Philodendron Melanochrysum Care: Philodendron Melanochrysum are is a striking aroid that many gardeners are desperate to add to their wishlist.
It is characterized by long, heart-shaped leaves and velvety margins. This makes it a popular choice.
It might surprise you to learn that this plant requires very different care than the average philodendron.
This is why I’m sharing my top tips, tricks, and hacks to make the care of philodendrons melanochrysum easy.
First, this is the reason why a juvenile philodendron melancholysum doesn’t look the same as an adult.
They could even be mistaken for older philodendrons!
As the plant grows, its long leaves will become a signature cordatum shape with a coppery sheen.
A Short, Fascinating Look at Philodendron Melanochrysum’s History
In 1886, Eduoard Andre, a European collector and horticulturist discovered the plant in the Andean foothills in Colombia. He was the one who named it after himself. It became known colloquially as “philodendron undreanum”.
Melanochrysum is the accepted botanical name. It derives its name from the Greek words melano, which means black, and chrysum, which means golden. This is why this plant is often called the black gold philodendron.
The name comes from the stunning display of gold and black flecks that mature forms of this species show when exposed to sunlight.
It can be found at 500m above sea level in Antioquia and Choco regions. This is what makes philodendron care fascinating, especially when it comes to temperature and humidity, as you’ll see in the post.
The ‘Escapees” of this plant can also be found in Costa Rica, Peru, and Ecuador. They were all introduced to the world by man in the 20th century.
Caring for the Philodendron Melanochrysum (Complete guide)
Philodendron Melanochrysum Soil Mix
It will be a relief to learn that the “philodendron rule” of providing a well-draining, airy and woody soil mixture is still applicable.
Philodendron melancholysums are attracted to soil that is both able to retain moisture and allow excess water to drain quickly. These soil mixtures usually contain a good mix of coco coir and perlite as well as worm castings, orchid bark, activated charcoal, and worm castings.
Online, you can buy pre-made monstera or philodendron mixes or make your own.
This is a tried-and-true formula for potting up beautiful melanochrysum.
- 40% coco coir
- 20% orchid bark
- 15% Perlite
- 10% activated charcoal
- 10% worm castings
- Optional: 5% pumice
This mixture is perfect for their epiphytic nature. It allows their roots to form strong attachments to the soil’s rough bits (aka a very healthy root system). ).
The melanochrysum thrives when it is exposed to lots of indirect, moderately bright light. This plant can benefit from a few hours of the cool, late afternoon or evening sun.
This plant does not tolerate direct sunlight. If you aren’t careful, the leaves can quickly turn yellow and curl.
You’ll also notice a shrinking violet if the spot is too dark. This will cause your plant to wither and eventually disappear.
This plant is not recommended to be kept in a south-facing or shaded bathroom.
What Place Should I Place this Plant? (+ Handy Measurements
You will want to place this plant in an area that gets 300-500FC (footcandles).
The handy light meter measures the room’s overall brightness in footcandles. You can even get them in an app.
The 300-500FC mark refers to good growth. This is what you should be aiming for. It’s too shaded to support this plant even if it is less than 200FC.
Philodendron Melanochrysum Watering
Instead of following a rigid watering schedule, water the plant only when it is necessary. Only water the plant when it is necessary.
This can be done quickly by placing a small wooden or chopstick in the soil. Leave it there for between 30-90 minutes, then examine the stick.
The soil’s moisture will cause water lines to form on the stick. This makes it easy to see the level of moisture in your mixture, down to the bottom.
- The stick will turn a dark brown colour if it is covered with soil. You’ll also notice soil particles sticking to the stick.
- Sticks that are moist or in the soil will have a lighter colour than dark. However, no particles will stick.
- Dry soil will not cause any colour change to the stick or soil debris.
Ideally, water the philodendron only when the soil is 2 inches or less dry.
You will need to adjust the watering schedule for your plants throughout the year, just like fertilizer. Your plant will need more water in the warmer months because its transpiration rate will rise.
The transpiration rate drops in cooler months. This means that your plant uses less water than it does in summer.
Use the above method to continue monitoring soil moisture levels. Only water when the 2 inches are dry.
Philodendron Melanochrysum Humidity
Did you notice that this plant is unique to other philodendrons I mentioned? This is the area you should pay attention to.
For philodendron melancholysum to thrive, it needs high humidity levels. Higher humidity is better.
