Philodendron White Knight : Exotic Variegated Plant

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If you expect to own a unique plant, the Philodendron White Knight must be your next favorite houseplant. This plant is from the Araceae family with lush green foliage. The plant that is originated from South America has a white splash on its foliage combined with purple and brown stems.

At first, this beauty looks like a green plant with a splash of white paint on the leaves, but it is actually variegation.


  • Botanical Name: Philodendron sp. ‘White Knight’
  • Popular Name: Philodendron white knight, White knight
  • Mature Size: Up to 3 meters tall, Leaves can grow up to 0.457 meters   
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Sun Exposure: Filtered sunlight
  • Soil Type: Well-drained and moist soil
  • Soil pH: 5.0-7.0
  • Toxicity: Humans and pets

Care Guide

The white knight is a tropical Aroid that is easy to grow as long as you mimic its natural habitat, the tropical rainforest. A quick guide to taking care of this plant is paying attention to watering and sunlight. Give the plant sufficient water when the upper soil is getting dry. In terms of light, make sure you place the plant under filtered sunlight. This plant also needs high humidity and a mild dose of fertilizer.


Water Requirements

Most philodendrons love moist and well-drained soil. In this case, watering can be the trickiest part. If you overwater the plant, it will lead to root rot.

You need to water the plant moderately and re-water it once the upper soil loses its moisture.

When it comes to schedule, there is no specific watering schedule that you must follow. You need to pay attention to some factors like temperature, sunlight, and humidity. This is why it is important to check the condition of the soil such as its drying patterns.

The best way to check the condition of the soil is using the chopstick method. Plunge the chopstick into the soil for 30-60 minutes. After that, you can pull it out and see what you find.

The wet soil will cling to the chopstick with a dark color on the chopstick. At this rate, you don’t need to water the plant.

Damp soil will just change the color of the chopstick but is very subtle. Just a little soil that will cling to the stick.

Meanwhile, for dry soil, it will not cling to the chopstick and the color of the chopstick will also not change. At this time, it is important to water the plant immediately.

In general, you will need to water the plant if 1-3 inches of the top soil is dry. Another sign that tells the white knight needs a drink is when:

  • the leaves are wrinkling
  • the foliages are dropping and turning brown or yellow
  • the pot is light to lift
  • the stem is drooping

Light Requirement

One thing you should remember is that the variegated parts of the foliage are the most sensitive to sun exposure. This part will get scorched first when it is exposed to direct sunlight.

The recommended light intensity for this plant is between 6-8 hours under filtered, bright lights. It mimics the natural condition of the South American Forest.

Besides, this plant is also not a shade lover. You should also be careful with the shady area. If the plant doesn’t get sufficient sunlight between 2-3 months, this will revert to the green color. When this happens, it is difficult to regain its white variegation when it is placed under the shade for too long.


With its origin in tropical forest, it is not a surprise if the white knight loves high humidity. Keep the humidity level at least 70% and your plant will thrive well.

The lower humidity level can slow the growth as well as discoloration and drooping stems. To help you check the humidity level in your home, you can use the digital hygrometer.

If your plant lives in a lower humid area, placing it near the bathroom is a good choice. However, you need to make sure the bathroom gets sufficient sunlight. You can also buy a humidifier and group the plants together. In this way, your plants will create a mini biome in which they share humidity.


Place the philodendron white knight at a warm temperature. It grows best at temperatures between 65-80 Fahrenheit and you must make sure it will not drop below 55 Fahrenheit.


After some time, the soil mix will lose its nutrition as the white knight absorb it all. Here, fertilizer acts like food so you must feed the plant periodically. The fertilizer will help replenish the lost nutrients. In this case, you will need to choose the fertilizer that contains calcium, nitrogen, and potassium.

In this case, you will use three types of fertilizer which are liquid fertilizer, slow-release fertilizer, and granular fertilizer. Here is the difference between the three:

  • Liquid fertilizer – This is also well-known as the water-soluble plant food because the fertilizer is mixed with the water. This type of fertilizer is pretty effective as it provides instant nutrition for the plant. By using this fertilizer, you have full control of how much of the amount to give. However, it is vulnerable to evaporation, especially if is used as an outdoor plant.
  • Granular fertilizer – If you use this fertilizer, you will need to mix it with the soil. This type of fertilizer is more effective for pre-plant application. However, be careful when you feed the plant with granular fertilizer. If you overfeed it, it will burn the foliages.
  • Slow-release fertilizer – It comes in different forms such as capsules, shells, and pitons. The fertilizer will release nutrients slowly. This type of fertilizer is coated with resin which will add nutrients to the soil gradually as it is broken down by sunlight, water, or soil microbes.

However, the slow-release fertilizer only works effectively on small pots.

