Philodendron Imperial Red vs Rojo Congo: Key Differences Explained

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Philodendron plants are known for their lush foliage and distinctive tropical feel, making them popular choices for houseplants. One question that often arises among plant enthusiasts is the difference between Philodendron Imperial Red and Philodendron Rojo Congo. With their stunning leaves and similar growth patterns, it’s essential to understand their unique characteristics to make the right choice for your home.

While both varieties are beautiful and relatively easy to care for, there are some notable differences in size, leaf shape, and color. The Philodendron Imperial Red is slightly smaller, typically reaching a maximum height of 3 feet, with elongated leaves exhibiting a lighter green hue and reddish-brown tinge. On the other hand, the Philodendron Rojo Congo tends to be a larger, more vigorous plant that can grow up to 4 feet in height, boasting wider, darker leaves.

In this article, we will delve deeper into the key differences between these two beautiful philodendron varieties to help you decide which one will best suit your space and personal preferences. As you read on, you’ll learn about each plant’s growth habits, care requirements, and other factors that may influence your decision.

Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo Overview

Origin and Classification

Philodendron Congo Rojo

Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo are both tropical plants belonging to the Araceae family. They have some similarities in appearance and growth patterns, but they do exhibit unique characteristics that clearly distinguish them from each other. The Philodendron Rojo Congo is a hybrid, resulting from a cross between Philodendron Imperial Red and Philodendron Tatei.



Philodendron Imperial Red
Beautiful red and green leaves of Philodendron tropical plant

Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo both have large, wide, oval-shaped leaves. However, there are noticeable differences between the two. Imperial Red leaves are more elongated and come to a point, while those of Rojo Congo are wider and rounder. As these plants mature, the leaves of Imperial Red reach a maximum length of 7-10 inches (17-25 cm). The leaves of Rojo Congo have a darker color, while those of Imperial Red are bright green.


Another key difference between the two plants is their size. Rojo Congo plants are generally larger, with the ability to grow up to four feet in width and height. In contrast, the Imperial Red typically only reaches three feet in size.

Growth Patterns

Philodendron Rojo Congo is known for growing more vigorously than the Imperial Red. It has a self-supporting, self-heading growth pattern, which means it does not require stakes or moss poles for support. The plant tends to grow in a lovely rosette formation with erect oval leaves. Meanwhile, the Imperial Red is a low-maintenance plant that requires moderate light and thrives in a humid environment. It can be propagated easily by stem cuttings.

In summary, Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo may both be tropical plants, but they have distinct characteristics that set them apart. Their leaf shapes, size, and growth patterns are key attributes to consider when choosing between these two beautiful Araceae family members.

Growth and Care Requirements

Light and Temperature

Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo have some differences in their preferred light conditions. While the Imperial Red prefers bright, indirect light, the Rojo Congo can tolerate lower light conditions. It’s essential to provide proper light for these plants to thrive. Both varieties can grow well in average indoor temperatures, ideally between 65-80°F (18-27°C).

Watering and Humidity

Both Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo have similar watering needs. They require watering every one to two weeks, ensuring the soil remains moist but avoiding overwatering. It’s crucial to let the top inch of the soil dry out between waterings to prevent root rot. High humidity is also essential for these plants, so misting their leaves regularly or placing them near a humidifier can help maintain the desired humidity levels. As a general rule, keep humidity between 40-60% for optimal growth.

Soil and Fertilization

Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo plants require well-draining soil to thrive. A mixture of peat, perlite, and potting soil can provide the ideal growing medium, ensuring proper aeration and moisture retention. Both plants need feeding during the growing season, so applying a balanced liquid fertilizer every four to six weeks can help support their growth.

Regarding size and growth pattern, Philodendron Rojo Congo is the larger plant, reaching up to 4 feet in height, while the Imperial Red usually only reaches 3 feet. The Imperial Red has a more compact bush shape with a greater density, whereas the Rojo Congo exhibits a more dramatic appearance.

In summary, the growth and care requirements for both the Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo mainly focus on providing suitable light, temperature, watering, and fertilization. By meeting their requirements, enthusiasts can enjoy the beauty these tropical plants bring to indoor spaces.

Common Issues and Troubleshooting


Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo may experience pest infestations, particularly from spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids. To control these pests, you can:

  • Regularly monitor your plants for any signs of infestation
  • Wipe the leaves with a damp cloth to remove pests and dirt
  • Use insecticidal soap or neem oil, following the product instructions
  • Introduce natural predators, such as ladybugs, to help control aphids


Both varieties of Philodendron may suffer from several diseases, such as:

  • Root rot: Caused by soggy soil leading to the rotting of roots. To prevent this, ensure your plant is in well-draining soil and avoid overwatering. It’s important to maintain consistent moisture but not allow the soil to become overly wet.
  • Leaf spots: Fungal or bacterial infections may cause leaf spots. To treat them, remove the affected leaves and improve air circulation around the plant.

