Philodendron Imperial Red is a beautiful foliage plant with large oval-shaped leaves. It is very similar to the Philodendron Rojo Congo.
They likewise both grow from the center which makes them different from many philodendrons that tend to have a spreading habit.
But, if you look closely, you’ll notice that they have some differences. One is the Philodendron Rojo Congo’s leaf petioles are dark red purple in color.
That said, the Imperial red also has interesting leaves that start out as bright red. They then transform into burgundy red and purple before finally settling into a shiny, dark green.
Another interesting thing about the plant is that it is a relatively new hybrid. Many growers have been creating hybrid philodendrons in recent times because they’re popular houseplants.
A few examples include the Philodendron Imperial Green, Moonlight and Black Cardinal just to name a few.
Philodendron Imperial Red Plant Care
Philodendron Imperial Red Light Requirements
Philodendron Imperial Red thrives with medium to bright indirect light. You want to keep it in a bright place. But, away from very hot, intense sunlight or direct sun. Both of which will cause sunburn.
If you live in a warm, sunny region, you’ll be able to keep it in the middle of rooms away from windows without any problem.
But, if you live in a cooler area, it is a better idea to position it closer to the window for more light.
The plant likewise tolerates low light. While it will survive in this condition, if the light is low enough, you’ll notice that your Philodendron Imperial Red’s growth will slow down and it won’t grow as many leaves or as big foliage as it normally does.
When this happens, you’ll need to decide if you’re okay with that or move it to a brighter location.
Since the plant is a foliage plant, its leaves are its crowning glory. As such, you want to take good care of them. This includes regular cleaning.
Once a week or every two weeks it is a good idea to clean its leaves. This will remove any dust and small deris from its foliage. This not only makes them look better but also allows the plant to absorb more light for photosynthesis, resulting in a healthier, prettier looking plant.
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Philodendron Imperial Red can live both indoors and outdoors. But, for the latter, it will only do so if you don’t experience very cold winters.
The plant won’t be able to withstand temperatures colder than 50 degrees for long periods. Thus, if you live somewhere like me (Southern California), you can keep the plant outside all year long.
However, in the northeast or most of the upper part of the country, you’ll need to bring it indoors once things get cold in the fall.
Like all plants, make sure to debug them before taking them inside. You don’t want it transporting pests into your home and also infecting your other houseplants.
In most cases, you’ll find the Philodendron Imperial Red grown indoors. That’s because it enjoys similar temperature conditions as we do. So, if you feel comfortable with the climate in your home, it will likely be happy there too.
As far as specifics go, it does best when temperature is kept consistent between 70 and 85 degrees. That said, you do want to keep it away from areas that experience drafts. This can be an open door or window. Similarly, it can be heater vents or air conditioning.
Just like it does not like extreme cold, it also won’t tolerate too much heat either. You have a leeway of about 10 degrees above the 85 degree upper range where it won’t mind.
But, once conditions top 95 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, it will begin to show signs of stress. As such, if you live in areas where summer can get very hot, it is better to keep it indoors. Or, at the very least leave it under some kind of shade.
This can be a canopy or you can pick up some shade cloth from your local nursery. Otherwise, under very hot sun or direct sunlight, it will experience sunburn.
Unlike temperature, your Philodendron Imperial Red has a specific bias for higher humidity. Ideally, keep it where humidity is about 60% or 65% and higher. This will give you the best growth.
But, won’t mind average household humidity.
As long as you keep levels at 40% or higher, it will be happy. One way to know exactly what the humidity is at any give point in time is to get a hygrometer. It’s fairly inexpensive, and you’ll know exactly what the level is for any room at any given time of the year.
The thing to look out for are the plant’s leaf tips browning. You’ll easily spot these if you regularly clean its foliage.
When this happens it is a sign that humidity is too low. And, you need to do something about it.
From what I’ve seen, the most homes won’t have this problem. But, if you live in very dry areas like the desert (Arizona, Las Vegas) or where winter gets cold and dry, this can happen.
As such you have a few options.
- Use a humidifier
- Mist 1 to 3 times a week
- Place it in a pebble tray with water
- Group it with other plants
- Keep it in a well-lit bathroom
- Give it a shower in a large sink and leave it there for 10 to 15 minutes every so often. Be sure there’s enough ventilation to let the leaves dry after.
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How Often to Water Philodendron Imperial Red
Your Philodendron Imperial Red prefers being on the dry side.
During its growing season (spring and summer) it will appreciate being kept consistently moist. This allows it to get enough hydration to support its growth.
In fall and winter, you want to water less and allow the soil to dry.
I like to let the soil dry to about halfway down (50%), then water. It will tolerate a little more dryness so you can go as far as 75% of the way dry.
But, never let the soil completely dry out.
On the hand, avoid overwatering the plant. Soggy, waterlogged soil will leave the plant in a puddle of water. When this happens, you run the risk of root rot.
