Philodendron Red Emerald Species Profile & Care Guide

The Philodendron Red Emerald is a captivating, tropical plant with vibrant, deep red-green leaves, and is adored by indoor plant enthusiasts.

It belongs to the large Philodendron family and is notable for its ornamental aesthetics and adaptability to indoor environments.

This article provides a comprehensive profile and care guide for this outstanding houseplant.

Philodendron Red Emerald

Profile Overview of Philodendron Red Emerald

  • Common Name: Philodendron Red Emerald
  • Scientific Name: Philodendron erubescens
  • Family: Araceae, or the arum family
  • Origin/Native Region: This beautiful plant is originally from Central and South America, particularly in regions of Colombia.
  • Growth Habit: The Red Emerald Philodendron is a climbing plant, meaning it will need support as it grows. It boasts heart-shaped leaves and can grow vigorously under ideal conditions, making it a lovely addition to any plant enthusiast’s collection.


The Philodendron Red Emerald showcases remarkable aesthetics that make it a favorite among plant enthusiasts. Its dominating appearance is defined by large, glossy, elephant-ear-shaped leaves growing on robust, slender stems.

The plant’s distinguishing element, from which it gets its name, is the strikingly deep red hue on the undersides of its leaves. Above, the leaves wear an impressive dark green shade with prominent veining – also in red.

Beautifully ornamental, the Red Emerald Philodendron garners attention whether displayed in your living room or in a balcony. It’s this combination of color, shape, and size that sets it apart from many other houseplants.

Leaf Size

The Philodendron Red Emerald’s majestic beauty is often marked by its striking leaves. These leaves are large, averaging around 12-16 inches in length and approximately 5-6 inches in width.

Their immense size contributes significantly to the plant’s lush and leafy display. When the plant is cared for properly, particularly in suitable lighting conditions, the Red Emerald’s leaf size can noticeably increase, further enhancing their overall decorative appeal.

It’s worth noting that the satisfaction derived from seeing your Philodendron prosper is proportional to the time and dedication invested into its care and maintenance.

Leaf Shape

The leaf shape of the Philodendron Red Emerald is unique and instantly recognizable, being deeply lobed and heart-shaped.

These epiphytic plants offer a visual delight with their large and lush foliage, with each leaf exhibiting a pronounced rib structure, adding further intrigue to their overall appearance.

The distinctive leaf shape, suggestive of an exotic landscape, is what sets the Philodendron Red Emerald apart while contributing to its popularity among plant enthusiasts.

Appreciating this striking leaf shape in your own indoor or outdoor space can foster a deeper admiration for nature’s extraordinary beauty and versatility.

Leaf Color

The leaf color of the Philodendron Red Emerald is an eye-catching combination of multiple hues. Mature leaves often exhibit a deep, glossy green color, which serves as the backdrop for the defining feature of this species.

Running through the center of each leaf is a vibrant red vein, an attribute that lends the plant its name – Red Emerald. This red vein varies in color intensity based on lighting conditions and general plant health.

Young leaves typically start as a reddish-bronze before transitioning to the mature deep green. This distinct color combination adds an exotic, tropical touch to your indoor setting.

Stem Characteristics

The Philodendron Red Emerald has unique, thick, and elongated stems that provide a supportive structure for the large, heart-shaped leaves.

These stems, which can grow several feet in height, are notable for their reddish hue, giving the plant its ‘red emerald’ moniker.

In strong light, the reddish tones of the stem become even more pronounced. As your plant grows, you may witness aerial roots sprouting from the stem.

These roots are a normal part of the plant’s growth and can improve its stability. Their robust architecture lends the Philodendron Red Emerald a grander visual impact in any indoor or outdoor decorum.

Mature Size

As an avid plant parent, you must be curious about how large your Philodendron Red Emerald can grow. Well, this tropical beauty can reach impressive sizes.

If planted in the ground in the right conditions, it can grow up to 20 feet tall, while indoor potted plants often reach between 3 and 6 feet.

