Philodendron Cordatum vs Hederaceum: Key Differences Explained

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The unique world of houseplants is home to a variety of beautiful and intriguing species. Among them are the Philodendron cordatum and hederaceum, two rare yet visually striking plants with remarkable similarities. While they might appear quite similar to the untrained eye, a closer look reveals that these two plants have their own distinct characteristics and care requirements. By understanding their differences, you can better appreciate the beauty of these tropical plants and cater to their needs accordingly.

Philodendron cordatum, with its emerald-green, dark leaves, is a larger and more demanding plant when it comes to growth requirements. On the other hand, Hederaceum, also known as the “Sweetheart Plant,” boasts smaller, compact leaves that are often a lighter shade of green with a more rounded shape. Both plants have their own unique charm, making them popular choices among indoor gardeners for their visual appeal and relatively low maintenance needs.

Diving deeper into the key differences between these two captivating plants, we will explore aspects such as leaf appearance, hardiness zones, soil preferences, and other care requirements. Through this exploration, you will have a firm grasp on the specific needs of each plant, helping you decide which of these captivating Philodendron species best suits your home and gardening preferences.

Philodendron Cordatum Overview

Heart leaf Philodendron vine selective focus

Origin and Habitat

Philodendron Cordatum is a beautiful trailing houseplant native to Central America and the Caribbean. In its natural habitat, this plant can be found climbing up trees in the forest canopy, thriving in a warm and humid environment.

Growth and Appearance

The Cordatum is known for its heart-shaped, emerald green leaves, which can grow up to 12 inches long with a heart-shaped base. In the wild, the plant can climb up to 50 feet up a tree, with leaves spanning 3 feet in length and a foot in width. However, indoors, it usually remains more manageable in size, partly due to the difficulty of providing enough humidity for it to thrive.

Comparing Philodendron Cordatum with its relative, Philodendron Hederaceum, there are several differences between the two:

  • The leaves of Cordatum are larger, darker green, and rougher than those of Hederaceum.
  • Cordatum prefers dry organic fertilizer, whereas Hederaceum prefers liquid fertilizers.
  • Growth requirements for Cordatum are generally more demanding than for Hederaceum.

Both plants have their own unique characteristics and care requirements, making them distinguishable from one another. As a houseplant enthusiast, it’s essential to be familiar with these differences to provide the best care for each variety.

Philodendron Hederaceum Overview

Philodendron Brasil Philodendron Hederaceum

Origin and Habitat

The Philodendron Hederaceum, also known as the Heart-Leaf Philodendron or Sweetheart Plant, is an evergreen foliage plant native to the tropical regions of South and Central America and the West Indies. This perennial plant is a popular choice for indoor gardening due to its easy-care nature and charming appearance.

Growth and Appearance

  • Leaf Color: The leaves of Philodendron Hederaceum are typically dark green, but they can emerge in a bronze color at first, adding visual interest to the plant. They are lighter and glossier compared to the Philodendron Cordatum, with pointed tips that can sometimes appear transparent.
  • Leaf Veins: Hederaceum leaves exhibit distinctive veins, which add to the plant’s overall appeal.
  • Light Requirements: The plant prefers medium light but can tolerate low light as well. However, it thrives best when provided with bright indirect light.
  • Growth Habit: In contrast to Philodendron Cordatum, which is a low-growing plant, the Philodendron Hederaceum is a climbing vine. This difference in growth habit makes it ideal for hanging baskets or training along a support structure.

When properly cared for, the Philodendron Hederaceum can be an eye-catching addition to your indoor garden, with its striking leaf coloration and climbing growth habit.

Key Differences

Leaf Shape and Size

The leaves of Philodendron cordatum and hederaceum exhibit a few noticeable differences. Philodendron cordatum leaves are typically larger, smoother, and have a darker green shade than those of hederaceum. On the other hand, the leaves of Philodendron hederaceum have a somewhat rougher texture with lighter green hues and finer vein lines.

Growth Habit

Another distinction between the two species lies in their growth habits. The Philodendron cordatum tends to be more demanding in terms of growth requirements, often resulting in a larger plant size compared to the hederaceum. Philodendron cordatum showcases emerald-green leaves and a somewhat elongated leaf shape, while the hederaceum displays hardy leaves with a more typical heart-shaped structure.

Maintenance Requirements

Philodendron cordatum and hederaceum have varying maintenance needs; mainly soil, fertilizing, watering, light, and temperature preferences.

  • Soil:
    Both plants require well-draining, healthy, and aerated soil, but their specific needs might differ slightly.
  • Fertilizing:
    Philodendron cordatum prefers dry organic fertilizer, whereas hederaceum thrives better with liquid fertilizers.
  • Water and Light:
    Cordatum and hederaceum have different water and light requirements, with the cordatum generally being more demanding in these areas.
  • Temperature:
    As tropical plants, both species enjoy relatively similar temperature ranges. However, it is essential to be mindful of their individual needs to ensure optimal plant health.

By understanding these key differences and considering their individual maintenance requirements, you can make an informed decision while selecting the right Philodendron for your home or garden.

Caring for Both Species

Light Requirements

Philodendron cordatum and hederaceum share similar light requirements. Both species thrive in bright indirect light. Placing them near an east or north-facing window can provide the optimal amount of light. Avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch the leaves.


