Caring for Philodendron Congo
Philo Congo and It's Many Colors
Philodendron Congo a large leaved houseplant that embraces the feel of the jungle at a glance. This member of the Philodendron family has smooth edged oval shaped leaves and can be found in a wide variety of colors like; Rojo (Red leaves as shown), Emerald (Dark Green), Moonlight (washed out light green), and Green. There are many new hybrids of this species that do not vine, affording one a long term upright plant, as opposed to one that grows out horizontally on a vining stem in search of new places to lay down root.
This Philodendron can be a great choice if you have been searching for something to add a color accent to you home or office, or just want something a little different than the same old, same old. It is most typically used as a large floor plant, but can also make an interesting table top or arrangement accent in smaller sizes.
There are things to know about Congo in order to have a happy healthy plant.
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Native Habitat of Philodendron Congo; Tropical America
Finding a Space
Congo's, like most other Philodendron are creatures of moderation in pretty much everyway. Like Goldy Locks conditions should not be; too hot, too cold, too light, too dark, too moist, or too dry but should be... Just right.
When selecting a space for your Congo moderate natural lighting conditions are definitely the ideal. Diffused natural light, or a northern exposure are best. Beneficial artificial light can also work well as long as there is a significant exposure time to the light.
A Congo can tolerate high light conditions but productivity and growth will increase in such conditions, this in turn may increase the need to fertilize in order to avoid symptoms of Chlorosis. Also watering amounts and or frequency may need to be increased to counter the added light and possible heat. Also be aware that a Congo leaf that touches a hot window will get burned, try to avoid allowing your Congo to grow into with frequent rotations.
Low light is the very worst choice for a Congo. In low light leaves and stems are prone to rot, and over watering symptoms can become prevalent. Since the plants productivity will decrease with less light it is less capable of using it's water effectively in a timely manner. For more information on over watering sign and symptoms check the link to the right.
When watering Congo keep in mind moderation. Like all other things in the life of Congo it's moisture content should also remain regular and consistent. If an environment has been selected that has moderate heat, light, and airflow as recommended, you should only need to water about every week to two weeks.
When watering feel the surface of the soil, if it is dry to the touch then water your congo just enough to moisten the soil through. In ideal conditions excess water should not be left in the liner, higher light and heat may change the need for excess water. Allow the soil surface to become dry to the touch before watering again. It is important to have regular and consistent periods of moisture and brief drying for maximum health.
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Additional Maintenance Tips
The primary vining stem becomes overgrown it can be cut back. After a few months it should begin to sprout leaves at the point of the cut. It can also be rooted before cutting back to create a new plant. The video to the right has a very good demonstration of this process referred to as Air Layering.
Leaves may be lost here and there while acclimating and with age. As leaves yellow they should be removed by snapping them away from the primary stem or soil at the base of the leaf stem. It is also a good idea to periodically check for dried up leaf husks left behind by new leaves after they open. Keeping soil free of dried dead organic material like this helps prevent irritating Fungus Gnats. More information on Fungus Gnat identification and control can be found to the right.
Being a Philodendron, Congo are listed among poisonous houseplants. Be sure never to ingest any part of a Philodendron, and wash your hands thoroughly after pruning or cutting to avoid cross contamination. More on Symptoms and diagnoses of Philodendron Poisoning can be found to the right as well.
Congo In Short
As a Philodendron Congo is a fairly easy care interior plant as long as you follow some simple guidelines of moderation. Congo can be a stunning specimen with it's many available color varieties and is available at most interior nurseries.
Enjoy watching your Congo thrive in your well selected interiror environment.