Philodendron Imperial Red Species Profile & Care Guide

The Philodendron Imperial Red is a tropical, evergreen, ornamental plant widely recognised for its uniquely colored foliage.

Boasting a mix of deep burgundy and rich, glossy red leaves, this variety of Philodendron adds an eye-catching pop of color to any interior environment.

Its aesthetic appeal coupled with easy maintenance make it a favorite among both beginner and experienced plant enthusiasts.

Philodendron Imperial Red

Profile Overview

The Philodendron Imperial Red is a stunning tropical plant treasured for its lush, colorful leaves. Find out more about this vibrant houseplant below:

  • Common Name: Philodendron Imperial Red
  • Scientific Name: Philodendron erubescens
  • Family: Araceae
  • Origin/Native Region: Tropical rainforests of South America
  • Growth Habit: Upright growth pattern with large, glossy leaves. It is known to be an easy-to-care-for houseplant, making it a popular choice among plant enthusiasts.


The Philodendron Imperial Red flaunts a large, lush, and wide foliage. Its magnificence lies in its dark, glossy leaves that have a tinge of copper and are often compared to a painter’s palette.

This large-leafed philodendron makes for an attractive indoor plant, adding a pop of color and freshness to any room or commercial space.

The plant’s charm is further accentuated by the different colors the leaves transform to – from bright red when young, to a rich, deep burgundy when mature.

The intriguing pattern of foliage color evolution makes this variety a unique and beloved choice of plant enthusiasts.

Leaf Size

The Philodendron Imperial Red, as an impressive tropical plant, displays fairly large leaves. These heart-shaped leaves can typically reach a size of about 8 to 16 inches in length, lending the plant a lush and verdant appearance.

The sheer size of the leaves is a key factor in making this Philodendron species a popular indoor plant, as it provides the visual benefit of adding a dramatic element to your interior decor.

It is this expansive leaf size that also means the plant can be an effective improvement to indoor air quality; large leaf surfaces can effectively absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen.

Leaf Shape

The Philodendron Imperial Red displays a stunning heart or spade-shaped leaf structure. This feature forms an attractive point of interest for plant admirers and enthusiasts.

The leaves’ shape helps them capture and utilize light more effectively, which is crucial for the plant’s photosynthesis process.

This natural design adds to the plant’s exotic appeal, making it a fine choice for home or office decoration.

Notably, the versatility in the shape of its leaves does not affect its need for care and maintenance.

The Philodrendon Imperial Red remains a relatively easy plant to care for, despite its intricate leaf shape.

Leaf Color

The Philodendron Imperial Red, as the name implies, features a stunning color combination that is hard to ignore.

Its leaves showcase a beautiful blend of colors, normally ranging from a bright, glossy red when they are new, gradually transitioning to a deeper burgundy as they mature.

The under part of the leaf can contain shades of pink or purple. This vibrant and warm palette gives the plant its unique appeal.

However, be aware that the precise leaf color may vary based on the plant’s exposure to light, with more intensity yielding a richer color.

Stem Characteristics

The Philodendron Imperial Red has upright and strong stems that support its vibrant foliage. The stout and sturdy stem structure typically has a glossy surface. The stem’s color range spans from a deep green to a reddish hue, mirroring the leaves’ transition colors.

This versatile plant does not have the usual climbing tendencies seen in many other philodendron varieties, and instead grows in an upright bushy form, meaning there are no tendrils or aerial roots erupting from the stem.

The robust stem structure contributes to its suitability as an indoor decorative plant, as it can tolerate a degree of neglect.

Mature Size

The Philodendron Imperial Red achieves mature size within three to five years, given the right conditions. This evergreen perennial plant can grow from 2 to 3 feet wide and about 3 feet tall indoors, when provided with proper care.

The large, glossy, vibrant red-purplish leaves can reach up to 30 inches in length and 20 inches in breadth, creating a majestic and impactful display.

However, outdoor grown plants in tropical climates can reach heights of up to 10 feet or more. Remember, the actual size may vary depending on various factors such as lighting, watering frequency, and the quality of the soil.