The key lies in providing optimal conditions, and your Philodendron Red Emerald will reward you with a lush, vibrant display of large, emerald-red leaves, growing tall and wide to fill your space.

Remember, proper care can significantly influence your plant’s final size.

Care Requirements

Caring for a Philodendron Red Emerald starts with understanding its needs, rooted in its native tropical habitat. This verdant beauty thrives with the right balance of light, water, humidity, temperature, and soil conditions.

Tailoring these elements to mirror the plant’s native environment will enhance its growth and overall health.

As a houseplant enthusiast, you need to regularly check these factors, adjusting them as necessary and providing additional plant care such as fertilization, pruning, and the use of support structures.

Check out the following sections to make sure you’re providing the optimal care for your Philodendron Red Emerald.

Light Needs

The Philodendron Red Emerald is a tropical plant that thrives well in indirect light. It is capable of adapting to low light conditions, however, for optimal growth a brighter location is more suitable.

However, you will want to avoid direct, intense sunlight, as this can cause leaf burn and damage the plant. Instead, aim for a spot nearby a window that receives bright, yet filtered sunlight for most of the day.

This ability to adapt to varying light conditions makes this species a perfect indoor plant allowing for a certain level of versatility when choosing its location.

Watering Frequency

The Philodendron Red Emerald thrives on consistency, particularly regarding its watering schedule. It prefers a ‘moderate to high’ watering frequency.

For best results, allow the top soil (approximately an inch) to dry out between waterings, then water thoroughly until water drains out of the bottom of the pot.

This cycle typically transpires once a week, but it can vary based on the environment and pot size. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it’s better to underwater than overwater in uncertain situations.

Moreover, this species is sensitive to fluoride found in tap water, therefore, distilled, rainwater, or filtered water is recommended.

Humidity Preferences

The Philodendron Red Emerald thrives in a highly humid environment, typically above 60% relative humidity.

This makes it a perfect indoor plant for places with high humidity such as kitchens and bathrooms, or for owners who are willing to provide additional humidity.

It can tolerate slightly lower humidity levels, but the leaves may start to brown at the edges if the surrounding air becomes too dry.

Consider using a humidifier or a pebble tray filled with water placed underneath the plant to increase humidity.

Remember to mist the leaves regularly for optimum health and vibrant, glossy appearance.

Temperature Range

The ideal temperature range for the Philodendron Red Emerald is between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit. This tropical species thrives in warm environments, and it is not tolerant of frost.

Cooler temperatures can hinder growth and may cause leaf discoloration or fall. Keeping this species indoors can protect it from fluctuations in temperature outside this range, especially during colder months.

However, if situated outdoors, a sheltered spot with protection from cold winds would be beneficial. Continual exposure to temperatures below 60 degrees can result in severe damage or even plant death.

Hence, constant monitoring and possibly climate control may be necessary.

Soil Type & pH Preferences

The Philodendron Red Emerald thrives in a well-draining soil mix, commonly peat-based. Peaty soil helps to ensure excess water drains away, thus preventing root rot.

It also prefers slightly acidic pH levels, ideally between 6.0 and 7.0. The slightly acidic environment is conducive for nutrient uptake, promoting lush and healthy growth.

Too alkaline or acidic soil can lead to chlorosis, a condition where leaves lose their vibrant color. To maintain the pH level, you can add a bit of vinegar to the watering solution or use a pH-specific soil mix.

Regularly checking the soil pH can help in providing the right care.

Growth & Propagation

Philodendron Red Emerald is a relatively fast-growing plant that is easy to propagate through stem cuttings. The seasonal active growth period of the plant is mostly during the warmer months of spring and summer.

When it comes to potting and repotting, always ensure that you use a high-quality, well-draining potting mix. Furthermore, it is recommended to repot the plant every 2-3 years as it outgrows its pot.

Understanding these growth and propagation needs of the Philodendron Red Emerald is vital for nurturing a healthy and thriving plant.

Growth Rate

The Philodendron Red Emerald is a moderately fast-growing species, especially when provided with the ideal growing conditions.

