Philodendron Imperial Green: 9 Care Pointers

Philodendron imperial green is a gorgeous addition to any plant collection. They have striking, glossy leaves which spread out in all directions. These houseplants are easy to care for and maintain. They only need moderate humidity and the occasional watering!

Stick with us and we’ll explore philodendron imperial green care including all of my top tips and favorite plant tips for dealing with any problems you might encounter with this plant.

philodendron imperial green

Table of Contents 

How Do I Take Care of a Philodendron Imperial Green Indoors?

Bright Light, but Not Direct Light

This plant is most happy in bright, indirect light. Think of it this way, it needs to be bright enough that you’d be able to read but not shining onto the plant directly enough to cast a distinctive shadow. In their natural environment these philodendrons would experience dappled shade from the canopies of other plants, so it is important to try to mimic the light level they would receive. 

You can use grow lights if needed to give your plant enough light, but it will be okay just near a window.

Try to have it near a west or east facing window, or by a south facing window but with a bit more distance or a sheer curtain to reduce the hours of direct sunlight.

Too MuchToo Little
Scorched leaves Stunted growth and no new leaves 
Constantly dry soil even though you find yourself watering the plant all the time You’ll notice that the plant doesn’t seem to need watering very often 
Brown patches on the edge of stem or leafYellowing leaves

Moist but Not Too Moist, Balance Is Key for Happy Plants

philodendron green in clay pot ariel view

The philodendron green likes to have moist soil, never soggy and never fully dry. To best achieve this I’d recommend letting the top few inches of soil dry out fully. For most people this will probably be around 10 days between watering. However, don’t follow exact schedules or exact routines because the time between waterings changes depending on your environment and how you water. 

Too much water can lead to root rot, which is often fatal, and pest problems where the rooting organic material attracts and feeds pests. Too little watering and the plant will suffer, nevertheless it’s always better to underwater than overwater since you can water but you can’t un-water! 

You’ll know when your plant needs watering because the pot will feel lighter than usual, the soil looks dry, the plant looks more flaccid or the soil feels dry when you stick your finger into it.

Here’s how to check if the soil is dry / needs watering:

If you’re using just your finger or a stick:

When the top 2-3 inches of the soil feel dry and your finger comes out of the soil clean (the wet soil sticks, the dry soil falls off) it’s time to water your plant. If you don’t want to use your finger just use a stick or similar for the same process.

If you have a moisture meter:

Firstly, keep your moisture meter in the soil at all times or stick it in to test the moisture levels every week or so and when the soil is dry, give the plant a drink. Also, make sure to not have the moisture meter too deep in the soil or the plant will end up under watered. 

If you are increasing the humidity surrounding the plant then make sure to decrease the frequency of watering. Plants lose less water in a humid environment. If the light levels or temperatures are going to increase then it can be beneficial to water your plant slightly more often.

Some Tips on How to Water 

philodendron leaves close up

Remove the plant from its decorative pot so that any excess water can drain away when you do water, as stagnant water left behind will kill your plant.

I recommend putting your plant in the shower and giving it a wash with some warm water if you are blessed with nice soft tap water. Although, if you’re like me and your tap water is full of minerals, in that case use rain water instead. I personally like to collect rain water to be eco-friendly but that’s not an option for everyone and it’s nearly as effective to just let the tap water sit for 24 hours before using it. 

Always avoid using cold water as it will shock the roots. Therefore use slightly warmer water in the winter and slightly cooler water in the summer but this should still be lukewarm/ room temperature and never very hot or very cold.

If you are trying to counteract having under-watered your plant consider bottom watering as it will help to saturate the soil more evenly. Just fill a tray or the sink with some warm water and after that pop the plant in the water for around 20 minutes.

One extra pro tip: before watering your philodendron, aerate the soil and break up any compacted chunks of soil. This helps with drainage and moisture retention.