Care Requirements

When it comes to caring for your Philodendron Imperial Red, one must understand that consistent attention is key.

This plant’s health and vibrancy largely thrive on optimal light, appropriate watering, temperature, humidity, and the type of soil & its pH level.

While they are considered to be low-maintenance, you should ensure that you meet all these requirements. The following sub-sections will provide a detailed description of these needs.

Ensuring these conditions will help keep your plant healthy and beautiful.

Light Needs

The Philodendron Imperial Red can thrive in various light conditions. Despite this versatility, the ideal conditions are bright, indirect light for optimal growth and leaf color development.

Too much direct sunshine might cause the leaves to burn, while a lack of ample light can lead to leggy growth and reduced vibrancy.

If you notice the leaves turning pale, it’s a sign of too much light. On the other hand, if the plant isn’t producing new vibrant leaves, you may need to increase the amount of light.

Remember, each home environment can vary, so observe your Philodendron’s behavior to understand its specific light requirements.

Watering Frequency

For the optimal care of your Philodendron Imperial Red, it’s crucial to understand its watering requirements. Typically, this plant prefers a regular watering schedule, especially during the warmer summer months.

Water the plant thoroughly when the top one to two inches of soil becomes dry. Overwatering can lead to root rot, a common issue with Philodendrons.

In the cooler months, reduce watering frequency as the plant’s growth slows. Remember, it’s always better to under-water than overwater as the plant is more resilient to drought than to prolonged wet conditions.

Humidity Preferences

The Philodendron Imperial Red thrives in high humidity levels, ideally between 60% to 90%. Its tropical heritage makes it particularly fond of moist environments.

However, it is capable of tolerating lower levels of humidity, making it adaptable to most indoor environments. Dry indoor air can cause the leaves to blemish or brown at the tips.

To ensure your Philodendron Imperial Red stays happy, provide it with a humid environment. You can achieve this by placing a humidifier close, using a pebble tray filled with water, or misting the leaves regularly.

Avoid misting in cooler temperatures as it can promote fungus growth.

Temperature Range

The Philodendron Imperial Red prefers a tropical climate, thriving in temperature ranges between 60 to 75°F (15 to 24°C) during the day and no lower than 55°F (13°C) at night.

If temperatures drop below this, the plant may experience growth retardation or damage. Ensure that the plant is protected from cold drafts, including those from air conditioners or windows during winter.

Extremes in temperature, both hot and cold, can affect the plant’s health, resulting in leaf damage or discoloration. Always maintain a consistent, temperate climate to ensure your Philodendron Imperial Red flourishes.

Soil Type & pH Preferences

The Philodendron Imperial Red isn’t picky about its soil; it thrives in well-draining, loamy potting mixes. These plants do not tolerate waterlogged soils because they can cause root rot.

As for pH, it prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH 6.0-7.5). However, it can tolerate slightly alkaline conditions as well. Amending the soil with organic matter such as compost or peat moss can help to achieve the right balance of nutrient-density and drainage.

If unsure about your soil quality, you can do a quick soil test using a soil pH test kit available commercially.

Growth & Propagation

In the context of the Philodendron Imperial Red, understanding the growth and propagation aspects can be instrumental to its successful cultivation.

This segment outlines the plant’s rate of growth, suitable propagation methods, its active growth season, and guidelines for potting and repotting the plant.

These characteristics play crucial roles in maintaining the plant’s health and vigor. Also, they determine how fast and how large the plant can grow under appropriate conditions, the suitable period for multiplying the plant, and the steps to follow when changing the plant’s pot.

These guidelines are vital to ensure your Philodendron Imperial Red flourishes beautifully in your indoor or outdoor garden.

Growth Rate

The Philodendron Imperial Red has a moderate growth rate. Unlike some other houseplants, this doesn’t necessarily mean rapid or uncontrolled expansion.

Rather, you can expect steady and consistent growth from your Philodendron Imperial Red, provided it is given the right conditions.

The growth speed depends on a variety of factors, such as the amount of light, water, humidity, temperature, and soil type. In general, it may reach its mature size in about two to three years.

