This little philodendron beauty is not a scary boo but a gorgeous plant that will bring you joy season after season. The Philodendron Florida ghost plant is named so from its white or more transparent looking delicate leaves. Its a very rare and exotic species that is actually a lovely evergreen plant to own. Although it is a member of the Araceae plant family, it is quite different from the other near 400 variations.
Proper care for this philodendron species ensures it has a long life and you can enjoy its unique beauty for a long time. This philodendron is happy both indoors and out and likes bright indirect light and some direct sunlight as long as it isn’t too intense. The Philodendrons prefer to be kept on the dry side – watering every two weeks or so – but they must stay moist at all times. Their voracious appetite for water makes them a perfect candidate for hydroponics.
Native to tropical rainforest regions including Africa and Columbia, the Florida ghost is an exotic plant that loves to climb as it grows. In their natural habitats, these philodendrons have a symbiotic relationship with the trees they grow beside, using tree trunks and low branches for support.
The Florida ghost philodendron is believed to be a hybrid of the Philodendron Pedatum and Philodendron Squamiferum species.
Distinguishing Philodendron Florida Ghost Characteristics
The Philodendron Florida Ghost Plant is just one variety under the heading of philodendron plants. In general, you’ll find two types of growth habits in these plants. Most of them grow into a vining form, while some stay as a more traditional looking plant. This philodendron is the latter style, but still has enough going on to make it an interesting sight in almost any location.
Leaves and Stems
The Florida ghost philodendron has several characteristics that set it apart from other species. Stems and leaves are most notable qualities. For this species, stems grow much longer and lobes are layered.
Layered lobes contribute to the second distinguishing feature of the Florida ghost – varying leaf sizes. The leaves of this philodendron vary in shape and size, making it a visually stimulating plant. Additionally, leaves grow uniquely. When leaves unfurl, they start out as a ghostly white color, hence the name of Florida ghost. As the plant matures, leaves change colors a few more times.
A pale yellow, often with a hint of green, marks the next stage of this philodendron’s growth. Once the plant fully matures, leaf color changes again. Leaves become a vibrant green color. Height averages two to five feet and about two feet long. Although extremely rare, the Florida ghost may bloom and produce purple flowers that can grow up to a foot in size. Leaf texture resembles a leather, and the leaves are thick.
The leaf size can be an early determinant for how high your Florida ghost philodendron will be at full maturity. Longer leaves often signify a potentially taller plant. Leaves typically grow to be about two to four inches long, so if your leaves are closer to four inches long, then your philodendron will likely be near the taller range of about five feet tall.
Philodendron Florida Ghost Care Requirements
Similar to other plants, the philodendron Florida ghost will require care to stay healthy and alive. This plant has specific needs for moisture, soil, light, and temperature. Care needs are not too extensive, but this plant can be a bit picky for the needs it does have.
The Florida ghost requires particular lighting. It needs an equal amount of time in dark and light, so you will need to provide adequate lighting for a maximum of 12 hours each day followed by a maximum of 12 hours of darkness. You should place your Florida ghost plant near a window that allows plenty of daylight but no direct sunlight. Direct sunlight, even in small amounts, can burn the leaves and damage the plant.
One of the easiest ways to ensure your philodendron is getting adequate lighting is by using a grow light and a timer. A grow light provides the artificial light necessary to trigger photosynthesis reactions your plant uses to process food, water, and carbon dioxide.
Using a timer ensures the grow light turns on and off at precise 12 hour increments. There should be at least five inches between the light and the plant. An added benefit is that a grow light gives you more flexibility in where you put your plant.
You will also need to rotate your philodendron periodically during lighting hours, particularly if you are not using a grow light and have placed your plant near a window with indirect light. This plant prefers to have equal amounts of light exposure for all its leaves.
Ideally, you should rotate your Florida ghost after the first six hours of lighting time, but it is also acceptable to rotate day by day to allow one day of lighting on each side.
A Florida ghost philodendron does not need watering daily or even every other day. In fact, this plant only requires watering about once a week. It is important not to leave your philodendron without water for too long or sitting in pooled water from overwatering. A lack of watering can cause the plant to die, while overwatering can lead to diseases and root rot.
As a general rule, the top of the soil and down about two inches should be completely dried out between waterings. During colder months, mainly during the dormancy period of the winter months, watering needs are reduced because the plant goes into hibernation. Again, the top two inches of soil should be completely dry before watering, but do not be alarmed if the time between watering increases to a few weeks.
The soil you choose for your Florida ghost will need to be fairly specific. The standard bagged potting soil will not be enough for what this plant needs on a nutritional level This philodendron requires soil that has both a low alkalinity and low acidity content. Soil pH should be between five and eight, making it more neutral. Make sure the soil you choose is well-draining and somewhat course.
