Philodendron Esmeraldense : Big Yet Adorable Plant

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If you are looking for a houseplant that can be an attractive focal point without trying too hard or overdoing it, then you may be looking at Philodendron Esmeraldense. It is a tropical plant that is quite rare because not many of them have been found. The plant itself is a climbing type, which means that it needs support to grow bigger and better.


  • Scientific name: Philodendron Esmeraldense
  • Family: Araceae
  • Genus: Philodendron
  • Origin: Ecuador
  • pH level: 5.5 to 6.9

About Philodendron Esmeraldense

The Esmeraldense is considered a new plant, especially in the plant library. Scientists are still talking about what family it belongs, the distribution for it, and others. That’s why there’s nothing much to say about the overall origins. However, the appearance alone has attracted a lot of attentions from plant enthusiasts and collectors around the globe.

You need to remember that this is a climbing plant, which means that it usually get supports from branches and trees in the wild. If you want to have this plant indoor, you need to provide a sturdy and solid pole (such as a bamboo stalk) so your plant can climb up by using it. As long as you provide a support your plant should grow beautifully and well.

Philodendron Esmeraldense has glossy and big dark green leaves. The mature leaf can grow up to 3 inches in width and 19 inches in length. The leaves also have heavy veining and leathery texture. The young one has burgundy on the underside. This is a versatile plant, which means that you can grow it indoor as well as outdoor. However, many homeowners like to keep it indoor despite the big size and unique appearance. It will spark your living space up instantly, giving you the tropical vibe that you want.

The History

The first ever Philodendron dated back to the year 1644. They could be found in Columbia as well as the Caribbean. They could be spotted growing in swamps and river banks in Asia, Africa, and Australia. However, the Philodendron Esmeraldense originates from Lita in Ecuador. The plant was first introduced in 2008 by Dr. Tom Croat, a botanist. It gets the name Esmeraldense due to its discovery location in Esmeraldas.

Although the plant is considered rare, it doesn’t have fussy demands when it comes to caring and growth. In fact, the plant has a pretty low demand that involves indirect sunlight and well-draining soil. The plant also needs mild temperature as it can’t handle extreme temperatures (too cold or too hot).

Dr. Croat discovered this species in the lower area of the mountain and also in the wet rainforest. He found out that the plant is epiphytic and terrestrial. If you know the nature of the plant, you should be able to create the similar perfect environment for your Esmeraldense.

Soil Requirement

Esmeraldense loves well-draining soil containing many rich and organic matters. It should stay moist, not too sandy or dry. Feel free to add peat moss or perlite to the soil mixture so it loose up enough. The soil should be a bit acidic, starting from 5.5 pH level to a bit neutral of 6.9.This would be the most ideal level for the plant.

Water Requirement

The plant loves a bit moist soil. If it’s too wet or even soggy, it would turn the leaves to yellow. Water your plant actively during the active growing season. Some people can water their plants up to twice or even three times a week. However, you should develop your own watering habit. Only water when the top soil is dry. After all, the plant should be 90% dry before you can water it again. In winter, you even need to water it less.

Touch the top soil first. If it feels moist, then you don’t need to water anything. But if it feels dry, then insert your finger to around 2 inches deep. If it feels dry, then water it. But if it is still moist, don’t water it just yet. Your plant still has enough water. That’s why you should develop your own watering schedule. Knowing exactly when your plant is ‘thirsty’ can help prevent any waterlogged or overwatering problem.

Lighting Requirement

Philodendron Esmeraldense is fond of bright but indirect light. The light intensity should be just right: it shouldn’t be too much, but it shouldn’t be too little either. Esmeraldense likes being placed in the area where it can get abundant of sunlight exposure without having to fully being directed fully to it. Placing your plant close to the window is fine. It would be even better if you can have a sheer curtain so the plant will get filtered light.

Read also : Philodendron Sharoniae : Step by Step Care Guide

Humidity and Temperature

The best temperature for Philodendron Esmeraldense is between 60 degrees and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, or between 16 degrees and 29 degrees Celsius. The plant loves warm temperature. A slight hot is still fine, but it can’t tolerate cooler temperature because it will damage the plant.

The plant loves high humidity level. The best range would be between 70% and 80%, whether it is indoor or outdoor. The best humidity should be a perfect combo of damp and warm, instead of damp and cold. The latter one can develop to fungus (and other disease) because of the excessive moisture.

If you want to increase the humidity level, there are several ways to do so:

  • Misting. Do this once every several days
  • Buying humidifier. This device can instantly increase the level easily
  • Using pebble tray. The water shouldn’t touch the bottom side of the pot so there won’t be any root rot. But you should also check the water. If it is being reduced, then add a little.


Applying fertilizer once a month would be enough. After all, Philodendron Esmeraldense loves the extra nutritious food. However, you need to cut the frequency in winter. Once every two (or even three) months would do it.

Go with the organic fertilizer (like compost) or the liquid type. Make sure that you follow the directions when applying. If you use the slow release fertilizer, it would be enough to have it three times in a year. Your plant would get the needed nutrients just fine.


