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Red Alert: A Beginner's Guide to Philodendron 'Red Emerald' Care

Philodendron 'Red Emerald' information:

Welcome to "Red Alert: A Beginner's Guide to Philodendron Red Emerald Care". If you're ready to add some red-hot style to your home, then you're in the right place. Philodendron Red Emerald is a houseplant that's hotter than a jalapeño, and with its fiery red leaves, it's sure to make your home sizzle. But like any hot tamale, it requires a little attention to keep it from burning out. That's where we come in. In this guide, we'll show you how to keep your Philodendron Red Emerald looking its best with tips on soil, watering, lighting, and more. So, whether you're a green thumb or a beginner, get ready to turn up the heat and add some spicy style to your home with Philodendron Red Emerald!


The Philodendron 'Red Emerald' has glossy green leaves with a velvety texture that can grow up to 12 inches long. The leaves have a unique coloration that ranges from deep green to shades of bronze, burgundy, and even red. This is due to the presence of pigments such as chlorophyll, carotenoids, and anthocyanins.

Anthocyanins are responsible for the red coloration of the stems of Philodendron 'Red Emerald.' These pigments are produced by the plant in response to environmental cues such as light intensity and temperature. They serve to protect the plant from excess light and UV radiation, as well as from herbivores and pathogens.

Philodendron 'Red Emerald' is adapted to a wide range of lighting conditions, from low light to bright, indirect light. This is because the plant has evolved a range of physiological mechanisms to cope with different light intensities. For example, in low light conditions, the plant produces larger leaves with more chlorophyll to maximize light capture. In high light conditions, the plant produces smaller leaves to reduce the risk of photooxidative damage.

In addition to its stunning appearance, Philodendron 'Red Emerald' is also known for its ability to purify the air. Like most plants, it absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen during photosynthesis. But it also removes harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde, benzene, and trichloroethylene from the air. This makes it an ideal plant for improving indoor air quality.

Interesting facts and background:

Philodendron 'Red Emerald' is a relatively fast-growing plant, and can put on several inches of growth per year under the right conditions. This makes it a great choice for plant enthusiasts who enjoy seeing their plants thrive and grow over time.

Philodendron 'Red Emerald' is a member of the Araceae family, which also includes other popular houseplants such as the Monstera deliciosa and the Peace Lily.

This plant is native to the rainforests of Central and South America, where it grows as an epiphyte (a plant that grows on other plants, rather than in soil).

In the wild, this plant can reach heights of up to 20 feet tall and 8 feet wide, but it is typically much smaller when grown as a houseplant.

Philodendron 'Red Emerald' is a tropical plant cultivar that was first introduced to the horticulture industry in the 1970s. It is believed to have originated from a hybridization between two other Philodendron species, Philodendron Erubescens and Philodendron Sodiroi.

Philodendron Erubescens is a popular indoor plant commonly known as the 'Blushing Philodendron' or 'Red-Leaf Philodendron.' It is native to the rainforests of Colombia and Ecuador and is characterized by its striking red stems and green leaves with pinkish-red undersides.

Philodendron Sodiroi, on the other hand, is a relatively rare plant species that is native to the rainforests of Ecuador. It has large, glossy green leaves and is known for its ornamental value.

Philodendron 'Red Emerald' Care:


Philodendrons prefer consistently moist soil, but not waterlogged. When watering, allow the top inch of soil to dry out before watering again. Use room temperature, distilled or filtered water to avoid shocking the plant with hot or hard water.

Hard water (like in Spokane) is not necessarily bad for your Red Emerald Philodendron, but it can have negative effects on the plant over time. Hard water contains high levels of dissolved minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and iron, which can build up in the soil and cause problems such as root damage, stunted growth, and yellowing leaves. In addition, hard water can make it harder for the plant to absorb nutrients from the soil, leading to deficiencies and other issues. Using distilled or filtered water, or allowing tap water to sit out for 24 hours to allow chlorine and other chemicals to evaporate, can help prevent these problems and keep your Red Emerald Philodendron healthy.


Philodendrons prefer bright, indirect light but can tolerate lower light conditions. Avoid placing your plant in direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves.

If you don't have access to bright, indirect light, you can supplement with artificial light. A fluorescent or LED grow light placed 6-12 inches above the plant can help provide adequate light. Make sure to adjust the height of the light as the plant grows.


Philodendrons prefer well-draining soil that retains moisture. A mixture of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite works well. Avoid using heavy garden soil or potting mix that retains too much moisture.