When it comes to watering, both cordatum and hederaceum need to be watered frequently and thoroughly until water flows out of the drainage holes. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out before the next watering to prevent over-watering.


Philodendrons require well-draining soil to prevent root rot. A mixture of peat moss, perlite, and potting soil can provide the right balance of drainage and moisture retention. For both species, a pH of 6.0 to 7.0 is considered ideal.


Feed both philodendron species with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength once a month during the growing season (spring and summer). Avoid over-fertilizing, as it may cause leaf burn. Reduce fertilization to once every two months during fall and winter.


Pruning can help promote healthy growth and maintain the desired shape for both cordatum and hederaceum. Regularly remove damaged or yellow leaves to encourage new growth. For a fuller appearance, trim long vining stems to encourage branching.

In conclusion, providing proper care for Philodendron cordatum and hederaceum can keep them healthy and attractive. By catering to their light, water, soil, fertilizer, and pruning needs, these philodendron species are sure to thrive in any indoor space.

Common Issues and Solutions


Philodendron Cordatum and Hederaceum are both susceptible to pest infestations. Common pests include mealybugs, spider mites, and scale insects. To combat these issues, try the following solutions:

  • Check plants regularly for signs of pests and treat the infestations promptly.
  • Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth or use a soft brush to remove pests.
  • Apply insecticidal soap or neem oil to the affected areas.
  • Ensure proper airflow and humidity to discourage pest development.


Both varieties of Philodendron may encounter diseases, most frequently root rot and bacterial blight. Here are some preventative measures and treatment options for these diseases:

  • Avoid overwatering your plants, as this can lead to root rot. Ensure proper drainage by using well-draining soil and pots with drainage holes.
  • Remove any infected plant parts to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Keep the plant’s environment clean and free from debris.
  • Provide adequate airflow to reduce humidity and deter disease development.

Propagation Challenges

Propagation of Philodendron Cordatum and Hederaceum can sometimes be challenging. However, with proper care, you can increase your chances of success. Consider these tips when propagating:

  • Take stem cuttings with one or two leaves and at least one node.
  • Ensure sharp, sterilized tools are used to make clean cuts and avoid disease transmission.
  • Place the cuttings in water or moist soil and keep them in a warm, bright location.
  • Keep the cuttings hydrated and free from drafts.
  • Once roots develop, transfer the cuttings to a well-draining potting mix, maintaining proper care and environmental conditions.

By addressing these common issues, you can keep your Philodendron Cordatum and Hederaceum thriving and healthy. Remember to regularly monitor your plants and swiftly address any problems that may arise.

Choosing the Right Philodendron

When deciding between a Philodendron Cordatum and a Philodendron Hederaceum, there are several factors to consider. Firstly, the appearance of these two plants differs significantly. The Cordatum has larger, darker green leaves and tends to grow bigger than the Hederaceum, which has smaller, lighter green, and more rounded leaves, earning it the nickname “Sweetheart Plant”.

In terms of temperature, the Cordatum thrives in a range of 65°- 80°-degrees Fahrenheit, whereas the Hederaceum prefers slightly warmer indoor temperatures of 24-27ºC (75-80ºF). As for lighting requirements, both plants can tolerate low to medium light; however, brighter, indirect sunlight will promote healthier growth.

When it comes to watering, both species demand moist soil, but the specific watering frequency may differ. It’s essential to monitor the moisture levels and adjust accordingly, always allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings.

Regarding fertilization, the Cordatum generally requires a dry organic fertilizer, while the Hederaceum prefers liquid fertilizers. Both plants can benefit from regular feedings during their growing season.

To sum up the main differences between these two philodendrons, consider the following points:

  • Leaf appearance: Cordatum has larger, darker green leaves, while Hederaceum has smaller, lighter green leaves.
  • Temperature preferences: Cordatum prefers temperatures between 65°- and 80°-degrees Fahrenheit, while Hederaceum enjoys slightly warmer environments.
  • Light requirements: Both plants can tolerate low to medium light but thrive in bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Watering: Keep the soil moist for both species, allowing it to dry slightly between waterings.
  • Fertilization: Cordatum prefers dry organic fertilizer, while Hederaceum prefers liquid fertilizers.

By considering these factors, you can choose the right Philodendron that suits your taste and home environment, ensuring a healthy and vibrant plant for years to come.


In summary, the primary distinctions between Philodendron Cordatum and Hederaceum can be found in their outer appearance, growth requirements, and preferred environments. For instance, Cordatum leaves are typically lighter and brighter green, as well as more extensive than the leaves of the Hederaceum. The care requirements of these two plants vary as well, with the Cordatum generally being more demanding to grow.

To elaborate further, the differences in growth requirements encompass aspects such as:

  • Soil preferences
  • Fertilizing needs
  • Watering practices
  • Light requirements
  • Temperature tolerance

For example, Philodendron Cordatum prefers warmer temperatures, whereas the Hederaceum is more tolerant of cooler environments. These diverse preferences have earned them nicknames like the “Happy Plant” and the “Mother-in-Law’s Tongue.”

As an indoor gardener, it’s essential to understand the unique needs of each type of Philodendron. By gaining insight into their preferences and care requirements, you’ll be better equipped to help these beautiful plants flourish in your space. Remember that while these plants share some similarities, their differences make them distinct, and tailoring your care practices to each plant’s specific needs will result in a thriving and visually appealing addition to your home.

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