Although you often hear that Philodendron melanochrysum is demanding to care for, it is easier than many think. Under the right conditions, the otherwise leisurely Philodendron can gain decent growth speed.
Learn how to care for your Philodendron melanochrysum in this post!
Philodendron melanochrysum was first found in 1886 by the French horticulturist and botanist Édouard André in the Andean foothills of Colombia. It can still be seen today at altitudes between 1,640 ft and 3,280 ft. In the meantime, it has also conquered areas in Colombia and South America.
First, the botanist Édouard André named the Philodendron after himself: Philodendron andreanum.
Today, however, the name Philodendron melanochrysum is botanically accepted. It is based on Latin. Melano means black, and chrysum means gold. So the name implies black-gold.
It describes the leaves of the houseplant. Depending on the incidence of light, they shimmer black or gold.
Philodendron melanochrysum belongs to the arum family (Araceae). It is also known as Philodendron melano and Philodendron black-gold.
Appearance and Characteristics
The Philodendron melanochrysum is adorned with dark green, almost black leaves. They are heart-shaped to arrow-shaped. Fine hairs give them a velvety feel and a unique light effect.
Light, almost golden leaf veins cover the dark leaf. The evergreen leaves can grow up to 24 inches long indoors. In nature, they reach up to 35 inches long and 16 inches wide.
Due to its climbing growth, the Philodendron reaches heights of up to 5 feet indoors. It can grow up to 20 feet in height in its natural habitat.
Like many other arum plants, Philodendron melanochrysum also forms a flower consisting of a bract and a bulb. The bracts usually remain light green. The cob, on the other hand, becomes whitish to cream-colored.
However, flowering is rarely observed indoors.
After successful pollination of the flower, berries form on the cob. These berries contain the seeds of the If the berry is fertilized, small berries form on it. These berries contain the seeds of the plant.
Philodendron melanochrysum is classified as toxic to humans and animals. It contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. When chewed or bitten, these are released.
They irritate the mucous membranes and gastrointestinal tract. The kidneys can also be damaged.
Therefore, you should place the plant out of reach of children and pets.
The optimal location for Philodendron melanochrysum
A good spot must meet several conditions for the plant. The basics are always light, temperature, and humidity. In general, Philodendron melanochrysum should avoid drafts. Also, try to position it at a reasonable distance from the radiators.
Philodendron melanochrysum needs bright indirect light. Direct sunlight can burn the leaves. Therefore a place at an east or west window is optimal. There it gets some morning or evening sun. Philodendron melanochrysum should receive at least 6 to 8 hours of light to avoid light deficiency.
As a tropical plant, Philodendron is used to higher temperatures. Thus, it should not be colder than 59 °F. If the temperature falls below 55 °F, the growth can halt. It should also not get warmer than 95 °F. For optimal growth, keep the temperature between 64 °F and 86 °F.
Remember that you will need to water more often as the temperature rises.
An often overlooked factor in care is humidity. As a tropical plant, P. melanochrysum prefers high humidity. To prevent brown leaf tips, you should stay above 55% humidity. In my opinion, the Philodendron thrives best at a humidity of 70% or more.
The easiest way to achieve and maintain this is with a humidifier. However, there are other methods to increase humidity.
Overwintering Philodendron melanochrysum
Since the Philo originates from the rainforests, it is not used to our winters. It should be overwintered bright and warm. It is also possible to use a plant lamp.
The temperatures may drop during the winter months. However, they should not fall below 59 °F. Due to the slower growth, reduce watering and fertilizing.
Watering Philodendron melanochrysum
Like many relatives, P. melanochrysum likes to dry out superficially between watering. To check this, you can stick your finger into the substrate.
You can water if the top inch feels dry and no substrate is stuck to your finger. If it does, wait a few more days and then repeat the test.
Alternatively, use a stick or a moisture meter instead of your finger. I use this moisture meter* when I am unsure about new plants.
If your tap water contains a lot of lime, you should consider filtering it. A lot of lime can be harmful to the roots.
Fertilizing Philodendron melanochrysum
Due to its primarily moderate growth, Philodendron melanochrysum does not have a great need for nutrients. To meet this need, you can use a No products found. or No products found..
During the growth phase, you can fertilize every 2 to 4 weeks. Alternatively, you can add the fertilizer diluted with each watering. This way, the plant will receive nutrients evenly.
Over the winter months, fertilizing is reduced to once a month. Alternatively, you can add ¼ of the usual dosage to the watering every week.
Never apply liquid fertilizer alone to the substrate or the plant, but only water mixed! If you use it undiluted, this has serious consequences: the much too concentrated fertilizer literally burns the roots – irreparable damage.
The perfect substrate
The roots of the Philodendron melanochrysum are sensitive to moisture. In the wrong substrate, they quickly begin to rot. Therefore, good drainage is essential.
Also, a coarse and airy structure is advantageous. That allows oxygen to reach the roots, which positively affects growth. The pH value should be slightly acidic.
The most suitable substrate is a mix for arum plants. Here you can find instructions for the 5-5-5 mix.
Whenever the current pot becomes too small, it is time to repot your Philodendron melanochrysum. Signs that the planter is too tiny include:
- roots growing out of the drainage holes
- that the plant pushes itself out of the pot
- the pot no longer gives the plant support
With young plants, this is often the case every year. I recommend renewing the substrate with adult specimens every 2 to 3 years.
