Philodendron Dark Lord is a must-have Philodendron variety if you are a fan of big-leaf plants. It is an expensive plant because it has only gained popularity over the last few years. What’s more, Dark Lord is easy to grow indoors or out so this variety is perfect for anyone looking to add dramatic impact to their garden.
Continue reading to discover all the crucial details you need to know about in order to take care of Dark Lord Philodendron the right way.
- What Is Philodendron Dark Lord?
- Philodendron Dark Lord Care
What Is Philodendron Dark Lord?
Philodendron Dark Lord is a hybrid variety of the Imperial Red Philodendron Erubescens and is native to Colombia and Panama. Some of these Philodendrons are also found in parts of Northern Africa, the Philippines, and the Seychelles. It belongs to the Araceae plant family.
Some of its common names include the Dark Lord Philodendron, Dark Lord Plant, Dark Knight Philodendron, and Pink Dark Lord Philodendron.
– Size and Growth
The Dark Lord Philodendron is a vigorous grower and gets big over time, so maintaining a small size in this plant is difficult.
Since it gets so big, you should use a moss pole or a climbing pole covered with coco coir to provide stability to the plant. Moss poles also help in keeping the aerial roots healthy. The aerial roots attach to the poles leading to healthier foliage.
The stems are bright red and can reach a diameter of one to two inches. To keep your plant growing, prune it regularly. Pruning helps encourage new growth and new stems.
Keep in mind that Philodendron Dark Lord is a toxic plant and poisonous if ingested. So keep it away from children and pets.
Philodendron Dark Lord has big foliage, so its leaves are long, glossy, and have a purple cast on the edges of the leaves. They are orange in the beginning, then change to red, and finally to dark green. What’s more, the leaves are a pale shade of maroon from beneath.
Philodendron dark leaves are striking with their long arrow shape and maroon undersides. Sometimes, the leaves appear all black, which is how it got the name Dark Lord. In a healthy plant, some of the leaves can reach 18 to 22 inches.
Look and compare the leaves at different stages of growth to observe the color differences. When a leaf begins to unfurl, it is bright red or orange and after about two weeks, it becomes dark purple. As the leaf ages, it turns green with even darker undersides. The dark coloration looks amazing and gives a tropical vibe.
Philodendron Dark Lord has an extensive root system that grows deep into the soil as the plant grows in size. A healthy dark lord produces many aerial roots that help in absorbing nutrition from the air.
Watch out for black or dead roots while repotting your plant. If you do not remove these dead roots, the plant can catch fungal infections and other diseases. Dark Lord Philodendron can tolerate being root-bound for some time but if it stays in the same pot for longer periods, it will stop growing and may even die.
Philodendron Dark Lord Care
Philodendron Dark Lord is not a high-maintenance plant. It has minimal care requirements just like most other Philodendron plants. Some factors like water requirements and soil mix will vary according to a few other factors in your areas such as temperature and humidity.
For best results, read our guide below to find out its exact growth requirements!
– Light Requirements
Philodendron Dark Lord needs 70 to 80 percent bright, filtered sunlight to thrive. A south-facing window receiving curtain-filtered sunlight during the day is a great spot. During the winter months, keep it indoors in a well-lit, warm spot.
In general, it will be happier if you keep it away from direct sunlight. Morning and evening sunlight is fine but harsh sunlight during noon is harmful and can cause leaf burns.
If your plant receives too much light, the foliage will become pale yellow with brown patches on some leaves. On the other hand, if the plant does not receive adequate light, the growth will slow down and the plant will get leggy with an extra risk of root rot.
A spot where the plant receives one to three hours of cool morning sunlight works well and would not cause burns. It is problematic only when you keep the plant in direct sunlight all day long. So, look at how it responds in different light conditions and choose accordingly.
When you receive a new plant, do not keep it in the final location straightaway. Acclimatize the plant to its new environment by initially keeping it in a shaded spot and then slowly moving to bright, unfiltered light.
– Water Requirements
Water Philodendron Dark Lord regularly to keep the soil moist at all times during the growing season, but be careful not to overwater it. The plant cannot tolerate soggy soil conditions for long.