Alternatives to standard soil can include organic and peat moss. For Florida ghosts, the organic soil should contain a mix of peat, charcoal, and bark. Peat moss is a natural material harvested from peat bogs and contains sphagnum moss and decomposed organic materials.
Native to rainforests, this philodendron thrives in warmer temperatures and does not do well in cold weather. Ideal temperature range is 65 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. In mild climate zones, the Florida ghost thrives as an indoor plant but will not do well in outdoor gardens.
For outdoor gardens in warmer climate regions, this philodendron will do well as long as temperatures remain at 65 degrees Fahrenheit or higher during the coldest months. Additionally, outdoor philodendrons should be planted in areas that do not get any direct sunlight during any part of the year.
The Florida ghost would thrive in high humidity conditions such as the rainforests where it originated. As a houseplant, however, it does not need high humidity to survive. Dryer regions can be too dry, but a little humidity can be added using a pebble tray or humidifier.
Many philodendron owners prefer a pebble tray because it provides humidity to the plant instead of the whole room. Do not mist the philodendron because this can lead to overwatering and plant damage or disease.
Air circulation should be minimal. You should avoid putting your Florida ghost plant near air conditioning vents or in front of fans. During colder months, avoid putting your philodendron near heating sources as well. The plant requires this time to sit in dormancy and exposure to too much heat can prevent hibernation and cause damage.
This philodendron species requires periodic fertilization. There are several options for fertilizer. The fertilizer you choose needs to be balanced, but rich in nitrogen. You can choose from a liquid, granule, or stick. Stick fertilizers are typically slow-release, and there are slow-release versions of granules available.
If you choose a liquid or standard granule fertilizer, you should add fertilizer once a month during the warmer spring and summer months. In colder months, fertilizing can be reduced to every six to eight weeks. During these colder periods, the plant goes into a state of hibernation and will not require as much food or water.
For slow-release fertilizers, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Some will require reapplication every month, while others can last eight weeks or longer. Additionally, many slow-release fertilizers will require the soil to be moist before use; adding fertilizer to dry soil can cause damage to your philodendron.
Additional Tips With Your Philodendron Florida Ghost Plant
Now that you know the basics of caring for your philodendron, there are some extra tips to help ensure your plant thrives.
As a climbing plant, it is important to provide proper support for the stems of the Florida ghost. One of the biggest benefits of this species of philodendron is that you can train it to grow in just about any design you want. In order to avoid unnecessary breakage, taller stems should be supported with plant supports. Add supports when you notice that stems are starting to bend downward. You can also start providing support before the Florida ghost reaches full maturity. By adding support early, you can encourage healthier climbing habits and allow the plant to grow better.
A Florida ghost has minimal potting container requirements. The pot you use before full maturity should be between 10 and 20 inches and about 10 inches deep. This pot size allows enough room for your philodendron’s roots to spread out well. If roots are too compacted or crushed, the plant cannot absorb water or nutrients and will die.
It will not be necessary to frequently re-plant your philodendron. This plant grows slowly, which means its root system also grows slowly. Once your Florida ghost has reached full maturity, you should only need to re-plant about every two years.
Let your plant tell you when it needs a bigger pot. When it is time to upgrade, you will see roots showing through the pot’s drain holes. Choose a pot that is about three inches larger than your plant. Examine your philodendron roots periodically if you do not want to wait for escaping roots. Look for root binding, or roots clustered too tightly. Root binding can stunt the growth of your Florida ghost because this plant prefers to have plenty of room to have a widespread root system. If you notice root binding, re-plant in a pot with a larger diameter.
Re-planting may also be a necessary act to treat root rot or if non-liquid fertilizers are used. In the latter case, re-planting is simply replacing the soil with unfertilized soil. In the case of potential root rot, avoid moistening the soil before putting the plant in. The roots will need time in fresh, dry soil to recover from too much water exposure.
Generally, this species of philodendron does not need regular pruning. In most cases, pruning is done to obtain cuttings for propagation of new plants. Most Florida ghost owners will use the opportunity to remove wayward sections and give the plant a more consistent size. When pruning for propagation, always cut just below nodes. Additionally, you should make sure that you sterilize your cutting tools between cuts to prevent the changes of bacterial infection.
Propagation of this philodendron species is fairly simple and should be done in the springtime, following winter dormancy. Choose a pot and fill it with soil. Use a pair of clean, sterilized pruning shears to cut a two to four inch piece of the stem. You should cut below a node. Once cut, place the stem into the soil and lightly water.
Your cutting pot should be placed in a brightly lit spot, away from direct sunlight. Place a clear plastic bag over the cutting and pot to help maintain humidity. Change the bag and allow the cutting to get some air about every two days. Care for the cutting is the same as a mature plant, including watering and fertilizing.
After about three weeks, check root development by gently pulling upward on the stem. If you feel some resistance, your root system is growing. Your new philodendron can be re-planted in another pot after two to four months following the cutting.
