The philodendron rojo congo is pretty popular among houseplant lovers. The plant comes with glossy leaves and orange to burgundy colors. At first, the plant has a burgundy light red and then it turns to deep green as it grows older and gets more sunlight.
You can have this plant for designing your spacious place as this plant can grow up to 1.1 meter. It is a perfect plant if you want to add hue in the room.
The term philodendron rojo congo is rather new and it cannot be found on the wild. It is a cross-breeding plant between a philodendron imperial red and philodendron tatei.
Despite what people believe that rojo congo is a self-header, this plant is a climbing variety. It is epiphytic, which means the plant can grow up on the trees. At glance, the plant looks like a self-header with the plant growing from the base creating a rosette. However, in some specimens, this plant can be a climber.
This is why you will see many plant blogs or nurseries stating the plant as a self-header or climber. Neither of them is wrong.
- Botanical Name: Philodendron Rojo Congo PBR
- Popular Name: Philodendron Rojo Congo or Rojo Congo
- Mature size: Up to 1.1 meter
- Plant Type: Perennials
- Sun Exposure: Indirect sunlight
- Soil Type: well-draining soil
- Soil pH: 5.6-7.5
- Toxicity: humans and pets
The care guide is pretty easy for the philodendron rojo congo. It grows perfectly well at a temperature between 65 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 18-27 degrees Celcius. The plant prefers consistent moisture but not soggy soil. Soggy soil causes root rots that always become the most common problem. Therefore, you should provide a well-draining potting soil.
As a result of being a crossed breeding plant, the rojo congo prefers moist and well-drained soil. The most important thing is the pot is not waterlogged or soggy. This is why we recommend you not to water the plant-based on schedule. The best method to water the plant is by the condition of the soil.
Typically, it is advised to water the plant when you find the top inch of the soil is dry. However, it is not always foolproof.
So how to know if the plant needs to be watered?
We recommend you to use the bamboo chopstick and then dig it into the soil several inches.
- If the soil is wet, it will cling to the chopstick and usually will change the chopstick color to be darker.
- When the soil is moistened enough, it will be easier for you to push the chopstick through.
- Meanwhile, when the soil is dry, it will be harder for the chopstick to dig in and it is generally compacted and will not change the color of your chopstick.
If you don’t have a chopstick at home, you can use the knuckle test. Just stick your finger into the soil. If the first or second knuckle is wet or moist, you don’t need to water the plant and vice versa.
Besides, you also need to check the color of the soil and the texture. When you notice the soil color is dark, then watering is not necessary. If it is compacted and hard, then it is very dry and probably needs changing.
A lot of indirect sunlight can promote growth. Place the rojo congo in a place near the window where the direct sunlight will not fall on its leaves. However, the plant also can survive in low-level sunlight, but it will not show the optimum growth. It will lose its wonderful red tinting. Also, avoid the drafty area if you place it near the window as it will not give the plant sufficient humidity.
This tropical hybrid grows well in a high-level humidity. If you decide to grow the philodendron rojo congo indoors all year long, it means the plant should endure the dryness of AC rooms.
Keep the humidity level above 50%, but don’t go crazy about it. You can spray the plant with water every week or simply wipe the leaf with a sponge. During summer, using a humidifier can be a great idea.
The most important thing here is to make sure the soil moisture is optimal. A bit of dryness is OK because the plant can survive it. However, you will see differences between the plant that is planted in the right condition and not.
Due to its tropical nature, the rojo congo needs a warm environment. If you are living near the equator, then you are lucky because this plant will thrive very well.
The best temperature for the philodendron to grow perfectly healthy is between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit or between 18-27 degrees Celcius. Even though the plant can survive up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees of Celcius), it doesn’t mean that you can place the plant at a fluctuating temperature such as placing it near the radiator.
Note that the plant has zero-tolerance under 55°F (13°C). When it is winter, bring the plant in and keep it away from the cold drafts.
Some people might prefer using the slow-release fertilizer. It means using the natural or organic soil as a fertilizer will do well. However, you need to make sure that the pot is healthy and good enough to feed the plant for the long run.
In this case, houseplants have no way of obtaining nutrients like other outdoor friends. This is why fertilizing is important. You can do it by using a nutrient-rich solution.
There are so many options you can find in the market. This includes the all-purposed fertilizer. In its natural habitat, the philodendron gets all the nutrients from the decaying matter. They don’t take one gulp per month.
Due to this reason, the best way to fertilize the plant is when you water it. Dilute the fertilizer with a gallon of water and then you can water the plant with this solution during summer and spring. At this time, the rojo congo shows steady growth.
Read also : Philodendron Birkin : An Exotic Tropical Plant
For a self-heading variety, you don’t need regular pruning. It might need little intervention and you only need to remove the discolored leaves and dry roots.