In the warmer months of spring and summer, you can expect more rapid growth, commonly with the emergence of new leaves every few weeks.

In less optimal conditions, the growth rate may slow down, but won’t halt altogether thanks to the plant’s strong resilience.

Remember to provide it with ample care and attention to enjoy its pleasing growth. As the plant matures, its aerial roots also expand, further enhancing its overall grandeur.

Propagation Methods

Propagating your Philodendron Red Emerald can be achieved in various ways, one being through stem cuttings.

You can take a cutting from your mature plant, making sure it includes at least one leaf node. This node is where your new roots will grow from.

Place the cutting in a glass of water, changing the water every few days until roots develop. Once the roots are grown, you can pot your new plant.

Another method is air layering, where you wound the plant slightly, cover it with moss, and wait for it to root. Over time, it will create a new plant that can be separated from the parent.

Season of Active Growth

The Philodendron Red Emerald is a perennial climber that primarily grows during the warmer months, generally from the beginning of spring through late summer, hence termed as the ‘Season of active growth’.

During this period, the plant frequently produces new foliage, showing off its striking red color.

However, it is crucial to remember that it will continue its photosynthetic processes throughout the year, albeit at a slower pace during the cooler months.

Thus, pay attention to the light, water, and temperature to maintain this horticultural beauty during its active growth season.

Potting and Repotting Recommendations

When it comes to potting your Philodendron Red Emerald, opt for a pot with ample drainage, ideally ceramic or terracotta as these materials allow the root system to breathe.

A pot that’s too large can lead to overwatering issues, so choose a container only slightly bigger than the root ball. Repotting should be performed every 2-3 years, or when the plant has outgrown its current pot.

The best time to repot is during the active growth season, preferably in spring. Always use fresh, well-draining soil during repotting, and avoid disturbing the roots too much to prevent shocking the plant.

Potential Issues

Like any other plant species, Philodendron Red Emerald can encounter issues that could affect its overall health and growth.

These concerns are typically environmental or related to pests and diseases. Understanding these issues is key to maintaining the beauty and vigor of your plant.

Potential problems can range from infestation of common pests, manifestation of diseases that impact the plant’s condition, to other sensitivities resulting from poor growing conditions or improper care.

Being aware of these factors not only helps you better care for your Philodendron Red Emerald, but it can also assist in preventing any potential problems from the get-go.

Common Pests

For the Philodendron Red Emerald, common pests can be a significant issue, potentially impacting its health and overall growth.

Often, you might encounter pests like aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites, which feast on the plant’s leaves, creating noticeable damage. To keep these pests at bay, regular inspections and immediate treatment are necessary.

Use a mix of water and a mild dish soap to clean the leaves or, for severe infestations, introduce a suitable insecticide.

Always try to isolate an infested plant to prevent the pests from spreading to your other flora.

Common Diseases

Philodendron Red Emerald is a quite resistant plant, but it isn’t entirely immune to diseases. The common ones your plant could suffer from include leaf spot, which manifests as brown or black spots on the foliage, often caused by overly wet conditions.

Root rot, another affliction, occurs if the plant is left in standing water leading to root degradation and causing yellowing or drooping of the leaves.

Moreover, the Philodendron Red Emerald can get a bacterial blight, signaled by a rapid wilting followed by the browning of the plant tissue. Prevent these diseases with appropriate watering, good ventilation, and observation.

Other Sensitivities

The Philodendron Red Emerald is sensitive to overwatering and poor drainage conditions which can lead to root rot. Furthermore, these plants are susceptible to stress when exposed to cold temperatures or drafts.

Sugars and other nutrients in the leaves may crystallize, causing damage to the cells. For this reason, it’s crucial to maintain a steady, warm temperature as much as possible for this subtropical species.

Lastly, Philodendrons also have sensitivities to certain chemicals which could be present in tap water. If you notice yellowing leaves, consider opting for rainwater or filtered water instead.

Special Features & Uses

The Philodendron Red Emerald is not just another houseplant. Its unique characteristics and decorative use, coupled with its known toxicity, make it a point of interest among many plant enthusiasts.

