Philodendron Imperial Green got its name because of its large glossy leaves that are a major attraction among houseplant enthusiasts. It belongs to the Araceae family.
It is relatively easy to care for and does not have any specific growth requirements. We will help you find out all about the easy yet stunning Philodendron Imperial Green in this complete care guide.
What Is Philodendron Imperial Green?
Philodendron Imperial Green is a cultivar of Philodendron erubescens and is native to Colombia. It is a non-vining Philodendron species that is famous for its large, glossy leaves. The variety was first discovered in Florida in 1977.
Philodendron Imperial Green is a great air purifier as it filters toxins such as formaldehyde and benzene from the air.
– Size and Growth
Philodendron Imperial Green growth rate is slow to moderate when grown in containers. It is a non-vining and self-supporting Philodendron variety that stays compact in size and bears large but few glossy leaves. It grows fast in the wild, but as a houseplant in pots, the growth rate is moderate. It can reach a height of up to 35 to 45 inches.
An interesting point to note about this plant is that even though it is self-heading, in the wild, it eventually becomes epiphytic and detaches its roots from the ground.
It then attaches its aerial roots to the nearby trees and grows upwards in search of sunlight.
Philodendron Imperial Green is toxic to both humans and pets, so keep it away from the reach of both. It can cause mild allergy symptoms and irritation in the throat when consumed.
The Imperial Green Philodendron has large, glossy leaves that share a resemblance with elephant ear The smooth texture of the foliage looks spectacular during the day. The big, glossy leaves can attract dust if kept outdoors, so clean them once in a while using a clean, damp cloth.
The plant develops smaller leaves at its base, and as the plant grows, the smaller leaves fall off to expose a sturdy stem.
The Philodendron Imperial Green has an established root system. It also produces aerial roots that absorb moisture from the air and help the plant to grow epiphytically on other trees. When the plant is in a pot, its growth rate slows down and the roots do not go too deep into the soil.
Here is a handy table of this plant’s requirements.
|Requirements||Imperial Green Philodendron|
|Light||Thrives well under bright, indirect light|
|Water||Water when the top one to two inches of the topsoil is dry|
|Soil||Rich and well-draining soil mix that has good moisture-retaining capacity|
|Humidity||Humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent|
|Temperature||Temperatures ranging from 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Fertilizer||Fertilize lightly every month during spring and summer|
Philodendron Imperial Green Care
Imperial Green Philodendron is a fuss-free plant that does not require very high maintenance. Read on to find out all about its growth and care requirements.
– Light Requirements
Philodendron Imperial Green needs bright, indirect light to grow well. It prefers a shady spot that receives indirect light. Keep the plant near a window where it can receive dappled light throughout the day and avoid keeping it in very low light or direct sunlight.
Keep your Philodendron away from direct sunlight as it can cause leaf burn and damage to other parts. The leaves start looking pale in very bright light conditions. Light sunlight during the morning and evening is fine, but the scorching sun of noon can cause burns and may even kill the plant.
In low-light conditions, the leaves are a darker green color. Very little light can cause the leaves to wilt and show stunted growth, and the stems will grow long and leggy in insufficient light. You will not see new leaves and the plant will run at a higher risk of problems related to overwatering.
– Water Requirements
Proper watering is vital for the growth of Philodendron Imperial Green. Water your plant only when the top one to two inches feel dry. Use the finger knuckle test by sticking your finger in the soil. If it feels moist, hold back on watering and wait for a few days.
You can also check by weighing the pot to know whether the plant needs water or not. When the soil is moist, the pot feels heavy. If it feels lighter than usual, water the plant thoroughly after checking the soil.
Check your plant every few days to see if it needs water. The watering schedule also depends on several other factors such as temperature, humidity level, light received and soil mix. All these factors vary from one region to another.
Instead of following a fixed watering schedule, check the plant manually each time before watering. The plant needs more frequent watering during the active growing seasons of spring and summer compared to winter. The plant does not show much growth in winter. Therefore, reduce the number of watering sessions during the colder months.
– Suitable Pot
Make sure that the pot or container you are using to grow Philodendron Imperial Green has enough drainage holes. Having plenty of drainage holes prevents the problem of overwatering. Avoid underwatering the plant, especially in dry weather.
– Hard Water
Philodendron Imperial Green is not too sensitive to impurities and fluoride in tap water, but if the water in your area is hard, consider switching to rainwater or distilled water. Hard water can cause browning of the leaf tips and edges.
– Soil Mix Requirements
Philodendron Imperial Green thrives in a rich and well-draining soil mix that has good moisture-retaining capacity. Take 50 percent regular soil and 50 percent other parts including sand, perlite and organic compost. Aroid or chunky soil mixes work well for its growth.
Adding perlite to the soil mix makes it fast-draining and keeps the soil light and airy. You can add some coco coir to make the potting mix moisture retaining. Keep the soil moist at most times by allowing it to dry only a bit in between waterings.
