The Araceae plant family comprises 1800 species and the most interesting member of this big happy family is Philodendron Melanochrysum. The long, heart-shaped leaves of this plant carry dark shades of green which is complemented with beautiful patterns of yellow veins. All in all, Philodendron Melanochrysum is an instant eye-catcher which is why it is commonly used as a houseplant.
What most people don’t know is how this desirable plant survives with unique care requirements. However, the good news is that its care requirements are super easy to follow, even if you are a newbie. Just read this comprehensive guideline to learn how to care best for your new green friend.
A complete guide about the features, care, and propagation of the most desirable plant that survives with unique care requirements known as Philodendron Melanochrysum.
Philodendron Melanochrysum Classification
Type: Perennial, vine
To thoroughly understand the needs of this plant, it is important to take a step back and look at its diverse history.
In 1886, this plant was first discovered in Columbian Andean foothills by Eduoard Andre. Mesmerized and fascinated by its beauty, the European collector decided to reward himself and named it after himself. Hence, initially, it was known as Philodendron andreanum.
Now, the botanical name assigned to it is Philodendron Melanochrysum. The Greeks are credited for the mouthful word of Melanochrysum which means black gold.
Its deep green color bears a strong resemblance to black whereas the smooth texture shines as if it’s covered with specs of gold, hence it is also known as Black Gold Philodendron.
Hailing from Columbia, Costa Rica, and the West Indies, this plant is classified as a tropical plant. Since it grows 500m above sea level, therefore its care requirements are quite different from that of an average plant.
The Appearance of Philodendron Melanochrysum
Like every other plant. Philodendron melanochrysum fully blooms in its most perfect form after going through various phases. The young plant’s leaves start with hues of brown and scarlet.
In the second stage of growth, the leaves change to bronzy red-brown. However, when the plant reaches the pinnacle of its natural splendor, the mature leaves develop a striking dark green color.
Just like the color of the leaves changes rapidly, so does their size. The small leaves of a young philodendron melanochrysum eventually turn into long heart-shaped beauties.
Not to forget that its leaves are notoriously famous for being as long as 25cm. These leaves can get even longer if you nurture the plant in ideal conditions.
It is important to point out that its leaves grow in a straight, downward direction which is why the main stem can easily bend down. Although this isn’t a big problem, still it is advisable to place your plant in tall pots. The velvety texture covering the leaves with a glossy finish and pale yellow patterned veins enhances the plant’s overall look.
Philodendron Melanochrysum Care
Caring for your philo melano growth requires you to provide it with a suitable environment. This becomes more important when it is out of its natural habitat. To nurture this sensitive creature, you must make sure to supply it with the right type of soil, water, and sunlight.
In the following passages, we will be discussing these factors in detail:
With the genes of a tropical plant, Philodendron Melanochrysum is naturally designed to thrive and grow under bright shade. A good amount of bright, indirect light will instantly rejuvenate this plant and keep it fresh. Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight for a long time.
Unlike other plants, this one does not respond well to direct sunlight as the leaves burn easily. Being cautious with its light arrangement does not mean that you have to place it in a dark corner. On the contrary, you have to create a well-balanced light setup for it.
Ideally, you can position it in an east-facing or a north-facing window, or you can keep it near a window. Be careful to change and check its position on bright sunny days. Similarly, you can place it in a room that receives 300-500Foot Candles. Just use any light meter to calculate the light intensity of a room in FC.
Keep in mind that this adaptable plant can be nurtured with indoor grow lights. If you are planning to use artificial lights as a substitute for sunlight, then make sure to place these plants six inches away from the light.
We all know that water is a source of life and plants like Philodendron Melanochrysum are no exception to nature’s rule. These plants love a good routine of hydration, however, special care must be taken to avoid overwatering. Your healthy plant will start decaying with root rot if it is overwatered.
Rather than setting a fixed watering routine for your plant, it is better to judge and ascertain its water needs. Keep in mind that prolonged dry spells will be harmful to the growth of this plant.
Use the following methods to figure out your plant’s hydration level:
Check Moisture Level With A Stick
Place a chopstick or a wooden stick in its soil mixture.
Take out the stick after 30-90 minutes. If the stick comes out with a dark color and soil particles then it means the soil is wet.
On the other hand, a slight change in color of the stick with no soil particles sticking to it indicates that the soil mixture is moist. Lastly, if the stick comes out empty and with no change in color then you are stuck with a dry soil mixture.
Check Moisture Level By Hand
If the above-mentioned method does not seem to be your cup of tea then you can always work your way around with this simpler method.
Just stick your finger in the soil and push it all the way through till your knuckles hit the soil. After reaching this point, if you feel dryness in the soil then you should water it instantly. However, if you can feel the mixture be damp then wait for a few days before watering it.