Other Problems

Some other common issues with Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo include:

  • Brown, dry leaf tips: This may indicate underwatering, as both plants are fairly drought-resistant. Make sure you water your plants regularly, allowing the soil to dry out slightly between waterings.
  • Drooping or curling leaves: This could also be due to underwatering. Adjust your watering schedule to keep your plant hydrated and healthy.
  • Loss of red tinting: Insufficient light may cause the Rojo Congo’s leaves to lose their red tint. Ensure your plant receives plenty of indirect sunlight by placing it near an east or west window.

Overall, it’s essential to monitor your Philodendron plants for any signs of issues proactively. Maintaining a healthy environment and promptly addressing any problems will help your Imperial Red or Rojo Congo thrive.

Propagation Techniques

Taking stem cuttings is a popular method for propagating both the Philodendron Imperial Red and the Philodendron Rojo Congo. This reliable technique allows new plants to grow, while ensuring they share similar characteristics to the parent plant.

To propagate using stem cuttings:

  1. Carefully select a healthy, mature stem from the base of the plant.
  2. Using a sterilized cutting tool, cut the stem at a 45-degree angle, leaving at least one leaf node intact.
  3. Remove any leaves from the lower part of the cutting to expose the nodes.

There are two popular methods for rooting the cut stem of both varieties: water rooting and soil rooting.

Water Rooting

  1. Fill a glass or jar with water, ensuring it’s big enough to hold the cutting.
  2. Place the cut stem into the water, ensuring the leaf node is submerged.
  3. Monitor the progress over the next three to four weeks, topping up the water as required.

Make sure to place the water-filled jar in a bright spot with indirect sunlight. In time, you should notice new roots starting to grow. Once the roots are about two inches long, the cutting is ready for planting in soil.

Soil Rooting

  1. Prepare a pot with well-draining, fertile soil, suitable for Philodendron species.
  2. Create a hole in the soil and gently insert the cut stem, placing the leaf node just below the soil surface.
  3. Gently pack the soil around the cutting to secure it in place.
  4. Keep the soil moist but not soggy during the rooting process.

Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo plants have slightly different light requirements when it comes to propagation. The Imperial Red prefers bright, indirect light during the rooting process, while the Rojo Congo can tolerate slightly lower light conditions.

Regardless of the variety, both types of Philodendron should have at least six hours of bright, indirect light per day. Make sure to keep them away from direct sunlight, as this can cause the leaves to scorch. By following these propagation techniques, you’ll have new Philodendron plants thriving in no time.

Comparison of Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo


Both Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo belong to the Philodendron genus and share some similarities, making them popular choices for indoor plant enthusiasts. These plants are both adaptable to a range of indoor conditions and have a visually appealing, lush appearance. In terms of maintenance, they require similar amounts of sunlight and humidity.


Size and Growth

While they share some similarities, there are notable differences between these two Philodendron species. The most significant difference lies in their size and growth. The Rojo Congo generally grows larger and more vigorously than the Imperial Red. While Rojo Congo can reach up to 4 feet (1.2 meters) in height, the Imperial Red typically grows up to 3 feet (1 meter) tall.

Leaf Shape and Color

The shape and color of their leaves also set them apart. Imperial Red features elongated, lighter green leaves, whereas Rojo Congo has wider, darker green leaves. This difference in foliage makes each variety uniquely attractive and suitable for different decor styles.

Water and Soil Requirements

Imperial Red and Rojo Congo have distinct requirements when it comes to water and soil conditions. The Imperial Red needs more water – about two ounces per week, while the Rojo Congo requires only one ounce. Additionally, Imperial Red thrives in drier soil, while Rojo Congo prefers moist soil conditions.

In summary, Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo have a few key differences, including their size, growth rate, leaf shape, color, and water and soil requirements. These differences contribute to each plant’s unique aesthetics and maintenance needs, making them suitable for various indoor plant enthusiasts according to personal preferences and interior styles.


When it comes to choosing between the Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo for your indoor space, there are several key differences to consider. The Imperial Red is slower to mature and has a more compact growth habit, while the Rojo Congo is characterized by its larger, more dramatic appearance.

In terms of foliage, the Rojo Congo showcases darker, redder leaves with more prominent center-to-edge contrast. On the other hand, the Imperial Red’s leaves are typically smaller, more elongated, and pointed, with a maximum length of around 7 inches. Meanwhile, the Rojo Congo’s leaves can grow up to 10 inches long and tend to be more rounded.

Regardless of your choice, both plants require moderate light and consistent watering, usually every one to two weeks. In essence, the decision between these two popular indoor plants boils down to personal preference and the desired aesthetic for your space.

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