Philodendron Melanochrysum: Essential Care Guide

The Philodendron Melanochrysum is a striking aroid characterized by long, heart-shaped foliage portrayed in dark green colors with brilliantly contrasted yellow veins. The velvety foliage and easy-care requirements make the Philodendron Melanochrysum a plant that many houseplant collectors are desperate to get their hands on!

Philodendron Melanochrysum is a rare yet easy to care for plant. It prefers bright, indirect light, or dappled sunlight and temperatures of 70 to 80°F. Be sure to water the plant when the first two inches of soil dry out and fertilize the Philo monthly during the spring and summer.

If you’re lucky enough to cross the Philodendron Melanochrysum off your wishlist, you’ll be glad to know that it’s surprisingly easy to take care of; continue reading to ensure that you provide this hard-to-find Philo with the proper care.

Characteristics Of Philodendron Melanochrysum

Philodendron Melanochrysum

Also known as the Black-gold Philodendron, the Philodendron Melanochrysum was first discovered by the famous Eduoard Andre in 1886 in the wet Andean foothills of Columbia.

Native to South America, the Philodendron Melanochrysum is a rare vining perennial that matures 3 to 5 feet tall and 1 to 2 ft wide indoors; and is approximately 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide outdoors. Additionally, the Philodendron Melanochrysum is hardy to zones 9a to 11b.

Mature Black-gold Philos exhibit an exiting display of dark green foliage and dazzling specks of black and gold in the sunlight, hence the name.

The Philodendron Melanochrysum is typically grown for its velvety foliage, but it will produce green to white flowers during the summer with a near-perfect climate.

Read more: Philodendron Brandtianum Care Guide (Propagation, Diseases, etc)

How To Care For Philodendron Melanochrysum

Native to the tropical regions of South America, the Philodendron Melanochrysum appreciates a climate with warm conditions, consistent watering, and dappled sunlight.

To add to the low-care requirements, the Black-gold Philodendron seldomly needs pruning; however, It is advisable to provide a sphagnum moss growing pole or trellis for the Black-gold Philo to trail or climb.

Fortunately, the Black-gold Philo is an easy-going and tolerant plant that will readily adapt to your home conditions with a few extra basic steps. So, read on for an in-detail overview of the additional care requirements for the Philodendron Melanochrysum.

Temperature Requirements For Philodendron Melanochrysum

Native to tropical forest areas in South America, the Philodendron Melanochrysum plant effortlessly grow as a houseplant or outdoors in mild climates.

The Philodendron Melanochrysum ideally prefers temperatures ranging between 70 to 80°F. In addition, the Philodendron Melanochrysum can tolerate temperatures down to 60°F.

The Black-gold Philo does not tolerate frost or icy temperatures; freezing temperatures result in frost damage, stunted growth and can even lead to death.

Therefore, bring the Philodendron Melanochrysum inside before the first frost and aim to protect it from cold drafts, radiators, or air conditioning units that cause the plant to undergo unnecessary stress.

Humidity Requirements For Philodendron Rugosum

Regarding humidity, the Philodendron Melanochrysum does not need high moisture levels to thrive; it typically adapts well to average household temperatures ranging between 40% to 50%.

However, for optimal and lush growth, the Black-gold Philo grows best in above-average humidity.

The Philodendron Melanochrysum will appreciate you placing a humidifier near the plant or occasionally misting the foliage. Moreover, place the plant on a tray filled with water and pebbles to allow the evaporating water to travel directly to the plant.

Related: Philodendron Gloriosum: Ultimate Care Guide

Light Requirements For Philodendron Melanochrysum

The Philodendron Melanochrysum originally thrives under a forest understory where they receive a perfect amount of dappled, indirect sunlight.

So, ideally, try to replicate these conditions by placing the Philodendron Melanochrysum in bright, indirect light. Additionally, avoid exposing the Black-gold Philo to prolonged periods of direct sunlight.

Direct sunlight will scorch the plant’s foliage, turning them into a pale yellowish color with brown edges. So, place the Black-gold Philo in a corner near a window that provides early morning or late afternoon sun.

Lastly, if you plan to keep the Philodendron Melanochrysum outdoors, you’ll want to put it in a garden spot with partial to dappled shade. However, avoid full shade. Full shade can cause stunted growth, leggy stems, and small, juvenile leaflets.

Soil Requirements

When choosing the suitable potting soil for the Philodendron Melanochrysum, try to stick to moist mixtures with adequate drainage and rich in organic matter. Additionally, the Philodendron Melanochrysum prefers soil with a slightly acidic pH.

So, you can either use a pure sphagnum moss potting mix or consider making a mixture using 1/3 orchid bark, 1/3 perlite, and 1/3 peat moss or vermiculture.

Moreover, it’s advisable to replace the Philodendron Melanochrysum plant’s soil every couple of years to prevent salt accumulation via watering, which can cause brown or yellowing leaves.

