Philodendron Black Cardinal vs Rojo Congo: Top Varieties Compared

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Philodendrons are popular houseplants, prized for their attractive foliage and relatively easy care requirements. Two varieties that have gained attention among houseplant enthusiasts are the Black Cardinal and Rojo Congo Philodendron. Both plants boast striking, dark-colored leaves, but there are subtle differences that set them apart, making each unique in its own way.

The Black Cardinal Philodendron, known for its large, round leaves with a deep, dark hue, has an elegant and lush appearance. In contrast, the Rojo Congo Philodendron displays deep red leaves, adding a vibrant touch of color to any indoor space. These two philodendron varieties, while sharing some similarities, have distinct features that make them ideal choices for different aesthetics and preferences among plant lovers.

Understanding the unique characteristics and care requirements of each type of philodendron will help you choose the best plant for your space and nurture its growth. Through this comparison of the Black Cardinal and Rojo Congo Philodendron, you will gain a greater appreciation for these two stunning varieties and learn how to best care for them, allowing them to thrive in your home environment.

Philodendron Black Cardinal

Philodendron Black Cardinal


Philodendron Black Cardinal is a large-leafed variety native to South America. Its dark chocolate and black foliage coloration sets it apart from other species. The plant exhibits an interesting color-changing process as its leaves mature. New leaves emerge in shades of burgundy, gradually transitioning to green, and eventually turning black.

Growth and Care

This attractive specimen is low-maintenance and requires simple care. It appreciates full morning or evening sun, which helps maintain its distinctive black coloring. To successfully grow a Philodendron Black Cardinal, provide the following care requirements:

  • Light: Moderate to bright indirect light
  • Water: Keep soil consistently moist, but not soggy
  • Humidity: Moderate to high humidity levels
  • Soil: Well-draining, enriched soil mix
  • Fertilizer: Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season

Keep in mind that overwatering or insufficient light can have a negative impact on the plant’s appearance, causing yellowing leaves or limited black coloration.

Common Issues

As with other indoor plants, the Philodendron Black Cardinal may experience some common issues if not cared for properly:

  1. Pest infestations: Spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids can attack the plant. Inspect regularly and treat with insecticidal soap, neem oil, or other appropriate measures.
  2. Yellow leaves: Overwatering, underwatering, or insufficient light may cause leaves to yellow. Monitor water levels and adjust care as needed.
  3. Brown tips or edges on leaves: This may be due to low humidity or insufficient water. Maintain adequate moisture levels and consider using a humidifier or pebble tray to increase humidity.

By providing the right care and promptly addressing any issues, the Philodendron Black Cardinal will thrive and add a touch of dramatic beauty to indoor spaces.

Philodendron Rojo Congo

Philodendron Congo Rojo


The Philodendron Rojo Congo is known for its stunning foliage which provides a unique aesthetic appeal in any indoor or outdoor setting. New leaves unfurl in a deep, shiny red, giving the plant its “rojo” (red) name source. As the leaves mature, they gradually fade to a burgundy-green color, which further enhances the plant’s visual interest.

Growth and Care

When properly cared for, the Philodendron Rojo Congo can thrive in various environments. This warm-weather plant enjoys temperatures in the 70s, 80s, and low 90s Fahrenheit and tolerates normal household temperatures as well source. To ensure healthy growth, keep the plant away from drafty windows or doors, especially during the winter months.

Some key factors to consider for optimal growth and care:

  • Light: Provide bright, indirect sunlight for the best results.
  • Soil: A well-draining potting mix is crucial for root health.
  • Water: Maintain consistent, moderate moisture levels in the soil. Avoid overwatering.
  • Fertilizer: Feed the plant with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer every few months during the growing season.

Keep in mind that the Philodendron Rojo Congo can grow quite large over time, so be prepared to repot the plant every couple of years.

Common Issues

Philodendron Rojo Congo is generally low-maintenance, but there are a few potential issues to watch out for. One notable concern is the plant’s susceptibility to root rot, which can occur if the plant is consistently overwatered. To prevent this, ensure proper drainage and avoid soggy soil conditions.

Another potential issue is pest infestations, as aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs may be attracted to the plant. Regularly inspect the leaves and stems for signs of pests, and treat promptly with insecticidal soap or neem oil when necessary.

Finally, be aware that the Rojo Congo produces flowers in the form of basal spathes low down on the plant, which emerge between the stems and under the cover of the leaves source. These flowers have waxy petals that wrap around antennae-like spadices, and may require some extra attention to maintain their health and appearance.

