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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 tight schedules.

However, Philodendron Rio and Brasil are different, which is also a surprising but happy moment for 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.
Two photos in a collage with two people holding on to the pots containing the leaves of Philodendron and Brasil.
Philodendron rio and brasil have differences in their foliage variegation.

You have already planned to purchase one of the Philodendron Rio and Brasil but feel startled about choosing one.

This article will be a lifesaver for you, providing accessible 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 the 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 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 them 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

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. Its leaves are slightly wavy around the edges and concave 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, called cream strips or silver stripes, is famous 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

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 to 2-4 in (5-10 cm) long, whereas stems grow to 4 ft (1.2 m) or more.

The yellow variegated stripes run down the center of the foliage amidst the lighter green patches.

3. Growth Habits

In their 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 climbing. 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 overgrow, 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

Philodendron rio is not rare like Birkin but is not easily found like Brasil. This new cultivator does not have multiple options to propagate.

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

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 recent years.

It is native to Rio, a city in Brazil, and is primarily found in 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

Regarding 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 Philodendron rio and Brasil pricing.

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 comparisons between Philodendron rio and Brasil.

Similarities Between Philodendron Rio and Philodendron Brasil

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 closer look!

1. Bright Indirect Light

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

As both species are variegated, their leaves have fewer chlorophyll pigments. 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

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 for maintaining 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.

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 quickly.

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

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 90ºF and below 50ºF could harm both varieties.

Thermometer before plant
Checking Temperature with Thermometer

They also cannot tolerate frost; hence bring them indoors or use heating pads or insulation to protect them from the 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: 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 thrive at a humidity between 50-80%.

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

Humidity effect in plant
Humidity effect in plant

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

However, you can also use wet pebble trays 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

But let me remind you, getting them flowering indoors is challenging. Besides, the plant produces flowers only after it reaches maturity.

8. Monthly Fertilization

Philodendrons like Rio and Brasil do not need heavy food.

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

Water these plants enough before fertilizing and feed 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, Philodendron species like Hederaceum contain insoluble calcium oxalates that can be toxic to dogs, cats, and horses, indicating every variety of Philodendron can be toxic.

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

cat touching plant
Cat Jumping on Plant

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

  • Coral irritation
  • Tongue and lips, Pain and swelling of the mouth,
  • Excessive drooling and vomiting (except 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 brought Philodendron rio and Brasil home in 2015, and since then, they have been two of my favorites because of their aesthetic look and several other benefits.

Let’s find out what we 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.

Doing so can instantly elevate your space with the splashy green tropical accent.
Philodendron Rio
Philodendron Rio

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 Clean Air Study, Philodendron rio and Brasil leaves trap 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.

To Conclude

When 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 bigger, 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!

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