Philodendron Mottled Dragon Care – How to Grow Philodendron Golden Dragon

The Philodendron Mottled Dragon is also known as the Mottled Dragon Philodendron or the Philodendron Golden Dragon.

The plant gets its name from the mottling on its large foliage. Its leaves are very prominent as they feature curved edges diving the plant a very distinct look.

This philodendron plant is native to Central and South America.

How do you care for the Philodendron Mottled Dragon? Make sure to allow the soil dry between waterings. It also needs well—draining soil, bright, indirect light and warm, humid conditions.

These allow it to grow faster. The plant will also appreciate it if you give it a support like a moss pole to climb on.

Philodendron Mottled DragonPlant Care

Philodendron Golden Dragon Light Requirements

The Philodendron Mottled Dragon grows the fastest in bright, indirect light. However, it can tolerate medium light and even low light.

That said, if you want its leaves to produce their best color, bright, indirect light is best.

Outdoors, the plant’s ideal location is partial shade. If you want to give it more sun, it is best to avoid mid-day between 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Instead, it will be better off getting exposure to early morning or late afternoon sunlight.

Too much intense light or direct sun exposure will eventually burn its leaves. On the other hand, in very low light, the plant will grow slowly and become leggy.

Thus, you want to keep it in a well-lit location without harsh light.

If you do not get sufficient sunlight in your home, you can use artificial lights on their own or to supplement natural light.

 

Philodendron Golden Dragon Temperature

The Philodendron Mottled Dragon is a tropical plant that is native to Central and South America. As such it enjoys warm, humid weather.

Its ideal temperature range is between 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fortunately, this is just about the same temperature that humans are most comfortable with. Therefore, majority of homes maintain these levels.

As such, it is easy for the plant to adapt to your home’s climate.

However, you still need to be aware of a few things.

These are:

  • Keep the plant away from air conditioning
  • Avoid open windows or doors that can blow cold draft
  • It can struggle if temperature keeps fluctuating

Outdoors, the Mottled Dragon Philodendron does best in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11 because these regions have sunshine and warm weather all year round.

Thus, you can leave the plant outside, and it will be happy and healthy there.

However, if you live below Zone 9, make sure to take the plant back inside once the temperature begins to drop around fall.

It cannot tolerate temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. And if you leave it in this environment or colder, it will struggle, experience stress and possible cold damage.

 

Humidity

The Philodendron Golden Dragon prefers high humidity, ideally 60% to 70%. However, it can tolerate as low as 40% without any harm.

If the plant is well-hydrated, it can likewise withstand slightly lower than that as well.

But you want to be careful with anything lower. That’s because if the air is too dry, you’ll see its beautiful leaves turn brown and crispy especially on the tips and edges.

As such, it is a good idea to be aware of your home’s humidity. I like to use a hygrometer. This simple device tells you what the humidity is at any give time.

Thus, if you notice indoor humidity drop below 40%, you can act promptly.

The best way to fix low humidity is to use a humidifier. But if you prefer not to go out and buy one, you can mist the plant 2 or 3 times a week and see how much that helps.

Unfortunately, this method involves guessing along with trial and error.

Another option is to move your Philodendron Mottled Dragon to the bathroom. Or you can put it on top of rocks in a tray filled with water.

 

How Often to Water Philodendron Mottled Dragon

The Philodendron Mottled Dragon enjoys moist conditions although it is susceptible to overwatering. Therefore, it is important to avoid watering too frequently.

Instead, wait until the top 2 inches of soil dries out between waterings. Avoid doing so before that as it will make the soil too wet.

If you want to be conservative, you can likewise wait until the soil is dry 50% of the way down. At this level, you pretty much eliminate the possibility of overwatering while allowing the roots to stay hydrated.

It is also worth noting that the plant is drought tolerant. Therefore, if you’re going to make a mistake with watering, it is safer to do it on the dry side (than the wet side).

To test the soil, you can stick your finger in it and see how much moisture there is. Alternatively, you can use a moisture meter.

If you don’t want to spend on a moisture meter, use a wooden chopstick and stick it into the soil. When you take it out, the water line will tell you up to what level the soil is still moist.

Finally, when you do add water, water thoroughly.

This means soaking the root ball until it gets saturated. Then allow the soil to completely drain before you put the plant back to its original spot.

This combination of drenching and draining allows the roots to get a lot of water to hydrate the plant. But quickly drains the excess.

In doing so, it mimics how the rain waters the plant in the forest.

 

Related

 

Philodendron Mottled Dragon Potting Soil

The best soil for the Mottled Dragon Philodendron is moist, well-draining and chunky. This allows the roots get their fill of water, but quickly drains any excess they don’t end up sitting in water.

Doing so prevents overwatering and waterlogging which can lead to root rot.

The chunky nature of soil likewise allows oxygen to easily get to the roots. Good aeration is important since roots need a balance of water and air. If it gets too much of one and not the other, problems arise.

That’s because the roots end up drowning in water or dehydrated.

The simplest way to give the Philodendron Mottled Dragon the soil it wants is to use an Aroid mix. You can pick up a bag from your local nursery.

Although, I’ve noticed that not all stores carry aroid mixes since they have to make the blend themselves.

Therefore, if your local nursery does not carry it, you can check online.

Another option to buying potting soil for your Philodendron Mottled Dragon, is to make it yourself. This is easy and very affordable to do.

