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Philodendron Melinonii Green, Gold and Variegated Care

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Philodendron Melinonii (pronounced mel-i-no-NEE-eye) is a rare, adorable houseplant; thanks to the large oblong-triangular, rosette-arranged leaves coupled with reddish-tinged underside veins and petioles. It will look stunningly charming in your office, commercial or residential spaces.

This aroid is low maintenance, i.e., has care needs similar to those of any of the Philodendron plants. Also, it is one of the air-purifying indoor houseplants, another reason to get one today.

Here is everything you need to know about Philodendron melinonii, from how it looks to care needs to varieties or forms like ghost, red, variegated, and golden melinonii. We will also tell you its prices, where to buy it, and how it differs from Philodendron imperial green and fragrantissimum.

Warning: People with kids and pet parents (cats, dogs, or other pets) need to know that this plant is toxic (mild to moderate).

About Philodendron melinonii

Philodendron melinonii Brongn. ex Regel, first published in 1874, is an accepted Philodendron species native to N. South America to Brazil North, i.e., Suriname, Venezuela, Guyana, French Guyana, and Brazil North.

It belongs to the family Araceae (aroids), subgenus Philodendron, and section Philodendron.  

1. Growing habits, size, and growth rate

Philodendron melinonii are terrestrial or epiphytic evergreen plants that can also grow as climbers. You will find it perched on trees like a crown near canopies or growing on branches, fallen logs, or over rocks in tropical rainforests.

This aroid has rosette leaves and can be large, spreading up to 8 feet wide as a single plant or more if it grows in a cluster of several plants. Its growth rate is moderate, and the prevailing conditions will affect it.   

2. How to identify Philodendron melinonii plant?

This plant resembles Philodendron fragrantissimum and imperial green. However, you can easily distinguish it from these two lookalikes. Here is a detailed description of leaves,  stems, and flowers.

a). Stems

Melinonii has stems about 2 inches thick with short internodes and adventitious roots on nodes. Its persisting cataphylls are whitish with reddish lineate and have angled kneels.

However, as they emerge, cataphylls have a wine color, and when they age, they become marcescent, forming a dense, brown fibrous mass covering the stem. When mixed with young growing aerial roots, these remnant fibers create a Xaxim tree fern stem appearance.

b). Leaves

Mature Philodendron melinonii will have oval-oblong, rosette arranged, dark green leaves with dull light green margin on the upper side and a paler and light green lower side. However, the leaves of immature specimens may have a reddish tinge on the underside.

How large do leaves of melinonii get? These leaves are large, 28 inches long by 20 inches wide, with moderately acuminate apices and notched to nearly heart-shaped bases.

The midrib on the upper surface is paler with impressed primary veins, while the lower side has prominent midrib and primary veins, often reddish in young plants, with distinctive resin lines you cannot miss to see.

The anterior division has 8-9 primary lateral veins, while the short posterior division has one acroscopic primary lateral vein and one basioscopic.

This aroid has long (up to 28 inches), spongy, semi-glossy, roughly dark green petioles. These relatively thick (up to 0.9 inches) leafstalks have a reddish tinge towards their apex, especially in younger leaves, and a short or missing sheath.

The upper surface of these petioles is a sulcate with raised margin, lower rounded, and the apex has small, reddish extrafloral nectaries. If you cut it, it will produce a generous amount of viscous fluid.

c). Flowers or inflorescences

Philodendron melinonii will hardly flower under cultivation. In the wild, it will have 1-2 inflorescences per floral sympodium with a spadix and colorful spathe.

The spathe is longer than the peduncle and is divided into the upper blade (cream outside, red inside) and lower tube (red outside, light green inside). And like other Philo plants, the spadix is divided into a female part (inside the tube), a middle sterile male, and an upper fertile male.

Philodendron melinonii varieties, cultivars, or forms

Besides the standard Philodendron melinonii green form, this aroid has golden, ghost, and red cultivars or forms. Let us look at each briefly.

Philodendron Melinonii form
Standard green form: See latest prices.

1. Philodendron golden melinonii

Philodendron melinonii gold is probably a cultivar or variety of melinonii with lime to golden or chartreuse-green leathery leaves. Its coloration resembles Philodendron hederaceum moonlight or lemon line but may appear lime-yellow to mango-yellow to neon-yellow.

Philodendron Golden Melinonii
Philodendron Golden Melinonii: Check the latest prices.

This adorable plant will cost you anything from $30 to $190, depending on the size and where you buy it.

2. Philodendron melinonii ‘Ghost’

Melinonii ghost is not a variegated plant but a variety whose lives emerge while creamy white before turning yellowish and finally solid green, like the Philodendron Florida Ghost. It is extremely rare and sells for between $100 and $300.

3. Philodendron melinonii variegated plant

Variegated Philodendron melinonii plants are very rare and hard to find. Their green leaves have mint (pale green), yellowish (aurea), or cream-white variegations. These colorations may be in the form of marbling, streaks, sectors, or even half-moon.

If you need a variegated melinonii plant, it will cost you between $200 and $3300 depending on the extent of variegation, plant size, and where you buy it. Also, note that it can revert to green because it occurs from random cell mutation.

4. Philodendron melinonii ‘Red’

We’ve seen some vendors selling Philodendron melinonii red, which they describe as having reddish veins, petiole, and sometimes underside. I don’t think this is a different plant since this aroid does show some variation, including the reddish coloration.

