Philodendron Congo Plant Care – How to Grow Philodendron Tatei

The Philodendron Congo is also known as the philodendron tatei. It closely resembles the more popular Philodendron Congo Rojo. And, there’s a perfectly good explanation for that.

The reason being that the Philodendron Congo has many varieties. These include the following.

  • Philodendron Congo Rojo – dark burgundy green leaves
  • Philodendron Emerald Congo – dark green leaves
  • Philodendron Congo Moonlight – light yellow-green leaves
  • Philodendron Congo Green – green leaves that fold in the middle

There are many hybrids as well that growers are constantly creating. The main goal of which is to come up with beautiful plants that will sell well commercially.

In most cases, these hybrids are designed for indoor growing and display.

I love how the plant looks especially the way its stems stay upright and allow the leaves to bend upwards, in diagonals and out towards the sizes.

It does take up quite a bit of space near the corner and I expect to take up even more as it grows. But, it is one of those plants that’s definite worth it. At least in my opinion.

The plant is a self heading philodendron. That is, it does not climb or have long vines. Instead, it stands upright with the stems ad leaves coming out from the center.

As you would expect, the plant’s most attractive features are its long, thick, oval-shaped dark green colored leaves. These grow on single stems that are tall, thin and stiff allowing them to keep the plant upright.

Philodendron Congo Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Philodendron Congo is a fairly easy plant to care for indoors, which is one reason I really like it. My daughter adores it because she loves how to large green leaves extend outwards while its tall, narrow stems are more upright.

It does well in a wide range of lighting conditions. Although, it I prefers bright, indirect, filtered or diffused light. That allows it to grow at its best.

As far as locations go, somewhere near an east or north facing window is ideal

However, medium and low light work just as well. So, you don’t necessary need to keep it near a window. This gives you more choices in terms interior décor display.

That said, you want to avoid the extremes. This means keep it away from:

  • Direct sunlight – it can take direct morning sun without any problem. But anything more intense like that in the summer or from noon to mid-afternoons are too much on a daily basis. This will cause its leaves to turn color or even give it sunburn blotches.
  • Too little light – while the plant does well in low light and partial shade, it can only take so much. Too little light, dim or dark locations will cause it to get leggy and affect its growth. Also, because there’s less evaporation and the plant isn’t growing as much, overwatering becomes a bigger risk.



Similarly, the plant is not too picky about climate. It only asks for one thing – keep it away from the cold.

The Philodendron Congo is a warm weather loving plant. Its ideal temperature is between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Though it has no problems with hotter conditions all the way up to 95 degrees.

On the other hand, it cannot take the cold. Anything below 50 degrees it will experience cold damage. As such, you want to keep it away from anywhere that’s colder than 60 degrees.

This also means that if you have snowy winters in your area, it is a good idea to bring it indoors around mid fall before things start getting cold. Otherwise, left outside through the freezing weather, it won’t survive through the witner.



Given a choice, the Philodendron Congo prefers high humidity. if you can letting it stay somewhere it gets at least 50% relative humidity or higher is ideal.

This allows it to grow its best, produce its most beautiful leaves (not to mention larger leaves as well).

Fortunately, if you live somewhere like I do where the air can get really dry at certain times of the year, it may still be able to tolerate it.

I say may because from what I’ve noticed, the Philodendron Congo does not seem to mind humidity as low as 30%. So average household humidity (30% to 50%) seems fine.

I’m not completely sure how much lower it can tolerate and for how long. That’s because once humidity falls to between 30% and 35%, I’ll start giving my plants a shower once a week or every two weeks. This seems to keep them happy and not bother about the dry air.

Alternatively, you can:

  • Mist the plant
  • Place it on a water tray with pebbles
  • Group it with other plants
  • Use a humidifier
  • Move it to the bathroom

These all help increase humidity but to different magnitudes. So, test them out to see which one works better for you.


How Often to Water

Watering is the trickiest part of caring for the Philodendron Congo.

That’s because it does not like overwatering. Also the changes in the seasons affect how much sunlight, temperature, humidity the plant gets. More importantly, all these things affect how much you need to water.

Simply put:

  • The more light it gets, the more watering you need to do and vice versa
  • The hotter is it, the more water it needs and vice versa
  • More humidity means less watering needed and vice versa

Combined, you have many different factors that affect how much you need to water.

From my experience, I’ve noticed that the plant likes consistently moist soil during the warmer months. Because the soil dries faster as well during this time, I usually find myself watering it every 4 to 6 days depending on how hot or dry it gets.

The opposite is true during winter when I try to let the soil dry out between waterings. The colder weather and the plant’s inactivity during this period means it needs significantly less water.

During this time, watering goes down to about once very 2 weeks, maybe a couple of days sooner at time.

Note that I live in Southern California. So we don’t get snow here. If you do have snow, you’ll likely need to extend that interval.

Because there’s so many factors involved, like to keep things as simple as possible.

The best way I’ve found to do this is to take my cue from the soil. This means I’ll wait for the top 1 to 2 inches of soil to dry before I water again. I poke my finger for feel for soil moisture at that depth and will only add water after that level is dry.

I find this is easily to do and safer as well against overwatering. It also simplifies things if you have many plants.


Potting Soil

The Philodendron Congo needs chunky, well-draining soil that will still be able retain moisture to keep soil moist but not too much that it gets soggy. The plant will also appreciate a medium that’s rich in organic matter to make sure it gets enough nutrients.

As far as soil pH goes, it prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil (ph from 6.1 to 7.3).

This gives you a lot of options.

For me, I like using an Aroid mix. Although it can be harder to find because it is not sold by manufacturers like other potting mixes are. So, your nursery or the online store will need to make its own. And not all of them want to do that.

