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Burle Marx vs Billietiae Philodendron – What is the Difference?

At a first glance, the Philodendron Burle Marx and the Billietiae look like the exact same plant. But they’re not. And the distinction is important because one variety is more expensive than the other.

Although they’re different philodendron varieties, they look very similar to the untrained eye. After all, both have large, narrow and glossy leaves that seemingly grow in the same pattern.

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Plant Index

It can be challenging to tell them apart, but there are a few things that you can look for when trying to distinguish them.

Here’s my take on the differences between the Billietiae Philodendron and the Burle Marx:

Leaf Shape and Texture

The Burle Marx features heart-shaped but narrow leaves, while the leaves of the Billietiae are narrow and arrowhead-shaped.

While both plants feature glossy leaves, the leaves of the Burle Marx are much more textured and feature multiple side veins that are much thinner than the central vein.

The Billietiae also features a prominent central vein running down the length of the leaf, but the side veins are scarcer than on the leaves of the Burle Marx.

Color

There are also differences in the coloration of the leaves and petioles. The leaves of the Burle Marx philodendron are green with either green or reddish petioles as the plant matures. The leaves of the Billietiae Philodendron are a deeper green with orange petioles.

Size

There are also size differences between the two philodendron varieties. The Burle Marx philodendron grows to become only two feet tall and between two or three feet wide.

The Billietiae, on the other hand, can grow taller, usually maxing out at 3 feet tall and 8 inches wide. Its leaves are also larger, sometimes reaching 3 feet in length in the wild.

However, the sizes I mentioned in terms of height are the sizes these plants reach indoors when grown in pots, and not their actual sizes in their natural habitat, where they both can grow larger.

Growth Pattern

There are nuances in the growth pattern of these plants as well. For example, the Billietiae philodendron grows long stalks that aren’t as densely packed as those of the Burle Marx philodendron.

The Burle Marx grows shorter stalks and shorter leaves that give the Burle Marx a bushier appearance compared to the Blillietiae.

Price

There’s also a price difference between the two plants, with the Billietiae being the more expensive variety.

Add variegation to the mix and the price of the Billietiae philodendron skyrockets. A variegated Billietiae philodendron is both rare and among the most expensive philodendron varieties, you can get.

Similarities Between the Burle Marx vs Billietiae Philodendron

Despite the differences between the Burle Marx and the Billietiae philodendron, the similarities are undeniable.

Here’s what’s similar when it comes to these two philodendron varieties:

Appearance

The general appearance of the Burle Marx and Billietiae will have you believe you’re looking at the exact same plant.

But as I pointed out before, the similarity is only superficial. At a close inspection, anyone will be able to point out how the leaf shape, size, color of petioles, and even the texture and veins on the leaves show more differences than similarities.

Therefore, the similarity in the way these philodendron varieties look are only apparent. When examined closer, the distinctions become more pronounced.

Leaf Shape

Both plants feature long and narrow leaves that have a glossy appearance. But look at them closer and you’ll see that the leaves of the Billietiae are narrower, longer, and shaped like an arrow, while the leaves of the Burle Marx are shorter and more heart shaped.

Growing Requirements

The similarities are most evident in the growth requirement of these plants. Here’s what the optimal environment looks like for the Billietiae Philodendron and the Burle Marx:

– Light

Both plants thrive in bright, indirect light and should be protected from the direct rays of the sun. While dimmer light conditions are acceptable, neither of these plants will particularly enjoy being deprived of bright light, but they will survive it.

– Watering

Both plants are sensitive to overwatering, but slightly moist soil sits well with them. To prevent overwatering, water only when the top inch of the potting mix feels dry. Also, make sure to use a well-draining potting mix when planting either philodendron plant.

– Soil

Both the Billietiae and the Burle Marx thrive in well-draining, well-aerated, nutritious and loose potting mix.

Peat-based potting mixes or potting mixes amended with perlite or vermiculite work best for philodendron plants.

Generally, commercially available potting mixes formulated for tropical plants work great for philodendron plants, reducing the chances of root rot caused by accidental overwatering.

– Temperature

Both plants thrive at average room temperature. Temperatures between 65-80 °F seem to be the most preferred by both philodendrons.

But just because the temperature in your home is within this range, there are still potential problems that can arise. Cold drafts, for example, can cause temperature shock to your philodendrons.

Likewise, being placed close to heating vents or the direct action of an AC will also induce temperature shock that can result in leaf loss and even death.

– Humidity

Adaptable to average room humidity, these plants still prefer humidity to be a bit higher since they’re native to rainforests.

When the air is especially dry, you can increase humidity by misting the plants, or by using a tray of pebbles that you fill with water. As water evaporates from the tray, it naturally increases humidity levels.

You can, of course, also get a humidifier that will keep humidity levels within a range that works best for your philodendron plants.

Conclusion

To the untrained eye, there’s little to no difference between a Burle Marx philodendron and a Billietiae Philodendron. But connoisseurs will immediately identify which is which, especially that there’s a marked price difference between the two plants.

Billietiae philodendrons are more expensive and there’s also a scarcity element involved, being less widespread than the Burle Marx.

That said, both plants generally grow well indoors with the routine care afforded to philodendron plants — bright light, humidity, average room temperature and correct watering.

Posted in Philodendrons - Updated: November 6, 2021

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