The Philodendron Sun Red is also called the Philodendron Red Sun. It is a great plant if you want to add color to your houseplants or garden.
You can grow it indoors or outdoors. But the plant will be much bigger in the ground as opposed to a pot.
It has an upright, clumping growth habit.
And it features large, oval shaped leaves with different colors.
Young leaves start out bright red. Then turn into a more burgundy/maroon color. Later on, they’ll turn green.
Because different leaves are pushed out and develop at different times, you’ll see a variety of colors at any given time. This is what makes the plant stunning and attractive.
This tree hugging climber is native to the forests of South America.
How do you care for the Philodendron Sun Red? Keep the plant in a well-lit location. It thrives in medium to bright indirect light.
Avoid low light as well as very strong, direct sunlight. Warm, humid conditions are what it enjoys most. Feed it during its growing season to maintain leaf color and development.
Philodendron Red Sun Plant Care
The Philodendron Red Sun needs good lighting to thrive. Ideally, medium to bright indirect light will let the plant grow at its best.
Just as importantly, keeping it in well-lit location will allow it maintain its beautiful colors.
The plant also needs at least 6 hours of light a day. You can likewise use artificial lights if you don’t get a lot of natural light in your home.
But with grow lights or fluorescent lighting, the plant will need closer to 10 or more hours of light daily.
On the other hand, try to avoid low light as well as dark corners.
While the plant itself can survive these environments, its leaves will suffer. You’ll see the different colors become more green as they try to compensate for the lack of light.
If they are unable to, the plant will become leggy and grow slower.
After a while, you may even see its leaves drop as the plant gets weaker at the same time.
As such, it is a good idea to keep the Philodendron Red Sun in plenty of light.
However, make sure that the light is filtered, indirect, diffused or dappled.
Avoid strong, direct sunlight.
That’s because it can only take 2, at most 3 hours of intense light on a daily basis. If it gets too much of this, its leaves will fade in color.
In very harsh sunlight, they can also get scorched leaving you with black or brown burn marks on the leaves.
Unfortunately, this kind of leaf damage is permanent.
Therefore, you have no choice but to trim off the damaged parts or the entire leaves. Then just wait for new healthy leaves to grow again.
As such, keep the plant in medium to bright indirect light indoors for optimal growth.
Outdoors, place it somewhere with partial shade. Avoid full sun which is too much for the plant.
The Philodendron Red Sun prefers temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
It is a tropical plant which means that it loves warm climates.
More importantly, it thrives in consistently sunny and warm weather. That’s because the tropics only have 2 seasons during the year.
- Warm and sunny
And even during the rainy season, the weather stays warm and sometimes hot even. It never really gets cold, just wet.
Similarly, there are no winters in the tropics. Instead, November through March has perpetual sunshine, though the overall weather is slightly cooler.
Nevertheless, it is still moderate rather than cold.
This is why the Philodendron Red Sun has poor tolerance to cold conditions. It begins to struggle if you leave it in temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
The good news is that its temperature preference works really well for indoor gardening.
In fact, the plant easily adapts to most homes. This means you don’t need to do anything special as far as temperature goes.
However, you do want to watch out for cold spots and drafty areas.
This includes open windows or doors where cold breezes and draft can come in. It also includes areas where the temperature can drop significantly during nighttime compared to daytime.
And avoid leaving the plant in air conditioned areas or near cooling vents.
Outdoors, the Philodendron Sun Red will happily grow in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11.
That’s because these areas have consistently sunny weather and generally moderate to warm temperatures all year round.
As such, if you live in these locales, you can keep the plant outdoors or even plant it in your garden.
But in colder areas, it is best to keep the Philodendron Red Sun as a houseplant.
Make sure to keep it warm indoors especially during the wintertime.
The Philodendron Red Sun likes humidity. And it will grow better when kept in humid conditions. Ideally, it prefers humidity between 60% to 70%.
However, it can tolerate average room humidity as well.
In general, the plant can take low humidity without any harm. But there are some exceptions.
And the best way to tell is to look at its leaves.
If the leaves look healthy and they have good color while growing to their normal size, it means that the plant has adjusted to the humidity in your home.
On the hand, watch out for dry, brown leaf edges and tips. These are signs that it needs more humidity.
The reason is that the moisture is not able to reach the extremities of the plant which are the tips and edges of the leaves.
If you see this, it means it needs your help.
You can move the plant to the kitchen or bathroom which are the two most humid locations in most homes.
Another option is to group all your plants together. But this only works if you have several houseplants.
You can also mist the plant a few times a week. Or set up a pebble tray which is more hands-off.
