Growing & Caring for Philodendron White Knight

Philodendron White Knight

The Philodendron White Knight (Philodendron ‘White Knight’) is a fairly rare tropical plant. Its large beautiful variegated leaves make it likewise expensive when sold online.

This slow growing plant varies significantly in size and foliage color depending on how its grown. The amount of sunlight, kind of soil, temperature, humidity and all other factors affect this.

Nevertheless what you get is a large leaved plant with green leaves and different colored variegations that range from the more popular white to purple. Although the variegation looks more like a large splash of paint that’s been added to it. It likewise has interesting colored brown purple and cream stems.

The plant is fairly compact as its nodes grow close to one another. That said, this slow grower will get to about nearly 10 feet tall and about 1.5 feet wide. Thus, you’ll want to support its growth with a pole.

Rare and beautiful, this an amazing plant to add to your houseplant collection.

Philodendron White Knight Plant Care

Philodendron White Knight Light

The Philodendron white knight thrives when given bright, indirect, filtered or dappled light. It needs sufficient light in order to grow properly. However, it cannot tolerate long hours of direct sunlight. Nor can it stand too much intense sunlight for many hours daily.

If placed in this location, the amount of sunlight will scorch its leaves. Thus, leaving you with bleached foliage that are pale in color. Similarly your plant may experience sunburn spots on its leaves.

That said, the white knight does need more light than some other houseplants.

The reason for this is its white variegations.

From an aesthetic standpoint, the white splotches are amazing to look at. But, from a functional point of view, they’re actually more of a hindrance for the plant.

That’s because variegations are not able to collect light from the sun. Just as importantly, they are not able to produce chlorophyll, which is the reason why plants have green leaves.

Unfortunately, plants need chlorophyll in the photosynthesis process, which is where they make their own food for energy. As such, any variegations put the plant at a disadvantage when it comes to gathering light and producing self-sufficient energy.

In addition to this, its white variegation is also more sensitive to direct sunlight. As such, these areas of the leaves are what burn the most quickly.

On the other hand, lack of light or insufficient light will likewise cause these beautiful patterns for fade. As such, you don’t want to leave it in locations that are too dim or dark.

This happens because the plant will try to survive. And, in order to do that it will adjust by transforming its white patches int green to absorb as much light as possible. And, create enough energy to support itself despite the lack of illumination.

So, when this happens, the lack of energy resulting from the lack of light will cause the plant to slow down its growth. Its reduced energy production also results in fewer and smaller leaves.

These are some symptoms you’ll see when there plants aren’t getting enough light. And, the best solution to fix these problems it to move them somewhere brighter.

Location of Your Philodendron White Knight Indoors

This makes an east facing window the ideal spot for your philodendron white knight. If you live in a warm climate region, you may want to move the plant away from where the sun’s rays may hit. That’s because the morning sun in these regions may still be warm.

In contrast, if you live in cooler areas, the morning sun will be a lot gentler that in hotter regions.

The opposite is true for a north facing windows. Since this side of your home gets the least amount of light, it is more likely to be bright enough if you live in a hotter region. In cooler aeras of the country (the northern states), there may be too little light during the latter part of the year.

With the west and south facing windows, you want to distance the plant from the window because the afternoon sun hits these directions the most. Another alternative to cover part of the intense sun’s rays with sheer curtains or some kind of shade.

 

Related Posts

 

Temperature

The philodendron white knight is native to South America. As such, it is accustomed to tropical climates. This means two things. It likes:

  • Fairly moderate to warm weather
  • High humidity

That’s the weather situation in tropical and subtropical regions. Just as importantly, there is no snow. Therefore, no freezing temperatures as well.

As such, the white knight is not frost tolerant.

When it comes to specifics, the plant does best when temperature stays between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It can tolerate a little bit (5 to 10 degrees max) more in both directions. But, anything colder or warmer that that, it will struggle.

This makes it hardy to USDA zones 9b to 11. Here, you can keep it outdoors all year round.

If you live in zones below 9b, it is a good idea to keep the plant in a container. This lets you grow it as a houseplant. You can likewise take it outdoors during the warmer months.

