Complete Care Guide for Philodendron Moonlight

Woman Holding A Potted Philodendron Moonlight
Philodendron Moonlight (Source: Pinterest)

Philodendrons have always been a prized possession for indoor gardeners.

No other plant can add the same level of beauty and wilderness inside a home as Philodendron does.

I bought a Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ of my own a few years back to see if I could grow it or not. Although it is said to be a low-maintenance plant, some things still need to be considered.

After years of experimenting and research, I have found the ideal way to care for my Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ and maintain its beautiful texture and foliage.

Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ should be planted in well-drained, moist soil in partial indirect light for proper care. Additionally, watering every week in the growing season and monthly fertilizing the plant with balanced liquid fertilizer in the ratio 20-20-20 or 10-10-10 shall ensure healthy growth. 

This plant is as romantic and dreamy as its name suggests.

It produces a beautiful inflorescence of whitish-pink color that looks more mysterious than its mysterious-sounding name.

Philodendron Moonlight (Source: Amazon)

Most of the Philodendron species are known to be either climbers or creepers. However, this one grows upright, unlike any other Philodendrons.

Thus, you can easily care for this plant, and it also doesn’t require much space to grow.

Overview of Philodendron ‘Moonlight’

Let’s look at some of the facts about Philodendron ‘Moonlight’.

  • This plant is native to tropical America and the West Indies.
  • It is a hybrid variety of the family Araceae.
  • It is a perennial plant.
  • The inflorescence is whitish-pink.
  • It grows well in hardiness zones 10 to 11.
  • It is a low-growing shrub-like tropical plant.
  • Its height is 20 to 24 inches.
  • It has a spread of 20 to 26 inches.
  • This plant is considered poisonous and is toxic to both humans and animals if ingested.

Did you know? Philodendrons are known to remove toxic organic pollutants like formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethyne from air. Read about this in NASA Clean Air Study.

Complete Care Guide for Philodendron ‘Moonlight’

Due to the craze for Philodendrons, a new hybrid is introduced in the market every year.

But there is something special about Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ that makes it a favorite among most indoor gardeners.

If properly cared for, this plant can live for years while retaining its original texture and foliage.

Let us go over some of the basic requirements to take care of your Philodendron ‘Moonlight.’

1. Bright Indirect Light

Like most other tropical houseplants, Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ also enjoys bright indirect sunlight,

It can also tolerate low light conditions, resulting in sparse and stout growth, which we need to avoid.

It would be best if you avoid exposure to direct sunlight as much as possible. Not only does it result in leaf discoloration, but it can also cause drought stress.

You can keep it in direct sunlight during the morning and the evening hours. Then, for the rest of the day, keep it in partial shade or indirect light.

The bright light can help to develop good leaf coloration of vibrant green color.

For best light conditions, place it in an East-facing window. If that is not possible, you can place it a couple of feet away from a South or North facing window.

Window with proper Sunlight (Source: Unsplash)

If the light is too bright, you can use a translucent curtain as a shade to protect your plant.

2. Ideal Temperature

Since this plant is native to the rainforests of South America and the West Indies, it needs a warm temperature to thrive.

This plant is very sensitive to low temperatures and cold.

Exposure to cold and frost is something you need to save this plant from. You should avoid keeping it at a temperature below 55 ° Fahrenheit at night for healthy growth.

In the daytime, the ideal temperature for this plant is between 65 °F and 78 °F.

You can hang an incandescent bulb 2-3 feet above your plant during the winter to maintain the temperature.

You can also use a frost blanket to save it from cold.

3. Proper Humidity Level

Humidity is one of the most overlooked aspects of plant care.

People go crazy about perfect watering, fertilizing, and temperature things, but most of them ignore it when it comes to humidity.

It is important to consider for proper plant care, especially for a tropical-like Philodendron ‘Moonlight.’

If you want to properly care for your Philodendron ‘Moonlight,’ you need to provide high humidity.

A humidity level of 60-80% is ideal for tropical plants like Philodendron ‘Moonlight’. 

