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30 Must-Know Philodendron Dark Lord Care Tips

If you’re trying to grow the Philodendron Dark Lord, start here! The Dark Lord is a tropical perennial known for its massive foliage, and it grows well with proper lighting and aroid potting mix.

While it may sound spooky, the Philodendron Dark Lord is an incredibly beautiful and interesting plant that’s also easy to grow. In this article, we’re offering tips for growing this tropical beauty – and suggestions on where to buy it. Read on to see this Philodendron Dark Lord care guide!

And yes, Harry Potter fans are absolutely allowed to name their Philodendron Dark Lord Voldy, Voldemort, or the Plant Who Must Not Be Named. You have my blessing.

What Is Philodendron Dark Lord?

The Philodendron Dark Lord is sometimes known as Dark Lord, Dark Lord Philodendron, and Dark Knight Philodendron. It is a tropical plant famous for its massive dark-colored foliage, although this can differ a bit from plant to plant. Some of them have an intense red color, while others have a darker shade.

Belonging to the Araceae family, this perennial has arrow-shaped and dark green leaves with a maroon underbelly. Indoors, it appreciates humidity near an east or west-facing window. If you absolutely can’t put it in a window, it can exist under a grow light, but it will likely lose some of its vibrance.

You may also grow Dark Lord Philodendron plants outdoors if you are living in hardiness zone 9b-11.

Beware The Dark Lord Instagram Filter

Like all things in 2023, the Instagram filter can stretch the truth a bit too much, causing unrealistic plant expectations! Sometimes, there are Philodendron Dark Lord plants on social media that are way too brilliantly red. It’s still a beautiful plant in real life, but you can’t expect it to look like a red lightsaber.

Origin And Family

The Dark Lord is part of the Philodendron genus in the Araceae family. It is native to Colombia and Panama’s rainforests. As a tropical houseplant that is easy to care for, it has become a recent favorite for many indoor growers.

Philodendron Dark Lord is a hybrid variety of the Imperial Red Philodendron Erubescens.

Is Philodendron Pink Dark Lord Real?

Unlike the Philodendron Dark Lord, the Philodendron Pink Dark Lord gets its pinkish hues chemically induced with a compound called Ethylene. This pink color only lasts about six months without additional treatments. In other words, no, the Pink Dark Lord is not a plant you’ll find in nature. It’s just a regular Dark Lord that’s been made fabulous.

But if we’re being extra picky, I should point out that the Dark Lord is a hybrid plant from a Philodendron erubescens imperial red. So is it real? Am I real? Eh, just grow the plants you like. We don’t have to be philosophers to enjoy them.

Where To Buy

Philodendron Dark Lord is a rare plant in high demand in the US, but you can find them at reasonable rates at many nurseries and local plant stores. Ordering online from Etsy is also a hassle-free and more cost-efficient option, especially for pups.

The Philodendron Dark Lord has expensive prices ranging from $70 for small plants to $100+ for larger ones. The pricing of this can vary with demand. When a plant becomes popular, nurseries all over the world start producing more of that plant, which increases the supply, causing the price to drop. So, while at the time of writing this, a Philodendron Dark Lord could cost $100, it may cost less in the coming months.

Honestly, from a savings perspective, I recommend getting the Dark Lord as a pup from a mature plant. But it should be noted that, at first, the juvenile leaves of this plant are not incredibly striking. They’re only a slight burgundy color. But it will become more vibrant as the plant matures.

Philodendron Dark Lord sold in Etsy

How Big Does Dark Lord Philodendron get?

The Dark Lord is a Philodendron plant can grow to be six feet tall indoors – or more. I highly recommend using a moss pole to shape the direction of its growth. To get this growth, using natural light is best. Even the best grow lights aren’t going to generate the same results as good ol’ fashioned sun.

When it’s young, it can be difficult (at least for me!) to identify the Philodendron Dark Lord because of the dimness of its leaves, making it look similar to the Philodendron Majesty. In about a year or so, you can usually tell the difference.

Philodendron Dark Lord Care Needs

Your Philodendron Dark Lord, with its massive foliage, will flourish if you take good care of it. This plant loves humidity and relatively moist soil throughout the year.

Water your Philodendron Dark Lord when the top two inches of the soil are dry. Make sure to give it a full drench, allowing water to run down the bottom of the pot. In terms of lighting, bright indirect light is best for this plant.

Take a look at the more specific growing tips we’ve written below to keep your Philodendron Dark Lord healthy and happy!

SoilCare Specifics
Botanical NamePhilodendron Dark Lord
Common NameDark Lord, Dark Lord Philodendron, Dark Knight Philodendron
Plant FamilyAraceae
OriginColombia and Panama
Plant Typeperennial
Leaf Shapearrow-shaped
Leaf Colordark green with maroon underbelly
Recommended Home Placementnear an east or west-facing window
Growth Ratefast
Lightbright indirect light
Soilaroid potting mix
When To WaterWater When the top two inches of the soil are dry.
When To Fertilizeonce a month during growing season
Preferred pH5.5 to 7.5
Humidity Range70% above
Toxic To Pets?Yes - symptoms include swollen lips and tongue, difficulty swallowing, and vomitting
Common Pests & Diseasesspider mites, brown tips, fungus gnats, scale insects, yellow leaves, root rot, aphids, mealy bugs, drooping leaves

Care Difficulty

The Dark Lord Philodendron is often regarded as easy to care for. If you wish to grow this amazing plant successfully, make sure you keep an eye on the amount of light it gets and the soil aeration.

Growth Rate

This species of Philodendron plant measures up to 6 feet in height when grown in an indoor environment. Like in the case of most tropical plants, the warmth of spring and summer jumpstarts this plant’s growth spurt.

In its juvenile state, the foliage of P. Dark Lord starts out as a deep orange. The mature leaves then change to blood red and finally turn dark green at the top with a metallic maroon underside. 

This plant is very easy to grow, but it can quickly become quite unmanageable if left unpruned. In general, Philodendron plants grow at a fast speed, including the Dark Lord. 

What Type Of Pot Does Your Dark Lord Require?

This tropical plant has adjusted well to indoor living but prefers to be in a terracotta pot. Using moss poles to keep the plant standing upright is also a good idea as this plant is a climber.

In terms of sizing, you’d typically want to use a large pot for this plant which is known to have fast-growing roots. As long as your pot has drainage holes at the bottom, your plant should be generally fine against root rot.

Repotting Your Philodendron Dark Lord

Moving your Philodendron Dark Lord into a larger pot allows more space for its roots to expand. You will typically know that it’s time to repot when you see roots protruding through the drainage holes.

Typically, you’d want to repot this tropical plant every one to two years. Replacing old nutrient-deficient soil with a fresh batch of aroid potting mix in the new pot is ideal.

What Type Of Soil Does Philodendron Dark Lord Need?

An aroid potting mix is a suitable choice for the Dark Lord Philodendron. Add together components such as coco coir, sphagnum moss perlite, orchid bark, worm castings, pumice, and activated charcoal to make your own soil mix. Keep in mind that this plant prefers a relatively moist medium.

Make sure your chosen soil type accommodates good drainage and aeration so the roots can breathe better.

We recommend the following potting mixes:

Photo Title Price Buy
Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting...image Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix 6 qt., Grows beautiful Houseplants, 2-Pack $15.70 ($0.04 / Ounce)
Burpee, 9 Quarts...image Burpee, 9 Quarts | Premium Organic Potting Natural Soil Mix Food Ideal for Container Garden-Vegetable, Flower & Herb Use for Indoor Outdoor Plant $12.99 ($0.04 / Ounce)
Sun Gro Horticulture...image Sun Gro Horticulture 8-Quart Black Gold 1310102 Purpose Potting Soil With Control, Brown/A $14.68 ($0.06 / Fl Oz)
Miracle-Gro Potting Mix,...image Miracle-Gro Potting Mix, Potting Soil for Outdoor and Indoor Plants, Enriched with Plant Food, 2 cu. ft. $34.54
FoxFarm Ocean Forest...image FoxFarm Ocean Forest Potting Soil Mix Indoor Outdoor for Garden and Plants | Plant Fertilizer | 12 Quarts | The Hydroponic City Stake $23.99 ($0.06 / Fl Oz)


For this Dark Knight Philodendron, you’ll need a soil pH of around 5.5 to 7.5, which is neutral to acidic. If you’re worried about pH, you can order a simple pH meter device online to check your soil.

If the pH of your soil is too high, you can add sulfur or aluminum sulfate to improve acidity.

On the other hand, if the pH is too low, you can add baking soda, calcitic or dolomitic lime, or wood ash to your soil.


Proper watering is an important factor for houseplants. Too much, and you might invite diseases like root rot and fungal infections. Too little, and the plants might end up with browning, undernourished leaves. For optimal health, Dark Lord generally prefers relatively moist soil.

One way to check for moisture is to stick your finger in the pot. When the top two inches of the soil are dry, you’ll know it’s time to give your plant a drink.

Drainage holes and aerated soil are must-haves for the Dark Lord. You don’t want your plant sitting in water for an extended period of time.

Light Needs For Philodendron Dark Lord

Philodendron Dark Lord prefers bright indirect light for approximately 6-8 hours daily. Remember, you’re attempting to replicate how it grows in the rainforests of Colombia and Panama. In most cases, being near an east or west-facing window is ideal for this plant.

When the Dark Lord becomes pale yellow with brown patches on some leaves, you’ll know it is getting too much light. Conversely, if its growth starts to get stunted, that means the plant needs more light. You may need to move it from its shaded location to an area with higher light exposures. 

