The Neon Philodendron (Philodendron Cordatum ‘Neon’) is a beautiful vining foliage plant that is a member of the Araceae family.
It has very distinctive bright yellow green color heart-shaped leaves that trail down from pots and hanging baskets. This makes it amazing to look at especially when kept in patios and balconies.
However, if you’re specifically looking for this plant, be aware that it has some look-alikes. They are so similar and often mistaken for one another that even shops that sell them occasionally mislabel them for one another.
So, when buying your Neon Philodendron, always take a closer look since you may end up with either of these 2 plants:
- Philodendron Lemon Lime (Philodendron hederaceum ‘Lemon Lime’)
- Neon Pothos
In fact, the 3 are so similar that they’re mostly passed on for each other. Although, this hardly seems to matter to most owners because they’re all similarly beautiful. The only people to whom it does matter are botanists.
As a native of the southern parts of Brazil, the Neon Philodendron is tropical in nature. Thus, it thrives in warm, humid conditions.
But, because it is epiphytic, it is used to staying under the shade of forest canopies. So, keeping it away from too much bright light is a good idea.
Neon Philodendron Plant Care
Neon Philodendron Light Requirements
Neon Philodendron does best in medium, indirect light. It can likewise tolerate low light conditions. But, you want to be careful with direct light and too much bright sun.
The plant is sensitive to too much exposure. And, this will burn its leaves. When this happens, you’ll see its foliage bleach and eventually turn brown.
Unlike wilting leave, this take longer to fix.
As such, it is always a good idea to be aware of where the sun is coming from and where its rays hit. You want to avoid any contact with the plant’s leaves.
Indoors, this makes a north or east facing window the best options. In the latter, you want to keep it a few feet away from the window opening.
You want to be careful with the south and west facing windows as these experience more intense sunlight during the afternoon. Thus, it is a good idea to provide it with some kind of protection in these positions.
Outdoors, it will prefer at least partial shade. It will likewise tolerate heavy shade without any problems.
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Neon Philodendron thrives in tropical weather. As such, it enjoys moderate to warm weather. This makes it idea for USDA Hardiness zones 9 to 11.
In these areas, you’ll be able to keep the plant outside in your patio or garden all year round. Otherwise it is a good idea to keep it in a container. This will allow you to grow it as a houseplant or take it outside during the warmer months.
If you do, make sure that you bring it back inside or a toaster location one temperatures dip under 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Indoors, your Neon Philodendron does best when climate is kept consistent between 65 to 80 degrees.
Just like the cold, the plant is not a fan of extreme heat. Although, it can tolerate more heat than cold. This means even if where you live experiences hot summers, it will be fine as long as temperatures don’t’ consistently stay above 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
Neon Philodendron also do okay with average household humidity, provided that it does not stay below 40% for extended periods of time or frequently.
In overly dry conditions, which can happen during hot sunny summers or if you live in the desert, you’ll need to mist the plant a few times a week or give it a shower in the sink every so often to keep it happy.
Otherwise, you’ll notice its leaves turn burn and get a bit crisp.
Similarly, this scenario can happen in wintertime when the air gets dry.
That said, for best growth and its most vibrant leaves, your Neon Philodendron will need high humidity of at least 60%.
source: wikimedia commons
How Often to Water Neon Philodendron
Neon Philodendron enjoy moist soil. But, avoid soggy or wet soil. The plant is susceptible to overwatering. And if you allow it to sit in water for prolonged periods, it will eventually experience root rot.
As such, it is a good idea to allow the top part of the soil to dry before you water. As long as you water it when the soil is dry past 2 inches form the top to about 50% of the soil, it will be happy.
On the other hand, if on occasion you happen to forget, the plant will give you signs. Once you see it start wilting or its leaves beginning to curl up, you want to water.
These are the initial signs of lack of moisture. If left unattended, you’ll see its leaves turn brown later on.
The good news with lack of water is once you water it, you’ll quickly see it perk back up in the next day or so.
Also, how you water is just as important as when you water.
When watering, you want to wet the soil slowly until it gets saturated. You don’t want to water from above the plant to wet it entirely including its leaves. Nor do you want to douse it quickly with lots of water.
The goal is to let the soil absorb the water so the moisture can reach the plant’s roots.
Then make sure to let the excess water to completely drain before returning it to its original spot.
Soil for Neon Philodendron
Neon Philodendron does best with moist, well-draining soil. But, it is not fussy about it.