How often you water your Philodendron Imperial Red will depend on where you live and your home environment.
In Southern California, my Philodendron Imperial Red gets watered about once a week (5 to 8 days or so) during the warmer season. And, this goes up to about 12 to 14 days during the colder months.
Keep in mind that we don’t have snow or frost here. So, if you live in the northern part of the country, you’ll likely have longer intervals during wintertime.
The good news is, if you base your watering schedule on how dry the soil gets as opposed to number of days, it will automatically adjust as the seasons change.
Soil for Philodendron Imperial Red
Philodendron Imperial Red need rich, well-draining soil. Both features are important.
Since the plant will be living in this soil for the next few years (until you repot), it is very important to get your potting mix right.
Well-draining soil is crucial as it prevents too much water retention or waterlogging. In doing so, it cuts down the risk of root rot even when you happen to overwater.
Rich soil meanwhile allows the plant to grow at its best. Plus, it reduces the need for fertilizer (as you’ll see in the next section).
When it comes to soil mixes, you can use the potting mix you already have and add sand to improve drainage.
Similarly, you can use use cactus or succulent soil and add peat moss or coco fiber to it along with some potting soil.
Philodendron Imperial Red Fertilizer
In addition to rich soil, your Philodendron Imperial Red will need some fertilizer. But, be careful not to overfeed it. This will result it salt buildup in the soil which over time will burn your plant’s roots.
When this happens, it will show in its foliage, as you’ll see brown spots.
During the warm months, apply a balanced water soluble fertilizer diluted to half the recommended strength. There’s no need to feed it during fall and winter.
If you live somewhere like me where it does not snow, your growing season will last longer as the weather will be more favorable longer. As such, do extend the feeding period into early or mid fall.
As always makes sure to water the soil when you apply fertilizer. This helps distribute it and prevents the concentration from being too strong in one area.
The Philodendron Imperial Red does not grow as big as other houseplants. However, with the proper support, it can get up to 2.5 to 3 feet high. Its large leaves likewise allow it to cover a good sized spread.
In general, the plant does not need a lot of pruning.
But, you may want to trim it back to limit is size or control its shape.
Similarly, you want to remove any yellow, damaged or dead leaves. These do not look pretty. Plus, keeping them there means the plant is expending energy and nutrients in keeping sustaining them.
Cutting them allows it to redirect these resources to healthier parts.
Philodendron Imperial Red Propagation
Philodendron Imperial Red is most commonly propagated by growers through tissue cultures. However, you can likewise propagate them via stem cuttings or air layering at home.
Here’s how to propagate Philodendron Imperial Red from stem cuttings.
- Pick out a healthy stem with at least 2 or 3 nodes.
- Take a cutting that’s about 4 to 6 inches long. Make sure to sterilize your cutting tool before you use it on the plant. This will prevent any bacterial infection from getting passed.
- Place the stem cutting into a small container with fresh potting mix.
- Cover the container with a plastic bag. This will provide it with a humid environment.
- Leave the plant in a bright spot that does not get direct sunlight.
- In about 3 to 4 weeks or so, it will develop roots. You won’t be able to see it because of the soil. However, you can test this by lightly pulling on the plant. It should resist which is a sign that roots are growing.
How to Repot Philodendron Imperial Red
Your Philodendron Imperial Red enjoys staying slightly pot bound. So, you can give it a little time after it grows into tits container.
Once you see roots come out from under the drainage holes, it is a sign to move the plant to a bigger pot.
However, you don’t necessarily have to do it that very instant. Ideally, you want to repot during spring or early summer. Avoid overly hot days because the repotting process already stresses the plant. Heat just adds to it.
Similarly, avoid cold, freezing days where the plant will likewise experience extra shock.
If you live in a warm weather area, you can also do it in the fall.
I prefer springtime as this is when the plant is actively growing. This allows it to overcome the shock the start growing again much sooner than other times of the year.
When moving, choose a slightly bigger pot (2 inches wider in diameter). Don’t go overboard with a much larger container as this increases the risk of overwatering.
Likewise, refresh the potting soil while you’re at it.
Philodendron Imperial Red is toxic to both people and pets. So, it is a good idea to keep it away from young children, cats and dogs.
Pests and Disease
Your Philodendron Imperial Red will attract a few pests. The most common include mealybugs, spider mites and aphids. Pests are always a problem because they increase in number and they spread from plant to plant.
So, regular inspection is ideal.
If you see any of them, you want to treat them quickly.
The fastest way to get rid of them is to use water and spray them off. You can use a hose at a light setting or the spray hose from the sink.
You can likewise use insecticidal soap and water. Neem oil is another effective way to get rid of pests.
With regards to disease, blight and leaf spot can happen. Fortunately, I haven’t had to deal with wither. Similarly, as with other houseplants, root rot is always a problem because you can overwater it.