Fertilizer For Philodendron Dark Lord

Several indoor growers forget to fertilize, thinking that water and bright indirect light are sufficient sources of nourishment for their plants. In truth, the nutrients from the soil are just as essential in your plant’s health.

Feed your plant once a month during spring and summer. A slow-release fertilizer will work best for your Dark Lord Philodendron. It’s usually a best practice to dilute your fertilizer for this plant. Some of the Philodendron growers I follow recommend Liquid Gold Leaf for Philodendrons. While I haven’t tried that for mine yet, I would still consider trying this one.

You only need to fertilize around late fall and in the colder winter months every six to eight weeks.

How To Propagate Dark Lord Philodendron

You can easily reproduce your Philodendron Dark Lord pups through various methods. Check out the step-by-step instructions for each propagation method below. 

Stem Cuttings In Soil

Directly planting stem cuttings into the soil is the easiest method to propagate a Dark Lord. This plant’s growing season is in the early spring to summer, so it’s best to take cuttings during this time.

Stem Cuttings In Water

Water propagation is another easy method to root your Dark Lord Philodendron cuttings. Here are some steps to follow:

1. Cut. After harvesting a healthy cutting, take off the bottom leaves from the cutting

2. Add to Water. Put your cutting sit in a cup of water. Remember, there shouldn’t be leaves below the water.

3. Place In Light. Place your cutting under bright, indirect light and good air circulation. 

4. Humidify. A humidifier nearby can boost your plants’ chance of rooting.

4. Refill. Replace the water every few days. MakKeep the nodes submerged for faster root growth.

5. Transplant. Once the roots are long enough, plant your cutting into clean, well-aerated soil. Keep the soil moist to help the roots adjust.

Humidity And Aeration

Philodendron Dark Lord is a rare perennial that loves high humidity. We recommend keeping the air humidity levels around 70% above for best results.

Aside from absorbing water through its roots, your plant will also need nourishment from the moisture in the air. You can keep bowls of water to evaporate nearby, or you can invest in a humidifier that is more consistent in improving humidity for your plant.


Generally, warm temperatures are best for the survival of your new plant. The ideal temperature range can be between 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

The bigger consideration for this beautiful plant is consistency. Sudden temperature changes can heavily affect the Dark Knight Philodendron. In cold weather, protect your plant against freezing temperatures by closing windows and sealing any opening. Keep it away from heat vents that can dry the foliage.

Is Philodendron Dark Lord Toxic?

Unfortunately, the Dark Lord Philodendron contains calcium oxalate crystals which are toxic to pets (including cats and dogs) and humans. If consumed, you can expect swollen lips and tongue, difficulty swallowing, and vomiting. This plant is also known to cause skin irritation. The best way to handle this plant is to don gloves while caring for this new dark lord philodendron. 

In most cases, this plant is considered non-life-threatening. 

Dark Lord Philodendron photo from Pinterest

Pests, Diseases, And Other Problems For Philodendron Dark Lord

Overall, I would say that the Philodendron Dark Lord isn’t incredibly prone to pests. I’ll list out some pest conditions below, but Preventivo a systematic plant insecticide that can help keep your plants safe from these little critters.

Here are some quick tips for curing common ailments and general suggestions to keep your plant healthy.

Tired Leaves: The Role of Micronutrients

If you’ve followed Two Peas in a Condo, you know all about N-P-K (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium), but have you considered micronutrients like Zinc and Iron? Sometimes, yellow leaves can indicate a deficiency. If the usual troubleshooting doesn’t help, consider a balanced fertilizer that also contains micronutrients. Cornell University’s Extension service has great information on nutrient deficiencies in plants.

Spider Mites

Spider mites are common pests, particularly among Dark Knight Philodendron plants. At first, spider mite damage appears as small, brown, or yellow patches on the leaves of your plant. You might also discover that your plant has slowed or ceased to grow.

To get rid of spider mites, begin by washing off your Dark Knight Philodendron with a sink nozzle, a pressure sprayer, or a garden hose. Additionally, you can spray the leaves with neem oil or insecticidal soap, but make sure to cover all surfaces, including the underside of leaves!

Of course, you can also introduce natural predators of spider mites such as ladybugs, lacewings, and Stethorus picipes beetles (dubbed as the “Spider Mite Destroyer”). The amazing thing about these bugs is that they will feed on spider mites, but they won’t harm your plant!

Fungus Gnats

Fungus gnats are small insects that feed on organic matter in the soil. Their larvae eat fungi, organic materials, and roots, and this can be detrimental for your Dark Lord.

If you see these grayish-black bugs, you should start reducing your watering schedules (not enough to harm the plant, but enough to let the topsoil dry in between waterings to dissuade adult gnats from laying eggs).

