This article was last updated by on

Philodendron Rio: Best Grow & Care Guide

The Philodendron Rio has distinct creamy yellow striations running right down the middle of the spade-shaped leaves.

However, these colors persist with well-timed maintenance routines and cultural provisions.

Philodendron Rio prefers 4-6 hours of dappled sunlight with 60-80°F ambient temperature, 50-60% surrounding humidity, and well-draining soil. Besides, it needs watering care every 1-2 weeks, fertilizers every 2 months in spring and summer, yearly repotting, and annual or biennial pruning.

Though the Rio is closely similar in care requirements to other Philodendron plants, you need to gulp this article to know the exact and optimum care requirements. 

Overview of Philodendron Rio

Philodendron Rio is a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It is a tropical plant, and it is mainly found in tropical rainforests.

Scientific NamePhilodendron hederaceum 'Rio'
Common NameHeartleaf Philodendron
NativeRio, Brasil
Growth ZoneZones 9-11
Plant TypeEpiphytic and epilithic
Growth SizeGrows up to 12 inches in medium-sized pot indoors.
Can grow up to 30 inches in natural habitat.
Growth HabitFast growth
Grown ForStunning foliage
ContainerCeramic or plastic pot
Ornamental hanging basket
FloweringSmall flowers with cream or yellow stripes.
Flowering SeasonMay to July
Spring to late-spring
AvailabilityDifficult and rare to find
ToxicityToxic to pets and kids

What If I Told You… The name “Philodendro” comes from the Greek words “philo” and “dendro,” which mean “loving” and “tree,” respectively.

Philodendron Rio for Sale

This plant is rare, so you may need to strive a bit to get this plant. Worry not; we have included a list of online shops for your comfort.

SiteExpected Delivery
Gabriella Plants2-4 days
Etsy1-3 days
Your Local Branch1 day

Philodendron Rio: Ultimate Grow & Care Guide

Philodendron Rio is not too hard to care for. You can manage the requirements and grow yourself a beautiful variegated Philodendron Rio.

ParameterRequirementsOptimum Conditions
Watering Regular watering every 10 days for mildly humid conditions.A cup of water for every watering session with added misting for dry environments.
Humidity50-60%Use a humidifier or pebble tray to boost the humidity
Sunlight and LocationIndirect bright daily sunlight or medium range grow light.Placed near a south-facing window with a couple hours of direct sunlight everyday.
SoilAcidic, loose, well-draining soil.
pH 5.5 - 6
A potting mix rich in organic materials and peat mixtures.
Temperature60-80°FUse a temperature/humidity sensor and use secondary/indirect heating and cooling solutions.
FertilizerEvery 2 monthsOptimally during summer and spring when the plant is actively growing.
Potting and RepottingVirtually any material for a pot with an outlet hole for excess water.New pot every year or when the plant has doubled in size.
PruningTrim according to personal wishes, making sure not to cut too short.Prune only in summer or spring.
PropagationVia Root division, Stem cutting and Air layeringStem cutting is the easiest one.
Pest and DiseasesAphids, Mealybugs, Spider mites and Scale

Bacterial Leaf Spot, Bacterial Blight
Apply fungicides and remove infected area.

In severe case, you can propagate the healthy cuttings.

1. Sunlight & Temperature

As Philodendron Rio is a rainforest plant, it is accustomed to natural canopy shade with bright sunlight around it. 

Philodendron Rio thrives in medium to 4-6 hours of bright, indirect sunlight. It is more tolerant of low-light circumstances than most other Philodendrons.

However, avoid direct sunlight because it can cause burns and brown blotches on the foliage.

On the other hand, inadequate sunlight might cause your plant to become leggy and the leaves to wilt.

Being a rainforest plant, the ideal temperature conditions for Philodendron Rio range from 60 to 80°F. Anything below that can be fatal for the plant.

Although it can withstand temperatures as low as 50 degrees Fahrenheit, it should not be left outside if the weather is cold. In the winter, relocate the pot to a warmer location indoors.

