Philodendron Melanochrysum : Favorable Velvet Leaf Climber

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It is not a surprise if the philodendron melanochrysum becomes very popular. Thanks to the beautiful heart-shaped foliage. This plant has velvet leaves that come in a dark-green color with yellow veins, making it a valuable decoration for your house.

One other characteristic that you will notice from this philodendron is its thick cream margins, making it look similar to anthurium veichii

The plant originated from the west Andean foothills of Colombia. It was founded by Eduoard Andre 1886, a European collector and horticulturist.

The mature of this black gold philodendron exhibit black and gold flecks when it is struck by the sunlight. This is why it gets this name.

The philodendron melanochrysum grows at 500 m above sea level, located in the region of Choco and Antioquia. This makes the melano plant care interesting especially when it is related to the temperature and humidity.

This plant can also be found around Peru, Ecuador, and Costa Rica.


Popular Name: Melano Plant, Velour Philodendron, Black Gold Philodendron
Adult size: 3 to 5 feet tall
Plant Type: Perennial
Sun Exposure: Filtered sunlight
Soil Type:  Airy and Well-draining soil
Toxicity: Humans and pets

Care Guide

Because its nature is from South America, the philodendron melanochrysum loves warm temperatures with filtered light and a good watering method. As the plant grows indoors, you don’t need to prune it regularly but you might just need to do it occasionally if the plant is eating the space. When the plant gets mature, it would be better to provide the plant with a trellis or moss pole to climb.

If you grow a mature philodendron melanochrysum, you will see the plant bloom although it might not be as awesome as its foliage. Many plant owners choose to get rid of the flower to get the beautiful foliage back.

leaf details – source

Water Requirements

Watering can sound tricky for those who are new to philodendron. Instead of watering by schedule, you will do it when it is necessary.

An instant way to test whether your plant needs some water is by using a chopstick. Or, you can use a small wooden stick that is pushed through the soil. Leave it for 30-90 minutes and then you can examine it.

  • If the soil is wet, it is easier to spot water lines on the stick. Therefore this is the criteria for how you will decide if your plant needs watering or not.
  • If the soil is wet, it will turn the stick to darker color because the soil particle is sticking to it.
  • If the soil is moist, it will just turn the stick to a lighter dark but there is no soil particle sticking to it.
  • If the soil is dry, there will be no change in color and there is no sticking debris either.

Another method you can use is using the knuckle method. Stick your finger into the soil, about one or two knuckles. If you see it wet/moist you don’t need to water it and vice versa.

Light Requirements

Like most philodendron plants, the melano plant cannot tolerate direct sunlight. Getting the plant a few hours of the morning or late evening sunlight can improve the foliage growth.

However, you should be careful because when it gets too much sunlight exposure, you will burn the foliage. It will discolor and curl the leaves too.

Generally, the safest way is to place your plant in an area that receives 300-500FC (footcandles) light. It will thrive perfectly. Anything that is less than 200 FC is too shaded which can stunt the growth. You can use a light meter or an app to measure the light intensity.

If you are living in a location that doesn’t get sufficient natural light, artificial grow lights are the best option. Certain lights such as purpose-made plant lights and a pole lamp that is modified can be used too.


Unlike most philodendrons, the melano plant requires very high humidity. Take a note on this one. You will need to place the plant with a humidity level minimum of 70%.

The reason to put the plant in a such high humid place is because of its nature. This plant grows 500 meters above the sea. When you put it in lower humidity, you will see the plant has drooping, wilting, curling, and browning leaves.

You might find it troublesome if you are not living near the equator. But you still have ways to increase the humidity level such as:

  • Misting the philodendron frequently so it gets sufficient moisture. However, don’t over mist the plant as it will have a greater chance to grow fungus.
  • Grouping the plants. They will give your Melano plant moisture through evapotranspiration.
  • Buying a humidifier


The philodendron melanochrysum will live well in a temperature between 60-77F or 16-25C. This plant cannot tolerate temperatures below 53F or 12C. Lower temperature can stunt the growth, and create black “cold” spots.

Read also : Philodendron Silver Sword – Beginners Guide On How To Take Care Of It


When it comes to fertilizer, you will need to choose the one that has a little more nitrogen. Nitrogen is very important for the melano plant because it is responsible for the beautiful leaf and its growth. Lack of nitrogen will cause yellowing and make it grow smaller.

Note to avoid the temptation to feed your plant with too much fertilizer because it will burn the roots. Make sure to follow the direction of the package. Besides, most fertilizers are made to be diluted with water at certain ratios.

You also might want to opt for the nutrient-dense soil for your philodendron as the natural fertilizer. However, fertilizing it with liquid fertilizer is still important because the soil can be less nutrient in the long run.

Fertilize the plant during spring and summer when it shows steady growth.

Grooming or Pruning

Philodendron melanochrysum can grow pretty quickly. Fortunately, it doesn’t require regular pruning. It can be trained by using a sized pot and sometimes a little intervention.

