Florida Ghost Philodendron: Guide to Plant Health & Happiness

With houseplants being so incredibly popular these days, it’s no wonder that the distinctive and unusual Florida Ghost Philodendron is so hot with plant influencers and soon may be your next favorite décor piece.

This climbing vine from South America is even reasonably easy to care for if you can provide the right environment.

How do you care for a Florida Ghost Philodendron? Plant Florida Ghost Philodendron in a light, nutrient-rich soil and provide a moss pole for support. Water consistently, and maintain temperatures of 50-85°F and high humidity. Fertilize with a balanced liquid fertilizer during spring and summer. Very bright indirect light will help maintain color.

In the right conditions, watching this stylish plant develop is a joy since its foliage throws out a few surprises as it matures!

To keep your Florida Ghost plant happy and healthy, we’ve laid down the daily care basics plus how to keep their white color, answers to common queries, and more!

Care Instructions for Florida Ghost Philodendron

Philodendron pedatum x P. squamiferum Florida Ghost’ is a highly popular Philodendron variety due to its distinctive foliage shape and coloring.

Borne on maroon stems, its leaves are a creamy-white color in the plant’s juvenile stage before turning yellow, pale green, and eventually dark green in maturity.

The Florida Ghost also derives its name from its multi-lobed leaves, which consist of a large oval-shaped lobe at the tip with two sets of smaller lobes close to the stem – resembling the arms, head, and body of a wandering spirit!

The leaves measure 2-4 inches when mature, and the plant itself reaches 2 feet tall on average.

At a Glance

Potting Florida Ghost Philodendron

Florida Ghost Philodendrons are natural climbers, so you’ll need to place a support stake in its pot to help the stems remain sturdy and upright.

Houseplant pro Julie of the Sprouts & Stems blog recommends a “sphagnum moss pole as it’s easy to make and it’s stackable, allowing you to add to it with your Ghost’s growth!”

You can also buy them at a reasonable price here.

Because the roots grow downward on this top-heavy plant, opt for a planter heavier than plastic, and choose one that is deeper than it is wide (with drainage holes). 

As for the right soil, your Florida Ghost will love a well-draining potting mix of 70% all-purpose potting soil, 20% perlite, and 10% horticultural charcoal.

The latter components respectively aerate and lighten the soil to promote drainage while holding onto all-important nutrients.

Lighting, Temperature & Humidity Requirements

Florida Ghosts will thrive in very bright but filtered sunlight, so ensure they have a sheer curtain for shade in a window sill, or else place them a few feet from a south-facing window.

Artificial grow lights, like these with 9 settings and a timer, may be necessary for darker homes as they grow best in 12 hours of daylight.

Comfortable home temperatures – around 50-85°F (10-25°C) – will suit this plant, but keep it clear of any drafts or AC fans.

70% humidity will be ideal, though they can adapt to slightly lower levels. Set up a pebble water tray (here’s how to do it), or use a humidifier (my plants love this one) to increase levels in drier climates.

Watering and Fertilizing Philodendron Florida Ghost

This plant loves to remain moist but not waterlogged, so it’s important to let the topsoil dry out in between watering.

Feel the top 2 inches of soil regularly to gauge the right watering time, and water less often during winter.

As slow-growers, a balanced liquid fertilizer (of equal ratio nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) each month during spring and summer will be beneficial, but stop fertilizing during its dormant winter period to avoid root damage.

Repotting & Pruning

This plant will need repotting every 2-3 years or when it becomes rootbound (once the roots begin coiling the outside of the soil base and protruding through the drainage holes).

Repot into a container at least 2 inches larger in diameter, and do so over spring/summer to reduce stress.

Regular pruning won’t be necessary other than to control its size and encourage new growth.

Using sterile pruning shears, trim back any brown or wilted leaves close to the stem base to allow it to redirect its resources into new, healthy growth on top.

Florida Ghost Philodendron Propagation

You can easily create offspring plants or “propagate” your Florida Ghost by taking healthy stem cuttings and potting them in fresh soil. Here’s how:

1. Prepare a Small Plant Pot With Your Ideal Soil Medium

Fill a 3-4 inch container with a well-draining soil mix (containing some perlite and charcoal for good drainage), and water the mix well to moisten the soil.

