Philodendron Imperial Green, also known as Philodendron hederaceum or Philodendron oxycardium, is an upright, broadleaf evergreen vine with large, leathery leaves and heart-shaped stems.
It has ornamental appeal as an indoor plant and can be pruned to grow as a tree. Philodendron Imperial Green needs bright, indirect light, well-draining soil, and moderate humidity to thrive. A beautiful and lush philodendron plant can make any home or office appear stylish and sophisticated, but these plants require special care to stay healthy and vibrant.
Follow these tips to ensure that your philodendron stays happy and healthy in your home or office over the years.
- Scientific name: Philondendron imperiale
- Common Name: Imperial Green Philodendron
- Origin: Central and South America
- Indoor or Outdoor plant: Indoor plant
- Height and Structure: 10 to 12 inches tall.
- Temperature: Philodendron Imperial Green prefers temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees F, but can withstand lower and higher temps for short periods of time.
- Flower Color: Big green leaves with small green flowers in clusters on leaf.
There are two main methods for planting potted philodendrons. The first involves placing your plant in a new container that has holes around its base to accommodate drainage. Fill it with potting soil, leaving at least 2 inches of space below where you’ll be placing your plant.
Gently remove your plant from its existing container and place it in its new home, filling in any gaps around its roots with additional soil if necessary. Use a small amount of water to settle any excess dirt around your plant’s root system.
Make sure not to overwater it. Philodendron Imperial Green prefers evenly moist soil but doesn’t do well when kept soggy. Overwatering can lead to rotting.
Another option is to leave your plant in its original container, allowing some room on all sides for good air circulation. It should receive bright, indirect light and have access to good air circulation—avoid drafty areas like windowsills. Water thoroughly until water runs out of the bottom of the container; let drain before watering again.
Avoid feeding philodendrons during fall and winter when growth slows or stops completely. Feed once a month for small plants, twice a month for medium plants and three times a month for large plants. Feeding too much can harm your plant, so it’s best to follow package directions.
When watering your plant take care not to overwater it—the leaves should be dry by morning. Never let water stand in or around its pot, which can cause root rot. Inspect pots for mold or fungus buildup between watering; if you see any, discard soil and replace with fresh potting mix. Test soil with your finger to gauge moisture levels between watering sessions.
Overwatering is far more common an issue among newbie plant owners than underwatering—it’s easy to drown delicate plants without realizing it!
Like other houseplants, philodendrons benefit from regular fertilization with slow-release pellets during spring and summer months. Once plants reach about 4 inches in height they can be fertilized lightly every month with slow-release pellets; follow package directions for best results. Avoid fertilizing during fall and winter when growth slows down; only begin again when new growth resumes in springtime.
In your Philodendron’s pot, add a loose, well-draining mixture of half potting soil and half peat moss. Avoid fertilizers with slow-release granules. The roots can’t take up all of that fertilizer at once, so it will build up in its leaves instead. That will turn them yellow and can damage their stems and veins. Fertilize every three months using a water-soluble fertilizer with a low nitrogen content instead.
Repot your plant once it becomes rootbound—this happens over time as its roots fill out the space surrounding its container. After several years of growing, your plant may become top heavy and topple over if you don’t repot it to a larger container with fresh soil. Be sure to leave at least 2 inches of space below where you’ll be placing your plant so that any excess water drains from its container easily.
If you choose to repot your plant, move it into a container one size larger than its current home. Generally speaking, healthy philodendrons are fairly low-maintenance plants that are fairly resilient to diseases and insects. Your biggest challenges may lie outside of their control: excessive heat or cold drafts from windowsills or air conditioners.
Like most houseplants, they thrive best in bright light but not direct sunlight. Avoid overwatering or moving them around too much—doing so can lead to disease issues. For instance, spider mites love hitching rides on potted plants; if you see white webs along your philodendron’s stems, place it in direct sunlight for several hours to kill off any pest invasions hiding in its leaves.
Use caution when transplanting in order to minimize root damage; overwatering will also weaken roots. To divide and transplant Philodendron Imperial Green, use sharp pruning shears to cut through stems approximately 1 inch below a node (the point where a leaf is attached to a stem). Replant each section of stem immediately; do not allow it to dry out. Water lightly after transplanting. The best time to divide or repot Philodendron Imperial Green is in early spring before new growth begins. If you can’t repot immediately, be sure to water newly transplanted plants every week for three weeks following transplantation.