To improve soil drainage, you can add perlite or coarse sand to your soil mixture. You can also consider adding a layer of pebbles or gravel to the bottom of the pot to help with drainage. Avoid using heavy clay soils that retain too much moisture.


When it comes to the Red Emerald Philodendron, it's important to note that the plant thrives in higher humidity levels, similar to its native habitat in Colombia. However, this can be difficult to achieve without a climate-controlled greenhouse. In areas like Spokane, WA, where the climate is dry, it may be challenging to maintain high humidity levels.

But don't worry, you can still enjoy a healthy Red Emerald Philodendron in a drier climate! In fact, we have found that our plant does fantastic in 30-50% humidity. To achieve this, we use a humidifier near our plant or place it on a pebble tray filled with water if the humidity drops below 30%, especially during the winter months.

Using a humidifier or placing a tray of water near your plant can help increase humidity levels around the plant. Another option is to group it with other plants to create a microclimate of higher humidity. Additionally, misting the leaves with water daily or a couple of times a week can help increase humidity levels around the plant.

Overall, while high humidity levels are ideal for the Red Emerald Philodendron, it's still possible to maintain a healthy plant in drier climates with some simple strategies to increase humidity levels around the plant.



Philodendrons prefer warm temperatures between 65-85°F (18-29°C). Avoid placing your plant in areas with drafts or extreme temperatures.

If you're unsure about the temperature of your plant's environment, you can use a thermometer to monitor the temperature. You can also move your plant away from windows or doors to avoid drafts and extreme temperatures.


Philodendron 'Red Emerald' can benefit from regular fertilization during the growing season, which typically runs from spring through fall. A balanced, water-soluble fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium is a good choice for this plant. You can dilute the fertilizer to half strength and apply it every two weeks during the growing season.

If you prefer to use an organic fertilizer, a slow-release fertilizer that is specifically formulated for houseplants can be a good choice. These fertilizers typically release nutrients gradually over a period of several months, which can help prevent over-fertilization and minimize the risk of fertilizer burn.

When applying fertilizer, it's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully, as over-fertilization can damage the plant's roots and lead to poor growth. Additionally, it's a good idea to water the plant thoroughly before fertilizing to help prevent fertilizer salts from accumulating in the soil.

If you notice any signs of nutrient deficiency, such as yellowing or browning leaves, you may need to adjust your fertilization schedule or use a specialized fertilizer that is specifically formulated to address the deficiency. A soil test can also be helpful in determining which nutrients may be lacking in the soil.

You can also consider using a moss pole or other support to help your plant grow upright and strong.

Philodendron 'Red Emerald' Troubleshooting:


Observing the condition of leaves is an important way to understand the health of a Red Emerald Philodendron and to identify any issues it may be experiencing. Here are some signs to look out for:

    1. Leaf drop: If your Red Emerald Philodendron is dropping leaves, it may be a sign of overwatering, underwatering, or a pest infestation. Check the soil moisture level and inspect the plant for any signs of pests.

    2. Browning leaves: Browning of the leaves can be a sign of various issues such as underwatering, over-fertilization, low humidity, or exposure to direct sunlight. Check the soil moisture level, adjust fertilization, move the plant to a shadier spot, or increase humidity to resolve the issue.

    3. Yellowing leaves: Yellowing of leaves can be a sign of nutrient deficiencies or overwatering. Check the soil moisture level and fertilize the plant appropriately.

    4. Wilting leaves: Wilting leaves are a sign of dehydration, which can be caused by underwatering or exposure to high temperatures. Check the soil moisture level, water the plant as needed, and move the plant to a cooler location.

    5. Brown spots or lesions on leaves: Brown spots or lesions can be a sign of fungal or bacterial diseases. Remove the affected leaves and improve air circulation around the plant to prevent the spread of the disease.

Common Pests:

Here are some pest problems that Red Emerald Philodendrons can face, signs to look out for, and solutions to help manage them:

  1. Spider mites: Spider mites are tiny pests that feed on the leaves of plants, causing yellowing, speckling, and webbing. Signs of a spider mite infestation on Red Emerald Philodendrons include fine webbing on the leaves, yellowing, and leaf drop. To manage spider mites, regularly inspect the plant for signs of infestation and spray the plant with an insecticidal soap or neem oil solution.

  2. Mealybugs: Mealybugs are small, white, cottony insects that suck the sap from plants, causing stunted growth, yellowing, and wilting. Signs of mealybugs on Red Emerald Philodendrons include white, cottony masses on the undersides of leaves and along stems. To manage mealybugs, manually remove the insects using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or spray the plant with an insecticidal soap or neem oil solution.