This plant is also said to thrive at normal household humidity. However, it might not grow to its full potential in such an environment.

The best way to provide a humid environment is to use an electric humidifier in the room. You can also mist the plant daily with tepid water as a way to maintain moisture.

Using a vivarium is also a great way to maintain humidity while adding a bit of style to your living room.

Vivarium (Source: Wikimedia)

Another important thing to remember is to protect the plant from cold drafts. Drafty places and cold wind easily seep the moisture from the plant.

4. Watering Requirements

Like all other Philodendron species, ‘Moonlight’ also requires adequate water to thrive.

A good watering schedule always ensures that your plant looks fresh and well-cared for.

Most people tend to overwater the plant, thinking that it helps. But that is hardly the case.

Just like under-watering can lead to a barrage of water-related diseases, overwatering also has its cons.

The best way to check whether your plant needs water or not is to stick your index finger into the soil,

If the top 1 inch of the soil is dry, then it’s a sign that your plant needs watering.

The plant should be thoroughly watered when dry. The excess water should be let out from the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.

As with every other plant, Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ should also be watered more often during the spring and summer seasons.

During the winter season, you can water once the top 2 inches of the soil becomes dry.

You can water it every week or so in the growing season, and in the winter, you can water every 4-5 weeks, depending upon the soil’s moisture.

Using lukewarm tap water will do good while watering your Philodendron.

The leaves should not be allowed to get drenched in water as it is a surefire way for invasion of diseases like leaf rot and leaf spot.

Watering plants
Watering the Plants (Unsplash)

5. Right Potting Mix

Whether your plant will thrive or not depends on what kind of potting mix you choose.

The four horsemen for choosing an ideal potting mix are drainage capacity, nutrients, moisture retention, and aeration.

Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ grows best in loose, porous, well-draining soil with high organic matter content.  A peat-based soil that ensures proper aeration and moisture retention is ideal.

It prefers a slightly acidic pH level of 5.0-6.0.

You can use the following recipe to concoct an ideal potting mix for Philodendron ‘Moonlight’.

  • One part regular potting mix
  • One part peat moss
  • Handful of compost
  • One part Perlite

You can use Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix as the base potting mix.

Miracle-Gro Indoor Potting Mix (Source; Amazon)

Peat moss helps in improving the drainage capacity and provide nutrient to the soil.

For improving the aeration capacity and soil structure, perlite is used.

A handful of compost can boost plant growth by providing nutrients and improving the moisture retention capacity as well.

6. Ideal Pot Size

Using the right-sized pot is as equally important as using the right potting mix.

The best pot size to use is one or two inches bigger than the diameter of the spread of the plant.

While repotting, it’s best to choose a pot two inches bigger than the previous one.

A variety of pots with different materials can be found in the market nowadays.

If you live in a place with a dry climate, then a plastic pot would be good to maintain that extra water.

If you live in a humid place, then a ceramic or clay pot would be a better choice.

Ceramic Plant Pots, Vivimee
Ceramic Plant Pots, Vivimee (Source: Amazon)

7. Adequate Fertilization

Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ doesn’t need as much fertilizer as its other Philodendron counterparts.

However, a little nutritional boost will help to produce a healthier, larger plant.

If the plant is not receiving enough fertilizer, it can result in stunted growth and smaller leaf size.

Incorrect fertilizing can also make the plant vulnerable to diseases and pests.

Using a slow-release balanced fertilizer is good for foliage plants like Philodendron ‘Moonlight’. Fertilizing should be done every month during the growing season, which is spring and summer.

In winter, you can cut down the fertilizing schedule to once every two to three months.

Jacks Classic No.1.5 20-20-20 All-Purpose Fertilizer is a good choice for your Philodendron ‘Moonlight.’

Jacks Classic No.1.5 20-20-20 All Purpose Fertilizer (Source; Amazon)

As an alternative, you can use organic fertilizer sources like blood meal, manure, or compost, depending on what is available in your surroundings.

