The Philodendron Imperial Green is a magnificent foliage plant that is known for its large stunningly beautiful green leaves.
The plant is a cultivar of the Philodendron erubescens. And, it is very closely related to the Philodendron Imperial Red, which is pretty much as close a sibling a you can find except for the different color of its leaves.
In fact, caring for them almost identical.
Unlike most philodendrons, it is not a vining plant with a climbing or trailing habit. Instead, the Imperial Green is self-heading. And thus, it grows upright like most houseplants.
It leaves also come out from the center which make them hard to distinguish from one another until they get bigger and spread apart.
The plant itself grows to as high as 4 feet tall. This makes it perfect for the floor after it matures.
And, because it is known for purifying the air, both the bedroom and bathroom are great places to keep it.
Philodendron Imperial Green Plant Care
Philodendron Imperial Green Light Requirements
Philodendron Imperial Green thrives in bright, indirect light. This makes a spot near windows ideas provided that you keep it away from direct sunlight, which can burn its leaves.
This makes an east or north facing window ideal.
In the east, it will get a lot of bright light. And, the morning sun is gentle enough not to scorch its leaves. On the other hand, a norther exposure works just as well since the plant can tolerate a bit less light as well.
That said, while the plant does will low light, there gets a point where the light is just too low. Unfortunately, it is very hard to estimate what that exact level is.
Although, I’ve noticed that an easy way to gauge whether there is enough light or not is to open up a newspaper and try to read it. If you can read the small text in the paper in that area, then most likely there’s enough light.
If light is too low, you’ll notice growth slow down or completely stop. Similarly, you’ll also see the plant produce fewer and smaller leaves.
Thus, if your Philodendron Imperial Green does not seem to get bigger or is not producing new leaves the past few months, considering moving it somewhere with more light.
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While the Philodendron Imperial Green was cultivated in a laboratory, its Philodendron erubescens is from Colombia. And, thus, it favors tropical conditions which are predominantly warm and humid.
And, the Imperial Green inherits this quality.
The good news is, it is very well-suited to indoor home temperatures. And, it will be happy anywhere humans are comfortable in. As such, keeping temperature between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit will allow it to grow optimally.
It can likewise tolerate levels a bit higher than the top of the range. But, you don’t want to go too far above as it will stress the plant. Try to keep it away from conditions that stay consistently above 95 degrees.
More importantly, your Philodendron Imperial Green is not frost hardy. As such, you don’t want to leave it in temperatures lower than 60 degrees otherwise growth will slow and stop.
Below 50 degrees, it will begin to sustain leaf damage from the cold.
Outdoors, the plant is hardy to USDA zones 9 and 10. So, it will be happy outside all year long in these areas. If you live below zone 9, it is important that you bring the plant inside once the weather drops to 60 degrees.
It won’t be able to tolerate nor survive cold winters.
Your Philodendron Imperial Green enjoys humidity. And, it needs it to grow at its best.
Ideally, keep humidity between 40% and 60%, which the higher end of the range being better for the plant. The good news is it can adapt to lower humidity levels.
This is one of the reasons why it is easy to care for as a houseplant.
However, if you notice any browning of its leaves, the plant is trying to tell you that it needs more moisture.
Low humidity will turn its leaf edges and tips brown. So, once this happens, you will want to increase humidity to solve this issue.
I like to have a digital hygrometer around so I can instantly tell when humidity drops. It is also helpful because once your see problems like brown tips, you can check the hygrometer and instantly know what exact level is too low for any given plant.
Here are a few things you can do to increase humidity if the plant needs more moisture in the air.
- Move it to a humid room – The bathroom and kitchen are the most humid areas in the home. As long as there’s enough light, give those rooms a try.
- Group the plant with other plant – This is a passive, hands-off method where you don’t need to go anything afterwards. Since plants transpire, the moisture that exists their leaves will increase humidity.
- Water tray – Another hands-off method, you can place the plant over a set of stones that are sitting in a water tray. The stones will keep the plant above the water so it does not get wet. And, when the water evaporates, humidity correspondingly increases. You do need to refill the water when it runs out though.
- Mist the plant – This is a more hands-on approach as you need to manually spray the plants on a regular basis. If you do, be careful not to wet the leaves too much otherwise it can increase the risk of fungal issues.
- Use a humidifier – Unlike the other methods which are free, you’ll have to buy the humidifier. But, this also allows you to increase humidity higher than the natural methods.
That said, keep in mind that brown leaf tips and edges can also mean a few other things. So, you may need to eliminate a few of them before finding the exact culprit to the problem.
These issues include lack of water, too much fertilizer or stress from exposure to cold drafts.
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How Often to Water Philodendron Imperial Green
Water your Philodendron Imperial Green once the top 2 inches of soil is dry. You can water anytime between this time and when the soil is dry halfway down.
As such, it is not an exact science. And, you can be a late a few days without having to worry about it.
But, never water before the top few inches of soil go dry. This will lead to overwatering to which the plant dislikes.
It will also increase its risk of root rot which can eventually kill the plant is not remedies quickly.
The best way stay on top of the watering situation is to check the soil ever few days. You can stick your finger into the soil to see how moist or dry it is.
Once it gets dry below 2 inches down, it is time to water.
You can likewise lift the plant to feel whether it needs watering or not. Wet soil is heavy. Dry soil is light.
Alternatively, you can likewise use a moisture meter if you have a hard time feeling for soil moisture.
Keep in mind that water is very important for the plant to survive as it needs to stay hydrated.
But, just as importantly, you need to balance water with air. That’s because the plant’s roots need aeration as well.
And, if there’s too much water in the soil, the moisture will clog up all the tiny air pockets preventing oxygen to reach the roots.
Also, note that water works in tandem with other factors. As such, always consider these when watering.
One example is light.
- More bright light means the plant will need more water because it will grow faster in this condition. Natural light also means more heat from the sun which results in more evaporation.
- If your plant receives low light, you’ll be watering less as the plant won’t grow as quickly.
Similarly, weather plays a huge role.
Warm weather will increase the need for water. And, you want to cut back on water during winter because the cold weather will cause soil to take much longer to dry.
Soil for Philodendron Imperial Green
Your Philodendron Imperial Green needs well-aerated soil that is also well-draining. As such, it is a good idea to steer clear of heavy soils or potting mixes that are designed to retain moisture.
Using either of these will make it very hard for your to water your plant correctly even if you don’t overwater them.
That’s because whatever water you pour onto the soil, it will hold onto. Thus, leaving your plant with too much water.
On the other hand, well-draining soil does the opposite. It holds just enough moisture to keep your plant hydrated and allow it to absorb nutrients as well.
But, any excess moisture it will drain. Thus, even if you overwater once in a while accidentally, it will “save” your plant from overwatering by getting rid of the excess moisture.
One easy way to achieve this is to use a combination of:
- 50% potting mix
- 50% perlite, pumice or coarse sand
Any of the 3 will work, so you can choose which one you feel works best. They all improve drainage. And, that’s that the half of that combination is there for.
Similarly, some stores will carry their own custom-made aroid mix. You can use those as well.
Technically, there is no exact product as an aroid mix. Instead, it is a set of features what’s well-suited for this type of plant. So, stores will carry their own versions of aroid mixes.
Philodendron Imperial Green Fertilizer
Feed your Philodendron Imperial Green once a month during spring and summer. You can use a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength. Either a 20-20-20 or 15-15-15 formulation will work quite well.
There’s no need to feed it during fall and winter.
Of course, when it comes to fertilizer you have tons of options. I like to use synthetic fertilizer. But, you can go with organic as well. If you prefer something else, you can opt for fish emulsion or seaweed. Although the former has some initial smell to it that goes away after it dries.
The one thing to look out for with fertilizer is to avoid overfeeding your plant. Too much fertilizer does more harm than good, although theoretically it sounds like a logical thing to do.
That’s because fertilizer leaves behind salt residue. As these accumulate in the soil, it can damage the roots of your plant. So, the more you use, the more salt minerals are left behind.
For this reason, some growers prefer skipping plant food.
Instead they use compost instead. If you opt for compost or worm castings you can add this every year during springtime and not have to worry about feeding your plant. This is a good alternative if you prefer not using fertilizer.
