rocks to your soil for aeration. 

If you need a guide in preparing your own potting mix, we’ve got you covered! This DIY Aroid Soil Mix has worked wonders for our houseplants!

Philodendron Silver Sword Temperature & Humidity Needs

The Philodendron Silver Sword can handle low humidity, but it will do best in moderate to high humidity between 50-80%.

Because this plant isn’t particularly needy when it comes to air moisture, you don’t really need to invest in a humidifier. You can simply place this plant in humid areas of your home such as the kitchen, the bathroom, or the laundry room.

In terms of temperature, the Philodendron Silver Sword will thrive in temperatures between 55-80°F, but it can tolerate slightly warmer or colder temperatures.

In fact, it’s a favorite by many growers in colder climate zones because it continues to sprout new leaves even in the winter season!

Overall, this tropical plant will grow in less-than-perfect conditions, but it’s still ideal to expose it to a warm and damp environment if you want to see lush and nice foliage!

Philodendron Silver Sword Fertilization Needs

As a vigorous-grower, your Philodendron Silver Sword will appreciate a monthly application of well-rounded fertilizers in reduced strength. 

Generally, you shouldn’t fertilize houseplants in winter when daylight is shorter and plants don’t get as much sunlight to photosynthesize and grow. 

In the case of the cold-tolerant Silver Sword, however, you may continue to feed your plant as long as there’s evidence of active growth. Just remember to reduce the dosage if you’re using a more potent product.

Pruning Philodendron Silver Sword

Prune your Philodendron Silver Sword to encourage new growth points, thereby achieving a fuller, bushier look. Pruning will also help regulate the height of your plant and manage the weight distribution on all sides.

If you trim off the mature leaves near the top, your plant will initially produce juvenile-looking leaves that are more rounded in shape and significantly smaller in size. This is a defense mechanism of plants when they are cut.

Once your Silver Sword recovers, it will quickly go back to producing bigger, mature leaves that are more sword-like in shape.

If the stem is unable to stand upright from the weight of the leaves, you can give it a pole, a totem, or a stake for support. Once it outgrows the supporting structure, you can prune back the top and propagate it into a new plant. 

Propagating Philodendron Silver Sword 

Philodendron Silver Sword cuttings will root incredibly fast no matter which method you choose to reproduce this plant. 

When cutting the mother plant for propagation, make sure to include a node. Cuttings without nodes may develop roots on rare occasions but they will never grow into full plants. 

Below are 3 propagation methods with high success rates for P. Silver Sword:

1. Division: The division technique can be used for plants that tend to grow in clumps. The Silver Sword shoots out new pups from time to time, or its stems may grow in multiple clusters. You can simply uproot your plant, gently shake off the soil, then separate the stems where they naturally divide. Each individual stem can then be repotted and grown into a new plant!

2. Propagating in moss or perlite: Instead of developing cuttings in water, you can root them in sphagnum peat moss or in perlite. This reduces the adjustment shock when you finally transfer the cuttings from a high-moisture environment into a drier medium such as soil. Simply bury the nodes of your fresh cuttings in damp perlite or in moist sphagnum moss. Use a Ziploc bag to hold the base while waiting for the cuttings to grow roots. 

3. Cuttings in soil: Of course, you can also cut the stem and directly plant it into soil. If available, apply cinnamon powder or hydrogen peroxide on the fresh wound for disinfection. You can then stick the cutting into a potting mix, with the nodes slightly buried. Moisten the soil every few days and keep the pot in a bright shaded area.

Repotting Philodendron Silver Sword

The Silver Sword Philodendron has an extensive root system that may outgrow its pot within a matter of months. You may need to repot your plant once a year or more frequently than that.

You can tell that your plant is root-bound if it’s always thirsty and the soil is quickly drying out despite frequent watering, or if there are roots poking out from the drainage holes. In that case, it’s time to move your plant into a bigger container!

When repotting, trim off some tangled roots at the bottom but be careful not to disturb the main root ball. Some plants may find it hard to recover from too much transplant stress and shortly die after that.

Fill the new pot with fresh soil to replenish the nutrients. Don’t compact the soil around the stem to allow the roots to breathe underground.