2. Cut a 5-6 Inch Stem Section Containing 2 Leaves

Using clean pruning shears, take a 5-6 inch stem cutting from the top of your plant, cutting below a leaf node. Make sure there are at least 2 healthy leaves on the stem.

3. Plant Stem Cutting in Soil & Allow 3-4 Weeks for Roots To Develop

Ensuring one leaf node is below the soil, plant your cutting in soil, and place the pot in a warm location of indirect light. Increase its humidity by loosely placing a clear plastic bag over the pot for the first week.

Give the cutting a gentle tug at the stem base after 3 weeks, and if you feel resistance, it has begun to root well and can be cared for as normal.

How To Keep Florida Ghost White

To keep your plant looking ghostly-white, you’ll need to keep it under brighter light than it needs.

As direct sunlight will scorch the leaves, Florida Ghost hobbyist and owner of The Rare Plant Shop Kaylee Ellen advises placing them under grow lights almost immediately – and allowing a month to see the effects.

Ellen explains:

“Most plant stores and nurseries have them imported from incredibly bright greenhouses to keep them ghost-white so the dramatic shift to natural household light sees the color soon deteriorate – so artificial lights help replicate these greenhouse conditions.”

Is Philodendron Florida Ghost Rare?

A potted Florida Ghost Philodendron being held aloft to show off the unusual leaves.

Yes, the Philodendron Florida Ghost is a rare, highly sought-after houseplant due to its gradual leaf and color changes.

Plants in the juvenile stage before the leaves develop their multi-lobe ghost-like shaping unsurprisingly fetch a higher price, with one no larger than a lighter selling at a New Zealand auction in May 2021 for $12,250.

How Big Does a Florida Ghost Philodendron Get?

Florida Ghost philodendrons can grow up to 5 feet tall and 3-4 feet wide indoors with optimal care and the support of a moss pole to encourage a stable, upright growth habit.

Does Florida Ghost Have Variegation?

Florida Ghost is not variegated. Variegation is caused by a rare genetic mutation that results in a lack of green pigment in some areas of a plant’s leaves.

Florida Ghost, however, is a hybrid (created from the parent line Philodendron pedatum x P. squamiferum), and it is in its nature to exhibit full color changes as its leaves mature.

Does Florida Ghost Grow Fast?

Florida Ghost Philodendrons are generally slow-growing plants, only requiring repotting every 2-3 years as their roots spread at a fairly slow rate.

Florida Ghost vs. Florida Beauty

The ‘Florida Beauty’ is a variegated cultivar bred from two Philodendron species, although its parentage is not yet known.

They can tolerate lower light conditions than the ‘Florida Ghost’ and display dramatic color variations of solid cream and green stripes to speckled neon green, lime, and yellow shades.

Florida Ghost vs. Florida Ghost Mint

The Florida Ghost ‘Mint’ is often sold as a separate plant in its own right from Florida Ghost when this is truthfully a Florida Ghost Philodendron with primarily pale green or “mint” coloring.

Florida Ghost coloring runs the gamut from cream to lime and dark green, so plants sold under a different name are not separate varieties.

Why Is My Philodendron Florida Ghost Not White?

If your Florida Ghost is not white upon purchase, it’s because the plant is no longer in its juvenile white stage and has matured towards pale or yellowish green.

It also suggests that growing conditions were/are lacking in the consistently bright light needed to retain its white shade.

Does Florida Ghost Revert?

Your Florida Ghost can revert to its ghostly white coloring from its mature dark-green leaves if it is placed in a very bright location for several weeks.

If your home gets plenty of bright natural light each day, being kept a few feet from a south-facing window may encourage whiter leaves; otherwise grow lights are a more reliable option.

Florida Ghost Philodendron Common Problems & Solutions

Conclusion

To summarize, this Ghostly white houseplant has fairly laid-back care demands despite its spooky appearance! Keep it happy with light watering to maintain damp soil, bright light, and tropical humidity levels.

If you prize its white leaf coloring, upgrade your lighting game with the aid of artificial grow lights so it can keep its distinctive appearance for longer.