Philodendron Moonlight is a unique and beautiful plant that you may not be familiar with. It’s known for its bright green leaves and shrubby growth pattern.
In this post, I’m sharing tips on how to care for and propagate this low-maintenance house plant. So, let’s get to it!
What Is Philodendron Moonlight?
Philodendrons are in the Araceae family and are native to South America.
Philodendron Moonlight is a hybrid plant that was created by crossing two different philodendron species.
I’ve heard it referred to as “Lime Philodendron.” But I think that’s confusing because there’s another plant called “Lemon Lime Philodendron.” So I’m sticking with “Moonlight” in this post.
It’s a fast-growing plant that can reach up to 2 feet in height and width.
The leaves are large, oval- or spear-shaped, and very glossy. New leaves start out as a bright chartreuse color and turn dark green as they mature.
And it even produces spectacular flowers!
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How Do You Care for a Moonlight Philodendron?
Like most philodendrons, Moonlight is easy to care for.
It’s a low-maintenance plant that doesn’t require a lot of fussing. That makes it a perfect indoor plant for newbie plant parents or people who travel frequently. It also makes it a good choice for an office plant.
Here are the care needs you should be aware of:
Philodendron Moonlight does best when it’s watered regularly and allowed to dry out a bit.
The best way to water it is to give it a good drink and then wait until the top few inches of soil are dry before watering again. This is a better method than shallow, frequent waterings.
An easy way to test if the plant needs to be watered is to stick your finger in the top inch of soil and feel how dry it is.
If you want to get more scientific about it, you can use a moisture meter like this one:
- 3-in-1 soil tester – can test soil moisture, light, and pH value
- Compact size
- Easy to use
When you water your philodendron, let the excess water drain off, so your plant doesn’t develop root rot and other fungal diseases.
Philodendron Moonlight does best in loose, well-drained soil that’s high in organic matter.
You can use a standard commercial potting soil mix or make your own by mixing together equal parts peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite.
If you’re using a store-bought potting mix, you may want to add some perlite or vermiculite to loosen it up a bit.
Moonlight Philodendron doesn’t need to be repotted very often. You can do it every year or two as needed.
When you repot, choose a planter that’s only one or two sizes larger than the current pot.
Philodendrons don’t like to be root bound, but they also don’t do well with a lot of extra space. In addition, a pot that’s too big will make it difficult for the soil to dry out, leading to root rot issues.
And I cannot stress this strongly enough. Be sure that you choose a pot with drainage holes. Yes, it likes moist soil, but letting it sit in soggy soil is a recipe for disease.
Spring is the best time of year for repotting. The plant will be coming out of its dormant period and will be ready to put on some new growth.
Water it a day or two before you plan to repot. This will make getting it out of the old pot easier without damaging the root system.
Water it again immediately after transplanting to ensure that fresh soil is moist. Then you can go back to your regular watering schedule.
Temperature & Humidity
Philodendron Moonlight is a tropical plant. That means it likes warm temperatures and high humidity.
It will do fine in average household temperatures of 68-76 degrees Fahrenheit. But it will really thrive in warmer conditions, like those found in a bathroom or sunroom.
Don’t expose it to temperatures lower than 55F. If you’re keeping it outdoors during the summer, you’ll need to bring it inside before fall arrives.
Philodendron Moonlight also appreciates high humidity levels, although it will tolerate lower humidity levels. If the air in your home is quite arid, you may want to invest in a humidifier.
Philodendrons can withstand a variety of light conditions. With that said, this plant will do best when given lots of bright indirect light. It can handle a little direct sunlight, but too much will scorch the leaves.
A spot near a bright window is ideal if you’re growing it indoors. However, dappled sunlight beneath trees or in a shady spot is best if you’re keeping it outdoors.
Remember, indirect sunlight only. So, If you live in a very sunny climate, you may want to provide some protection from the harsh afternoon sun. Indoors, this can be achieved with a sheer window covering to filter the sun.
And if you don’t have enough natural light indoors, then you might want to invest in a grow light. Without enough bright light, the plant may lose its distinctive leaf color.
Philodendrons aren’t heavy feeders, meaning they don’t need a lot of fertilizer. And in fact, too much fertilizer can actually harm them.
