Philodendron Dark Lord Care: The Philodendron Dark Lord is an essential plant for any collection of tropical plants. The stunning plant is renowned for its striking and unusual foliage that has long, curly leaves and red undersides.
The leaves begin with bright pink or deep orange and then change to blood-red before turning into a dark green with an underbelly that is silvery maroon. Sometimes, they appear entirely black, hence its designation of the Dark Lord.
To help you maintain your plant in tip-top shape, I’ll share my top philodendron dark lord maintenance tips and offer some scientific information to back it up.
Philodendron Dark Lord Brief History & Origin
The philodendron “erubescens” dark lord is part of the huge Araceae plant family comprised of over 3,750 species.
It is indigenous to the tropical canopy in Colombia and Panama although escapees have been discovered throughout Northern Africa, the Philippines as well as Seychelles and all introduced by humankind of course. The dark Lord is a hybrid of the well-known imperial red philodendron.
In the past 15 years, this plant was relatively unknown until it gained a lot of attention thanks to its numerous Instagram videos and posts that showcased its distinctive features.
Since time, cultivators have had difficult times maintaining this plant and that’s why you’ll pay up to $100 for a cut that has 2 or more leaves.
Philodendron Dark Lord Care
Like many philodendrons your tiny (or large!) dark lord can thrive in direct, bright sunlight.
However, I’m aware that it’s not the most scientific approach, as the level of light in your home can determine the potential of your plant’s growth (more than watering or fertilizer) It’s crucial to make sure you’re doing it correctly. I adore the light gauge because of this.
It is a method of measuring the overall intensity of the foot-candle (FC) and assists to comprehend the power behind the ‘green thumbs’ of those who wear them’. The secret is that it’s nothing magical, but actual science.
Based on my personal experiences with these kinds of philodendrons, the minimum light reading required for maintenance should be 200F (this is the minimum absolute). To ensure optimal development, it is recommended to place it in a spot that receives 400 to 800FC.
In case you’re wondering, nurseries, cultivators along other retail outlets can grow the plant between 1500-2000FC! However, don’t fret about trying to get this extremely high light reading at home.
Do not be afraid to place the plant in a place that gets 3 to 4 hours of direct morning sunlight it can make a huge difference to the growth of your leaves. Likely, your plant won’t burn (even the ‘experts’ may claim otherwise).
Contrary to what people believe, the problems will only show up when plants are maintained in direct sunlight all day long, or for whole afternoons when sunlight’s rays can penetrate much less air to travel through.
Every plant is unique in every species, so make sure to keep track of what your plant responds to. Some are fond of the warm morning sun, while others prefer steady light, indirect. This is the appeal of collecting a collection. It’s entirely individual!
Philodendron Dark Lord Soil Mixture
The dark lord will thrive in an Aroid potting mix that is fast draining and full of organic matter. It typically consists of a mixture of perlite, coco coir, orchid bark, worm castings pumice, and activated charcoal.
I highly recommend and use this mix to help me fight my dark lords:
- 40% coco coir
- 15 15% orchid bark
- 15 per cent perlite
- 10% worm castings
- 10 10% pumice
- 10 10% activated charcoal
It is a great airy and woody substrate that can emulate its hemiepiphytic character. What is the key to making suitable pots is to Make sure that the mix has both drainage and retention components. It may sound counterintuitive, but Philodendrons (as most species of tropical foliage) love balance. Not too moist, but not too dry.
Here’s a Quick Breakdown of What Each Element Does
- Coco coir is famous for its capacity to hold moisture and nutrients while being quick draining
- Orchid bark gives strength and structure in mixing and aerates and creates an excellent source of positive microbes and lets roots perform their natural job and connect
- Perlite is a great way to help improve soil aeration and also prevent root rot in philodendrons.
- Worm castings (worm poo!) Organic fertilizer that is a small but full-colour nutrition palette
- Activated charcoal absorbs soil impurities and repels some insects, and stops mould
- Pumice is a different aerator as well as a drainage component
A helpful suggestion: Coarse pumice is best for older, mature Philodendrons, while fine pumice is best for younger or young philodendrons.
