The rare Philodendron Ring Of Fire is a SIGHT to behold, with its jagged-edged leaves in hues of orange (thus the “fire”), green, white, red, cream, and yellow. 🙂
Like many other Philodendrons, the Ring Of Fire is not a difficult plant to grow, though it is a slow-grower and has a small size (just 3 feet, 91cm tall at maturity). In our opinion (and we might be a bit biased) – it’s colorful, wavy-edged leaves make it worth the wait!
Care-wise, you want to make sure that your Philodendron Ring of Fire is kept in airy, well-draining soil and isn’t overwatered. Place it in indirect light, near a windowsill, and keep at warm indoor temperatures year-round.
Light monthly fertilizing, as well as sufficient light and a moss pole will help this climbing Philodendron thrive.
Let’s dive into the details.
What is the Philodendron ‘Ring of Fire’?
This unique houseplant is believed to be a cross between the Philodendron Tortum and the Philodendron Wendlandii.
We can see how the Ring of Fire’s leaf shape is a cross between the two, but where did its colored leaves come from?! 😛
How to care for your Philodendron Ring of Fire
The Philodendron Ring Of Fire thrives in bright, indirect light. While it can tolerate some low light conditions, dull-colored leaves and indicate your plant isn’t getting enough sunlight!
To encourage variegation (the creams and oranges in its leaves), choose a spot near a sunny windowsill. Your plant should get at least 8 hours of bright, indirect light.
In the winter, artificial light can also be used to supplement natural sunlight, although you should still ensure the Philodendron Ring Of Fire isn’t subjected to direct artificial light.
It’s best to keep any and all artificial light at least 2 feet (61cm) away from the plant.
Philodendron Ring Of Fire will typically need watered once every 7 to 10 days during the plant’s active growing season, which is the spring and summer.
In our experience, the Ring of Fire can tolerate underwatering. So if you forget to water your plant, don’t fret.
What it cannot tolerate, however, is overwatering. 😛
Remember that the exact amount of water and how often the plant needs will vary depending on the size and age of the Philodendron Ring Of Fire, as well as the environmental conditions and time of year.
The best way to know its time to water is when the top 2 inches (5cm) of soil is dry. This is roughly twice the length of your index finger to your first knuckle.
Expect to water the Philodendron Ring Of Fire less during the fall and winter, which is the plant’s dormant period. During this time of the year, the plant isn’t growing as much and doesn’t use as many resources.
In most cases, you will only need to water the plant once every 2 weeks or so.
Unlike most other tropical houseplants, the Philodendron Ring Of Fire doesn’t require extremely high humidity levels, and can be just fine at the average humidity level of most homes.
In fact, this plant can tolerate a wide range of humidity levels, from 30-60%.
Philodendron Ring Of Fire is native to tropical environments and requires temperatures that are warm throughout the year. So keeping this guy indoors is your best bet! 🙂
The ideal growing temps for this plant fall between 55-85 degrees F (13-29 degrees C). Temperatures <55 (13 degrees C)could cause the plant to go into shock, resulting in stunted growth, stress, and death.
Alas – the Philodendron Ring Of Fire is a slow-growing plant. In fact, this plant doesn’t get much taller than 3 feet (91cm).
BUT the leaves of the Philodendron Ring Of Fire can grow up to 24 inches (60cm) long and 16 inches (41cm) wide… pretty large for its small stature!!
For optimal growth, the 3 bigs things we ensure this guy has is: i) sufficient sunlight (at least 8 hours of indirect light / day); ii) a well-draining soil; and iii) a moss pole of trellis.
Being a climber, its leaves tend to grow larger and faster when being propped up against a moss pole.
Soil or Growing Medium
Philodendron Ring Of Fire thrives in soil that is rich in organic matter but is well-draining. However, you also want the soil to retain some moisture to keep it from drying out too quickly. Because of this, avoid cactus soils as they don’t retain enough moisture.
There are several commercially available mixes made specifically for Philodendrons, or you can create your own soil mix by combining:
- 1 part indoor potting mix (slightly acidic)
- 1 part orchid bark, and
- 1 part perlite.
- If possible, add a little compost or worm castings into the mixture to increase the nutrients in the growing medium.
Another thing to consider when selecting a growing medium is the soil pH level. The Philodendron Ring Of Fire prefers soils with a pH range from slightly acidic to neutral.
Growing medium or soil that ranges from 6.1 to 7.3 works well for this plant – this is the pH at which nutrients are readily absorbed by your Ring of Fire.
While the Philodendron Ring Of Fire can survive without fertilizer, it won’t grow nearly as quickly. Think of fertilizer as supplementing the nutrients it already gets and makes from sunlight.
Ideally, feed your Ring of Fire monthly during the spring and summer months. We like using Dyna-Gro Grow for most of our houseplants, at half strength, by incorporating it into its watering routine (so that the fertilizer is extra-dilute). The results speak for themselves!!
You can reduce fertilizing to once every 6-8 weeks in autumn and stop fertilizing completely in the winter.
Philodendron Ring Of Fire is not a fussy plant and actually likes being a little bit root bound. This means you don’t have to repot the plant every year.
If you do see roots growing out of the bottom of the pot, then it’s time to repot.
- Choose a container that is just 2inches (5cm) larger than the original.
- Repotting should only be done during the spring or early summer – when growing conditions are ideal for your plant to recover!
- You will also want to thoroughly water the plant the day before repotting. This helps loosen the soil and reduces trauma.
While the Philodendron Ring Of Fire does make a wonderful houseplant, especially for beginners, it is toxic when ingested by humans or animals.