Philodendron Rio in pot
Philodendron Rio may lose its variegation due to unfavorable or inadequate light.

If your environment is conducive to heat stress, it can cause issues such as an imbalance in nutrient uptake, or the worst of cases; it can lead to severe root clumping. 

If your temperature range falls below the ideal conditions, your leaves can show issues relating to plant frostbite.

Tips to Maintain Proper Sunlight & Temperature 

  • Placing the plant around 2 meters (6 feet) away from a south-facing window will be your ideal placement as this will provide a good mix of indirect and direct light.
  • In cases where your plant can’t access any sunlight at all, a LED grow light is your friend.
  • Place the plant near the drafts and windows with airflow in summer and near the fireplace and radiators during winter. However, avoid letting the plants have any direct contact with them.
  • You can also opt for artificial heating and a greenhouse for the plants. But, those methods often have varied effectiveness.
  • Your ideal solution is to use a humidity/temperature meter to see what changes the plants need.
  • Make sure the plant isn’t placed exactly in front of extreme temperature sources and instead gets radiated or secondary heating/cooling.
  • Frost blankets and heating pads are other alternatives to protect plants from the cold.
  • Alternatively, to reduce temperature loss, you can insulate the soil. On the top layer of the soil, try adding mulch such as straw or dried grass.

2. Watering & Humidity

The best way to tell if your Philodendron needs water is to check the soil; if the soil is getting too scraggly or crumbling deeper than an inch below the surface, it’s time to break out the watering can.

Ideally, it would be best to water your Philodendron Rio every ten days with about a cup of water during its growing phase and cut back on watering during winter.

Of course, there will be issues with overwatering your plant, and you can tell when the leaves start drooping or, worst-case scenario, the roots develop rot.

Similarly, if you underwater your plant, it will show specific symptoms.

Browning crispy leaves and hollowing stems are signs of dehydration, and watering them regularly will be the obvious solution for this dilemma.

Philodendrons are suckers for a good humidity environment. This Rio is nothing different.

Philodendron Rio prefers the ideal humidity ranging between 50 and 60% to replicate the super humid environment of their native rainforest.

We understand those greenhouse environments aren’t the most comfortable for indoor conditions, so we have some solutions for you. 

In cases where your indoors are a bit too dry, which you can tell when the leaves of your Philodendron start getting crispy on the edges, use measures to boost the humidity.

Tips to Provide Proper Watering & Moderate Humidity

  • Always let the excess water drain out the bottom drainage hole and ensure the plant isn’t left in stagnant water.
  • Once or twice a week, check if the top few inches of soil have dried. Water your plant thoroughly if it feels dry.
  • Alternatively, use a moisture meter or poke a stick 2-3 inches deep into the soil to measure the wetness.
  • If the stick seems moist, wait a few days for the soil to dry. Use tepid or lukewarm water while watering this plant.
  • A simple room humidifier should be perfect for your plant. In those rare cases where your indoors are getting too humid for a rainforest plant (as we said, that should be rare), use a dehumidifier like this one.

Too much humidity near the plant can sometimes lead to fungal infections.

  • You may also make a humidity tray by filling some water with pebbles and placing the pot on it.
  • Alternatively, you can group many plants to aid in maintaining the humidity levels.
  • Furthermore, keep your plant away from air conditioner vents because too much humidity might cause it to wilt.

3. Soil & Fertilization

Commonly the Philodendron plant prefers loose, well-drained soil rich in organic materials, and the Rio is no different.

Thus, Philodendron Rio prefers a typically acidic soil from the pH range of 5.5 to 6.

You can create the perfect potting mix; Mix one part of potting soil, one part coco peat and one part compost.

Or you could also do it with pure soilless sphagnum peat moss. Peat-vermiculite or peat-perlite works fine as well.

When the soil is rich in nutrients, the growth rate also accelerates. Faster growth is promoted by nutrient-rich soil.

The ideal timing for fertilizing Philodendron Rio is every two months or 6-8 weeks during spring and summer.