However, once the temperature drops under 60 degrees, you want to begin taking your tropical plants, including the white knight indoors. When the mercury drops under 55 degrees, it will start to experience stress. And, this will get worse as it drops lower.

 

Philodendron White Knight Humidity

As mentioned in the previous section, the plant also like humidity. In fact, it thrives in very high humidity.

Ideally, you want to keep humidity around the plant at 70% or higher. Below this point, its growth will slow and you will see its leaves become less vibrant.

Indoor air that’s too dry will likewise eventually turn its leaf edges brown.

As such, most normal households will not be humid enough to keep it happy. In the winter, this becomes a bigger problem as home humidity drops to somewhere the 30s on average.

The best solution for this is to use a humidifier. Often, I prefer that you use more natural methods because they are free.

But, if your home humidity is far below the 70% level, natural methods like grouping plants together and keeping the plant above a pebble tray may not be enough to bring up air moisture around the plant to the level it needs.

The best way to find out is to get a digital hygrometer. This is an inexpensive device that measures humidity.

You can try keeping the plant in the bathroom or using either natural method mentioned above and see how high the humidity gets to. If it is close enough to 70% then you’re good to go.

While misting helps, you’ll likely need to mist at least a few times a day to keep it happy. This is both time consuming and potentially dangerous as spraying the leaves with water a lot will increase the risk of fungal infection.

 

Philodendron White Knight Watering

Philodendron white knight likes soil consistently moist soil. As such, it benefits from regular watering. This is especially true during the warmer months.

As such, you want to give it enough water to keep it happy during this time.

But, avoid overwatering, as too much water or allowing the plant to sit in water for long periods at a time will increase its risk of root rot.

Waterlogged soil means that all the small creases between the soil particles are taken up by water. As such, there is no extra space for oxygen to pass to get through the roots. This will starve the plant of air.

Rotting or rotted roots mean that they cannot absorb water or nutrients from the soil or fertilizer anymore. Once this happens to majority of your plant’s roots, your plant will starve and dehydrate to death.

The best way to avoid this is to always test the soil before watering. Touching the soil or sticking your finger into the soil down to about 1 to 2 inches deep will give you a good idea of how moist or dry that level is.

If soil sticks to your finger or you feel any wetness at this depth, wait a few days before watering. If t is dry, you can water again.

In the winter, you want to allow the soil to dry a little more because the plant isn’t actively growing at this time. As such, it doesn’t need a lot of extra resources while it rests.

Similarly, the cold weather means it takes longer for soil to dry. This increases the risk of root rot if you water more.

A sign that you’re giving it too much moisture is if the leaves turn yellow. If this happens, stop watering for a few days to allow the soil to dry first. Then, scale back on your watering routing.

On the other hand, wilting leaves and a sad looking plant means it needs more water. This is much easier to fix as it quickly bounces back once you give it enough water.

 

Soil

From its watering needs, you can probably already tell that the soil likes moist, well-draining soil.

Moist soil is achieved if you your substrate is able to hold moisture. On the other hand, well-draining substrates are able to allow excess moisture to escape quickly. This way, your plant isn’t sitting in water for a long time.

Philodendron white knight also does well in rich soil. That is, soil with high organic matter content. Giving it this will allow it to grow faster.

Thus, you want to choose high quality potting mix for your plant. But, it will need a little more help. Adding perlite and orchid bark will make the conditions perfect for the white knight.

The perlite will increase drainage. And, the orchid bark is chunky. Thus, making the soil looser to allow for more air and water to flow through.

 

Philodendron White Knight Fertilizing

In the previous section, I discussed how fertile soil helps the philodendron white knight grow faster. Thus, you can help it along by feeding it with fertilizer.

However, like water, too much plant food can harm your white knight. That’s because fertilizer leaves salt residue that builds up in the soil. The more you feed it, the faster this builds up.

Similarly, too high concentrations of fertilizer will burn the plant’s roots. Thus, destroying them much like root rot will. But, in a different way.

This is one reason why many growers like to use slow release fertilizer. This kind of fertilizer comes in pellets that dissolve in the soil at different times.

Some a few days. Others in weeks. And a few more over the course of months. Thus, the distribution reduces the amount dumped at any given time. This reduces the risk of fertilizer burn.

