Philodendron Spiritus Sancti (10 Common Questions Answered)

Philodendron spiritus sancti will make a great addition to your houseplant collection.  It is a vine with long, narrow green leaves that are paler on the underside, but there is a lot more for you to learn about this plant.

So, what do you need to know about Philodendron spiritus sancti? Philodendron spiritus sancti (also known as Santa Leopoldina) is a variegated Philodendron with long, narrow green leaves. It is found in the state of Espirito Santo in Brazil, and it cannot survive freezing temperatures. You can propagate Philodendron spiritus sancti to create more plants.

Of course, Philodendron spiritus sancti is a rare and desirable houseplant, which makes it expensive – even for a small cutting.

In this article, we’ll talk about Philodendron spiritus sancti, answering common questions about this plant, such as where it grows.  We’ll also talk about what to expect from this sought-after houseplant.

Let’s get started.

What Is Philodendron Spiritus Sancti (Santa Leopoldina)?

Philodendron spiritus sancti (also called Philodendron Santa Leopoldina) is a Philodendron cultivar that has long, narrow green leaves.

Philodendron (from the Araceae family) has hundreds of species.  Many of them are epiphytic, meaning that they climb up other plants (like trees) as they grow.

In nature, Philodendron spiritus sancti can grow to a height of 10 to 12 feet or taller.  It is evergreen, and since it is a tropical plant, it tolerates high humidity levels.

Philodendron spiritus sancti cannot tolerate extreme cold, and it may succumb to frost without protection.  Its minimum cold hardiness is Zone 11 (40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4.5 degrees Celsius).

So, it is best to keep it as an indoor plant (or bring it inside for the winter) in colder regions.

Philodendron spiritus sancti grows in areas with full sun to partial shade (2 to 6 hours or more of direct sunlight per day).  It prefers soil that is moist, but with good drainage, and a pH of 5.6 to 7.5 (somewhat acidic to slightly alkaline).

Philodendron spiritus sancti prefers full sun to partial shade.

What Species Is Philodendron Spiritus Sancti?

The scientific name for this plant is Philodendron spiritus-sancti.  Remember that Philodendron is an entire genus of plants with over 400 different species.

Philodendron is an entire genus of plants with over 400 species.

The Philodendron genus is a member of the Araceae family.  The name “Philodendron” comes from the Greek “philo” (love, affection) and “dendron” (tree).

This may be because some Philodendron leaves are vaguely heart-shaped, or perhaps because as an epiphyte it climbs up trees (it loves trees!)

Philodendron spiritus-sancti has long and narrow leaves, but they do look a little bit like elongated heart shapes.

Philodendron Spiritus Sancti Origin

Philodendron spiritus sancti originated in a tropical climate, so it is used to warm and humid conditions.  As a result, it cannot tolerate cold, and frost will kill it without protection.

According to The Exotic Rainforest, the alternate name “Philodendron Santa Leopoldina” refers to the specific region in Brazil where it grows: in the state of Espirito Santo, near the town Domingo  Martins.

Espirito Santo, Brazil
Philodendron spiritus sancti comes from the state of Espirito Santo in Brazil. It is an endangered species, and there are more kept as houseplants than there are in nature.

How To Identify Philodendron Spiritus Sancti (Santa Leopoldina)

Philodendron spiritus sancti has long, narrow leaves with pointed tips at the ends.  The leaves are dark green on top and lighter on the underside, and they look somewhat like elongated heart shapes.

Should You Prune Philodendron Spiritus Sancti?

You should prune Philodendron spiritus sancti to keep the plant under control indoors.  The plant is a long vine like any other Philodendron, and it can grow quite tall (10 to 12 feet) without pruning.

To prune a Philodendron spiritus sancti in a container, focus on the top part of the plant to reduce its weight and size.  Otherwise, the plant will be top-heavy, and it is more likely to fall over.

If you see any yellow or brown leaves, you can wait for them to fall off naturally, or you can prune them off to improve the appearance of the plant.

To reduce the risk of spreading plant diseases, be sure to use a clean knife or pruning tool (wash it with alcohol and a clean cloth before cutting).

pruning shears
Clean off your knife or pruning shears with alcohol before cutting your plants. This will reduce the risk of disease spreading.

You can also put this plant in a hanging basket so that the vines can hang down instead of climbing.  Then you can trim the end of the vine as needed.

You can also put hooks in your wall and let the vines of Philodendron spiritus sancti climb and hang along the walls.

Either way, you might be able to use the cuttings that you get from pruning to make more Philodendron plants.

How To Propagate Philodendron Spiritus Sancti

You can propagate Philodendron spiritus sancti by stem division or air layering.  It is best to propagate in the summer, since the cuttings will need warm temperatures to survive.

However, if you can keep the plant consistently warm indoors, you can attempt propagation during the colder months.

You can learn more about how to propagate Philodendron spiritus sancti from Evergreen Seeds.

Is Philodendron Spiritus Sancti Rare?

Philodendron spiritus sancti plants are very rare, since this species is endangered.  In fact, there are not many left in nature (there are thought to be less than a dozen in the wild!)

Most members of this species survive as houseplants kept by plant enthusiasts.

Why Is Philodendron Spiritus Sancti So Expensive?

Philodendron spiritus sancti plants are expensive because they are very rare and there is a high demand for them among houseplant enthusiasts and collectors.

Keep in mind that cuttings are more affordable, while established plants are more expensive (since they take longer to grow and cost more to ship).

Philodendron Spiritus Sancti Price

You might be able to find a Philodendron spiritus sancti cutting for several hundred dollars, but it will not grow into an impressive plant for quite some time.

If you want a more established plant, expect to pay $1,000 or more for a small plant, with a price in the thousands of dollars for a larger specimen.

A large Philodendron spiritus sancti could cost $10,000 or more.

Where To Buy Philodendron Spiritus Sancti

You can buy Philodendron spiritus sancti at the following online stores (if it is available!):

Just be careful about ordering them during winter if you live in a cold climate. If left outside on your doorstep, Philodendron spiritus sancti may succumb to cold temperatures.

(You can learn more about temperature ranges for philodendron here).


Now you know a little more about Philodendron spiritus sancti and what it looks like.  You also know where to look if you want to find one to buy as an indoor houseplant (or as an outdoor landscaping feature for warmer climates).

You might also be interested in the variegated Philodendron: “Black Gold” (melanochrysumm) or the variegated Philodendron: “White Knight”.

philodendron melanochrysum black gold philodendron 1
Philodendron “Black Gold” melanochrysum is another variegation that you might enjoy as a houseplant.

I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

If you want to read some of my most popular posts, check out the “Best of GreenUpSide” page here.  Enjoy!


Jon M

Hi, I'm Jon. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year!

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