Philodendron Florida Ghost | Plant Care Guide

Philodendron Florida Ghost

With a name like Philodendron Florida Ghost, you can’t help but be intrigued by this interesting plant. The name ghost comes from the plant’s new leaves. The fresh growth is white or pale green leaves that are shaped like ghosts. As the leaves mature, they transition to a dark green color. 

Philodendron Florida Ghost is fairly easy to care for once you give it the right set up. Do not be alarmed if it is not putting out a bunch of new leaves quickly, because this plant is a slow grower. This is most likely due to the lower amounts of chlorophyll in the white leaves.

Botanical Name Cross between Philodendron pedatum and Philodendron squamiferum
Common NamePhilodendron Florida Ghost
Size2-5 feet
DifficultyEasy
Pet FriendlyNo. Toxic
Air CleanerYes

 

Philodendron Florida Ghost Origin

Philodendron Florida Ghost is a hybrid plant, but the plant’s origins are not known. It is believed that this plant originated from a cross between Philodendron pedatum and Philodendron squamiferum

How to Care for Philodendron Florida Ghost

Light and Temperature

Wild philodendron plants are found in the rainforests of Central and South America. Since they are below the tree canopy, the plants receive bright, filtered light.

In our homes, the best lighting we can provide Philodendron Florida Ghost is bright, indirect light. This is achieved by placing the plant near a window, but not in direct sunlight. Direct light can scorch the beautiful leaves. If necessary, a thin curtain can be added to the window to filter any direct light coming through.

This bright, indirect light will also help keep the leaves of the plant white as long as possible, which is the goal for most people. Low light conditions will cause the plant to produce more chlorophyll, and therefore greener leaves, so photosynthesis is not interrupted. 

If your home does not provide the right lighting for this plant, Philodendron Florida Ghost will also do well under a grow light. You might need to play around with the grow light to find the right set up to maintain the white leaves. 

Since this hybrid is descended from tropical plants, it is no surprise that philodendron Florida ghost does well in warmer temperatures. Keep the plant above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and avoid drafty locations or cold window sills.

Water and Humidity

Philodendron Florida Ghost loves moisture! However, it can survive with moderate watering and medium humidity. 

Overwatering is always a concern and can quickly cause root rot. The first sign of overwatering is yellowing leaves, so keep an eye out and reduce watering as soon as possible. The best practice is to feel the soil with your finger and only water when the top two inches of soil are completely dry. 

In the winter, the plant drastically reduces the amount of water it needs because it stops growing. It is especially important to check the soil before watering during this time. 

To grow the healthiest Philodendron Florida Ghost possible, it is recommended to maintain 70% humidity. There are a number of ways to do this – misting regularly, placing the pot on a pebble tray, or running a humidifier. 

Soil and Container

Philodendron Florida Ghost is a climbing plant by nature. It will do well when given a structure, such as a moss pole, to climb up. Since it is a climbing plant, the Philodendron Florida Ghost likes to put down deep roots, securing it firmly in the soil. To help the plant achieve these deep roots, choose a pot that is deeper than wide. 

For the soil, use a well-draining houseplant mix. You can supplement the mix with organic material, like peat or sphagnum moss, or aerators, like perlite or pumice, as necessary. It is important that the soil drains well, because soggy roots can lead to root rot.

Fertilization

This plant is a slow grower, so it does not need much fertilizer. In fact, it is very easy to over-fertilize the Philodendron Florida Ghost. During the growing season (spring and summer), fertilize the plant once per month.

Use a liquid fertilizer that is formulated for indoor plants. It is recommended to dilute the fertilizer to half the recommended dose when you start. You can increase the dilution as necessary. 

Flowering

It is extremely rare for the Philodendron Florida Ghost to flower indoors. Conditions would need to be ideal for there to even be a chance of the plant flowering.

When the plant does bloom, it produces spathe flowers. These flowers have a leaf wrapped around a stem of tiny flowers clustered together. 

Pruning

Pruning the Philodendron Florida Ghost is not necessary for the health of the plant, but it can help produce the shape of plant you desire. Pruning periodically will also encourage new growth.

Since this plant is a natural climber, it has a tendency to get “leggy” when grown in a pot with no climbing structure. To remedy this, you can trim off long stems just above a node. The new growth should make the plant look bushier within the pot. 

