The Philodendron Green Congo is native to South America. This Philodendron is low maintenance with simple care needs. It grows several feet tall, making it an excellent floor plant for large spaces.
Identifying ‘Green Congo’ Philodendron
The Green Congo Philodendron is a cultivar of the Congo Rojo Philodendron species. These plants are non-vining plants that grow around 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall. They have a wide spread and require enough room to allow for proper air flow.
The plant has green foliage, sometimes with variegation, and its leaves have smooth, shiny edges. Ithas a bushy growth habit. Blooms from indoor plants are rare and insignificant and the plant’s lush foliage is the main attraction.
To grow this Philodendron variety successfully, you need to make sure you grow it in a suitable spot. In temperate climates, this will almost invariably mean growing it indoors.
You will need to think about providing the right conditions when it comes to light, temperature, humidity and growing medium. This is a plant that can be grown outside in USDA zones 11 and 12, but elsewhere it will need to be grown indoors throughout the year.
Philodendron Congo prefers bright, indirect sunlight or diffused light from a north-facing window. Do not expose the plant to direct sunlight as it scorches the foliage. Rotate the plant every few months to ensure even sun exposure and growth.
Artificial light from a grow lamp makes a good supplemental lighting source if natural lighting is scarce.
Temperature And Humidity Requirements
Temperatures between 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 29.4 Celsius) are ideal. Avoid exposing your plant to cold drafts, which damages the foliage.
Average household humidity is sufficient, but low humidity results in browning of the leaves’ edges.
Supplement dry conditions using a pebble tray. Fill a dish with small pebbles and water, placing it under the plant’s pot to provide extra moisture to the plant’s surrounding air. You can also increase humidity by misting, and by grouping houseplants together.
Soil/ Potting Mix Requirements
A well-draining potting soil amended with perlite or orchid bark works as a great growing medium for this Philodendron.
This Philodendron is not particularly challenging to care for as long as you have grown it in a suitable location. Watering is the main area where things can go wrong.
Water your Philodendron ‘Green Congo’ when the top 2 inches of the growing medium feel dry. On average, watering every 7 to 10 days should suffice, depending on your home’s heat and humidity levels. Remember that water needs will also vary throughout the year.
Green Congo Philodendron is sensitive to overwatering. Use an unglazed clay or terra cotta pot with drainage holes to prevent the soil from staying saturated with water.
Feed your Green Congo plant once a month during spring and summer with an organic, liquid, houseplant fertilizer diluted to half strength.
Plants that receive several hours of indirect light each day, which increases growth, require more fertilizer. Withhold feedings during the winter when the plant goes dormant.
Prune the plant in the spring or fall to remove dying leaves or stems. Regular pruning, if required, also encourages fuller growth for leggy plants. Do not over prune your plant as it leads to stress and stunted growth.
Propagation by cuttings is the most successful method. Choose one of the plant’s stems with at least two top leaves and two bottom leaves or nodes.
To propagate in this way:
Take cuttings from a healthy stem.
- Remove the two bottom leaves, if nodes aren’t exposed.
- Place the cutting in a jar with clean water. Ensure the bottom nodes are submerged.
- Put the cutting in bright, indirect sunlight in a warm location.
- Change the water every two to three days.
- Wait for new roots to grow. New roots should emerge within a few weeks.
- Once the roots are 2 inches long, transplant the cutting to a small pot filled with the recommended soil mix.
Common Pests And Diseases
Spider mites and mealybugs are common pests to watch for. Mealybugs are soft, oval, wax-covered insects that feed on plants by piercing them. They excrete a sticky substance called honeydew, which often leads to black sooty mold if not treated.
You can simply wipe the insects off the plants by hand, or where a serious infestation is present, may consider organic pesticides as a last resort.
Erwinia blight is a common disease for the Philodendron Green Congo plant. It presents as water-soaked lesions beginning on the stem of the plant.
The disease spreads quickly, moving to the foliage if not treated. Quarantine infected plants immediately to prevent spread to other houseplants. Use sharp and sterile shears to remove any infected stems and leaves.
Resterilize your shears between each cut to prevent spread. Avoid touching healthy parts of the plant if you’ve previously touched infected areas. Severely infected are rarely saved and should be destroyed to prevent spreading the bacteria.
In colder climates, repot your plant in the spring or summer. For warmer zones, repotting in early fall is acceptable provided the temperatures are still warm. Refresh the plant’s soil at this time.
You should repot if the plant’s roots entirely fill the container, or the plant is showing signs of stress. Typically, if your plant is healthy, you should only need to repot once every 2-3 years.