Hydrogen peroxide kills fungus gnat larvae on contact. Spray your topsoil with four-part water one-part hydrogen peroxide solution.

Scale Insects

Adult scales are sedentary and covered in a waxy coating, but they will give birth to extremely small crawling bugs.

Armored scales can be scraped off, but you will need to do it gently using an old ID card or with your fingers. Take care not to rip the leaves of your Philodendron Dark Lord.

Use insecticidal soap, horticultural oil, or neem oil to suffocate scale insects. When you see active crawlers, spray your plant with a general pesticide, and follow it up with a second application after a week. 

We recommend some products below:


Aphids are tiny bugs that will eat the leaves of your Philodendron Dark Lord, resulting in black and brown patches.

Apply insecticidal soap or neem oil to treat an infestation. Weak concentrations of dish detergent can also kill aphids without harming your plant. Choose a product that is free of fragrances, such as Ivory Liquid, for example.

Start by diluting one teaspoon of dish soap in 1 gallon of water, then increase the ratio as necessary. Spray this solution on your affected plant, especially on the underside of leaves, where aphids can usually be found.


Your tropical houseplant can become a victim of a Mealybug infestation. Using their sucking tubes to feed on the plant’s sap, these parasites will weaken your Dark Knight Philodendron.

As a preventive measure against a wide range of diseases, I recommend a monthly application of neem oil on your houseplants. Remember to dilute the neem first and to spray only when the weather is cool.  

In the event of an infestation, take a cup of rubbing alcohol and a teaspoon of fragrance-free dish soap, and then mix them with water in a spray bottle. Spray that on Dark Knight Philodendron twice a week until the mealybugs are gone.

Brown Leaf Tips

If you notice browning tips on the leaves of your Dark Lord, you might need to double-check on a number of factors.

Make sure the humidity in your home is not too low. Filter the sunlight with curtains if it’s shining too harshly on your plant. Don’t apply too much fertilizer. Let the water flow through the soil for several minutes to flush out excess minerals and salts.

Drooping Leaves

Drooping leaves on your Philodendron Dark Lord are typically an indication that your plant is thirsty. In this case, your plant will usually perk back up once it’s watered. It might also help to increase the humidity.

Be careful! Pest-infested plants can have droopy and curling leaves at first but will eventually develop other signs such as spots, stunted growth, and a general decline in health. Always check on the underside of leaves if you suspect any issues with pests.

Yellow Leaves

If you see yellowing leaves on your philodendron dark lord, you might need to consider several factors to determine the culprit. Are you watering your plant too little or too much? Is your plant getting enough light? Did you fertilize your plant recently? Are there sudden changes in the weather?

Of course, bottom leaves that turn yellow can also just be an indication that your plant is growing and the leaf’s energy has been spent. In this case, simply pluck off the yellowing leaves so the plant can focus on growing new green leaves.

Root Rot

Root rot can kill your Dark Knight Philodendron. Given the difficulty of treating root rot, prevention is the best course of action.

Give your roots some breathing room by providing a well-aerated soil mix. Chunky and gritty materials such as river sand, horticultural coal, orchid bark, perlite, pumice, lava rocks, coco cubes, aqua soil, and many others will significantly improve the drainage for your plant.

Climate is also an important consideration before deciding to water your plant. If your plant is in a location without abundant access to sunlight and good airflow, moisture will take longer to evaporate. Always check if the soil is dry about halfway down the pot before giving your plant a thorough drink.

Similar Plants

Love the huge bright red stems and massive foliage of the Dark Lord? Here are some other similar plant options you should try:

Philodendron Pedatum: No plant has as lush foliage as this one. And this is why the Pedatum is a popular addition to beautify any random plant collection.  

Philodendron Mayoi: With leaves that stand out wherever it’s placed, the Mayoi is every plant enthusiast’s dream. It’s a perfect choice for beginners to care for because it requires little care.

Philodendron Mamei: Commonly used as a decorative potted plant, this Philodendron can bring life to any indoor garden. Spruce up your space with this beauty.

Philodendron Goeldii: This captivating plant is a fun one to have. Its unique spiraling stems are sure to spark joy no matter where it is planted.   

What Is The Difference Between Philodendron Black Cardinal And Dark Lord?

While similar, the Black Cardinal Philodendron does not have as dark leaves as the Dark Lord, and it grows compactly with less stem showing. The Dark Lord is a climber (get a moss pole), and a darker color with sharply pointed leaves.


With its massive, dark-colored foliage, Philodendron Dark Lord is a captivating ornamental plant that looks stunning indoors. You’ll have no trouble growing this plant if you follow our care instructions!

Have you got a Dark Lord? We want to see it! Please submit photos to [email protected] so that we can share them on our blog.

Please help us grow! This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something recommended. All opinions, however, are our own, and we do not accept payments for positive reviews.

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