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Philodendron Rio Vs Brasil: Which Is Better?

Coming from the Araceae family, both Philodendron Rio and Brasil can allure with their long heart-shaped variegated leaves.

Both plants are beginner-friendly and cost low maintenance making the houseplant for the tight schedules.

However, Philodendron Rio and Brasil are different, which is a surprising but happy moment too for the plant enthusiasts.

Generally, Philodnedonron Rio can grow up to 30 inches tall, with elongated, pointed leaves while Brasil boasts slightly rounded and broad and can reach up to 36 inches in height. Additionally, Rio is rarer than Brasil.  

Philodendron Rio and Brasil
Philodendron Rio Vs Brasil (Source: Etsy)

You have already planned to purchase one of the Philodendron Rio and Brasil, but feel startled about which one to choose?

This article will be a lifesaver for you, providing easy tools to differentiate between the two. You will be all covered here. Let’s start!

Are Philodendron Rio and Brasil the Same?

Though Philodendron Rio and Brasil are the results of mutation of Philodendron hederaceum, they can baffle you with their striking differences.

Philodendron Rio has a silver stripe in the center of the leaf and features a small space between internodes.

However, Philodendron Brasil boasts of variegated leaves that almost look painted, with strokes of yellow and lime green across the deep green leaves.

You can witness the differences through the table also!

Characteristics Philodendron Rio Philodendron Brasil
Scientific Name Philodendron hederaceum Rio Philodendron hederaceum Brasil
Common Name Philodendron Rio Philodendron Brasil
USDA Growth Zone USDA Zone 9-11USDA hardiness zones 11 to 12
Leaf Color Green with lighter green, creamy, yellow, and silver variegationGreen with lighter green, creamy, and yellow variegation
Foliage Type Narrow leaves with elongated pointy tipSlightly round base with short tip
Growth Habits About 30 inches in length and 30 inches in width6-36 inches in length and 12-36 inches in width
Availability Of recent origin and is rare Comparatively less rare
Point of Origin Cultivated since 2009Discovered in 1991
Difference in Price Slightly more expensive than Brasil Cheaper than Rio

Philodendron Rio Vs Brasil (Confusion Solved)

Let’s inspect the differences between Philodendron Rio and Brasil in detail.

1. Foliage Shape and Structure

All of the varieties or cultivars of Philodendron hederaceum have round bases with pointed tips crafted with deep curves at the stem that give the leaves a perfect heart shape.

However, Rio leaves are slightly narrow and elongated with long pointy tips. The stretched-out leaves accentuate the pointed tips of Rio.

And interestingly, as the leaves are extended, you can find their ends often curled or slightly bent.

All philodendrons contain 2-3-inches wide solid green, heart-shaped leaves and feature long, thin stems trailing out, making the one of the best hanging plants.

The foliage marks variegation through patchy patterns that inscribe silverly patterns inside, i.e., in the middle of the leaves.

Leaf structure
Leaf structure (Source: Libretexts)

In contrast, the leaves of Philodendron Brasil are much similar to other classical heart-shaped philodendrons.

It has a round base with a pointed tip. You can find its leaves slightly wavy around the edges and concaved at the stem giving it a soft funnel shape.

Brasil’s leaves round out to the stem; meanwhile, the concave shape of Rio’s extends along the length of the foliage, creating an appearance of a cave as the leaves fold themselves inwards along the central vein.

2. Leaf Color and Size

Philodendron Rio commonly called cream strips or silver stripes is popular for its silvery-white variegation.

Its leaves consist of cream, white, and silver variegation on the darker green leaves.

Philodendron Rio and Brasil
Philodendron Rio and Brasil (Source: Etsy)

Meanwhile, the foliage of Philodendron Brasil has deep green leaves with light green and yellow to creamy variegation.

Heart-leaf philodendrons boast glossy leaves that emerge bronze and quickly turn green. Their leaves extend up to 2-4 in (5-10 cm) long whereas stems grow up to 4 ft (1.2 m) or more.

You can see the yellow variegated stripes running down the center of the foliage amidst the lighter green patches.

3. Growth Habits

In the natural habitat, Philodendron Rio and Brasil grow along the surfaces of trees and on rocky surfaces. So, they do best when you let them climb.

Moss stick goes well with both varieties as they are of a climbing nature. Nonetheless, you can keep these plants in a hanging basket as they create beautiful trailing tropical vibes.

Both of the varieties are fast growers compared to other plants. But, as they have variegation, they do not grow rapidly, unlike other non-variegated philodendron species.

Philodendron Rio grows about double its size in almost a year and grows 30 inches in length and the same size in width whereas Brasil Brasil can reach 6-36 inches in length and 12-36 inches in width.

Plant growth measurement
Plant growth measurement
Both grow swiftly shedding dark green leaves and sprouting new ones when actively developing. When the leaves get older, they turn yellow which can be noticed at the bottom.