A Florida ghost is susceptible to a few different diseases. Root rot, fire blight, and leaf spot are common afflictions for this plant. Root rot occurs as a result of too much moisture and will cause this plant’s leaves to appear yellow and wilted. Overwatering is a common cause, but soil that does not drain well or stays wet for too long can also cause root rot. If the soil is staying too wet for days, re-plant your philodendron and wait a day before lightly watering in the new soil to give the roots time to dry out a little.
Leaf spot is caused by a bacteria. As the name suggests, leaf spot causes dark spots and scarring on the leaves of the Florida ghost. The most effective treatment is to remove infected leaves and use a bacterial spray designed for use on plants.
Fire blight is another bacterial infection that philodendrons can get. Its presence is easily detected by the appearance of a sticky liquid that oozes from the plant and produces a very foul odor. Cut off the infected parts and quarantine the plant to avoid spreading the bacteria to other plants. Similar to leaf spot, fire blight can be treated with a bacterial spray.
When you are considering where to place your Florida ghost, you must consider its toxicity. This philodendron is toxic to both people and pets. It should be kept out of the reach of children and away from pet access. No parts of this plant should be ingested.
Why are my Florida ghost plant’s leaves yellow?
Yellow leaves on this philodendron usually means it has been overwatered and may have root rot. Watering should only occur when the top inch of the soil is dry. While the plant likes to stay hydrated- too much of a good thing could end of killing it.
How do I keep the leaves a white color?
Some philodendron Florida ghost owners want their leaves to remain white for a different appearance. To accomplish this, keep your plant under a grow light all the time and eliminate the time in darkness.
What do brown leaves mean?
Brown leaves on the Florida ghost plant means the plant needs more humidity. Consider using a humidifier or pebble tray to increase humidity levels.
I bought a fully mature Florida ghost plant and its leaves are still white. What do I do?
The reason your plant still has white leaves is likely because the nursery or greenhouse uses 24 hour grow lights. To allow your leaves to change to the normal green color, continue providing 12 hours of indirect light followed by 12 hours of darkness. Your leaves will turn green with some time and patience.
How much fertilizer should I use?
This depends on the type of fertilizer you are using. You will need to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Choose a fertilizer that is designed specifically for houseplants but is balanced and rich in nitrogen. Houseplant fertilizer sticks typically require one stick every four to eight weeks, depending on the manufacturer. A general rule of thumb for granule and liquid houseplant fertilizers is to use half of what you would use for other houseplants.
Will my Florida ghost produce flowers?
It is very rare for the Florida ghost philodendron to flower as a houseplant. It is more likely to bloom as an outdoor plant, but this is also a rare occurrence.
Can certain bugs affect my philodendron?
Yes. Common bugs that are dangerous to the Florida ghost include aphids and mealy bugs. Both types of infestations can lead to plant death if not handled quickly. To address both types of infestation, wash the philodendron with a garden hose and insecticide soap. You can also apply Neem oil to your philodendron. Prevention is the key to keeping these pests away from your Florida ghost. Make sure you are taking proper care of your philodendron, avoid using soil from the outdoors or soil that has been otherwise contaminated, and keep tools clean and sanitized between uses.
My Florida ghost looks droopy and pale. What is wrong?
A pale Florida ghost suggests it is not getting enough nutrients. It is likely that it is not getting enough fertilizer. If you are fertilizing on schedule, you may need to change the type of fertilizer or increase the amount you are using. Check the philodendron’s root system first to ensure there is no root binding or other root issue.
My plant is not getting overwatered, but the leaves are still turning yellow. What is the issue?
If you have checked to ensure that watering is not a problem, then it is likely that your Florida ghost philodendron is having issues with lighting. Too much lighting without an equal amount of darkness can cause yellowing leaves. Direct sunlight, even in the smallest amounts, can cause the leaves to burn and turn yellow as well.
My philodendron’s leaves were green and now they’re turning white. Why?
As you know, juvenile leaves start as white and gradually change to a bright green color with age. If your matured leaves are reverting back to white, this is likely due to your lighting conditions. White-colored mature leaves often suggest your philodendron is getting too much light. When you follow the 12:12 hour ratio of light to dark and your leaves are still turning white, try reducing the amount of time in light gradually over the course of a week at a time so that you can see just how much light your philodendron needs to maintain its proper coloring.
The Philodendron Florida Ghost Plant is a unique looking house plant that is relatively easy to care for. The name ghost plant comes from its unique leaves and skeletal appearance. The Philodendron Florida Ghost Plant makes a great addition to almost any location in the home, dorm or office. #t will also do well under artificial light provided there is at least an average amount of ambient natural light present. There is a certain beauty to the appearance of this plant, and it’s one that you will likely want to have around for a long time.