Home Humidity Levels Will Work Well

This type of philodendrons prefer to be in a climate with at least 40% humidity but it can tolerate drier conditions. Bear this in mind around the winter time in particular where home heating systems will dry out the air and reduce the humidity levels.

Here are the main signs your Philodendron Imperial Green plant needs more humidity: 

  • Brown edges/ crispy leaves 
  • Dull color
  • Yellow leaves
  • Wilting 
  • Stunted Growth 

I would advise to never mist your plants as it is not particularly beneficial but can lead to rot and pests. In order to raise the humidity in your home I would advise getting a humidifier or trying a DIY alternative.

You can also group plants together. They’ll benefit from this because plants lose moisture through their leaves so placing them close together creates a humid microclimate for them. A shallow tray of pebbles with water under your plants can also help boost the humidity.

philodendron leaves close up with water droplets

Philodendron Love a Balanced Fertilizer

Imperial Greens do best when given a fertilizer with a balanced ratio, anything where the numbers are similar, 5-5-5 is good. 10-10-10 is also great but something like 3-5-7 isn’t the right fit! The difference between 5-5-5 and 10-10-10 is just in concentration, which will be reflected in the instructions of how diluted to make the fertilizer. 

Moreover, the key thing about fertilizer for a Philodendron Imperial Green is all about the N-P-K ratio. Every fertilizer on the market has nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, in different volumes. Each nutrient performing a different function. In the wild, nutrients are added to the soil when plant and animal matter break down, as this doesn’t happen in potted soil it is important to add some in manually. 

Also, the other thing to consider is liquid fertilizer versus granules. 

Fertilizer typeProsCons
LiquidEasier to control and useNeeds to be use more often
Better for young plants as they have a lower salt content Harder to keep track of 
The nutrients are more mobile so can reach the roots more easily 
Granules/ Pellets CheaperLess control over the nutrients
Easier to storeHarder to use 
Needs using less frequently 

Make sure to never combine both types of fertilizers!

I recommend fertilizing only during the active growth season which is spring and summer/ April to September. 

Personally, I use a diluted liquid houseplant fertilizer for example which I mix into the water every time I water my plants. Make sure to follow the instructions on the label of whichever fertilizer you chose to buy because they’re all slightly different. 

A Bigger Pot and Chunky Soil Are Key For Repotting a Philodendron 

To repot your philodendron, first gently remove the root ball from the old plant, taking care to avoid snagging the roots or ripping them. Then I find it easiest to use a bucket of water to rinse the roots in, to quickly get rid of the older soil. After that, I’ll fill my new pot with about a third full of the soil, place the plant in and fill the rest of the popup with more soil. Finally, give the plant a good, thorough watering and place it in its new home.  

Use a pot that is roughly an inch or two bigger than the current pot. However it’s not an exact science. Just try not to use a pot that’s a lot bigger or the plant could get stressed. I like a well-draining soil for the philodendrons, but with ingredients that can absorb moisture and retain it well, like coco coir.

I generally use potting mix with perlite for the easiest, most convenient option. If you’re a little more organized than me, for example, you could mix together coco coir (or peat, but peat is unsustainable), orchid mix/ chunky soil mix and perlite for the ultimate soil. 

philodendron imperial green in red pot

The philodendron green can be a really fast growing plant when it is well looked after, so it could need repotting every year in its prime. Once you find that the roots of the plant are growing out of the base of the pot, it’s time to repot. You’ll need to repot during spring or summer, when the plant is actively growing. This helps with its recovery time as the plant will have more energy for regrowth

Pests That Affect the Philodendron Imperial Green

Unfortunately, philodendron green are susceptible to a lot of pests, including but not limited to:

  • Mealy bugs (a waxy, oval-shaped bug which is covered in little white hairs)
  • Scale (brown, black or white oval shaped insects with a shell, they hang out on the leaf veins)
  • Spider mites (tiny bugs which are normally a reddish color or a yellow color)

