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The Imperial Green is an ethereal beauty that will brighten up even the dullest of spaces. 

Unlike many of its cousins, this particular philodendron does not vine but instead develops large, glossy green leaves from a central stem that fan outwards. Most striking is its foliage, which is a bright, rich, eye-catching hue.

That said, there is often a misconception that highly ornamental plants are fussy and hard to care for. But that couldn’t be less true when it comes to this variety of philodendron. Conversely, it’s super low-maintenance and very hardy.

In this article, I’ll give you an overview of what to expect when investing in a Philodendron Imperial Green, from how to find one, to how fast they grow, to the different varieties available. 

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

philodendron imperial green getting care in a brown pot

How to care for a philodendron imperial green

The best way to care for a Philodendron Imperial Green is to try and emulate its natural, tropical environment as closely as possible. This involves providing it with bright, indirect light, plenty of warmth and humidity, well-draining soil, good hydration, and seasonal feeding. Occasional pruning and cleaning also help your Philodendron Imperial Green’ overall well-being.

Philodendron Imperial Green make great houseplants, and if you have any hesitation about their care, worry no further. These gracious green beauties are low-maintenance and straightforward in terms of their needs, making them perfect for even beginner plant parents.

Bearing in mind that Philodendron Imperial Green are tropical plants, the best environment you can offer them is one where they’ll have a sunny spot with lots of light, relative humidity, and plenty of moisture.

a big leaf of philodendron imperial green

In good news, most homes are already set up for this with East and South-facing windows and a generalized humidity level of around 50%. To supplement the rest of their care needs, you just need to ensure your Philodendron Imperial Green stays hydrated, is fed with both good soil and that you occasionally fertilize your philodendron.

In the following sections, we’ll look at Philodendron Imperial Green care in greater detail to equip you with everything you need to help your houseplants thrive.

How much light does a philodendron imperial green need?

Philodendron Imperial Green prefer at least six to eight hours of bright, indirect sunlight each day. As their leaves can be vulnerable if they receive too much light, keep an eye out for any signs of sunburn on your Philodendron Imperial Green’s leaves, such as yellowing leaves or brown spots appearing.

Most (if not all) plants depend on sunlight energy to grow, and Philodendron Imperial Green are no different. Native to tropical America, they’re accustomed to dappled light from the jungle canopies above them, which you can try to mimic in the home with clever positioning.

In the winter, when it starts to cool down, and there is less indoor sun available, a Philodendron Imperial Green’s light needs can be augmented with a bit of time spent outdoors on a sheltered patio or balcony. The fresh air will do them good, too.

Find out more: Philodendron Light Needs: The Ultimate Guide

What is the right temperature for philodendron imperial green?

Your Philodendron Imperial Green will thrive in temperatures between 75°F and 85°F (23°C to 29°C). While they can survive at lower temperatures than this, don’t let them stay for too long anywhere less than 65°F (18°C) as your plant may not survive.

Clearly some plants, like Philodendron Imperial Green, like it hot. However, the real kicker is ensuring your Philodendron Imperial Green are placed in an area with mid-to-high humidity.

What are the best humidity levels for a philodendron imperial green?

Philodendron Imperial Green prefer humidity levels of around 65% to 80%. Given that they are native to tropical Central and South America, they thrive in humidity conditions similar to their natural habitat. However, most homes won’t reach these levels, so you may need to boost this for your Philodendron Imperial Green to thrive.

Houseplants that receive adequate amounts of sunlight daily generally don’t require supplementary humidity, particularly if you consider most homes fall in the 40% to 50% range. However, with their tropical inclinations, Philodendron Imperial Green can benefit from a little extra care in this regard.

The easiest, in my opinion, is to invest in a small plug-in humidifier. Alternatively, you can rest your Philodendron Imperial Green on a damp pebble tray, making sure not to let their roots touch the water. 

Alternatively, if you have a whole collection of houseplants, cluster them together so they can benefit from each other’s transpiration processes. It has the added benefit of looking great too!

What soil is best for philodendron imperial green?

A Philodendron Imperial Green’s soil mix should be loosely clustered, nutrient-rich, and well-draining. The high nutrient level emulates its natural habitat, where plant material in the rainforest falls onto Philodendron Imperial Green and nourishes them. Having light and airy potting mix helps to avoid the soil staying too soggy, which can lead to root rot.

While many Philodendron Imperial Green varieties have aerial roots as well as ground-dwelling (terrestrial) roots, they receive the bulk of their vitamins and minerals from their soil, making it an essential part of their fundamental care.

Top pick: My preferred soil for Philodendron Imperial Green is the Miracle-Gro Tropical Potting Mix (check the latest price here)

It’s very well draining and will feed nutrients to your Philodendron Imperial Green for up to six months. For a tropical plant like the Philodendron Imperial Green, it’s got everything you need.

Buying pre-blended Philodendron Imperial Green soil from most garden centers is a simple option. Alternatively, you can easily mix your own by combining potting soil with chunky bits of bark (grab some here) and moisture-retentive perlite (get it here). 

If you’re buying your Philodendron Imperial Green pre-potted, they’ll likely arrive in appropriate soil from the get-go. Even so, you’ll need to replace their soil every 18 to 24 months to prevent a build-up of salts or eliminate any beasties and creatures like pests, fungi, or bacteria, so make sure you’re replanting them in the best soil for philodendrons so they continue to thrive. 

Indeed, this is a good maintenance practice for all houseplants, not just Philodendron Imperial Green!

How often should you water philodendron imperial green?

You should water your Philodendron Imperial Green when the top two inches of its soil has dried out, which you can test by sticking your finger into your plant’s potting mix. In summer, this will be around once per week, but may be less frequent in the cooler months.

It’s always good to have a watering schedule for your plants, but with so many factors (like season and sunlight) at play, I prefer to meet my Philodendron Imperial Green’s watering needs as required – by waiting for their top inch of soil to dry out before hydrating.

philodendron imperial green outside
Source: Antonel Ola (CC BY-SA 4.0)

The reason for this is that the leading cause of fatality in Philodendron Imperial Green is root rot, which they tend to contract from overly soggy soil or from standing in pooled water. As they’re pretty drought-tolerant, it’s best to err on the side of caution and only water philodendrons as they need it rather than strictly once-per-week.

That said, when you do water them, a hearty dose of moisture is great, provided it doesn’t make their soil soggy and heavy, which weighs down on their root systems.

When should I fertilize my philodendron imperial green?

Philodendron Imperial Green likes some fertilizer every now and again. In fact, they do their best when they are fed twice a month during their active growing season, which is the spring and summer. However, you shouldn’t fertilize your Philodendron Imperial Green during its dormant period in the cooler months.

This is because feeding the plant during this time can interfere with its natural growing cycle.

Overall, though, occasional feeding with a balanced fertilizer is greatly beneficial for Philodendron Imperial Green, especially at the start of their growing seasons in the spring and summer months.

If you think about it, these jungle-dwellers are used to all the rich, dense nutrients they have access to from the forest floor, which can’t be substituted by typical potting soil. An all-purpose liquid fertilizer at half strength is a good way to replace their natural feeding schedule, providing them with an extra dose of energy for new growth.

My top pick: My recommendation for the best fertilizer for your Philodendron Imperial Green is EZ-Gro 20-20-20 All Purpose Liquid Fertilizer

It’s extremely easy to use and has the perfect balance of nutrients for Philodendron Imperial Green. You can check the latest price here.

Should I prune my philodendron imperial green?

You should prune your Philodendron Imperial Green from time to time as part of their regular maintenance, with spring being the best time of the year to do this. Removing dead foliage or browning stems will allow robust leaves and vines to draw in more sunlight and stop your plant from wasting energy. 

Just like humans shower, cut their hair, and clip their nails, Philodendron Imperial Green can do with occasional grooming, especially when it comes to eradicating old or dying growth. Fortunately, trimming your philodendron really isn’t hard to do.

When it comes to cleaning, remember that each large leaf of your Philodendron Imperial Green is full of sunlight receptors that are easily blocked by dust or grime. Wiping down your leaves with a damp cloth keeps them clean and free to function at their best.

When should I repot my philodendron imperial green

The Philodendron Imperial Green is not a plant that needs to be repotted regularly, with it often only needing to be transplanted every two to three years. With that said, however, you should repot your Philodendron Imperial Green if you see roots growing out of the drainage holes.

In fact, this plant does well when it is rootbound. That said, when you do transplant a Philodendron Imperial Green, do so in spring before the plant starts to produce new growth, and select a pot that is about 3 sizes larger than the current pot. 

Alternatively, you can wait until fall to perform the transplant.

Find out more: 7 Simple Steps to Repot Philodendrons (+ When To Do It)

Should I propagate my philodendron imperial green?

Yes, it is very straightforward to propagate a Philodendron Imperial Green by taking a cutting with a visible node and rooting it in either water or soil. Water propagation tends to be easier with Philodendron Imperial Green, with roots usually appearing within six to eight weeks. At that point, transplant the cutting to soil.

Overall, though, as if we didn’t already have enough reasons to love Philodendron Imperial Green, one of their best characteristics is how easy they are to propagate. This is excellent news for those who want to multiply their houseplants or can’t bear to see clippings from regular pruning go to waste.

Like their care requirements, Philodendron Imperial Green propagation is straightforward, provided you get your fundamentals right. A significant aspect of this is selecting cuttings prime for new growth or, in simpler terms, stems with nodes that can produce roots.

philodendron imperial green on a brown pot

How to propagate a philodendron imperial green

The easiest way to propagate your Philodendron Imperial Green is to root it in water. Simply place your cutting into a jar with water in it and place it in a warm sunny spot, and wait. Refresh the water once a week to keep it oxygenated and, in six to eight weeks, new roots will appear. 

At that point, your Philodendron Imperial Green cutting will be ready for transplantation!

Philodendron Imperial Green can be propagated from stem cuttings, provided they have a visible node and a leaf or two to draw in moisture from the air. You can either root your cuttings in water first or plant them directly into soil. 

Alternatively, if you only have a small piece of stem, you can try to root them in a nutrient-rich growing medium with concentrated humidity.

Find out more: 10 Easy Steps to Propagate Philodendron Cuttings

That is, a second option is to place your cutting directly into a planter with soil. This is slightly riskier as they require a lot of humidity to make up for the moisture they’d usually draw via roots, but it can be equally effective with proper care. 

If your cutting has no leaves, try laying it on a bed of peat moss and covering the tray or container with plastic to retain humidity. While this method isn’t always effective, it’s worth a try to avoid throwing away any pieces of your precious plants.

Is a philodendron imperial green rare?

The Philodendron Imperial Green is not considered a rare plant. It inhabits large regions of both North and South America and can be found for purchase globally from nurseries and online merchants alike. Given its relative ease of propagation, it is also often traded between enthusiasts and collectors.

If you’re looking for the perfect centerpiece plant for your home, you’re in luck. The Philodendron Imperial Green ticks plenty of boxes as a must-have houseplant – from accessibility through to ease of care. 

Gone are the days when this beauty was hard to get hold of. Its prominence on social media has made it a darling of the plant market.

Even with its splendid jungle aesthetic, the Imperial Green can usually be found in nurseries, garden centers, or globally in online marketplaces like eBay and Etsy. 

Alternatively, if you have a friend or neighbor willing to part with a stem cutting, you can propagate your own juvenile Imperial in water or directly into soil.

Best of all, if you’re looking to buy one, an Imperial Green won’t break the bank. The starting price for a young plant is around $10.

Where to find a philodendron imperial green for sale

As a commonly known and well-loved houseplant, Philodendron Imperial Green are easy to find and can be purchased from most nurseries or garden centers. To buy them online, Etsy is always a good option. Rarer varieties can be bought from online merchants or specialized breeders or traded among collectors.

In the mood for a Philodendron Imperial Green? You’re in luck. These beauties are freely available on the market and are considered one of the most popular houseplants around. 

Of course, if you’re after rare collector’s items, you may need to double down on your search and rely on specialists. But if you’re simply looking for some of these beauties to adorn your home (which is definitely a good idea!), you can pop out and get one from your local nursery today.

a healthy philodendron imperial green
Source: plant12345 (CC BY-SA 4.0)

How do you make a philodendron imperial green bushy?

The best way to make a Philodendron Imperial Green bushy is to prune it in its growing season, which is spring and summer. Make sure you remove any dead or dying leaves, as this ensures your plant doesn’t spend energy on this foliage and will instead focus on new growth.

Funnily enough, regularly trimming your plant is actually key to maximizing your philodendron’s growth rate.

Regularly turning your plant so that all its angles receive sunlight is another good way to ensure consistent, rounded, and aesthetic growth with a clustered appearance to make your philodendron fuller

You can also use a moss pole so that your Philodendron Imperial Green has space to climb upwards, which is what it would do in its natural environment – aiming upwards towards a source of light.

How big does a philodendron imperial green get?

The Philodendron Imperial Green is considered medium-sized, reaching maximum heights of 3 to 4 feet (90 to 120 centimeters) indoors, with a spread of around 3 feet (90 centimeters). Its leaves, at maturity, are approximately 18 inches long (45 centimeters) and 8 inches wide (20 centimeters).

One wouldn’t call the Imperial Green diminutive. Indeed, in ideal environments, it thrives and becomes rather statuesque. We’ll get into its growth speed shortly, but it is important to note that for an Imperial to reach its maximum size, it requires specific and consistent growing conditions, including regular hydration, plenty of light, nutrient-rich soil, and humidity.

Together with this, because of its upward growth habit, the Imperial Green also needs support for its central stem as it grows larger. 

philodendron imperial green on a pot
Source: UNO UNO (CC BY-SA 4.0)

An easy way to manage this is with a stake or moss pole (the latter being beneficial for vitamins and minerals). Occasional pruning and fertilization will encourage new seasonal foliage development.

Finally, as your plant grows larger, it will need to be repotted every few years to prevent it from becoming rootbound.

How fast does philodendron imperial green grow?

The beautiful Imperial Green is moderate to fast-growing, expanding by 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) per week in its growing seasons (spring and summer). Of course, this is provided its needs are met and its growing environment is sound.

A lack of growth, slowed growth, or legginess may indicate a deficiency of water, light, or humidity, which can be addressed by adapting its environment.

Does imperial green philodendron flower?

While exceptionally rare, the Philodendron Imperial Green is capable of flowering, producing a stunning red spathe that encloses a bright white spadix. However, this is unlikely to occur in a home environment, as the plant must be around 15 years old and fully mature.

Most philodendron collectors accept that their indoor plants will never flower and instead are committed to loving them for their gorgeous ornamental foliage. 

The reason for this is that philodendrons generally only flower in the wild, where they can grow freely, in perfect conditions, with little to no restrictions.

Indoors, it is nearly impossible to mimic the jungle environment with its humidity and nutrient-rich soil. This doesn’t mean your plants can’t be healthy, but they will need careful maintenance for over 15 years before they reach maturity, and even then, there is no guarantee they will flower.

And if they do, you’ll be amazed by the brevity of this phenomenon. The Imperial Green reveals its flower for barely a day or two before closing and eventually wilting over the course of a few short weeks.

How to identify a philodendron imperial green

The Philodendron Imperial Green is characterized by its self-heading, clustered growth habit, and large, oval, lance-tipped leaves. The Imperial’s coloring and texture are also distinctive, as its foliage is thick and glossy, medium-green, and only lightly veined.

As most philodendrons are climbing or vining plants, the first giveaway that you might have come across an Imperial Green is its growth habit. Its large leaves grow upward from a central stem or stalk, fanning in all directions. They also tend to be plentiful and clustered.

Color-wise, the Imperial’s attraction point is its bright green hue. With few visible veins, its leaves tend to look full in color, brightening up any space they inhabit and setting it apart from its many variegated cousins. Juvenile leaves start out light green but become darker as they mature.

philodendron imperial green on a black pot
Source: Suresh Despande (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Philodendron imperial green vs congo green

The easiest way to tell an Imperial Green from a Congo Green is to look for differences in their foliage shape and color, as well as in their growth patterns. Where the Imperial Green is smooth and solid in hue, the Congo Green has more distinctive veins and is slightly darker. 

Furthermore, the leaves of the Congo Green are longer and narrower.

Overall, the Congo Green also shows sparser growth and becomes taller than the Imperial Green, which is more compact overall, with a broader spread.

Philodendron imperial green varieties

While the standard Philodendron Imperial Green is well-known and easy to find, there are also a few rarer varieties or hybrids available on the market or via specialist suppliers. They are all cultivars of the Philodendron Erubescens and mainly differ in their coloring.

Once the houseplant bug bites, it’s hard not to want to add some rare beauties to your collection. Philodendrons are especially popular primarily because they’re easy to look after, and there are so many options at your disposal.

Let’s look at some different hybrids of the Philodendron Imperial Green.

1. Philodendron imperial green variegata

As its name suggests, the Variegata is a multicolored hybrid of the Imperial Green, which retains its shape and growth habit but has variegated foliage.

Indeed, its leaves are patterned with splatters of white or cream, making this beautiful plant look even more exceptional than usual.

The only disclaimer is that it requires more light, to compensate for the deficit of chlorophyll in its patchy areas.

2. Philodendron imperial green hybrid

The hybrid variety of the Imperial Green is notable for its red-colored juvenile leaves, which develop into a dark green as they mature. Given the opportunity, this cultivar will climb and cling, as it has aerial roots on its stems.

a healthy philodendron imperial green in the garden
Source: Henrique Peixoto Douglas (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Are philodendron imperial green toxic?

Philodendron Imperial Green are toxic to humans and animals, as they contain sharp calcium oxalate crystals that cause skin irritation through direct contact, or gastrointestinal distress and other potentially dangerous symptoms when ingested. All parts of the plant contain these crystals, which are most prevalent in its sap.

While Philodendron Imperial Green are indisputably beautiful in the home, it is best to keep them away from curious kids and pets, as skin contact and ingestion can be highly irritating at best and have real health consequences at worst.

These plants’ sticky white sap is full of needle-like calcium crystals. When they make contact with bare skin, they can cause welts or irritating rashes, which, fortunately, can usually be treated with a topical skin ointment.

Be aware: Ingestion of any part of a Philodendron Imperial Green can cause swelling of the throat tissue, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, and other symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. In a worst-case scenario, ingestion can cause difficulty breathing, in which case, medical treatment should be sought as a matter of urgency.

While this all sounds very daunting, the good news is that these plants don’t taste good, so there is no real reason (other than curiosity or carelessness) why rogue children or pets would eat them. Even so, prevention is better than cure, so place your plants out of reach if you’re concerned they may get chomped.

How much light do variegated philodendron imperial green need?

Variegated Philodendron Imperial Green have slightly different light requirements to normal, pure green Philodendron Imperial Green due to a lack of chlorophyll in the lighter parts of their leaves. It is paramount that they receive at least eight hours of indirect light daily (and up to ten), which will keep them energetic for new growth.

In the plant world, variegation refers to leaves with more than one color, either a lighter green or gray shade or a bright cream or white. 

A leaf’s green coloring is a consequence of chlorophyll cells, so it follows that the lighter the color, the less chlorophyll is present. Biologically, it is these cells that plants use to convert sunlight into energy via the process of photosynthesis.

Therefore, variegated Philodendron Imperial Green have fewer cells for energy production, which is why they require just a bit more light than average. In general, being close to sunny windows with all-day light will suffice, but if you can’t provide this, you can supplement their needs with grow lights.

Another option is to place your variegated Philodendron Imperial Green outdoors in a shaded spot for a few hours a day, especially in the winter sun, to compensate for any deficits. Just make sure to keep them away from direct light (so they don’t contract sunburn), as well as from wind and rain.

Why are my philodendron imperial green’s leaves turning yellow?

There are a few reasons why Philodendron Imperial Green leaves turn yellow, but the primary cause is overwatering, with yellowing leaves being an early sign of root rot. Damaged roots cannot transport nutrients, oxygen, and water to a plant’s leaves, which causes cell death, and by default, turns them yellow.

I find watering my plants to be the most cathartic exercise on earth. However, with some trial and error, I’ve learned that my Philodendron Imperial Green, in particular, doesn’t do well with being over-loved. 

While they’re super hardy, too much hydration can quickly cause root rot in philodendrons – a fungal or bacterial infection that destroys your plant’s root system.

someone holding a philodendron imperial green on a white pot
Source: Naima Grassler (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Therefore, if you notice yellowing leaves on your philodendron, run a diagnostic immediately. Is your soil damp or soggy? Allow it to dry out, which may reverse some of the damage. Lots of sun helps. Or if the damage is progressed, try repotting your Philodendron Imperial Green, removing damaging roots in the process.

A secondary cause of yellowing leaves is chemical burn, which your Philodendron Imperial Green may contract from over-fertilization. In this case, transplantation is also recommended, followed by a restriction of your feeding practices.

Why is my philodendron imperial green drooping?

Drooping and wilting in Philodendron Imperial Green is more often than not related to watering practices. Too little water can cause fatigue which will make your plant look droopy, while too much water (or root rot) can also cause ill health. Generally, when a plant wilts, it is trying to communicate that it’s unwell.

While a drooping Philodendron Imperial Green is distressing, it’s not usually terribly serious and most likely due to dehydration. This can be solved with a dose of water and sunlight and, of course, more consistent care going forward. In no time, your plant should be back to its old self.

Conversely, if this doesn’t do the trick, your philodendron leaves curling may indicate an underlying issue like root rot, which, ironically, is caused by overwatering. If you suspect this is the case, you may be best off transplanting your Philodendron Imperial Green into fresh soil and readjusting your watering schedule.

A third cause of drooping is related to light. If a Philodendron Imperial Green isn’t receiving enough sun, it will tell you by dropping its leaves and wilting. Remember, six to eight hours a day is critical, and if you can’t provide this, mitigate potential drooping with supplementary grow lights.

Related: 10 Causes Of Your Philodendron Not Growing (+ How to Fix It)

Why are there brown spots on my philodendron imperial green?

Like yellowing and drooping, brown spots on a Philodendron Imperial Green are a sign of a health ailment. Browning, in particular, is mainly caused by pest infestations or bacterial and fungal infections. The best way to get rid of brown spots is to identify the cause and then treat your plant accordingly.

None of us want to see our Philodendron Imperial Green suffer, and brown spots usually aren’t a very good sign. If you notice your philodendron leaves turning brown, the first thing you want to do is identify the cause, whether it be pests or soil-related.

In the case of creepy crawlies, you can treat your Philodendron Imperial Green by washing it down with a horticultural soap, followed by a wipe with neem oil. Remove damaged growth, and give your plant lots of love, water, and light.

On the other hand, bacterial and fungal infections are best treated by getting rid of old soil. I highly recommend transplanting your Philodendron Imperial Green (preferably in spring or summer), and cutting away any visible root and leaf damage, provided it’s not more than 30% of your plant’s total volume.

Brown spots on philodendrons can also be caused by sunburn, but in this case, they’ll look more like a sheen than a spot, per se. Sunburn can be prevented by keeping your Philodendron Imperial Green out of direct light.