As a general rule, these plants should be watered when the top 2 to 3 inches of the soil mixture are dry.
Choosing and arranging the correct soil mixture for Philodendron Melanochrysum is extremely important. These plants require a balanced base for growth in the form of a well-draining soil mixture.
Sphagnum peat moss with its airy, organic matter works as a magic formula for this plant. However, one has to be mindful with watering when using this mixture as it can absorb too much water. It is advisable to pair this soil mixture with a hydroponic net pot as it provides ample space for water drainage.
If you want your philo melano to stay true to its roots then you can use a tropical soil mix for it. Alternatively, you can use soil mixtures that contain a balanced ratio of perlite, worm castings, coco coir, activated charcoal, and orchid bark.
If you are up for a DIY project, then you can treat your plant with a homemade soil mixture by using:
- 20% orchid bark
- 40% coco coir
- 10% activated charcoal
- 10% worm castings
This wholesome formula is easy to make and will fasten the growth of your plant.
As a tropical plant, Philodendron Melanochrysum loves warm temperatures. With that being said, these plants will quickly adapt to an average household temperature that lies within the range of 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Temperature settings below 60F are detrimental to the overall growth of these plants. Seasonal changes including frost, ice, snow, and extreme winters harm the growth of this sensitive plant.
In such weather, you must protect your green friend by keeping it indoors and by making sure that the temperature inside does not drop below 60F.
Generally, humans detest humid weather conditions, however, these plants crave high humidity levels. This specific need makes it different and unique from the other species of Philodendron. Let’s just say your plant will be happiest if the humidity level is 70% or more.
While this may seem like an unusual requirement by a plant, still it makes complete sense keeping in mind how these plants grow 500m above sea level. Low humidity levels will have severe consequences like drooping, browning, or wilting of the leaves.
If you are looking for a quick fix to manage the humidity level, then you might consider placing a humidifier near your plant. Additionally creating a group of these plants together will help as they become a humidity-sharing resource for each other.
These plants require a healthy amount of fertilizer for growth and nutrition. Most gardeners consider fertilizers as an optional item, however, it certainly is necessary for philo melanochrysum.
Before choosing a fertilizer, it is advisable to conduct a water test to determine what minerals your plant is already getting through the water. For the missing minerals, you can use a suitable fertilizer.
Using a fertilizer that has more Nitrogen will turn out to be a good start for your plant’s fertilization. To be honest, slow-release fertilizer pellets are most suitable for it. Liquid fertilizer is another great option to pair the soil quality of this plant.
Since it needs fertilizers regularly, hence it is recommended that you apply the fertilizer once a week or at the least once a month. Remember there is no such thing as ‘too much’ fertilizer for this type of plant.
How To Apply A Fertilizer?
Now that you know about your plant’s secret obsession with fertilizer, you might be wondering how to apply it in the right way. Most owners make the mistake of applying fertilizers without properly diluting them.
A non-diluted fertilizer has little to no benefit for your plant as it causes serious damage in the form of chemical burns to the stems and roots. Dilute your fertilizer by following these steps:
- Take ¼-½ of your fertilizer.
- Add 1 gallon of water (approximately 4.5 liters to it.
- Apply the solution to your plant.
As a general rule dilute more than 50% of the fertilizer’s recommended amount.
Philodendron Melanochrysum Propagation
Ask any gardener or plant expert and they will tell you that propagating these plants is the easiest task. Read the following method to learn how to propagate this plant:
- Take a pair of scissors or pruning shears and cut off the stem which is two to four inches long. Make sure to check the stem’s nodes as it must have at least two to three nodes.
- Now that you have cut the stem, make sure to clean off the bottom leaves from it.
- Keep these cuttings in a water pot in such a manner that the nodes are drowned in water. Position this pot in a spot that receives indirect, bright light.
- If you have followed the above step correctly, you will notice the stems will start responding by getting small roots. Make sure to check the growth of the roots. Once the roots get an inch long, you can easily reposition the stem cuttings in a well-draining potting mix.
- Place this new pot at a spot that receives bright, indirect light. Make sure to keep its soil moist for 1-2 weeks.
- After a few weeks, you can lessen the frequency of watering this plant so its soil is partially dry and it adapts to its natural growing routine.
Whether you are a plant lover or just someone looking for a non-human company, either way, you will love Philodendron Melanochrysum. This wholesome plant will bring beauty to your house decor and it will turn out to be an amazing, most accommodating housemate.
Although getting a hang of its caring routine is not so simple, still with proper knowledge and research, your little efforts can go a long way. We hope that this guideline will help you excel in the art of caring for your plant.
Just remember that the most important ingredient for your plant’s growth is not sunlight, water, soil, or fertilizer, rather it is your love and care for it.