For all plants, it is important to remove any dead or dying leaves. This allows the plant to focus its energy on the healthy leaves.

Repotting 

Due to its slow-growing nature, Philodendron Florida Ghost does not need to be repotted very often. Usually, it only needs to be done every few years. Periodically check to see if the plant is becoming root bound. You can look for roots starting to grow out of the drainage holes. Also, you can gently pull up the plant and soil from the pot to see how the roots look. 

When it is time to repot, there are a couple of things to keep in mind. Only go up one size pot when repotting. When there is too much soil holding moisture, the roots cannot absorb it all in an appropriate amount of time. 

In addition, only repot during the growing season. Since the plant stops growing during its winter dormancy, it will take a long time for the roots to establish in the new pot. 

Pests

Thrips

Thrips damage the Philodendron Florida Ghost by sucking out sap and also scraping away the skin of the plant. These minuscule insects can decimate a plant quickly. The plant will begin to wither and die. 

If you begin to see damage and thrips on your Philodendron Florida Ghost, give the plant a gentle shower to remove as many pests as possible. Then treat the entire plant and soil with an insecticidal soap or neem oil. Monitor the plant and re-treat when necessary.

Mealybugs

Mealybugs are one of the most well-known houseplant pests due to their white, cottony appearance. Like thrips, these insects will suck the sap out of the plant, slowly draining it of nutrients. 

Treatment for mealybugs is the same as for thrips. Give the plant a good rinse and treat with an insecticidal soap or neem oil. Adult mealybugs can also be killed using rubbing alcohol. 

Aphids

Aphids are best known as a garden pest, but they can also affect indoor plants. Aphids will congregate on the underside of the large leaves or on new growth. The Philodendron Florida Ghost will begin losing color and start to wilt. 

Aphids can be controlled with beneficial insects, like ladybugs, if you have a greenhouse available. For indoor treatment, you can rinse off as many pests as possible and then treat the plant with neem oil or an insecticidal soap. As with all pests, keep checking the plant periodically to make sure re-infestation does not occur.

Diseases

Root Rot

Fungal root rot is the most common and also the most devastating disease that can affect Philodendron Florida Ghost. Because this infection begins in the soil, it is hard to catch early. For most people, the first sign of root rot infection is a mushy stem. The plant will most likely be wilted and potentially dropping leaves at this point.

If any of the plant can be salvaged, all infected sections of roots and stems should be removed and discarded. The remaining portions of the plant can be disinfected using a hydrogen peroxide solution. Replant the healthy portion of the plant in pasteurized soil to help prevent re-infection. 

How to Propagate Philodendron Florida Ghost

Philodendron Florida Ghost is typically propagated in sphagnum moss or potting mix, but it can also be done in water. To begin, sterilize your scissors and trim a cutting from the parent plant. Your cutting should have at least one leaf (although more would be better) and one node. The new roots will come from the node. 

Plant your cutting in the soil with the node below the soil and the leaf above it. If you are propagating in water, make sure none of the leaves are in the water. 

Move the cutting into bright, indirect light. Keep the soil moist and the humidity high while the roots are forming. Gently tug on the plant to determine when the roots are established. If the cutting stays firmly in the soil, it is ready to be moved to its permanent pot. Water propagated cuttings can be moved to soil when the roots are a couple inches long.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, the Philodendron Florida Ghost is considered a rare houseplant. They are not usually found at garden centers and most plants are purchased online. They can be expensive, costing $50 or more for a 4” pot.

Yes, this plant will do best when given the opportunity to climb! A moss pole makes a great climbing structure for the Philodendron Florida Ghost.

No, Philodendron pedatum is a different plant from Florida ghost. It is commonly believed to be one of the parent plants that Philodendron Florida Ghost is hybridized from.

Philodendron Florida green is a common name given to philodendron Florida plants that produce only green leaves (instead of starting as white leaves). There is some debate as to whether this is a separate cultivar or if conditions cause the plants to produce different colored leaves. Other philodendron Florida varieties include mint (light green leaves) and beauty (variegated leaves). 

Final Thoughts

This hybrid may not be a pure species, but it is definitely worthy of being in your home. Unique colorations are trending in the houseplant community, and the white leaves of Philodendron Florida Ghost will definitely stand out amongst your plants.

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