Blushing philodendron (Philodendron erubescens) is a vining houseplant that produces arrowhead-shaped leaves on bright red stems. Some cultivars have burgundy or red leaves when the plants are young, and they turn greener as they mature.
When grown as a houseplant, leaves reach up to 16 inches (40 cm) long and 8 inches (20 cm) wide. The entire plant reaches up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) in height after several years indoors (if it’s properly staked), and it lives for 10 years or more!
In this post, I’ll cover all aspects of blushing philodendron care – including how to support this climbing houseplant so it grows happily for many years in your home.
Blushing Philodendron Care
Blushing philodendron is not difficult to grow. But since it’s a vining plant, it does require some special care when it comes to staking and support. It also needs moderate humidity levels to really thrive. Otherwise, it adapts very well to indoor conditions.
Here’s a brief run-down of blushing philodendron care requirements:
- WATER: Moderate; water when soil dries to a depth of 1 inch (2.5 cm)
- HUMIDITY: Moderate
- FEEDING: Monthly during active growth
- LIGHT: Low to Bright, Filtered
- TEMPERATURE: 60 – 80 degrees F (15 – 21 degrees C)
- SAFETY: Toxic to cats, dogs, and humans; keep away from children and pets.
- DIFFICULTY: Moderate
Keep reading for more in-depth instructions, including information on potting, propagation, staking, maintenance, and troubleshooting.
Providing enough water (but not too much) is an important part of blushing philodendron care. Water your plant when the top 1 inch (2.5 cm) of potting soil becomes dry. Test soil moisture daily by inserting your finger into the soil up to the first knuckle.
Does the soil feel dry? If so, water your plant thoroughly.
Does the soil still feel moist? If so, check again the next day.
Humidity is another crucial aspect of blushing philodendron care. It needs moderate humidity levels to stimulate growth of aerial roots. Mist your plant regularly using a spray bottle filled with room-temperature water set to the “mist” setting.
When your plant is small, you can place it on a homemade humidity tray – a watertight tray filled with pebbles and water. Just make sure the bottom of the container doesn’t actually touch the water. (Keep the water line below the pebbles.)
Additionally, consider placing a high-quality humidifier in the room near your blushing philodendron. I use the Honeywell Cool Mist humidifier to keep my moisture-loving houseplants happy. If you don’t have access to a humidifier, see my post on How to Increase Humidity for Houseplants Without a Humidifier for more ideas.
Feed your blushing philodendron once a month during spring through fall. In winter, reduce feeding to once every other month. Growth will continue through the winter if the plant receives adequate light. If growing under artificial light, continue feeding once a month in winter.
Use any liquid or powder fertilizer formulated for houseplants. My favorite is Jack’s Houseplant Special. I like it because the micro–nutrient ratio supports strong roots and lots of beautiful green foliage. Plus, it doesn’t cause fertilizer burn as easily as some others on the market.
Blushing philodendron can tolerate low light to bright, filtered light. It also performs well under artificial plant lights. It’s not too picky, as long as you don’t place it in direct sunlight.
You can move this plant from room to room, take it outside for a summer vacation, or relocate to your heart’s desire without worrying it will drop leaves all over the floor. It can take a lot of moving around, as long as it receives regular filtered or artificial light.
As a tropical plant, blushing philodendron prefers warm temperatures all year. For the best results, keep temperatures between 70 – 80 degrees F (21 – 27 degrees C) during the day and 60 – 70 degrees F (15 – 21 degrees C) at night.
You can move your plant outdoors during summer if you like, but keep it out of direct sunlight. Bring it inside if temperatures rise above 80 degrees F (27 degrees C) to prevent wilting.
In my experience, the best potting soil for blushing philodendron is an African violet mix. I personally like (and use) the Black Gold African Violet Mix by Sungro, but any peaty potting mix that drains well should do the trick.
Re-pot blushing philodendron in spring or early summer once every two years until it fills a 12 inch (30cm) pot. Shift to a new pot that’s at least 4 inches (10 cm) larger in diameter than the current one. When re-potting, keep your plant attached to its support pole.
Blushing philodendron propagation is easy to do via stem cuttings or air layering. In fact, it’s one of the easiest houseplants to propagate via air layering. The University of Iowa Department of Horticulture has a great post on how to propagate houseplants via air layering if you’re interested in trying it yourself.
Although blushing philodendron is considered a vining houseplant, it doesn’t have tendrils and it doesn’t twine. You’ll have to fasten the stems to a moss-covered pole for support. Use florist’s tape and pins made from bent paperclips to gently affix the stems to the pole.
Once you’ve tied the plant to the pole, its aerial roots will slowly wrap around the support. After several years, the plant will form a column that reaches up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall and 4 feet (1.2 meters) wide.
As with other large-leaved houseplants, you’ll need to clean your blushing philodendron’s leaves occasionally to remove dust and dirt. Gently place the leaf in your hand and use a clean, damp cloth to wipe the front and back of each one.
Never use leaf-shine products on your blushing philodendron (or any other houseplants for that matter). All you need is warm water and a cloth. See my post on How to Clean Your Houseplant’s Leaves for more information. Remove dying or dead leaves as needed.
There are a few very attractive varieties of blushing philodendron you might want to check out. The most prized cultivars have increased red coloring in the leaves.
- Red Emerald – A hybrid form that produces glossy, heart-shaped leaves that emerge red and turn green with age; also has vivid red stems and leaf veins.
- Burgundy – An older variety that’s still widely available. It has less red in its leaves than Red Emerald, but still makes a lovely display. This particular cultivar won the Royal Horticulture Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
Here are some common problems houseplant growers often run into when growing blushing philodendron and solutions on how to fix them.
- Yellowing Leaves – If your blushing philodendron leaves are turning yellow, this is probably a sign of too much hot afternoon sun or over-watering. Move the plant to an area that only receives bright, indirect light, and water only when the top 1 inch (2.5 cm) soil becomes dry.
Here are some frequently asked questions related to blushing philodendron care that you might find helpful (plus my answers to them).
Is Blushing Philodendron Rare?
Blushing philodendron is not a rare plant, but it can be difficult to find as a houseplant grower – which gives the perception of rarity. It’s quite common in its native habitat of Colombia. If you want to grow it indoors in the United States, it might take some searching to find one.
Is Blushing Philodendron an Indoor Plant?
It’s often grown as a houseplant, but blushing philodendron is traditionally a tropical flowering plant native to the Colombian jungle. It’s also grown in tropical areas of the United States as an outdoor garden plant. Because it adapts well to the indoors, blushing philodendron has become a successful houseplant in temperate areas as well.
How Much Light Does a Blushing Philodendron Need?
Blushing philodendron tolerates low light, but performs best under bright, indirect or filtered light. It’s also quite happy growing under artificial plant lights like these. The ideal location is in an east- or west-facing window with the light filtered by a sheer curtain.
Where to Buy Blushing Philodendron
As I discussed above, blushing philodendron is not always easy to find locally. If you live in a tropical climate, you’re more likely to find one at a local nursery or garden center. If you live inland like me, you may have never seen one for sale in person.
If you can’t find one locally, I recommend checking the listings on Etsy. I always purchase my exotic houseplants on Etsy. Small growers seem to care more about their reputation and plant quality than large online nurseries. Plus, you can find more cultivars than you would locally!
Click here to check the current listings on Etsy for blushing philodendron. When searching on the site, it’s a good idea to search both the plant’s common name and botanical name (so you don’t miss any listings). Good luck and happy growing!