Like most types of philodendrons, the philodendron birkin is easy to propagate. This means you can create numerous new birkin plants for your collection, or to give to friends and family.
Philodendron Birkins can be propagated in several ways; via stem cuttings, division, and air layering. Propagation through stem cuttings is widely considered to be the simplest and most effective way to create new philodendron birkin plants, which we will look at in detail later.
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What is a Philodendron Birkin?
It’s not unusual for even the keenest houseplant growers to be unfamiliar with the philodendron Birkin, and this is because it is a relatively new type of philodendron. This plant does not occur naturally in the wild, and instead has been produced as a result of a rare spontaneous chimeric mutation.
This happens when all of the cells in a leaf mimic an earlier cell mutation, resulting in an entirely new type of leaf. In the case of the birkin, the new leaf mutated on the philodendron rojo congo. The mutated leaf was propagated, leading to the production of an entirely new species of philodendron.
Features of a Philodendron Birkin
The most attractive thing about a philodendron birkin is its stunning and unusual foliage; however, the growth pattern also makes it appealing to some houseplant owners. This plant grows incredibly slowly, which is ideal if you want a plant for a specific place in your home and you don’t want it to outgrow its area.
Slow growth is also good for beginner houseplant owners because the plant won’t need to be repotted for many years. Unlike many types of philodendrons, this is not a trailing vine plant, and instead has an upright growth habit.
The foliage of a philodendron birkin really makes it stand out from the crowd. They have elongated heart-shaped leaves which can grow as long as 8 inches at maturity. The evergreen foliage is a deep, dark green color with pinstripe white variegation.
These plants grow to ultimate heights of around 3 feet, though this can take many years due to the slow-growing nature of the birkin.
Can You Propagate a Philodendron Birkin?
If you are obsessed with the look of the philodendron birkin and want to produce more examples from your original plant, then the good news is that you can propagate this plant, and it is pretty easy to do so.
Best Ways to Propagate a Philodendron Birkin
For the best chances of success when propagating a philodendron birkin, use stem cuttings or division. These are the least labor-intensive methods of propagation that anyone can do, and they wield good results.
Propagation by stem cuttings involves removing a healthy stem from your existing philodendron birkin, from which a whole new plant will grow. Follow these steps to propagate from a stem cutting.
- Identify a healthy stem on your philodendron birkin and cut it off just below a leaf node. It is vital that your stem cutting has a leaf node, as this is where new roots will sprout from. The leaf node will usually be located at the point where a leaf joins the stem and can sometimes appear as a small bump on the stem. Make your cutting with a clean, sterilized knife or pair of scissors. The stem cutting should be around 4 inches in length.
- Prepare your stem cutting by removing any leaves on the lower half of the stem. This is because this part of the stem will be inserted into water or soil, and the leaf will get in the way, and also because you want the stem to focus its strength on producing roots rather than keeping too many existing leaves alive.
- Prepare a small plastic pot of fresh soil, and water it so that it is moist but not wet. Insert the blunt end of a pencil into the soil to create a hole where the stem can be inserted, then insert the stem and pat down the soil around it to secure it in place. Alternatively, you can root your stem cutting in water. To do this, fill a mason jar or small glass halfway with clean water, and drop your stem cutting into it, ensuring that any existing leaves are above water level.
- Set your stem cuttings on a bright and warm windowsill, and wait for roots to grow. For stem cuttings which are being propagated in soil, you should ensure the soil remains moist but not wet. For those grown in water, you need to change the water every 3 or 4 days.
- The length of time it takes for new roots to form will vary, but in general, you can expect roots to emerge in 2 to 8 weeks. If your stem cuttings are in the water you will be able to watch the roots appear, while those in soil will need to be checked. New leaf growth is a sure sign that roots have formed, or you can gently tug on the stem to see how easily it can be pulled out of the soil. Resistance indicates that roots are holding the stem in the soi.
- When roots are established, transfer the stem cutting from the glass of water to a pot of soil, or move it from its small pot to a larger pot where it will be able to extend and thrive.
More mature philodendron birkin plants will send out new shoots from the soil called pups. When this occurs you can divide the plant to create several new plants.
- Gently remove the plant from its pot by squeezing the pot and twisting it.
- Once loose, brush away as much soil as possible to reveal the roots.
- Gently pull the pups away from the mother, separating it into as many new plants as you like. This may involve cutting some intertwined roots, but try to keep distress to the plant to a minimum.
- Pot up your separated plants in their new, individual plant pots, with fresh soil. Ensure they are sitting at the same soil level as before. Moisten the soil to help the plants settle in, and continue care as usual.
Tips for Successful Propagation
Most plants, excluding succulents and cacti, will propagate more successfully when kept in humid conditions. This is why greenhouses or glasshouses are such great places to grow young plants. You can recreate greenhouse conditions for your individual stem cuttings, by placing them in a transparent plastic bag, such as a large ziplock bag.
Use rooting powder
Rooting powder is not essential for propagating philodendron birkin plants, but it can help to improve your chances of success. When propagating with stem cuttings, dip the raw end of your stem cutting into rooting powder before inserting it into the new soil.
This powder contains hormones and nutrients which encourage root production and can result in stronger root growth or more abundant root growth.
Stem cuttings that are kept warm will have a better chance of rooting. Keep cuttings on a bright, warm windowsill, or use a propagation heat mat. These mats gently warm up the temperature of the soil, resulting in faster and stronger rooting.