But if you start seeing signs of under fertilizing like stunted growth and small leaves, then it’s best that you immediately switch back to using chemical fertilizer.

8. Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ Flowering

Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ blooms beautifully, and the flowers are also relatively long-lasting.

In proper environmental conditions, the flower can last for more than a month.

A Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ flower can reach up to 6 inches high, and the optimal time for pollination is in the nighttime.

The flower consists of a white spadix in the middle, surrounded by a spathe that is pink to reddish.

9. Incidence of Pests and Diseases

Although the occurrence of pests and is pretty rare for this plant, you should still have some knowledge about these for future reference.

Mealybugs and spider mites can occasionally be a problem for your plant.

Mealybugs

They are soft oval, wax-covered insects that can cause black sooty mold.

Indoor plants are most vulnerable to this pest as it thrives in places with warm temperatures.

Although the damage is not that significant in a low population, a high number of pests can result in various foliage-related problems.

Spider Mites

Smaller than a pin-head, these troublesome pests can even be hard to identify.

They mostly leave on the underside of the leaves and pierce the leaf tissues for feeding.

Not only does it make the plant look scrawny and yellow if not controlled, but it can also eventually cause the death of the plant.

Since it is hard to see, a heavy infestation can build up unnoticed, which can be hard to control.

PestsSymptoms PreventionTreatment
Mealybugs
  • White Cotton-like substance on the underside

  • Isolate infested plants

  • Do not allow weed to grow near plant

  • Sterilize tools before pruning and propagating
  • Dip Cotton balls in alcohol and dab the bugs

  • Treat the infested parts with Neem Oil
  • Spider Mites
  • White or Yellow spots on leaves

  • Silky Webs around plants

  • Yellow and Brown appearance of Leaves
  • Prune infested plants as soon as possible

  • Water properly to avoid water stress that can make plant susceptible
  • Use Neem Oil

  • Use Big Blaster to knock off mites
  • If you notice that your Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ leaves turn brown and yellow, it is also a symptom of certain diseases.

    It might not be susceptible to pests but stressed Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ can easily attract diseases.

    Some of the most common Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ diseases can be found in the table below.

    DiseaseCause of DiseaseSymptoms Treatment
    Bacterial Blight Erwinia caratovora pv. Carotovora E. chrysanthemi
  • Small dark green leaf spots

  • Wet Sloppy Look

  • Rotten Smell
  • Remove infected leaves

  • Avoid watering in leaves

  • Overhead watering should not be practiced
  • Bacterial Leaf SpotXanthomonas campestris pv. dieffenbachiae
  • Large spot in leaves

  • falling of leaves

  • Wet Rotten Smell
  • Avoid overhead watering

  • Prune infected leaves

  • Practice Bottom Watering
  • 10. Propagating your Philodendron ‘Moonlight’

    Propagation is important to consider for proper care of your Philodendron ‘Moonlight.’

    Propagating any plant is an economical and easy way to increase its number.

    It also helps to save your plant if diseases or pests have infected it.

    While you can propagate some plants through leaves and seeds, the best way to propagate your Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ is through its stem.

    Propagation can be done multiple times over its lifetime and can be gifted to your plant-loving friends.

    Steps for Propagating your Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ with Stem Cutting

    There is not a specific method for propagating your Philodendron. While air layering, division methods, etc., are some methods for propagating, I prefer stem cutting for its ease and rapid growth.

    Follow the steps below to prepare the stem for propagating your Philodendron ‘Moonlight

    • Firstly, mark the area where you want to cut. Next, find a leaf with a node attached to the main stem.
    • Rub the pruning shears or scissors, whichever you are using, with rubbing alcohol on both sides.
    • Wear a glove before any cutting operation. Philodendron sap is known to cause skin irritation.
    • Snip a couple of inches below the node. Aim for a quick cut at a 45° angle and avoid any sawing motion.
    • Don’t let the stem get compressed or damaged.
    • Let the cutting sit for a few minutes till the end is dry to touch.
    • Your stem is now ready for propagation.

    You can either use potting soil or a vase of water to propagate your plant.

