Why Is My Philodendron Turning Red? Uncovering Causes & Solutions

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Philodendrons are popular houseplants, known for their vibrant foliage and relatively low maintenance requirements. However, owners might sometimes notice the leaves of the plant turning red, which can be a cause for concern. Understanding the reasons behind this color change can help in addressing the issue and maintaining the health of the plant.

Several factors may contribute to philodendron leaves turning red, such as anthocyanin pigmentation, phosphorus deficiency, too much sun exposure, and lack of light. The presence of anthocyanins, for instance, can cause color changes in response to environmental stress or to protect new growth from predators. Another factor could be underwatering, as the plant loses turgidity and reflects light differently, leading to red leaves.

Temperature can also play a role, with cold temperatures causing the production of protective pigmentation in the form of red hues. By identifying and addressing the specific cause of reddening leaves, plant owners can ensure the proper care for their philodendrons, leading to a lush green plant with healthy foliage.

Why Philodendrons Turn Red

Light Exposure

One of the reasons that Philodendron leaves may turn red is due to excessive exposure to sunlight. Overexposure to sun can lead to the development of red pigmentation on the leaves. This can be a sign of distress as the plant might be trying to protect itself from the harmful effects of too much sunlight. Similarly, lack of light can also result in red leaves, as the plant might be trying to adapt and retain its energy.

Temperature Changes

Another cause for Philodendron leaves turning red is temperature changes. Philodendrons have anthocyanins in them, which produce different color pigmentation to protect the plant under stress or for other reasons, such as during the winter or when temperatures are at their lowest. When Philodendrons are exposed to extreme temperatures, the leaves can become stressed and turn red, indicating the plant is unable to tolerate these drastic changes in environment.

Nutrient Deficiencies

Reddening of Philodendron leaves can also indicate nutrient deficiencies. Particularly, a phosphorus deficiency can result in red leaves as the plant struggles to produce chlorophyll. This can lead to a decrease in its overall photosynthesis efficiency. Providing the plant with enough nutrients and monitoring its overall health can help mitigate this issue and keep the leaves vibrant and green.

By paying attention to these factors, such as light exposure, temperature changes, and nutrient deficiencies, Philodendron owners can better understand why the leaves might be turning red and take steps to address these issues to maintain the health of their plants.

Environmental Factors


Philodendron plants can be sensitive to watering-related issues, which can cause their leaves to turn red. Underwatering may lead to a lack of moisture in the plant’s cells, leading to redness. On the other hand, overwatering can cause root rot, affecting the plant’s overall health and causing a red hue in the leaves. Ensure that your Philodendron receives an adequate amount of water, allowing the soil to dry slightly between waterings.

Soil Conditions

The soil conditions in which a Philodendron grows can also play a role in the redness of its leaves. Factors such as phosphorus deficiency may cause the leaves to turn red due to a lack of essential nutrients. To give your plant the best chance of thriving, ensure it is planted in well-draining soil with an appropriate amount of nutrients. You can also use a slow-release fertilizer to provide essential nutrients and promote healthy growth.


Another possible cause for red leaves in your Philodendron plant can be the humidity level in its environment. These plants naturally thrive in high-humidity environments, and when the surrounding air is too dry, they can become stressed. The stress caused by low humidity levels can induce a red coloration in leaves. To maintain an ideal humidity level, you can place your Philodendron on a pebble tray filled with water, use a room humidifier, or mist the leaves regularly.

Remedial Actions

Adjusting Light

If your philodendron leaves are turning red, one potential cause could be exposure to direct sunlight. To remedy this issue, consider relocating the plant to a location with brighter, indirect light. This can help protect the plant’s leaves from excessive sun exposure that might be causing the redness. Make sure the plant is still receiving sufficient light to ensure healthy growth.

Maintaining Temperature

Another factor to consider when managing red philodendron leaves is the temperature. Cold temperatures can cause the plant to produce anthocyanins, which results in red pigmentation under stress. Ensure the plant is kept in an area with a consistent temperature, ideally between 65-80°F (18-27°C). Avoid placing the philodendron near cold drafts or heating vents, as these can lead to temperature fluctuations that might stress the plant.

Providing Proper Nutrients

Lastly, red philodendron leaves could be a sign of nutrient deficiencies, such as a phosphorus deficiency. To address this issue, it’s essential to provide the plant with proper nutrients. Consider implementing a balanced fertilizer to improve the plant’s overall health. Be cautious not to over-fertilize the philodendron, as this can lead to other problems like leaf burning or root damage.

  • Apply a balanced liquid fertilizer every 4-6 weeks
  • Choose a fertilizer with a formula like 20-20-20 (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium)
  • Follow the packaging instructions to determine the correct dilution and application rates for your plant

By taking these remedial actions, you can help prevent redness in philodendron leaves and ensure your plant remains healthy and stunning. Remember to make adjustments to light, maintain an optimal temperature, and provide the necessary nutrients for your philodendron to thrive.


In summary, several factors can cause Philodendron leaves to turn red. One primary cause is the presence of Anthocyanins Pigmentation in the plant, which produces different color pigmentations to protect it from stress or temperature changes. Another cause could be a phosphorus deficiency in the soil, leading the plant to develop an improper balance of nutrients.

Temperature is also a key factor in the color change of Philodendron leaves. Heat stress can occur when the plant is exposed to extreme temperatures, leading to leaf distress and a shift to a redder hue. Additionally, cold temperatures during winter can influence the red pigment production in the leaves.

Environmental factors such as excess sunlight or a lack of light can also affect the color of the foliage. Overexposure to the sun might result in a reddish hue, while insufficient light could cause underwatering issues, further impacting the plant’s health.

In some cases, the red color could also serve as a camouflage for new growth to protect it from predators. On the other hand, plant diseases caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria may lead to distinct red spots on the leaves, signaling a potential pathogen attack.

To preserve the health and appearance of your Philodendron, it is essential to identify the issue causing these changes and address it accordingly. By providing an adequate environment, proper nourishment, and optimal conditions, you can help your Philodendron thrive with lush, vibrant leaves.