Read also : Philodendron Oxapapense : Beautiful Climbing Plant


This plant doesn’t need regular pruning. If you need to prune this plant, it is just to promote healthy growth and prevent disease. Also, to remove damaged and yellow foliages. You will need to prune the plant when:

  • It loses its white variegation
  • It shows signs of diseases such as browning leaves.
  • Make sure to use the sterilized pruning scissors. In this case, you will need to avoid cutting large branches and not prune more than 25% of the plant.


There is no specific period when it comes to repotting. The philodendron white knight growth is influenced by a lot of factors. If you plant two white knights in a different location, they will grow differently because there are a lot of factors that influence their growth.

In this case, the best way to know whether your philodendron needs to be repotted is by doing an inspection. Check if the roots appear on the top soil, it means the pot is no longer sufficient to support the growing plant.

However, it is not mandatory too to wait for the roots to become visible on the topsoil. You just need to compare the plant size. The bigger the plant, and the deeper the root the bigger the pot you will need.


Thinking about a new collection with the white knights? You can propagate the plant using stem cutting and then place it in the sphagnum moss or water. This method works pretty quickly and has a higher chance of success.

Propagating plant using water:

  • Prepare the sterilized pair of scissors by dipping it into a 70-100% solution of alcohol. It is purposed to avoid infecting the plant with diseases. If you don’t have alcohol, you can use another disinfectant at your house and rinse your scissors with it.
  • After that, you need to cut the stem. Make sure it is below the leaf’s node with its aerial root.
  • Next, you need to trim the stem, leaving a single leaf and areal root that is attached to its node.
  • The next step is to place the stem into the clean water. The one that must be submerged here is only the root and the leaf should be out of the water.
  • As you see the root starts growing, you can remove the water and plant it in the soil mix. Ensure you use a fresh soil mix with a well-drained pot.

Propagating plant using sphagnum moss:

  • First thing first, prepare the sphagnum moss. You can use brown or green moss. All of them are fine. All you need to make sure here is the container that should be big enough to cover the stem. Prepare the seal or lif too for cover.
  • Next, cut the healthy stem with 1 node and at least 2 leaves. You can cut the stem below the node.
  • After that, dip it into the rooting hormone.
  • And then, you can wrap it in the sphagnum moss and you need to ensure the node is covered too.
  • Plant the cutting in the sphagnum moss container.
  • Seal the container so it will stay humid and warm and place it under a bright place, indirect sunlight. Next, spray the moss each week to keep it damped.

Note: the most important thing to do when propagating the plant is to make sure the sphagnum moss is always moist, but not soggy.


The philodendron white knight is toxic to humans and pets, including dogs and cats. The plant contains calcium oxalate crystal that will cause severe irritation when it is ingested.

As you ingest the plant, you will develop swelling around the mouth and tongue as well as a sore throat. In severe conditions, you will develop vomiting too and you need a medical assistant.

If you are living with children and pets, the best way is to place this plant in the safest place so they will not have contact with the plant.


Pest and Disease

If talking about the white knight benefits, maybe one of them is the resistance and durability. The plant is considered hardy and rarely experiences pests attack. If there are pest issues, usually it will be aphids and mealybugs. 

Aphids are small insects that suck the plant’s sap. They can come in some colors like yellow, black and white and they are in small sizes.

Mealybugs are another bugs that often attack the white knights. They come in round and white form and suck the sap of the plant.

Over time it will kill the plant slowly if you don’t treat them soon. One of the natural ways to get rid of these bugs is using neem oil.


The philodendron white knight is a climbing plant with beautiful and unique foliage. It is a stunning plant with a splash of white leaf variegation. The plant also has unusual brown and purple stems making it one of the most favored plants.

The majority of the plants come in heart-shaped foliage, but some of them are elongated as it gets mature.

Growth Rate

The philodendron white knight is a fast grower. It can reach up to 3 meters tall and the leaves can grow at a maximum of 0,45 meters. Support the plant with a pole to help it grow well.

Leaf, Flower and Stems Characteristic

  • Leaf – The majority of the leaves have a heart-shaped form, but some of them get elongated when matured. The foliage’s color changes due to age and sunlight. It has a randomly painted look which attracts many houseplant lovers.
  • Flower – The white knight produces aroid flowers. The long spadix is covered by a spathe.
  • Stems – It has a brown and purple stem.

Soil Requirements

The philodendron white knight loves moist, and well-drained soil. You can buy the pre-mix soil online and pot it on your own. Or you can make your soil mix that contains rich materials with the combination as follow:

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

The well-draining potting mix here means the excess water can easily drain off the pot, so it doesn’t waterlog the soil. Soggy soil can lead to Erwinia blight disease and also root rot.


Help! Why Is My Philodendron White Knight Turning Brown or Black?

