The dark green (almost black) crystalline leaves show off a bright yellow vein. The yellow vein traces its’ way through the leaf to form a unique pattern.
The crystalline appearance on the leaves resemble specks of gold. In fact, “melanochrysum” means “black gold”.
It’s these attributes that created the nickname the “Black Gold Philodendron”. Like most other Philodendrons, it’s a climbing vine plant.
The plant originates from both Columbia and Costa Rica. It also comes from the West Indies.
The Philodendron melanochrysum plant is from the Araceae family according to the University of Vermont.
Caring for one of these plants is labeled as difficult. All because it’s a tropical plant.
In reality, caring for a Philodendron melanochrysum plant is pretty basic. It isn’t too much different than other plants.
To prove how simple caring for this plant is, we created this ultimate guide.
Are you ready to dig in? Pun intended!
- 1 Philodendron Melanochrysum Care Guide
- 2 Philodendron Melanochrysum Propagation Steps
- 3 Philodendron Melanochrysums: Plant Pests
- 4 Tips for an Unhappy Philodendron Melanochrysum
- 5 Other Varieties of Philodendron Plants
- 6 Philodendron Melanochrysum FAQ
- 7 Conclusion
Philodendron Melanochrysum Care Guide
Philodendron melanochrysum plants need well-draining soil. They’re prone to wet feet (root rot), fungal diseases, and Bacterial Leaf Spot.
So, you want the soil to drain excess water out through the drainage holes in the plant’s pot.
It should still hold enough water to hydrate the Philodendron melanochrysum.
Sphagnum peat moss is perfect for Philodendron plants. It’s airy enough to drain water.
But it’s still able to hold onto the amount of water it takes to keep your plant thriving.
Plus, it’s organic matter. Philodendron melanochrysum plants do the best in soil with organic matter.
The downside of using sphagnum moss is that while it’s airy, it can sometimes hold too much water. You have to be careful when watering the plant.
You can counteract this problem by using a hydroponic net pot. There’s more space for water to escape.
The pot also speeds up evaporation so all that water won’t sit in the moss for a long time.
When it comes to one of these plants, you need to stay away from dry and sandy potting mixes.
Philodendron melanochrysum plants prefer bright shade. It’s an oxymoron, we know. Bright shade is only another term for filtered sunlight or indirect bright light.
You don’t want direct sunlight shining directly on your Philodendron melanochrysum.
It’s easy to burn the leaves of the plant. Direct sunlight also causes the yellowing of the leaves.
But it still needs some light to thrive. It’s not going to sit in complete darkness and grow.
Remember, the Philodendron melanochrysum plant is a tropical plant. These plants live in a shady area with sunlight roaring above its’ shelter.
You need to place your plant in either an east-facing or north-facing window. The plant continues to get light but it’s not shining directly down on it.
If you use grow lights, you can place the plant about six inches away from the light.
For an even and healthy plant, you should always hydrate your Philodendron melanochrysum. The soil should never dry out.
To decide whether it’s time to water, stick your finger in the soil. Push your finger down until your knuckle hits the soil.
If it’s dry down to this level, it’s time to water. If not, wait a few more days and check again.
You need to always hydrate your plant but you also don’t want to over-water either.
As we stated earlier, it’s easy to over-water Philodendron melanochrysum plants.
One of the scariest repercussions of over-watering is root rot. When there’s too much water in the soil, oxygen can’t get through to the plant’s roots. With no oxygen supply to the roots, they start to decay or rot away.
The water should have a pH of between 5.5 pH to 6 pH.
A Philodendron melanochrysum thrives between the temperatures of 70F (21C) and 80F (27C).
These plants can take temperatures down to 60F (15C). You don’t want to have the plant in any colder temperatures than that.
A Philodendron melanochrysum doesn’t necessarily need high humidity to survive. However, high humidity is still to be preferred, as it will make your Philodendron lusher and look healthier. For best results, aim for a humidity over 60%.
There are options to creating humidity for your plant if you want to turn the moisture up.
First, you can mist your plant with water. When the water evaporates, mist your plant again. You’ll have to do this on a regular basis.
The second option is to make a pebble tray for the Philodendron melanochrysum plant.
You fill a tray with pebbles. Then you fill the tray with water. Make sure the water doesn’t go above the pebbles. Place the plant pot on the tray.
As the water evaporates, it creates humidity. That humidity goes straight to your plant.
Refill the tray whenever all the water is gone.
You should only fertilize your Philodendron melanochrysum plant when the soil is moist. If you need to, lightly water it before you fertilize it.
Dry soil and fertilizer hurt a Philodendron melanochrysum’s roots.
The fertilizer you use should have a high amount of nitrogen. This ensures the plant grows to a decent size.
Never fertilize during the offseason or the colder months. Only fertilize during the growing season.
There are two main methods for propagating a Philodendron melanochrysum. The first is the traditional stem cuttings process.
The second is a technique known as “air layering”.
The Philodendron melanochrysum plant can grow between three and five feet in height. This is if the plant is grown indoors.