Fertilizing them during autumn and winter when the plant stays dormant is unnecessary.

A classic all-purpose 20-20-20 fertilizer will serve you best.

Here are some commercial mixes and fertilizers recommended for the Philodendron Rio.

Potting Mixes Fertilizers
Philodendron HousePlant Potting Soil NPK Fertiliser by Aquatic Arts
Miracle-Gro Quick Start Planting TabletsJoyful Dirt Premium Concentrated Plant Food
Burpee, 9 Quarts | Premium Organic Potting Natural Soil Mix Balanced liquid foliage booster

4. Potting & Repotting

Philodendron Rio needs a pot that is at least 5 inches in diameter. When it doubles in size or after a year, you can change the pot and move your plant to a larger container that is more suited.

Repotting your Philodendron Rio is usually necessary once it has doubled in size or once a year, whatever comes first – or, worst case, until you notice roots springing out of the container.

You can proceed with the repotting during spring, when the plant can recover quickly from the repotting shock.

Steps to Repot Philodendron Rio

  • Choose a planter at least one size bigger than the current pot.
  • Remove the plant gently from the current pot.
  • Use proper and fresh potting mix every time you repot this plant and take a new pot and fill it halfway with pebbles.
  • Next, fill the potting mix to the brim and place the plant in the center.
  • Fill the remaining space in the pot with potting mix, leaving a few inches at the top.
  • Deeply water the plant to allow roots to form quickly in the soil.
  • After repotting, water the plant thoroughly and place it in perfect light conditions. 

5. Regular Pruning 

Pruning is the process of trimming down your plant, depending on your preference, until the Philodendron Rio suffers the problems.

The pests that can attack your plant are Aphids, Scales, Mealybugs, and Spider mites. So you need to drive them away with Neem oilinsecticidal soap, or  pyrethrin spray.

Besides, there are plant diseases including Bacterial leaf spots and Bacterial blight, that can disturb your plant.

To get rid of fungal infections, you can use fungicides such as Medallion (fludioxonil) and Prostar (flutolanil).

Besides, you can treat bacterial infections with Agrimycin, Phytophthora and Pythium diseases with Dimethomorph and phosphorous acid.

Ultimately, you must prune your plant when the foliage is worth nothing after infestation. 

Prune your Philodendron Rio once or twice a year during spring or summer to keep the stems at a reasonable length.

  • Prune a few inches from the ends of stems above a node, leaving the node on the existing plant.
  • Choose a length that suits you but avoid cutting too short to allow the plant to regrow through photosynthesis.
  • It will stimulate new growth at the cut spot, making the plant bushier and more compact overall. Any cuttings you remove can be saved for further propagation.
  • Remove any browning leafstalks from the stem as soon as possible because this is where insects will reside and lay eggs if not removed in time.

Philodendron Rio: All About Growth Rate and Foliage

A Philodendron Rio is a quick grower. But most of it depends on the environment and conditions in which the plant grows.

It can reach up to a size of 30 inches in its natural habitat. While indoors, it can grow up to the size of 12 inches.

The foliage is the very remarkable glossy green leaves with cream color stripes often concentrated along with vines.

mature Philodendron Rio
Variegated foliage is the highlight of Philodendron Rio.

As the plant grows, it sheds off the old leaves and makes way for new leaves. The Philodendron Rio frequently blooms throughout the year between May and July.

The flowers are small and have yellow or cream-colored stripes right down in the middle.

Toxicity of Philodendron Rio

The Philodendron Rio is indeed toxic to humans and cats, and dogs. It may not adversely affect humans, but pets may be at a fatal risk if consumed in large quantities.

Philodendrons contain calcium oxalate, which can cause raphide formation if eaten.

The general symptoms include a burning feeling, nausea, and vomiting. However, there isn’t much to worry about as the plant is not considered fatally toxic.