Philodendron melinonii vs. imperial green

The Imperial Green is a Philodendron erubescens K.Koch & Augusti cultivar with self-heading green leaves that fan out in all directions. Philodendron erubescens is commonly known as the red-leaf or blushing Philodendron and has other cultivars, including the Imperial Red.

P. melinonii has thicker petioles, sulcate above with keeled to winged margin and rounded beneath, while Philodendron Imperial Green has thinner petioles, flat on the upper side, terete below.

Also, melinonii has oblong-triangular blades with a nearly heart-shaped or emarginate base, while the imperial green cultivar has long oval-triangular arrowhead-shaped leaf blades.

Lastly, the posterior lobes of melinonii have one acroscopic primary lateral vein and one basioscopic. In contrast, imperial green has four basal primary lateral veins that fuse into a short posterior rib.

How it differs from Philodendron fragrantissimum

Philodendron fragrantissimum (Hook.) G.Don, an accepted species native to Tropical America, closely resembles melinonii. However, its rosette leaves are alternative with elongated leaves, something not seen in melinonii.

Also, fragrantissimum has sub-leathery, oval to oval-triangular leave with a cordiform-sub-sagittate leaf base. In contrast, Philodendron melinonii has leathery, oblong-triangular leaf blades with a subcordate to emarginate.

Lastly, P. fragrantissimum has a slender petiole with a flatter transverse section, widely sulcate on the upper side with a flat or winged margin, and centrally keeled lower side. However, melinonii has a thicker petiole, sulcate on the upper side with a winged to keeled margin, and rounded on the lower side.

How to care for Philodendron melinonii

Philodendron melinonii needs a humid, warm area with bright, indirect light. Ensure the potting mix is airy, well-drained, and rich in organic matter, and water this plant when the top few inches of the soil feel dry.

Here is more on how to care for your melinonii, including feeding, pruning, repotting, and much more.

1. What are the ideal growing conditions

To optimally grow, place your Philodendron melinonii in a humid (>40% relative humidity, ideally 60% or more), warm spot (60-80°F) with bright, indirect light. Avoid temperatures below 50°F, sudden change, or cold drafts, and don’t place them near heat sources.

Also, avoid direct sunlight (it will burn leaves); people in darker rooms need to grow lights, especially if you have variegated ones (they need more light). Otherwise, if the light isn’t enough, you will have a leggy plant with smaller, paler leaves.

Consider a humidifier or pebble tray, or group your plants if your relative humidity is low. Also, you can move it to a humid room or mist it.

Lastly, if you grow your P. melinonii outdoors, select a spot with dappled light and move it indoors when the temperature goes below 50°F.

2. Choosing the best potting mix

Use an airy, chunky, and well-drained potting mix rich in organic matter. You can go for an aroid mix from Etsy.com or make yours. I usually take 50% potting soil and add perlite, peat moss (or coco coir), bark chips, and worm castings.

3. How to water your Philodendron melinonii

Properly watering this plant is very important. Too little will affect growth and health, while too much may result in leaves yellowing and root rot.

I thoroughly water my melinonii when my XLUX soil moisture meter reads dry (3 or less). However, you can also water it when the potting mix feels dry up to the first knuckle. Don’t follow a schedule, as conditions vary within the same home.

Water watering, you should slowly saturate the potting mix until excess water flows from drainage holes. Afterward, discard any that collects in the saucer.

4. Does it need feeding?

Yes. Melinonii needs moderate feeding during growing months only. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer for houseplants. However, any good fertilizer for potted plants, even if unbalanced, is ok, including slow-release formula.

Brands like Miracle-Gro, Osmocote, Jobe’s, Fox Farms, J. R. Peters, Joyful Dirt, and Fox Farms are all perfect. Follow instructions and start at half recommended strength.

5. Pruning

It doesn’t need a lot of pruning. However, you should routinely check for dead, damaged, or diseased leaves, including those wholly discolored, and remove them using sharp, sterilized gardening shears.

6. How often to repot?

It would be best if you repotted this aroid after every 1-2 years or when root bound with a pot 2-3 inches wider in diameter. Anytime is ok, but we prefer early during the growing season.

7. Does it need support?

P. melinonii isn’t a typical climbing houseplant and may not need a stake (moss pole, trellis, or totem) unless it becomes very tall.

How to propagate this plant

If it has young offsets or pups, the best way to propagate Philodendron melinonii is by division. Otherwise, opt for stem cutting in water or soil if it doesn’t.

Issues or problems

This aroid doesn’t seem vulnerable to diseases or pests except those that affect other Philodendron plants. However, watching for root rot is important, especially with the wrong potting mix or excessive watering.

Issues like your plant drooping leaves curling, turning yellow, brown, or having spots may indicate incorrect growing conditions, improper care, pests, diseases, or root rot.

Frequently asked questions

Is Philodendron melinonii rare?

Philodendron melinonii is a super rare houseplant, especially the ghost and variegated. Even the golden and green forms are rare. Even on popular online plant stores like Etsy or social media platforms, very few vendors have it.

What is the price of Philodendron melinonii?

Philodendron melinonii green form costs $30 to $60, with the golden one going for up to $190. If you need the ghost variety, prices range from $100 to $300; for variegated, you will spend anything from $200 to $3300.

Where do I buy this plant?

If you are looking for Philodendron melinonii, try Etsy.com, eBay, Facebook, and Instagram. They all have vendors from the US and Canada, Australia, the UK, Asia, etc. Also, you can google for vendors near you.