4. Rarity of Plants

Though Philodendron Rio is not rare like Birkin, it is not easily found like Brasil. This new cultivator does not have multiple options to propagate.

Philodendron Rio has been grown only since the 2010s so, it has not gained as much popularity as Brasil.

Philodendron rio
Philodendron Rio (Source: Etsy)

On the other hand, Philodendron Brasil is an old cultivar and a popular widespread. You can find them in any local nurseries or online stores around.

Philodendron Spiritus Sancti represents the rarest species among the philodendrons because of its slow growth rate and unavailable propagation method.

5. Place of Origin

Rio is a recent finding, that started cultivating in 2009, and has gained popularity only in the past recent years.

It is native to Rio, a city in Brazil, and mostly found in the tropical rainforests.

Insight! Georg Marcgraf initiated collecting Philodendrons from the wild as early as 1644, but the credit for the first successful scientific attempt to collect and classify the genus goes to Charles Plumier.

Plant origin chart
Plant origin chart (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Talking about the point of origin, Philodernon Brasil was discovered in 1991 but, its patent was registered only in 2000.

Brasil comes from the tropical rainforests of South America so, it is native to Mexico, Brazil, and the West Indies.

6. Difference in Price

When purchasing, I find a visible gap in the pricing of Philodendron Rio and Brasil.

Look at the table to compare the two!

Places to Buy Price of Philodendron Rio Price of Philodendron Brasil
Etsy Starts from the range of about $80
Price ranges form $9 to $40 depending upon the size of the plant
Gabriella plantsAbout $99About $14
PicclickAbout $77About $ 14
Grow Jungle About £ 50About £ 18

You can also watch this video for more comparisons between Philodendron Rio and Brasil.

Similarities Between Philodendron Rio and Philodendron Brasil

Both Philodendron Rio and Brasil are types of Philodendron hederaceum and part of the Philodendron genus.

Besides, they belong to the Araceae or arum family, which includes multiple species of plants such as Peace Lily or Anthurium.

Here is an overview of the similarities between Philodendron Rio and Brasil.

Point of Similarities Specifications
Native Area Tropical areas of southern and central America
Light Requirement 7-10 hours of diffused light
Watering Frequency Once a week in summer and once in 15-20 days in winter
Soil Type Chunky, light, porous, nutrient-rich soil that drains excess water while retaining optimal moisture
Temperature Requirement 50-80°F
Fertilization Frequency Once a month during spring and summer
Humidity Requirement Humidity above 60%
Flowering Habits Spadix coated in spathe, bloom during for a period ranging from May to July to late spring
Maintenance level Easy to Moderate
Toxicity Toxic to both humans and pets
PestsAphids, mealybugs, scales and spider mites
DiseasesBacterial bight philodendron selloum, cold injury, magnesium deficiency, tip curl

Let’s look at the care guide in closer look!

1. Bright Indirect Light

Although Philodendron Rio and Philodendron Brasil are labeled low-light tolerant plants, they do not thrive well if they are kept in low light for a long time.

As both species are variegated, they have fewer chlorophyll pigments in their leaves. Hence, you need to provide them with sufficient bright indirect light to maintain their variegation.

Low light compels high chlorophyll production, which can cause loss of variegation.

You need to provide Philodendron Rio and Philodendron Brasil with 7-10 hours of bright indirect light and 1-2 hours of morning sunlight.

Bright, indirect sunlight
An illustration of the bright, indirect sunlight (source: Mr Houseplant YouTUbe)

Place these plants in an eastern-facing window as it reflects indirect bright sunlight. Besides, you can introduce the plant to artificial grow lights if the light intensity is low.

Note: Philodendron Rio is less tolerant to low light than Philodendron Brasil.

3. Adequate Watering

As Philodendron Rio and Brasil are tropical species, they need adequate water. It is ideal to maintain consistent soil moisture for both of them but not soggy all the time.

Philodendron Rio and Brasil need water once a week in summer and once in 15-20 days in winter.

They prefer filtered or distilled and chlorine-free water.

Ample water to your plant helps its growth
Ample water to your plant helps its growth (Source: Tenor)

Consider watering them once the top 2-3 inches of soil dry out. Also, avoid overwatering the plants as it causes bacterial and fungal growth.

4. Well-draining Soil

Although Philodendron Rio and Brasil prefer soil moisture, they hate soggy soil. So, it is better to provide these varieties with soil that dries up easily.

Philodendron Rio and Brasil need well-draining soil with a pH level ranging from 5.0 to 6.5.

Ph meter under plant
Checking Soil with pH Meter (Source: Pixabay)

So, it is ideal to have chunky, light, porous, nutrient-rich soil that drains excess water while retaining optimal moisture.

Pro Tip: Combine 1 part perlite, 1 part peat moss, one part of the orchid mix, and 1/3 part of compost and coarse sand to make a perfect potting mix for Philodendron Rio and Brasil.

