Variegated Burle Marx: Care Guide
Variegated Burle Marx Philodendron
Philodendrons are popular houseplants because they are low-maintenance and beautiful, and there are about 400 different species. This makes rare philodendrons like the variegated Burle Marx highly sought by collectors.
Each arrowhead-shaped leaf is different: some will be all-green or all-yellow/cream, but most have a unique swirled 'splash' of both colors.
In the right conditions, they are fast growers, and can produce multiple leaves each month.
Variegated Burle Marx need bright, indirect light and will not do well in low-light conditions (it can cause the variegation to revert). Try pick a bright corner in a room that receives plenty of sun.
Too much direct light can cause black/brown sunburn spots on the leaves.
Like other philodendrons, they like their soil moist, but not soggy. Always ensure the container you are using has a drainage hole as this will allow excess water to run out the bottom.
They don't do well when their soil dries out completely. Water stress can shock the plant, leading to drooping leaves and slow or stunted growth. Check the soil regularly, and allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering again. Overwatering is easier than under-watering, so try get on a watering schedule that works for you and your plant.
The Burle Marx loves fast draining, slightly acidic soil. Using a mix of peat-moss, coco coir and perlite works well.
The Burle Marx will need proper soil aeration which allows air to reach the roots so they don't suffocate.
Keep your Burle Marx above 60 degrees (F) for optimal health and growth.
Philodendrons love high humidity! If you live in a dry climate like us, then a daily misting will do just the trick.
FYI: During the cold and dry winter months, use a humidifier. Or, place a pot of water on your stovetop and boil the water for about 30 min or so daily.
Any general-purpose, balanced fertilizer works. Burle Marx Philodendron are from the rainforest floor where there are low levels of nutrients in the soil, so always follow the manufacturer's instructions, and then dilute it in half.
In general Burle Marx are very low-maintenance. On occasion you will need to inspect for pests and remove any yellow leaves (totally normal), and you should size up the pot yearly.
Aroids are sensitive to salts that build up in their pots from tap water or fertilizer. To prevent this, it's good to regularly allow the water to run out of the bottom of the pot to "flush" any salts in the soil.
We also recommend a monthly leaf shinning, for appearance and the health of your plant. Take a little neem oil and apply it to a damp paper towel, then wipe the fronts and backs of the leaves and stems. This removes any potential pests as well as dust that accumulates over time and blocks light and air from your leaves.
A common symptom for the variegated version of the Burle Marx is wilting leaves. This is usually a sign the plant isn't receiving enough light. Since their leaves aren't entirely green, they lack chlorophyll, which makes it harder for the leaves to photosynthesize properly.
Leaves "reverting" back to entirely-green is another sign the plant is not receiving enough light.
The most common pests you will encounter are fungus gnats, spider mites and thrips. These are all bad news, but they can be prevented with proper care and maintenance, as well as weekly neem oil leaf-shining and inspecting the plant regularly.
If you notice a number of leaves suddenly turning yellow, black and/or brown, especially if they are newer leaves near the top of the plant, then that could be signaling a lack of oxygen to the roots or the resulting fungal or bacterial infection. This is especially true if you just watered, your pot doesn't have a drainage hole in the bottom, and the soil mix is easily waterlogged.
Unfortunately by the time you see the the signs of overwatering it's probably already too late for the plant. You can try to immediately repot the plant into a new pot with fresh sterile soil that is fast draining and not waterlogged. Make sure to cut off any black mushy roots that you see.
Our most successful treatment in this situation is to (ironically) water the plant, but instead we use a diluted hydrogen peroxide mixture. (1 part 3% hydrogen peroxide to 3 parts water). The hydrogen peroxide decomposes into oxygen and water gas. This will help bring oxygen to the roots in addition to its antibacterial and antiviral properties helping reduce the risk of getting root rot.