Philodendron Dark Lord Watering
This plant is a fan of well well-drained soil.
The strict ‘watering every day, every week’ routine is a bad idea and often causes root rot and other fungal and bacterial problems. Instead, you should get into the habit of having a regular “checking schedule,” in which you check to determine if your special plant needs water.
How to Tell When Your Plant Needs Watering
The best way to determine soil moisture levels is using a simple chopstick, place it in a couple of inches in the mix (away from the primary stem) and observe the stick as it is taken out.
- Wet soil can stick to the chopstick and cause the stick to take on a darker colour
- The moist soil will be soft to the touch (you’ll be able to press the stick into it)
- Dry soil will be hard dry, brittle, and compacted. It will not alter the hue of the stick.
You could also try the finger test of the knuckles. Put your finger in the mixing of potting soil. If it’s damp at the second or first knuckle, you can hold off on watering. If it’s dry, your plant requires a hydration drink.
How to Water Your Philodendron Dark Lord
Make sure to water every plant until it is completely dry at these drainage holes. This applies to ALL plants you have, including succulents and cacti.
The water doesn’t just help keep the mixture moist, but it draws fresh air through the roots (ironically aiding in preventing the root from rotting).
Be sure to fill the pot with water all around the pot, not just in one place also.
Myth Buster: Giving your plant just a bit of water is much better than overwatering. A. False. This isn’t the proper method of watering a plant. The issue of overwatering is beyond the subject of this blog article, However, in terms of a simple explanation, it’s not caused by the amount of water you consume, however, it’s more about it’s the amount of time you water coupled with the soil’s amount of aeration.
Here’s Why Moisture Meters Don’t Work (And Why I Never Promote Them)
A lot of my readers are asking why I didn’t invest in a moisture gauge as of yet and there’s an obvious reason They don’t work! (Sorry! ).
Many people have reached me to say they’ve tried the moisture meter but had terrible results.
Moisture meters do not measure the amount of water in your soil(what ?!). Instead, they assess how conductive your soil is, the concept that the more conductive the soil, it’s the greater amount of water that your soil has…BUT fertilizers are contaminated with salts that can drastically alter readings, and mixes contain charcoal, bark pumice, and even worm castings.
The majority of things interfere when you read these numbers. Save your money.
You need to maintain your dark Lord in a warm place. Between 70-85degF (21degC-29degC) and you’ll be amazed by the growth. Anything that is above 60 degrees (15degC) is the ideal temperature, however.
A higher temperature will stimulate your plant to create more intense maroon/jet black colours.
Anything less than 55degF (12.5degC) can cause slow growth, wilting or even death.
The plant is a humidity enthusiast, imagine 70 percent+. It is true, but it can handle more normal levels (40-50 per cent).
A higher level of humidity will result in larger leaves, as well as a steady growth each year.
How to Increase Humidity Levels in Your Home (2 Effective Methods)
- Make use of a small humidifier
- Collect plants to create the appearance of a mini-biome where plants can share the ‘humidity resources’ through the process known as transpiration.
Myth buster: Covering a tray with water with pebbles can help boost humidity. A. Absolute myth. Water trays and misting have been proved to increase the humidity levels of the plant’s immediate environs. Misting, in particular, has only marginal benefits when it comes to misting. Once the water sprays it is scattered throughout the area. It does not stay within the plant.
Philodendron Dark Lord Fertilizer
There are a variety of choices available from the available options. To get the best results, I suggest buying a full liquid fertilizer that is focused on potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorous.
It’s written in the form of NPK or number numbers e.g 5-5-5 on bottles of fertilizer.
Best Fertilizer for the Philodendron Dark Lord
Dyna Gro’s formulation 7-9-5 is one that I’ve personally tried and experienced great results with. My philodendron prince as well as my Pink Princess look stunning!
Dyna Gro 7-9-5 includes all six macronutrients as well as 10 micronutrients that your philodendron dark lord needs to flourish. It’s the multi-vitamin equivalent of plants. Home gardeners have also been successful with this fertilizer. Check out all the 5-star reviews.
Alternately, you could make use of a balanced liquid fertilizer for houseplants.