5. Warm Temperature

As Philodendron Rio and Brasil belong to tropical regions, they prefer warm temperatures.

Generally, Philodendron Rio and Brasil thrive well in temperatures between  60-80°F.

Anything above 90-degrees and below 50 degrees Fahrenheit could harm both varieties.

Thermometer before plant
Checking Temperature with Thermometer (Source: Pixabay)

They also cannot tolerate frost; hence bring them indoors or use heating pads or insulation to protect them from cold.

Besides, you also need to take these species from direct sunlight and drafty areas like heating and cooling vents.

6. Moderate to High Humidity

Here is a fun fact, both Philodendron Rio and Brasil are not fussy about humidity requirements. Your average indoor humidity works for both of the species.

But, Philodendron Rio and Brasil can grow healthily at a humidity between 50-80%.

Low humidity might cause smaller, curling, yellowing of foliage and stunted growth.

Humidity effect in plant
Humidity effect in plant (Source: North Carolina Climate Office)

An excellent way to maintain humidity is using an electric humidifier.

However, you can also use a wet pebbles tray method or mist the plant 2-3 times a week in the morning.

7. Flowering Habits

Both varieties produce spathe, a leaf-like hood that coats the spadix, a tubular structure, and feature tiny white greenish inflorescence with cream or yellow stripes.

Philodendron Rio and Brasil bloom for a period ranging from May to July to late spring.

Philodendron bipinnatifidum
Philodendron bipinnatifidum flower (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

But, let me remind you, it is challenging to get them flowering in an indoor environment. Besides, the plant produces flowers only after it reaches maturity.

8. Monthly Fertilization

Philodendrons do not need heavy food, and so, do the Philodendron Rio and Brasil.

Philodendron Rio and Brasil prefer a slow-releasing nitrogen-rich fertilizer once a month or once 6-8 weeks.  Alternatively, you can also use a balanced fertilizer, all-purpose (in the ratio of 10:10:10), or any other organic fertilizer.

Fertilizer with plant
Fertilizer with plant (Source: Wikimedia)

Water these plants enough before fertilizing and also fertilize them only during the growing period in summer and spring.

You need to avoid feeding these plants during winter.

9. Plant Toxicity

Are there pets and children around your house? Philodendron Rio and Brasil can extend some harm to your family and furry friends.

According to ASPCA, Heartleaf Philodendron contains insoluble calcium oxalates that can be toxic to dogs, cats, and horses. 

Thus, Philodendron Rio and Brasil contain toxins in elongated leaves and soft, velvety stems.

cat touching plant
Cat Jumping on Plant (Source: Pixabay)

When consuming these parts, the pets can show up some symptoms:

  • Coral irritation
  • Tongue and lips, Pain and swelling of the mouth,
  • Excessive drooling, vomiting (exception for horses)
  • Difficulty swallowing

If you are doubtful about your pets and children nibbling parts of Philodendron, seek health assistance.

The following helpline can be your lifesaver!

What Are They Great For (Philodendron Rio Vs Brasil)?

I have brought Philodendron Rio and Brasil home in 2015 and since then they are two of my favorites not only because of their aesthetic look but also their several other benefits.

Let’s find out what can get from these two plants.

1. Health Benefits

Growing Philodendrn Rio and Brasil in your space will help improve your mental state.

According to a study from Chungnam National University, the interaction with indoor plants can suppress autonomic nervous system activity in adults, helping reduce psychological and physiological stress.

This helps you relax your nerves and get some stress-free moments. Also, if you place it next to you when studying or working, these plants can improve your productivity.

2. Aesthetic Value

You can keep Philodendrn Rio and Brasil in hanging baskets near a window or on any shelves. This can instantly elevate your space with the splashy green tropical accent.

Philodendron Rio
Philodendron Rio (Source: Etsy)

Rio features silver, lighter green, and cream variegation but Brasil also shows up with lighter green and cream variegation.

Both can make a bold impression as a centerpiece for the interior of your home!

3. Environmental Benefits

Plants release oxygen, absorb carbon dioxide, regulate the water cycle, and hold life on earth.

According to NASA Clean Air Study, Philodendron Rio and Brasil leaves traps dust and absorb toxins like formaldehyde, toluene, benzene, and carbon monoxide making indoor air toxin-free.

Besides, these two Philodendron varieties can boost humidity and reduce dry air at home.


When it comes to selecting one over another, you may find it hard to decide; I understand, let me help you!

If you want to take the species that can grow in a bigger size, you can go with Philodendron Brasil. If not, choose Philodendron Rio which has extended variegation comparatively.

And what if I suggest taking both species!

Good luck with your choice!

If you want to compare other Philodendron varieites, visit Lemon Lime Philodendron Vs Neon Pothos. and Philodendron Rio vs. Pothos: Which One is Better?

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