But if you have the climbing specimen, grooming is needed to keep it stay in shape when it gets mature. Use a pair of clean scissors to prevent damage.
It is always advised to move the plant to another larger pot when the time has come. In the right condition, the rojo congo can grow quickly so you will need to repot the plant each year.
You can see your philodendron rojo congo needs a new pot when you show the following signs:
- When you notice the roots start to grow through drainage holes
- When the growth is stagnant
- When the plant is root bound
- The potting mix is difficult to drain as it used to be
- Roots are appearing through the top of the soil
Tips: If you have just bought a new plant from Etsy or a nursery, you will need to repot the plant straight away. Typically, the nursery sells the rojo congo when the plant is reaching the max growing capacity.
As you are repotting the plant, try to remember the following things:
- Always pick the pot that is well-drained, with at least one drainage hole
- Select a pot that is 1-2 inches bigger
- Only fill the pot with a high-quality soil
You also don’t have to worry about prying the roots when moving the plant because the rojo congo will grow new roots easily in the new pot as long as you put it in the right condition.
Botanists grow the rojo congo via tissue culture. It is a specialized method that which average houseplant owner would fail to do it.
Typically, we propagate philodendron using stem cutting because we use the nodes. However, the rojo congo doesn’t have visible nodes so it is difficult to propagate it using the stem cutting method. But don’t worry, you can propagate the plant using the “plantlets” which develop as the plant goes mature.
It is important to pay attention to the time you propagate the plant. The best time to do it is during spring and summer because at this time the rojo congo shows a higher success rate. Here is how to propagate the plant perfectly:
How To Make The Plantlets Grow
- First of all, you need to look for the plantlets which are located at the base of the plant. Typically they grow when the old leaves have fallen.
- Let the stem and the aerial roots grow. You can also place the rojo congo in a brighter place so it can grow quicker.
- The next step is air-layer the new stem (you can read the tutorial below) so the aerial roots grow longer. Typically, air layering will take around 2-3 weeks.
- When you see the plant is ready, you can cut the plantlet from the mother plant, and then place it in the well-draining pot.
- Care the new philodendron as usual.
How To Layer Philodendron:
- Search for the plantlet that has small aerial roots
- Use wet sphagnum moss to wrap around the aerial roots.
- Wrap the aerial roots that have been covered with sphagnum moss in a transparent plastic bag. In this case, you also need to make sure that it will not catch any leaf.
- Use a zip tie to secure the plant in its place.
- Open the top and the bottom of the seal. The new roots will grow diving downwards.
- Now what you have to do is mist the sphagnum moss through the open plastic every day. This will prevent the moss from drying up.
- Now, wait for the new roots to grow which takes around 2-3 weeks.
- After that, check the new roots by removing the plastic wrap. The roots are healthy they are white.
- Now you can cut the plantlet right below the new roots using scissors.
- The last step is to place it in the rich-organic potting mix.
The philodendron rojo congo is toxic to humans and pets because it contains oxalate crystal that can cause swelling around the mouth, drooling, itchiness, and swelling around the gastrointestinal tract when it is ingested. Therefore make sure to place it away from children and pets and always wear gloves when taking care of it.
Pests and Diseases
The most common pests that often attack the philodendron rojo congo are mostly aphids and mealybugs. Although it is not something you can worry about, take some preventive action because somehow this will disturb its growth and lose its shine.
The ideal prevention you can do is using the insecticidal soap and wiping neem oil once a month.
Meanwhile, the most common problem that occurs on the rojo congo is yellowing leaves, brown edges, pale leaves, leggy stems, and mushy patches. This condition is often caused by the watering schedule, humidity, and lights. Therefore, try to mimic its natural habitat as much as you can.
The philodendron rojo congo variegated is an attractive plant that can add a luxury touch to the space. As a result of cross-breeding between philodendron tatei and philodendron imperial red, the plant has flashy red tinting at the bottom of the foliage and stem. Sometimes it tends to be orange. Meanwhile, at the top leaf, the color is dark green with a glossy texture as it matures.
Sometimes, in their early lives, they come in burgundy color. As it goes mature and is exposed to more light, the rojo congo turns into a more classic deep green.
The philodendron rojo congo growth rate is pretty low, making it perfect for a long-term indoor plant. However, you need to underline that the dimension of the plant is pretty big. It grows up to 1.1 meter or 42 inches in width, and 75 cm or 30 inches in height.
Placing the plant in a steady pot like terracotta is a perfect choice. Besides, you need to put the plant in a spacious area so it will not make the room look cluttered.
Leaf, Flower, Stem & Seed Characteristic
- Leaf – The plant produces interesting foliage with its shiny red as it unfurls. Sometimes it comes in a deep orange at an early age. As it gets mature, the leaf will turn to a deeper green.
