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The Philodendron Imperial Red is a beautiful tropical plant that many Philodendron collectors put on their “Must Have List” once they see one. It is known for its beautiful dark green leaves and deep red-colored stems. The Imperial Red also flowers, showing off a beautiful red bloom that creates quite the stunning view when looking at this plant.
As with other Philodendron plants, new Philodendron Imperial Red owners wonder once they get one: “How do you care for a Philodendron Imperial Red?” In this care guide, we go over all the information that you need to take care of your beautiful new plant.
Philodendron Imperial Red Origins
The Philodendron Imperial Red is one of several hybrid Philodendrons that have been bred by growers for commercial purposes.
This plant, like other Philodendron plants, is a member of the Araceae family, and is an aroid. It is a self-header philodendron, meaning that it has large leaves that are close together on one stem.
The Imperial Red itself was discovered in 1977, at the same time as the Philodendron Imperial Green. It was in some random seeds that were acquired in Florida. A patent was filed for the Imperial Red Philodendron in 1986, expiring in 2006. Due to being a part of assorted unknown seeds, the parentage of the Imperial Red is not known.
Other Names for the Philodendron Imperial Red
- Blushing Philodendron
- Red-leaf Philodendron
Scientific Name: Philodendron erubescens ‘Imperial Red’
Quick Overview of Philodendron Imperial Red Care
- Medium to bright light.
- Can grow up to 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide.
- Water once the soil feels dry.
- Does not require a pole to climb.
- Prefers humidity but can tolerate lower humidity than many other Philodendrons.
- An aroid soil mix is the best to use for a soil medium.
- Use a pot for the plant that has good drainage.
- Repot as the plant grows, going up one pot size at a time.
- Propagation is more complicated than other houseplants.
Philodendron Imperial Red Watering
Philodendron Imperial Red likes to have soil that is evenly moist.
Overwatering needs to be avoided at all costs. Imperial Red Philodendrons are prone to root rot and watering the plant too often can lead to this happening.
Make sure not to let the plant sit in soggy soil.
Do not try to stick to a watering schedule. The moisture level of the soil can vary greatly depending on humidity levels each day and air movement. This causes watering needs to fluctuate.
Use your finger to determine the moisture level of the soil. The best way to do this is to stick your finger into the soil up to your first or second knuckle. If it feels moist on your finger then you don’t need to water the plant. If it feels dry then you need to water the plant.
If you can’t determine the moisture level with your finger (in my house I have to test all the soil as my SO works with his hands and they are caused so he can’t determine the moisture well) then you can try a moisture meter. But these tend to be inaccurate most of the time. So if there is someone else that can feel the moisture of the soil, try to have them feel the soil for you before resorting to a moisture meter.
Other Philodendron Care Guides:
- Heartleaf Philodendron Care Guide
- Philodendron Dark Lord Care
- Philodendron Melinonii Care
- Philodendron Brasil Care Guide
- Philodendron Burle Marx Care Guide and Tips
- Philodendron Billietiae Care Guide
- Philodendron Melanochrysum Care Guide
- Birkin Philodendron Care Guide
- Silver Sword Philodendron Care
Philodendron Imperial Red Light Requirements
They need at least a medium-light to grow well. Bright indirect light is best for optimal growth.
This cultivar of Philodendron can live in low light settings but will not grow as well or look as healthy in this light.
Ideal temperatures for this plant are between 70°F and 85°F. Temperatures should be kept above 65°F to avoid any detrimental effects to the plant.
Being a tropical plant, the Imperial Red Philodendron likes higher humidity levels. Optimal humidity is 60% or higher.
If you need to increase the humidity levels around your plants, small humidifiers are a great option.
Fertilize the Imperial Red during its active growing season (spring and summer).
Any houseplant liquid fertilizer will work for an Imperial Red, but sticking to an organic one is best. Our favorite to use is the Espoma Organic Indoor Plant Food or Fish Fertilizer.
To fertilize your plant, follow the directions for dosing on the package of the fertilizer and the frequency recommended for houseplants.
An alternative would be to do a quarter of the dosage specified and fertilize each week when watering. This is a great way to mimic what happens in a natural environment and can prevent burning the plant from getting too much fertilizer in one dose.
Without the right soil mix, these plants can get root rot easily due to the roots sitting in stagnant water and not getting enough oxygen.
Since the Imperial Red is an aroid it is best to make your own soil mix to fit the plant:
- 30% potting soil
- 20% peat or coco coir
- 30% bark
- 10% perlite
- 10% worm castings
If you use coco coir instead of peat, you might find that you need to take a more frequent approach to fertilize the plant as coco coir does not hold onto nutrients very well. Also, flush out your coco coir before you use it in any soil mix. This will help get rid of any chemical residue that could be left in the coir from the processing of the medium.
If you cannot get all of the above ingredients to make your own soil mix, then a mix of orchid soil, potting soil, and perlite can be sufficient.
Pot and Repotting an Imperial Red
When your Imperial Red Philodendron is younger, or just a rooted cutting, it is best to use a clear orchid pot so you can keep an eye on the root growth of the plant.
As they get older and need bigger pots, choose one that has good drainage. The roots of the plant need to have access to oxygen, they are very prone to root rot so the more drainage available in the pot the better.
They need to be repotted when it becomes root-bound. Which can happen several times a year when you are growing them from a cutting. As they grow and mature this will slow down and you should only need to repot about once a year.
