Philodendron Calkins Gold Growing Guide for Beginners

The Philodendron Calkins Gold is a rare plant that is usually out of stock or sold out in stores. In some cases, you’ll see bidding on the plant just to get hold of one.

Surprisingly, its price is $40 and up, which makes it much more affordable. So, you will see sellers pricing it at $100 and over. But, I suggest you look for better offers.

That said, always make sure you check you’re getting the right plant. The Philodendron Calkins Gold looks very much like the Philodendron Painted Lady.

And, some Painted Ladies are mislabeled as Calkins Gold. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, I’m not sure.

In any case, the Philodendron Calkins Gold is a hybrid of the Philodendron domesticum. It is best know for its bright green colored leaves with a lanceolate shape (long lance-like shape).

Its yellow mottling also gives it that unique look.

Altogether, this makes the plant something collectors want to get their hands on.

What is the Difference Between Philodendron Painted Lady and Philodendron Calkins Gold?

As mentioned above, the Philodendron Calkins Gold is often confused or mislabeled because it has similar features to the Philodendron Painted Lady.

So, to help you distinguish one from the other, here are the things you want to check.

  • Color of petioles – the Painted lady has light red or bright pink colored petioles. On the other hand, the Philodendron Calkins Gold features light green to dull pink petioles.
  • Growth habit – the Philodendron Calkins Gold is a slow climber. So, you’ll see more aerial roots and clinging onto a moss pole. On the other hand, the Painted Lady is a self heading plant.
  • Node spacing – this requires a closer look since you’re checking the nodes. The Calkins Gold’s nodesare very close to one another at the base. So, you’ll see the stems coming out very close to one another. With the Painted Lady, nodes are more spaces out so the stems are farther apart from one another.
  • Leaf Shape – the Painted lady has shorter and rounder shaped leaves. Meanwhile, Calkins Gold has longer and thinner shaped foliage which taper and gets more narrow towards the tip.

Hopefully, this will let you easily distinguish between the plants.


Philodendron Calkins Gold Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Philodendron Calkins Gold does well in different lighting conditions. It enjoys medium to bright light provided that it stays away from direct sun. Too much intense light or exposure to the direct rays of the sun can eventually burn its leaves.

It can also tolerate low light and stay in shay areas. Although like all plants, it does need light for photosynthesis. So, it won’t be able to stay long in dark or very dim locations without experiencing stunted growth, loss of color and becoming leggy.

Indoors, the best location is near an east or north facing window. But the plant does not necessarily need to stay near a window to thrive. Any spot in a bright room works really well too.

However, be wary of the south and west facing windows since that’s where the strongest sun is between 11:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thus, keeping the plant at least a few feet from these spots will keep it from getting too much bright light.

Similarly, you can use a shade cloth or filter the light using blinds, curtains or other sheer materials.

Outdoors, the Philodendron Calkins Gold will appreciate partial to full shade.



Moderate to warm weather is ideal for the plant. It enjoys climates where the sun is out but cannot tolerate very cold environments.

This makes USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11 its ideal living areas in the outdoors. If you live in these regions, it will happily stay outside the entire year. You can plant it in your garden or keep it outdoors in a pot.

But it will only tolerate temperatures down to 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit. While it can take a bit lower than that, you run the risk of letting it sustain cold damage if it stays there for prolonged periods of time. Thus, most growers will grow it as a houseplant under Zone 9.

That said, you can still bring it outside during the summertime for some fresh air and natural lighting. Make sure to take it back indoors as the weather starts to get cold during the later third of the year.

On the other hand, the plant loves the indoors because it gets to stay in its ideal temperature range (60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit).

It is worth noting that it does not have a problem with heat going up to the 90s as well. But, the hotter the conditions get the more optimum its hydration needs to be.

Also you want to avoid overly hot locations since it increases the stress the plant experiences.



Like light and temperature, the Philodendron Calkins Gold is also tolerant to different humidity levels. It does not mind average room humidity. But does prefer higher humidity.

Ideally, you want to keep humidity above 50% to keep the plant happy. If you’re able to maintain this kind of air moisture indoors, it will reward you with faster growth, lusher foliage and produce aerial roots.

The latter is always a good sign for philodendrons although it isn’t always the case for all plants. For example, if succulents produce aerial roots, it means it needs something that you’re not giving it.

Since philodendrons are epiphytes, aerial roots are more natural to them since they use these to cling onto trees and larger plants in the forest.

That said, not everyone likes how aerial roots look. And, if you’re not going to let you Philodendron Calkins Gold climb, you can just cut off the aerial roots. This does not harm the plant.


How Often to Water Philodendron Calkins Gold

The Philodendron Calkins Gold needs more water during the summer when the weather is hot and much less water during the winters.

And while the plant enjoys moist soil, be careful not to overwater the plant. Wet, mucky soil is a sign that you’re watering the soil too often.

