The philodendron prince of orange certainly earns its royal name with its bright, vibrant orange leaves that slowly shift to a deep green as they grow and mature.
The beautiful thing about this hybrid plant is that all of the leaves mature at their own pace, leaving you with a collection of various wonderful colors.
It’s a compact plant that loves its shade, making it ideal for indoor growing. It’s also relatively easy to take care of so it makes a great gift for a fellow plant-lover.
In this guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know to keep your prince of orange healthy, colorful, and full of life.
You’ll want to keep your prince of orange out of direct sunlight. While it does need sunlight and plenty of it, too much direct exposure will do much more harm than good.
That doesn’t mean that it can’t get a few hours worth of rays throughout the day, especially in the early morning or evening.
That being said, if too many of the leaves begin turning yellow at the same time, this may be a sign that you need to find the plant a bit more shade.
Semi-bright, filtered light is the way to go. If the stems of the plant get too long and the leaves are too far apart, that could mean the plant isn’t getting enough light.
A lack of sunlight will definitely hinder its growth. More importantly, you’ll start to lose those vibrant colors!
How Do I Know if My Plant is Getting Enough Light
If you’re serious about keeping your plant healthy and you don’t mind investing a little bit of money, you can actually purchase a light meter online.
They’re not too expensive and can help you really fine-tune your light levels, something you could never do with the naked eye.
On a similar note, plants are resilient and can easily survive in less than ideal light conditions, so you might think everything is perfectly fine even when it’s not.
Light levels are measured in FC (or foot-candles), and the optimal level for a prince of orange is 400 FC. It can survive in light as low as 200 FC, but remember, surviving is not thriving!
When it comes to the potting mix that you use for your prince of orange, the important thing is to use something that drains well. Loose soil, especially soil that has a lot of organic matter, is a safe choice.
You don’t even have to use soil, however, as soil-less, peat moss-based mixtures work wonderfully. Perlite or vermiculite are both excellent choices.
If you’re looking for a specific recommendation, you can go with either African Violet Soil Mix or a pre-made Philodendron and Monstera Mix, both of which you can get online for pretty cheap.
Again, the key is using a loose mix. You don’t want a bunch of water packed in there with nowhere to go.
During its first growing season, you’ll want to water your plant deeply to help it grow a long, healthy root system. A plant can’t thrive without good roots.
A good idea is to water it once the top inch or so of mixture dries out. The length between the tip of your index finger and your knuckle is about an inch, so a neat little trick is to use your finger to check the moisture level.
Soak the soil evenly, but not so much that the soil becomes soggy. This can lead to root rot, which is a surefire way to kill your plant. There’s going to be some trial and error when it comes to watering your plant and the leaves will begin to droop both if it gets too much water or if it gets too little.
Luckily, it’s a strong plant and it will recover quickly as you hone in on the perfect amount of water.
Watering Tips for the Philodendron Prince of Orange
Here are a few more tips to keep in mind. Always use tepid water. The prince of orange is a tropical plant and loves the warmth, so cold water can give it a nasty shock.
Also, if you’re growing your plant in the cold season (it can be grown year-round), you don’t need to water it as much. Also, don’t let the mixture dry out completely.
Being a plant that excels indoors, it only makes sense that room temperature is the ideal temperature for the prince of orange.
An average of 70-85℉ (21-29℃) is perfect, so just be sure to keep the plant away from any heating and cooling vents. If you’re experiencing extreme weather, it might be a good idea to keep your plant away from the windows, too.
Everything gets colder at night, of course, but try to keep your plant in an area that doesn’t dip below 60℉ (15℃).
This is one of the few areas where the prince of orange requires a little extra care. This is a tropical plant, so it doesn’t fare too well in extremely dry air.
Humidity of 50% or higher is ideal, but nobody expects you to gauge the humidity on your own. You’ll definitely want to purchase a gauge and keep it around the plant.
If the tips of your leaves are turning brown, that means that the air isn’t humid enough. The best way to remedy the situation indoors is to set up a cool-mist room humidifier.
Fertilizer is a very important tool in the healthy growth of a plant, but only if you use the right stuff.
There are plenty of fertilizers out there produced specifically for houseplants, so a balanced liquid mix with macronutrients is the way to go. The prince of orange doesn’t require a lot of fertilizer, so a little should go a long way.
Nutrients to Look for in a Fertilizer
Two very important nutrients to look for are calcium and magnesium, and that goes for all philodendrons. If the plant isn’t getting enough of these, you’ll be able to tell when the newer leaves spring up with much more muted colors.
How and When to Fertilize
As I said, the prince of orange doesn’t require much in the way of fertilizer. Once a month during the spring and summer seasons should be plenty, and in the fall and winter, you can drop that down to every six to eight weeks.
If the leaves start looking a bit too small, that could be a sign that you need to feed them a bit more.
Fortunately, for those new to plant ownership, the prince of orange is fairly easy to propagate. That’s just one more thing that makes it a great gift!
To grow more plants, cut off a stem, making sure to keep a few leaf nodes intact. The nodes are the little swollen parts that produce more leaves.
You can plant the stem in soil or you can simply place it in water. If you use soil, keep it moist, but remember, don’t water it so much that the soil gets soggy. If you place the stem in water, be sure to change the water frequently.
It should take about a month or so, but eventually the stem cuttings will produce roots. Once this starts happening, you can plant the budding prince of orange in its own pot. It’s best to do this in spring or summer, as that’s when the plant will grow the most.
