Philodendron plants have been growing in the tropical forests of America for centuries and have been a popular houseplant since Victorian times. A philodendron Imperial Red, sometimes called a “Blushing Philodendron” or a “Red-leaf Philodendron,” is one of several hybrid philodendrons that have been developed by growers over the last few years. It is a member of the Araceae family of aroids. When small it is an excellent plant that can sit on a table or desk. As a philodendron “Imperial Red” matures and the leaves spread out laterally, it makes an impressive floor plant. This is an easy-care plant that can adapt to all kinds of conditions if you keep it warm.
Philodendron Imperial Red – Description
There are two main types of philodendron plants, climbers and self-headers. The heart-leaf philodendron is an example of a small climber. Without some form of support, the stems of a climber philodendron hang down. Many climbers produce aerial roots to help them cling to poles, wall, or large trees. The other main philodendron group is the self-header. The plants in this category are much larger than climbers and have much bigger leaves. A philodendron imperial red is an example of a self-header. It has glossy, wide, bright green and red, oval-shaped leaves spaced very close together on a single stem. This barely visible stem, which is usually only seen when the older, bottom leaves of the plant fall off, keeps a Philodendron Imperial Red upright and elegant looking. This plant, when grown indoors, can easily reach a height of 2-3ft and a leaf spread of 2-3 ft. It has stiff stems that are strong and firm enough to keep the plant growing straight up as it matures.
Varieties of Self- Header Philodendron Plants
Here are a few examples of other popular philodendron hybrids that are close relatives of the philodendron imperial red, have the same care requirements, and grow about the same size.
Philodendron “Imperial Green” has smooth, shiny, green leaves that fan out in all directions, sometimes reaching out as far as 3ft (90cm).
Philodendron “Black Cardinal” has wide, oval leaves that start out as burgundy and gradually become a blackish green or dark brown color.
Philodendron “Emerald Prince” has glossy, green, elongated, oval leaves and grows 18”- 20” (45cm-50cm) tall and 36”- 40 “(90cm -100cm) wide.
Philodendron “Moonlight has bright, lemon/lime new leaves that turn a darker green as the plant matures. This plant may also produce large, pinkish, spathe like flowers even as a houseplant.
Philodendron “Red Emerald” has deep, reddish/wine-colored stems, and long, elongated, heart shaped leaves.
Philodendron “Autumn” has large, copper-red, new leaves that turn a dark glossy green, with splashes of yellow as the plant matures.
P. Imperial Green P. Autumn P. Midnight P. Black Cardinal
Quick Care Tips for a Philodendron Imperial Red
Warm temperatures – minimum of 55°F (12.8°C) in winter
Fertilize only when the plant is actively growing
Avoid direct sun
These plants are poisonous and should be kept away from children, cats, dogs, and other pets. Read more about common houseplants that are poisonous in my book: Don’t Feed Me to Your Cat: A Guide to Poisonous Houseplants.
Your Philodendron Imperial Red could probably survive in a dark corner for a little while, but it certainly wouldn’t thrive. I’d recommend putting it in medium or bright indirect light.
You are killing your Philodendron Imperial Red with kindness. The plant is losing leaves because the roots are staying wet and never being allowed to dry out. Start by allow the soil to totally dry out. Once that happens, water well and then do not water again until the top 50% of the soil has dried out. Fertilize monthly when the plant is actively growing with a balanced food diluted to ½ the recommended strength. If the plant is not producing new leaves, it doesn’t need any plant food.
As the leaves on a Philodendron Imperial Red mature they do become greener. Placing your plant in a brighter location will help maintain the red for a longer period of time.