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Are you thinking about adopting a Philodendron Florida Ghost? These gorgeous houseplants can add a wonderful green touch to your home. But are they hard to care for? Read on to find out how to take care of a Philodendron Florida Ghost.
Some people might confuse Philodendron and Pothos, even though they are quite different. The evergreen hybrid Philodendron Florida Ghost is part of the Araceae family, while Pothos is part of the Arum group. Philodendron Florida Ghost is one of 450 different types of Araceae.
They are climbing plants, and love attaching themselves to trees and other tall structures as they grow. What makes this particular species unique is the length of the stems, which are far longer than other Philodendron varieties.
The leaves are green and glossy, and not uniform in shape, which makes the plant interesting to look at.
The Florida ghost gets its name from the leaves, which originate as white. The leaves of the plant turn a different color, becoming a green-yellow, and eventually a dark green as the plant matures and grows.
Growing, propagating, and taking care of a Philodendron Florida Ghost can be rewarding and easy. There are some common problems that can be easily remedied as well.
As a tropical plant, the Philodendron Florida Ghost may sound like a difficult plant to care for. When in actual fact, it is a very rewarding effort, and not at all difficult to look after.
With some basic care tips, which we share below, you can easily develop a healthy, beautiful addition to your collection.
Most plant care can be boiled down to a few basic factors, at least in general terms. Plants vary in terms of how much water and light they need, as well as what type of soil works best for them.
Keep reading for a detailed rundown of everything you need to know about Philodendron Florida ghost care. We’ll also talk a little about the general Philodendron family and background.
The Philodendron ghost plant may be a tropical plant, but it needs soil that drains water really well. On the other hand, you want the soil to retain some moisture, or it might lead to underwatering. You may need to try a few options before you decide on the proper soil mix.
Sphagnum Peat Moss is usually a good choice recommended by experienced owners. The moss is coarse and provides lots of air within its composition.
Because of the texture, it is often less dense than conventional soil. So, it will drain better.
The choice between the two comes down to specific environments and individual plants, and sometimes even water composition.
The critical factor is maintaining a proper pH level of 5.0 – 6.0. The organic matter compound is more acidic and may be required to keep the plant healthy.
Sphagnum peat moss, on the other hand, is more neutral and will have the opposite effect on the plant’s requirements.
The Florida Ghost Philodendron variety doesn’t require a huge amount of water, especially if your potting soil mix is well balanced.
However, it’s important to get the right amount of water for your plant. Too little, and it will wither. Too much, and it may ‘drown’ or develop root rot (see below).
A good starting point or baseline is to average it at once per week. This can be adjusted slightly, as you will need to test the soil to see how quickly it dries out. Different environments may have different results.
The best method to test this is to dig a finger into the soil up to the knuckle – about two inches. If the soil is dry, you may water the plant. If it is still damp or wet, hold off on watering and check again in a day or two.
You may find that winter requires less watering, while summer may need a more regular regime, especially if you live in a drier climate. It’s better to keep your soil a bit drier in winter.
Again, much of this is dependent on the soil you’re using. If your soil seems to be holding water longer than a week, you may need to change the composition as described above.
Tropical plants don’t usually enjoy the direct sun. In their natural habitat, there is usually a thick canopy of surrounding plants that partly shade them. For this reason, indirect but bright sunlight is the best option for the Philo Florida Ghost.
Indirect sunlight means either filtered through a light curtain or strategically positioned in a room to catch enough light without being exposed directly to rays.
One sign that your Ghost Philodendron needs more light is if you notice legginess. That means that the leaves are spaced too wide.
In some darker countries, some owners prefer to use growing lights to enhance their plants’ photosynthesis processes.
In this case, make sure that the bulb does not directly face the plant leaves, and leave enough distance so as not to overexpose the plant. About 6-12 inches is a good starting point.
Balancing the exposure to the light is also important. Make sure you provide light about half the time and feel free to switch them off for an equal amount of time. A 50/50 balance, in other words, is sufficient.
Standing the Philodendron Florida ghost in direct sunlight is likely to scorch the plant and brown the leaves. This will inevitably damage the plant and lead to unsightly brown spots or “blisters”.
Philodendron Florida ghost will enjoy the occasional serving of high-grade fertilizer, to offer it a growth boost.
A good nitrogen-rich variety of fertilizer is welcome, but make sure that you only fertilize while the soil is damp or at least moist.
The Philodendron Florida ghost likes a smaller dose of fertilizer more often. So perhaps use half the recommended dosage, but twice as often. Philodendron Florida Ghosts grow slowly, so be patient. As long as its leaves look healthy, you’re on a good track.