As such, you can use 100% sphagnum peat moss or a combination of peat and perlite or vermiculite.
If you already have potting soil at home, you can use that instead and add pumice and perlite to improve drainage.
When choosing soil, make sure there’s enough drainage. This will prevent waterlogging and the possibility of the plant’s roots sitting in water for prolonged periods.
Neon Philodendron Fertilizer
Neon Philodendron need fertilizer during its active growing period (spring and summer). In general, the richer the soil, the less fertilizer, you’ll need.
This is why many growers use compost to boost soil quality.
Apply water soluble fertilizer diluted to half strength once a month during the spring and summer. In the fall and winter, cut back to once every 2 months.
Be careful not to overfeed the plant. It might get tempting to feed it more to make it grow faster. But, too much fertilizer will result in more salt buildup in the soil afterwards. This will eventually harm the plant’s roots and leaves.
Before this happens, you likely notice the plant’s leaves curl and turn brown. While this can be a sign of other problems, it is a symptom of overfertilization.
On the other hand, pale leaves is a result of lack of plant food or too much bright or direct sunlight.
Finally, if you’re picking up the plant from the nursery, make sure to ask if it has been pre-mixed with fertilizer. And, what kind they use.
Often, the shop will already have added plant food. This means you don’t need to feed the plant at least initially,
Thus, it is also important to know for how long that dose is supposed to last. Some will last only about a month or so. Others will take 6 months as they use slow-release fertilizer.
Neon Philodendron grow at a medium pace. Thus, you likely won’t need to prune it very often as it looks amazing with some length.
That said, you may want to limit its size and shape at some point. When this happens, trim parts of the plant. You don’t have to worry about hurting it because it can take a good pruning.
But, don’t overdo it.
Remember, the plant’s leaves allow it to collect light to use for photosynthesis. This means that few leaves will make it harder to produce enough energy and food to sustain optimum growth.
If you want to encourage growth to make the plant fuller and bushier, trim back the longest vines.
Finally, remove any damaged, dead or discolored leaves as well.
Neon Philodendron Propagation
If you want to grow more Neon Philodendron at home without having to buy more from the nursery or online, the easiest way to do so is to propagate it using stem cuttings.
Ideally, do this during spring so the new plant will have a lot of time to grow before the cold weather comes around.
Here’s how to propagate Neon Philodendron from stem cuttings.
- Start by looking for healthy stems. You can go with one or more depending on how many you want to propagate. Make sure that each cutting has at least 2 to 3 leaves on it.
- Take the 4 to 6 inch cutting using a sterile cutting tool. You can use scissors, a knife or pruning shears.
- Plant the stem cutting into a small container with fresh potting soil.
- Alternatively, you can propagate it in water and move the cutting to soil after it roots.
- Place the pot in warm, humid location that’s well-lit. But, avoid direct sunlight.
- After 4 weeks, the cutting will have already developed some roots.
- Let the plant keep growing. And, when it outgrows its container repot it to a larger one.
How to Repot Neon Philodendron
When your Neon Philodendron outgrows its current home, it is time to move it to a bigger container. While you can keep it there for a little longer, allowing to live in overly tight quarters will eventually stress the plant, not to mention stunt its growth.
The best time to repot the plant is during spring or early fall. This will give it enough time to recover from the shock of being moved and start growing again.
Here’s how to repot your Neon Philodendron.
- Once you start seeing roots peek out of the bottom drainage holes, prepare a slightly larger container (2 inches wider in diameter) and some fresh, well-draining potting soil.
- You will likewise need a spot to work. It will get messy. So, if you do it in your home, make sure to place newspaper over the floor.
- Carefully remove the plant from its container.
- Once out, inspect the root ball and brush away excess soil. Check the make sure that roots are healthy. If there are black or mushy ones, cut them off.
- Fill the new container with fresh soil to about 30% or 40% of the way.
- Place the root ball into the soil then fill the remaining space with potting mix.
- Water the soil.
- Return the plant to its original spot.
Neon Philodendron are toxic to humans and pets. Their leaves contain calcium oxalates which can cause irritation, vomiting and difficulty breathing.
This makes it dangerous for young children, dogs and cats to play with.
Pests and Diseases
Inspect your Neon Philodendron for pests regularly, The most common attackers include mealybugs, aphids and spider mites.
Unfortunately, disease issues can likewise happen. These include leaf spot and mold. Both of which are results of overwatering