This can become problematic for the Philodendron Calkins Gold because it is susceptible to root rot. The plant does not like sitting in water. And, if it does so for extended periods of time on a regular basis, the roots will keep suffocating, causing them to eventually get damaged and rot.

In contrast, the plant is more tolerant of dry conditions. This means you can let the soil dry a bit more without harming the plant.

However, avoid letting the soil dry out completely, especially for long periods at a time. This will likewise hurt and eventually kill your plant. This time from dehydration instead of suffocation.

So, the bast balance is to wait for the top 2 inches of soil to dry. You can feel this by sticking your finger into the soil and checking for moisture at this depth. Then, water only when the soil is dry beyond this point.


Philodendron Calkins Gold Potting Soil

The Philodendron Calkins Gold thrives in light, airy, well-draining potting soil that that stays moist and is rich in organic matter.

This sounds like a very complicated combination that’s somewhat ironic as well. But, if you breakdown the features, you’ll understand why the plant needs each of them.

  • Moist – it thrives in moist soil especially during the warmer months. This keeps it from getting too dry. Just as importantly, this is when the plant is in its active growing stage (growing season). So, it needs more water (and also nutrients).
  • Well-draining – what we want is not always the best for us. So while the plant lots moisture, too much can be a bad thing. In this case, it can lead to root rot. Thus, good drainage is needed to prevent the soil from holding on to too much moisture.
  • Light and airy – everyone knows roots need water. But what most people don’t know is that they need to balance that need of moisture with oxygen. If the plant gets too much of one or none (or too little of the other), it gets into trouble. Too much water, means the roots will suffocate and rot. Too much air means no water which leads to dehydration.
  • Rich in organic matter – in short fertile. The more organic matter there is in the moist the better the plant will grow. It also means it will rely less on chemical fertilizer.

The simplest way to achieve this is to use 100% sphagnum peat moss. But there are other effective ways as well.

My favorite is using an Aroid mix. This kind of potting soil is especially designed to fit the needs of plants in the Araceae family (to where philodendrons belong).

Unfortunately, not all stores carry Aroid mixes. That’s because they need to make the mix themselves. So, if you can’t find one, here’s a recipe that has worked really well for me.

  • 3 parts orchid bark
  • 1 part sphagnum moss
  • 1 part perlite
  • 1 part activated charcoal

The key is to avoid overly heavy soils that retain too much water. And also dry, sandy soils that drain all the moisture too quickly.



Feed your Philodendron Calkins Gold once a month with an all-purpose fertilizer diluted to half strength during the spring and summer. This will allow it to grow during its growing season.

The plant does not need fertilizer during winter.

Another option you can use is slow release fertilizer if you prefer to reduce the number of applications you need to do.

If you want to save a bit of money, try fish emulsion. It works just as well.

The most important thing about fertilizer is to avoid overdoing it. Too much will damage your plant’s roots, which eventually will affects its leaves and stems as well.

As such, avoid cheap fertilizers even is they look very enticing price-wise. These tend to leave heavy levels of salt in the soil which can cause fertilizer burn.

Also, make sure to water the soil before you fertilize. This will reduce the risk of root burn as well.



The most beautiful part of the Philodendron Calkins Gold is its foliage. These tend to get large in size with a flat surface. The latter increases its propensity for gathering dust.

Unfortunately, dust is not good for the plant. It clogs its pores which interferes with transpiration. The layer of dust also blocks the leaves from absorbing as much light as they can.

And, pests are attracted to dust.

Therefore, it is a good idea to wipe the leaves on a regular basis to keep them clean. You can use a damp cloth to wipe them down.

The other thing about the Philodendron Calkins Gold’s leaves is that the thicker, fuller it gets, the prettier it looks. Since its foliage does not get messy and are well-spaced apart from one another, there’s no need to prune them.

This makes the plant low maintenance.

However, you can trim it to shape it and control its size. Also, you can remove some leaves if you think the plant is getting too bushy. Again, this is all based on your preference and where you’re displaying the plant.

Besides that, the only ready to prune it is to remove dead, discolored or damaged foliage.


How to Propagate Philodendron Calkins Gold

If you want to propagate your Philodendron Calkins Gold, stem cuttings is the way to go. It is the simplest way to propagate the plant and you can do it at home.

Other methods that work are air layering, division and starting from seeds. The first method is a good choice although a bit more complicated than stem cuttings. So, I don’t really feel the need to use it unless you have issues with propagating from cuttings.

Division is a good option if you’re repotting. Or, if you want to reduce the size of the plant. This also allows you to separate a big plant into multiple smaller plants.

Starting from seed is the least practical for home growers because it takes much longer and more work to do. Plus, you need to spend money for the seeds. The other methods are free because you already use the plant you have.