  3. Scale insects: Scale insects are small, round or oval pests that feed on the sap of plants, causing yellowing, wilting, and leaf drop. Signs of scale insects on Red Emerald Philodendrons include small, round or oval bumps on the leaves and stems. To manage scale insects, manually remove the insects using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or spray the plant with an insecticidal soap or neem oil solution.

  4. Thrips: Thrips are small, slender insects that feed on the leaves and flowers of plants, causing distortion, discoloration, and stippling. Signs of thrips on Red Emerald Philodendrons include silvery or white patches on the leaves and flowers. To manage thrips, regularly inspect the plant for signs of infestation and spray the plant with an insecticidal soap or neem oil solution.

  5. Fungus gnats: Fungus gnats are small, black flies that feed on decaying plant matter and lay their eggs in moist soil. Signs of fungus gnats on Red Emerald Philodendrons include the presence of the adult flies, as well as larvae in the soil. To manage fungus gnats, allow the top layer of soil to dry out before watering, and consider using yellow sticky traps to catch the adult flies.

It's important to regularly inspect your Red Emerald Philodendron for signs of pest infestation, as early detection can help prevent the pests from causing significant damage to the plant. In addition to the management techniques listed above, it's also important to practice good plant hygiene by regularly cleaning the leaves, avoiding overwatering, and providing good air circulation around the plant.

Depending on where you live there are many more possible pests we did not mention. We recommend reaching out to your local university gardening extension program for more information on pests specific to your area.

Philodendron 'Red Emerald' important information:

Pets and children:

In terms of health issues, Philodendron 'Red Emerald' is generally considered safe for humans and pets when grown indoors. However, the plant contains calcium oxalate crystals, which can be toxic if ingested. Symptoms of ingestion can include swelling and burning of the mouth and throat, as well as difficulty swallowing.

It is important to keep the plant out of reach of children and pets, and to avoid ingesting any part of the plant. If you suspect that someone has ingested the plant, seek medical attention immediately.

Philodendron 'Red Emerald' ideas and tips:

Moss pole: 

Philodendron 'Red Emerald' can benefit from a moss pole, especially as it grows taller. Moss poles are used to provide support for climbing plants and to help them maintain an upright shape. They are also helpful in promoting larger leaf size and improving overall plant health.

To create a moss pole, you can use a wooden or metal stake and wrap it with a layer of sphagnum moss. You can then tie the plant's stems to the moss pole using soft ties, such as garden twine or plant ties. As the plant grows, you can continue to tie it to the moss pole to help it stay upright.

Moss poles can also help increase humidity around the plant, which can be beneficial in dry indoor environments. As the sphagnum moss dries out, it will release moisture into the air, creating a small microclimate around the plant.

For a more detailed guide for creating a moss pole, click here!


Philodendron 'Red Emerald' can be propagated easily by stem cuttings. To do this, select a healthy stem with several leaves and make a clean cut just below a node. Place the cutting in a jar of water and change the water every few days to prevent bacterial growth. After a few weeks, roots should start to grow from the base of the stem. Once the roots are 1-2 inches long, the cutting can be planted in soil.

Decorating tips:

Philodendron 'Red Emerald' is a beautiful plant that can be used to add a pop of color to any room. Here are some ideas on how to use it with decor:

Statement piece: If you have a large, open space, you can use the Philodendron 'Red Emerald' as a statement piece. Place it in a large pot and use it to anchor a room or fill a corner. Keep it near a window, and consider growing it up a moss pole or another type of plant support.

Accent piece: The colorful leaves of the Philodendron 'Red Emerald' make it a great accent piece for a room. You can place it on a shelf or side table to add some visual interest.

Grouping: You can also group several Philodendron 'Red Emerald' plants together to create a lush, jungle-like feel. This can be especially effective in a room with a lot of natural light.

Pair with other plants: You can also pair the Philodendron 'Red Emerald' with other plants to create a green oasis. Try pairing it with other tropical plants like the Monstera Deliciosa or Ficus Lyrata.

When using the Philodendron 'Red Emerald' with decor, make sure to choose a pot that complements the colors of the leaves. You can also experiment with different textures and materials to create a unique look. With a little creativity, you can use this plant to enhance the decor of any room.


Overall, Philodendron 'Red Emerald' is a relatively easy plant to care for as long as you provide it with adequate light, water, and humidity. Regular monitoring and care can help keep your plant healthy and thriving.


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