Soggy soil can cause root rot and eventually kill the plant. That is why it is important to have enough drainage in the containers that you are growing your plant in.
Following a strict regime of watering once or twice a week is bad for this plant’s growth. Instead, you should check the plant regularly to determine whether it needs water or not. The best way to judge whether your plant needs water or not is by checking the soil. Insert your finger in the soil till the second knuckle and if it feels dry to touch, water the plant.
This method will help avoid problems of both underwatering and overwatering. Moist soil will be soft and stick to the fingers whereas dry soil is brittle and compact.
The correct way of watering the plant is by watering it so thoroughly that it comes out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Avoid watering just a little each time, as it is not the correct way of watering. Water it thoroughly because water also pushes air into the root system which helps in preventing root rot.
– Soil Mix
Use a rich, well-draining, organic soil mix to grow Philodendron Dark Lord. Include coco coir, perlite, and vermiculite to make the soil rich and fast draining. At the same time, avoid using sandy soils as they drain out water much faster than regular soils. Ensure thorough drainage to drain out excess water.
Overly dry and wet soils, both can be a problem for this plant’s growth. Do not use clay soil to grow these plants as clay is compact. Compact soils hamper the oxygen and nutrient supply to the plant roots, so keep the soil mix well-ventilated.
Apart from preparing an airy soil mix, you should choose pots and containers that are deep and have enough space for the roots to grow. For starters, you should get a small pot that is 8 to 10 inches deep.
That being said, deeper pots allow the plant’s roots to develop properly because it grows faster in there. This way, you can limit frequent repotting when the containers are deep.
Philodendron Dark Lord enjoys temperatures between 70 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep your plant in this temperature range and see amazing growth results. You should also keep in mind that It cannot tolerate cold temperatures. Take the plant inside to a warm spot before frost, as extremely cold temperatures cause wilting and stunted growth.
The plant gets its rich maroon color when kept in warm temperatures, but you should avoid keeping the plant in conditions warmer than 85 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have the plant in such temperatures, the rich color will become pale and the plant will become leggy.
Dark Knight Philodendron comes from the tropics and loves high humidity conditions. The ideal humidity level for proper growth is above 70 percent. It can tolerate humidity levels as low as 40 to 50 percent also, but try to keep it higher for better growth.
Moreover, this plant prefers humid conditions but can do well with some humidity control. When humidity levels are optimum, the plant grows bigger and healthier leaves.
To ensure the perfect humidity percentage, you should have a humidifier around the plant to maintain a high moisture level.
You can also keep a humidity tray under the plant as an alternative to a humidifier. To prepare the humidity tray, fill a shallow tray with some water and keep pebbles in it. Now place the pot on top of the tray, as this will keep the humidity level up. You can also group plants where plants share humidity resources through transpiration.
Philodendron Dark Lord is not one of those heavy feeders, but regular fertilization helps in faster growth. Fertilize it monthly with a slow-release fertilizer during the spring and summer months, and reduce the frequency of fertilizer to six to eight weeks in fall and winter.
Fertilize at least six inches away from the base by using a well-balanced, liquid fertilizer rich in nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. Nitrogen is good for leaf growth, and phosphorus and potassium help in root growth while keeping the stems healthy.
Remember that excess salt in some poor fertilizers can harm the plant’s roots and, sometimes, kill it. To avoid salt build-up around the roots, drain your plant with water once a month and don’t use tap water that is high in salt; RO water works better, in that case.
Tap water can be hard for the roots and, as a result, you will notice the effect first on foliage and then gradually, the plant will become weak. Excessive salt build-up can kill your plant. That is why it is crucial to give the plant a good wash.
When the plant becomes root bound, its growth slows down, so you would have to shift your plant to a bigger pot when it has outgrown the existing pot. Saying that, do not repot in the winter months.
Wait for spring and then shift the plant into a bigger pot. Spring is the perfect time to shift most plants to a new soil mix because the plant adjusts fast in the new environment easily.
To repot Philodendron Dark Lord, prepare a rich soil mix of soil, compost, vermiculite, and perlite. Then, remove dead or black roots, if it has any. Also, ensure that you have checked for any infections, pests, and insects.