The most obvious option is to get a humidifier.
Don’t forget to keep the plant away from air conditioners, heaters, radiators and other appliances that tend to dry up the air.
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How Often to Water Philodendron Red Sun
Watering the Philodendron Red Sun is by far the trickiest thing you’ll deal with when caring for this plant.
That’s because unlike the other aspects, it requires adjusting based on the time of year.
The other aspects of care don’t need as much modifying. And the consequences are not as serious.
In general, the Philodendron Sun Red needs average watering.
This comes out to around once week. However, the actual frequency will change based on the time of year.
During the hotter months of summer, you’ll need to water the plant more regularly as the soil will dry up faster.
Just as importantly, the Philodendron Red Sun does not like its soil going completely dry. So, avoid this.
On the other hand, once the weather gets cold in the winter, it takes much longer for soil to dry. This means you need to scale back significantly.
The reason is that the plant it prone to overwatering which can lead to root rot.
This is by far the most dangerous thing to watch out for.
That’s because when root rot sets in, it happens under the soil. This means you don’t see it progress until the symptoms reach the leaves or stems.
By then, the roots will have sustained at least some kind of damage.
What’s worse is past a certain point when too many of the roots of the root system have rotted, the plant is beyond saving no matter what you do.
So, you want to avoid this even more.
As such, if you were to err, err the side of underwatering the plant. It is better able to recover from this state.
This is also why the most effective way to water the Philodendron Red Sun is to wait until the top 2 inches of soil has dried. Never water before then.
I like to be more conservative. Better safe than sorry, right?
So, I wait until the top 25% to 50% of the soil dries between waterings. You don’t need to be precise. Anywhere in between this range works really well.
In doing so, you avoid overwatering.
And this watering method will allow you to automatically adjust your watering schedule. That’s because you’re basing when you water on the soil’s wetness or dryness instead of counting days.
Philodendron Red Sun Potting Soil
Well-draining soil is a much for the Philodendron Red Sun. This is the best kind of soil to use for this plant.
Again, this has to do with the plant’s susceptibility to overwatering.
Heavy, water-retentive soils tend to hold too much water. The same is true with dense or compacted soil. So, avoid them all.
The reason is that when they hold lots of moisture, the roots end up sitting in excess water. This leads to waterlogging.
The problem is that waterlogged soil prevents the roots from breathing air, which is needs just as much as water.
If the water does not recede soon enough, the roots will suffocate and die. Then they will rot.
Too many damaged roots means the plant won’t be able to absorb enough water and nutrients from the soil to support itself.
So, after a while, it will weaken then die.
Thus, always make sure that the soil you use has good drainage.
The best kind of soil I’ve found for this plant is an Aroid mix. You can get one in online plant shops or your local nursery.
What’s good about it is that it is pre-mixed. So, you can open the bag and start using it.
The soil has good drainage and aeration to keep the roots happy. It also holds some moisture to keep the roots hydrated.
Of course, you can make your own soil at home as well. Here’s a DIY potting mix that works really well for the Philodendron Red Sun.
- 1 part potting mix
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part orchid bark
- ½ part horticultural charcoal
Don’t forget to use a pot with drainage holes as well.
Last but not least, the Philodendron Red Sun is a climbing plant that can grow tall. Therefore, it is a good idea to give it a support to climb up on.
The Philodendron Red Sun needs nutrients to stay healthy and sustain its growth.
This is especially true during its growing season.
As such, feeding it during the warm months of spring and summer helps it achieve optimal growth and development.
Use a balanced fertilizer with micronutrients.
Apply once a month during this time. Dilute the application each time by 50% if the plant is kept in a pot indoors.
Stop feeding by early to mid fall. And don’t fertilize during winter.
Another option is to go with slow release fertilizer. This will allow you to reduce the frequency of applications to 2 or 3 times a year.
It also reduces the risk of overfertilizing since the pellets will dissolve at different times.
If you notice pale colored leaves, check your fertilizer to make sure it has calcium and magnesium. Often, deficiencies in both these minerals cause leaves of philodendron plants to become pale.
In pots, the Philodendron Sun Red grows to about 4 to 5 feet tall and about 4 to 5 feet wide as well. Outdoors when planted in the ground it can reach about 8 to 10 feet high.
Like most philodendron varieties, the size will vary significantly depending on whether you keep it indoors or outdoors.
Either way, with proper care, the Philodendron Red Sun is a moderate to fast growing plant.
The more light and fertilizer it gets, the faster it will grow.
Again, don’t overfeed the plant and don’t give it too much sunlight. Both are harmful.