- Flower – It is rare for the plant to bloom when it is grown indoors. Generally, a mature philodendron will take around 15-20 years to bloom and it also depends on the condition.
- Stem – It has a firm stem with a reddish-brown color
- Seeds – Since the plant rarely blooms, it is difficult to obtain the seeds. This is the reason why botanists grow the plant via tissue culture.
Just like other philodendron varieties, the rojo congo prefers a rich, organic, and well-draining soil mix. You can mix some organic combinations like orchid bark, worm castings, coco coir, perlite, pumice, and also activated charcoals.
The main point to underline when providing the soil mix is to make sure it contains elements that can drain out water thoroughly. In this case, it is a little bit tricky as you also need to provide soil mix with a balanced pH.
The reason behind the mix:
- 40% cocoa coir – It provides neutral pH, is fast-draining, and can hold moisture. It is an easy-growing medium.
- 15% orchid bark – It is a good place for positive microbes to grow. The chunkiness will allow the water to dry perfectly.
- 15% perlite – It is low water retention and can hold nutrients.
- 10% worm castings – It is from worm poo which is an organic fertilizer.
- 10% pumice – It is a good drainage element
- 10% activated charcoal – It helps the plant to prevent the build-up of soil impurities. It also can stop mold and help neutralize the pH.
Philodendron Imperial Red VS Rojo Congo
The imperial red and rojo congo look similar at glance. Both plants are different. The main difference between both of them is the size and color. The philodendron rojo congo has a larger size and grows more vigorously. Its leaves are also wider compared to imperial red. Meanwhile, the color of rojo congo is darker than imperial red.
The imperial red has more elongated foliage with brighter green leaves.
Philodendron Red Emerald VS Rojo Congo
There are clear differences between red emerald and rojo congo. In terms of size, the rojo congo is bigger, wider, and rounder. Meanwhile, the red emerald has thinner, and longer foliages. In terms of color, the rojo congo has darker leaves and emerald red is greener.
Why Is My Philodendron Rojo Congo Has Dark Patches On Its Leaf?
The dark patches on the leaves are caused by fluctuating temperatures. Typically, the drastic temperature change will create dark patches on its leaves. Note that the philodendron cannot tolerate colder temperatures. You need to bring the plant in to keep its moisture. Besides, you also need to avoid the draughty windows too.
How To Fix Yellow Leaves On My Rojo Congo?
There are some reasons why your philodendron rojo congo has yellow leaves. First, it can be from overwatering or underwatering. Another reason to underline is because of high temperatures and pests.
As soon as the plant reaches your home and you have just repotted it, it is probably the natural reaction of the plant to a new condition. Soon, the plant will just readjust itself. You just need to use your common sense and observation to know what is wrong with your plant.
Why Is My Philodendron Has Brown Edges?
If you notice brown edges or brown tips, it is a sign that your plant is underwatered. If this happens, it is good to give your plant a good soaking but make sure you drain the entire water completely after that. This will make sure the entire mix will stay moist.
Why Is My Rojo Congo Looking Pale?
There are some possible reasons why your plant starts losing its shine. Pale leaves can indicate that your plant lives in a low temperature, high-level lights, or too much direct sun. Or, the plant could also suffer from nutrient deficiency.
Is Philodendron Rojo Congo Rare?
Yes! The rojo congo is considered a rare houseplant that is highly searched by most collectors due to its unique foliage.
Is Philodendron Rojo Congo Toxic To Pets?
The philodendron rojo congo is toxic to pets including dogs and cats. It is because the plants have insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. When the plant is ingested or chewed, it will release these crystals which irritate the mouth and also the GI tract. If your pets accidentally ingested the plant, they might exhibit some symptoms such as vomitting, lack of appetite, drooling, and swelling around the mouth.
Can You Grow Philodendron Rojo Congo From Seeds?
The philodendron rojo congo rarely blooms when it is grown indoors is it is difficult to obtain the seeds. The botanists often propagate the plant via tissue culture. You can grow the plant using the plantlet method that we have explained above.
How To Make The Philodendron Rojo Congo Look Fuller?
To make the plant look fuller, you need it to grow faster. If your rojo congo takes a very long time to grow, it is probably caused by a lack of nutrients. You probably will need some supplements to help the plant grow faster or you can check the fertilization section for further detail. If you see the roots are cramped, then it is time to report the plant to a bigger pot.
Should You Mist The Philodendron Rojo Congo?
Misting is a good way to keep the plant stay moist, especially if you live in a dry area. However, make sure you will not over misting the plant as it will invite Erwinia leaves.
A tip to help you keep your plant stay moist and healthy is to wipe the leaves after misting. Use the sponge to wipe the foliage.