The Philodendron Painted Lady is a beautiful climbing plant that starts out with bright, neon green leaves that turn into a darker green color with spots when it matures. It likewise has pink stems to complement its lovely leaves.
The plant is a member of the Araceae family. And, is a hybrid created from tow Philodendron erubescens species, namely the Burgundy and the Emerald Queen.
Like other philodendrons the Painted Lady is known for its foliage which are heart-shaped and grow up to 6 inches long. The plant itself grows to between 2 to 5 feet high and 1 to 1.5 feet wide.
That said, it is a slow grower. And, will take about 5 years before it reaches maturity.
Although rare, the plant may produce white and green colored flowers. When it does, it is a good idea to remove these blooms because they don’t smell good. You definitely don’t want the aroma lingering around your home.
More importantly, since your Philodendron Painted Lady is a foliage plant, it is best for it to focus its resources on vegetative growth. The flowers will use up valuable energy and nutrients that otherwise will go to leaf development.
Philodendron Painted Lady Plant Care
Philodendron Painted Lady Light Requirements
Philodendron Painted Lady can grow in different lighting conditions. But, it will do best when provided with bright, indirect light.
This means it is important to keep it away from direct sunlight or too much intense bright light like that in the afternoons or summertime.
Leaving it in this environment will cause its leaves to get sunburn and get discolored.
That said, the plant will likewise do well in medium light as well as fluorescent light indoors. And, it can tolerate low light spaces.
But, with the latter, you want to be careful with too little light. If you notice the plant’s growth slow or it start to produce smaller or fewer leaves, that’s a sign it is not getting enough light.
Similarly, even a little lack of light can affect it. In this case, the plant will become leggy as it will try to reach towards the light source to get every ounce it can from it.
- Indoors, it is best kept in spots near the window. As long as the sun’s rays don’t touch its leaves, you’ll be fine. Ideally, keep it near an east, west or south facing window.
- Outdoors, it is better off with bright shade or partial shade. You can take advantage trees, your home and shadow of other structures to keep it from direct sunlight. If you don’t have anything that cases a shadow, you can keep it under some kind of canopy as long as it gets plenty of bright light. Or, you can use a shade cloth like what many nurseries do.
Your Philodendron Painted Lady is tropical in nature. As such, it enjoys warm weather and humidity.
The good news is, it is well-suited for average home temperatures. This makes it easy to grow the plant indoors. And, you don’t have to adjust the thermostat to keep it happy.
As long as you keep levels between 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit it will grow well. Since this also happens to be were humans are most comfortable, most homes naturally keep this kind of temperature.
The only times you want to observe indoor climate is if it gets very hot or very cold in the winter.
The plant won’t tolerate a much in terms of temperature going up or down. Although, it can take heat better than the cold.
However, once things get to 95 degrees and above, you’re going to see it show signs of distress.
Similarly, you want to keep the it away from areas where the temperature can drop to 50 degrees or lower. Your Philodendron Painted Lady cannot stand the cold. And, it won’t survive frost or freezing temperatures.
Also, keep it away from drafty places including open windows, electric fans, vents or air conditioners.
Outdoors, the plant is hardy to USDA zones 9 to 11. Thus, it can stay outside all year round if you live in these regions.
Otherwise it is a good idea to bring it indoors once the weather starts getting near 50 degrees.
When it comes to humidity, your Philodendron Painted Lady enjoys levels between 65% and 80%. However, it can tolerate average household humidity provided it stays above 40%.
That said, you will notice a difference in growth, looks and vibrancy of the plant between the two levels. At 60% to 65% or higher RH it will grow its best and its leaves will produce their best colors.
This means that if you live in a dry environment, you may likely need to use a humidifier to keep the plant healthy.
During the summer or windy days, you can likewise mist the plant to keep it from drying. But, be careful not to spray too much water on the leaves such that water will sit for prolonged periods.
This will increase the possibility of fungal disease and pest.
How Often to Water Philodendron Painted Lady
Philodendron Painted Lady prefers drier to wet conditions. As such, it is always better to be conservative and allow it to dry a little more before watering.
You don’t want to overwater it as this is the number one cause for dying houseplants, philodendrons included.
This means that it is best to always check the soil by touch before watering.
To do so, stick your finger into the soil down to about 2 inches. The soil should be dry at that depth. You can double check by looking at the texture of the soil when you take your finger out. It should look like dry soil or ground coffee.
If there’s any soil or mud that sticks to your finger, it is still moist. Wait a few days before testing again.
Similarly, how you water is just as important.
You want to soak the soil. Then, allow it to completely dry. To do so, water the soil (not over the plant) until the soil is saturated. You’ll be able to tell as the water will begin to drop from the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot.
Then, allow all the excess moisture to drain completely. This can take up to 15 minutes if you have a large pot. I like to keep the pot In a frame stand in the sink and leave it there for a few minutes to drain while I tend to the other plants.
The reason both are essential is that too much water per session or watering too often both cause overwatering. This can eventually lead to root rot if not corrected early.
- In the summer, you’ll need to water more regularly due to the hot weather and the plant going into its active growing season. As such, keeping soil moist during this time (by allowed to dry between waterings) helps it get enough hydration to grow optimally.