Like most tropical plants, Philodendron Imperial Green needs a moisture-retaining but at the same time fast-draining soil medium. Add more perlite if you want to make it draining and more coco coir to make it retain moisture for longer periods of time.
– Temperature Requirements
Maintain temperatures between 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit for the plant to grow well. Extremely hot and cold temperatures can damage the leaves and affect the plant’s growth. Temperatures inside homes are perfect for it.
The plant will stop growing at temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit and it can even suffer cold damage if the temperature falls below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Watch out for hot and cold drafts that can result in the yellowing and browning of leaves. Keep the plant away from cooling vents, radiators and windows.
This tropical plant thrives in warmer temperatures, so try to keep the temperature higher than 60 degrees Fahrenheit. During the winter months, shift the plant inside to a warmer spot. It is not frost-tolerant, so move it inside as soon as temperatures start to decrease.
– Humidity Requirements
Philodendron Imperial Green prefers high humidity conditions like most other tropical plants. Make sure that humidity levels fall between 40 and 60 percent around the plant. The glossy leaves make it reasonably tolerant of lower humidity levels.
The usual humidity levels inside homes work well for the plant’s growth, but if the climate in your area is too dry, try to keep the humidity levels high. If maintaining a high humidity level is an issue for you, try a few other ways of increasing humidity. Mist the plant daily in the summer to keep the moisture level up, or use humidifiers and humidity trays around the plant.
To prepare a humidity tray, fill a shallow tray with some pebbles and water. Keep your plant on top of it. The plant will absorb the required moisture as the water evaporates. You can also group many plants together for increased transpiration and evaporation of water.
– Fertilizer Requirements
Philodendron Imperial Green is not a heavy feeder. Fertilize the plant lightly every month in spring and summer. Use one-half of the recommended dose mentioned on a 20-20-20 NPK fertilizer, and use a slow-release or a liquid fertilizer every month.
If you are looking for organic fertilizer, try using seaweed extract. You can also add some compost or worm castings while repotting the plant. Mix some compost once a year for the plant.
Avoid overfertilizing the plant as it can cause browning of the leaf tips and salt accumulation on top of the soil. If you notice any of these signs of over-fertilizing, flush the soil with lots of water to help in flushing out excess fertilizer salts. You can also repot the plant in a fresh soil mix.
Do not fertilize the plant for at least six months to let it recover. Avoid under-fertilizing the plant too, as this leads to stunted growth and yellowing of leaves over longer periods.
Philodendron Imperial Green does not need frequent repotting. It can tolerate being root-bound for quite some time. It is only when the plant is completely root-bound and its roots start coming out of the drainage holes that you will need to shift it to a larger pot.
Philodendron Imperial Green does not need frequent pruning and trimming. All you have to do is simply remove the dead and damaged leaves, if there are any. To repot the plant, choose a pot that is one to two inches larger than the previous one.
Remove the plant from the old soil mix and carefully remove dead, black roots. Do not disturb the root ball and gently place the plant in the new soil mix. Firm the soil around the roots and water the plant properly. Keep it in a shaded spot for a few days so it can get acclimatized to its new conditions.
Propagate Philodendron Imperial Green from stem cuttings either in soil or in water. Propagation by stem cuttings is the easiest and also the most effective method, but the plant has a compact growing style that can make it difficult to select a stem cutting while it is young.
Take a cutting that has at least one node, which are the slightly bulged out points from where new growth arises. If the cutting has aerial roots, it is even better and will make it easier to propagate the plant.
In younger Imperial Greens, the leaves are very near to each other, so it can be tricky to take a cutting. Mature plants have stretched growth that makes it easier to take the stem cuttings. Early spring to early summer is the ideal time to propagate the Imperial Green philodendrons.
You can propagate the cuttings either in water or directly plant them in the soil. We recommend directly planting the cuttings in the soil because the plant does not need to adjust to new soil conditions while water propagation runs the risk of rot.
Philodendron Imperial Green is fairly pest resistant but can sometimes face certain diseases and infections. Keep an eye out for some common pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, and scale. Let us discuss some problems in detail.
– Leaf Discoloration
Philodendron Imperial Green can be sensitive to sudden changes in temperatures and the environment. It causes leaf discoloration in the form of yellow or brown patches on the foliage.
Try to keep the plant under stable conditions without changing its position too often. Choose a spot that matches the requirements of the plant and do not change its location unless required.
– Root Rot
Root rot is the most common problem faced by Philodendron Imperial Green plants. The symptoms of root rot include yellowing of leaves, soil remaining damp for many days, and mushiness in stems. Causes of root rot include overwatering, insufficient light and pest attacks.
Keep a control on the watering frequency, especially during the winter months and if your plant is in low-light conditions. If you detect root rot early, change the potting soil and remove the dead roots. Immediately shift the plant to a fresh soil mix.
– Erwinia Blight
In Erwinia blight, small, water-soaked lesions develop on the stems. It attacks at or below the soil, and if the infection gets severe, it spreads to the leaves too. In high humidity and warm conditions, it engulfs the leaves and their stalks. Erwinia thrives in warm and damp environments.