It also saves you time since you only need to feed your Philodendron white knight 3 times a year. You can use a 15-5-10 N-P-K ratio with this frequency.

Alternatively, you can use a liquid fertilizer which is what many houseplant owners use. It is easier to apply because you have better control in distributing liquid more evenly.

Here, a good balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to 50% the recommended strength. Always water the soil when you fertilize to allow the plant food to distribute more evenly. Doing so also makes it easier for the plant to absorb it.

 

Pruning Philodendron White Knight

The Philodendron white knight is a climber. As such, it will go up your trellis outdoors. Indoors, setting up a moss pole or something vertical will allow it to grow fast as well.

As such, depending on how long you want it to get, you may need to only trim it once a year. On average, the plant will only need to be pruned once or twice a year anyways.

For the most part this will be about form and size. That means a few things.

  • It is getting too big. This can happen indoors as you have limited space for it.
  • The plant begins to get leggy
  • It gets too dense
  • The leaves and vines look very messy

The white knight is a fairly robust and healthy plant. As such, you don’t really need to do a lot of pruning.

You do want to remove unhealthy sections though. This includes dead, yellow, brown and damaged leaves.

 

Philodendron White Knight Propagation

The easiest way to propagate Philodendron White Knight is via stem cuttings. Here, you don’t need to take the plant out of the container. And, you don’t need to germinate any seeds.

Here’s how to propagate your philodendron white knight from stem cuttings.

  • Have a jar of water ready, a small pot and fresh potting soil as well.
  • Make sure you sterile your cutting tool, be it a pair of scissors or pruning shears.
  • To make a stem cutting, choose a healthy stem with at least 2 to 3 leaves on it.
  • Cut the stem so you have about 4 to 6 inches. Make the cut right below the leaf node. You want to include the node with the cutting as this is where the roots will grow from.
  • Once you have the cutting, remove all the lower leaves as they will get submerged into the water.
  • Place the cutting into a jar of water leaving the top part above the liquid.
  • After 3 or se weeks you should see roots start to develop. The benefit of doing it in water is you get to see the roots.
  • Once the roots get to over an inch, you can move it to a pot.
  • Plant the stem cutting into fresh potting mix.
  • Then water.
  • Keep it in a warm, humid place. Water regularly to keep soil moist.

 

Philodendron White Knight Transplanting & Repotting

When you repot your philodendron white knight will depend on how quickly it grows. From above, you already know that the amount of light, fertilizer, water, temperature, humidity and soil all affect this.

So, every plant is different given its living conditions.

As such, it is better to observe what your plant is telling you. The main sign that it needs to be repotted is if you see its roots start to come out from the holes at the bottom of the pot.

This means it is trying to search for more soil beyond the container. As such, it isn’t satisfied with the space it currently has.

Similarly, the roots will try to search upwards. When this happens, you’ll see the soil open up small creases with roots extending out from the surface of the soil.

When repotting, make sure of the following:

  • Use a slightly larger pot. Anywhere between 1 to 3 inches larger, nothing more.
  • Make sure there is at least one hole, preferably more than one hole at the bottom of the container for drainage.
  • Use loose, well-draining potting mix. Add perlite and orchid bark to regular potting soil is the easiest way to achieve this.
  • Spring is the best time to repot

 

Toxicity

Keep your philodendron white knight away from young kids as well as pets. It is more poisonous to animals than it is humans. Although both will experience side effects. As such, you don’t want anyone at home including young children, cats and dogs from chewing on the plant.

 

Pests and Diseases

The Philodendron White Knight fairly resistant plant. As long as you keep it healthy, you likely won’t experience any pest or disease issues.

However, if the do happen, the most common pests include mealybugs and aphids. Both are bothersome in that they affect your plant’s health and growth.

As such, you want to spot them early because they get bigger in size. They likewise spread to other nearby plants.

Treatment can be done with insecticidal soap spray. It will take a few weeks to eradicate them which is another reason they’re bothersome.

When it comes to disease, high humidity makes them more prone to moisture-related problems. Here, leaf spot is your enemy. Wet leaves are the main cause.

As such, giving the plant enough air circulation is crucial in avoiding this.

Similarly, you don’t want to overwater as it can lead to root rot.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.