Lower humidity levels will cause wilting, drooping, possibly browning, and even curling of leaves.
Good philodendron care starts with the right humidity levels.
You can increase humidity by adding a small humidifier in your room or grouping all of your plants together. Through transpiration, grouping creates a small humidity resource sharing area in your home.
Philodendron Melanochrysum Temperature
The philodendron melancholysum can tolerate a greater range of temperatures than humidity. This plant will thrive if kept between 60-77F (16-25C) and is happy all the time.
Keep the nighttime temperature at 53F (12C) Extremely low temperatures can cause stunted growth and possibly black ‘cold spots’ to form.
Philodendron Melanochrysum Fertilizer
You should choose a balanced fertilizer, e.g. You can choose to use 5-5-5, or a fertilizer that contains a bit more nitrogen than the other elements.
The melanochrysum’s beautiful foliage and leaf growth are due to nitrogen. A lack of it can lead to very small leaves and yellowing.
Dyna Gro’s product line has been a great success for me, particularly with the 7-9-5, 7-7-7, and 9-3-6NPK formulas. To ensure enough phosphorus, I would use the 7-7-7 or 7-9-5 formulas.
Organic fertilizer can also be used: Alaskan fish oil and marine phytoplankton are amazing, even if they seem a bit strange at first.
Plant growth hormones are really strong with Plankton-based fertilizers!
How to Apply Fertilizer in the Right Way
First, rather than fertilizing your plants once every two weeks as many guides suggest, fertilizer should be applied every time you water your plants, but only during the spring and summer seasons or when it is the warmest in your area.
This is similar to how plants feed in nature – instead of receiving large amounts of nutrients in one go, they receive a steady supply of nutrients during active growth periods.
Dilute, dilute, dilute!
It is common for beginners to forget to dilute fertilizer before they apply it to the soil. This is a huge no-no!
Your plant’s root system and sensitive stems will be permanently damaged if the solution is not diluted.
Mix 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of fertilizer (dynagro) with 1 Gallon of water (4.5 Liters). Then, I simply water my plant with this solution whenever it is dry. It’s that simple.
To be safe, dilute your fertilizer to at least half of the recommended dosage.
Allowing for Seasonal Growth Changes
This is probably something you already know. However, fertilizing your plant in winter mode (aka dormant growth) should be avoided.
The plant isn’t taking in the nutrients as quickly as it should. If left to linger, this can alter the soil pH and cause all kinds of problems including burning.
In winter, however, you will only need to water your plants sparingly (without fertilizer).
Autumn is a time to reduce fertilizer and waterings. However, it’s a good time to still water your plants when they need it.
What can I expect?
Indoors, the magnificent Philodendron Melanochrysum can climb up to a staggering 3m (9ft)! If the conditions are favourable, it can grow to a staggering 3m (9ft) in height.
The average indoor plant takes 8-10 years to grow and reach 2-5 feet in height.
However, each leaf can grow to a staggering 25-55cm in length. This plant can reach a height of 90 cm in the wild.
Philodendron Melanochrysum Pruning: Does this plant need regular pruning?
This is not a plant that requires regular maintenance or pruning. Only prune leaves that have been damaged, diseased or infested by pests.
Use a pair of pruning shears or scissors to trim your plants.
Philodendron Melanochrysum Repotting
The philodendron does not need to be repotted often. It can be repotted once in 1-2 years as it is a slow-moderate grower.
If your roots become tightly bound, or spiral around themselves, you should not break this rule. It’s okay to have a little bit of rot, but it’s best to repot severely affected plants.
You should choose a pot that is at least 1-3 inches larger than your previous pot. Make sure to have drainage holes in the pot and remove the soil from the roots.
Philodendron Melanochrysum Propagation
Although it may seem daunting to propagate rare plants, two simple methods can help you do it.
Stem cuttings are the quicker of the two, but air layering requires cutting the plant only once the roots have been established. This is why many beginners love to try air layering.
Both have been tried by me and I recommend them both. They both have high success rates.
How to Propagate Philodendron Melanochrysum by Stem Cuttings
- A stem should have a healthy node as well as one or two leaves. This stem should have a maturer stem and not a stem that has a new leaf.
- Use a pair of clean pruning scissors to cut the stem below the node. The node is the place where roots will grow from when repotted, so it’s important to include it.
- Allow the cutting to rest in the air for approximately 30-60 minutes.
- Apply the stem section that has been cut to the rooting hormone. This is an optional step, but it works for me.