Nevertheless, you may be able to find some in your local garden center.

I like to use a DIY Aroid Potting Mix, and here’s the recipe. You can use it for all your philodendrons and other Aroids (pothos, monsteras, anthuriums, alocasias, etc).

  • 1 part potting mix
  • 1 part perlite
  • 1 part orchid bark
  • ½ part horticultural charcoal

The potting mix gives you the water retentive ability along with the nutrients. Perlite increases drainage while the orchid bark helps while making the soil chunky for better aeration. Finally, the charcoal absorbs excess moisture while removing pathogens from soil.



I pretty much feed my philodendrons in the same way. I will adjust it for a few specific ones if they start to get fussy or don’t grow as much. But the changes are usually very minor.

I like to use a balanced water soluble fertilizer. You can use 10-10-10 or 15-15-15 N-P-K concentrations, either will work well.

I only apply it once a month during the spring and summer. Then start lowering the dose once fall arrives so I get to a total stop around early fall. I don’t feed my Philodendron Congo during the winter.

Do note that I dilute each application by 50% of its recommended strength.

I like to use a liquid formulation because it is easy to apply evenly and you can dilute it just by adding more or less water. This simplifies things.

You can likewise use a slow release fertilizer. This way, you only apply 2 or 3 times a year.



The Philodendron Congo can grow up to 20 feet tall in its native habitat. Indoors it can reach 6 to 10 feet. Although, most you’ll see will be slightly smaller.

Nevertheless, they’ll still end up on the floor because their overall size, width and large leaves will eventually be overwhelming for a tabletop.

Because each stem produces one large leaf, you won’t be pruning the plant much. In fact, I find that it looks amazing when it has more leaves.

The only time I’ll be pruning it is it gets too tall or too wide. The leaves will get really big and they’ll extend out to the sides. So, the plant will cover quite a bit of space at it gets bigger.

Beyond that, pruning is all about removing any yellow or dead leaves.


How to Propagate

The Philodendron Congo is a self-heading philodendron. That means that it does not grow long vining stems nor does it climb. Instead, it has an upright growth habit and looks more like traditional houseplants.

It also means that you get stronger, thicker, firmer, stiffer stems which makes it a bit trickier to propagate, although in concept you’ll be doing the same thing.

As far as propagation methods go, you can use stem cuttings, air layering or removing offshoots.

Of these, taking the offshoots are the easiest. But, they’re not always available. You also need a mature plant for this to happen.

And even then, you’ll want to wait for these to grow before you take them off.

As such, I prefer to use stem cuttings.

Here’s how to propagate Philodendron Congo using stem cuttings.

  • The first thing you’ll be doing to take stem cuttings. I find this step is a bit harder (not by much though) compared with cutting stems from vining philodendrons.
  • You want to go to the base of the plant and look for stems. All the stems will come from the center stalk so you’ll find more there.
  • If they’re visible, you can use a knife or pruning shears to cut a section. Make sure the section you take has a node. These are the little nubs on the stems (where the roots will eventually grow from).
  • if you can’t get to the stems, you’ll likely need to take the plant out. This also gives you the opportunity to get many stem cuttings or divide the plant even to more than 2, depending on what you prefer.
  • Once the plant is out of the pot, clean the stems to remove the soil. This makes it easier to see which segments are connected and where you’d want to cut.
  • Once you have a stem cutting or stem cuttings, you can plant them directly into soil (one pot per cutting) or into water.
  • If you grow the cuttings in water, make sure to change the water every few days.
  • And once the roots get to about an inch long, you can move them into soil. Again, one segment per pot. You can also put more than one of you want to resulting plant to look fuller in the pot.
  • From there, take care of the plant by watering, giving it enough light, warm conditions and humidity.


How to Repot or Transplant

The Philodendron Congo will eventually grow it to a medium to large sized indoor plant depending on how much your prune it and limit it growth.

From my own and those from friends’ that I’ve seen, you’ll need a pot that’s either 6”, 8 “ or 10” in size depending on how big your plant it. The good news is it grows quite slowly so you don’t need to repot.

However, over the years, it will keep growing.

The best time to repot is during the spring. It usually takes 2 to 3 years before you’ll need to repot. When you do, move up to a pot that’s 2 to 3 inches larger. And refresh the potting mix so your Philodendron Congo receives more nutrients.

In case you don’t want to let it keep growing, you have a couple of options:

  • Divide the larger plant into two or more smaller plants.
  • Trim the roots to keep the plant in the same container.


Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

Sadly yes. The plant is toxic to people and animals so you want to be careful letting young children and pest play around it. They can accidentally chew or ingest parts of the plant which can cause mild to serious issues depending on how much they ate.


Problems & Troubleshooting



Pests are not common for the Philodendron Congo, but they can happen, especially when the plant is stressed, under shock, weak or sicky. This means keeping the plant healthy is very important.

Regular inspections and cleaning its leaves likewise help.

The most common pests that bother the Philodendron Congo are aphids and mealybugs. Spider mites are another potential problem.



Moisture is the plant’s biggest nemesis when it comes to disease. And it can damage your plant in many ways. Often, you’ll see the problems in the roots and leaves.

Leaf spots, markings, lesions and other unusual patters are signs of leaf diseases, often bacterial or fungal. This can be anything from leaf spot, blight to other problems like Xanthomonas.

When it comes to roots, rotting is the most serious thing to look out for. Black, brown and mushy roots that smell bad are symptoms of this problem. And it means the roots won’t function anymore.

Thus, you want to avoid too many rotten roots in order to save the plant.

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