Finally, choose a bigger pot that has at least one drainage hole. Terracotta pots can absorb excess moisture from the soil (which helps prevent root rot) and they are heavy enough to hold the moss pole down for stability.

Philodendron Silver Sword FAQ

In the sections below, we are discussing whether there is a variegated P. Silver Sword, is it a rare plant, does it vine and climb, why its leaves may turn yellow, is it toxic to pests, and other interesting factoids about this plant!

Are there variegated Philodendron Silver Swords?

Yes! There have been a handful of photographs floating around on social media showing variegation on Philodendron Silver Sword plants. 

Here is an example of a mature P. Silver Sword with slightly variegated leaves as shared on Reddit

While it’s a beautiful sight to behold, the variegation unfortunately appears to be a new and rare phenomenon for this species. There is currently no documented information on the origin of these variegated specimens.

Variegation in plants is a result of a mutation, which can either occur randomly in nature or be induced artificially by mankind. We found discolored foliage to be beautiful and interesting, so we came up with creative ways to mass-reproduce variegated plants.

Is a Silver Sword Philodendron Rare?

Philodendron Hastatum as photographed by our editor, Allison, growing in a botanical garden in Hawaii

The Philodendron Silver Sword has become widely available in gardening stores and online plant shops, so it is no longer considered a rare species to acquire in recent years.

However, it is important to note that the populations of P. Silver Sword might become endangered in their natural habitat.

It is found exclusively in the states of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil where people are clearing massive rainforests for farming, logging, and urban settlement.

As a result, the natural ecosystem of animals and insects in that region have suffered and they are unable to pollinate the P. Silver Sword. Ironically, this species is now commonly found in households of plant collectors while it struggles to reproduce in the wild. 

The good news is that there are still massive conservation efforts to protect this plant species, so the P. Hastatum is now officially listed as something of Least Concern in IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species (where previously it was tagged as Endangered).

Is Philodendron Silver Queen the same as Silver Sword?

Philodendron Silver Queen is another not-so-common common name for the P. Hastatum, which is more famously known as Philodendron Silver Sword. You will also find that this misnomer is sometimes used to incorrectly refer to the Monstera Pinnatipartita.

Interestingly, there is a wide debate in the botanical community regarding the taxonomy and official naming of P. Hastatum. We won’t go into detail here, but you can follow the narrative on the blog site of the late Steve Lucas.

[Note: Steve Lucas served on the International Aroid Society Board of Governors as the Corresponding Secretary.]

As a final note, you should type out “Philodendron Silver Sword” when looking up this plant because there is another completely-unrelated genus of plants known as Argyroxiphium (also famously called Silversword).

Does Philodendron Silver Sword vine and climb?

In its natural environment, the Philodendron Silver Sword initially crawls as a vine along the ground, and then anchors itself to rocks or trees as it climbs upward to reach for more light.

As a houseplant, the Silver Sword has a pliable stem that may not be able to support the top-heavy foliage. Give it vertical support in the form of a bamboo stick, a wooden stake, a sphagnum peat moss pole, a coco coir pole, or a make-shift trellis.

You may need to tie it in place initially. Once the aerial roots have latched onto the structure, the plant will take over from there and continue to grow upwards like it does in nature.

Why are my P. Silver Sword leaves turning yellow?

P. Silver Sword is a fast-growing aroid that uses up a lot of energy to push out newer and bigger leaves. Yellowing bottom leaves typically indicate that your plant may not be getting the proper amount of water and light that it needs to grow.

To keep the bottom leaves of your Silver Sword from turning yellow and falling off, stick to consistent watering schedules and give your Silver Sword plenty of bright, indirect light for photosynthesis.

Another potential reason for yellowing leaves is a recent disruption of the root system. If you’ve recently repotted your Silver Sword, your plant will naturally “absorb” its older leaves while its roots are still recovering and growing. 

There’s no need to worry, this will stop once your plant has stabilized itself. Luckily, the Silver Sword is known to quickly bounce back from ailments!

Is the Silver Sword Philodendron toxic to pets?

The Philodendron genus of plants, including the Silver Sword, are regarded as mildly to moderately toxic for cats and dogs. 

According to the ASPCA, clinical signs include: oral irritation, pain and swelling of the mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

Contact your local veterinarian if your pet exhibits any of these symptoms after direct contact with your Philodendrons!

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