Philodendron Imperial Red
Philodendron,  Plant Care

Philodendron Imperial Red

Welcome to our guide to Philodendron Imperial Red care and propagation…

Philodendron Imperial Red Summary

Light needs:Bright indirect sunlight.
Watering needs:Water when the top layer of soil is dry.
Fertilizer:Feed once a month in spring and summer.
Soil:Rich but really well draining compost.
Temperature:18°C to 25°C (64-77°F).
Where to buy:Try our list of Rare Plant Shops or Etsy.
Common issues:Overwatering.


The Philodendron Imperial Red, a.k.a. the red leaf philodendron, is a philodendron with dark red leaves, known for its amazing foliage that look like dark greeny-purple leather, and new growth that spurts out dark red before turning a dark purple green. It is easy enough to care for too…

See also: Philodendron Burle Marx Fantasy, Philodendron Esmeraldense Care, Philodendron Goeldii, Philodendron Lemon Lime, Philodendron Lupinum Care.

Tip: we recommend Etsy for buying plants. Look for the best rated seller you can, and try to buy as close to your home as possible so the plant does not travel too far.

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Philodendron Imperial Red Light Needs

Ideal light is bright indirect sunlight.

How Often to Water

Water when the top layer of soil is dry. Check it once a week.

Tip: underwater this plant rather than overwater it, they must not sit in soggy soil as they get root rot easily. Check the soil and only water if mostly dry, and make sure you don’t leave the pot wat in any excess water.


Feed your imperial red a balanced fertilizer once a month in spring and summer.


Ideal soil is a rich but really well draining compost. A mix of orchid bark, perlite and a good potting compost is ideal. For more on Philodendron soil see our guide on what to buy or how to make your own: Philodendron Soil.

When To Repot A Philodendron Imperial Red

Repot when it is root bound. You’ll see roots growing from the base. I check all my plants at Easter time so that I can pot them up a size if needed for the warmer growing months.


They like 50% humidity. Most households are 30-50%, so they should be fine in most homes, just keep them in a more humid room.


Normal household temperature of 18°C to 25°C (64-77°F) is ideal. try to keep them above 12°C (54°F) as a minimum at night and in the winter.

Where To Buy

Try out list of Rare Plant Shops. Or Etsy.

Philodendron Imperial Red Propagation

You can propagate an imperial red really easily.

Follow these steps to propagate it:

  1. Take a cutting, make sure you get at least one node, as the roots will grow from it. And at least one leaf.
  2. Let the cuttings callous over for an hour or two to reduce risk of rot.
  3. Put the cutting in a cup of pre-soaked sphagnum moss, with the node under the moss.
  4. Put the cutting in a warm place with bright indirect sunlight and wait for it to root.
  5. Keep it moist.
  6. You should see the root growth in a month and then the plant will develop both roots and new growth from the top.
  7. You can then pot them up into a well draining soil mix.

We go into more detail on on propagating philodendrons, in our guide here: How To Propagate Philodendron.

Philodendron Imperial Red Vs Prince Of Orange

The imperial red is much darker with dark purple leaves emerging and then hardening off to dark green. The prince of orange’s new leaves are light orange, which then harden off to luscious green leaves.

Philodendron Imperial Red USDA Zone

They can grow outdoors year-round in zones 9-11.

Philodendron Imperial Red Vs Rojo Congo

They are both fairly similar, but can be told apart wit ha few checks. The rojo congo’s leaves are bigger and darker, they look like burgundy leather almost. The imperial red leaves are green with a red tint and are more elongated and thinner, they start off red and get greener as they mature.

Are They Toxic To Cats?

They are toxic to cats and can cause sickness and oral numbness, seek vets advice immediately if your pet eats any.

How Big Do They Get?

They can grow to over a meter (just over 3 feet) high, but not much more, and spread out to about 75cm (30 inches) or so wide. They can take up to 5 years to reach maturity.

Does Imperial Red Philodendron Climb?

It is a climbing philodendron.

For more on philodendrons see our philodendron category with all our philodendron care guides.

Imperial Red Philodendron Vs Mccolley’s Finale

The imperial red has red leaves that harden off into a burgundy color. The Mccolley’s Finale has leaves that harden off into much brighter green. For more info on the Finale see our guide: Philodendron Mccolley’s Finale.

Imperial Red Philodendron Vs Black Cardinal

In general black cardinals are a lot darker and smaller, the leaves are almost cholate colored.

Other Names

Red leaf philodendron

FAQs and Common Problems

Most issues are related to overwatering. Make sure you let the plant dry out sufficiently and give it enough drainage. Also check for pests regularly, for more info see our Houseplant Pests and Problems category.

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Philodendron Imperial Red
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