All of these pests are super common and will infect most houseplants so it’s important to be vigilant. In fact, they are also very hard to see since they’re absolutely minute so it’s helpful to know the signs of a pest infestation in your plants. Some of the most commonly reported issues with pests are:

  • Changes in leaf color 
  • Changes in texture to leaves or stems 
  • Webbing which is often hanging from the undersides of the leaves or between the leaves and stems
  • Eggs and larvae on the leaves or within the soil
  • Movement in the soil, it can sometimes appear as a bit of movement that you can barely see but upon closer inspection is actually hundreds of tiny bugs, which is horrifying

SymptomPotential CausesHow to fix
Yellowing leavesMain causes of yellow leaves are to do with under-watering or nutrient deficiencies Give the plant a big drink of water with some liquid feed 
Brown leavesCan be causes by over or under watering or too much light Make sure the plant is situated in indirect light and ensure you are checking the soil moisture often
Leggy GrowthToo Little light or feeding during winterPlants will stretch to grow towards the light if needed. Just move the plant closer to a source of light. Grow lights are a great alternative to sunlight if the room doesn’t have much in the way of windows.
Stem CollapseOverwatering or root rot Addressing root rot can be difficult and sometimes there’s not much to be done. I’d recommend using rubbing alcohol or diluted hydrogen peroxide to treat the roots. Also cutting away any dead growth before repotting the plant into dry soil.
Brown and yellow leavesDry air and lack of humidity This is a big problem, especially during the winter months. Try using a humidifier or moving the plant away from any central heating/ breezes.
Curling inwardsDehydrationIf the leaves of your plant are curling inwards, like a folded tortilla, and the plant is saggy and faded it’s probably due to dehydration. Give the plant a thorough water and move into a shadier spot. A more humid environment will also help to prevent dehydration. 

Reduce Watering and Fertilizing During the Winter

philodendron imperial green in basket white background

As the seasons change, your plant will be receiving a lot less light and be enduring much colder temperatures. This calls for a change in how you care for your plant. The key things are compensating for seasonal changes in the environment and then to watch out for negative effects of the way you look after yourself in the winter. 

An equally important point is if you use central heating then consider this a PSA – it’s vital to move your plants (all of them, not just Philodendron Imperial Greens) away from blasts of air/ radiators/ fireplaces. 

Using any kind of indoor heating will also dry out your air, which can negatively affect plants so consider using your humidifier for longer periods of time during winter.

Firstly, to begin compensating for the cold weather, reduce your watering. The temperature is lower and the plant is receiving less light so they will be photosynthesising less. This means they need less water than they need in the seasons of active growth. Lastly, water your philodendron imperial green around every two to three weeks.

Another way to adjust the plant care is to stop fertilizing the plants, again this is just because the plant is not actively growing it is not using as many nutrients so does not need extra fertilizer. Too much fertilizing leads to growth which is unsustainable and then death.

Moreover, you might consider investing in a grow light for your houseplants, if you have one already I would recommend using it more in the Winter to compensate for the lack of sunlight. 

If you keep your philodendron imperial green outside during the summer I would personally recommend bringing the plant inside. However this depends on the weather where you live.

In conclusion, if you are planning on bringing your plant indoors try acclimating it in advance by moving the plant into a shadier spot, outside, ahead of time. Don’t panic if there is some leaf drop, unfortunately it may be unavoidable.

Are There Many Philodendron Varieties?

There’s around 450 different species of philodendron, all native to South America, including a range of hybrids and cultivars. So plenty of choice! Some popular alternatives to the imperial green are listed below. Above all, the great thing is that they can all be cared for in a very similar way to the philodendron imperial green! 

Heartleaf Philodendron Philodendron hederaceum which is a trailing variety of philodendron which grow very quickly and are super easy to propagate

Philodendron Imperial Green – the topic of this article, a vibrant, deep green philodendron variety which can climb but is normally grown as a shrub 

Philodendron ‘Burle Marx’ –  the basic version is a gorgeous shiny green with pale veins and is quite affordable and common. You can always sometimes find variegated hybrids like Burle-Marx Fantasy

Philodendron Brazil: these philodendrons have heart shaped leaves with variegation, they usually have a thick yellow streak pattern in the center of the leaf. 