With its striking red-to-burgundy stems and heart-shaped green leaves, this philodendron species brings an added aesthetic value to your home or office.

However, be cautioned of its toxicity, especially if you have curious children or pets in the house. Let’s explore each of these aspects further.

Unique Characteristics

The Philodendron Red Emerald is particularly distinctive for a number of reasons. Its breathtaking, shiny, and deeply-hued foliage is its most commendable trait, making it a superb ornamental plant.

This species is also highly adaptable and one of the easiest host plants to propagate, making it a favorite among indoor gardeners.

Additionally, the Red Emerald’s unique ability to climb up surfaces like walls and trellises helps it stand out from other Philodendron varieties.

These are some of the unique characteristics that make the Philodendron Red Emerald a fascinating species worth exploring and cultivating.

Decorative Use

The Philodendron Red Emerald is not just a houseplant but a decorative asset, thanks to its stunning, heart-shaped, large red-tinged leaves.

They add an effective color contrast in a room brimming with green-leaved plants. They make perfect center-pieces for coffee tables or office desks owing to their manageable size.

Due to their vine-like growth habit, they also work well in hanging baskets, lending a tropical feel to your space.

When hung at a height in a room, their drooping ruby-colored foliage against a backdrop of lighter walls can make quite a visual impact. Therefore, they lend themselves towards enhancing the aesthetic appeal of any indoor setting.


The Philodendron Red Emerald can be an aesthetic addition to your houseplant collection but it’s essential to remember that this eye-catching species comes with toxicity concerns.

These plants contain calcium oxalate crystals which, if ingested or in contact with the mucous membranes, can cause irritation and swelling.

This can be particularly harmful to small children or pets. So while they beautify your environment, do keep them out of reach of those unaware of their toxic potential.

Always wear gloves when handling and pruning the plant to protect yourself from possible skin irritation.

Additional Tips & Tricks

Ensuring the optimal growth and health of your Philodendron Red Emerald might involve more than just meeting its primary care needs.

This section provides you with additional insight that can improve the growth and aesthetics of your plant.

It covers recommendations for fertilization, when and how to prune, and the need and recommendations for support structures.

With the correct approach, your Philodendron Red Emerald not only survives, but thrives, becoming a striking addition to your indoor or outdoor space.

Note that while these tips can significantly improve plant health, they are secondary to meeting the basic requirements mentioned earlier in the care guide.

Fertilization Recommendations

For optimal growth and health, your Philodendron Red Emerald requires the right nutrients. Feed it with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer, ideally once a month during the growing season.

Make sure to dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended strength to prevent root burn. In winter, reduce fertilization as the plant goes into dormancy.

It’s essential to always water the plant before fertilizing to protect the roots. Remember, over-fertilization can lead to leaf burn, so it’s better to err on the side of caution and under-fertilize your plant.

Regularly check for signs which indicate nutrient deficiency, like yellowing leaves.

Pruning & Maintenance

Maintaining your Philodendron Red Emerald doesn’t take an excessive amount of work, but there are a few tips to keep it in top condition.

Pruning the plant periodically is encouraged to promote lush, bushy growth and prevent the plant from getting leggy. Trim back the longest, oldest stems using a pair of clean, sharp scissors.

Dispose of the cut material, as it can attract pests. Pruning is best done in the growth season. Additionally, maintaining the foliage by wiping the leaves with a damp cloth can help the plant absorb more sunlight and prevent the accumulation of dust.

Support Structures

In the natural habitat of the Philodendron Red Emerald, the plant is designed to climb trees and other structures for support. At home, you are required to provide this support.

You can employ stakes, moss sticks, or trellises for this purpose. The stems will attach themselves to these structures, thereby boosting vertical growth.

The provision of a proper support structure enhances its aesthetic appeal and also prevents the stems from getting strained or damaged.

Ensuring the appropriate support structure is fundamental to the healthy growth and the beautiful appearance of your Philodendron Red Emerald.

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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