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Philodendron Florida Ghost Plant Care Guide

The philodendron florida ghost stuns with large, lobed leaves emerging pale yellow before maturing to brilliant green. This guide covers its light, water, humidity and soil needs.

The philodendron Florida Ghost is a striking hybrid plant that adds a touch of exotic beauty to any indoor setting. Its large, deeply lobed leaves emerge a pale yellowish-white before transitioning to a brilliant lime green as they mature.

This eye-catching philodendron variety is a cross between the philodendron squamiferum and philodendron pedatum species. It takes the best traits from each parent, combining vibrant coloration with an upright, vining growth habit.

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Like other tropical philodendrons, the Florida Ghost originates from the lush rainforests of Central and South America. It brings a bit of that jungle vibe right into your living space as a houseplant.

While not quite as care-free as some other philodendrons, the Florida Ghost is still relatively easy to grow once you understand its specific needs. With the proper light, water, soil and environment, this plant rewards you with a stunning floral display year-round.

Light Requirements

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Bright, indirect light is essential for the philodendron Florida Ghost to truly thrive. It does best when situated near an east or west-facing window with 4-6 hours of bright, filtered rays each day.

Too much direct sun causes the leaves to fade or develop pale, washed out patches, burning, and leaf scorch. But inadequate light leads to leggy, stretched out growth and diminished variegation as the plant searches for more rays.

North-facing windows typically don’t provide sufficient light unless you supplement with a grow light setup. Place lights 6-12 inches from the plant and leave them on for 12-14 hours per day.

The goal is to mimic the bright, shifting light levels this philodendron would receive filtering through the jungle canopy. Rotate the pot periodically to ensure even lighting and prevent lopsided growth.

Watering Needs

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Consistent soil moisture is crucial for healthy philodendron Florida Ghost growth and brilliant leaf color. Allow the top 1-2 inches of potting mix to dry out slightly between waterings, but don’t let it become bone dry.

To determine if your plant needs water, stick your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle. If it feels dry at that depth, it’s time to thoroughly soak the potting mix until excess moisture drains from the bottom.

During the spring and summer growing season, plan to water every 5-7 days on average. Let the top 25-50% of soil dry before watering again in winter when growth naturally slows.

Always use lukewarm water to avoid shocking the plant’s roots. Let any excess drained water drain out fully to prevent soggy conditions that lead to root rot.

Signs of underwatering include wilting, crispy leaf edges, very dry potting medium, and slowed growth. Leaf yellowing and potential root rot are signs of overwatering.

Temperature and Humidity

Like most tropical philodendrons, the Florida Ghost prefers warm conditions with moderate to high humidity levels similar to its native rainforest habitat. The ideal temperature range is 65°F to 85°F.

While it can tolerate typical household temperatures down to about 55°F in winter, this plant thrives best in consistently warm environments year-round, around 75°F to 80°F.

Higher humidity of at least 40-50% encourages lush foliage growth and prevents issues like spider mites while preserving vibrant leaf color. Most homes are quite dry, especially in winter with heating systems running.

The easiest way to increase humidity is to set the plant on a pebble tray filled with water. As the water evaporates, it creates a moister microclimate around the foliage.

You can also regularly mist the leaves with lukewarm water in the mornings to raise humidity levels. Or use a small humidifier nearby. Group other humidity-loving plants together as well.

Avoid placing your Florida Ghost near cold drafts, heaters, heat vents or excessive heat sources which can cause stress.

Potting Mix

As an epiphytic aroid, the philodendron Florida Ghost requires a very well-draining, porous potting mix. Heavy, dense soils that retain too much moisture lead to root rot and other issues.

An ideal potting medium contains the following:

  • 1 part peat moss, coir fiber or potting mix
  • 1 part orchid bark or perlite
  • 1 part compost or worm castings

This loose, chunky mix drains freely yet retains some moisture while providing ample aeration for the plant’s roots. You can also purchase a quality tropical potting mix blend.

Be sure the pot has ample drainage holes as well to prevent the soil from becoming waterlogged. Allow the top portion of soil to dry before watering again.

Fertilizing

During the spring and summer growing season, plan to feed your philodendron Florida Ghost every 4-6 weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer.

Use a fertilizer formulated for houseplants, diluting it to half the recommended strength. Apply it directly to the moistened potting mix.

