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Caring for Philodendron Cordatum; Heartleaf Philo, Cord

Updated on May 27, 2012
Heartleaf | Source
Brazil | Source

Pothos vs Philodendron

The Popular Heart Shaped Houseplant Leaf Mix up.

Philodendron Cordatum is a very common houseplant that is frequently confused for another equally popular indoor houseplant called Pothos. Both plants have heart shaped leaves, are trailing/vine plants, and are used similarly as table top or in box planters. Even though these two plants are similar in many ways they require different care and come from different plant species. With so many similarities how would one tell the difference between these two plants?

Here are a few ways to distinguish Pothos from Cordatum:

  • Leaf position; Cordatum leaves most commonly lay down creating a cascading look, Pothos leaves reach up.
  • Leaf texture; Cordatum leaves have a somewhat dull texture on older leaves unless they have been shined, Pothos have shiny leaves.
  • Trailing stem; Cordatum have thin stems with leftover leaf husks from leaves that have emerged, Pothos have thick stems that have only prominent root nodes no leaf husks.
  • Leaf Ridgidity; A Cordatum leaf is more flexible, A Pothos leaf is somewhat flexible but is thicker and will break if bent.

To better understand the difference between these two plants the video link to the right will shows Pothos and Cordatum side by side.

In general Cordatum are a bit less forgiving than a Pothos when subjected to inconsistent care, and also a bit less tolerant of extremes in environment than a Pothos. Even with a slightly more rigid set of ideals than a Pothos, a Cordatum is still a fairly easy houseplant to care for provided you are familiar with what it likes the best.

What to know about Philodendron's

The name Philodendron is most commonly associated with the trailing vining plants above, and rightfully so when it comes to the Cordatum, but there is a very wide variety of houseplants that are paert of the Philodendron species. Characteristics of the Philodendron vary widely from one variety to another, by leaf shapes, sizes, and even colors. Aside from the Cordatum other common houseplant members of the Philodendron family include Hope, Congo, Xanadu, Swiss Cheese and many more which at first glance bare little to no resemblance to the familiar Cordatum.

All Philodedron are considered poisonous, as common as they are, Philodendron can be harmful if ingested. For more information on Philodendron poisoning please refer to the links to the right.

Native Habitat Puerto Rico, Central America, Tropical Americas

Selecting a Space

When finding a somewhere to place your Cord remember that it does not care for lighting extremes one way or the other. Moderate lighting conditions are best, and good results can be had by placing a Cord under fluorescents or other interior artificial light sources that are beneficial to plants.

High light conditions can cause Chlorosis. Leaves can be burned easily if they touch a hot window. When placed near a window a Northern exposure or one that receives diffused light is best. Direct sun is not ideal.

Low light conditions will often cause a significant amount of foliage loss, and a spindly stringy appearance. They will be much more prone to root rot as their productivity will diminish considerably with little light.


In most interior environments best results can be obtained by watering a cord when it is dry to the touch, and watering it enough to moisten the soil through the pot. It is not recommended to leave a cord in standing water unless it is in a space of very high light heat or airflow. After watering wait until the soil is again dry to the touch before watering again. Following this watering pattern has proven best results for professionals and houseplant owners alike.

Consistantcy an important component to proper watering. One of the most common issues is overwatering, for good health a brief period of drying must be provided. If you have had issues with your Cordatum such as mosaic yellow leaves, brown leaf tips, or annoying little gnats it is possible that your plant may have been subjected to too much water. For more information on these topics check the links to the right.

In Short

Cordatum can be a very easy houseplant to care for as long as you understand it's needs, and make sure to avoid any hazards that it may present. Knowing the difference between Cordatum and it's similar counterparts also makes a big difference in the overall vitality of your plant.

Enjoy your houseplant and all of it's unique characteristics!

Questions and Comments Welcome!!!

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