Philodendron neon: this particular type of philodendron is characterized by its bright yellow/green leaves

Philodendron Micans: heart shape leaves which have a copper overtone 

Philodendron silver leaf: deep green leaves with patches of silver/white caused by pockets where there’d no chlorophyll present resulting in variegated leaves 

Philodendron silver stripe: these look pretty similar to the philodendron brasil but with a silver stripe instead of a yellow one in the middle of the leaves

A Quick Care Guide

Common NamesPhilodendron erubescens ‘Imperial Green’
LightBright, indirect light but can tolerate shade 
WateringLet the soil dry out partially between waterings 
Humidity Slightly more tolerant of drier conditions but still prefers to be in 50-60% humidity 
TemperatureShould not be in temperatures lower than 65ºF or 18ºC or temperatures higher than 85ºF or 29ºC
Soil pHBetween 5 and 8 
Soil typeLoose, well draining soil that is high in organic matter
Extra tipsWill appreciate the occasional fertilizer throughout the summer and spring

wall of green philodendron leaves

About the Philodendron Imperial Green

This green plant is a cultivar of the Philodendron erubescens. It is quite similar in care and general style to other philodendron cultivars like Congo and Prince of Orange but has deep, gorgeous green leaves. This particular philodendron variety stays quite compact so it’s nice if you don’t have room for a huge plant. Additionally, this type of philodendron is quite pest resistant and only needs repotting once it is really rootbound – all in all it’s a very low maintenance plant! 

Some other common names for the Philodendron Imperial Green are sweetheart plant, imperial green philodendron or philo imperial green. Additionally, it is native to the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. 

FAQs About Caring for a Philodendron Imperial Green 

Can you over-fertilize a houseplant?

Yep – unfortunately this is 100% a possibility but it is not the end of the world. Here’s how to handle it if you have overdone it with the houseplant food. 

Use a spoon or trowel to remove any mineral buildup left on the surface of the soil. This will be water soluble meaning the next time you water the plant it’ll get even more nutrients unless the deposit is removed. Aerate the soil gently and then thoroughly water to flush out excess minerals from the soil.

Does a philodendron imperial green house plant produce fruit?

Philodendron Imperial Greens will not produce fruit as a houseplant kept indoors.

Can brown leaves turn green again?

Unfortunately any brown leaves are dead and won’t come back to life – this is not necessarily a sign that your plant is dying. Old leaves will naturally die away as time goes on and it is important to cut them away as soon as they go brown as they will not help the plant and are a drain on the plant’s resources. 

Caring for the Imperial Green Is Easy – Now That You Know!  

At the end of the day, caring for your philodendron imperial green is all about replicating its natural environment. That means lots of bright indirect light and humidity. You also have to look out for bugs which can be your worst enemy when caring for your handsome houseplant. Any questions, let us know and happy growing!

Feeling Confident Now When It Comes to Philodendron Care?

Let us know your thoughts and feedback – here. We love to talk plants! Want more than just a philodendron imperial green at home?

Check out all of our houseplant care guides plus all the necessary tools you need to start and maintain a lovely indoor garden. 

Photo of author
Katie Riggs
Katie’s love of plants began at a young age, in fact it was the first time she went camping and discovered the medicinal wonders of a dock leaf that the fascination with all things botanical took hold. Spending time in nature and frequently visiting the Kew Gardens, she became obsessed with the diversity of plants you could grow at home. Her favorite things to grow are herbs and vegetables outdoors as well as her prized fiddle leaf fig and calathea orbifolia. Hundreds of mistakes later she has become well versed in how not to kill a houseplant. Her passions now involve sharing her love of nature and all things green to help other people keep their plants happy and healthy.

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