Here’s a helpful tip: you’re likely going to prune your plant from time to time as part of your regular upkeep. Instead of throwing those clippings away, use them for propagation. That way there’s no need to go in there and make any unnecessary cuts.
If your plant grows at the pace that it should, you shouldn’t have to repot it for at least a year, sometimes not until eighteen months. Do it during the warm seasons and pick a new container that’s roughly 2 – 4 inches bigger than the existing pot.
However, if your plant is growing too slowly or the leaves aren’t getting as big as they should be, that could be a sign that the current pot is too small.
If your plant is getting adequate light and water and its growth is still stunted, it likely needs a bigger pot.
You may not want your prince of orange to get any bigger if you don’t have space for it. In that case, instead of upgrading to a larger pot every year or so, simply trim the roots a bit (and foliage, if you want) and replace the soil.
Yet another thing that makes the prince of orange an easy plant to manage is there’s no need to prune it to maintain its health or shape.
That being said, the appeal of this plant is its vibrant leaves, so as the leaves wither and die, you’ll probably want to get in there and trim them away. It all comes down to preference.
If you’re new to plant maintenance, here's some advice. When pruning plants, it’s a good idea to sterilize your cutting tool with alcohol before pruning. Plants are living things and as such can get diseases just like we can.
As with all philodendron plants, the prince of orange is toxic. They contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that, when eaten by pets, can cause irritation, pain, and swelling. In rare cases, the upper airway can swell, which can make it hard for your pet to breathe.
While you’re not going to be eating your plant, it can still irritate the skin, so it’s not a bad idea to wear gloves when handling it.
Q. Why are the Leaves Turning Yellow?
Yellow leaves can indicate a few different things, which makes them tricky to diagnose. If you see both yellow and brown on a leaf, that could be a sign that you’re watering the plant too much. This can lead to root rot, which can kill the plant.
On the other hand, if the leaf is almost entirely yellow with a few dry, brown spots, that means it’s not getting enough water.
It also might not be about water at all! Yellow leaves can also be an indication of too much sunlight.
Q. Why are the Leaf Edges Turning Brown?
If the edges of the leaf are turning brown, that likely means that the plant isn’t getting enough water. If the tip of the leaf is turning brown, however, that could mean that the air is too dry. Remember, this is a tropical plant and it needs a certain level of humidity.
Q. What Pests do I Need to Worry About?
Luckily, the prince of orange doesn’t have a big pest problem, at least not when compared to other plants. That doesn’t mean they won’t show up, though. Mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites can all present an issue.
Regularly treating the plant with insecticidal soap, neem oil, and even the occasional water bath can help keep your plant bug-free.
Gently wiping your plant down with a tissue dipped in rubbing alcohol can also get rid of mealybugs, which presents a nice alternative to chemicals.
Q. How do I Rescue my Plant from Root Rot?
Root rot occurs when a plant is overwatered and can’t drain properly. This causes the roots to sit in water and eventually grow a fungus that eats through the roots. Whether or not you can save a plant from root rot all depends on how far the rot has spread.
To put it simply: you need to cut out the rot. Uproot the plant and look for any parts of the roots that are brown and mushy.
Cut those parts away and repot the plant in fresh soil, nurturing it like a new plant. Philodendrons are tough plants, so don’t be surprised when it returns to its former glory!
Q. What is Erwinia leaf spot? What Does it Look Like on a Plant?
If your plant leaves start showing tiny brown or yellow spots, that could be a sign of a bacterial infection.
Again, water is the culprit, and it will continue to spread the disease if you’re not careful.
As with root rot, you’ll want to remove the infected parts of the plant as soon as possible. If you have multiple plants, be sure to wash your hands and tools to prevent spreading it to another plant, as well as isolate the affected plant.
Preventing Erwinia is much easier than treating it. Always let the plant and surface soil dry between watering.
A good idea is to water your plant first thing in the morning so that it has all day to dry. I know it’s intuitive to give your plant plenty of water, but it’s just as important to make sure it’s not constantly soaked.
FAQ – Your Care Questions Answered
Q. Are Philodendron Prince of Orange Rare?
A quick Internet search will show how easy it is to purchase a prince of orange and for a very reasonable price. It might not be the most common plant, but it’s far from rare. If you’re looking to get one for yourself, you shouldn’t have an issue.
Q. Should I Mist my Philodendron Prince of Orange?
Given the chances of root rot and erwinia leaf spot developing, I would say no to misting your plant. It’s harder to control, meaning that it’s easier to overwater the plant. Just stick with traditional watering, not too much, and you should be fine.
Q. How Big does a Philodendron Prince of Orange Become?
The average size of a fully matured prince of orange plant is 2 to 3 feet in both width and height.
Q. Does the Philodendron Prince of Orange Climb?
Prince of orange plants grow upright, but unlike most philodendron plants, they don’t climb (or vine). This is part of what makes it ideal for an indoor plant. It’s not going to grow out of control and take over the room.
Q. How do I Make my Philodendron Prince of Orange More Orange?
The color of your plant’s leaves all depends on how much light it gets. The more light you give it, the more vibrant the colors will be. If you feel like the leaves should be more orange, make sure it’s getting enough indirect light.
Q. Does the Prince of Orange Grow Flowers?
The prince of orange plant can grow flowers, but it rarely happens when grown indoors in a planter, which is the plant’s primary use.