How to Grow a Dark Lord Philodendron, a Beginner Care Guide

Dark Lord Philodendron is a must have for big leaf plant collectors. 

This philodendron’s leaf starts out bright orange, then turns blood red, and finally fades to a deep dark green top with a metallic maroon underneath. 

This plant is very easy to grow and maintaining a relatively small size can be challenging because it is such a vigorous grower. 

Dark Lord Philodendron
Dark Lord Philodendron

In this beginner’s guide about how to grow a Dark Lord Philodendron, you will learn about this popular plant, which has become a coveted houseplant for plant lovers, including;

  • Is a Philodendron Dark Lord rare?
  • Why is Dark Lord Philodendron so expensive?
  • How to care for a Dark Lord Philodendron?
  • How do you keep the Philodendron Dark Lord Color?
  • How to propagate a Philodendron Dark Lord?.
  • Common pests and diseases of the Philodendron Dark Lord?,
  • and a few frequently asked questions.

Is a Philodendron Dark Lord rare?

Dark Lord Philodendron

The Philodendron ‘erubescens’ dark lord belongs to the Araceae plant family, which has around 3,750 species.

It is endemic to the tropical forests of Colombia and Panama, but ‘escapees’ have been discovered in Northern Africa, the Philippines, and Seychelles, all of which were introduced by man.

The dark lord is a hybrid variety of the widely known imperial red philodendron erubescens.

Why is Philodendron Dark Lord Philodendron so expensive?

For the past 15 years, this plant has remained largely unknown until it gained notoriety as a result of numerous Instagram postings and flashy reels highlighting its unusual characteristics.

Cultivators have struggled to maintain this plant in stock since then, which is why a cutting with two or more leaves can cost upwards of $100.

How to care for a Dark Lord Philodendron?

Dark Lord Philodendron


Dark Lord Philodendrons prefer a rich organic mix that is well-drained but moist. Keep in mind to avoid wet, mucky, or dry, sandy soils.


Despite her royal title, the Dark Lord is not difficult to please as long as she is not exposed to direct sunlight.

Make sure that the potting soil is always slightly moist, but be careful not to overwater: this dark lord does not like wet feet. Allow for thorough drainage of any excess water.

Light & Temperature

If grown outdoors, it’s best in zones 9b-11 (find your zone here). This Philodendron needs 70-85% bright sunshine. Filtered sun is ideal, depending on your location.

Not sure of the difference between direct and indirect light?

If you place your hand between your plant and the light and feel the sun’s heat on your skin, or if the shadow your hand casts has sharp, hard edges, your plant is in indirect light, which is too extreme for most indoor house plants.

If the shadow is soft, that placement has indirect light, and your houseplants will likely be happy there.

How much light do my plants need?

Dark Lord Philodendron should be taken indoors or covered during the winter months if they are in the northern end of their growing zone.

Check What Hardiness Zone You Are In Here.

The patio zone is 4b-11, which indicates that in colder climates, the potted plant will thrive during the summer months but must be taken inside before frost.


Fertilize sparingly, at least 6 inches away from the base, tri-annually with a slow time-released product to assist your new Dark Lord Philodendron to establish. My favorite organic liquid fertilizer that I use on my houseplants is LiquiDirt.

[lasso ref=”liquidirt-organic-fertilizer-indoor” id=”2205″ link_id=”1069″]

Water the plant with the fertilizer monthly in spring and summer and each six to eight weeks in fall and winter.

They will develop slowly if they are not fertilized. Note that the excessive salts in cheaper fertilizers may harm the plant’s roots and may even kill it.

Choosing the Right Plant Pot

Philodendrons thrive in both outdoor and indoor containers. Allow enough room for growth; for starters, a 10′′ to 20′′ circle, 10′′ deep pot should serve.

Keep in mind that the looser your roots are, the higher and healthier your plant will be.

When the plant’s growth slows due to root entanglement, it’s time to upgrade to a larger pot.

How do you keep the Philodendron Dark Lord’s Coloring?

Dark Lord Philodendron
Dark Lord Philodendron Leaf Color Changing

Here’s a nice comparison of the color of Philodendron ‘Dark Lord’ leaf. The shot on the left depicts a recently emerged leaf that is now unfurling.

It’s mostly a coppery red tint with some pinkish undertones.

A 2-week-old leaf has grown to a rich purple black in the shot on the right. The leaves grow a green appearance with a darker underside as they age.

With individual leaves reaching 18-22 inches in length, this is a huge Philodendron, and a mature specimen with so much dark coloration is rather striking.

How to propagate a Philodendron Dark Lord?

As part of the pant genre’s survival strategy, most (but not all) Philodendrons are for the most part easy to propagate.

Imagine if an animal breaks a portion of a plant growing and living in the canopy of a tree, another one will start growing from the broken cutting on the forest floor.

Most philodendron species can be propagated rather easily thanks to this survival characteristic.

Propagate the Philodendron Dark Lord in 8 Easy Steps!

Taking a top stem cutting (not a leaf cutting) from a mature dark lord and putting it in a rich, organic potting mix is the easiest approach to reproduce your dark lord.

A lot of aerial roots are produced by healthy dark lords. You should cut right below a node with a lot of aerial roots coming out of it.

  1. Using moist coco coir, perlite, and worm castings, make a tiny pot.
  2. Choose a healthy section of the main stem with 1-2 nodes with aerial roots from the top of your mature philodendron dark lord.
  3. Cut the stem just below the node with a clean pair of pruning scissors.
  4. Dip the freshly cut stem in a rooting hormone powder or solution.
  5. Plant the stem in your pre-made potting mix, burying the aerial roots 2-3 inches into the soil.
  6. Fill the rest of the pot with potting mix that has been left over.
  7. Thoroughly wet the area.
  8. Place in a warm environment with plenty of bright, indirect light.

Roots can take anything from 3-6 weeks to form, and in some cases even longer.

Lightly tug (and I mean gently) on the base of the stem to see if roots have begun to grow.

You’ve got roots if there’s some resistance.

Frequently asked questions.

  1. Is the dark lord philodendron toxic to pets?

    Philodendron Dark Lord shouldn’t be consumed by animals or humans. Being educated on poisonous plants can assist you to avoid any accidents all the while enjoying your greenery.

  2. Why are Leaves are Lacking that Characteristic Dark Coloring?

    When the leaves of your philodendron dark lord are kept at chilly temperatures, they begin to generate less chlorophyll (a condition known as chlorosis) and lose their wonderful green hue. This is first visible on the bottom leaves.

    This fading might also be caused by too much direct light or nutrition deficits. This problem can be solved by placing your dark lord in the correct light levels and providing it with a complete fertilizer.

  3. Should I give my Philodendron Dark Lord a Climbing Pole?

    Yes. A climbing pole wrapped in moss or coco coir can help this plant maintain its stability as it grows.

    In fact, the healthiest dark lords I’ve seen tend to be supported by a pole or at the very least stakes.

    Aerial roots are encouraged to adhere to the mesh by the pole, resulting in more prominent development.

  4. How can I speed up the growth of my Philodendron Dark Lord?

    The amount of light that a plant receives determines its growth. If you want your philodendron dark lord to grow faster, put it in a warm spot with plenty of bright, indirect light and 1-3 hours of the direct cold morning sun.

    You should also supply a comprehensive fertilizer and maintain a high level of humidity.

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