The Philodendron Black Cardinal is a man-made hybrid variety. One of the hybrid’s parent plants is the popular Blushing Philodendron. While the plant has a slow growth rate, it’s easy to care for with a striking appearance.
Philodendron Black Cardinal Appearance
The Black Cardinal Philodendron is a compact variety that grows 3 feet (0.9 meters) tall and 1.5 feet (45.7 cm) wide.
The plant takes 10 years to reach maturity. Emerging foliage starts out bronze or burgundy then darkens to blackish-green.
The leaves are oval and each grows to 1 foot (30.4 cm) long and 8 inches (20.3 cm) wide. Blooming indoors is rare and the flowers are insignificant compared to the stunning foliage.
Black Cardinal Philodendron Light Requirements
Provide the Black Philodendron with bright, indirect sunlight for optimal growth. Dappled or filtered sunlight through sheer curtains also works well. Avoid all-day, full sun as it scorches the foliage. Instead, a few hours of morning sun followed by afternoon shade is acceptable if indirect sunlight is not available.
Water Needs for Philodendron Black Cardinal
Allow the top 1 to 2 inches of soil to dry between waterings. Water until the moisture runs through the drainage holes, then discard excess water collected in the drip tray. Follow this routine for your Black Cardinal Philodendron throughout spring and summer. Reduce waterings in the fall and winter when the plant goes dormant.
Black Philodendron Soil and Fertilizer Needs
Grow your plant in a loose, well-draining soil. Use an African Violet soil amended with perlite or sphagnum moss alone as the growing medium. Provide feedings once per month, in the spring and summer, with a balanced, liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength. Use an NPK 10-10-10 fertilizer to provide the proper nutrient balance. During fall and winter months, cut feedings back to once every 8 weeks.
Temperature and Humidity Levels
The ideal temperature range for Philodendron Black Cardinal is between 65 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 to 25.5 degrees Celsius).
Avoid exposing the plant to temperatures below 54 Fahrenheit (12 Celsius) as the foliage may suffer. Humidity levels between 40 to 50 percent are acceptable, but higher humidity encourages faster growth.
Increase low humidity by filling a tray filled with small pebbles and water and place it under the plant’s drip tray.
Propagating the Black Cardinal Philodendron
Propagate your Black Philodendron plant through either cuttings or by division. To propagate by cuttings, choose a 4 to 5-inch long stem from a mature plant. Choose a stem with two top leaves and two bottom leaves or nodes. Remove bottom leaves if present. Allow the cutting to cure and callous for two days. Once calloused, immerse the nodes in a glass filled with clean water.
Set the glass in bright, indirect sunlight and change the water every two to three days. Once the cutting has grown roots at least two inches long, plant the cutting in a small pot filled with the recommended soil mix. Keep the soil moderately moist. When the plant shows new growth, care for it as you would a mature plant.
Division is best done when you are repotting your plant. Remove the plant from its pot and gently brush off any soil attached to the root ball. With a gentle touch, divide the root ball where natural separations occur.
Use a pair of sharp and sterile shears to cut any roots that do not separate easily. Ensure each new division has stems with at least two leaves attached.
Repot each new division in an appropriately sized pot filled with the recommended soil mix. Water the new plants well and care for them as you would a mature Black Philodendron.
Common Pests and Diseases of the Black Philodendron
Watch for mealybugs and aphids on your plant. Aphids and mealybugs feed on the plant and leave behind a sticky honeydew. This substance often forms black, sooty mold on the plant if not treated. Treat both pest infestations with the use of an insecticidal soap.
Root rot is a common disease for all Philodendrons and is a result of overwatering the plant. Reduce waterings and, once the soil is moderately dry, remove the plant from its pot. Infected roots appear dark and mushy.
Trim away any infected roots with sharp and sterile shears. Spray the roots with a mixture of one part 3 percent hydrogen peroxide and two parts water. Transfer the plant to a clean pot with fresh soil. If most of the root system is affected the plant likely cannot be saved.
The Philodendron Back Cardinal provides visual appeal and easy care in a compact house plant.
It’s size makes it easy to incorporate with your home decor or add to your workspace for a touch of greenery. The plant’s low maintenance makes it easy to keep it looking great with just routine care.
Black Cardinal Philodendron FAQ
The Black Philodendron grows well in USDA zones 10 to 12.
Yes, all Philodendrons are considered toxic and should be kept away from pets and small children.
Repot your plant every two to three years when it has become rootbound and the roots are visible through the pot’s drainage holes. Remove as much old soil as possible from the root ball, and provide fresh soil in a pot two inches larger than the previous one.
Prune any dead or diseased leaves and stems to keep the plant healthy. Also, prune the plant to control its size and to encourage fuller growth if needed.
Yellow foliage often indicates either too much sun exposure, known as scorching, or is a sign of overwatering. Reduce either the light exposure or amount of water given if they don’t fall within the recommended guidelines.