Because the Philodendron Red Sun is primarily made up of its stunning multi-colored foliage, there’s little to no pruning needed.
You don’t really want to prune the leaves since they are the most attractive part of the plant.
And the foliage tends to grow nicely without getting messy.
This means it looks great even when full and bushy.
The only times you need to prune is to remove damaged, old, dead, discolored or diseased leaves.
How to Propagate Philodendron Red Sun
Philodendron Red Sun propagation is fairly simple. But it does require a bit more work.
The most common ways to propagate the plant are via:
- Offsets or offshoots
- Cuttings with roots
Each of the methods are very different from one another. So, I’ll go through each one.
Propagating Philodendron Red Sun from Offsets or Plantlets
If you look at the base of the plant, you may notice a few baby plants which are called offsets or plantlets.
You can separate these from the mother plant and pot them up in well-draining soil mix.
Over time, they will grow into mature plants that look just like their parent.
However, the plant may or may not produce offsets. When it does and how many it does can vary. And this is all up to nature.
So, while it is very easy to propagate from offsets, it is highly unreliable since you don’t know when they’ll appear.
But if they do, don’t just separate them immediately.
Make sure they are big enough (at least 3 or more inches in size). If they are still small, allow them to keep growing first.
Propagating Philodendron Red Sun from Cuttings
Another option is propagating from cuttings. This is the most reliable method.
I also like it because you don’t need to wait a month or so for the new plant to grow roots. Instead, it already has roots.
But this method of propagation takes a bit more work than stem cuttings.
The most efficient way is to unpot the plant then wash away the excess soil from the roots. This will let you see the entire root system very clearly.
Alternatively, you can just use a trowel and dig around the roots of the stem you want to cut. In this case, all you need to expose is the part of the roots attached to the stem you want to propagate.
In either case, choose a healthy stem with a few leaves on it.
Then trace it down to find the roots attached to the stem you want to take.
Use a sterile pair of pruning shears or a sharp knife to separate the section of the roots that are connected to the stem you want to propagate.
You don’t need to get a large chunk of roots. Just get enough roots to support the new plant.
Once you have the cutting with the roots, plant it in a pot with well-draining soil mix.
Propagating Philodendron Red Sun by Division
Here, you’re going to divide the mother plant into 2 or more smaller plants.
To do so, unpot the mother plant and decide how many divisions you want to separate it into. Additionally, figure out where you will be separating the root ball.
Make sure that each plant division gets enough roots to support the plant above it.
Once you’ve decided, you can use your hands to separate the root ball. Or you can use a sterile knife to cut the root ball as well.
Plant each division into their own pots with fresh, well-draining potting mix.
How to Repot or Transplant Philodendron Red Sun
The Philodendron Red Sun only needs to be repotted every 2 or 3 years.
It does not need to be repot regularly. Nor does the plant like being moved.
The only time to repot is when it gets root bound.
You’ll be able to tell as the plant’s root system has gotten overcrowded in the pot. When this happens, you’ll see a few common symptoms.
One is the roots will start peeking out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.
Similarly, if you see rooting coming out from the surface of the soil or through the creases between the soil and pot, it means the plant needs more space.
To repot, find a container that is 2 inches wider than the current one. Make sure that the new pot also has drainage holes at the bottom for excess water to escape.
This is likewise your opportunity to replace the spent soil with fresh, well-draining potting mix.
If you feel that the Philodendron Red Sun is already too big, you can also propagate it by division, although this is optional.
The best time to repot is during spring to early summer.
Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs
The Philodendron Red Sun is toxic when ingested. It contains calcium oxalate crystals which are toxic to humans as well as animals. So, keep it away from young children, cats and dogs.
Philodendron Red Sun Problems & Troubleshooting
The Philodendron Red Sun isn’t prone to pests. But it can get pest problems.
So, you still need to regularly inspect the plant.
Always make sure to debug the plant before you take it indoors. This includes bringing it from the yard or garden. Similarly, check for bugs or other problems the first time you bring it home from the store.
These are the most common reasons why houseplants get pests.
As such, it is worth the extra time and effort to check.
Spider mites, mealybugs, aphids and scale are the most common pest problems.
And they can easily be eliminated if there are a few of them. Use neem oil or insecticidal soap. But avoid waiting as they become much harder to get rid of once they turn into infestations.
Root rot due to overwatering is something you want to avoid at all costs.
For this reason, always check the soil before you add water.
And only water when the top few inches of soil has already dried. Never do so before that.
Overwatering causes a whole host of problems including yellow, mushy leaves, fungal diseases and root rot. Unfortunately, some of these cannot be fixed if you spot them too late.
As such, prevention is always the best course of action.