It’s essential to note that slower growth is not a sign of an unhealthy plant; it’s merely a characteristic of this particular species.

Propagation Methods

Propagation of the Philodendron Imperial Red can be accomplished primarily through stem cuttings, which is the most popular and common method.

This involves cutting a section of the stem with at least two nodes and placing it in water or moist soil to allow roots to form. You should ensure the cutting is taken from a healthy and mature plant during the spring or summer months.

For best results, keep the cutting in a warm spot with indirect light until new growth emerges. This method is advantageous as it usually results in robust new plants that mirror the parent in appearance and vitality.

Season of Active Growth

The Philodendron Imperial Red actively grows throughout the warmer months, typically starting in the spring and going through to the end of summer.

During this time, you can expect to see new leaves unfurling, providing the plant with adequate light, warmth, and humidity. As fall rolls in, the growth rate may slow down due to reduced light and temperature.

In winter, the plant goes into a rest period and needs less water. This seasonal pattern of growth should be taken into account when considering watering, fertilizing, and other care procedures.

Potting and Repotting Recommendations

Philodendrons, including the Imperial Red variety, thrive in regular potting soil with a little extra perlite added for increased drainage.

Initially, choose a pot only slightly larger than the root ball. Over-potting can lead to water logging, a condition that encourages root rot.

As for repotting, when you notice roots emerging from the pot’s bottom holes or the plant’s growth has slowed significantly, it’s time to upgrade to a bigger pot.

Generally, repotting is required every 2-3 years. During repotting, cautiously remove excess old soil from the roots to encourage healthy new root growth.

Potential Issues

Just like any other plant, the Philodendron Imperial Red is not immune to certain issues that can arise. In order to provide optimal care for your plant, you need to be aware of potential problems and know how to prevent or deal with them in a timely manner.

The principal issues we’ll cover in this section include certain pests that may find your Philodendron attractive, common diseases that could affect the health and growth of your plant, and other sensitivities that you need to be aware of.

Each of these topics will be addressed separately in the subheadings that follow.

Common Pests

The Philodendron Imperial Red is an attractive houseplant, but not just to human eyes. A range of pests can find this plant appealing too.

The most common intruders include aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites, which can cause damage by feeding on the plant’s sap. Scale insects are another potential problem, they clamp onto the plant’s stem and leaves and suck out their nutrients.

Regular inspections of your Imperial Red Philodendron can help you identify and treat pest infestations early. If pests are detected, several methods are available to handle the situation, including insecticidal soap, neem oil, or in extreme cases, a pesticide specifically designed for houseplants.

Common Diseases

Philodendron Imperial Red is fairly disease-resistant when provided with the right care conditions. However, it can still suffer from common plant diseases such as root rot and leaf spot.

Root rot typically occurs when the plant is waterlogged due to excessive watering or poor soil drainage. It leads to decayed roots, wilting, and stunted growth.

To prevent this, ensure your plant has well-draining soil and is not overwatered. On the other hand, leaf spot is a fungal or bacterial disease that causes spots on leaves.

To manage this, remove affected leaves and avoid getting the leaves wet when watering your plant.

Other Sensitivities

Philodendron Imperial Red has a crucial sensitivity towards overwatering. Standing water can lead to root rot, which can severely decline the plant’s health. It’s also sensitive to cold temperatures less than 15°C (59°F), as they originate from warmer regions.

Exposure to cold can cause leaf drop and stunted growth. Direct sunlight is another sensitivity, making the leaves turn a sunny yellow and lose their beautiful red hue.

Therefore it’s important to ensure the right amounts of lighting, temperature, and water to prevent such sensitivities.

Special Features & Uses

The Philodendron Imperial Red is not just a visually captivating houseplant; it also boasts some unique features and uses worth noting. Its luxurious red-toned foliage and easy-care nature make it a popular choice for interior decoration.

Despite its aesthetic appeal, it’s crucial to remember that this plant has toxicity levels that pose a threat to household pets. Let’s delve into the unique characteristics, decorative use, and toxicity of the Philodendron Imperial Red.