Fertilize it monthly during the growing season (Spring and Summer in the Northern hemisphere).
I recommend using an organic fertilizer or an all-purpose fertilizer that’s formulated for houseplants.
- Concentrated liquid kelp
- Use as a supplement to your main fertilizer
- Dilute in water
I typically use a liquid fertilizer. A slow-release fertilizer added to the soil is another option. Either one will provide the nutrients your plant needs to thrive.
You may want to flush the soil with water every few months to eliminate any fertilizer build-up, which can damage the roots.
There’s no need to fertilize during the winter months.
Pruning and Maintenance
Moonlight doesn’t need a lot of pruning, but you can trim it back to improve the shape and appearance.
To do this, simply cut the stem with a sharp knife or pruning shears. You’ll want to cut it back to the base of the stem to encourage new growth.
Be sure to sterilize your tools before using them on the plant to avoid introducing diseases.
You can also remove any yellow or brown leaves while you’re at it. These are usually just old leaves that the plant is shedding.
Philodendron Moonlight Size & Growth Habit
Unlike most philodendrons, Moonlight is not a vining or creeping plant. Instead, it’s an upright grower with dense growth that tends to be shrubby.
It’s also a fast-growing plant that can get up to 24 inches high and 26 inches wide.
The main attraction of this plant is its beautiful, glossy leaves. They start out lime green and become deep green as they age. Mature leaves become thicker and veiny.
Philodendron Moonlight Flower
Philodendron Moonlight also has beautiful flowers, although it’s pretty rare for this plant to bloom when grown indoors.
If you’re lucky enough to see a flower, it will be a pink-white spathe with a white spadix.
It can flower at any time of the year, but summer is most likely. And the flowers may last four weeks or even longer.
If you want to see what the bloom looks like, check out this Instagram post.
Philodendron Moonlight is very easy to propagate. The best way to do it is by stem cuttings.
Simply cut a stem that’s about four to six inches long using sharp, sterilized pruning shears. The stem should have at least one node on your cut-off segment. It’s even better if you can get a cutting with aerial roots.
Once you have your cuttings, you can root them in water, sphagnum moss, or potting mix.
I prefer water so that I can see the new roots start to develop. Simply add some water to a clear container and place the cutting inside.
Then put the container in a location that gets bright indirect sunlight. My kitchen window faces east, so that’s my preferred spot for rooting plants.
Add fresh water every few days as needed. In about two or three weeks, you should see new roots growing.
Once you see a good root system, you can pot them up in some moist potting mix and treat them like mature plants.
Pests and Problems
Philodendron Moonlight is a very resilient plant, but there are a few common problems to be aware of.
First off, it can be susceptible to mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites.
You’ll need to take action immediately if you see any of these pests on your plant. The best way to get rid of them is with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. Simply dab the pests with the cotton swab to kill them.
Another option is to spray them with neem oil or insecticidal soap.
Overwatering can also be a problem for this plant. Yellow leaves that drop off can signal that you’re overwatering it.
Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings, and be sure to empty any water that’s left in the saucer after watering.
Is Philodendron Moonlight Toxic?
All philodendron plants are considered toxic to humans and animals if ingested. The leaves, stems, and flowers contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause mouth and throat irritation, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing.
If you have pets or small children, it’s best to keep this plant out of reach.
Philodendron sap can also cause skin irritation, so it’s a good idea to wear gloves when pruning or taking stem cuttings.
As you can see, Philodendron Moonlight is a beautiful, unique plant that’s easy to care for. Its spear-shaped chartreuse foliage makes it a great addition to any indoor garden.
The most surefire way to tell if you have a Philodendron Moonlight is by its leaves. The leaves of this plant are lime green when they first emerge, but they deepen to a dark green as they mature. They also become thicker and veinier with age.
There are two main differences: leaf shape and growth habit. For example, Lemon Lime has heart-shaped leaves and is a vining plant. On the other hand, Moonlight has glossy, spear-shaped leaves and does not vine.
Philodendron Moonlight is typically grown as an indoor plant. However, it can grow outdoors as long as the nighttime temperature stays above 55F.