Philodendron Black Cardinal vs. Rojo Congo

Philodendron Black Cardinal vs. Rojo Congo (Differences, Similarities & Growing Guide 2023)

Generally, philodendron plants are gorgeous and worth keeping in homes and offices. But sometimes, you need to choose between many alternatives. So it wouldn’t be surprising if you chose to compare the Philodendron black Cardinal vs. Rojo Congo.

Philodendron Black Cardinal and Rojo Congo are both tropical plants that are easy to care for and can be grown as houseplants. However, the Black Cardinal has darker leaves and grows more compactly, while the Rojo Congo has more elongated leaves with a reddish tint. Both plants prefer bright, indirect light and well-draining soil.

While both plants can improve your environment tremendously, you may need a better alternative. In this article, we will discuss the differences and similarities between these two stunning plants.

Read further to learn more!

Philodendron Black Cardinal vs. Rojo Congo Summary of Main Differences

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One noticeable difference between the Philodendron black cardinal and the Rojo congo is their leaves. 

More similar plant comparisons:

As its name suggests, a fully mature Philodendron black cardinal has glossy, blackish-green oval leaves. But the mature Rojo Congo leaves are large and have a burgundy green or dark green color.

Philodendron Black Cardinal vs. Rojo Congo Quick Comparison

PlantsPhilodendron Black CardinalRojo Congo
Leaf ColorBurgundy-red, dark green, blackish-greenBright red, burgundy green/ dark green
Stem ColorRedRed-brown
VariegationDark red, brownish-green with cream-colored stripes, pink, greenBurgundy-red, pink, green
FlowerRarely produces dark pink flowersRed

Philodendron Black Cardinal vs. Rojo Congo Differences

Now, let’s discuss the Philodendron black cardinal vs. Rojo congo differences in name, appearance, height, growth rate, and more.

1. Origin and Name

In terms of origin, the philodendron black cardinal is native to Orlando, Florida. It is a part of Robert H. McColley’s hybridization program, which began in 1951. Other names for the philodendron black cardinal are philodendron erubescens or Blushing philodendron.

Philodendron Rojo congo is native to several places, including South America, and Florida. It is a hybrid plant that was created by cross-breeding Philodendron tatei with Philodendron imperial red. Other names for the Rojo congo include Congo red and Philodendron red congo.

2. Shape and Appearance

It’s easy to identify the Philodendron black cardinal plants as they have oval, broad, glossy leaves.

Philodendron Rojo congo leaves are large, glossy, and have an ovate shape. But the black cardinal leaves are larger and darker than them.

3. Differences In Color

New Philodendron black cardinal leaves often have a burgundy-red color, which later turns to dark green as they mature. Fully mature leaves usually have a blackish-green color.

Before they mature, the leaves of the Rojo congo usually have a bright red color. But as the plant ages, its leaves become deep green or dark green.

4. Leaf Size and Texture

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Under normal conditions, the mature philodendron black cardinal leaves can grow to 1 ft. in length and 20 cm wide.

When mature, the Rojo Congo leaves can grow up to 18 inches in length and 12 inches wide.

5. Height and Growth Rate

Typically, the philodendron black cardinal grows to about 3 ft. in height and 1.5 ft. wide. And they are fast-growing plants.

Usually, mature philodendron Rojo congo are 2 ft. tall and 2.5 ft. wide. They grow moderately fast when the environment is favorable.

Philodendron Black Cardinal vs. Rojo Congo Similarities

Even though the black cardinal and Rojo congo differ in some ways, they also share certain features. Take a look at some of them below.

1. Sunlight

Both plants thrive in bright, indirect sunlight or low light levels. Full light or bright sun can burn the plant’s leaves.

2. Watering

As with other philodendron plants, the black cardinal and Rojo congo do not like extremely wet soil or very dry soil. Only water the plants when the top inch of the soil feels dry.

3. Soil and Potting

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Use pots with drainage holes for both plants to prevent the plant’s roots from being extremely wet. In addition, both plants will benefit from nutrient-rich, loose, well-draining soil.

4. Temperature

Ideally, the philodendron black cardinal and Rojo congo will be happy in rooms with temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Temperatures below 55 degrees or above 90 degrees Fahrenheit can cause serious damage to the plants.

5. Taxonomy

Both plants were developed from different species of philodendron, hence belonging to the genus philodendron and the Araceae family.

Common Problems for Both Plants

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Like other houseplants, the philodendron black cardinal and Rojo Congo suffer from certain problems. Most of these problems happen as a result of overwatering, excess use of fertilizers, too much exposure to light, and insufficient nutrients. 

Here are some of them:

  • Brown leaf tips
  • Drooping leaves
  • Pest infestation
  • Root rot
  • Yellow leaves
  • Stems wilting
  • Sunburn
  • Stunted growth


If you’re a beginner, differentiating the philodendron black cardinal vs. Rojo congo can be a difficult task because they look similar. But you should now be able to identify each of these plants from the explanations in this guide. 

Since philodendrons make a great addition to an environment, consider adorning your home with one or more of them. Not only are these plants easy to maintain, but they are also extremely stunning. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Identify a Philodendron Rojo Congo?

You can easily identify Philodendron Rojo Congo by its bright red new leaves. As the plant matures, the red leaves change to a deep or dark green color. 

Furthermore, the Rojo congo leaves are large, glossy, and have an ovate shape.

How Do You Identify a Black Philodendron Cardinal?

When they are fully mature, Philodendron black cardinal leaves have a blackish-green color and red stems. 

New leaves usually have a burgundy-red color, which later changes to dark green as the plant matures, then to blackish-green. 

Unlike most philodendron plants, the black cardinal is not a climber. In addition, the plant’s leaves are broad, glossy, and have an oval shape. 

Why Are the Tips of My Philodendron Turning Brown?

One of the most common reasons the tips of Philodendron turn brown is excess fertilizer use. Fertilizers help the plant grow, but it shouldn’t be too much. Adding too much fertilizer to the soil can affect the plant roots. 

In situations where the philodendron is suffering from leaf discoloration, don’t apply more fertilizer to it for a while. When you next want to use fertilizer on the plant, apply it a little at a time. 

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