The Congo Rojo is a Philodendron in the Araceae, or aroid, family and, like its relatives, it’s a very popular house plant. To keep “seeing red” from this guy, here’s what you need to know:
This plant is a moderate drinker and prefers to be watered thoroughly and left alone for the soil to dry out between waterings. On sub-irrigation, it can go for 2+ weeks without watering, but we suggest you check it weekly during the first 6-8 weeks after you get it and during hot summer months. See our watering guide for more information.
Like other philodendron, the Congo Rojo can be sustained in medium light but thrives in bright light, where the leaves will develop the deepest shades of burgundy and red. Your best placement is near a window where the plant can get some sun light – east-, south- and west-facing windows are best. Maintained as a floor plant, it can easily be moved to and from a good light source. If kept in low to medium light for too long, it can lose its reddish coloring.
Congo Rojos likely will not need to be fed during the first 6 months after it has shipped. During this time, it will use the residual nutrients from nursery production. After 12 months, it can be fed quarterly with a complete fertilizer formulated for interior plants. If your Congo Rojo is positioned on a porch in the south, it may need supplemental nutrition sooner than 12 months. Please refer to our nutrient guide for details.
Like its cousin the Monstera, its large leaves are easy to clean because they’re easy to get to – but that also makes them susceptible to dust accumulation. Simply wiping the leaves with a wet cloth usually does the trick. For spots where something else (besides dust) has landed on your plant, use a mild soapy solution to wet the cloth; then wipe.
This philodendron is not a climber like its Monstera cousin. It’s “self heading”, which means its stem can support it with little or no support. So pruning may be necessary if the stem gets too long or you simply need to remove some older leaves. Because of its big leaves and strong stems, it can take up some significant space; so be sure to give it plenty of room or be prepared to prune it in place.
We think the red coloring scares bugs away – just kidding, but the Congo Rojo is not a big target for pests. Scale, mealy bugs, and mites sometimes jump on, but they’re easily controlled by wiping the infested area with a soapy solution. It can take several intermittent cleanings to rid the plant of the pests.
Like other aroids, the leaves and stems of the Congo Rojo are toxic to animals (including humans), so do not ingest any part of the plant. So, if you have a dog, cat, or horse, don’t let them ingest it.