Today we’re talking about our Philodendron Melanochrysum Care Guide. I’ll cover everything I know about how to care for a Melanochrysum, from growing conditions to propagation. This is all from personal experience and what’s currently working best for me.
The Philodendron Melanochrysum is one of my favorite aroids in the Philodendron family. I’m especially in love with the dark & velvety leaves, and that color change from when a leaf is unfurling to hardening is seriously so gorgeous. Another common name for the P. Melanochrysum is the “Black/Gold Philodendron”. It gets that nickname from her fresh leaves as the color begins with an orange when it unfurls and slowly transitions to a darker green as the leaf hardens off.
P. Melanochrysum is a surprisingly quick grower as well. Mine which resides in my Ikea Greenhouse Cabinet is constantly pushing new leaves, one after the other. Another reason this aroid is so popular right now is because of its easy care. It’s a great plant for people looking to expand their collection and dip their toes into the more uncommon houseplants.
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Without further to do, lets get into the Philodendron Melanochrysum Care guide!
I said earlier that I find this plant easy to care for, much like other Philodendrons and Monsteras. We’ll cover lighting, watering, potting soil, fertilizers, humidity, and propagation. I hope that by the end of this article you’ll have gained all the confidence and be more than prepared to take on your own Melanochrysum!
The Philodendron Melanochrysum prefers bright but indirect light. Too harsh of light can scorch the foliage and leave burn marks. They are tolerant to medium and low light settings, and may still grow regularly, although you most likely wont see much development in the plant as she grows. A bright and shaded area is perfect for this Philodendron.
I grow one of my Melanochrysums in an Ikea Greenhouse Cabinet which I mentioned about earlier. It doesn’t receive any natural sunlight, so I heavily depend on grow lights to keep these plants photosynthesizing and growing. It’s important to find the right kind of light for your plants, and its a common misconception that you need to use those standard purple grow lights which are pretty unsightly to me. More often than not you can get away with using normal LED light bulbs, which is what I use for a vast majority of my grow lights. In a perfect world you will want a bulb that produces between 3000 & 5000 lumens, although these can be difficult to find.
I’ll go into grow lights and specs in a different article, because there is a lot more to know than just that when choosing the perfect grow lights for your plants.
So this is pretty standard with most Philodendrons. Water your Melanochrysum only when the top 2 inches of soil has dried out. You can either poke your finger around in the dirt or use a moisture meter to determine how saturated the soil is at the moment.
I’ve found that they are tolerant to drying out between waterings and you won’t get much fuss if you are a day or so late, but definitely do not let the soil get bone-dry. What happens then if their soil is way too dry is that their roots in the soil will dry up with it. Because of that, your Melano will spend more time growing new roots and getting settled in again rather than producing those gorgeous leaves.
Potting Soil Mix
Melanochrysums prefer a chunky and well draining soil mixture. This mix is dependent on who you ask, but for me I like using a 60/20/20. 60% Fox Farms Ocean Forest Soil, 20% added pumice, and 20% added orchid bark. This ensures that the soil will drain water properly and lets oxygen get to the roots.
A well draining soil medium is also important to combat wet feet (root rot). You never want to leave your potted plants sitting in water for too long or having their soil constantly sopping wet. If you run into a situation like this my recommendation is to do an immediate repot into fresh dry soil, but do not water immediately. Wait one day after the repot then give it a good drink, this gives the plant time to properly dry off their roots and avoid further rot.
How I Fertilize
I use the same standard for most of my collection when it comes to fertilization and it seems to go against the grain with what others say. I really only use one brand of plant food, and its Superthrive. I dilute a few drops of it in my watering can before I fill it up and I water all of my plants with this solution. Now the thing is, I do this every single time that I water my plants. When I portion out my Superthrive I lessen the dose by roughly half of the suggested amount.
I’ve been following this water & fertilization routine for a year now and my plants are so so so happy about it. Right now during these colder months of the year its expected that plant growth will slow down due to the decrease in light and drops in temperature. I use grow lights as a way to make up for lost sunlight and the Superthrive to keep them getting important nutrients which they have all responded very well with.
It is important to keep your Melanochrysum in at least 60% + humidity. If you can consistently maintain higher humidity that is even better for them. The one living in my Ikea Greenhouse Cabinet rests in about 90% humidity all day long.
Philodendron Melanochrysums are notorious for tearing leaves as they unsheathe and unfurl a new leaf. There is nothing more disappointing then eagerly waiting for a new leaf to come out but it gets stuck at some point and creates rips and holes in the leaf. Plants with velvety leaves have a harder time unfurling smoothly because of the texture, so it is very important to provide extra humidity.
If you notice a new leaf isn’t unfurling after it gets pushed out then all you need to do is grab a spray bottle with just some water and give that fresh leaf a good spritz. Do that as often throughout your day as you feel you need to, but resist the urge to help it unfurl with your hands. While you may be successful sometimes, its even more disappointing ripping a leaf with your hands when you were just trying to help it unfurl. Patience is key!
I have propagated oh-so many Philodendron Melanochrysums. From air-layering to outright chopping, these plants can handle being propagated well. To take cuttings from your Melanochrysum you’ll want to determine where its nodes are throughout the main stem. Much like other plants, simply cut beneath a node and transition to your desired propagating method.
For me, my go to propagation method is a mix of Sphagnum Moss & Pumice (about 70/30.) I use clear plastic cups which I buy at my local store in packs, and I use a heat stick to burn a number of holes into the bottom to create proper drainage. I like using the small clear cups as pots because it lets me monitor new root growth on my cuttings. I only use the cups when I have a cutting with a leaf attached to it.
For cuttings that do not have a leaf attached, simply just a node, I lay it down on a blanket of moss inside of a plastic tupperware container. This closed container acts as a miniature greenhouse with high humidity, which aroids love. I typically see new roots and growth points within 2-3 weeks of taking the cuttings. Once the node has pushed out at least 2 fresh new leaves in that container, along with a couple roots that should be a few inches long, I then transition the cuttings out of that and into their forever home where they will continue to grow.
I have many Philodendron Melanochrysum nodes growing in this prop box, all in different stages of growth.
It’s so very important to make sure your plants are ready to be moved out of propagation. I rarely ever transition props that haven’t grown any new leaves, or just one leaf. I’d say that isn’t enough time. By the second or third leaf of your new plant, it will be ready to move on. When you pot up cuttings too soon you are putting quite a lot of pressure on a small plant to thrive, and oftentimes leads to more plant stress or risk of it dying entirely because it wasn’t ready to live on its own like that.
I think that about covers everything! If you enjoyed reading this and learned a thing or two from it, it would mean the world to me if you can re-pin this article to your Pinterest Boards! It’s a small favor to ask and it seriously helps us grow the blog so we are able to continue providing these detailed guides to you all for free! Thank you soooo much in advance <3
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