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Philodendron cruentum Care and How It Differs from subhastatum 

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Philodendron cruentum (pronounced kroo-EN-tum) is a rare and uncommon climbing houseplant native to Peru. It has elongated, elliptic-oblong green leaves with a stunning maroon or reddish underside.

This aroid is low maintenance, i.e., its care is similar to other Philodendron plants. Also, it purifies the air and will add that tropical accent to your home.

We’ve details on identifying Philodendron cruentum, how it differs from subhastatum, and the necessary care. We will also give you prices and where to buy this lovely aroid.

Warning: Before buying it, note that this aroid is mild to moderately toxic to pets and humans since it has insoluble calcium oxalates.

Philodendron cruentum plant care and prices
Philodendron cruentum plant: Check the latest prices.

About Philodendron cruentum 

Philodendron cruentum Poepp is an officially accepted species, first published in 1845. It resembles Philodendron subhastatum K.Krause, but with some noticeable differences. We will talk about differences later in the post.

1. Growing habits, size, and growth rate

Philodendron cruentum is an evergreen, understory climbing plant. It grows mainly in Peruvian wet tropical rainforests, especially near Cuchero, where Huallaga and Rio Chinchao meet.

It has a relatively fast growth rate but doesn’t grow so tall. So, at home, it can grow up to 4 to 6 feet tall. To go this high, you need to provide and train it on a moss pole or other climbing surfaces.

How to identify Philodendron cruentum 

Philodendron cruentum has rigid, sub-leathery, elongated, elliptic-oblong green leaves with maroon to the reddish underside. These leaves have a briefly cuspidate apex, a somewhat uneven base that narrows somewhat gradually to abruptly, and measure about 11.8- 15.7 inches long by 3.1-3.9 broad.

Thanks to its midrib, which is broad at the base and strongly attenuates towards the apex, you should easily recognize this plant. It shouldn’t be difficult to tell it from other similar-looking plants.

Another striking feature of this aroid is the short stem and petiole. These semi-terete, narrowly winged petioles measure 5.9-7.9 inches long with an upper side and a strongly thickened and sheathed base.

Lastly, this plant will hardly flower at home. However, it normally produces a pair of inflorescences per axil with a spadix and spathe in the wild. The spathe is blood red on the inside and whitish outside.

Philodendron cruentum vs. subhastatum 

Philodendron subhastatum is a climbing Philodendron native to Ecuador to Colombia. Both these plants have green leaves with a reddish underside; some may confuse them.

However, the cruentum has elongated-elliptical-oblong leaves, while subhastatum while subhastatum has an oval-triangular shape. Also, its apex is shortly cuspidate, and the base narrows gradually to abruptly and is uneven, while the subhastatum has a briefly acuminate apex and a deeply lobed base (for mature plants).

The other difference is that P. cruentum midrib is broad at the base and attenuates upwards, and the petiole is shorter with a strongly sheathed and thickened base. In contrast, the subhastatum midrib isn’t as wide at the base and doesn’t attenuate strongly. Also, its petioles are longer and not strongly sheathed or thickened near their base.

How to care for Philodendron cruentum

Philodendron cruentum needs a warm (60-80°F), humid (>40% RH) area with bright, indirect light. Watering is after a few top inches of the potting mix dries, and the soil should be well-drained, aerated, and rich in organic matter.

Feed this plant once a month with a good houseplant fertilizer, prune as necessary and repot after 1-2 years. Also, to help it grow taller, give it a moss pole or a climbing place.

Here is a summary of the necessary care and growing conditions:

USDA hardiness zone10-11. Not frost resistant
TemperatureKeep it at 60-80°F for optimum growth. Avoid temperatures below 50°F, cold drafts, or places near heat sources.
HumidityIt should be at least 40% but ideally 60% or more. Use a humidifier, have a pebble tray, move your plants to humid rooms, and mist or group raise humidity.
LightBright, indirect light but can tolerate medium. Avoid direct sunlight and for poorly lit rooms, consider grow lights.
SoilIt should be airy or chunky, well-drained, and rich in organic matter, like an aroid mix. I use 50% potting soil and add perlite, peat moss, bark chips, and worm castings.
WaterWater thoroughly only when the potting mix feels dry up to the first finger knuckle or the soil moisture meter reads dry. For XLUX and most meters, it is when the reading is less than three.  
FeedingFeed once a month with a balanced liquid fertilizer for houseplants during growing months. Start with half recommended strength. However, any other premium quality potted or houseplant fertilizer should do, including slow-release formulas.
PruningUse a sterilized gardening scissor to cut damaged, diseased, or dead leaves. Also, you can trim a few stems during the growing months to control the size and shape of your plant.
RepottingRepot after 1-2 years or when rootbound. Pick a pot that is about three inches wider in diameter than the current one.
SupportProvide and train your plant on a moss pole, trellis, totem, or vertical climbing surface.
PropagationStem cutting in water or soil. Ensure the cutting has at least a node.

Problems or issues

There are no problems, diseases, or issues specific to this species. We haven’t had any instances of diseases or pests. However, root rot is possible if you have the wrong potting mix or overwater this plant.

Also, your plant may droop, and leaf discoloration (yellowing or browning, including spots, tips, and margin) or curling may occur. These may indicate pests, disease, root rot, improper care, and growing conditions.

Frequently asked questions

Is Philodendron cruentum rare?

Yes. P. cruentum is a rare houseplant that many people haven’t yet discovered. Only a few rare aroid collectors have this plant.

What is the price of Philodendron cruentum?

The Cruentum price ranges from $30 to $50, depending on the size and where you buy it. As you would expect, smaller plants and cuttings will cost well, and larger established plants more.

Where do I get a cruentum plant?

Try Etsy.com. It has a few vendors. Also, you may find it on Facebook, Instagram, eBay, or by searching on Google or any other major search engine.