How to Fertilize Your Philodendron Dark Lord
Simply dilute 1 teaspoon of fertilizer liquid (Dyna or all-purpose) by adding 1 gallon of water (4.5 litres) and then use the water to ‘water’ your plants. Every time.
This process is similar to the natural process the plants get the same amount of nutrients for days rather than a big swallow every month.
This is often described as maintenance feeding. But don’t let it fool you Your philodendron will continue to develop.
Will This Method Burn My Plant?
Yes, that’s the appeal. Remember, we dilute the fertilizer by half, then again by half. I’ve had no issues with root burns with this method.
Can I Use an Organic Fertilizer Instead?
Yes, absolutely. Keep in mind it is true that organic fertilisers require microbes and bacteria to break them down to release nutrients. Therefore, when you’re trying to correct deficiencies in nutrients quickly organics aren’t the best option.
Alaska Fish Emulsion is an excellent product (albeit somewhat sour). It’s loaded with nitrogen, is natural and gentle which means it’s not likely to cause burns to the roots.
Other organic fertilizers that are popular are the extract of seaweed, kelp meal tea drops and worm tea. Organic fertilizers are generally less nitrogen overall however they are a powerhouse when it comes to planting growth hormones, such as gibberellins and auxins.
Is More Fertilizer Better for my Plant?
No! A lot of fertilizer can destroy your houseplant of the moment. Fertilizers, specifically synthetic chemical ones, are laden with residual salts that in large quantities could burn the roots and cause the plant to die. It is usually better to use less when it comes to fertilizers.
Can I Choose a Cheap Fertilizer – Will it Make Any Difference?
I would not. The cheap fertilizers contain extra nitrogen salts that can rapidly accumulate in the soil of the plant.
In time, this can alter the soil’s pH and can result in root and stem burns that are difficult to treat.
The majority of philodendrons struggle with roots that are bound (despite what you’ve been advised) The philodendron’s dark lord isn’t any different. Once it has been around for a while, it can result in the growth slowing down.
To ensure that your plant is healthy and happy, make sure to look for the following signs that it is in need to be relocated:
- The roots are shooting upwards from the bottom or top of the pot.
- Its roots are circling the base (root connected)
- The plant requires daily watering significantly more frequently than it was previously (root connected)
- The soil (potting mix) isn’t being changed for one calendar year (nutrients have been depleted)
- The soil is very compacted.
- It’s showing signs of slowing or even poor growth.
Repotting can cause minor discomfort to your plants However, being root-bound can cause more stress, which is why it’s worth doing.
When you repotting, be sure to follow these steps:
- Repot at the start of spring, as it’s beginning the new growth phase
- Pick a pot that’s only a bit wider than your previous pot.
- Choose a pot that has drainage holes.
- Make a mix of high-quality potting soils with organic content
Attention: Just bought your tiny dark lord Philodendron from the store? It’s probably going to need immediate repotting. Sellers typically sell plants when they’ve reached their capacity to grow.
Growth – What Can I Expect?
The dark lord of the philodendron can be as tall as 6 feet tall and 3-4 feet in width! It’s pretty large, therefore expect it to fill up lots of space. It’s not small.
The bulk of the area is taken up by the tall, 1-3 inches stems as well as large, arrow-shaped leaves that are dangling effortlessly around the saucepan.
Pruning is more often focused on aesthetics than health, it’s about creating.
The philodendron’s dark lord doesn’t require frequent pruning. You should also consider cutting leaves that are damaged, dead or turning brown, yellow, or show indications of pest infestations.
To trim, you’ll need to make use of an edgy and well-maintained pair of pruning tools.
Philodendron Dark Lord Propagation: How to Propagate a Philodendron Dark Lord
The easiest method of propagating your dark lord is cutting a top stem (not cuttings of leaves) from the mature dark lord and placing it in a deep organic soil mix.
Healthy dark lords will produce lots of aerial stems. Cut the node just below it with a lot of aerial stems sprouting from it.
To spread, you’ll need to take the following steps:
- Make a small container of perlite, coco coir in a moist state, and the worm castings.
- If you look at from the top part of the mature dark lord of philodendron pick a healthy portion of the stem that contains 1-2 nodes and aerial roots.