Here’s how to propagate Philodendron Calkins Gold from stem cuttings.

  • Check the plant and look for healthy stems. If you have a smaller plant, there will only be a few stems to choose from. Be careful not to take too many stems and leave the parent plant too bare. It won’t appreciate the extra shock from this. Larger plants will have more leaves and stems to choose from.
  • You may also see quite a few aerial roots (although not a whole ton). If you do, you can use those stems with aerial roots because they tend to grow faster and have higher propagation success rates.
  • After you’ve selected the stem or stems, cut them from the parent plant. Use a sterile pair of pruning shears or scissors.
  • You can propagate the cutting in water or in soil. Either way works really well so you can choose either.
  • For water propagation, place the cutting in water. if the cutting has aerial roots, you can leave them in the water. But remove any leaves that get submerged.
  • In about 10 to 20 days, you’ll see roots develop. It will take a few more weeks to the roots to grow.
  • Once the roots reach about 1 to 2 inches or longer, you can pot it up in soil.
  • For soil propagation, you can pot up the plant straight into sphagnum moss or a well-draining potting mix.
  • If the cutting has aerial roots, you have a few options here. (a) cut the aerial roots off, (b) plant them above the soil, (c) plant them under the soil (this only works if the soil is well draining and you want to keep the mix moist as well).
  • It will take about a month for the roots to develop in soil. Although if you’re lucky, sometimes you may see some new growth or even a new leaf within 6-8 weeks.


How to Repot or Transplant Philodendron Calkins Gold

At some point, your Philodendron Calkins Gold will outgrow its container. You can easily tell when this happens by looking at the bottom of the pot. If there are roots coming out of the drainage holes, it means the plant is looking for more space.

Similarly, you may see roots sneaking up from the surface of the soil or through the creases between the edges of the pot and soil.

These are all signs to repot.

So, when spring arrives, move it to a pot that is one size larger (2 inches bigger). Avoid using much larger pots since this increases the risk of overwatering.

The only other times you’ll need to repot are:

  • Root rot (which is an emergency situation where you’re trying to save the plant)
  • The plant is overwatered
  • It is being overrun by a pest infestation which you can’t seem to get under control.

Here’s how to repot the Philodendron Calkins Gold.

  • Prepare your workspace. This can be on the floor, a potting bench or your sink. If you’re working indoors, you can use old newspapers to make it easier to clean afterwards.
  • Have the new container and fresh potting mix ready as well. If you’re planning to divide the plant, prepare the appropriate number of containers you want to separate the plant into.
  • Next, take the plant out of its pot. You can water the soil ahead of time, a few hours ahead or the day before to soften it up and make it easier to take out.
  • Once out of the pot, inspect the root ball. You’re looking for any abnormalities you need to fix before replanting. This can be pests, root rot, damaged roots or other issues.
  • If you see tangled roots, untangle and sperate them. Brush off excess dirt as well.
  • In case you’re going to divide the plant, now is the time to do so.
  • Place the plant aside first and fill the new container with potting mix (to about 40% or so).
  • Then insert the root ball, position it and backfill the remainder of the space with potting mix.


Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

The entire Philodendron Calkins Gold is toxic to humans and animals. And no part of the plant should be ingested because it can cause mild to serious gastrointestinal problems depending on how much is consumed.


Problems & Troubleshooting


Like other philodendrons, pests are going to be something you want to look out for. Keeping the plant as healthy and happy as possible is the best way to avoid pests.

However, some growers will also wipe the leaves with neem oil as a preventive measure. This works if you only have a few plants.

If you have lots of them, it is not practical because of the time you need to wipe all the plants. And you need to repeat the process every so often. Plus, the cost does go up as well.

Aphids and mealybugs are the plant’s main enemies. But, scales, thrips and spider mites are not far behind.

If I see any pests, the first thig I do is to isolate the plant.

Next, I’ll take it to the shower or my outdoor sink and give it good hosing with water. The shower head works really well for smaller plants or if you need better control for when spraying the undersides of leaves and smaller creases.

You can likewise just turn on the shower for larger plants and place the plant on a stool or table. Another option is to use the hose. Smaller plants can be washed in the sink.

Make sure to let the plant drain and dry immediately after.

If you catch the pests early enough and do a thorough spraying, once session should get them all. But, if not, repeat every few days as you see new bugs.

My second line of defense is neem oil and insecticidal soap. One or the other works. So you don’t need to use both. This used to be my first line of defense but I’ve found that spraying with water is so much easier.



Speaking of water, you want to be careful with it. Any time you add water or wet the leaves, you want to make sure you’re not overwatering or leaving it too wet.

Overwatered soil leads to root rot. And foliage that’s left wet (don’t dry quickly enough) is a breeding ground for bacterial and fungal disease. It also attracts fungus gnats.

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