In any case, because of the salt residue, it is a good idea to flush soil every few months. Running water through the soil will help remove these to prevent a buildup from happening.
Your Philodendron Imperial Green does not need much pruning. It isn’t the biggest of plants. But, it will grow to several feet high. So, this may be a bit big indoors depending on where you plan on placing it.
As such, you can limit its size through pruning.
Beyond that, it is more maintenance work. That is, removing dead, discolored or damaged leaves.
Similarly, it is a good idea to clean your plant regularly. This helps keep pests away. And, it allows the leaves to collect more sunlight and be more efficient in photosynthesis.
To clean leaves, all you need is a damp cloth and wipe the leaves. You can likewise give your Philodendron Imperial Green a shower every so often.
I have a big sink at the back of the house near my garden. I just take the plant and let the faucet go for a bit. Doing so quickly removes any dust on the leaves. It also gives your plant a bit of moisture which helps if you live somewhere dry or with low humidity.
Just make sure to let the plant dry somewhere there’s sun and good air circulation so water doesn’t sit on the leaves which can result in fungal problems.
Philodendron Imperial Green Propagation
Philodendron Imperial Green are often propagated through stem cuttings or tissue culture. The former is the preferred method for most home gardeners. While the later is what commercial establishments do.
While tissue culture is fast and efficient, it also requires special equipment and training. So, it is not feasible for most of us at home.
This is why I highly recommend stem cutting. It is easy and it offers good success rates.
Here’s how to propagate Philodendron Imperial Green from stem cuttings.
- Start by choosing a stem that is at least 3 to 6 inches long with at least a few leaves on it. You want to take a stem that either has at least one node or aerial roots. These are where the new plants roots will grow from.
- With a sterile pair of pruning shears take the cutting. Take your time as this can be tricky since the leaves of the plant are near one another. Use cotton and rubbing alcohol to wipe the blade down before using to prevent any bacteria.
- Remove the lower leaves and only leaves those near the top.
- Place the stem cutting in fresh, well-draining potting soil that’s moist. Use a small container.
- You can likewise propagate with water which is faster and produces better success rates at least from my experience. If you do, you can then move the stem cutting to soil after the roots have grown to about an inch or so.
- Place the plant in a warm location that’s humid. You can cover the plant with a plastic bag to increase humidity.
- In about 3 to 4 weeks, new roots should start developing. If you stared in water roots may start growing as early as 2 to 3 weeks.
How to Repot Philodendron Imperial Green
Philodendron Imperial Green will need to be repotted every few years. Exactly when will depend on you.
That’s because the plant doesn’t mind being root bound.
As such, if you’re perfectly happy with its size or don’t want it grow too quickly, you can leave it in its container a bit longer.
On the other hand, if you want optimum growth, the moment you see roots peeking out from the drainage holes, it is a sign to repot.
Repotting when needed will give it enough space to expand.
When repotting, choose a container that is at most 2 inches wider in diameter. Avoid going larger since this will increase to possibility of overwatering.
And, when you repot, refresh the potting soil as well to keep it well-aerated.
Philodendron Imperial Green is toxic to humans and animals. Keep it away from young children, dogs and cats. If ingested, it can cause mouth, throat and digestive tract irritation as well as other side effects.
Pests and Diseases
Philodendron Imperial Green don’t experience a lot of pest problems. Keeping it healthy and clean are the two things I’ve found to help the most.
Avoid any stressors be in cold weather, too much or too little water and overfeeding. When the plant experiences stress, its resistance to these critters goes down.
That said, you may still see a few aphids and mealybugs which are the two most common pests for this plant. If there are just a few of them, you can spray them off with a hose or use cotton dabbed with rubbing alcohol to remove them one by one.
On the other hand, disease is another issue. Root rot is always something to watch out for because it is often man-made (overwatering). As such, this is completely preventable by modifying watering routine.
In addition to root rot, leaf spot and bacterial blight are likewise other problems that stem from overwatering.
As such, moisture is often the number 1 culprit of diseases. So, fixing this will reduce this problem significantly.