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Black Cardinal Philodendron – GIY Plants

Black Cardinal Philodendron in large pot outside

Black cardinal philodendron, also known as Blushing philodendron, is a houseplant native to Columbia. The plant is known for its broad oval leaves and coloring. Its leaves change from their signature burgundy to deeper green and black as they mature. Black cardinal foliage has minimal sheen and is flexible making for a hardier plant.

The black cardinal plant’s scientific name is Philodendron erubescens; it belongs to the Araceae family.

Black Cardinal Philodendron Care

Black cardinal philodendron care is simple; all it takes is a basic knowledge of the plant’s needs. That is another reason why houseplant collectors adore the plant.

If you get to own a black cardinal plant, here is everything you will need to know about its care.


Blushing philodendrons require a well-drained soil. To achieve this, avoid all-purpose potting mixes and use a soil that is loose and has high amounts of organic matter. Mixing the soil with perlite or peat moss or using an African violet mix is best. The soil should have a pH of 6.5.


Black cardinal plants need to be watered once the top layers of soil dry. A way to test this is by sticking your finger into roughly two inches of soil and feeling if it is dry. During the spring and summer, you may not need to water as frequently as you would in the fall and winter when there can be less indoor humidity.


Bright but indirect lighting will ensure a black cardinal philodendron thrives. If you leave a black cardinal plant in direct lighting, it can cause its foliage to turn yellow.

Humidity & Temperature

Philodendron black cardinal is a tropical plant and cannot withstand freezing temperatures. The blushing philodendron will thrive in temperatures between 65°F and 78°F or 18.33°C and 25.56°C.

As for humidity, this plant enjoys being in highly humid areas, around 70%. You will want to mist the plant frequently or place a humidifier near the plant, as that high of humidity can be hard to achieve indoors.


Fertilizing once a month during the warm spring and summer seasons is best for the black cardinal plant. Once fall and winter arrive, you can stretch the time frame from once a month to between six and eight weeks. A liquid foliage fertilizer is best for black cardinal philodendrons.


Propagating a Philodendron erubescens can be done through rooting plant cuttings in water. All you need to do is cut stems with nodes attached, then place the cuttings in a glass of water, submerging the nodes. Ensure that you change the water daily while it is rooting. Once you see root growth and white bumps, you can pot your propagated black cardinal plant.

Diseases & Pests

The most common pests and diseases for blushing philodendrons are root rot, mealybugs, and aphids. Root rot occurs when a black cardinal plant does not have well-drained soil. Proper soil and a planter with drain holes can help you avoid this problem. Mealybugs and aphids should be treated with an appropriate insecticide when first spotted; if left untreated, they can severely weaken a blushing philodendron.


Black cardinal philodendron contains calcium oxalate crystals which are toxic for humans and pets. When ingested, a person or pet may experience swelling in and around the mouth and burning sensations.

Black Cardinal Philodendron variegated

Black cardinal philodendron variegated is rare and striking with its mix of deep reds and various greens. Because of its rarity, it is slightly costly to own one. On boutique websites such as Etsy, a small black cardinal philodendron variegated can cost upward of $180.

Black cardinal philodendron vs red congo philodendron

Despite some similarities, the black cardinal philodendron is not the same as the red congo philodendron. Black cardinal plants have deeper colored leaves with more red undertones, whereas red congos have more traditional green foliage with red stems.

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