Philodendron Bloody Mary is an easy-to-maintain evergreen plant that has become quite popular among houseplant enthusiasts for its gorgeous leaves. Interestingly enough, it is also native to parts of Central America.
Our guide is here to help you out with regards to all of its needs, so keep reading to find it all out.
- What Is Philodendron Bloody Mary?
- Philodendron Bloody Mary Care
What Is Philodendron Bloody Mary?
Philodendron Bloody Mary is an evergreen plant popular for its stunning, leathery leaves. Native to the rainforests of Brazil, this stunning rare plant is one of the easiest plants to grow indoors. It was discovered in the 1600s by Charles Plumier.
This year, Philodendron Bloody Mary was named Colorado’s Official State Flower!
Colorado is not the only state with an official flower – but they are the first state to name a tropical plant as their State Flower.
– Size and Growth
Philodendron Bloody Mary is a medium to large-sized, perennial plant that can reach a height of 10 to 12 feet and nine inches wide on maturity.
This growth will be dependent on other factors in your home.
Congested plants slow down in growth and remain small in size. The size of your pot will also affect the plant’s growth rate.
Moreover, it has thick and long reddish stems that are quite attractive and dramatic-looking. It is a climbing Philodendron and follows a climbing pattern when provided with the support of a trellis. It has a fast growth rate and within a year, you can see significant growth in it.
It is a vigorous grower and its stems produce a lot of new leaves each season. The leaves have a burgundy undertone filled with a red fluid which is why it is called the Bloody Mary Philodendron.
Make sure to keep the plant away from the reach of kids and pets as it is toxic. Ingestion may cause irritation and ulceration in the throat.
The younger leaves have a burgundy shade while the mature leaves are in between red and burgundy. The burgundy leaves are filled with a red-colored fluid that gives them this rich appearance as well as the name “Philodendron Bloody Mary”. A mature leaf can be two to four inches long and one to two inches wide.
The veined leaves are long and pointy and grow drooping which gives a draping look to the plant. Since the leaf growth is drooping, sometimes it might appear that the plant needs water. However, you should look carefully and then decide whether your plant needs water or not.
Philodendron Bloody Mary has an extensive root system. The roots grow deep into the soil and need space to grow, so it is better to use large pots to grow this plant. Start with at least an eight-inch pot and increase the pot size when the plant needs repotting.
Moreover, Bloody Mary Philodendron is a climbing Philodendron that grows aerial roots from the stems. Aerial roots help in absorbing nutrition and water directly from the air.
Philodendron Bloody Mary Care
Philodendron Bloody Mary can grow under different conditions and is not very fussy when it comes to factors such as light, water, temperature, humidity, and fertilizer. These growth requirements will vary slightly from one region to another.
You should know that the basic requirements of all Philodendron species are similar so you only need to modify these requirements according to the conditions of your environment.
– Light Requirements
Philodendron Bloody Mary thrives in bright, indirect sunlight. It can also tolerate low light and partial shade conditions, but try to provide bright light if you want the leaves to have a deep and rich color.
Do not place your plant in direct sunlight as it can cause leaf burns. Two to three hours of morning and evening sunlight is fine but harsh noon sunlight can damage your plant.
When your plant receives too much sunlight, you can see some leaves browning. Brown patches on the leaves indicate that the plant is receiving more light than what is required.
In contrast, leggy stems are an indication of less light. It means that your plant is not receiving enough light. In this case, shift the Philodendron to a spot where it receives curtain-filtered sunlight throughout the day.
– Water Requirements: Watering it According to Season & Other Details
Watering Philodendron Bloody Mary should neither be too often nor too rarely. Keep the soil moist at all times, especially during the summer months. But let the soil dry out in between waterings during the winter months.
Since the plant loves moist soil, it is also prone to root rot due to overwatering. It normally grows drooping downward, but it can droop even further if you overwater it. Keep the watering frequency to two to three times during the summer months and reduce it to once or twice a week in winters.
Keep in mind that the watering frequency is not fixed. It will vary depending on other factors prevailing in your area. To prevent problems of fungal infections and diseases due to overwatering and soggy soil conditions, prepare a fast-draining soil mix.