According to the ASPCA, all Philodendron varieties contain calcium oxalate crystals, which are sharp microscopic crystals that can irritate and damage mucous membranes, skin, and even internal organs.
If you’re looking for a kid and pet-friendly plant, try Peperomias or Hoyas.
Propagating your Philodendron Ring of Fire is easily done through stem cuttings.
If you have a healthy and developed plant, the chances of successful propagation are high. 🙂 The best time to propagate is in spring.
Propagating through Stem Cuttings
- Identify a healthy part of the stem that has at least one node on it, and one leaf. Even better if you spot aerial roots growing.
- Using clean garden shears, cut the stem just below the node.
- Prepare a large enough jar filled with room temperature water.
- Place the stem cutting in the water jar. The nodes should now be submerged. The leaf is, of course, above the waterline.
- Place the water jar in a warm spot with plenty of indirect light. If you have a humidifier, place this next to the cutting, and set at 60%.
- Change out the water every few days to prevent it from going murky.
- Within 2-3 weeks you should see some roots growing.
- Once the roots are about 1 inch (3cm) long, prepare a pot filled with potting mix.
- Plant your stem cutting into the potting mix.
- Treat your plant as you would any other Philodendron Ring of Fire.
Whether or not to prune the Philodendron Ring Of Fire will depend on your situation….
If the plant is becoming unruly, then you can, of course, prune the leaves to maintain its size. Leaves that are damaged, dying, or dead can also be removed to make room for new growth. 🙂
If possible, only prune during the spring and summer months when the plant is actively growing and not in its dormant period. Use clean and sharp pruning shears, and snip the leaves off the plant as close to the main stem as possible.
Common Pests and Issues
Philodendron Ring Of Fire is not prone to many diseases, but fungal and bacterial problems caused by overwatering or unsterilized gardening equipment are two of the biggest concerns with this plant.
Thankfully, both of these issues are easily preventable. Simply avoid watering the plant UNTIL the top 2 in ches (5cm) of soil is dry, and dip gardening tools in isopropyl alcohol solution after use. 🙂
Additionally, make sure to use an airy potting mix (see our recommended mix above) to allow excess water to drain quickly.
As for pests, the Philodendron Ring Of Fire can come under the attack of common houseplant insects, such as spidermites, mealybugs, thrips, and scales.
While these pests are annoying, they rarely threaten the health of the plant. Use a dilute solution of neem oil to fend off unwanted pests. (More about how to use neem oil here).
Why are the leaves of my Philodendron Ring Of Fire falling off?
Leaves falling off the Philodendron Ring Of Fire can be caused by a number of different problems, and pinpointing the issue will require spotting other symptoms.
For example, are the Philodendron Ring Of Fire leaves also droopy and yellow? If so, then the problem is probably too much water. Check the soil to see if it is soggy, which will confirm the diagnosis.
What could cause my Philodendron Ring Of Fire to not grow?
As with other problems that can occur with the Philodendron Ring Of Fire, slow or stunted growth can be caused by a number of issues ranging from improper care to diseases.
However, water stress is often the culprit, since this is a leading cause of problems with Philodendrons. Check the soil to see if it is too dry or too wet and then adjust the watering schedule accordingly.
As always, make sure you water your plant only when the topsoil is dry, and use an airy potting mix to drain away excess water.
Why are the Philodendron Ring Of Fire leaves turning yellow?
Overwatering is by far the most common reason why a Ring of Fire’s leaves turn yellow.
If you are overwatering your Philodendron Ring Of Fire, immediately stop all watering and let the soil dry out a little before you start hydrating the plant again.
In extreme cases, you can also repot your plant in fresh dry soil. Check out our tips on saving your overwatered plant here.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I buy a Philodendron Ring Of Fire?
Because the Philodendron Ring Of Fire is a rare variety, it isn’t readily available at your local garden center. We like using Etsy to look for reputable sellers, and haven’t had any trouble when ordering online.
A survey of 10 sellers shows an average price of US$34.55 for a starter pot – a little more expensive than the average houseplant.
It’s also worth noting that the range between the cheapest and most expensive seller is large – US$50! How expensive the plant is depends heavily on the level of variegation, with lots of reds, oranges and creams making it WAY more expensive!
Is the Philodendron Ring Of Fire the rarest Philodendron?
While the Philodendron Ring Of Fire is considered rare, most experts do not consider it the rarest of the Philodendron varieties. That title typically goes to the Philodendron Spiritus Sancti.
The Philodendron Spiritus Sancti is native to Espirito Santo, Brazil and it produces elongated leaves that are shaped like a sword. 🙂
How long will a Philodendron Ring Of Fire live for?
The exact lifespan of the Philodendron Ring Of Fire varies depending on how well it is cared for. It has the ability to live for 30 or more years. In fact, in their native habitat, they can live up to 100 years!
However, when grown as a houseplant, the Philodendron Ring Of Fire typically lives for about 15 years.
Similar Plants and Varieties
- Philodendron Atom – low-growing Philo with wavy leaves
- Philodendron Rugosum – a Philo known for its textured leaves that look like fine leather grains
- Philodendron Ruizii – a Philo with short stems and long leathery leaves
The Philodendron Ring Of Fire may be rare, but it isn’t a high-maintenance plant that requires a lot of fussing over.
To keep your plant happy, provide it with:
- Bright light that is indirect,
- Warm temperatures between 55-85 degrees F(13-29 degrees C)
- average humidity levels
- well-draining soil
- regular watering when topsoil is dry.
Check out its parent plant, the Philodendron Tortum next!
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.