Philodendron first came into vogue as houseplants in the 1970s. They are certainly back in demand! Plant developers have been busy developing an extraordinary range of new and eye-catching varieties these past fifty years. Philodendron ‘Green Dragon’ has beautiful tropical foliage in high demand for its exotic leaves and stylish presence. The good news is these beautiful plants are relatively easy to care for, given the proper light and humidity.
Philodendron belongs to the Araceae family of evergreen climbing plants. They are primarily native to tropical rainforests of Central and South America. This family is huge, with over 500 identified species–with more always being discovered. The tropical rainforest environment is important to keep in mind when setting up a mini habitat for your Philodendron Green Dragon.
Figuring out the ideal light will depend on the particular version of Philodendron Green Dragon you have. The darker leaf variety should do well in the medium light of an east or west-facing window. The afternoon sun can be too bright and will scorch delicate leaves. Monitor for signs of dry white patches at the top of leaves which usually indicates sunburn.
For a Philodendron Green Dragon with lighter green or gold speckled coloration, bright indirect light will be key to maintaining the bright appearance. A south-facing window with a sheer curtain or shade panel will cut down the glare and still let through a good amount of light. Philodendrons are known for surviving in low-light situations, but this only applies to the darker leaf varieties. If the light is too low for any of the climbing Philodendrons, it will force the plant to stretch to find light and become leggy.
Philodendron Green Dragon is a rainforest-adapted plant, so anything you can do to increase humidity levels around your plant will help it to thrive. A humidifier is the easiest way to provide consistent moisture and is a worthwhile investment. Moisture can benefit humans sharing the plant environment, so consider it a win/win. Alternately, misting twice a day is a good option if a humidifier is not possible. It is a good practice to reduce humidity slightly during the winter months. This is usually accomplished automatically by drier heated interiors.
Placing the plant on top of a tray of wet pebbles is another easy way to boost humidity levels. You can place a saucer upside down at the bottom of the pebble tray so the plant pot has a level surface to rest on. The water (from watering the plant) will flow through the plant pot and collect in the pebble tray.
Typically, Philodendron Green Dragon will need to be watered several times each week. This will depend on how quickly the soil dries out. The ideal way to water is by thoroughly drenching and then briefly letting the soil dry out. Too much moisture is often to blame for poor plant health and sometimes even death due to root rot.
The most important aspect of soil health is ensuring the plant has excellent drainage. A good indoor soil mix with a minimum of 25% perlite will promote water moving through the soil.
Even though glazed ceramic pots can be very heavy (especially with many pounds of soil and a large plant), they are a great choice for their ability to stabilize an otherwise floppy plant. A wheeled base can be very useful for adjusting and readjusting the position of a plant in the home. (Ask me how I know this!)
When roots start to show up on the top soil surface, that is a good indication that it is time to move your plant to a larger pot.
It is an excellent practice to gently wipe philodendron leaves with a soft cloth once a couple of months. Removing dust is important for photosynthesis and is just good hygiene for a plant. Just like the frequent leaf wipe-downs given by wind and rain in nature, plant owners need to clean their plants to ensure their health. In keeping plants healthy, the home environment is also kept healthy. Philodendrons are one of the top houseplants known to improve air quality. Specifically, philodendrons are wizards at removing formaldehyde from the air.
If temperatures threaten to fall below 57 degrees Fahrenheit, a Philodendron Green Dragon will need to be brought indoors. Standard room temperature will be best for the plant. Keep the leaves away from any heat registers or air vents in the home.
A basic indoor plant fertilizer will ensure Philodendron Green Dragon gets just enough nutrients it needs and not too much of what it does not. Osmocote makes an excellent pellet indoor plant food that is shaken onto the soil surface once each season. Other liquid fertilizer formulations can be smelly or messy and difficult to apply. Follow directions on the package for detailed instructions, but a quarterly application is a good rule of thumb.
How to Propagate Philodendron’ Green Dragon’
As young plants, climbing philodendrons are nourished by roots in the ground. Later, when the plants have climbed higher up into the tree canopy, they conveniently detach from the ground roots and live as epiphytes (air plants). When given a stake or other tree-like support, the Philodendron Green Dragon will climb up and produce many aerial roots (each little section is preparing to live independently of the mother plant). These roots are easy to propagate more plants from.
Aerial Root Propagation
Aerial roots are the easiest way to make more Philodendron ‘Green Dragon.’ The green “air roots” can be left in place but buried in the soil until they produce true roots. The easiest way is by attaching a small cup of soil to the plant support stake. In a month or so, roots will develop underground. At this point, the root can be carefully cut away from the mother plant with a sanitized knife or scissors. (Wiping the blade’s surface with alcohol ensures sanitation and a disease-free new plant.)
The new tiny plant will hopefully develop leaves within a couple of months. You can use a small wooden stake to support the baby plant and help to keep it upright while it establishes.
Stem Cutting Propagation
A stem cutting that includes leaves with a leaf growth point (or node) is another way to make more plants from a Philodendron’ Green Dragon.’ Please note that you should cut the leaf node off the mother plant with a sterilized blade. It would be best if you then placed the leaves and node on top of damp soil or even a glass of water that is changed regularly. Roots should emerge within a month.
Philodendron ‘Green Dragon’ Toxicity
All parts of the Philodendron ‘Green Dragon’ are toxic to pets and humans. Ingestion will cause major stomach discomfort. The sap from the stem and leaves is known to be a skin irritant.
Philodendron ‘Green Dragon’ vs. Philodendron’ Green Dragon Narrow Form’
P. ‘Green Dragon Narrow Form’ is a fascinating variety much narrower than the standard ‘Green Dragon.’ The leaves still resemble the dragon head form but are just a few inches wide.
Distinguishing Philodendron’ Green Dragon’ from Other Similar Philodendron Varieties
Identifying the species is not always possible unless the complete scientific name is listed with the plant. Often plants are sold only as Philodendron with a common name. Common names are confusing because they are interchangeable and often given at the seller’s discretion.
The most common Philodendron Green Dragon species is bipennifolium, but other species are sometimes sold as Philodendron’ Green Dragon.’ The scientific name, Philodendron bipennifolium ‘Green Dragon,’ refers to a Philodendron with dragon-head shaped glossy dark green or bright medium-green leaves.
“Bipennifolium” comes from the Latin for a leaf with two feathers. In this case, the two spikey “feathers” (or lobes) are in addition to the main leaf body. The three sections resemble a dragon’s head and ears, whiskers, and chin.
Philodendron ‘Green Dragon’ vs Philodendron’ Golden Dragon’
The difference between these two plants is the light level they require. The Philodendron “Green Dragon” will require less light in general than the Philodendron’ Golden Dragon.’
Please check out our article, How to Care for the Philodendron Golden Dragon for a more in-depth discussion of Philodendron Green Dragon vs. Philodendron Golden Dragon.
Whether you are searching for an exotic beauty to add to your home or are looking for an exciting new philodendron variety to modernize a collection, look no further than the Philodendron ‘Green Dragon.’ The extraordinary leaf shape and its relative ease of care make this plant worth its high cost.
Where to Buy Philodendron Green Dragon
If you are interested in owning your own Philodendron Green Dragon or want to check the price, the Philodendron Green Dragon is available for sale from different sellers on Etsy.