When a Philodendron melanochrysum is grown outside, it can grow to a towering 20 feet in height.
The plant has leaves that can grow up to two feet in length.
These are very large plants. You need to have a room that can comfortably fit both the height of the plant and the length of the leaves.
Re-potting a Philodendron melanochrysum is important. It’s based on your plant’s growth and how fast you’d like it to grow.
It takes a year to two years for one of these plants to outgrow their pots. And once it grows too big for its’ pot, it’s time to move on up.
When you go to re-pot a Philodendron melanochrysum, only move it to a pot that’s a little bit bigger than the original.
Philodendron Melanochrysum Propagation Steps
Propagating Philodendron melanochrysum plants can be an interesting process.
One method, air layering, is a lot different than the methods for other plants. It gives you a break from the same old routine.
But if you don’t want to switch up methods, you can still go with the comfortable stem cutting method.
You should always propagate a Philodendron melanochrysum during growing season. Never during the off season.
Using Stem Cuttings
- It’s time to get a stem cutting for propagation. To get a cutting, you need to prune one from your Philodendron melanochrysum plant. Always use pruning scissors. The stem cutting you prune should be somewhere between two and four inches in length. This is so it’s able to take root. Make sure you cut the stem cutting right above a leaf node. There should be two leaves on the cutting, if not more.
- Before you start your second plant, you need to cure your stem cutting. Curing is when one end of the cutting callouses over. Lay your stem cutting out for five to seven days. The cutting needs to sit out in a warm area of your home.
- While you wait for the cutting to cure, get the pot ready for your new Philodendron melanochrysum. Make sure you having well-draining soil, such as sphagnum peat moss.
- When your stem cutting callouses, it’s ready to plant. Make a small hole in the soil that will fit your cutting. Place the stem cutting in this hole.
- Sometimes stem cuttings aren’t able to support themselves. You can remedy this situation by tying a straw to the cutting.
- Now it’s time to take care of your new Philodendron melanochrysum plant. You care for it the same way you care for the mother plant.
Using Air Layering
- Your first step is to wound the stem of your Philodendron melanochrysum plant. You’ll need a sharp and clean knife. Cut the stem to make a wound that’s about two inches in depth and length.
- Take a toothpick and stick it inside the wound. Position it so it’s holding the wound you created open.
- Now you need a handful of moist sphagnum peat moss. It has to be moist so it sticks to the stem of the plant. Rub the Sphagnum moss around the wound. If the Sphagnum moss dries, get it wet again so it stays sticking for the moment.
- Once you’ve applied the moss to the plant, tie a string around the moss. This will help hold the moss to the wound. This step isn’t required if the moss stays sticking while you do step five.
- Wrap plastic wrap around the wound. It should be larger than the wound area. Make sure you wrap it as tight as you can. Use duct tape or another strong tape to hold the plastic wrap on the plant. Now the sphagnum peat moss isn’t going anywhere.
- It takes two to three weeks for roots to grow from the sphagnum moss. Once the plant’s roots have grown to a decent length, you can remove the stem from your mother plant. Cut right above and right below the moss.
- Remove the plastic wrap from the stem cutting. You don’t have to worry about much of a mess at this point. Be careful with the roots.
- While you were waiting for the roots to grow, you should have gotten a pot with soil ready for your new plant. Plant your new roots.
- If the stem can’t hold itself up, tie a straw to it. But with roots, the cutting should be fine.
- Now you take care of your new plant. Water it, fertilize is, and make sure it gets adequate lighting. Watch it grow into a brand new Philodendron melanochrysum.
Philodendron Melanochrysums: Plant Pests
As with any plant, some problems can come up when caring for a Philodendron melanochrysum.
The first risk to worry about is the plant pest aphids. Aphids aren’t fun pests to deal with.
They have back legs that bend like a cricket’s and long antennas. We don’t even want to discuss the cornicles that protrude from their back ends.
Looking at an aphid under a microscope would be terrifying.
Aphids are hard to get rid of because they reproduce like crazy. This means they multiple like crazy.
These pests feed off the sap or the lifeline of your Philodendron melanochrysum.
Stealing the sap means they steal the nutrition and hydration from the plant too.
Without these key elements, a plant can’t go into photosynthesis. It can’t feed itself or grow or thrive.
But that isn’t the only negative effect of these insects. Aphids carry plant diseases from one plant to another.
One disease spread to Philodendron melanochrysums from aphids is the Dasheen mosaic virus.
This plant virus starts with light green patterns tracing the front of your plant’s leaves. Feathery patches form between the veins.
In most cases, this virus doesn’t become serious. And the damage isn’t severe. But this is only one example of the many diseases carried by aphids.
Mealybugs are another insect that likes to infest Philodendron melanochrysum plants.
These cottony pests feed off your plant as well.
Before you even know what’s going on, a small infestation has jumped to a large infestation. And large infestations are difficult to control or to get rid of.