    Propagation in Water

    Follow the steps below to propagate your plant in water:

    • First, place the cut stem in a clear vase with clean water.
    • Don’t let the base of the stem touch the base of the vase.
    • Put enough water to cover the node of the cutting.
    • You can use a rooting hormone in the water for rapid growth.
    • Place the vase in a location where the plant can receive bright indirect sunlight.
    • Check the water every few days and change when it gets murky.
    • Wait till the root grows about two to four inches to transfer your cutting into a potting mix.
    • A pot that is two to three inches bigger than the root system is best for its growth.

    Propagation in Soil

    Soil propagation is similar to water propagation. However, instead of placing the cutting in the vase, you put it in soil.

    Follow the steps below to propagate your Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ in soil.

    • Take the appropriate node cutting of your Philodendron ‘Moonlight.’
    • Place the stem cutting in a pot filled with its appropriate potting mix.
    • Be sure to let the potting soil cover the node of the stem.
    • The pot should be kept in a moist place where the plant can receive indirect bright light.
    • After a few weeks, the roots will grow two to three inches long.
    • You can begin watering at this stage and enjoy the growth of your new plant.

    After propagating your plant, a few things need to be kept in mind to ensure that it grows healthily.

    • Water your plant regularly at an interval of 4-5 days.
    • Provide bright indirect light for the newly propagated plant.
    • Fresh lukewarm water shall be the best for growth during early propagation.
    • Place the plant in a place with room temperature.
    • If you are going for water propagation, check and change your water regularly.
    • Check the plant regularly for the incidence of pests or diseases.

    Check this informative video on Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ Propagation

    11. Repotting a Philodendron ‘Moonlight’

    All Philodendrons are known to be vigorous growers, and the same goes for ‘Moonlight.’

    Repotting is a vital care aspect for Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ to prevent the plant from becoming rootbound.

    It will also help to refresh the potting medium allowing the plant to stay healthy and fresh.

    The ideal time to repot Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ins early spring, just as its dormancy ends after winter.

    You can use either a ceramic or plastic pot that is one or two inches bigger than the root mass.

    It’s best to do the repotting in the daytime when the temperature is around 70-75° F.

    You should consider the following steps to repot your Philodendron ‘Moonlight.’

    Step 1: Choosing the Right Tools

    The first thing you will need is, of course, a bigger pot. The pot should be one or two inches bigger than the previous one.

    Make sure that the pot has enough drainage holes in the bottom for draining excess water.

    Pruning shears or sharp scissors are other things that you need.

    Make sure to wear garden gloves as Philodendrons are notorious for causing skin irritation.

    Step 2: Prepare the Plant for Transfer

    Dislodge the plant from the pot gently. Avoid too much movement as it can stress the plant.

    You should hold the plant nearly upside down while dislodging to avoid the soil mass from falling off.

    Delicately shake out the soil from the roots as much as possible.

    Trim out any rotting or damaged roots. Healthy roots should be firm and white.

    Be careful not to cut down or damage healthy roots.

    If your plant is showing signs of rootbound, make vertical incisions around the entire perimeter from top to bottom to allow new root growth.

    Step 3: Transfer your Philodendron ‘Moonlight’

    Once the plant is cut down and ready, it’s time for transplanting into the new pot.

    Place about one-third of potting soil mix in the bottom of the new pot. Set the Philodendron in the newly prepared pot.

    Once this is done, fill the pot one-half or three-fourths with potting soil. Press firmly to eliminate any air pockets.

    Step 4: Watering the Plant

    Water the plant thoroughly until the excess water comes out from the drainage holes.

    Once the soil settles, you can add more soil until it reaches the previous level.

    After the first watering phase is done, wait for a few days until the topsoil completely dries off.

    Watering Newly Grown Plants (Source: Unsplash.com)

    12. Pruning your Philodendron ‘Moonlight’

    Unlike most other Philodendrons, ‘Moonlight’ doesn’t need as excessive pruning. It can be attributed to its shrub-like appearance.