A pot of a larger size is suitable as a new pot. It should have drainage holes to prevent waterlogging. The best time to repot is spring and early summer.
Pruning Philodendron melanochrysum
While pruning is possible throughout the year, it is best tolerated during the growing season from spring to fall.
Pruning can help achieve a denser look. Dead and diseased leaves can and should be removed throughout the year.
Propagating Philodendron melanochrysum
The best chances for success in propagating Philodendron melanochrysum are cuttings and mossing. I will explain both in the following.
Propagation by mossing
Philodendron melanochrysum forms aerial roots at most leaf nodes. Mossing is an attempt to activate these and thus spare the cutting the energy-consuming rooting or at least make it easier.
Mossing, therefore, has the highest chance of success. That is how it works:
- Identify a leaf node with aerial roots or small beginnings of aerial roots.
- Moisten some Sphagnum moss and place it around the leaf node
- Fix the moss with a bag, tape, or even wire. It is advantageous if not much moisture can escape.
- Now keep the moss moist for the following weeks
- After about six weeks, you can check the leaf node for root growth
- If the roots are about one inch long, you can cut the cutting
- Cut the shoot in the middle above and below the leaf node. Use a clean and sharp blade to avoid bruising and infection.
- Keep the cutting in moist moss until sufficient roots have formed. After that, you can put it into a substrate of your choice.
Propagation by cuttings
When propagating by cuttings, you do not first pull roots from the mother plant as you do when mossing but directly remove segments of the shoot. That is how you proceed here:
- Identify a leaf node (preferably with a leaf)
- Cut the shoot with a sharp and clean blade in the middle between two leaf nodes
- Let the cut dry, or use cinnamon or activated charcoal to disinfect the cut surface
- After that, you can root the cutting in water, moist sphagnum moss, or moist perlite
- As soon as there are enough roots, you can put the young plant into your preferred substrate
Diseases, pests, and care mistakes
Philodendron melanochrysum is not susceptible to diseases in our area with proper care.
Aphids come in a wide variety of colors. There are white, yellow, red and also black. They usually sit on the young shoots and under the leaves. Yellow and wilted leaves can be an indicator.
If you detect an infestation, you should isolate the plant and rinse it. Then you can spray a mixture of 1l water, 50g soft soap, and 20 ml spirit on the leaves. Alternatively, neem oil* is also suitable.
Repeat the procedure after about two days until the infestation is contained.
If this does not help, you can also use No products found..
Alternatively, you can use natural enemies like No products found..
Time and again, I hear and read that other plant lovers’ philodendrons are infested with spider mites. Melanochrysum is a real spider mite magnet.
The little pests can be recognized by spots on the leaves and web-like formations in the leaf axils and under the leaves. If you identify an infestation, you should first isolate the plant. Afterward, it can already help if you rinse it thoroughly.
Apply a mixture of 1l water, 50g soft soap, 20 ml spirit, and a neem oil mixture* on the leaves.
Chemical but much more effective are No products found.. Alternatively, No products found. can be used as a natural enemy.
Woolly and mealybugs can also sometimes be found on Philodendron melanochrysum. You can recognize them by their light wool-like carapaces. They prefer to sit under the leaves and on the petiole.
Spraying the leaves with neem oil* also helps with mealybugs.
If your houseplant is weakening, care mistakes are often the cause. In the following, I will show you the most common symptoms and their possible causes.
If the lowest leaves of the Philodendron melanochrysum turn yellow, it is often not a cause for concern. From time to time, the plant sheds its oldest leaves. Instead, new ones form at the tip of the shoot.
Another trigger can be the plant receiving too much or too little water. Check the substrate and adjust your watering routine accordingly.
The leaves can also become pale to yellowish if they get too much sunlight. Philodendron melanochrysum needs bright but indirect light.
Brown leaf tips and edges
Low humidity is often the cause of the leaf tips and margins turning brown. Another reason may be a buildup of fertilizer residue. These can be removed by changing the substrate or flushing it.
Brown leaves can also be a phenomenon of growth. In this case, only the lowest leaves are affected.
However, brown leaves can also occur with root rot. Therefore, in any case, you should check the roots. It is root rot if they are brown, soft, and smell unpleasant.
In this case, you should remove all dead roots and renew the substrate. Try to keep the plant drier after that.
If the substrate is dry and brown leaves appear, it can signify a water shortage.
Drooping leaves can be a consequence of too little light and too little moisture. Try to keep the substrate moist.
Leaves are shed
If Philodendron melanochrysum drops its leaves, it can be caused by root rot or overwatering. If the substrate is dry, underwatering is also a possibility.
A yellowing, i.e., a stretched growth towards the light, is the reaction of Philodendron melanochrysum to a lack of light. The solution is obvious – give the plant more indirect light.
If you dislike the growth, you can also shorten the plant. However, the growth will return if the plant does not get enough light.
Ich beantworte deine Fragen!
Is Philodendron melanochrysum poisonous?
Yes, Philodendron melanochrysum is toxic to both humans and animals. Therefore, it should be placed out of reach, especially for children and pets.
How fast does a Philodendron melanochrysum grow?
Philodendron melanochrysum is known for its relatively moderate growth rate. However, it can gain between 15 and 30 inches in height under the right conditions annually.
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