Black or brown foliage is caused by a lack of humidity. Note that the plant is not resistant to lower humidity levels. To fix this issue, you can do the following things:

  • Placing the plant in an area with a higher humidity level such as a bathroom (it should have sufficient light too).
  • Place some pebbles on the tray that has been filled with water. After that, place the pot on top of them. The water will evaporate which is a good sign of a higher humidity level. Another way to increase the humidity level is by using a humidifier.

We don’t suggest you miss the plant because it can increase the risk of mushy lesions and fungal infection. Especially if the plant is grown indoors, misting is not suggested because the house doesn’t have good air circulation.

How To Fix Yellow Leaves?

There are some factors why the leaves are turning yellow which include overwatering, underwatering, or direct sunlight.

Here, excess water can saturate the soil which makes the supply of oxygen to the roots are decreasing. Meanwhile, too much sunlight can scorch the foliage and lose its variegation.

Then how to fix yellow leaves?

There are some ways to fix yellow leaves which include:

  • Moving the plant to filtered sunlight.
  • Pruning the damaged leaves.
  • Checking the potting soil in case you find root rot. If you do, prune the affected roots.

My Philodendron White Knight Has Wet Spots, How To Fix it?

If you find lesions or wet spots on the leaf, you should be careful because it can be a sign of Erwinia blight disease. It is a common disease that attacks philodendron varieties. If you don’t treat it soon, it will be fatal.

Erwinia blight disease is caused by bacteria that grow well in humid and wet environments. It causes wet spots on the leaves so it makes the leaves look mushy.

If the Erwinia blight disease is still affecting one or two leaves, you can prune them before its spreads further. If it is already spreading to more than two leaves, usually it is hard to treat.

Read also : Philodendron Furcatum : A Quick Guidance To Learn

My Philodendron White Knight Lose its White Variegation, What Can I Do?

It is common for the white knight to revert to the green color. Typically, it is caused by a genetic mutation. But if your plant still has some leaves with stunning white patches, you still have hope.

Use pruning scissors and then prune the plant but leave the variegated leaves on it. By using this way, you will encourage the genetic mutation to reappear in the growth cycle.

Even though the chance is not 100%, there is still a possibility to bring the plant’s beauty back.

My White Knight Leaves Are Getting Smaller, What To Do?

Did you buy your white knight from the nursery plant? If yes, then this is a common condition. The leaves usually shrink over time because it adjusts to colder environments.

Remember that most nursery plants always try to mimic the natural environment which is why you will see them at maximum growth.

This is why you are required to do the same or your philodendron growth will get slower.

My Philodendron White Knight Looks Damaged and Brown, What Can I Do?

Many factors can cause this condition, but you might need to check if the plant has a fungal infection.

Usually, fungal infections cause browning and dried leaves. But don’t worry, this condition can be treated with fungicide, for example using copper sulfate.

Is The Philodendron White Knight Rare?

Yes, it is! The white knight is considered a rare plant. It is one of the most favored plants among houseplant collectors in the US and Europe.

Is The White Knight A Climber?

Yes, it is! The white knight is a climber. You need to support the plant with moss or a pole when it is planted outdoor.

Is The Plant Toxic To Cats?

Yes, unfortunately, the white knight is toxic to cats. It contains calcium oxalate crystal that can cause serious irritation. If your cat accidentally chews or ingested the plant, it will cause a burning sensation and swelling around the mouth and tongue. In a worse case, it can cause vomiting.

Is The White Knight Toxic To Dogs?

Yes, it is! This is why you need to keep the plant away from dogs.

Where Should I Place My White Knight?

The best place for the philodendron white knight is under the bright light, with a humidity level of at least 70%. It shouldn’t be under direct sunlight as it will scorch the leaves. For the best growth, the temperature should be between 65-80 Fahrenheit and it must not be under 55 Fahrenheit.


What Is The Difference Between White Knight and White Princess?

The philodendron white knight and white princess look the same at first glance. However. there is a big difference between the two. You can tell that the one is the white knight if it has a purple or reddish stem. Meanwhile, the white princess has smaller and narrower foliage and all green stems. Also, the white knight is a climber, while the white princess is not.

What Is The Difference Between White Wizard and White Knight?

The philodendron white knight and white wizard has white variegated leaves. However, both of them have differences. It is on its stem. The white knight has brown, purple, or reddish stems while the white wizard has green stems with glossier and larger stems.

Can The White Knight Revert?

The white knight can revert to the green color, but this condition is rare. Usually, the plant can revert because of extreme temperature or when it is placed under the shade.

To get the variegation leaves back, you can prune the green foliage to encourage the variegated leaves back.

How To Identify Philodendron White Knight?

The white knight has oval-shaped foliage with a pointed tip. Some of the leaves have white patches which make them like painted. Meanwhile, the rest of the leaves are in dark green.

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