A good combination that works really well is:

  • 30% potting soil
  • 40% bark
  • 20% peat
  • 10% perlite

I also like to add some activated charcoal to add more chunk to the blend.

 

Fertilizer

This Philodendron is not a heavy feeder. Nor is it a fast grower. Therefore, you want to remember two things.

Fertilizer helps the plant grow optimally and produce more foliage. It also prevents any nutrient deficiencies.

More importantly, avoid over fertilizing it. This is a common mistake by many beginner houseplant owners because they often believe that more plant food is better.

If you want to play safe, you can use a slow-release fertilizer. This gives you more margin of error before the nutrients are slowly released over time.

In doing so, the salts that become byproducts are also released in a sporadic manner over a longer periods of time. Thus, you have less risk of causing fertilizer burn even if you give the plant more than it needs.

The other advantage of slow-release fertilizer is that you only need to feed the plant 2 or 3 times a year.

That said, most growers will use standard houseplant fertilizer. Here, I suggest the water-soluble formulation since you can easily dilute the application just by adding more water.

If you go this route, feed the plant once a month during its growing season. Stop feeding by early or mid fall and don’t feed it during winter as the plant won’t grow much or go dormant during this time.

Dilute the application by 50% each time you feed the plant. This prevents over concentrations which increases the risk of fertilizer burn.

 

Philodendron Golden Dragon Pruning

The Philodendron Golden Dragon is a small plant in relation to other philodendron varieties. However, it can still grow up to 2 feet tall indoors.

That said, most of its height comes from its stems and leaves. Therefore, it is not a thick or dense plant.

It is also worth noting that the plant needs space to its sides. That’s because its stems grow and bend outwards to accommodate the leaves.

Since the plant does not get overly bushy, it is fairly low maintenance as far as pruning is concerned.

You can still trim it if you want to limit its height or breadth. Similarly, it is important to remove any dead, dying, discolored or diseases foliage as well.

On the other hand, if you notice that your Mottled Dragon Philodendron is not growing as fast as you expected, you can give it a support to climb on.

It grows faster and taller in this environment because it is similar to how the plant lives in its native habitat.

 

How to Propagate Philodendron Mottled Dragon

The best way to propagate the Philodendron Mottled Dragon is through stem cuttings. This methos is simple and straightforward. Plus, the cuttings root fairly quickly.

Best of all, it yields high propagation success rates.

Here’s how to propagate the Mottled Dragon Philodendron from stem cuttings.

  • Start by choosing a healthy stem cutting. You’re looking for a healthy stem with at least one node and 2-3 leaves.
  • Sterilize a pair or scissors, pruning shears or knife before you make any cut.
  • Cut the stem just below the node. This ensures that the node is included with the cutting. Cuttings need nodes because that is where the new roots will grow from.
  • Prepare a pot and fill it with fresh, well-draining potting mix.
  • Apply rooting hormone to the cut end of the stem. This is optional but helps with rooting.
  • Plant the cutting into the potting mix.
  • Water the soil until moist.
  • Leave the cutting in bright, indirect light.

It will take about 2-4 weeks for the cutting to develop roots.

Once that time comes you can test to see if roots have grown by lightly tugging on the cutting. It should resist your pull which is a sign that the roots have taken hold of the soil.

Alternatively, you can take the root ball out and check the soil for roots.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Philodendron Mottled Dragon

The Philodendron Mottled Dragon only needs repotting when it gets root bound. It usually takes 2 to 3 years before the plant needs repotting.

However, how fast it grows will ultimately determine when you need to move it to a larger pot. Thus, it could be before 2 years or more than 3 years.

The best way to tell is to check the bottom of the pot for roots coming out of the drainage holes. If you see quite a few roots extending out from there, it means the plant is looking for more room.

You do not have to do this regularly. Once every 6 or 12 months will is enough as its takes a while for the plant to get bigger.

When repotting, have some fresh potting mix on hand and a pot that is one size larger ready. Avoid going much bigger since the larger the container the more soil it will hold.

And when that large volume of soil is wet during watering, it takes much longer to dry. This can increase the risk of overwatering.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

Yes, the Philodendron Mottled Dragon is toxic to people and pets. But only when ingested.

That’s because it contains calcium oxalate crystals that get activated once they get inside your body. As such, the plant is safe to touch without any risk of toxicity. But once chewed or consumed, it can cause mild to serious side effects.

Therefore, it is a good idea to keep the plant away from young children, dogs and cats that may accidentally ingest parts of the plant.

 

Philodendron Mottled Dragon Problems & Troubleshooting

Pests

Like other philodendrons, the Mottled Dragon is prone to sap sucking insects like mealybugs, spider mites, scale and thrips.

That said, the plant has fairly good resistance to pests when it is healthy. However, when under stress, shock, sick or even weak, it becomes more susceptible.

Therefore, it is important to keep the plant healthy by giving it all its requirements. Cleaning its leaves also prevents pests form coming around since they are attracted to dust.

 

Diseases

Just like pests, it is important to keep an eye out for diseases.

However, the biggest difference between the two is that diseases are preventable. That’s because it most cases, infections in the plant are caused by excess moisture.

As such, by keeping the plant on the dry side and being mindful of when you water and how you water, you can avoid them altogether.

The most serious problem here is root rot. Similarly, bacterial and fungal infections that affect the leaves can happen as well.

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