You will need pruning to keep the plant away from damage and disease.


Repotting is not necessarily a frequent thing to do. It is based on the plant condition. You might only need to report the plant every 1-2 years.

The only condition that requires you to report the plant is when you see the root of the plant are spirally around and growing out of drainage holes.

Make sure to choose a pot with a range size around 1-3 inches bigger with drainage holes. You might want to buy a bigger pot so you don’t have to report the plant very often. But it is a bad idea because when the pot is too big, it has a greater chance to waterlog the plant.


The philodendron melanochrysum is very easy to propagate by using the stem cutting method. Here is how to propagate the plant properly:

  • Use sterilized pruning shears, and then cut the stem by including two leaf nodes.
  • Remove the lower parts on every cutting so the nodes are exposed. So on the upper parts there are only around 2 leaves.
  • After that, you can place the cutting in the water and ensure each node (the bottom part) is submerged. Place the cutting in an area where it receives indirect sunlight.
  • After around two weeks, you will see small roots growing. If the roots have reached one inch, repot the stem in a well-draining mix.
  • Next, bring back the potted cutting to the place that receives indirect sunlight. Try to keep the mix consistency moist during the early weeks of the plantation.
  • This time, reduce the watering so the soil is partially dry.
aerial roots


Like most philodendron species, the melano plant is toxic to humans and pets. It should be kept away from children and pets including dogs and cats.

If the plants are ingested, they can cause stomach issues, diarrhea, vomiting, and mouth swelling. If your skin is in contact with the plant, you will develop itchiness. Thanks to the calcium oxalate crystals that are released.

Therefore, it is important too to use gloves when treating the plants and wash your hands afterward.

Pests and Diseases

Like many plants, the philodendron melanochrysum are also susceptible to pest and disease. The most common pests that attack the plant are aphids and mealybugs.

Aphids are hard to be removed because this animal is multiple like crazy. They live by stealing the nutrition and hydration from the plant. Furthermore, aphids also bring diseases such as Dasheen mosaic virus.

The Dasheen mosaic virus brings symptoms with the light green patterns on the leaves. Although the damage is not severe, it is pretty annoying for the eye to look at.

Meanwhile, the mealybugs are also the most common pest that attacks your philodendron which is usually staying under the leaves. It looks like a spider web if you look closely.

Most of the time, it is pretty difficult to detect mealybugs until it becomes uncontrollable. This mealybug can damage your plant and even kill it.

A common disease that often occurs on the melano plant is the left drop, brown leaves, and necrotic spots.


There are two types of philodendron melanochrysum varieties, which are:

  • The philodendron melanochrysum narrow – This variety has a more elongated form with green color leave and yellow vines.
  • philodendron melanochrysum variegated – This one has a more rounded leave resembling an elephant ear with the same yellow vines and beautiful green like the narrow variety.

Growth Rate

The philodendron melanochrysum is a moderate grower. When it is placed in an environment that mimics its natural habitat, the plant can grow around 6 to 12 inches each year.

Leaf, Flower & Seed Characteristic

  • Leaf – It has velvet foliage with beautiful dark green color and yellow veins. It comes with heart-shaped leaves with cream margins.
  • Flower – Typically, the flower will occur when the plant is getting mature but it is rare to happen when you grow it indoors. Besides, it takes a long time to grow.
  • Seeds – Because it takes a long time to bloom, obtaining the seeds will be more difficult.

Soil Requirements

For the soil requirements, you will need a woody, well-draining, and airy mix. The plant loves potting soil that can hold moisture yet still let the water drain quickly. Typically you will need a good ratio of perlite, coco coir, worm casting, activated charcoal, and orchid bark.

But don’t worry! You can always buy the pre-made mix online. If you want to make your own, you can do the following:

5% pumice (optional)
10% activated charcoal
10% worm castings
40% coco coir
20% orchid bark
15% perlite

This combination fits well with the plant’s epiphyte nature which allows its roots to attach to the soil.

Read also : Philodendron Prince Of Orange – Guide For A Thriving Plant


Why Are My Philodendron Melanochrysum’s Leaves Wilting and Dropping?

Dropping and wilting can be caused by lights and watering.

If you see the foliages start dropping, the chances are you don’t give sufficient water. The philodendron likes moistured soil so keeping the watering schedule right is important.

Similar if you don’t provide enough sunlight to your plant. It will cause wilting and dropping. However, you need to make sure that you don’t place it under direct sunlight as it will burn the foliage.

Does This Plant Need A Pole For Climbing?

Yes! You need to provide support for the plant such as a pole to promote healthy root, leaf, and stem growth.

What Is The Difference Between Philodendron Melanochrysum and Philodendron Micans?

The philodendron melanochrysum and philodendron micans look similar during their early lives. However, there are still some differences between these two plants.

First, note that the melanochrysum is a climbing variety. That means this philodendron will grow upwards. Meanwhile, the micans are a vining variety.