- Prepare a container of moist, rich, potting soil. Place the node in the soil.
- It should be placed somewhere that receives a lot of indirect, moderately bright light.
- To quickly increase humidity levels, you can cover your plant with a large transparent ziplock bag. However, it is important to regularly check the moisture levels and to unzip the bag every 2-3 days to allow fresh air to circulate.
Promoting Philodendron Melanochrysum by Air Layering – What To
This method is most effective if your philodendron melanochrysum has already climbed up a pole.
- You will see healthy, well-established aerial roots emerging from the node.
- Wrap some wet sphagnum moss around the pole and healthy nodes. This supports thinner stems, which won’t be able to support their weight or the moss together.
- Wrap the node and moss in a transparent plastic bag, or seal food wrap by pressing seal. Be careful not to catch any leaves in the wrap. They will go mouldy! ).
- Zip ties are needed to secure plastic bags. Seal the food wrap by pressing and sealing it. I find it easier than you might think. ).
- Keep the seal’s top and bottom open. This allows new roots to descend without getting caught up.
- Every day, mist the sphagnum-moss thoroughly through the plastic bag’s open top. This prevents the moss from drying out and compacting. Do not let the moss ball air dry.
- Allow 2-3 weeks for new roots development. Are there no roots? You don’t have to cut the roots. This is why air layering is a safe and secure method of propagation.
- Remove any plastic wrap or moss from around the roots. Make sure your roots are healthy. White roots are healthy.
- Use a pair of scissors to cut the stem just below new roots.
- Place the stem cuttings in a rich, normal potting mix (see op. As usual, care for the stem cutting.
The philodendron melanochrysum is quite resistant to most pests. Scale and spider mites are the exceptions.
Scale are tiny white insects that feed on plant sap. Spider mites, small brown or red spiders, gather in groups and create tightly knitted webs.
These pests can be controlled with the help of Neem oil. It contains a chemical called Azdirachtin, which is naturally poisonous to most soft scales, spider mites, and many other pests like mealybugs, fungus gnats, and aphids.
Toxicity – Is the Philodendron Melanochrysum plant toxic to pets and children?
Yes, unfortunately! Philodendron melanochrysum is toxic and should be avoided by small children, dogs and cats.
It can cause diarrhoea and stomach problems if it is ingested.
FAQ: Your Care Questions Answered
Why is My Philodendron’s Melanochrysum leaves drooping and wilting?
Many things can cause wilting and drooping, but watering and light are the most important.
The plant can become dehydrated if it doesn’t get enough water. Philodendrons need their soil to remain evenly moist. So, soil that is too dry can lead to drooping.
Similar to the above, if your Philodendron melanochrysum doesn’t get enough light it can droop or wilt because it is trying to find better light sources. If the light is the problem, you might also see stem learning.
Why are My Philodendron Melanochrysum’s Leaves So Small?
Lack of light or fertilizer. It’s easy to fix this problem: check the lighting source in your room, and move it to brighter areas if it’s too dim.
To boost growth and nutrients, make sure you are also using a complete fertiliser.
Do I need to provide a pole for this plant to climb?
Absolutely! As it grows, this plant will need support. A pole can encourage healthy stem, root and leaf growth.
Philodendron Micans and Philodendron Melanochrysum: What’s the difference?
Although the juvenile forms of the philodendron micans (and philodendron melanchorysum) may look similar, there are many differences between these beautiful plants.
Philodendron micans can be used as a vining variety. Melanochrysum, on the other hand, is a climbing variety that grows upwards.
Different leaf markings can also be seen – melanochrysums have wider, off-white-to-cream margins while micans don’t.
There’s also the astonishing difference in rarity: while micans can usually be purchased at a local nursery or garden centre for a few dollars, melanochrysums can only be bought at specialist aroid nurseries or online auctions for several hundred dollars.
Only one thing is common between them: the juvenile leaf shapes and sizes – they are both heart-shaped, velvety, and small.
How Much is Philodendron Melanochrysum To Buy?
You can expect to pay quite a lot if you find a melanochrysum for sale right now.
Depending on the size and condition of your plant, it will cost you between $135-$235 or PS99-PS170.
Where can I buy this plant?
It is rare to find the philodendron melanochrysum. This beauty is not common in any typical nursery or garden centre.
Most likely, you’ll need to go to an aroid nursery specialist or Etsy to find amazing deals on rare specimens.
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