Philodendron Congo Rojo

This tropical plant is as exotic as its name makes it sound. It is a hybrid cultivar – a cross between Philodendron tatei and Philodendron Imperial Red. Unlike others in this genus, it is self-heading, growing into an upright rosette instead of vining or climbing.

Philodendron Congo Rojo leaves start off coppery red. They turn deep green over time but retain a hint of red to match their stems. It is a fast-growing indoor plant that enjoys a warm and bright yet shady spot. It takes 5 years to reach maturity, growing up to 10 feet tall and wide.

Due to its low light requirements, it is the ideal houseplant and brings a lush elegance to any room. It is sensitive to cold, so one can only grow it outdoors in warmer regions, like USDA zone 12b. This hardy Philodendron is low-maintenance and easy to care for. There are just a few things you need to know to care for this gorgeous plant!

How To Tell If Your Philodendron Is A Congo Rojo

Philodendrons are known for their large, heart-shaped leaves, but Congo Rojo is unique in that it has long lanceolate leaves. It is also characterized by its thick red stems and fleshy, velvety, purple-brown petioles.

Another defining feature of this Philodendron is its compact growth habit. It does not vine or climb like other philodendrons. Rather it grows into an upright rosette of colorful leaves that splay outward.

Young foliage first appears light green with a coppery tinge. As they grow, the leaves turn a darker green, retaining the red undertone. This plant grows many aerial roots from its basal stem. These also have a maroon tinge to them.

Philodendron Congo Rojo among other foliage in a pot 1

Characteristics Of Philodendron Congo Rojo

Philodendron Congo Rojo was developed in Florida in the 1990s by crossing the Imperial Red cultivar with Philodendron tatei. It grows larger and more vigorously than Imperial Red, and unlike P. tatei, it has dark purple-brown-colored petioles rather than green ones.

Growth Rate And Size

Under the right conditions, this plant grows fast and reaches full size in around 5 years. They need a significant amount of space to grow because once mature, they can reach heights of 10 feet (3 meters) and spread equally wide.

Make sure that you have the space in your home to accommodate this big beauty. These plants are self-supporting and do not need a trellis, stake, or moss pole to grow against.

Related: Philodendron Domesticum: Key Facts And Care Tips

Growing A Philodendron Congo Rojo

Philodendron Congo Rojo is as magnificent as it is easy to care for – even for beginner indoor gardeners! If you follow these basic guidelines to grow and maintain it, you Philodendron should thrive.

Temperature And Humidity

In the wild, Philodendrons are rainforest plants. They are adapted to growing in hot, humid conditions amongst many other plants and trees.

Keep your Philodendron Congo Rojo in a room where the temperature remains relatively constant between 65 – 80°F (18 – 27°C).It can tolerate heat of up to 95°F (35°C) but will need extra water.

As it is a tropical plant, it has no tolerance for frost. This Philodendron will suffer at temperatures below 55°F (13°C). Always ensure that the plants’ leaves are not touching glass windows and keep them out of cold drafts.

This plant thrives in humid environments. Ideally, it should be kept at 50% humidity, but the average humidity in our homes is around 40%. You can boost the moisture in the air around the plant using a humidifier.

Other ways to increase the humidity are misting the foliage with water and placing a saucer full of wet pebbles under the plant’s pot.

Philodendron Congo Rojo

Watering Guide

Philodendron Congo Rojo is not as drought tolerant as other plants in its genus. How often you should water your plant depends on a wide range of factors – the climate where you live, the weather, the temperature and humidity of the room, how much light the plant gets, and the type of soil it grows in.

There is no universal guideline for how often you should water, but you will quickly learn how often your plant needs water based on its growing conditions. These plants are sensitive to overwatering, so it is important to find the right watering regime.

Always check the soil moisture before watering by digging your finger 2 inches into the soil. Go ahead and water if it feels dry. If it feels moist, wait a few days before watering.