You can also flush the soil periodically to get rid of most of the salts by watering the Black-gold Philo until water leaks out of the pot’s drainage holes.

Watering Guide

Watering Philodendron

Philodendron Melanochrysum is a tropical plant that requires regular watering to thrive; it generally prefers slightly moist soil during its growing seasons. Waterlogged soil will increase the likelihood of the plant developing fungal diseases or root rot.

As such, water the Philodendron Melanochrysum moderately during the spring and summer. A quick rule of thumb is to wait for the top two to three inches of soil to dry out before thoroughly rewatering.

Note that it’s best to scale back on the watering schedule once the colder months arrive as the Philodendron Melanochrysum is dormant in the winter, this will prevent overwatering.

Fertilizer Requirements

Although the Philodendron Melanochrysum will survive without regular fertilizer, it needs nutrient-rich soil to thrive and produce large, healthy foliage. So, the Philodendron Melanochrysum benefits from regular fertilizing during the spring and summer.

Therefore, be sure to provide a well-balanced liquid fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer. Note that it’s vital to dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended dose to prevent over-fertilizing.

Then, stop feeding the Philodendron Melanochrysum during the fall and winter as it becomes dormant during this time. The plant’s nutrient requirements decrease with temperature drops, and overfertilizing will only cause additional salt crystals that will scorch the plant and kill it.

Pruning Guide

Generally, the Philodendron Melanochrysum does not require pruning other than maintaining its shape and size. Additionally, many plant growers prefer cutting off the flower spathes to redirect the plant’s energy back to its beautiful foliage.

However, if you notice sickly yellow, damaged, or dead leaves, snip them away using a sharp, sterilized pair of scissors, knife or pruning shears to keep the Philo healthy.

More so, provide a sphagnum moss growing pole to allow the Black-gold Philo to trail up the stick; therefore, promoting growth and minimizing the need for overgrowth-pruning.

Pro tip: After a trimming session, use the healthy stem cuttings to propagate the rare Philo instead of throwing them away.

Potting And Repotting Philodendron Melanochrysum

Transplanting a Philodendron into a new pot

This is a fast-growing plant that tends to outgrow its pot rapidly, especially when young. Therefore it generally needs repotting every year to prevent it from becoming root-bound.

When repotting the Philo, use a new pot only slightly larger (2 to 3 inches) than the previous one.

The best time to repot the Philodendron Melanochrysum is during early spring, when the growing season starts; this will allow it to recover from the unwanted stress of repotting as quickly as possible.

Here are the repotting instructions:

Water the Philodendron Melanochrysum plant’s soil the day before transplanting; this will help reduce stress and easily dislodge the plant from its old pot. Also, prepare a new container with organically rich and well-draining soil.

Then, gently remove the Philo from its container, try to remove as much of the old soil as possible, and trim off the rotting or mushy roots.

Lastly, insert the Philo plant into its new pot, fill the remainder of the container with fresh potting soil, and lightly press the ground to remove the air pockets. Then, keep the soil consistently moist.

How To Propagate Philodendron Melanochrysum?

As with most Philo plants, propagation through stem cutting is the easiest. Additionally, this is an excellent way to reuse the trimming from healthy stems after pruning the Philodendron Melanochrysum.

Here’s how:

First, start by cutting a healthy stem with at least two nodes using a sharp, sterilized knife or pair of clean scissors. Then, be sure to cut below the node.

Next, remove the bottom of the leaves to expose the node while leaving one or two leaves on the top of the stem cutting.

Then, place the stems into the water for a few weeks, ensuring that the exposed node is fully submerged. Next, place the jar in a bright, indirect sunlight location and change the water weekly to prevent bacterial growth.

Lastly, after several weeks you will notice small roots developing from the cuttings. When the roots grow to about one inch long, plant the stem cuttings in fresh, well-draining soil, be sure to keep the Philo’s soil moist, and put the new plant in a warm, brightly lit location, away from drafts and direct sunlight.

Pests And Diseases

The Philodendron Melanochrysum is well-protected when you grow it indoors, making it relatively resistant to most pests and diseases.

That said, watch out for the following common pests and diseases:

  • Scale, mealybugs, spider mites, and fungus gnats.
  • Yellowing foliage from overwatering
  • Long, leggy stems with juvenile leaflets from too little sunlight
  • Brown leaf tips from too little watering or humidity

If the plant has pests, treat it by washing down the leaves with soapy water or using neem oil or rubbing alcohol.

Conclusion

With the proper care, your Philodendron Melanochrysum will thank you with large, evergreen heart-shaped foliage.

Although this is a pretty easy plant to care for, keep a close eye for pests and diseases and always try to mimic its native climate as best as possible.

References & Other Resources:

https://www.thespruce.com/grow-philodendron-houseplants-1902768

https://www.thespruce.com/philodendron-melanochrysum-plant-profile-5205175

https://plantophiles.com/plant-care/philodendron-melanochrysums/