Bloody Mary Philodendron is a resilient plant, so it will not die immediately under drought-like conditions. It can grow well without water for some time but avoid underwatering the plant. Maintain a regular watering schedule to prevent your plant from becoming lanky. Low moisture content in the soil for longer periods can make the plant unwell.
– Water Requirements: When and How To Water
Water your plant only when the top one to two inches of the soil have dried. Use the finger-knuckle test to judge whether the plant needs water or not.
To do that, insert your finger in the soil till the second knuckle and check if the soil mix sticks to your finger and feels moist. If it is dry, water the plant. Otherwise, wait for a few more days and check again. This practice is quite effective and saves the plant from problems related to overwatering.
Another great watering technique is wetting the soil directly instead of the leaves. Watering from the top of the leaves can cause fungal infections. So, do not keep the leaves wet for too long. Instead of splashing water on them, clean the leaves by using a wet towel.
If you live in a dry region, the soil will dry out fast. To keep the moisture level up around the plant, mist it daily in the summer months.
Keep it away from sun exposure and you might need to water it daily or every second day to preserve it in harsh summers. Misting plants during the summer months helps in beating the high temperatures and also keeps the moisture levels high.
– Soil Mix
Philodendron Bloody Mary needs a rich and airy soil mix like other Philodendron species. The quality of soil plays one of the most important roles in a plant’s growth. If the soil mix is rich, the plant will grow healthy and look happy. But if you use dense, poor soil mix, the plant might not die but it will show on the foliage.
Philodendron Bloody Mary Soil should be fine-textured and airy. Make sure that the mix is well-draining. Lack of drainage can cause fungus and root rot.
Soil pH between 5.5 and 7.5 works well for this plant’s growth. Any well-draining and good-quality soil medium would be fine.
For example, you can use soilless growing mediums such as peat-vermiculite and peat-perlite. It can also grow in only sphagnum peat moss. What’s more, adding perlite to the soil makes it well-drained.
Bloody Mary Philodendron is not a winter-loving plant, so it grows well in the temperature range of 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If you do not keep the plant in this temperature range, it will show poor growth and will suffer from other problems and infections.
Not being a winter plant does not mean that it cannot survive in cooler temperatures. In the winter months, you must shift the plant inside to a warmer spot to keep the plant growing. If your plant remains outdoors in very low temperatures, especially in frost, it will die. So, when the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, shift the plant indoors.
If you expose the plant to temperatures higher than 75 degrees Fahrenheit, it will get leggy. The leaves will lose the rich color and droop further. Avoid both extremes in temperatures to keep the plant healthy and happy.
In the wild, Bloody Mary Philodendron grows in the rainforests with high humidity conditions. But they are quite tolerant of lower humidity levels as well.
Your best bet is to maintain their humidity levels above 50 percent to keep the plant healthy. As a reference, you should know that most households have 30 to 50 percent humidity levels, so you might have to increase the humidity levels.
To keep the humidity levels high, use humidifiers and humidity trays. To make a humidity tray, fill a shallow tray with water and some stones, and place the tray under the plant pot. This will ensure high humidity in the soil of the plant. Occasionally, mist the plant in summers so that moisture level remains up during the day and the plant is able to tolerate high temperatures.
Bloody Mary Philodendron is not a heavy-feeding plant, yet you can still feed the plant monthly with a well-balanced, good-quality fertilizer from spring to summer.
You can use a slow-release fertilizer so that you do not have to fertilize the plant every week and liquid seaweed fertilizers once a month to augment the plant’s growth. The latter is a great organic fertilizer that helps in the vigorous growth of plants.
The ideal time to repot Philodendron Bloody Mary is in early spring before the start of its active growing season. You can repot throughout the year except during extreme winters. Moreover, you should shift them to a bigger pot when the plant outgrows the existing pot.
To repot the plant, first, remove the dead and dull roots and prepare a new soil mix with peat moss and perlite. Without disturbing the roots much, place the plant in the new potting mix.
Firm the soil around the roots. Water it thoroughly and keep it in a shaded spot for a few days before moving it to the final spot. Ensure that you keep the soil moist and allow the plant to get acclimatized to the new environment.
You can propagate Philodendron Bloody Mary by seeds, stem cuttings, and air layering. Propagation from seeds is a slow process and we would not recommend it if you are a beginner.