The best advice is to use a liquid-based fertilizer mix and slow down feedings in winter. If your leaves look smaller than they should, try slightly increasing the food.
Philodendron Florida ghost is fairly robust and will easily survive in moderate and temperate temperatures. It does however perform best in warmer climates and rooms. Usually, 55°F (12°C) to 95F (35°C) will be just fine.
If you live in a cold climate, be aware that Philodendron Florida ghost can be a little tricky. It’s a tropical plant, after all. Keep it away from doors and windows with strong drafts and cold air influxes.
Another issue to be aware of is its positioning around devices that involve climate control. Avoid proximity to air conditioners, heating pads, and such household items that can dramatically affect temperatures.
Although tropical plants thrive in higher humidity, the Philodendron Florida Ghost doesn’t necessarily need special care when it comes to humidity.
If you feel that your plant isn’t getting enough moisture in the air, try using a pebble tray, or occasionally placing the plant in a bathroom or kitchen area.
To use a pebble or humidity tray, simply place the Philodendron Florida Ghost’s pot on a tray filled with pebbles.
Occasionally pour water over the pebbles and the evaporation should create enough humidity around the plant.
Misting is another possible solution, but take care when opting for this, as it may create too much moisture around the plant.
The moisture promotes pests and fungi. Bear in mind that Philodendron Florida Ghost likes the jungle environment, so high humidity is fine, so long as the soil or the leaves themselves aren’t excessively wet.
As a matter of fact, 65 – 80% humidity is a good average for the Philodendron.
As mentioned, Philodendron Florida Ghosts grow quite slowly, so you won’t have to repot it for at least two to three years.
You can tell when a Philodendron Florida Ghost needs to be repotted when the roots are sticking out of the drainage holes.
As a matter of care, you should ensure that Philodendron Florida Ghost roots aren’t too cramped. This means that you have to provide a pot that has enough space for the roots to spread appropriately. It’s ok if the pot is slightly too big.
Repotting a philodendron is fairly straightforward. Mainly, it’s a question of making sure that the pot is big enough to house a root ball, with enough extra space for the roots to spread out evenly. The best advice is to slightly oversize the pot.
Plan for repotting in spring. Plants like the Philodendron Florida Ghost do not grow in winter, so you may not be able to notice if it has taken to its new pot well.
Remember to use an appropriate potting soil mix – ideally a sphagnum peat moss. Water the plant well, perhaps adds a dose of fertilizer, and continue basic care.
This is also a good time to check for root damage or root rot (see below). Cut away any root rot with sterilized pruning shears before repotting, and rinse the roots thoroughly.
Cut away any brown or yellowing leaves or any that have been damaged by sunburn or pests. You will have a better chance of getting fresh new leaves than rescuing old and damaged ones.
It will also generally help with the health of your Philodendron Florida Ghost.
Make sure to use sterilized pruning shears. Any bacteria or pest infection can be spread if using infected shears.
The preferred method to propagate Philodendron Florida Ghost is stem cuttings. For more experienced owners, air layering is also an option.
Bear in mind that the plant doesn’t grow in winter. So, the best time for propagation is spring. Here is the basic process:
Using a pair of sterilized pruning shears, cut stem lengths of about four inches above the leaf node, with at least two leaves attached.
You will need to cure the cutting. Curing involves creating a callous at the cut end of the stem.
Leave the cutting out in a warm environment for about a week to build the callous. In the meantime, the new pot could use your attention.
Your new plant pot should have adequate drainage holes, and you can fill it with the recommended sphagnum peat moss or soil potting mix.
When the calluses are properly formed – it should take about a week or so to form – pot your new cutting.
Pack the soil around it, but not too tightly. If the cutting struggles to stand, use a straw or thin stick to support it.
Care for your new plant is no different from an adult plant. Water appropriately, feed it a little fertilizer, and you should start seeing growth in a few days or weeks.
Air layering is a much more sophisticated and delicate process. It should really only be attempted by experienced greenies. But here is the basic process in case you want to try it:
Wound your Philodendron Florida Ghost. To wound it, you need to use a sterilized knife to cut into the top part of the stem.
Be sure not to cut all the way through. If possible, make the cut about two inches in length and depth. Use a toothpick or similar instrument and stick it in the stem so as to hold the wound open.
Wet a portion of sphagnum peat moss. Get it wet enough so that it sticks to the wound and stem of the plant.
Apply this generously to the area surrounding the wound and the wound itself. You may need to use a string to keep the moss attached to the stem.
Use a piece of cling wrap to wrap the stem and the peat moss together around the wound area. Use some tape at the wedges to help it stick if necessary. After two to three weeks, you should see new roots starting to sprout from the wound, through the peat moss.
