Philodendron Imperial Red vs. Rojo Congo

Written by Larissa Smith
Updated: August 3, 2023
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The Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo are considered absolute staples. It’s easy to see why these plants are rising among plant lovers. With broad leaves and bold colors, these plants make a statement piece in any room, are easygoing, and adapt to almost any surroundings.

The Philodendron Imperial Red is known for its outstanding beauty and slow-growing habits. They are perfect for those looking to add a bold pop of color to any room with an easy-to-care-for house plant. It can adjust to the light levels of almost any room. Moreover, its slow growth will keep it in pristine condition and look just as good as the actor in its later years.

The Rojo Congo shares many characteristics with its parent plant, the Philodendron Imperial Red. Much like its parent, the Rojo Congo is renowned by plant lovers for its easygoing style and the vivid colors in its leaves. The bright green and red leaves provide a striking visual image that quickly makes it the vocal point of any room.

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The only question now is which philodendron best suits your taste: The more classic and elegant Philodendron Imperial Red or the brighter and bolder Rojo Congo?

Comparing Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo

Philodendron Imperial RedRojo Congo
ClassificationKingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Genus: Philodendron
Species: Philodendron erubescens
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Alismatales
Family: Araceae
Genus: Philodendron
Species: Philodendron tatei
OriginSouth AmericaSouth America
Description– Grows 3 feet as a houseplant and up to 60 feet in nature
– Leaves are dark green-purplish color with a leathery texture
– Oval-shaped leaves
– Petioles are green-brown when they mature
– Grows up to 4 feet tall
– Glossy green leaves with a red hue
– Red stem
– White flowers
How to Grow– Partial shade
– Use moist, well-draining soil
– Water every 10 days
– Grows best in humid conditions
– Grows best in partial shade
– Use moist and well-fertilized soil
– Water every 7-10 days

Philodendron Imperial Red vs. Rojo Congo: Classification and Origin

The Philodendron Imperial Red and the Rojo Congo are direct relatives. Furthermore, they have a relationship in which the Rojo Congo stems directly from the Philodendron Imperial Red, making the Philodendron Imperial Red the parent plant of the Rojo Congo. There are about 400 species of philodendron, and the imperial red is a rare hybrid.

Both plants originate from Southern America and South American rainforests. These two cultivated plants are similar in genetics and closely resemble one another to the point where they are often mistaken for each other.

However, each plant is distinctive and unique, even with its similarities. For example, they are different in size, growth patterns, and leaves, petrioles, and flowers that each bloom.

Philodendron Imperial Red vs. Rojo Congo: Description

Philodendron Imperial Red has earned its name from its regal and outstanding features. They can be aggressive climbing plants and grow 3-60 feet in height with narrow leaves that stem from strong petriole. However, due to the short nature of the petriole, the Philodendron Imperial Red cannot grow as fast and tall as its counterpart.

The Philodendron Imperial Red has large, oval leaves with hues of bright red towards the end of the base and a black color towards the petriole of the plant. These colors contrast beautifully and give the plant an elegant yet striking appearance.

The Rojo Congo, on the other hand, also receives its name due to the nature of its color. Rojo Congos are plants that grow up to 4 feet in height and are broader in size than the Philodendron Imperial Red. In addition, they have a fast and robust growth pattern thanks to their petriole.

With a broad size and narrow leaves, it is not hard to see how the two plants are related. However, the leaves bright red and bold green colors give the plant a strikingly different appearance and appeal to its parent plant.

The Rojo Congo, although the tougher of the two plants, has delicate leaves. The petriole of the Rojo Congo allows the plant to grow faster and wider, ensuring it has better access to water and nutrients. When mature, they have dark green leaves, and the petioles are purple-brown.

The Philodendron Imperial Red blooms are dark red and almost crimson hue flowers. On the other hand, the Rojo Congo blooms bright orange flowers in season.

Beautiful Rojo Congo houseplant in the sun in the corner of a room.

Both Philodendron and Rojo Congo (pictured) make great houseplants.

©Marianna Palacios/

Philodendron Imperial Red vs. Rojo Congo: How to Grow

Growing Philodendron Imperial Red

The Philodendron Imperial Red has large leaves that allow it to adapt and grow in most conditions so long as it has adequate access to water and sunlight. To successfully propagate a Philodendron Imperial Red, you should:

  • Keep the plant in an area with shade that has access to bright yet indirect sunlight.
  • The soil should be moist and well-drained, allowing the roots to take enough nutrients from the soil.
  • The soil must get fertilized and watered every 10-14 days.
  • The philodendron grows best in humid conditions. Consider misting it every month.

Growing Rojo Congo

The Rojo Congo comes front he same family as the Philodendron Imperial Red, and as such, it grows in similar conditions. To ensure that you propagate a healthy and strong Rojo Congo, you can do the following:

  • Water the plants every 7-10 days.
  • Plant in moist and well-fertilized soil.
  • Grows best in indirect yet bright sunlight.

The two plants are both Philodendrons, meaning they grow best in indirect sunlight, as the leaves will burn if placed in direct sunlight. The plants are also sensitive to temperature and wind change, so they should be kept away from drafts to avoid temperature fluctuations.

Philodendron Imperial Red vs. Rojo Congo: Uses

The Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo are great for landscaping. In addition, they both make excellent houseplants. Philodendron Rojo Congos are rare, making the plant a true gem for avid collectors.

Final Thoughts

Both plants are absolute must-haves for plant lovers looking for a relatively low-maintenance plant that will add “oomph” to any room it’s in!

The Philodendron Imperial Red and the Rojo Congo are unique and striking in different ways. With brightly colored leaves and beautiful flowers when in season, these plants are fast becoming a top pick amongst plant collectors. They are the perfect accent pieces with their exotic origins and even more tropical appearances.

The only question left to ask is if you want one plant or both.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Kryan3/

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About the Author

Larissa Smith is a writer for A-Z Animals with years of experience in plant care and wildlife. After years spent in the South African bush while studying Nature Conservation, she found her way to writing about animals and plants in her work. She hopes to inspire others to appreciate and care for the precious world around them. Larissa lives in Florida with her two sons, a miniature golden retriever named Pupples, and a colorful succulent garden. In her spare time, she is tending to her garden, adventuring with her kids, and hosting “Real Housewives” watch parties with her friends.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is Philodendron Imperial Red a rare plant?

Yes. They are rare houseplants and are popular for having waxy green and red leaves.

Is philodendron poisonous?

Yes, philodendron is poisonous to humans and pets and can cause a burning tongue, lips, and throat.

How big do Rojo Congo get?

Rojo Congo can grow up to 3 feet tall.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

  1. Wikipedia, Available here: