Black Cardinal Philodendron Care and Growing Tips

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Looking for a houseplant that’s easy to care for but still has a “wow” factor? Look no further than the Black Cardinal Philodendron! This tropical plant boasts stunning leaves that are sure to impress. It’s an excellent choice for shady gardens in warm, frost-free regions, and its low-maintenance needs make it perfect for houseplants.

But don’t be fooled by its easy-care reputation – the Black Cardinal Philodendron exhibits a slow growth rate and features very dark leaves with a contemporary appearance that makes it perfect for city lofts or traditional settings alike.

To keep your Black Cardinal Philodendron thriving, it will need suitable growing and care conditions, including proper watering, sunlight, temperatures, humidity, and more.

In this article, we’ll look into Black Cardinal Philodendron care requirements, so you can enjoy its beauty in your home or garden. So, if you’re ready to add a touch of sophistication to your indoor or outdoor space, read on and discover the wonders of the Black Cardinal Philodendron!

Black Cardinal Philodendron Overview

Common NamesBlack Cardinal Philodendron, Blushing Philodendron, Red Leaf Philodendron
Scientific NamePhilodendron erubescens ‘Black Cardinal’
Plant TypeTropical 
Mature Size36 inches as a houseplant
Sun ExposureBright indirect light
Soil TypeRich, quick-draining, loamy
Soil pH5.5 to 6.5 (acidic to mildly acidic)
Temperature65 to 78ºF (18 to 26ºC)
Leaf ColorTransitions from burgundy to green and then to black as the plant ages
Hardiness Zones10 to 12
Native AreaCentral & South America
ToxicityToxic to humans and animals

Also known as Blushing Philodendron, the black cardinal philodendron is a stunning tropical houseplant with oval, dark green, almost dark foliage.

It is most commonly known for its dramatic leaves, starting as burgundy and changing to dark green before turning to a deep black with maturity.

Native to the Caribbean forests of South and Central America, the black cardinal philodendron comes from the Araceae family and is among the numerous Philodendron genera.

In recent years, it has gradually become a popular houseplant that grows in several households with high humidity levels.

This philodendron does best beside a window where its foliage can receive direct sunlight. Unlike several philodendrons, the black cardinal variety doesn’t climb; hence, it doesn’t require a moss pole.

This plant is a compact specie that can reach up to 3 feet (0.9 meters) tall and 1.5 feet (45.7 cm) wide.

However, the black cardinal philodendron can take about ten years to mature fully. Once foliage starts developing, it begins with bronze or burgundy before darkening to dark green.

Each of its leaves can reach 1 foot (30.4cm) long and 8 inches (20.3 cm) wide. It will hardly flower indoors, yet the blooms are not as stunning as the gorgeous foliage.

Is Black Cardinal Philodendron Rare?

Unlike a few other philodendron varieties, like the white knight philodendron, the black cardinal philodendron is not rare, even though it is a hybrid variety. It is available on online platforms, including Etsy.

You can also find them in garden centers, home depot shops, and nurseries. It is widely distributed across Australia, the United States, and Europe.

Black Cardinal Philodendron Care and Growing Guide

Even though it is very easy to care for, your black cardinal will do best if you keep it in a warm, bright spot with indirect light. It will also prefer well-draining soils and frequent moderate watering.

Meanwhile, you can repot the plant every few years, and it can resist pests and diseases. Below are the common care tips for your black cardinal philodendron;

Sunlight Needs

Like most other philodendron varieties, the black cardinal philodendron will thrive under bright, indirect sunlight. It can survive dappled or filtered sunlight via sheer curtains, but you must not allow it to get all-day, full sun to prevent it from scorching the foliage.

Instead, a few hours of morning sun accompanied by afternoon shade is recommended without indirect sunlight.

Soil Needs

The soil is usually moist and springy in its natural tropical rainforest habitat, featuring several decaying organic matters. Therefore, you must imitate this soil condition if you want your plants to thrive. We recommend soil pH levels of 5.5 to 6.5 or acidic to mildly acidic.

A commercial soil mix for your black cardinal philodendron is available for purchase. You can go for either African Violet soil or an aroid mix.

Then, the most accessible soil for this specie is 100% peat moss, as it will enhance drainage while keeping enough moisture the plant needs. It will even help if you add some well-rotted compost.

Watering Requirements

Like most other philodendrons, your black cardinal philodendrons need frequent watering to moisten the soil.

But it doesn’t mean you should overwater, as excess water could make the soil soggy, which doesn’t mean well for the plant. Let the top inch of soil dry out between watering.

The best way to check for dryness is to dip your index finger in the top inch of the soil to check for moisture level. If your plant has droopy leaves, it is a sign of overwatering or under-watering. But correcting the watering schedule will help to revive the plants.

Temperature/Humidity Needs

Most philodendron varieties cannot tolerate freezing temperatures. Hence, if you live in cold winter regions, bring your black cardinal philodendron inside before the frost season approaches.

Make sure you place it in a room with a temperature that ranges from 65 to 78 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60 degrees Fahrenheit during the night.

Fortunately, this condition also coincides with the average room temperature. Humidity-wise, even though it originates in humid and tropical climates, the black cardinal philodendron is quite hardy to low humidity.

But the best indoor humidity level should range between 30% to 50%.

You have to ensure you keep your plants out of heating vents and air conditioners, where they are prone to severe temperatures and dry air that can harm them. A humidifier will augment an area with a low humidity level.

Fertilizing Needs

Black cardinal philodendron doesn’t necessarily need much food; hence doesn’t like excessive fertilizer.