It’s generally recommended to trim and prune your Philodendron Imperial Green every three to four months.
First, allow your plant to dry out after watering, as any excess moisture on leaves can make them more prone to bacteria. Then, use a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears for even cuts and don’t try cutting more than one-third of each stem at a time; it’s best to allow new growth time to mature before making additional cuts.
You can also stimulate Philodendron to branch by pinching back stems. Just keep in mind that frequent, heavy pruning often results in plant death—so stick with these light touches instead! Learn more about how you can care for plants here.
Mulching plants help conserve moisture, provide nutrients, and promote root growth. Spread a 3- to 6-inch layer of mulch around Philodendron Imperial Green plants to keep them healthy. Choose mulches that aren’t toxic, including wood chips or bark, composted manure, shredded leaves or straw. Avoid using chemically treated material.
Pests are less of a problem for Philodendron Imperial Green than diseases. Watch out for fungal diseases, which usually appear as spotting or discoloration on leaves.
Clean up any fallen leaves to avoid spreading disease to healthy plants. If you notice insects such as mealybugs or spider mites, look into an organic pesticide such as insecticidal soap if your plant is large enough that you can easily reapply.
Contact your local garden center for recommendations on other options, but be warned—some pesticides are highly toxic to humans. Don’t use them without consulting a professional first!
If your plant gets too much direct sunlight and becomes dry and scorched looking, it’s probably because it doesn’t have enough humidity. Mist once daily until symptoms go away.
Philodendron Imperial Green can grow into a leggy vine, which is undesirable. To avoid having to stake your plant later on, begin tying it gently to a stake when it’s young.
Staking will help train your Philodendron to grow up instead of out. If you begin staking too late in its life cycle, though, you can sever or scar its root system so severely that it won’t recover—or even survive—the trauma. And make sure to keep well-staked plants from direct sun and drafts.
If you decide to stake later on, choose an organic bamboo stake over an artificial material.
It is possible to grow philodendrons from cuttings and stems, which will allow you to propagate your plant indefinitely. The trick is in collecting a piece of stem with growing nodes. Leaves can also be used, but they are less successful because they dry out too quickly.
To grow a new plant, place each cutting or leaf into water immediately after removing it from its parent. If using a stem, try to make sure at least two leaves remain attached.
If using leaves, make sure they are wet before placing them in soil—it’s ok if they turn brown as long as there are still green veins running through them.
Cuttings should be placed around 2-3 inches apart and may take up to three months before new roots develop. Once new growth has appeared, your plant is ready to be transplanted into rich potting soil.
Philodendron is a large genus containing thousands of different plants. They can be easily distinguished from other Philodendrons by its emerald-green leaves and stems.
If you’re looking for a houseplant that requires little effort to thrive, consider pairing Philodendron imperial green with another easy-to-care-for plant. Begonias, spider plants, and peace lilies can withstand low light levels and similar temperatures. Put them in your kitchen or other brightly lit rooms where you might not spend as much time tending to your Philodendrons.
Philodendrons thrive in low light, so keep other plants that need more light to a minimum. Pothos plants, also called devil’s ivy, grow well in low light and can creep onto your Philodendrons to create a lush green carpet. Just be careful that they don’t block any of your houseplant’s leaves from getting enough light.
Consider pairing philodendrons with bromeliads and ferns. All three of these plants like bright, indirect light and moist soil; all three tend to grow slowly; and all three can thrive in temperatures above 60 degrees and below 85 degrees. If you place them near a south-facing window, they’ll also get plenty of indirect sunlight. For best results, place your philodendron near an east or west facing window—not directly in front of a drafty, south-facing window—and grow it with other plant species.
Most philodendrons are poisonous to humans, especially if ingested. Philodendron toxicity ranges from skin irritation to convulsions and death. If you or your pet accidentally ingests any part of a philodendron, contact your local poison control center or emergency room immediately. Do not induce vomiting unless told to do so by medical personnel. Wash all areas where exposure has occurred, with plenty of soap and water. Use rubber gloves to protect your hands when handling philodendron parts that have touched your body.
Philodendron Imperial Green is a beautiful, durable plant that can be used as an accent piece or as a standalone specimen. It prefers bright, indirect light and moist, well-draining soil. When given these ideal conditions, it will reward you with long life and brilliant leaves. To learn more about how to care for your plant, check out our complete guide on doing so.