When repotting choose a pot about two inches bigger than the current pot. You don’t want to put the plant in a pot that is much bigger than the current one, this can cause issues with the roots being able to get water and nutrients sufficiently. It can also lead to patches of soggy soil in the pot that can breed bacteria.
While you are repotting your Imperial Red, inspect the plant’s roots to make sure they look healthy. If you notice any rot while doing this, try to remove as much soil as you can from the roots and then trim off any of the rotted roots.
Philodendron Imperial Red Propagation
Philodendron Imperial Reds can be difficult to propagate. Professionals use tissue cultures of the Imperial Red to propagate since that is the easiest way to do propagation for them. But this is not a process that is done easily by a houseplant owner.
The best way to try propagation on a Philodendron Imperial Red at home is by air-layering plantlets that are on the Imperial Red. You want to try this during the Spring or early Summer while the plant is in its growth stage.
You can find plantlets on an Imperial Red at the base of the plant where the older leaves have died and have fallen off or been removed. You want to wait until you can see a stem and roots emerging.
Once you find this plantlet you will want to use air-layering by taking sphagnum moss and wrapping it around the roots that you see and moisten the moss. Use some plastic wrap or a plastic bag and wrap that around the moss. Make sure that the moss stays moist but not soaking wet and inspect the moss each week.
Once you see roots in the moss you can cut the plantlet off the mother plant and put it in its own pot. Do this by cutting just below the roots on the platelet and use more sphagnum moss as the medium in the new pot so more roots can develop.
The Philodendron Imperial Red can grow up to 3 feet tall and about 3 feet wide. You do not need to stake the plant or give it a support pole to climb up.
As the plant matures the bottom leaves will fall off and the stem will hold it upright.
Usually, you don’t need to prune an Imperial Red Philodendron much. As the plant grows you will want to remove the lower leaves as they dry up and turn brown.
Philodendron Imperial Red Pets and Toxicity
Is the Philodendron Imperial Red toxic or poisonous to pets? Yes, they are.
All Philodendrons are toxic to pets, both cats and dogs.
If you have pets, keep your Philodendron Imperial Red up and out of reach. Use a homemade citrus spray or a deterrent such as Bitter Apple to keep them from chewing on these plants.
Philodendron Imperial Red Price and Rarity
Is The Philodendron Imperial Red Rare?
While the Philodendron Imperial Red is not a commonly found Philodendron in stores and at nurseries, it is not as rare as some other Philodendrons such as the Dark Lord.
Where to Find an Imperial Red Philodendron For Sale
The most common place that people find Philodendron Imperial Reds for sale is through individuals that grow them and sell them online. Common places online to buy one is Etsy or Facebook Marketplace. When buying online though, make sure to check the reviews of the seller and buy from one that is known to provide good quality plants.
Another place you might find these plants is at your local plant nurseries or plant shops. They are not a plant that is normally found in big box stores.
Philodendron Imperial Red Price
On Etsy, the Philodendron Imperial Red usually ranges from about $15 to $40 depending on the seller.
If you find one at a local plant store or nurseries the prices could be vastly different from the sellers online. It will depend on the local area and the ease of propagation of the plant for the grower.
Philodendron Imperial Red Common Problems and Pests
Mealybugs appear as small white fuzzy bugs that you will often notice either on the nodes of the plant or on the undersides of the leaves. You might also notice them as they travel up the stem of the plant. Use insecticidal soap or Neem oil to get rid of them.
Spider mites will often be noticed by the webbing that they create on the underside of the leaves. If the infestation continues then there can be the development of yellowing and browning leaves on the Philodendron. Using insecticidal soap or Neem oil will help get rid of Spider Mites.
Bacterial Leaf Spot
Most often bacterial leaf spot will show up at first as small dark spots with yellow halos, or small brown spots that become almost transparent. These are very small when they first appear, less than 1/4 inch.
A copper fungicide on the plant can help with avoiding the spread but you will want to remove any damaged leaves. Keep air circulation good around the plant and avoid misting the plant.
- Philodendron plant named Imperial Red; Google Patents; https://patents.google.com/patent/USPP6337P/en
- Araceae; Wikipedia; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Araceae
- Bacterial Leaf Spot; UCANR.edu; https://www2.ipm.ucanr.edu/agriculture/lettuce/Bacterial-leaf-spot/
- Review on Philodendron Species-Plant Seeking For Validation of Its Therapeutic Approaches; Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research; https://www.proquest.com/openview/16e4f823a2f7aa118bd9c2bd6791edb7/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=54977
- BACTERIAL DISEASES OF ANTHURIUM, DIEFFENBACHIA, PHILODENDRON, AND SYNGONIUM; University of Illinois, College of Agricultural, Consumer, and Environmental Sciences; http://ipm.illinois.edu/diseases/rpds/616.pdf
- Cultural Guidelines for Commercial Production of Interiorscape Philodendron; University of Florida IFAS Extension; https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pdf/EP/EP150/EP150-4422021.pdf
- What is an Aroid; Aroid.org; http://www.aroid.org/aroid/
- What is the Difference Between Callus and Plantlet; Pediaa; https://pediaa.com/what-is-the-difference-between-callus-and-plantlet/
- Guidelines for Araceae Hybrids; Aroid Cultivar Registry; https://www.aroidcultivars.org/hybrid-cultivars
- Heartleaf Philodendron | ASPCA; https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/heartleaf-philodendron