- In the winter when your Philodendron Painted Lady goes into dormancy, reduce watering significantly. The goal is to keep the plant from completely drying out. This means just giving it enough water.
To close this section, always keep in mind that your Philodendron Painted Lady can go for weeks with no water. So, if you forget or go on vacation, don’t worry.
However, you never want it to be sitting in standing water or in some kind of puddle. Wet or soggy soil is always a bad thing.
Soil for Philodendron Painted Lady
Due to the Philodendron Painted Lady’s preference for drier soil conditions, it is best to provide it with well-draining potting soil.
This helps the plant stay drier as the substrate is able to get rid of excess water instead of retaining it. In doing so, I prevents the soil from getting waterlogged. And, this in turn prevents the plant from sitting in water for prolonged periods of time.
For the best growth, you ideally want to use light, fertile and slightly acidic to neutral (soil pH between 6.1 to 7.5) as well. This will give it the best chances of growing at its best.
That said, the most important thing will always be to prioritize drainage.
Because of this, you have a few options to choose from. Here are 3 potting soil recipes for Philodendron Painted Lady that work:
- 100% sphagnum peat moss
- Peat and vermiculite
- Peat and perlite
Philodendron Painted Lady Fertilizer
Philodendron Painted Lady will grow fairly fast during the spring and summer. As such, you want to give it enough sustenance to sustain this growth during this time.
To do so, apply an all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer every 2 to 4 weeks. You want something with at least the same amount of nitrogen as the other ratios. That’s because philodendrons are foliage plants. So, you want them to focus on growing their leaves.
In the winter, the plant will suspend active growth and go dormant. As such, cut back of fertilizer to once every month or 2 months.
Instead of a liquid fertilizer, you can likewise go with a slow release product. Because it releases the dosage over time, you only need to feed the plant three times a year.
If you have a new plant, always check whether the soil has been pre-mixed with fertilizer. Most nurseries will add some kind of product. So, check.
This will let you know when to start feeding so as not to double up on the plant food.
Your Philodendron Painted Lady does not need a lot of pruning. You may need to prune it to maintain its appearance, size and shape according to how you’d like it to look.
Similarly, do trim any leggy, unhealthy, discolored or diseases sections. Doing so will help the plant recover and look better.
However, don’t be overly aggressive with pruning. If you do too much, it will slow the growth of the plant.
Philodendron Painted Lady Propagation
Due to its beauty, you’ll likely want to propagate your Philodendron Painted Lady. If anything, propagation will let you enjoy more years of the plant you love.
The best part about it is that it doesn’t cost you anything.
The ideal time to propagate is in spring or early summer. And, the easiest way to dos so is via stem cuttings.
- Pick a healthy stem with at least 2 to 3 leaves on it.
- Use a sterile pair of scissors or pruning shear to take the cutting. You want to get a 4 to 6 inch long piece. And, you want to make the cut just below the node.
- Plant the cutting into a small pot with fresh potting mix. You can use 100% sphagnum peat moss or a combination of peat and vermiculite.
- Alternatively, you can propagate in water as well. If so, you’ll place the cutting into a jar of water. Make sure to remove the lower leaves that will get submerged into the water. You will then wait for the cutting to root (2 to 3 weeks). Then, transfer it into soil.
- If you propagated directly in soil. it will take about 3 to 4 weeks for roots to develop. It takes longer because there is more resistance from soil compared to water.
- From here, it is all about caring for the plant as you would the parent. Soon, it will grow shoots and need to be repotted to a larger container.
How to Repot Philodendron Painted Lady
Your Philodendron Painted Lady will eventually outgrow its container. This often takes about 2 to 3 years. But, when it does you want to take the first opportunity to do so.
The best time to repot the plant is during spring or early summer.
You don’t want to leave it too long in a tight container because it prefers having enough space for its roots to spread out. This environment will allow it to grow at its best.
- Prepare a slightly larger container (2 inches wider in diameter than your current pot) and some fresh well-draining potting soil.
- When spring comes around, carefully take the plant out of its current container.
- Then, check the root ball and remove any excess dirt and soil. Check to make sure its roots are healthy. Trim off any black or mushy roots.
- Fill the new container about a third to halfway with potting mix.
- Place the root ball into the new container. Then, fill the remainder with soil.
- Water the soil.
Unfortunately, like others in its genus, your Philodendron Painted Lady is toxic for people and animals. It contains calcium oxalate crystals that can cause skin irritation.
More importantly, ingestion will cause gastrointestinal issues including inflammation and swelling, not to mention pain.
So, keep it away from dogs, cats and young children.
Pests and Disease
Philodendron Painted Lady don’t usually have many pest or disease problems. If well-taken care of, you may never need to deal with any of them.
But, keep in mind that the plant is not immune to these issues.
As such, regular inspection and care is very important.
With pests, spider mites and mealybugs are the most common attackers. You can deal with both using insecticidal soap or using dishwashing soap and water.
With diseases, root rot, blight and leap spot can be issues. In most cases stress for poor living conditions and moisture are your biggest culprits.
When the plant is under stress, it becomes vulnerable to pests and diseases. So, you want to avoid these instances.
On the other hand, with moisture, it is overwatering and high humidity that put it at risk for disease.