    Pruning is most likely done around the mid of spring and fall.

    However, there are a few reasons why you might want to prune your Philodendron ‘Moonlight.’

    • Pruning can help to encourage new growth.
    • It will make your plant look tidier if you cut down the old, yellow, and damaged leaves and stems.
    • You can propagate your Moonlight by cutting healthy stems.

    Before performing any kind of operations like pruning, propagating, or trimming, it’s always important that you use sterilized tools.

    It is a simple yet effective way to prevent your plant from getting attacked by pests and diseases.

    Follow the steps below to prune your Philodendron ‘Moonlight.’

    Pruning for Propagation

    For propagation, the first thing you need to do is to choose a healthy stem. Make sure to include a node and one or two leaves on the stem.

    Cut the stem a couple of inches below the node.

    It would be best to make the cutting in an angular motion as it helps for rapid growth.

    Pruning for Deadheading

    Deadheading refers to the process of cutting down dead and yellowing leaves and plant parts.

    Since Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ has a thick stem, you should use sharp tools for cutting down.

    Locate the yellowing and dead leaves first. Then, snip them off in a quick motion closely towards the base of the stem.

    Want your Philodendron to look bushy? Check it out:How to Make a Philodendron Bushy?

    13. Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ Toxicity

    Just knowing how to care about your Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ is not enough.

    If you have children and pets at home, you might want to reconsider keeping this as an indoor plant.

    Almost all types of Philodendron are toxic to pets and humans, including ‘Moonlight.’

    It contains calcium oxalate crystals that can have a poisonous effect on both humans and animals.

    When ingested, common signs of toxicity include difficulty breathing, swollen lips, swollen tongue, and vomiting in humans. Animals show signs of drooling, pawing at the mouth, decreased appetite, and vomiting.  

    Its sap can also cause skin and eye irritation.

    If you see any of the above symptoms in yourself or your child, seek medical attention immediately. 

    Call the APCC at (888) 426-4435 or contact your local veterinarian asap if your pet shows any of the above symptoms.

    Here are some tips on how to reduce exposure to its toxins:

    • First, place the plant out of reach of children and pets.
    • Teach your children not to touch the plant.
    • Use pet repellant spray to keep the pets away from your plant.
    • You can grow the plant in a Terrarium or Vivarium.
    • Wear gloves regularly while handling and wash your hands immediately after pruning, propagating, or repotting.

    FAQ about Philodendron ‘Moonlight’

    Why is my Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ Turning Yellow?

    The most common reason for a yellowing Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ is improper soil and too much soil moisture.

    Overwatering can cause wet feet, which can eventually result in yellowing. Only water when the top one inch of the soil is dry.

    Why is my Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ Turning Brown?

    Factors like under watering, low humidity, and too much sunlight can cause the leaves to turn.

    Moisture is an important aspect of tropical plants. Maintain a humidity level of 60-80% and don’t keep the plant in direct sunlight. Adequate watering should be provided.

    Why is Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ not Growing?

    If your plant does not receive enough sunlight, then it can result in stunted growth. Rootbound pots and lack of nutrition can cause this.

    Fertilize your plant often and provide bright indirect sunlight for at least 8 hrs a day.

    Why is my Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ Leaves Curling?

    If you are not watering your plant properly and the soil is extremely dry, it can cause the leaves to go limp, curl and eventually die. Use tepid water while watering and always keep the soil moist but not wet.

    Can my Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ survive in low light?

    Philodendron ‘Moonlight’ needs ample sunlight to grow. If it doesn’t get bright indirect sunlight for at least 7-8 hrs a day, it can show stunted growth symptoms.

    Conclusion

    By now, you have all the necessary information to care for your Philodendron ‘Moonlight properly.’

    Watching your plant grow as you feed and water is a rewarding experience.

    Philodendrons are also known to have an extremely long lifespan. So you might live with the Philodendron that you planted as a child till you reach an age well above fifty.

    If you’re looking for other excellent philodendron options, then look no further than Philodendron Bipennifolium and  Philodendron Giganteum.

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