Now you should be able to cut out this section of the stem. Cut a generous three to five inches or so above and below the wound.
Once you have your cutting, you can remove the cling wrap, but make sure the peat moss still stays attached to the string.
Place your new plant in its new pot and apply the proper care as described above. You may not see growth right away, but after a few weeks, you should be able to see some progress.
Your Philodendron Florida Ghost is easy to care for, but it does have a few quirks and vulnerabilities. These are some of the commonly reported problems for the Philodendron Florida Ghost.
Two very common pests to look out for are spider mites and mealybugs. Both can cause problems for plants like the Philodendron Florida Ghost.
Spider Mites cause a web-like net over your plants. They love living underneath leaves, and cause them to yellow and die. Low-grade pesticide is worth a try, but they are tricky, in that a pesticide meant to kill spider mites may actually kill their predators instead.
Speaking of predators, ladybugs and lacewing are good for combatting spider mites. You will also want to regularly dust your leaves because dust attracts these pests.
Neem oil may take care of the eggs with regular use. But to be sure, cut infected leaves away or destroy completely infected plants and dispose of them in the trash.
Mealybugs are the plant-owners bane of existence. They are hardy, problematic pests that can damage a plant to the point of killing it, and they are quite difficult to get rid of.
Unfortunately, they seem to like philodendrons, and in this case, the Philodendron Florida Ghost. They show as waxy cotton deposits on the leaves. That’s just their waxy outer layer secretion.
Mealybugs feed on the sap of your plant, they are able to suck it dry and strangle the plant’s ability to feed itself.
The best way to take care of mealybugs is to apply a warm damp cloth to get rid of any excess deposits. Neem oil can then be applied to make sure that any hard deposits and resistant bugs are taken care of.
You may need to apply it several times over the course of a few days or weeks to be totally rid of them.
Be advised that mealybugs can spread very quickly to other plants, so treat the plant with neem oil as soon as you suspect an infection.
What is Fire Blight Disease, you ask? It’s a disease caused by bacteria. It causes plants to shrivel or wilt and turn gray. The resulting leaves look burned or scorched – hence the name.
The Erwinia Amylovora bacteria causes this affliction. It attacks the plant – usually new shoots and branches and can turn them black.
In bad cases, lesions will begin to appear all over the plant, and eventually, the bacteria will kill the Philodendron Florida Ghost.
If you suspect an infection, prune the affected branches immediately with sterilized pruning shears. When you have pruned, cut back on fertilization for a while. You don’t want to promote new growth for any remaining bacteria to attack.
When it comes to PFG, the leaves are a prime indicator of general plant health. Plants should be healthy green, and when young, may be white.
Yellow leaves are most commonly a sign of overwatering. Whether you’re giving water too often, or your soil isn’t draining adequately.
If your top two inches of soil are still damp, do not water your Philodendron Florida Ghost. Alternatively, change your soil to the recommended compound or mix.
Brown leaves can be more related to humidity. Your room air may be too dry. Try to up the humidity by using the pebble tray as recommended above or moving to a room where humidity may be more present.
In some cases, a good room humidifier does the trick. The Philodendron Florida Ghost thrives in high humidity.
Nobody likes a plant with pale leaves when it ought to be green. Pale leaves can be unsightly and make it seem like your plant is sick. Usually, this can be remedied.
Pale leaves are usually a sign that a plant needs more fertilizer. Leaves will pale if they’re not getting enough nutrition.
Set a schedule for fertilization, just like you might for watering. Tweak until you get an optimally healthy plant.
Root rot is a common problem, caused primarily by overwatering – more specifically, roots sitting in too-damp soil for too long.
The water promotes fungi and bacteria growth in the soil, which in turn strangles the roots, affecting the plant and sometimes killing it. Early signs include the leaves turning brown and drooping.
Affected roots turn mushy and dark, while healthy roots should be firm and white. When repotting your plant, make a point to check roots for any signs of infection.
You may even assess whether your plant soil is staying too wet for too long. If this is the case, check the roots. Remove the plant from the soil gently when you do this. A good rinse will help to check.
To fix root rot, you’ll need to cut away the affected roots with sterilized pruning shears. Then repot the plant in new soil, and if possible a new pot. If left for too long, root rot will cause the plant to die.
There are some common questions asked by new owners about the Philodendron Florida Ghost. Here are a few of the most frequently asked, and answers to them.
PFG is toxic to humans. The plants contain calcium oxalate crystals which are painful and potentially harmful if ingested. In humans, these crystals are the common cause of kidney stones.