Unique Characteristics

The Philodendron Imperial Red is renowned for its spectacular foliage. It boasts large, glossy leaves that unfurl in a bright red shade then transition to a deep burgundy as they mature.

Distinctly, the newest foliage is brighter, providing a stunning contrast to older leaves. This plant stands out for its compact growth pattern, as unlike many Philodendrons, it grows upright rather than vining or climbing, making it a great choice for indoor decoration.

Also, Philodendron Imperial Red is capable of cleaning airborne toxins, contributing to a healthier indoor environment. This quality leads it to be recognized as an air-purifying plant.

Decorative Use

The Philodendron Imperial Red can make a compelling decorative houseplant due to its vibrant, red leaves and its luxurious, tropical vibe.

Its striking coloration can bring a pop of color to your indoor decor while the large, glossy leaves add texture and visual appeal.

The plant is flexible enough to fit into various decorative styles, from modern and minimalist to a more rustic or boho-inspired aesthetic.

Despite it being substantial in size, it fits neatly in corners or as a standalone specimen on a plant stand, where it can draw the eye and establish strong, visual interest.


The Philodendron Imperial Red, like other members of the Philodendron genus, contains calcium oxalate crystals. These are toxic to humans and pets if ingested, causing a severe burning sensation in the mouth, throat, and stomach.

Symptoms can also include vomiting, drooling, and difficulty swallowing. The plant can also cause skin irritation on contact in some individuals.

Despite these hazards, the Philodendron Imperial Red is often chosen for its stunning visual appeal. Simply ensure it is positioned out of reach of children and pets or in areas where accidental ingestion is unlikely to occur.

Additional Tips & Tricks

When it comes to the Philodendron Imperial Red, there are quite a few additional pointers to help you or anyone maintain its stunning aesthetics and ensure a healthy, vibrant growth.

This section will provide extra guidance, exploring topics like recommended fertilization practices, preferred pruning and maintenance techniques, and whether or not to consider any support structures.

Each of these pieces of advice is designed to further enhance your experience of growing and caring for the majestic Philodendron Imperial Red.

The goal is to facilitate your journey with this beautiful indoor plant, making it more enjoyable and less stressful.

Fertilization Recommendations

The Philodendron Imperial Red will appreciate regular fertilization during the growing season. Ideally, you should fertilize once a month from spring through fall with a houseplant-rated fertilizer.

Use a balanced fertilizer diluted to half-strength to avoid overwhelming the plant with nutrients that it may not utilize fully. During the dormant winter months, fertilizing should be greatly reduced, if not stopped.

The choice of fertilizer matters, it’s recommended to use organic, like compost or well-rotted manure, or a balanced liquid fertilizer. Always ensure to water thoroughly after feeding to distribute the nutrients and prevent root burn.

Pruning & Maintenance

The Philodendron Imperial Red is low-maintenance and requires minimal pruning. It’s only necessary when you want to control its size, shape, or remove dead or yellow leaves.

Always use clean, sharp tools to prevent the spread of disease. You should carry out any major pruning in the spring, giving the plant plenty of time to recover.

Regularly dusting the leaves with a damp cloth maintains the plant’s health and appearance. More so, it also allows for better photosynthesis.

A gentle loosening of the topsoil without damaging the roots can also help as part of routine maintenance. Rotate your plant occasionally ensuring all sides get an equal amount of light.

Support Structures

When it comes to the Philodendron Imperial Red, support structures aren’t much of a concern. This is due to the self-heading (non-vining) nature of this plant which grows upright on its own without requiring external support.

However, as the plant matures and its large, glossy leaves become heavier, a little extra support won’t harm. You can use a simple stake placed in the center of the pot for the plant to lean against.

The stake can also be helpful through the early stages of the plant’s growth, helping it to maintain its upright form. But remember, staking is an optional step for this particular species.

Houseplants   Philodendrons   Updated: November 11, 2023
avatar Hi, I'm Amy, a devoted horticulturist and the creator of, where I use my expertise to help beginners foster their green thumbs. My blog is a vibrant community where I unravel the complexities of gardening and share my profound love for nature.
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