One of the best white and green striped leaves, the Philodendron Birkin isn’t a super hardy plant and can be sensitive to changes in its environment. If something isn’t as your Birkin might want it, you may notice your plant losing a few leaves. This might simply be caused by natural ageing (more on that below) but it’s important that you rule out other issues as if things progress, and more leaves are falling off your plant than are growing new, then soon your plant will die.
Below we will go through each of the different causes of leaf drop on Philodendron Birkin plants so you can diagnose the issue as well as treat it and prevent it from harming your plant in future.
If your Philodendron Birkin is receiving a high level of intense direct sunlight, it can cause the leaves to become quite burnt. However, beyond that, it will mean that your plant requires a lot more water than normal and will dry out quickly. If you aren’t adjusting the water enough to compensate for the increase in light (and often temperature), then your plant might start to lose leaves as it can’t maintain that much healthy growth.
If you think that direct light might be causing issues for your Philodendron Birkin, then it’s a super easy fix. Simply move your plant to a slightly shadier spot in your home. When choosing a new spot, remember that your plant won’t do so well in dark areas of your home so find a nice balance. During winter, you tend to be able to get away with moving your Philodendron Birkin closer to the window as the sun is weaker and the days are shorter so the risk of lead burn and your plant drying out enough to lose leaves is a lot lower.
Too much water can also lead to your Philodendron Birkin losing leaves. If you notice the stems and leaves have become softer than usual this may be because the roots are beginning to rot. This means that the plant isn’t able to get all the nutrients it needs. When this happens you’ll notice your Philodendron Birkin not only losing leaves but also drooping down quite dramatically.
To figure out if overwatering is the cause of the loss of leaves, we recommend checking the moisture levels in the soil immediately and replacing it if waterlogged. Don’t let it dry out on its own as you risk more damage to the root system and it might be too late to save your Birkin.
If the root system has started to rot, trim away the worst affected areas and adjust your watering schedule so you allow time for the potting mix to dry out. Using a moisture metre can really help you know what it’s time to water.
Another common cause of leaf drop in Philodendron Birkins is insufficient watering and dry soil. Although yes, as you’ll have read above, too much water causes these issues, well underwatering can also cause them. This is also because the root system will become damaged and crispy and your Philodendron Birkin won’t be able to take up what it needs to maintain healthy growth.
The best way to check whether or not you are overwatering is the ‘finger test’. Dig a finger a few centimetres into the soil to feel if it is too dry. You can also use a moisture meter to ensure you are watering your Philodendron Birkin properly.
Aside from checking the potting mix and inspecting the root system, you can tell if your plant is too dry by looking at the way in which the dry parts have developed on the leaf. If the brown spots are at the edge of the leaf, rather than in the middle, this is a sign of a dry plant. Another thing to look out for is which leaves are turning brown. If you find there are dry spots on leaves throughout the plant, from top to bottom, this also points to dry soil.
Once you have figured out that underwatering is the cause of the leaves falling off your Philodendron Birkin, it’s crucial that you reintroduce water slowly. Dumping a watering can full of water on your plant won’t do it any favours and can actually cause it to go into shock. Philodendron Birkin plants don’t like a sudden change in environment so water it a little each day for a week.
Another possible but rarer cause of Philodendron Birkins dropping their leaves is a pest infestation. This is more common on plants that spend time outside but it can still happen to your indoor plants if you’re unlucky! Insects such as mealybugs or spider mites can take hold of the plant and suck on their nutrients which will cause leaf damage. Over time these leaves will begin to fall off your Philodendron Birkin.
Use a magnifying glass to try and spot the pests on the plant. They like to hang out on the undersides of leaves or near the leaf and stem joints. Spotting pests is, however, the easy part – treating them is a bit trickier. First, isolate your plant to ensure that pests don’t jump onto any of your other beloved houseplants. Then cut away the worst affected leaves to curb the initial growth of the infestation. Shower your plant down and treat with an insecticide. There have been times where we have been unable to save a plant due to pests so be prepared for this.
Luckily, there is a totally normal reason why your Philodendron Birkin is losing leaves and it doesn’t indicate there is a problem at all. In fact, it signals that your plant is maturing well.
Philodendron Birkin plants occasionally lose a lower leaf as a natural sign of ageing. This is absolutely nothing to worry about but make sure that you keep track of how many leaves have dropped and how often this is occurring. If you feel it is losing too many leaves, double-check the environment around your Philodendron Birkin as it could be a sign of one of the issues detailed above. There is no harm in giving the soil and roots a once over to check for signs of root rot and keep an eye on any changes in light or temperature that may be affecting its health.
Those are the most common reasons why Philodendron Birkin lose some of their leaves. It’s important to first establish whether or not it is natural ageing that is causing leaves to fall off. If you are able to rule that out, then you must act quickly to establish what the cause is. Leaf drop is not far away from your plant dying on your entirely, so once you’ve spotted the problem it’s a race against time to treat it and save your Philodendron Birkin.
To find out more about how to best care for your plant, as well as how to spot and treat other problems that you might face with your plant, check out our Philodendron Birkin care guide.
Written by Joanna Turner