Philodendron Black Cardinal Care

The Philodendron Black Cardinal is a very unique Philodendron. Known for its thick leathery and nearly black leaves that transition into a dark green leaf with red and black hues, it can be quite the conversation starter. They are a very easy-going Philodendron that doesn’t need the bright light that most others need. It is also a great option for those who are new to houseplants, as it can withstand a variety of conditions and can also take some neglect here and there. If you have gotten a Black Cardinal or are thinking about getting one this guide has everything you need to know about Philodendron Black Cardinal care.


The Philodendron Black Cardinal was released, along with other newly discovered Philodendrons like the Philodendron Prince of Orange, from R.H. McColley’s breeding program in Apopka, FL. Patent USPP5355P was filed in 1983 by Cora McColley for the Black Cardinal.

The Philodendron Black Cardinal was a result of a seed that was a cross between the Philodendron wendlandii, Philodendron hastatum, Philodendron erubescens, Philodendron imbe, Philodendron fragrantissimum, and another Philodendron that is unambed.

The Black Cardinal had some similarities to another patented Philodendron, the Philodendron Royal Queen, but there were some distinct differences that made it stand out. It has black leaves with red undertones and blackish red petioles and stems. As the leaves mature they lose much of the black and will go from red to a reddish black green color. The Philodendron Black Cardinal is also a self-heading plant, so it won’t need a pole to climb up and will stay more compact than some of the other climbing Philodendron erubescens varieties.

Scientific Name:

Philodendron erubescens ‘Black Cardinal’

Other Names

  • Black Cardinal Philodendron
  • Black Cardinal Philo
Philodendron Black Cardinal Care

Quick Overview Of How to Care For a Philodendron Black Cardinal

  1. Water: Allow the soil to dry out between waterings.
  2. Light: Medium to low light works well. Bright indirect light will give a longer color transition period for the leaves.
  3. Soil: A barky well drinaing mix
  4. Temperatures: 65°F to 85° F
  5. Humidity: 40% to 50%
  6. Fertilize in the spring and summer once a month.
  7. Toxic to Pets.

Other Philodendron Care Guides:


Allow your Black Cardinal Philo to dry out between waterings. These plants do much better than many other tropical plants with dry periods. They can even survive for a few weeks between being in dry soil and receiving water.

Overwatering can be detrimental to your Black Cardinal. These are definitely a plant that you want to avoid giving too much water to.

Light Requirements

The Black Cardinal can do well with much lower light levels than other Philodendrons, medium to low light will work well. Even in low light, it will retain its unique colors.

Having brighter light for the plant will give your more time for the reddish color while the leaves are transitioning to the dark green red and black color that they grow into.

Avoid allowing your Black Cardinal to be in direct sun. They should always be shaded from sunlight.

Philodendron Black Cardinal Soil

A well-draining aroid soil mix that a lot of bark is best for the Black Cardinal Philo. You can easily make your own by mixing together 1 part of potting soil, 2 parts orchid bark, 1 part perlite, and 1 part worm castings.


Temperatures should range from 65°F to 85° F.

The Black Cardinal can withstand high temperatures pretty well without suffering much damage. Just make sure that the heat is not coming from being in direct sun.

Philodendron Black Cardinal Humidity

Humidity ranging from 40% to 50% is best.

The Philodendron Black Cardinal does not need as high of humidity as some other Philodendron. They are a great option for those that want unique-looking Philodendrons but don’t have very high humidity levels. It can withstand low humidity for long periods of time. But if you do have it in a higher humidity area it also won’t hurt the plant.


Fertilize your Black Cardinal once a month in the spring and summer with an organic liquid plant food.


Terracotta pots work well for the Philodendron Black Cardinal, especially if you tend to overwater your plants.

For any pot that you choose, make sure that it has drainage holes. Without drainage, your plant will be highly susceptible to getting root rot even with sporadic watering.

Once they are mature the Black Cardinal needs a large pot, at least 3 gallons in size.


The Philodendron Black Cardinal is toxic to pets. Keep your plant in an area where they cannot chew on it.

Where to Find a Philodendron Black Cardinal For Sale

Since this plant has been around for a few decades now it can be easy to find local plant nurseries or online sellers that have the Philodendron Black Cardinal for sale. Places such as Etsy often have sellers for this plant.

Philodendron Black Cardinal Price

Prices for the Black Cardinal vary depending on the seller and the size of the plant for sale. They can range anywhere from around $15 up to $60.


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