The Birkin may be best known for its variegated white leaves with dark green patterns running from the stem to the edges. Keeping this signature coloration depends on optimizing your Philodendron Birkin lighting to help it reach its full potential.
What is a Philodendron Birkin?
The Philodendron Birkin is a beautiful hybrid member of the expansive philodendron family. Unlike other members of the philodendron family, the Birkin is a self-heading hybrid. This means that it grows from a central bulb-like stump instead of vining outwards like a classic philodendron plant.
Over time, these new leaves will be pushed lower as even newer growth takes over, with the older leaves slowly changing to an all-green appearance. This transition gives the plant a brilliant gradient from white to green, and is one of the reasons these plants are popular.
Philodendron Birkin origin
The Philodendron Birkin is a miracle of genetics. What we know as the Birkin today originated from an incredibly rare genetic chimeric mutation on a single Rojo Congo Philodendron plant.
Chimeric mutations cause areas to form completely free of chlorophyll – the dark green areas on leaves that convert sunlight into energy. On the Birkin, these areas are the signature white stripes that make the plant so beautiful.
Do Philodendron Birkins have special lighting needs?
While the variegated patterns found on Philodendron Birkin leaves are gorgeous, the white areas are functionally useless to the plant to create energy. This makes Birkins much more dependent on strong light to thrive.
Birkins need more lighting than their all-green cousins. While their striped white leaves are beautiful, the complex white splotches lower the surface area the plant has to photosynthesize, slowing energy production and growth.
More light for your Philodendron Birkin is required to overcome this shortfall. While kept indoors, these plants will be able to take all the bright indirect light you can provide – stopping short of direct outdoor sun exposure which has the potential to damage their leaves.
Additionally, artificial LED grow lights can work with natural lighting to provide even more energy and growth potential for your Birkin, which can be helpful if your windows provide less than ideal lighting.
Does window placement matter for Philodendron Birkin lighting?
Different windows will expose your plants to varying levels of sunlight throughout the day. For the northern hemisphere, these plants will do best with hours of stronger light provided by windows with southern or western exposures.
If you have northern or eastern views, this isn’t a dealbreaker. Nearby lamps or dedicated grow lights can help give your plant hours of full-spectrum light to help your Philodendron Birkins thrive.
Philodendron Birkin growth with bright indirect lighting
As long as your Birkin is grown indoors, it can take as much sunlight as you can provide. With 8 – 12 hours of strong western or southern exposure, your plant has the potential to grow into a large and beautiful plant. Be sure to evaluate how much sunlight your windows provide throughout the year, as seasonal changes lead to fewer light hours with less intense sunlight during the cold winter months.
Providing enough light will make your Birkin grow healthy. Due to their variegated leaves, these plants grow slowly when compared to their all-green Philodendron cousins.
Maximizing your Philodendron Birkin lighting becomes more important since any white patterns will not be able to convert any light into energy. By making your sure your plant gets hours of optimal lighting, you’ll keep it producing enough energy to send out beautiful new leaves throughout the year.
Philodendron Birkin growth with medium indirect lighting
Not everyone has access to perfect sun exposures that provide hours of strong solar energy. If your windows don’t provide great sunlight, or you are in an area with cold, gray winters, you will need grow lights to provide additional energy for your plant.
While your nursery may market Birkins like their all-green Philodendron relatives with low-lighting needs, their variegation puts them at a disadvantage. Medium or low lighting may cause slow (or no) growth, and eventual decline.
Since these plants can’t photosynthesize as efficiently due to their variegation, they’re at a disadvantage when it comes to converting light into energy. Inexpensive LED grow lights can be a great way to make up for this energy shortfall. Investing in inexpensive lighting is one of the easiest ways to ensure your plant’s continued health.
Many of these lights are readily available, and come in a variety of formats, from simple LED rings, clamped tube lights, spotlights, or under-cabinet lighting. Look for lights that provide full-spectrum exposure and ideally have timer functionality to automate scheduling each day. This is the simplest way to ensure your plants get at least 12 hours of full-spectrum lighting each day without the need to manually switch your lights on and off.
While you might be tempted to keep your plant in lower-lighting conditions, this may eventually lead to decline.
Can Birkins be grown in low light rooms?
If your room has low lighting conditions, it might be time to consider another type of philodendron that may thrive in lower-light conditions.
Regular, non-variegated philodendron vines may survive low-light conditions, but their stems may get “stringy” as the plant sends out shoots with under-developed leaves desperate to find light. Your plant will likely grow slower, and produce small, underdeveloped leaves found in younger plants.
Sadly, Birkins will slowly decline and likely die in low-light conditions. But it’s never been earlier to get the help of a grow light to help make any corner of your home into a sunny paradise for your new Birkin plant.
Signs that Philodendron Birkin lighting isn’t enough
Since Philodendrons are good at storing excess energy, it may take your plants a few weeks to tell you that its lighting conditions aren’t ideal. This may be due to them using stored energy from their time in the nursery or growing center, where they likely had perfect lighting for weeks, if not months. Once your plant is settled at home, pay attention for prolonged periods of no growth on your plant after 1 – 2 months of it acclimating to your home, even if it’s the fall or winter “off” seasons.
Despite popular belief, all Philodendron variants, including the Birkin, can grow and produce new leaves during the winter months. If your plant has gone 1-2 months without producing a new leaf, it likely isn’t getting enough energy and is waiting for conditions to improve.
What if my Birkin is losing its variegation?
If your plant is producing new leaves, but they are smaller or less variegated than previous leaves, your plant is falling behind on its Philodendron Birkin lighting needs.
A grow light would be a quick fix here. Your plant should rebound and produce newly variegated growth under brighter lighting. If this continues to be an issue, even with 12 hours of LED growth lighting, your Birkin may be reverting to its all-green form and may need help finding its variegation.
🌱Philodendron Birkin Guide: Troubleshooting Variegation Issues
Signs that your Birkin is getting enough light
Birkins will make it clear when they are happy with their lighting. You can expect regular new leaves every 1 – 2 months. These leaves should be full of beautiful variegation patterns.
Philodendron Birkin lighting takeaways
While many factors go into plant care, perfecting your Philodendron Birkin lighting has the biggest impact on the development of your plant. With plenty of light energy, these plants will develop to their best potential and become large, beautiful plants.