You can also top dress with compost, worm castings or compost tea a few times during the growing period to provide supplemental nutrients.

Avoid over-fertilizing as too many salts and minerals can potentially burn the plant’s roots and leaves. Signs your Florida Ghost may need some fertilizer include stunted growth, pale new leaves, and smaller than expected foliage.

In fall and winter, hold off on fertilizing completely as the plant goes dormant during this rest period. Too many nutrients at this time can potentially lead to issues.

Repotting and Pruning

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Over time, the Florida Ghost philodendron grows quite large and requires repotting every 2-3 years. Wait until early spring before new growth emerges.

Transfer to a container 2-3 inches wider than the previous one, using a fresh well-draining potting mix. This gives the roots ample room to spread out while preventing them from becoming rootbound.

You can also prune off any dead, damaged or discolored leaves at this time using sharp, sterile pruners. Selectively pruning helps promote a fuller, more attractive plant shape.

To control size and encourage bushier growth, you can periodically pinch out the growing tips of vining stems after a few new leaves have formed. This plant can climb a trellis or pole if desired, or trail as a hanging specimen.

Common Problems

Like other philodendron varieties, the Florida Ghost avoids most major issues when provided with the proper light, soil, water and environment. But there are some common problems to watch for:

Leaf discoloration or pale leaves – Indicates insufficient light, causing decreased variegation. Move plant to a brighter spot.

Stunted growth – Likely caused by insufficient nutrients, underwatering or overly rootbound conditions. Fertilize and repot as needed.

Brown leaf tips/edges – Often due to dry air, low humidity or excess fertilizer. Increase humidity and allow soil to dry between waterings.

Yellowing leaves – Potential signs of overwatering or poor drainage. Let soil dry properly before watering again.

Pests like spider mites, mealybugs, or scale – Treat with insecticidal soap, neem oil or prune off affected areas. Often caused by dry conditions.

Root rot – Caused by overwatering, poor drainage and soggy soil conditions. Improve soil porosity and let top of mix dry between waterings.

Armed with the right philodendron florida ghost care, most issues are preventable or can be quickly remedied once the underlying cause is identified.

Is the Florida Ghost Philodendron Toxic?

Yes, like all philodendron varieties, the Florida Ghost contains toxic compounds that can be harmful if ingested. The plant contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in the leaves, stems and roots.

These sharp crystals act as a natural defense mechanism for the plant. If chewed or swallowed by humans or pets, they can cause unpleasant symptoms like oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.

The level of toxicity is considered relatively mild to moderate compared to some other household plants. However, it’s still wise to exercise caution, especially if you have young children or pets that may be tempted to nibble on the foliage.

To be safe, keep the philodendron florida ghost out of reach of kids and pets, or locate it in a room they don’t have access to. Teach children that no part of the plant should be eaten.

If ingestion does occur, wipe out the mouth, give water or milk to help flush out any remaining crystals, and contact poison control or seek medical attention if symptoms are severe.

While the vibrant variegation and large leaves of the florida ghost make it an eye-catching houseplant, it’s best admired for its ornamental beauty and not treated as an edible plant. With some basic precautions, it can still be enjoyed safely in any home or office space.

Where to Purchase

Thanks to its stunning tropical appearance, the philodendron florida ghost is growing in popularity as a houseplant. However, it can still be tricky to find in some areas.

Your local nursery or garden center is worth checking, especially those that specialize in unique, rare or tropical plant varieties. But you’ll likely have better luck finding it available from online retailers who ship live plants.

Some of the top mail order sources for high-quality florida ghost philodendrons include:

  • Steve’s Leaves (stevesleaves.com)
  • Logee’s Plants (logees.com)
  • Hirt’s Gardens (hirtsgardens.com)
  • Botanica World Seeds (botanicaworldseeds.com)

When ordering plants online, look for well-established specimens from reputable sellers with positive customer reviews. Inspect any plant you receive closely before unpacking to ensure it arrives in good condition with no signs of pests, damage or disease.

While the florida ghost requires some specific care, this eye-catching philodendron more than makes up for it with its dazzling foliage and architectural appeal. By providing the right light, soil, water and humidity, you can easily keep this vibrant, unique plant thriving for years.

Follow the tips in this care guide, and you’ll be rewarded with lush, colorful growth that brightens up any indoor space. The philodendron florida ghost is sure to be a talking point and highlight of your houseplant collection.

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