If your pets have chewed Philodendron Rio, contact the below-mentioned helpline:

Propagation Methods for Philodendron Rio

The most common methods for propagating your Philodendron plants include cutting, layering, or budding.

Cutting and layering are the least complicated and provide the best results among the three, and that’s what we recommend.

Let’s look at them in detail.

1. Propagation Via Stem Cutting

First look for a healthy stem and cut it off the plant. Make sure it has at least one leaf and one node.

  • Using a sterilized pruning shear, cut a 2-3 inch long stem with a couple of leaves at a 45-degree angle.
  • Remove all leaves from the stem except two and allow the cutting to the callus for a day to minimize bacterial infection.

Root the cutting in either water or soil. Rooting in water is faster and easier to monitor, while rooting in soil produces stronger, more suited roots for later soil growth.

1. Rooting in Water

  • Fill a tall glass or a small crystal jar halfway with clean, chlorine-free water (water kept at room temperature for 10-12 hours).
  • Submerge the cutting in water with the cut ends below the water and add some liquid rooting hormone.
  • To prevent bacterial growth, move it to a warm spot with bright, indirect sunlight and change the water every 4-5 days.
  • Keep the cutting submerged in water for at least 3-4 weeks before seeing 1-2″ long feeder roots.
  • To prolong the growth, consider transplanting it to an appropriate potting medium.

2. Rooting in Soil

  • Begin by filling a small (3-inch) container with the appropriate potting mix (peat moss, vermiculite, and coco coir).
  • Allow the mixture to sit after thoroughly moistening it with water.
  • Apply a fungicide and rooting hormone mixture to the clipped end before gently inserting the cutting into the potting medium.
  • To reduce water loss, place it in a warm position with indirect sunlight and cover it with a self-sealing plastic bag.
  • Allow it to sit for at least 4-6 weeks or longer before looking for new feeder roots.

2. Propagation Via Air Layering

You can do layering by simply layering the cutting with its parent plant until it is ready to be moved to its soil. 

  • Cut midway through a healthy stem of your Philodendron Rio at an angle of 45°.
  • Place a small piece of plastic, like a bottle, and place it over the cut.
  • Tie some sphagnum moss on the cut and wrap the plastic with a rope around it before connecting it to the moss.
  • You will see the roots in about two weeks.
  • After the growth of the root is convincing, detach the plant from the main plant.
  • Place the plant in a big enough new container with proper drainage holes and moss.

FAQs About Philodendron Rio

Does Philodendron Rio Revert Naturally? 

Philodendron Rio will lose leaf variegation due to reverting. This may occur with improper sunlight, improper watering, and nutrient deficiency. 

If non-variegated leaves continue appearing, you may clip them off at the last variegated leaf to encourage fresh variegated foliage.

Is there a Difference Between Philodendron Brazil and Rio?

Both Philodendron Brazil and Philodendron Rio are cultivars of Philodendron hederaceum.

  • The leaves are more elongated in Rio and rounded in Brasil.
  • Rio is rarer than Brasil.
  • Rio and Brasil have the same striations, but the color of variegation in Rio is silver, cream, or white, while Brasil has greenish-yellow variegation.
  • Brasil was discovered in 1991, while Rio was cultivated by Gabriella plants in 2009.

Is the Philodendron Rio a Pricey Plant?

Philodendron Rio is pricey because of its location, demand, and rarity. There are, however, more expensive Philodendron cultivars available.

The Philodendron Rio might cost up to 150$ for a small plant due to its rarity.

Want to read about other Philodendrons? Read Lupinum, McColley, Dark Lord, Subhastatum, Lemon LimeGoeldii, Spiritus Sancti, Painted Lady, Jose Buono

From Editorial Team


You can take care of Philodendron Rio quickly and place it on a table or a hanging basket. 

But do not mistake it for Philodendron Silver Stripe.

The variegation on Silver Stripe leaves boasts creamy, light green, silver, and eventually dark green shades.

In contrast, the variegation order follows silver, creamy, silver, and finally, dark green shade in Philodendron Rio

1 comment
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *