Philodendron ‘El Choco Red’, also known as Philodendron rubrijuvenile ‘El Choco Red’, is a perennial member of the Aroid family (Araceae). This vining Philodendron has a climbing habit, reaching up to 3 feet tall when grown inside. Its velvety, heart-shaped leaves are dark green with light veining above and a brilliant red underneath.
Philodendron ‘El Choco Red’ new name is Philodendron rubrijuvenile. It was previously treated as a cultivar but has now been reclassified as a distinct species. ‘El Choco Red’ is thought to originate from the Colombian Department of Cundinamarca in Colombia.
Philodendron rubrijuvenile can be an expensive plant to get your hands on. If you’re lucky enough to score one of these gorgeous specimens, you’ll need to know how to care for it properly. We’re here to tell you the best tips and tricks to keep this plant thriving in your home.
Philodendron El Choco Red Care
Caring for Philodendron ‘El Choco Red’ is relatively simple provided you get it started correctly. Ensure it is planted in the right soil type and has the right sunlight conditions. After that, the only thing you’ll need to do is make sure you don’t overwater it.
If you want your ‘El Choco Red’ to have optimal growth, there are a few other factors to consider. The right humidity and temperatures can help it grow better. You can also use fertilizer to improve growth rates.
Below, we provide details regarding everything necessary to grow and care for this stunning plant.
Philodendron rubrijuvenile needs soil that is well-draining and allows air to get to the roots. In its natural habitat P. rubrijuvenile is epiphytic, growing on trees rather than in soil. The goal when growing them as houseplants is to simulate those conditions.
An aroid mix composed of pine bark, sphagnum moss, compost, and perlite works well for growing this plant. The pine bark and perlite allow for good drainage and air flow. The sphagnum moss helps retain moisture while the compost provides essential nutrients.
An aroid mix will help with water drainage and reduce the chances of root rot developing. The ideal soil mix will also have a pH between 5.1 and 6.0.
Overwatering Philodendron ‘El Choco Red’ will eventually lead to root rot. While having the right soil mix will help prevent overwatering, you should still use caution when watering it.
Check the soil once per week to see if the top 2 to 3 inches are dry. If they are, it is time to water the plant. If the soil is still moist, wait another week and check again.
When you water ‘El Choco Red’, make sure to water it thoroughly. If you have a saucer under the pot it grows in, make sure not to leave any water in it after watering.
Philodendron rubrijuvenile ‘El Choco Red’ needs bright, indirect sunlight to grow well. This lighting simulates what it would get in its natural habitat under the rainforest’s canopy.
It is best to place them in an east-facing window which will provide the correct type of lighting. When ‘El Choco Red’ doesn’t get enough light, the red color of its leaves fades.
Humidity & Temperature
The optimal humidity for Philodendron rubrijuvenile is 60%. Higher humidity is okay but lower humidity may negatively impact the plant’s health over time.
The ideal temperature range for ‘El Choco Red’ is between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees are acceptable.
Fertilizer will ensure your Philodendron ‘El Choco Red’ grows optimally each year. You should fertilize it once per month during the active growing season in spring and summer.
Use a diluted liquid fertilizer with high nitrogen to encourage new foliage to grow. Dilute the fertilizer to ensure you don’t burn the roots.
You can propagate Philodendron rubrijuvenile using a stem cutting that has at least 1 leaf attached. Make the cut on the stem just above the leaf you will be leaving on the mother plant. Place the stem cutting, cut end down, into a small pot filled with sphagnum moss.
Water the moss thoroughly and ensure it stays moist while roots are developing. Place your new plant near the mother plant so it receives the same amount of sunlight. Allow the roots to grow for 6 to 8 weeks before transplanting your new plant into soil.
Diseases & Pests
The primary disease concern for Philodendron rubrijuvenile is root rot. Overwatering or planting in soil that is not well-drained will lead to root rot which can ultimately kill the plant.
Common houseplant insect pests can infest Philodendron ‘El Choco Red’. Potential insect pests include aphids, fungus gnats, mealybugs, spider mites, thrips, and whiteflies.
Check plants for signs of insects every time you water them. If you notice insects or their damage, you can use neem oil to control them.
Like all Philodendrons, ‘El Choco Red’ contains calcium oxalate in its tissues. Calcium oxalate is toxic to humans, cats, and dogs when consumed. Keep this plant out of the reach of children and pets to prevent ingestion.
Is Philodendron el choco red a climber?
Philodendron ‘El Choco Red’ is a climbing Philodendron. It is best to provide it with a moss covered pole or trellis for it to climb on. This will encourage it to grow upward and often more quickly than if it doesn’t have something to cling to.
Philodendron el choco red vs verrucosum
The main difference between Philodendron ‘El Choco Red’ and verrucosum is their petioles. The petioles of ‘El Choco Red’ are not covered in hairs which are called trichomes. Philodendron verrucosum petioles are covered in fine hairs.
Philodendron verrucosum vines will also grow longer than those on ‘El Choco Red’. They can also tolerate lower light settings than Philodendron ‘El Choco Red’. Otherwise, both species have extremely similar growth habits and leaf characteristics.
 Croat, T.B. & R.S. Kaufmann (2022). A new Philodendron in sect. Philodendron subsect. Achyropodium (Araceae). Aroideana 45(1): 214–228.