Using stem cuttings to grow the plant is the easiest and most convenient of all the methods. What’s more, propagating in early spring gives the maximum success rate.
Using a sharp knife or scissors, take a five to six inches long stem cutting from a mature plant. Pinch the leaves from the bottoms and let only the top two to three leaves be. Make sure that the stem cutting has one to two nodes that can root. A node is where the roots come from.
Then, dip this stem cutting in water or soil and it shall root in two to four weeks. Don’t forget to plant the cutting at least three inches deep into the soil. Another thing you can do is to dip the cutting in rooting hormone before planting it in soil for faster root development.
Finally, be careful when handling this plant as it is quite toxic.
Keep the planted stem cutting in a warm and shady spot where it receives bright, indirect light during the day. Also, make sure the soil is moist during this time as the cutting needs water for root development.
After three months, you will see the plant forming some new burgundy leaves. At this point, you can reduce the watering frequency from every second day to twice a week. Ensure that you shift the plant to a warm spot in winter, as we mentioned earlier.
Philodendron Bloody Mary is fuss-free but sometimes can face some problems. Common issues faced by this Philodendron are overwatering and underwatering. The key to preventing these problems is to check the soil every few days and then determine if the plant needs water.
Let us discuss some of these problems in detail.
– Yellowing of Leaves
If you see the leaves of your Philodendron getting yellow, especially during the hot, summer months, it is possible due to lack of sufficient humidity levels. Consider increasing the humidity levels by placing humidifiers and humidity trays around your plant. It is a tropical plant and high humidity levels help in astonishing growth.
If the leaves are big and glossy, you will know that it is due to high humidity levels.
– Browning of Leaves
Browning of leaves with random brown patches on the leaves could be an indication of sunburn or very high temperatures. If you live in a hot area and temperatures tend to go beyond 75 degrees Fahrenheit, shift your plant to a cooler spot.
To prevent the browning of foliage, mist the plant daily to keep the moisture level up. Also, avoid plant exposure to too much light by keeping it in a south-facing balcony where it can receive curtain-filtered, bright light during the day.
– Pseudomonas Leaf Spot
If you see reddish-brown spots that make the leaves look distorted, it could be possible that the plant is infected by Pseudomonas Leaf Spot. There are no chemical treatments for this disease, so it is best to work on prevention and control when the first sign appears.
You should also know that It is a bacterial disease and is caused by wet and cool conditions. It spreads quickly, so the sooner you spot it the sooner you can control it. Moreover, use copper fungicide on your plant to prevent the disease and also remove debris from the soil, if it has any.
Philodendron Bloody Mary is a rare plant and can be difficult to get your hands on but once you get one, you will be able to propagate it easily.
We have listed all the crucial points you need to keep in mind before growing this beauty below:
- Philodendron Bloody Mary is a red-stemmed, evergreen Philodendron species found in tropical rainforests.
- It has thick and stunning foliage that is burgundy when young and turns dark red when mature.
- It needs bright, indirect light to thrive. Avoid direct sun exposure to keep the plant healthy.
- Be careful with watering this plant as it faces issues when either overwatered or underwatered. Keep the soil moist during the summer months and allow it to dry just a bit in between watering.
- Water the plant only when the top few inches are dry. Use the finger-knuckle test to determine if the plant needs water.
- Prepare a well-draining soil mix to keep the plant healthy. Use soilless peat moss to grow these for the best growth results.
- The ideal temperature range for its growth is between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid exposing the plant to very low and very high temperatures.
- Maintain humidity levels above 50 percent by keeping humidifiers and humidity trays. It can tolerate slightly lower humidity levels too but for best growth results, keep it above 50 percent.
- Fertilize Philodendron Bloody Mary monthly during the active growing period of spring and summer with a well-balanced fertilizer.
- Repot the plant early in spring every two to three years when the plant outgrows the container.
- You can propagate the plant easily with five to six inches long stem cuttings.
- It can face problems like yellowing and browning of leaves, Erwinia Blight, and Pseudomonas Leaf Spot.
Bloody Mary looks beautiful in hanging baskets and sitting on shelves and so it is a great plant to decorate any corner of your house. Now that you know all about this beautiful plant, it is time for you to get one for yourself too!
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