In terms of leaf, the melanochrysum has wide foliage with off-white to cream margins. Meanwhile, micans don’t have these characteristics.

For the rarity, you can pick micans at the nursery or garden center for just a couple of dollars. But the melanochrysums are different. They are pretty expensive and the event is often picked up by online auctions. Also, you only get it from the aroid nurseries for hundreds of dollars.

unfurling leaves

How To Get Bigger Leaves On Philodendron Melanochrysum

The reason why your philodendron melanochrysum grows smaller is that it is under-fertilized. If you want to make it bigger, it is crucial to provide sufficient nutrients.

Why Are Philodendron Melanochrysum So Expensive?

Due to the rarity and high demand, the melano plant price is raising. Another aspect that captivates many houseplant lovers around the world is its unique color and elongated leaf shape.

How Fast A Philodendron Melanochrysum Grow?

The melano plant is a moderate grower. Each year you will see the plant grow up to 12 inches when it is placed in a good condition. You can prune the plant to keep its shape and prevent it from growing out of control.

Why Is My Black Gold Philodendron Leaf Browning?

There are several reasons why the black gold philodendron leaves turn brown. One of the main reasons is the change in the environment. For example, the condition is too cold or the plant doesn’t get sufficient light. The brown leaves can also be a sign that you place the plant under direct sunlight.

Another reason why your plant is browning is you are giving too much fertilizer. If this is the case, you will need to flush the plant with water, but make sure it drains perfectly.

Can I Use Coffee Grounds for My Philodendron Melanochrysum?

Yes, you can! The coffee ground is a natural fertilizer for the plant. It applies to the philodendron melanochrysum too because it can keep the veins flexible and strong.

Is The Melano Plant Easy To Maintain?

Yes, it is easy to maintain. However, under certain circumstances, it can be quite tricky. For example when it comes to watering, fertilizing, and lights. Besides, if you are not living in a tropical area, this could be a little tricky because you need to pay more attention to humidity. The plant is native to an area 500 above sea level. Keeping the humidity above 60% is good.

How To Fix Leaf Drop?

Overwatering can cause leave a drop on the foliage, especially for the plant that already has root rot. To save your plant from further damage, removing the plant from the pot is necessary. After that, you will need to examine the roots.

If the roots have a darker color and it stinks, then it is rotting.

It is often too late to fix when the plant develops root rots. The only way to save your plant is to repot it properly.

First, you need to clean the roots and cut the affected area using sterilized scissors. You can use Isopropyl alcohol for this. After that, report the plant in a new soil mix. Make sure to care for the plant as usual and not over watering the plant. Besides, choose a pot that has a good drainage hole.

How Much Sunlight Does A Philodendron Need?

The philodendron melanochrysum can thrive indoors all year round as long as you provide sufficient light. The plant will grow well in an area that receives 300-500 FC (footcandles) light. Anything that is less than 200 FC will stunt its growth and the stem will get leggy. If you put the plant in a place that has too much sunlight, you will burn the foliage.

How To Fix Necrotic Spots?

If your philodendron has a necrotic spot, the chances are it has the bacterial leaf spot. It is typically caused by a wet environment and spread with the help of the wind.

The signs of the necrotic spots are easier to spot one of them is the occurrence of a small dark spot on the foliage.

The consequences of having the necrotic spots are not only resulting in ugly leaves but also killing the plant.

To save your plant, the only way that works is by removing the infected parts.

Why Is My Philodendron Leaves Color Change?

There are several reasons why your philodendron color change. One of them is the dust. Check if the plant is very dusty. The dust often clogs the pores which cause the color change. Therefore, it is quite wise to dust the plant regularly.

Is Philodendron Melanochrysum Toxic?

Yes, it is! The plants are very toxic when it is ingested by humans or animals. If you have children or pets around your house, it is better to move the plant away from their reach. Thanks to the calcium oxalate crystal that contributes to irritation on the skin, swelling, and vomiting.

How To Fix Root Rot?

Root rot is a common problem for philodendron melanochrysum owners. Typically, the root rot is caused by two things, first the drainage and overwatering. To fix this issue, check your watering schedule.

The plant likes moist soil but not waterlogged condition. You need to check it with your chopstick or knuckle to know if your plant needs watering. Usually, when the first two inches of the soil are dry, it needs sufficient watering.

The second problem that causes root rot is the pot drainage. Make sure the pot you are using has at least one good drainage hole to let the water drain perfectly. Besides, when you do repot, choose a pot that is 1-3 inches bigger, not more than that. A bigger pot might be good, but it can soak the plant as you water it.

How To Fix Laggy Growth On My Philodendron?

Laggy growth is one of the most common problems for philodendrons. If your plant is leggy, it means the plant doesn’t get sufficient sunlight. Therefore, place the plant on a spot that receives good indirect sunlight.

Philodendron’s native is in a tropical place that loves warm weather. This plant grows under a tall tree receiving indirect sunlight from nature. Direct sunlight is OK for a few hours in the morning and the late evening.  

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