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Philodendron Birkin: 7 Expert Tips For a Thriving Plant

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Philodendron ‘Birkin’ is a stunning variegated Philodendron variety that is easy to care for in the home and quite versatile when it comes to light! Believed to be a sport of the Red Congo Philodendron, it will occasionally produce leaves with red patches.

Let’s get into my 7 useful tips to grow this gorgeous plant, and I will also touch on many frequently asked questions so that you can get things off on the right start with your new plant!




Like many Philodendrons, Birkin is pretty versatile when it comes to light. This plant can take anything from zero direct sun to even full sun.

Although you can grow this plant in full sun indoors, I don’t recommended it because the color of the foliage will wash out. On the other hand, no direct sun at all indoors will result in much slower growth and a loss of variegation to some extent.

I find that a wonderful location indoors is one that receives a couple hours of morning sun, or even late afternoon sun. Remember that indoors, the light intensity is far reduced compared to outside, so most plants will benefit from at least some direct sun indoors.

If you don’t have any suitable windows, you can easily grow Birkin under a grow light.



Always water your plant thoroughly and allow excess water to drain away. Never let your plant sit in water! Fortunately, Philodendrons in general are very resilient to drying out, so don’t be afraid to allow 1/4 to 1/2 of the potting mix before watering again.

Try and avoid letting the potting mix from drying out completely. These plants CAN take it, but just don’t let it stay that way for too long.

If you do allow the potting mix to dry out for a long time, immediately give your plant a thorough watering.



I always say that fertilizing is an important part of houseplant care. But there are a couple things to keep in mind. Fertilization is not a substitute for sub-par growing conditions. It is meant as a supplement, and an important one at that!

The second thing to keep in mind is that if you have your plant in pretty low light, they don’t need much fertilizer. The more light you have your plants in, the more you can fertilize.

I have my own plant in front of an Eastern facing window and I like to fertilize dilutely with every watering.

I love using Dyna-Gro Grow and simply add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per gallon of water and use this just about every time I water. I have fantastic results from using it and it is a complete, urea-free fertilizer with all the micro and macro nutrients that plants need to thrive.

You will notice a wonderful difference over time with consistent use!


Philodendrons love it warm, and Birkin is no exception. Try and maintain temperatures of 60F (16C) and above. Night temperatures of 65-70F (18-21C) or so and day time temperatures of 75-85F (24-29C) are ideal.


Although quite tolerant of average indoor humidity, Philodendrons are jungle dwellers and would appreciate at least 50% relative humidity in your home. There are many ways that you can easily increase humidity, and I would recommend doing so especially if your indoor air gets really dry like mine does in the winter time and any time our forced air heat is on.


If you are looking for a good humidifier to fit your needs and budget, check out my blog post where we reviewed our top 3 picks for humidifiers.


My general potting mix that I use for most leafy tropicals is simply about 3 parts of an all-purpose potting mix (like Miracle Gro or Espoma) with 1 part perlite.

This blend is moisture retentive, but airy enough for most plants and is my go-to for most plants.


Many Philodendron species are vining, but Philodendron Birkin is considered to be a self-heading type. In general, this means that they do not climb, and their stems are sturdy enough to hold themselves up without needing any support at all.

Other than removing any brown or yellow leaves, pruning is generally not needed unless you want to control the size of your Birkin. Since they grow pretty slowly, this won’t be needed for quite a while, if at all.


New leaves will darken as they mature. To some degree, enough light is helpful for beautiful variegation so don’t place this plant far from a window!

A brand new Philodendron ‘Birkin’ leaf

As newer leaves age, they will develop more green typically.


As the leaves age even more, they will turn even more green, but will still retain some beautiful streaks in the foliage.


If you’d like a tutorial on repotting, check out my blog post where I go through repotting Philodendron Birkin step-by-step.


Why are my Birkin leaves all white?

When you have brand new leaves, these tend to have a lot of white in them. As those same leaves age, they will gradually develop more and more green with less white.

Does Philodendron Birkin revert?

Yes it can! Occasionally, you may see some patches of red developing on your plant (in which case, it is starting to revert back to Red Congo). If you see this happening on more than one leaf, I would recommend cutting the plant back to the last leaf that exhibits typical ‘Birkin’ variegation. At this point, your plant should grow back with typical ‘Birkin’ leaves.

Is Philodendron Birkin toxic?

Like any plant in the Araceae (aroid) plant family, this plant is toxic to cats and dogs and humans because of insoluable calcium oxalates. If eaten, it will cause irritation in the mouth, vomiting and even difficulty in swallowing.

Why does my Birkin have brown leaves or brown spots?