Comparing Black Cardinal and Rojo Congo


Both the Black Cardinal and Rojo Congo Philodendron are popular tropical houseplants known for their striking foliage and relatively low maintenance. They are also notable for their self-heading growth habits, which means they do not climb or vine as some other Philodendrons do. These two plants are ideal for individuals seeking attractive and manageable indoor plants.


Despite their similarities, the Black Cardinal and Rojo Congo Philodendron have distinct characteristics that set them apart:

  • Leaf color: The Black Cardinal sports blackish-green leaves with a glossy bronze finish, while the Rojo Congo boasts rich red leaves with a glossy sheen.
  • Growth habit: While both are self-heading, they have slightly different growth patterns. The Black Cardinal shares its growth habit with the Prince of Orange and Rojo Congo, whereas the Rojo Congo has a more upright growth habit.
  • Appearance: The Black Cardinal features large, oval-shaped leaves, whereas the Rojo Congo has longer leaves with a more elongated shape.

In conclusion, although the Black Cardinal and Rojo Congo Philodendron share some similarities, their differences in leaf color, growth habit, and appearance make them unique from one another. Each plant adds its flair and beauty to indoor spaces and makes a wonderful addition to any houseplant collection.

Choosing the Right Philodendron

When selecting the perfect Philodendron for your indoor space, it’s crucial to consider the differences between the Black Cardinal and Rojo Congo varieties. These two popular types of Philodendron plants exhibit unique characteristics that may suit different personal preferences and environmental conditions.

The Black Cardinal Philodendron is known for its stunning dark leaves that emerge as a rich burgundy color and gradually darken to a deep green. This variety has small, pinched lobes and sunken veins, giving the leaves a quilted appearance. It’s ideal for those who appreciate a dramatic aesthetic in their indoor plants.

On the other hand, the Rojo Congo Philodendron features vibrant red stems that contrast beautifully with its large tropical green leaves. This variety is striking and stately, making it a great choice for those who want to add a bold touch to their home or office décor.

In terms of care, both Black Cardinal and Rojo Congo Philodendrons prefer bright, indirect light; however, the Rojo Congo can tolerate lower light conditions. Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves of these plants, so placing them in a location with filtered light or morning sun is advisable.

When comparing growth habits, it’s essential to consider the space and structure available for your new Philodendron. The Black Cardinal grows more vertically, while the Rojo Congo tends to sprawl and extend its large leaves, demanding a bit more room to flourish.

Here are the key differences between Black Cardinal and Rojo Congo Philodendrons:

  • Leaf Color: Burgundy to dark green for Black Cardinal; tropical green for Rojo Congo
  • Leaf Shape: Oval with quilted appearance for Black Cardinal; large and more elongated for Rojo Congo
  • Light Requirements: Bright, indirect light for both; Rojo Congo tolerates lower light levels
  • Growth Habits: Vertical growth for Black Cardinal; sprawling growth for Rojo Congo

Ultimately, the choice between these two impressive Philodendron varieties comes down to individual taste and environmental factors. Consider the available space, the décor style, and the amount of natural light in your home before making your decision.


When comparing the Philodendron Black Cardinal and Rojo Congo, several differences and similarities arise. By understanding these characteristics, one can make an informed decision when choosing between these two popular houseplants.

The Philodendron Black Cardinal is known for its larger, rounder, and much darker leaves, which tend to have a deep burgundy shade. On the other hand, the Rojo Congo exhibits deep red leaves, but lacks the dark tone present in the Black Cardinal variety.

In terms of growth habits, the Black Cardinal shares similarities with plants such as Prince of Orange and Rojo Congo. It grows in a shrubby manner and tends not to vine or climb, although it may attach to a totem with time, as mentioned on this Reddit post.

Both Philodendron varieties are tropical plants that thrive in a warm temperature range of 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, one notable difference is their humidity tolerance. The Rojo Congo can endure relatively lower humidity levels, while the Black Cardinal benefits from increased humidity, such as from a humidifier or regular misting.

In summary, the choice between Philodendron Black Cardinal and Rojo Congo depends significantly on personal preference and the specific growing conditions in one’s home. Both plants offer unique visual appeal and can enhance any indoor space with their striking foliage. By considering factors like leaf color, size, and humidity requirements, individuals can select the variety that best suits their needs and home environment.

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