Now, you can choose a pot that is at least one size bigger than the previous pot. Once shifted to the new pot, the plant can grow comfortably in it for two to three years.
Propagation of the Philodendron Dark Lord is easy. All you have to do is first take a top stem cutting with two to three nodes from a mature plant. Then, cut with a clean pair of scissors right below the node. After that, dip the cutting in rooting hormone and plant it in a rich soil mix.
Bury the cutting with aerial roots two to three inches deep into the soil, and cover it with some more soil, watering it regularly until it roots. Place the pot in a warm spot with bright, indirect light. You can also put the stem cutting in water for a few days until at least two inches long roots develop. Roots take three to six weeks to form, so keep an eye out for them.
Philodendron Dark Lord is not fussy at all. But like other Philodendrons, sometimes it can face some problems such as pest attacks, diseases, and pale foliage.
Let us discuss these in detail.
– Pests and Insects
Philodendron Dark Lord is a resilient plant but can be infected by some insects such as mealybugs, spider mites, scale, and thrips. Treat the fuzzy, sap-sucking mealybugs and spider mites by pruning and rubbing alcohol-dipped cotton swabs on the infected area.
Apply neem oil regularly as it has many insecticidal properties and it is a great natural treatment to get rid of unwanted insects and pests.
– Erwinia Blight Disease
When wet, mushy lesions form on your plant’s stems and leaves, it is probably infected by Erwinia blight disease. It is a serious disease and difficult to cure. The biggest cause of this disease is overwatering, so prevention works better in the case of this disease.
It starts in the soil and slowly moves upward towards the foliage. In case of less infection, prune the infected leaves, reduce watering, and change the soil mix. If your plant is heavily infected, it is almost impossible to cure it.
– Leaves Turning Yellow
The possible cause behind the leaves turning yellow could be overwatering, underwatering, extreme temperatures, or nutrient deficiency. Check if any of these aspects is disturbed and treat accordingly.
It’s possible that leaves lose the rich dark green color when the plant is kept in cooler temperatures. This means that they are generating less chlorophyll and that’s why they’re losing the rich color.
In such a case, shift the plant to a warm spot where it receives plenty of filtered sunlight.
– Browning Leaf Edges
Brown leaf edges are a symptom of underwatering. When the plant remains thirsty for longer periods, the leaves first turn yellow and then develop brown patches. Check the soil mix and if you observe dry, compact lumps of soil, change the soil mix. You should prepare an airy and well-draining mix, instead.
Philodendron Dark Lord is the one for you if you love big, tropical plants.
Let us summarize everything we have learned about this unique-looking plant so far.
- Philodendron Dark Lord is a Philodendron variety endemic to Colombia and Panama
- It has striking foliage which is orange and red initially and develops dark maroon to dark green color.
- It can grow big over time and needs quite a bit of space to grow well. What’s more, you can grow it both indoors and outdoors. But keep it in a shady spot outside.
- It thrives in places that receive bright, indirect light throughout the day. Direct noon sunlight can cause leaf burns.
- Philodendron Dark Lord likes evenly moist soil at all times. Water it regularly to keep the soil moist and not soggy.
- Soggy soil conditions for longer periods can cause root rot and other fungal infections that kill your plant. If you want to avoid this, use the finger knuckle test and determine whether your plant needs watering or not.
- The plant can tolerate temperatures above 60 degrees and below 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid keeping it in cooler temperatures.
- Keep the humidity level around the plant above 70 percent for best growth results.
- Fertilize the plant regularly during the active growing period and reduce it in winter. For that, you should use a good-quality liquid fertilizer that is rich in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium.
- Repot your plant when it has outgrown the existing pot. Early spring is the ideal time to shift the plant.
- It has an extensive root system that goes deep into the soil. So grow it in a deep pot. The deeper the root system, the bigger the leaves will grow.
- Propagate the Dark Knight Philodendron by taking stem cuttings with one to two nodes and planting them in a rich, organic soil mix.
- It can face some problems such as pest attacks and Erwinia blight disease. However, neem oil will help prevent and get rid of pests such as spider mites and mealybugs.
Now that you know all about Philodendron Dark Lord, it is time for you to add one of these beauties to your home garden and add some tropical vibes to it!
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