To prevent Erwinia blight, reduce humidity levels around the plant by shifting it to a drier spot. Avoid overhead watering and remove the infected leaves to control the spread of the disease.
– Bacterial Leaf Spot
Bacterial leaf spots occur when your plant is overwatered. It causes dark, wet-looking spots with yellow patches on the leaves, and if left untreated, the leaves will fall off or die. The symptoms include brown spots with yellow halos, lesions, and light and dark areas on the foliage. It impacts the older leaves more than the younger ones.
To prevent the disease from spreading, use a copper fungicide on the plant. If applied early, it can control the spread. Remove the affected leaves as soon as you spot the problem to prevent it from spreading to other parts of the plant.
Mealybugs are small sap-sucking insects that target the new growth of the plant. Over time, they cause the leaves to turn yellow and fall off.
Ways to get rid of mealybugs include washing them off, using alcohol-rubbed cloth, neem oil or insecticidal soap.
Other Useful Information
Let us take a look at some frequently asked questions about Philodendron Imperial Green and its growth requirements.
How Do You Care for an Imperial Green Philodendron?
Keep the Imperial Green Philodendron in a bright spot where it receives indirect light throughout the day. Grow it in a well-draining soil mix in moderate temperatures and fertilize lightly every month during the spring and summer. Follow these basic growth requirements and your plant will be happy.
How Big Does a Philodendron Imperial Green Get?
Philodendron Imperial Green does not grow like a vine. It is a self-heading Philodendron and remains compact in size. It can reach a height of 35 to 45 inches indoors, and does not need frequent pruning. Prune off only the dead or damaged leaves when necessary.
Is Philodendron Imperial Green a Climber?
Philodendron Imperial Green is a non-vining and self-supporting Philodendron. It grows upright and does not need support to climb upwards. It remains compact in size.
How Often Should You Water a Philodendron Green?
Watering schedule and frequency depend on factors such as temperature, light, humidity and climate in your area. As a general rule, water the plant when almost half the soil has dried up. This helps in preventing the problems of root rot due to overwatering.
To check whether your plant needs water or not, stick your finger in the soil till the second knuckle. If it comes out dry, water the plant, otherwise hold it back for a few days. It will help you prevent both underwatering and overwatering.
Keep the soil rich and airy by adding lots of organic compost and perlite. Poorly draining soil becomes compact over time and causes root rot.
Why Are Philodendron Imperial Green Leaves Turning Yellow?
There could be many reasons behind the yellowing of your plant’s leaves, but the most common cause of yellowing in Imperial Green Philodendron is overwatering. Yellowing could also be due to underwatering, nutrient deficiency, improper light conditions or pests and infections.
Root rot is the biggest threat that is caused due to overwatering. Take care while watering the plant, and water only when the top few inches of the soil have dried.
Should I Mist Philodendron Imperial Green?
Imperial Green Philodendron is a tropical plant and it loves to be misted every now and then. If you live in a dry climate, it is imperative for you to mist it daily in the summer months. Misting not only helps in increasing the moisture level in the air, but it also keeps the temperatures under control. You can skip misting if you live in a tropical area.
How often you should mist the plant will depend on the season, position of the plant, and other conditions in your house. Mist more during the summer months and less during the rainy and winter seasons. Misting a lot can also be problematic as it can cause problems such as rot and bacterial leaf spot.
What Pot Size Should I Choose to Grow Philodendron Imperial Green?
Choosing the right container or pot can greatly affect the growth of your plant. Choose the size of the pot according to the size of the plant.
If the pot is too big, the plant will have access to more water than needed, which can lead to issues related to overwatering. If the container is too shallow, the roots of the plant will suffer due to rapid evaporation and the plant will not be able to support itself.
Philodendron Imperial Green is widely available in the market, and the best part about it is that it is inexpensive and hardy. Let us summarize everything we have learned about this plant so far:
- Philodendron Imperial Green is a non-vining Philodendron plant native to South America.
- It has beautiful, large, glossy, dark green leaves.
- It is a self-heading Philodendron and remains compact when grown in pots or containers.
- Place it in a spot that receives indirect but bright light away from direct sunlight. Sun exposure can burn the leaves.
- When the top few inches of the soil dry up, it is time to water the plant. Avoid both overwatering and underwatering.
- Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Soggy soil conditions cause root rot and other fungal diseases.
- Prepare a well-draining and airy soil mix composed of regular soil, sand, perlite and coco coir for best growth.
- It grows well in the temperature range of 60 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Maintain the plant’s humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent to keep it healthy.
- Mist the plant regularly to keep the humidity levels high.
- Repot the plant when it has completely taken over the pot and there is no more room for it to grow further.
- Propagate the plant easily by planting the stem cuttings either in water or in soil.
- It can face some problems like root rot, Erwinia blight and bacterial leaf spot if its basic growth requirements are not met.
Add this no-fuss, self-heading plant to your houseplant collection and make your space more gorgeous!