Philodendrons are some of the most exotic and beautiful plants in the tropical world. There are about 400 species of philodendron worldwide, including the Philodendron erubescens, which is native to the Costa Rica and rainforests in South America. P. erubescens is an aggressive climber with long, narrow green leaves with red highlights. These plants are highly valued for their leaves, which feature reddish and colored undersides that form a lovely display as the leaves cascade down a growing surface.
In its native environment, the plant has been known to reach heights of 60 feet and sometimes converts to fully epiphytic growth if its connection with the ground is severed. As a houseplant, however, it's likely that your plant will remain less than 12 feet in height, and it's easy to grow.
|Philodendron Erubescens Plant Profile|
|Botanical Name||Philodendron Erubescens|
|Common Name||Blushing philodendron, red-leaf philodendron, imperial red philodendron|
|Plant Type||Flowering perennial|
|Mature Size||24 to 36 inches as houseplant|
|Sun Exposure||Partial shade|
|Soil Type||Rich, quick-draining, loamy|
|Soil pH||5.6 to 7.5|
|Bloom Time||Late spring, early summer|
|Flower Color||Deep red|
|Hardiness Zones||10 to 11|
|Native Area||Central, South America|
|Toxicity||Toxic to people and pets|
How to Grow P. Erubescens
P. erubescens are a collector's plant, for the most part. They are less cold- and drought-tolerant than other species of philodendron, especially the P. scandens, which also has light red coloration on its leaves and is a climber (although with much smaller leaves).
Still, if you can provide ample warmth and humidity, P. erubescens is a worthy plant to grow. It's fairly easy to grow as a houseplant, because because it doesn't require full, bright sunlight. Their large, waxy leaves are exceptionally beautiful.
P. erubescens is a shade-loving philodendron. They dislike bright sunlight and should not be exposed to full sun outdoors. Indoors, an east-facing window with morning light would be a good solution. Don't let the suns rays touch the foliage; if several leaves turn yellow, it might be getting too much sunlight.
The plant does best in a loamy, nutrient-rich, quick-draining soil. If the soil mix is too heavy, add a little sand.
Water the plant when the surface soil is dry. They're drought-tolerant but don't do well when overwatered, which can cause the plant to rot. If there is too much water, the leaves will begin to turn yellow.
Temperature and Humidity
Like other philodendron, the P. erubescens likes plenty of moisture and heat to thrive, although it can withstand shorter periods of cold if it's well-established. The plant thrives in temperatures between 55 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and does exceptionally well at regular room temperatures.
Fertilize P. erubescens one to two times a month with a regular houseplant fertilizer.
Potting and Repotting
Younger plants are rampant growers and will likely need to be repotted every spring, at the beginning of the growing season. After its first year, when it's ready to climb (or even on its first repotting after sprouting), you'll want to provide some structure for it to climb.
The plant isn't necessarily picky about what they like to climb, but it can be difficult to train a plant to "take hold" of its climbing pole and begin its ascent. To encourage climbing, gently tie the main vine to the support and train it upward. The hope is that it will eventually decide to grab onto the pole on its own. Older plants are considerably harder to repot because of the climbing poles. If it's an issue, simply scrape off the top layers of soil and replace it with fresh soil and new fertilizer.
Propagating P. Erubescens
Like most vining philodendron, you can easily propagate P. erubescens by cuttings and division. When taking a piece of the stem, make sure to take a piece with multiple aerial roots. Older plants will sprout aerial roots along leaf nodes that simultaneously act as roots and grab onto surfaces.
Philodendrons don't need to be pruned often, but they can sometimes get a little too large for their space or become long and leggy. The best time of the year to prune P. erubscens is during the spring or fall, though you can remove yellow leaves or trim thin growth at any time of year.
To prune a philodendron, make cuts using sharp, sterile scissors or pruning sheers. Cut where the stem means the pain part of the plant; if you can't see where it connects, cut the stem off at soil level.