The biggest sign of an infestation is cotton fluff on your plant, especially under the leaves. This is where the bugs like to hide.
Sometimes this cotton fluff looks like a spider’s web.
It’s important to get rid of mealybugs as soon as you find out you have an infestation on your plant.
Some mealybugs feed off the roots of your plant instead of feeding on the leaves.
They’re hard to detect. You have to pull your Philodendron melanochrysum out of its’ soil to examine the roots close up.
Most of the time, mealybugs aren’t detected until it’s too late. These pests can end up damaging your plant for good. Or worse, they can kill your plant.
Tips for an Unhappy Philodendron Melanochrysum
Philodendron melanochrysum plants don’t have to be a pain to care for. But situations are going to come up where your plant isn’t doing as well as you hoped.
These tips are to help you keep your Melanochrysum happy and healthy.
If your Philodendron melanochrysum is dropping leaves, you may be overwatering your plant. Or you may have over-watered your plant enough that it has root rot.
To be sure between only over-watering and that your plant has root rot, you feel the soil. You can usually tell if the soil is too saturated or not.
Next, you have to gently remove the Philodendron melanochrysum from its’ pot.
Examine the plant’s roots. The roots will be darker than they should be. And the roots will stink. They are rotting, after all.
It’s easy to correct the situation if you’re over-watering. You have to water your Philodendron melanochrysum plant less.
But if your plant has root rot, correcting the situation is harder.
A plant isn’t always salvageable. Since you don’t see root rot happening, it’s often caught too late.
You need to toss out a plant with root rot that’s too far advanced.
When you’re lucky enough to catch root rot early, you can try to save your Philodendron melanochrysum.
You have to clean the roots of your plant. Once you’ve cleaned the roots from dirt, sterilize a pair of pruning scissors. Isopropyl alcohol works well for sterilization.
With the pruning scissors, prune all the affected roots. There should be zero rotting roots connected to your plant when you’re finished.
Your Philodendron Melanochrysum Has Brown Leaves
The symptom of brown leaves on a Philodendron melanochrysum can mean a lot of things. Brown leaves can mean many conditions and issues.
But one of the lesser-known causes of brown leaves is from a high amount of salt in your plant’s soil.
Too much soluble salt comes from fertilizer. Every time you fertilize your plant, the salt adds up in the soil.
This is why it’s important to do a soil flush from time to time. Soil flushes are an easy process.
To do a soil flush, turn on your faucet at a slow speed. Run the water over the soil of your plant for ten to fifteen minutes.
Let the water drain completely before you place your plant back in its’ usual spot.
Your Philodendron Melanochrysum’s Leaves Have Necrotic Spots
A Philodendron melanochrysum plant with necrotic spots might have Bacterial Leaf Spot.
Bacterial Leaf Spot is caused by bacteria. Wet environments create bacteria that attack your plant.
The bacteria spread to plants in several ways, including by the wind.
According to the University of Minnesota, the necrotic spots start as a small dark spot on the leaf.
Ugly leaves aren’t the only consequence of Bacterial Leaf Spot. This plant disease can kill the leaves if it isn’t treated soon enough.
The best way to combat Bacterial Spot Disease is by removing the infected parts right away.
Other Varieties of Philodendron Plants
The Philodendron melanochrysum plant isn’t the only Philodendron out there. The number of species would blow your mind.
Below are some of the more interesting species for you to check out.
Philodendron cordatums have glossy green heart-shaped leaves. They’re perfect as hanging plants since they vine out as they get bigger. Hang one on your indoor porch or in your living room.
We love this plant because of its’ funky leaves. The leaves aren’t heart-shaped like many Philodendrons. Instead, they’re shaped like serrated fingers. Many serrated fingers.
Philodendron scandens micans
The Philodendron scandens micans plant is dark green with almost a purple tint to the leaves. They have a velvety texture that you’ll enjoy the feel of.
Like the Philodendron selloum, this plant has glossy leaves that resemble many fingers. It can grow to amazing heights if it has the room to do so. If you have a room with a high roof, see how big you can get yours to grow.
Philodendron Melanochrysum FAQ
Why are the leaves on my Philodendron melanochrysum turning funny colors?
Has your Philodendron melanochrysum plant been extra dusty? Dust clogs the pores of your plant which causes it to turn different colors. Start dusting your plant regularly.
Why are the leaves on my Philodendron melanochrysum so small?
The leaves of Philodendron melanochrysum should be quite large. When the leaves aren’t growing, it means you aren’t fertilizing your plant enough. It’s not getting all the nutrients needed. You’ll need to start fertilizing it more often.
Are Philodendron melanochrysum plants toxic?
Yes, Philodendron melanochrysum plants are toxic when ingested. It’s toxic for both humans and pets. Also, some people develop a rash on their skin from touching the plant or the sap.
Philodendron melanochrysum plants fit into any indoor tropical collection. You can make growing the largest leaves into a competition.
Just make sure you have plenty of room in your home for the plant to grow. Show us your biggest Philodendron Melanochrysum leaves in the comment section.