But when ingested from a plant, the crystals cause small lesions in the ingestion passage.
Ingestion is not likely to result in death for a human. A large amount needs to be consumed before signs of toxicity start to appear.
It is accepted that the pain caused by the crystals generally prevents too much from being eaten at any one time.
All oxalate plants contain these crystals in their leaves, stems, and juices. They cause swelling and pain if ingested. The most common houseplants that contain these crystals are:
- Calla Lily
- Devil’s Ivy
- Dieffenbachia (Dumb Cane)
- Elephant’s Ear (alocasia amazonica)
- Mother-in-Law’s Tongue (Snake Plants)
- Spathiphyllum (Peace Lily)
Just as the plant is toxic to humans, it is also potentially seriously harmful to pets. The same lesions can be caused by the plants, leading to severe swelling of the tongue and esophageal passages.
In at least one study, it was shown that smaller animals like cats may die as a result of ingesting the crystals.
Fortunately, most cats and dogs seem to be aware of such things instinctively, and generally do not pay much attention to toxic plants around the house. That said, a curious kitten or puppy might try a bite.
In extreme cases, the following symptoms might occur if your pet has ingested the leaves and crystals of the PFG:
- Kidney failure
If any of these symptoms are apparent consult your vet immediately.
Philodendron Florida Ghost grows quite slowly. As mentioned, you won’t need to repot one for at least three years. At full size, it will stand around five feet at most. A leaf will be around four or five inches at its largest.
Philodendron Florida Ghost is a good climber and loves to attach to taller structures like other trees or walls to grow up and along.
It shouldn’t be too hard to find a Philodendron Florida Ghost from your local nursery or plant dealer. They are moderately priced.
There are several other philodendron varieties you may want to look into. Here are just a few popular ones:
- Philodendron Atom
- Philodendron Birkin
- Philodendron ‘Brasil’
- Philodendron ‘Burle Marx’
- Philodendron ‘Imperial Green’
- Philodendron Lacerum
- Philodendron ‘Lemon Lime’
- Philodendron ‘Prince of Orange’
- Philodendron Brandtianum
- Philodendron Xanadu (Thaumatophyllum Xanadu)
- Heartleaf Philodendron (Philodendron Hederaceum)
There is some confusion as to whether the Pedatum and Florida Ghost are the same plants. The Philodendron Florida Ghost is in fact part Pedatum – it is a hybrid between the Pedatum and Squamiferum.
The Florida Beauty may have the same origins – so when it comes to Philodendron Florida Beauty vs Florida Ghost, it’s an interesting discussion.
The main difference between the Philodendron Florida Ghost and Philodendron Florida Beauty is the color system of the leaves. The Philodendron Florida Ghost leaves start out white and turn green as they age.
The Beauty has leaves that remain two-colored as they start out. The Ghost is not actually variegated while the beauty is.
The genus Philodendron is the second-largest grouping of plants in the Araceae family. The only genus with more species is the Anthurium.
Philo makes for a wonderful ornamental and indoor plant, seemingly coping well with still spaces and moisture-rich environments.
They can survive outdoors, though mostly in warm or temperate climates. They will not typically do well in colder countries or low-light seasons.
The name is made of two Greek words meaning “love” and “tree”. Some believe it was named this because of its love of climbing along with trees. Not all Philodendron climb, though.
Philo leaves tend to be large or broad. Many species change the shape of their leaves as they mature. Philos can have either subterranean or aerial roots.
Looking for some great products to support your beloved Philodendron Florida Ghost? Here are a few you might want to consider:
- Climbing Plants Moss Pole – the perfect support for new Philos, this will help to keep your healthy Philodendron Florida Ghost growing upwards and in the right direction.
- Soil pH Meter – ideal for measuring the PH of your soil, which is quite important for the Philodendron Florida Ghost. You’ll be able to tell whether you need to replace your potting mix for the best results.
- Soil Moisture Meter – A hydrometer is a more certain way to determine the moisture of your soil. It’s cheap and easy to use.
- Watering Globe – a really useful tool for keeping the soil at a constant moisture level. Though it may not be the best solution for a specific Philodendron (depending on conditions), it will definitely be useful for any plant when you’re away.
Philodendron Florida ghost plants are easy to care for. There is little reason to be afraid of adopting one, as they are beautiful, tropical, fairly hardy, and generally add a pleasant feeling to any room.
Even its common problems are fairly easy to remedy, and not especially uncommon in respect of general plant care.
Along with some of the products recommended in this article, basic care should easily produce a healthy, green Philodendron Florida Ghost.
So, head off to your local nursery or plant store, ask about a PFG, and get a head start on your spring collection of Philodendrons.