But it would help if you apply fertilizer every month in the spring and summer seasons and every six to eight weeks in the fall and winter seasons to boost the consistent growth of your plant.

Significantly, the best plant feed for your black cardinal specie is a balanced fertilizer containing equal parts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK).

This fertilizer will encourage lush foliage in your plant. Again, worm tea is advisable to give your plant a good soak for home worm composter. 

Pruning & Maintenance Needs

Black cardinal philodendron doesn’t necessarily need much pruning. But once the leaves age and turn yellow, cutting them off or pruning any damaged parts would be proper.

You can control your plant’s growth and keep it tidy by pruning it to your suitable size and giving out the cuttings as gifts to your friends or neighbors.

Potting & Repotting

Since it is a slow-grower, you can only repot your black cardinal philodendron every 2 or 3 years.

It would help to repot your plant whenever you notice roots growing out of the drainage holes or occupying the entire pot. Meanwhile, the best time to repot is during the early spring.

When repotting, endeavor to go just one pot size at a time, as excessive soil can stunt the growth of your black cardinal philodendron.

You can use a glazed or plastic pot to retain the soil’s moisture and ensure suitable drainage holes. Remember to replace the potting soil to avoid pathogens from building up.

How to Propagate Black Cardinal Philodendron

It is not a bad idea to propagate your black cardinal philodendron, especially if you want to maintain its shape, get new free plants, or gift a new plant to a neighbor or friend.

You can propagate this philodendron variety through rooting sections of the stem or division while repotting.

However, the easiest method of propagating your black cardinal philodendron is by taking a stem cutting and inserting its root in water. Follow the steps below for proper multiplication;

  1. Cut a section of your plant from the base
  2. Please insert it into a small container of water
  3. Replace the water every day until you begin to see some white bumps shooting out and starting to grow into roots
  4. Plant these cuttings in the soil and expect a new plant

Meanwhile, the best time to propagate this black cardinal specie from the root is during repotting. Hence, you must gradually cut and separate a section of roots alongside their corresponding stems. After separating them from the parent clump, repot them into a different pot.

Propagation by seed method is ineffective because it will hardly go to flower. While they might produce seed, the black cardinal philodendron is a complex hybrid that will hardly transfer its similar genetic traits through seed.

Where to Buy Black Cardinal Philodendron

Thanks to the internet, you won’t encounter many challenges locating where to buy the black cardinal philodendron, as in the present age, it is sold online.

You can visit platforms like Facebook, Instagram, eBay, or Etsy, as you will find sellers that offer the plant. You can also see it in local nurseries and even on amazon for just over $40.

Black Cardinal Philodendron Toxicity

Like wide philodendron varieties, the black cardinal philodendron is toxic to humans and animals. Every section of the plant contains calcium oxalate, made up of little crystals or raphides that will pierce delicate tissues and result in pain or swelling.

So, you must adopt every preventive measure to prevent your kids and pets from consuming or touching the plant.

Common Pests and Diseases of Black Cardinal Philodendron

Even though it is not susceptible to insects, the black cardinal philodendron can be attacked by aphids and mealybugs.

However, you can control them by wiping them off using cotton balls dipped inside rubbing alcohol. Sometimes, you can shower your plant with water and apply insecticidal soap to prevent pests attack.

In frost-free weather, you can also keep pests away by using good soil and dappled shade or bright indirect light.

Your plant also enjoys high heat and humidity. Lack of these conditions can lead to green suffusing the coloring, and its growth can become slower since the plant is channeling all of its energy in searching for more light and other favorable conditions.

However, too much light or direct sunlight can lead to scorched foliage. Even though complete or midday sun can burn the foliage, dappled sun, or full morning or evening, the sun will help the plant keep its optimal color.

In other words, your black cardinal philodendron requires the best care to prevent potential issues, including pests and diseases.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is The Black Cardinal Philodendron Fast-growing?

Black cardinal philodendron is a slow-grower and can take as long as ten years before it will reach its mature size when grown indoors or outdoors.

Do Philodendrons Prefer Climbing Or Hanging?

New philodendron leaves develop with a protective sheath around them, drying and falling off. Most philodendrons climb or hang, but as far as the black cardinal variety is concerned, it doesn’t climb or hang because it has a slow growth rate.

However, with support like a moss pole, it can climb or hang, but that is not a favorable condition for the black cardinal specie.

Are Black Cardinal Philodendrons Rare?

Black cardinal philodendron is a rare tropical and easy-to-care-for specie that can beautify your indoor space or garden. In other words, it is a stunning plant you can hardly find in the current plant market, but not as rare as the white knight variety.

Does The Black Cardinal Philodendron Require Direct Sunlight?

Like several other philodendron varieties, the black cardinal philodendron can tolerate low light conditions, thanks to its versatile nature.

But it will do best if it gets medium or indirect light. These philodendrons hate direct sunlight; hence, you should avoid placing them in direct light to avoid scorching the leaves.

Where Is The Best Spot For A Black Cardinal Philodendron?

The best place to grow a black cardinal philodendron is anywhere close to a window, as long as the area is not prone to receiving direct sunlight that will hit the plant’s foliage. If the light is too much, it can result in the yellowing of the leaves of your plant.


Black cardinal philodendron is a perfect tropical plant that will suit your indoor conditions, thanks to its low-care nature. In other words, it is a plant that can do well in every condition, both outdoors and indoors.

Its stunning features make it a rare plant, as it adds color, drama, and flair to your indoor collections, especially if you give it the proper care it desires.

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