- If you have a good pair of pruning scissors take the stem and cut it at the point where it is beneath the point.
- Dip the fresh-cut stem into an encapsulation solution for rooting or powder.
- Place the stem in the mix that you made and ensure that the roots are dug about 2 inches deep within the mix.
- Fill the remaining part of the container with leftover pots and potting mix.
- Make sure to rinse the water thoroughly.
- Put it in a space that receives plenty of indirect, bright light.
Roots may take three weeks to grow sometimes taking longer. To know when roots are beginning to grow, gently tug (and I’m talking about very gently) at the base of the plant. If you notice some resistance, then you’ve got roots.
I’ve just imported this Plant. What do I need to know?
Here are some important things you’ll need to know about your dark Lord after its arrival.
Your Plant’s Roots Will Probably be Wrapped in Moss. Remove It.
The moss is wrapped around the root ball to keep it moist during transport however it can become an absolute nuisance if it is it is potted.
If the moss surrounding your roots gets too dry, it can form a tangle and increases the likelihood of soil being waterlogged after it is you water it. It’s not good.
Remove before planting.
Your Leaves Might Die (All of Them) – But This is Completely Normal.
You should be sure that you’re not purchasing a plant simply just because you like the leaves it has presently Most of the time, they’ll be dead and then fall off. The stress of transit is a real problem that causes plants to lose all the leaves they came with. But, it’s normal.
You did nothing wrong. Give it a few seasons for the new leaf to come into.
You’ll Need to Isolate and Sanitise it Before Adding it to Your Plant Collection.
You can isolate your plant for a couple of weeks and then rub some of the oil of neem over the stems and leaves to keep pests and diseases from getting spread to the rest of your collection of plants.
A few plant owners soak their plants into a dilute hydrogen peroxide solution for just a few seconds to eliminate anything they may have missed. I’ve never personally tried this and, honestly, wouldn’t suggest it.
It Will Suffer Some Transit Shock – But You Can Mitigate its Effects.
Add diluted super thrive to your soil after you have repotted the area. This is effective stress relief. There is a chance that you’ll shed those beautiful leaves but it can help your root system to recover.
Common Pests & Diseases to Watch Out For
They are extremely resistant to bugs and diseases. The most important things to look for are:
- Mealybugs are fuzzy, white non-armored sap-sucking bugs that are round in form
- Spider mites are tiny sap-sucking insects that are yellowish that create intricate webs
- Scale – black or brown insects that suck the sap
- Thrips are tiny yellow, dark brown or tiny bugs that nibble on the leaf’s surface
- Erwinia Blight Disease – wet and mushy lesions appearing on the leaves and stems
How to Treat Common Houseplant Pests
Mealybugs are treated by cutting them down, or by applying rubbing alcohol-soaked cotton swabs onto the affected areas.
Spider mites can be removed by cutting down areas that are infested before spraying the foliage with the oil of Neem dilute in water.
Scale, when treating small infestations, will respond well to pruning and the use of rubbing alcohol. For more extensive infestations, you’ll likely have to remove the plant.
The treatment for thrips is cutting them and applying diluted neem oil treatment.
Neem oil is a plant oil with natural insecticidal properties. It’s an environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic insecticides.
What to do if your plant is suffering from Erwinia Blight Disease
Erwinia Blight Disease is much more simple to prevent than to treat. It’s a bacterial infection that results in mushy, wet like patches on plants.
It begins at the soil surface and then progresses to the stems. If ignored, can lead to dry lesions on the leaves.
Erwinia is an illness that is serious enough to cause the death of your philodendron within days. It’s caused by excess watering coming from the overhead (this is the main reason I suggest you not mist on the foliage).
Prune the affected leaves, alter mixing the mix for potting, reduce the application of water, and allow the plants to spread out between them to speed up drying. Unfortunately, the bactericides have been proven to not work against erwinia Blight.
When the illness has spread to a lot of leaves, or too many parts on the stem to be incurable.
Toxicity – Is the Philodendron Dark Lord Toxic?
Unfortunately, yes. The dark lord of philodendron is one of the most poisonous plants for pets, cats, and small children when ingested. It has small oxalate crystals that are poisonous.