If you have leaf edges that are turning brown, it is likely due to soil moisture imbalance. Either your potting mix has stayed too dry for too long, or it has stayed too wet for too long. If your plant has been growing in cool and wet conditions, the leaves may also develop brown spots which could potentially be a fungal issue. If you have any leaves with brown spots, promptly remove those leaves and discard them.

Why are my Birkin’s leaves curling?

One cause can be too much fertilizer. This can result in the tips of the leaves to curl and even brown.

Why is my Birkin dropping its leaves?

If you have your plant in a cool location, it may protest by dropping its leaves. Try and keep your plant in a warm room that is free is cool drafts and keep them away from any vents.

What is the full size of Philodendron Birkin?

Eventually, they can reach about 3 feet tall but they are pretty slow growers so you will be waiting a while.

Why is my Birkin leaning?

Any plant growing in a window needs to be rotated regularly so that it can grow evenly. If your plant is leaning over too much, simply insert a thin stake in the pot in order to support your plant. You can loosely tie it to the stake if needed.

Leaves turning yellow

There are multiple causes for yellow leaves in your Birkin. Potting mix that is too dry or too wet can both cause yellow leaves (especially the older leaves). If the growing tips seem to be dying as well, your potting mix has probably been kept too wet for too long.

Why is my Birkin leaf not unfurling?

This can be caused by numerous things. More often than not (assuming you don’t have any pest issues), this can be caused by your potting mix being kept too dry and/or humidity being really low. Ensuring that your plant is getting enough light and appropriate soil moisture should help avoid this situation.

Do pests bother Philodendron Birkin?

Luckily, Philodendrons are generally pretty pest resistant! You may occasionally get occasional scale, mealybugs or spider mites.

How often do I need to repot?

This is difficult to say as it varies highly on the conditions that your plant is growing in. When your plant is pretty pot bound, go ahead and place into a pot that is about 2 inches larger in diameter than the old pot. They are slow growing and can stay in the same pot for quite a few years. Just be careful though because at some point, your plant may dry out much more quickly than it used to. At this time, you’ll have to increase your frequency of watering (especially if you don’t want your plant to get any bigger), or you can repot into a larger pot.

Why is my young Birkin still all green?

If you have a really young plant, you’ll have to wait a bit for the beautiful coloration to appear. Over time, the stripes will start to appear.

Why is my Birkin leggy and not as full as before?

Quite simply, your plant needs more light. Smaller leaves can also accompany this.

Are you obsessed with Philodendrons? There are so many others including Philodendron Pink Princess, Philodendron Brasil, Heart Leaf Philodendron, and so many more.

Do you have a Philodendron Birkin? Comment below. I’d love to hear!

Karen Taylor

Saturday 2nd of March 2024

Hi Raffaele,

I’ve had my birkin for about 2 years. It used to have a few brown “freckles” but not a lot. I just snipped the affected leaves off. A couple weeks ago I was wiping the leaves and noticed every leaf, old and new, are getting these freckles. I would have no plant left to cut each affected leaf. Is this a lost hope? It sits in a west facing window (morning sun in Ontario) and I let it partially dry before watering. I just gave it some Dyna-Gro grow but not sure if that’ll help or do more harm. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much, Karen

Joy Lemon

Monday 20th of November 2023

I have a phil. birkin and the new leaves turn brown when they are unfolding. Why is this.


Monday 20th of November 2023

Hi Joy! It's difficult to say without knowing how you're caring for it. Are you doing anything differently from what I mentioned in this blog post in terms of watering, temperature, etc.?

Felicia Fleming

Tuesday 7th of November 2023

I have the most beautiful plant, I love it and I would like to know why a few of my leaves have had black spots and I've had to remove them. I love it. it is one of the most beautiful plants I have ever had.


Thursday 9th of November 2023

It certainly is beautiful! It could potentially be a fungal issue.


Saturday 2nd of September 2023

My New Bitkin leaves only unfurl part way. I have high humidity in my home maintained (60-70%) with a humidifier and I keep my plants watered as needed not under watered and not over watered and have had no pest problems other than a few knats ononce in awhile. NO thrips, scale, mites, aphids, mealy, etc. My Birkin is the only plant that the leaves won't unfurl


Saturday 2nd of September 2023

Hm, that's unusual. What temperature is it growing in? How do you determine the soil moisture? Are you using your finger to judge it, or are you using a moisture meter? Moisture meters are notoriously unreliable. Some work and some are just awful.


Wednesday 21st of June 2023

My all time favorite plant. It was a plant from someone who said they couldn’t keep it happy. I put mine amongst my other plants now it’s very showy..


Wednesday 21st of June 2023

It is a beautiful one for sure!