Philodendron hederaceum – Identifying Sports

This is an active work in progress and we hope to make a video about this soon.

The species of Philodendron hederaceum var. hederaceum (incorrectly referred to P.cordatum) has been one of the most common house plants on the market for decades.  They can come in 3 common colors/patterns & can be quite impressive when left to trail over a pot.  They are often referred to as the Heart Shaped Philodendron, and it’s easy to see why.

Within this species, there are currently several highly sought-after sports/cultivars. 

Our family business has been around for 3 generations, but our main greenhouse is over 2 decades old.  Because we self-produce the cuttings needed, we have lots of plants that haven’t seen new “blood” in a long time in the greenhouses, which has led to some pretty cool long-term mutations.

From these mutations, we’ve carefully and selectively cultivated particular plants to form 2 unique variegated hederaceum plants of our own.

Both Rio and Gabby originated from Gabriella Plants (formally Gabriella Growers) and we have documentation of both sports in cultivation since as early as 2009. 

Rio is unique being the only cultivar with silver as the center most color.  This alone is why I call it my favorite plant.  The Rio has been consistent in its pattern for over a decade at our greenhouses.

Gabby is far more unstable, producing a variety of variegation amounts sometimes even leaf-to-leaf.  When in its most variegated state, it can produce leaves that are nearly entirely cream and do so consistently. Keep in mind, that a leaf like this produces little to no chlorophyll, so it can only really thrive in ideal conditions.

Gabby is what it is because we’ve meticulously selected the highest variegated and stable cuttings to plant over a decade or longer.  Therefore, Gabby is a unique sport, even if its family ties can be right alongside far more common sports. 


What didn’t start with us was the natural green-to-cream mutation tendency and it’s evident in other sports known to the market, like Silver Stripe.   

It’s easy to see how it got its name.  Its variegation starts with a lighter green color in the center of the leaf, followed by a thin silver stripe separating it from the rest of the dark green leaf.  Silver Stripe are largely stable and normally do not vary widely from leaf to leaf.

Sometimes these Silver Stripes can very easily mutate further and develop a 3rd color, the cream.  Silver Stripes with this additional cream color are sometimes sold under the name Cream Splash, but that name has a history of its own.

From everything I can tell, the name “Cream Splash” was given first to a photo of a particular photo we released of our Gabby, but it was given the Cream Splash name when posted and trended on Pinterest.  That photo is still able to be found on our former wholesale website and is sitting on a stool my grandpa made.

As far as we know now, Cream Splash is still not associated with any clear definition online elsewhere, so our definition of Cream Splash in this post is primarily an observation from the photos of listings that have been made by other sellers and finding commonality in those photos.  


So what makes all of these different? 

The short answer is: The Variegation Patterns

The following is the variegation pattern of each leaf starting with the center and working outwards:

Brasil - As per the patent of P.'Brasil' the colors can vary from yellow to light green, bordered by dark green.
Silver Stripe - Cream/light green, silver, dark green
Cream Splash - Light green, cream, dark green (this description is from observed characteristics)
Rio - Silver, cream, silver, dark green
Gabby - Light green, cream, dark green/light green

This same info is covered in our most recent graphic provided.


Now, let’s admit something big:  Silver Stripe, Cream Splash & Gabby are very similar mutations. If nothing else, this proves that the cream mutation has happened in plenty of locations across the world.  Essentially, the difference between the three (not including Rio) is just HOW mutated a plant is or simply how much cream/white the plant is currently producing. It’s consistency matters too.

Differently; From the photos and descriptions provided, it’s clear to see why Rio is also, if not more so, unique on its own, with its leaves having a center silver color, and it remains highly stable.


Research done by Shane Maloy, founder of Gabriella Plants, in May 2020.