Keep in mind that Philodendrons need more water during the growing season than in fall and winter when their growth slows down. So, if you water your plant every 3 days during summer, you may only need to water once every 2 weeks in winter.

Place a saucer under the pot. Empty the saucer each time after you water so that the plant’s roots do not remain in saturated soil – this can lead to root rot.

Light Requirements

Philodendron Congo Rojo thrives in bright indirect sunlight. It does not cope well in full sun, and it struggles in deep shade. If it does not get enough light, the leaves turn a darker green and lose their beautiful red tone.

The ideal position indoors for this plant is in an east or west-facing window where it gets bright shade for most of the day. It is okay if it gets direct sun for half an hour to 45 minutes, but more than this causes the leaves to burn.

If the climate in your region is very cold, or the place you live does not have ideal light from windows, you can grow your Congo Rojo under fluorescent grow lights. During winter, keep the lights on for 12 hours daily.

Soil And Potting Requirements

The type of soil you grow this plant in is critical. Philodendrons are epiphytes, which means that their roots can absorb moisture from the atmosphere. If the roots grow in soil without enough aeration and drainage, the plant will suffer.

The ideal substrate is a potting mixture that is coarse, loose, and porous, with enough organic matter to retain moisture for the plant. A combination of potting soil, coco peat, bark chips, and perlite is perfect for Congo Rojo.

If you do not feel confident making your own potting mixture, just use a high quality organic indoor plant potting mix. These are designed to prevent overwatering issues and keep tropical indoor plants healthy.

These plants can be top-heavy; therefore, they need a sturdy terracotta or ceramic pot to prevent them from tipping over. Choose a pot with lots of drainage holes.

Philodendron Congo Rojo

Fertilizer Requirements

It is best not to use any chemical fertilizers on your Philodendron Congo Rojo. Often, they cause fertilizer burn, which further stresses the plant. Generally, they do more harm than good.

Organic fertilizers and soil amendments are much slower acting, gradually breaking down and releasing nutrients into the soil. This mimics the rainforest conditions that Philodendrons are naturally adapted to.

Mulch your Philodendron Congo Rojo with sphagnum moss and feed it with compost once a year in spring. You can also feed it with weakly diluted organic liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season.

Read more: Philodendron Erubescens Plant Care

Quick Care Tips For A Philodendron Congo Rojo

Maintaining your Philodendron Congo Rojo is easy – just follow these pointers.

Potting And Repotting

In the first few years after getting a young Philodendron Congo Rojo it will grow rapidly, and you will need to monitor its growth to make sure it has enough room to grow in its pot.

While these plants do enjoy being a little root bound, they do suffer if they outgrow their container. You will know that it is time to repot yours when you see roots poking out from the drainage holes.

Generally, in its first 5 years, you should repot your Philodendron annually in spring. It is best to do it right at the start of the growing season.

Propagating

Philodendron Congo Rojo can be propagated from stem cuttings or by division. The cuttings can be rooted in water or in a well-draining growing medium, like a 50/50 mixture of coco peat and perlite.

Follow this guide to propagate your Congo Rojo the right way!

Pests And Diseases

This plant is generally not bothered by pests if you take good care of it. When it is drought-stressed or overwatered, it is more susceptible to pests like mealybugs and aphids.

If you notice them on your plant, immediately remove them from the stems and foliage using insecticidal soap. Thoroughly spray the plant with neem oil to prevent them from returning.

A regular spritz of neem oil will help to protect your plant from many different pests. Another way to keep your Philodendron pest-free is to wash the leaves and wipe them dry once every two weeks.

The one disease that these plants are susceptible to is root rot. This fungal infection sets in when a plant is overwatered. To rescue a plant with root rot, one must repot it into more suitable soil and water it less often.

Conclusion

A well-cared-for Philodendron Congo Rojo will bring elegance and tropical ambiance to your home for many years. These gorgeous plants are easy to grow and maintain, and creating baby plants through propagation is super rewarding.

References:

https://www.plantindex.com/philodendron-congo-rojo/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4K0008dukk