Help! What’s Wrong With My Plant? – Common Dark Lord Philodendron Problems
1. Leaves do not have the characteristic green colouring
If your dark lord philodendron is kept at a cool temperature the leaves begin inducing lesser chlorophyll (known as chlorosis) and have a dull green colour. This can be seen on lower leaves first.
Direct light or nutritional deficiencies may cause this to fade. Place your dark lord in the appropriate lighting levels and feeding it an entire fertilizer will assist in solving this issue.
2. Leaves are Turning Yellow
Be aware that the plant can change colour in the natural course of time. I’ve seen healthy leaves that have some hints of yellow. However, if your leaves are turning completely yellow it could be a problem.
The yellow leaves may be the result of overwatering underwatering, excessive heat and low temperatures and an insufficient intake of nutrients.
Sometimes, common sense is required to figure out the root of the issue. Consider whether any of these are likely to reveal what’s causing the problem.
3. Leaf Edges are Turning Brown
Brown edges on leaves of the philodendron are usually a sign of the plant’s water level dropping. It’s usually the first sign your plant gives you that it’s not receiving enough water.
Verify the pot’s quality mix and ensure that there are no dry, compacted lumps. If your mix appears to be separating towards the edges of your pot or appears hard, it should be aerated and thorough watering as quickly as is feasible to avoid any further destruction.
The potting mix must be completely damp all the way (not damp, but not soggy).
4. Leaves are Turning Different Colors
It’s not an issue! It’s a positive sign. The dark lord philodendron can naturally change from orange-red before changing to maroon or jet black colour. Sometimes, they will revert to light green. This is normal and leaves shouldn’t be cut back.
5. Some Stems are Very Red Whilst Others Aren’t
It’s not a problem. Certain items have a red hue, while others produce a lighter red. It’s a completely normal colour.
6. The Stems are Very Leggy and Drooping
Leggyness in this plant could be normal because its stems are normally long. However, if you notice that the plant you have is losing its shape and it is looking sagging it is a clear indication that your plant requires support.
It is a climbing variety, and it will therefore grow upwards. Make use of stakes and poles for supporting the growth. Also, it’s possible that the plant isn’t getting enough sunlight.
Common FAQ – Philodendron Dark Lord
Should I Provide a Climbing Pole for my Philodendron Dark Lord?
Yes. A climbing pole covered in coco coir or moss can aid in stabilizing this plant as it develops. The most healthful dark lords I’ve observed are those with at the very least a pole or stakes to support them.
The pole encourages aerial roots to connect to the mesh, leading to greater growth.
How Do I Get my Philodendron Dark Lord to Grow Faster?
The growth of a plant is completely determined by the amount of sunlight it is exposed to. If you’d like your dark lord philodendron to expand faster, you’ll have to put it in an area that is warm and receives plenty of indirect, bright light with three to four hours of the direct morning cool sunlight.
It is also important to maintain the humidity at a high level and supply a full fertilizer.
Does my Philodendron Dark Lord Like Full Sun?
The dark lord of the philodendron will endure 1-3 hours of cold morning sunlight but not much more than the limit. It will burn and scorch it, leaving unattractive brown edges, as well as darkened marks on the leaves.
Can I Keep my Philodendron Outdoors?
Yes, you can, provided you have the shade cloth or similar to shield it from direct sunlight. A shade cloth of 20-40% is ideal. It’s best for zones 9b-11 when it is grown outside. You can determine which zone you’re in by looking at the following diagram.
The temperature should not fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit and should be brought inside well before the first signs of frost appear (if you are in the northern part of the country).
Where Can I Buy a Philodendron Dark Lord?
Dark lords of Philodendron are a rare and sought-after item among plant enthusiasts. They can be found on Etsy or specialist nurseries. Make sure you are on the waitlist, or even attend an auction on the internet on this species, specifically when it’s matured.
How Much Does a Philodendron Dark Lord Cost to Buy?
Prices will be based on the condition of the plant as well as its age and size however, you should expect to pay anything from 60-$570 on this particular plant.
Looking for other articles on our plant guides, then check this out