Philodendron White Measure vs. Birkin

I recently purchased a Philodendron plant called White Measure. I love that it’s got a striking green-and-white variegated appearance which makes it stand out in my indoor garden, but I was confused because it doesn’t look exactly like other White Measure plants I’ve seen. Some say it’s a Philodendron Birkin, but how do these plants vary?

Philodendron White Measure is a Philodendron Birkin. These are different names for the same plant, which is typically dark green with white stripes, a beautiful contrast that many gardeners find appealing. This Philodendron plant is also sometimes referred to as the White Wave.

In this article, I’ll show you what you need to know about the Philodendron White Measure and why it’s sometimes mistakenly assumed to be different from the Philodendron Birkin.

Why the Philodendron White Measure Is Also Called Birkin

There are approximately 450 species of Philodendron plants, as Britannica reports. They come in a variety of colors and patterns. The Philodendron White Measure is a plant with bright green leaves and distinct creamy-white stripes. However, it’s sometimes also called the Birkin.

It’s speculated that Philodendron White Measure got the name Birkin because people named it after the famous Hermés Birkin handbag. New York magazine reports that the plant was so rare and expensive that people compared it to the exclusive handbag range.

Philodendron White Measure vs. Birkin: Why You May Mistake Them for Different Plants

What’s especially striking about the Philodendron White Measure is that its coloring will vary from one plant to another. The random nature of the plant is why people mistakenly think Philodendron White Measure and Birkin are different species of the same plant.

For example, in some plants, the white stripes on the leaves will be uniform in size and pattern, while others don’t.

Similarly, the color of the plant’s stripes can vary. For example, some leaves display bright white stripes while others have cream or yellow lines. Some Birkin plant leaves are so white that they hardly have any green.

In other plants still, the leaves can become completely green, leaving you to wonder if you even own a White Measure or Birkin!

Is Philodendron White Measure a Mutation?

Philodendron White Measure plants can look so different from each other because the plant originated as a mutation of the Philodendron Rojo Congo.

This plant comes from South America and varies from other Philodendron species because it’s not a climber. It has dark green and burgundy leaves and beautiful flowers that can be red or white.

Philodendron White Measure is a spontaneous chimeric (random) mutation of the Philodendron Rojo Congo. A random mutation usually shows up as variegation in the plant, as the unusual white coloration on the leaves.

Chimeric variegation occurs when a plant has two types of genetically distinct cells that give random splashes of color on an otherwise green plant. 

This random expression of color is why Philodendron White Measure can vary in appearance, such as by sprouting some white leaves without any green on them or dark green leaves that look like they should belong to a Philodendron Rojo Congo plant.

Other Things To Know About Philodendron White Measure vs. Birkin

Here are other things to know about the Philodendron White Measure or Birkin and why you might have previously assumed they’re not the same plant.

Sellers Market the Plant the Plant Under Different Names

What adds to the confusion of whether or not the White Measure and Birkin are the same plants is that sellers market the plants under different names in different places. Even more confusing, they can go under the name White Wave.

These different names can cause some people to think that the words signify other Philodendron species, but this isn’t the case.

The Plant Can Revert

If you purchased a Birkin plant, but its appearance is changing, this might make you wonder if you bought a different Philodendron plant. However, this plant can change its appearance over time due to its mutation. No two White Measure plants will ever look the same, which is terrific if you want to own a unique plant.

These changes in appearance can be subtle or dramatic. You might find that your plant becomes an entirely different color, such as pink, or loses its white stripes with new leaf growth.

These variable colorations can cause your plant to look like a combination of two plants, but it’s happening due to the plant reverting to its parent plant, the Rojo Congo.

The Plant Looks Different in Different Growth Stages

If you and your best friend both purchased a Philodendron White Measure, but your plants look different, this could result from the plants being in different growth stages.

When your plant grows new leaves, they tend to be completely white or pale green. As the plant ages, its leaves usually change by becoming dark green.

The Plant’s Leaves Lack Chlorophyll

A plant’s leaf color can change due to its lack of chlorophyll, a pigment that gives plants its green color. Chlorophyll can be lacking in some of the Philodendron White Measure or Birkin plant cells due to their cell mutations.

Chlorophyll absorbs light for the plant so that this energy gets converted into energy-storing molecules. The plant then uses this stored energy to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose for the plant to grow, a process known as photosynthesis.

Chlorophyll is also responsible for plants having a dark green color because it can’t absorb the green wavelengths of light. So, when these wavelengths get reflected off the plant, it causes the plant to look green, as National Geographic reports.

The green leaves of your Philodendron plant are areas on the plant that contain more chlorophyll, whereas chlorophyll free will be pale green or white. This process is what contributes to the plant’s variegated appearance.

How To Care for White Measure or Birkin Philodendron To Preserve Its Appearance

Although you might think there’s nothing you can do to stop a Philodendron White Measure or Birkin plant from changing its appearance, there are ways to encourage it to maintain its colors and stripes.

Even though a Rojo Congo is beautiful, you might want to preserve your Birkin’s looks, so it doesn’t revert. Here are essential care tips to ensure your plant is healthy. 

Give the Plant 12 Hours of Light Daily

Your Philodendron plant wants to be in indirect, bright light for many hours daily. Ideally, this light should reach the plant after being filtered through a curtain, so it’s not too strong. Variegated plant species, such as the White Measure or Birkin, require more light than non-variegated ones.

Since these plants aren’t green all over, they don’t have enough chlorophyll to absorb sunlight, so putting them in a sunnier spot in the home can encourage them to absorb more light, as The Press-Enterprise reports. You should keep your Philodendron Birkin in an area where it will receive approximately 12 hours of indirect, bright light.

Cut Back Its Non-Variegated Leaves

You can cut back the leaves of your Philodendron White Measure or Birkin so that you remove its new leaves that are not variegated. By pruning your leaves, you will encourage variegated leaves to grow so your Birkin can achieve a bolder coloring. To do this effectively, cut back to the last variegated leaf on the plant.

Avoid Exposing It to Extreme Temperature Changes

Since Philodendron is a tropical plant, it requires temperatures that are between 60°F and 75°F (15°C to 23°C). Keep your plant away from hot or cold sources, as both can affect its growth and appearance. When kept indoors, ensure you don’t place your plant close to the following:

  • Drafts
  • Air-conditioning systems
  • Heaters
  • Ovens
  • Furnaces
  • Fans.

If you’ve got a potted Philodendron outside in the garden, be careful not to expose it to cold conditions during winter, especially if you live in an area of the U.S. that experiences freezing winters, such as Minnesota or North Dakota. Move the plant indoors if the temperature gets below 60°F (15°C).

Treat Its Yellow Leaves

If you’ve noticed some leaves on your Philodendron White Measure or Birkin look yellow, you might assume this is just because of its changing colors. But, if all the leaves are becoming yellow, this is a sign that you’re overwatering the plant.

By comparison, if the plant leaves are drooping, this is a sign you’re not watering the plant enough. To prevent overwatering or underwatering your plant, ensure that its soil’s top inch (2.54 cm) is dry before giving it more water. Generally, you should water the plant every week, so its soil doesn’t dry. 

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Final Thoughts

If your Philodendron plant changes its colors or stripes, you might wonder if you have a White Measure species or a Birkin. The truth is, these are names for the same plant. As we’ve seen in this article, this type of Philodendron plant can change its appearance for various reasons:

  • It’s a mutation of the Rojo Congo plant.
  • Its appearance changes during its different growth stages.
  • It doesn’t produce enough chlorophyll.

It doesn’t receive enough indirect bright sunlight daily.

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