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Light requirements
Philodendron melanochrysum does not require direct light but will tolerate a small dose of 1-2 hours of morning sunlight. It prefers bright but indirect light, sometimes described as bright shade. Imagine the dappled, indirect but bright light that a plant growing in the mid-canopy of trees in the tropics might receive. Small leaves or a very slow growth rate may indicate a lack of light. Watch your plant for signs. P. melanochrysum will not thrive if kept in a dimly lit room, and growth will be slow.
If your location does not have suitable natural lighting, artificial grow lights can provide the bright conditions your Philodendron needs. Purpose-made plant lights with multiple wands can be used, as well as clip-on lights. A fixture you already own or a pole lamp that you find at a thrift store can be modified with screw-in type LED plant light bulbs at an economical cost both to buy and to run.
If you are a true house plant aficionado, and want to make sure you are doing right by each plant’s needs, buy a light meter to help you determine what light intensity your plants are receiving at different locations throughout your home.
Most Philodendron are vining and can become partially epiphytic as they reach up into the tree canopy in their home lush forests. They will grow aerial roots that may opportunistically latch on to any available structure–hopefully your moss pole. They must be planted in a pot with excellent drainage.
Check the moisture in your P. melanochrysum by inserting your finger 1-2 inches deep and feeling the soil. If dry, water your plant until excess water drains out the drainage holes. Empty the water that collects in the saucer.
A word of caution; if you have been busy and allowed your plant’s soil to dry excessively, it may become temporarily unable to absorb moisture. If water instantly runs down the sides of the pot and out the drainage holes, this may be the problem. Repeated small waterings until the soil swells back to fill the pot may be necessary. Then, proceed with normal watering.
It may seem that a tropical plant could not be overwatered, but that is not the case. Watering P. melanochrysum too much can cause problems with fungus, root rot, and other pests.
Temperature and humidity
Philodendron spp. are tropical plants adapted to warmer temperatures and higher humidity. Any room above 60℉ should be fine, but cold windows or locations near outside doors which let in a lot of cold air when opened and closed are suitable.
Your P. melanochrysum enjoys and needs a humid environment. It will thrive in relative humidity of 80%. Many homes are too dry for tropical and subtropical plants, especially in winter when interior humidity levels normally fall as low as 20% due to the use of your home heating system.
If your home is drier, try several things to improve the humidity and keep your Black Gold Philodendron happy.
  • Mist your Philodendron frequently to provide the necessary humidity. Don’t mist so often that the leaves remain wet, however, as fungus and leaf problems may result.
  • Group your plants together. Plants give off moisture through a process called evapotranspiration. Grouping them will help create a local environment of slightly higher humidity.
  • Use a small humidifier to raise the humidity level of the room.
Soil and Pots
Most Aroids like excellent drainage, and P. melanochrysum is no exception. Pre-mixed Philodendron potting mixes can be purchased online, or you can make your own. If making your own, there are many recipes available on gardening sites from successful growers. Give your Philodendron something light and airy, which drains quickly but can still hold some moisture and is kind of chunky or barky. Add some perlite to your mix to increase the aeration of the potting mix even more.
P. melanochrysum does not like being root bound in its pot. Keep an eye on it and try to repot in spring or summer if necessary. Make sure the pot has adequate drainage holes to prevent the roots from sitting in water. Your Philodendron may only need to be repotted every year or two.
General fertilizer designed for houseplants will work fine. Choosing a fertilizer that is either balanced, i.e. 10-10-10 NPK, or one that is a little nitrogen heavy–nitrogen is responsible for foliage growth–works well. Fertilize a little at each major watering instead of a lot once in a while.
P. melanochrysum can be a heavy feeder. If all else is well, but your melanochrysum still has small leaves, it may need to be fertilized. Avoid the temptation to give a heavy fertilizer application which can burn the roots of the plant. Always follow the directions on the package. Most fertilizers are meant to be diluted with water according to the ratio on the label. Fertilizing can and should be postponed in the winter months when the plant is growing slower.

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