When you re-pot the plant, the new container should be a bit bigger (around 2 inches bigger) than the current pot. And make sure that the new pot also has a lot of drainage holes to allow proper draining. Philodendrons are prone to root bound, so it needs repotting once every 2 years or 3 years. If you see new roots coming out from the drainage holes, it means that your Esmeraldense needs repotting.



If you want to propagate Philodendron Esmeraldense, you need to do it in the beginning of spring. First, this would be the most ideal time because the plant just comes out the dormancy period. Second, if you propagate the plant this time, it would provide enough time for it to adjust itself to the new condition and situation. Plus, your Esmeraldense should have enough time to recover.

Prepare the things you need, such as the shears or scissors. They need to be clean and sharp. And it’s crucial that you sterilize them before every application. You don’t want to spread germs or bacteria. Don’t forget to wear gloves and other protective gears. Remember, Philodendron Esmeraldense is toxic. Even touching it without gloves can give you skin irritation.

If you make a stem cutting, make sure to cut 2 inches to 3 inches having a node within it. It should also have several leaves. Make sure that the stem you choose and the leaves on it are healthy.

Water Propagation

  • Use a glass jar. Fill it up with water, but there is no need to fill it up full to the top.
  • You are free to leave the water for several hours. An overnight would be ideal. It would make the chlorine dissipate before the use.
  • Place the stem cutting to it. The node should be immersed under the waterline. Leave some of the leaves above the waterline. Locate the jar in a bright and warm area.
  • Change the water regularly. When it becomes murky, change it. You can also change it once every 2 to 3 days. Don’t expose the jar to direct sunlight
  • You should be able to see roots growing. Once it happens, transplant the plant to a new pot. Prepare new and fresh potting soil mix for the cutting.

Soil Propagation

  • After you have made the stem cutting, check whether you have prepared fresh soil mix or not.
  • Prepare a new pot and have fresh soil mix in it.
  • Place the stem cutting into the soil and then cover it with the potting mix.
  • Cover the plant pot (using the plastic bag will do). This will create the inexpensive and mini version of greenhouse. Don’t forget to let the air out every now and then from the plastic bag so you can prevent microbial growth.
  • Pay attention to the proper watering regime. Your soil should be moist but not soggy or flooded.
  • After several weeks, you can check whether the roots are growing or not. Try to pull it a bit. If you feel a resistance, it’s a good sign because it means that your roots are growing and strong.

Read also : Philodendron Spiritus Sancti: The Extremely Rare and Expensive Philodendron


Philodendron Esmeraldense vs Anthurium Esmeraldense

Although they may come from the same Aroids family and they are easy to care as houseplants, they are different in terms of growth. Anthurium grows in self-heading and compact manner. It doesn’t need much support as it has aerial roots hanging downward. Philodendron, on the contrary, is different. It is both vining and also self-heading. It means that the plant can be hanging down or growing up (on a vine).

So, despite the seemingly similar name, they are different. They may come from Ecuador and have similar shape for the leaf, but Anthurium comes with smoother leaf edges while Philodendron comes with rougher leaf edges. Don’t forget to look at the petioles too. Anthurium has thin petiole, while Philodendron has shortone and fleshy appearance.

Is Esmeraldense toxic?

Unfortunately, yes. All Philodendrons are toxic for both animals and humans. If you have any of them, make sure to keep them away from kids and pets, if any.

How long can Esmeraldense live?

In general, Philodendrons have long life. They can last for many years, provided you care for them carefully and well. Meet their basic requirements and your plant won’t disappoint you.

Is Esmeraldense rare?

Philodendron Esmeraldense is considered rare because it isn’t often found out there. Not only rare, but the plant is also exotic.

How big can Philodendron Esmeraldense be?

Esmeraldense can grow to 6 feet, and even 8 feet in height (approximately around 1.8 meters to 2.4 meters). The plant is pretty big although not humongous or gigantic, which makes it still perfect as houseplants.

My Esmeraldense is turning yellow. It is also wilting. What happens to it?

If it is wilting and yellowing, it’s likely because of overwatering. If you think that you have done everything correctly, it may be caused by improper drainage. You need to check whether your pot has proper holes for drainage and observe your watering habit too.

Why is the Esmeraldense having brown spots on the leaves?

It’s possibly from too much sunlight or your plant may be exposed to direct sunlight. You need to remember that your plant only needs indirect sun exposure, not the direct type. If it is exposed to direct sun, the sun will ‘burn’ the plant, turning the leaves to brown.

What happens if my Esmeraldense doesn’t get enough light?

Philodendron Esmeraldense would be sensitive and prone to disease. The leaves and stems may elongate and leggy. They are also weaker.

What if my plant gets too much light or even direct light?

The sunlight may burn the plant. If your leaves change to yellow or even reddish and the appearance of the leaves are contorted, then it actually suffers from a burn.


Final Words

Taking care of the Esmeraldense isn’t difficult at all, but you need to make sure that all of the basic requirements are met. If you are able to combine enough light, good airflow, enough water, rich soil, and enough fertilizer, your Philodendron Esmeraldense would be fit and healthy.

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