10 Varieties of Rare Philodendrons


10 Varieties of Rare Philodendrons

Philodendrons are popular houseplants known for their lush, tropical foliage. While there are many common varieties, some types of rare philodendrons are desirable for collectors. In Greek language, philodendron’s meaning is “Love Tree“. That’s why couples, families prefer it.

For philodendron enthusiasts looking to take their collection to the next level, the rarest varieties are the ultimate Grail plants. In this article, we shine a spotlight on 10 incredibly rare philodendron species and hybrids that stand out from the more common houseplant varieties found at local garden centres. 

From newly discovered species waiting to be formally identified to plants with only a handful of known specimens left in existence, these are the jewels in the philodendron crown. If you like the Rare Philodendrons, you would also be interested in Rare Calathea

Here are the factors that affect the rarity of Philodendron.

Factors Affecting Philodendrons Rarity

Factors Affecting Philodendrons Rarity by the gardenation

There are several key factors that contribute to rare philodendron varieties:

  • Limited native range – Many rare philodendrons are only found in small isolated regions or even single mountain ranges. Destruction of their native habitat contributes to their threatened status.
  • Slow growth – Rare philodendrons tend to be exceptionally slow growers, taking many years to reach maturity. Their propagation is therefore very limited.
  • Difficulty propagating – Many collectors have not yet cracked the code on how to best propagate rare philodendron varieties. This makes multiplying them challenging.
  • Newly discovered – Brand new philodendron hybrids and species are being found in the wild every year. These newcomers are initially extremely rare until growers can propagate them in greater numbers.
  • Variegation – Variegated philodendrons with coloured leaves are naturally less vigorous growers. This inherent slow growth along with the instability of the variegation limits their availability.
  • Demand for rare plants – Collectors and enthusiasts are always on the hunt for unusual, hard-to-find philodendrons, driving up prices for the rarest varieties.

10 Varieties of Rare Philodendrons

Here are 10 of the rarest philodendron varieties to look out for. Also check different varieties of Peace Lily here: 16 Variegated Peace Lily Varieties

1. Philodendrons Spiritus-Sancti

Philodendrons Spiritus-Sancti by the gardenation

The Spiritus-Sancti is an extremely rare philodendron first discovered in Colombia in 1993. It’s named after the Latin words for “Holy Spirit” due to its ethereal, ghostly appearance.

This variety has slender, pointed leaves with a velvety texture. New leaves emerge in a pale green or silver color before darkening to deep green with age. The leaves can grow up to around 5 inches long. Slow growing, the Spiritus-Sancti remains a compact plant reaching only around 1 foot tall.

2. Philodendron Kareniae

Philodendron Kareniae by the gardenation

Discovered in 1996 in Colombia, Philodendron Kareniae is named after Karen Nicole, a student of rare aroids. This climber philodendron has elongated, heart-shaped leaves with red stems.

The leaves have distinct venation and can reach around 8 inches long. It’s an extremely slow grower, taking many years to fully mature. Due to its rarity in cultivation, this philodendron commands high prices.

3. Philodendron Patriciae

Philodendron Patriciae by the gardenation

The Philodendron Patriciae is incredibly rare – only two living specimens are known to exist. It was first discovered in 1992 along a riverbank in Colombia.

This variety has slender, pointed leaves with a rippling texture. The leaves are around 4 inches long with new growth emerging in a bluish color before maturing to dark green. It’s an upright philodendron growing to around 1 foot tall indoors.

4. Philodendron Melanochrysum

Philodendron Melanochrysum by the gardenation

Native to Ecuador, Philodendron Melanochrysum is prized for its stunning foliage. The large, glossy leaves are almost black when young, maturing to a deep burgundy.

The leaf undersides and stems are a vibrant red color. This upright philodendron grows slowly but the leaves can reach an impressive 1-2 feet in length. It does best in bright, indirect light to maintain the deepest coloration.

5. Philodendron El Chocó Red

 Philodendron El Chocó Red by the gardenation

This incredibly rare hybrid has recently emerged from the Chocó region of Colombia. As its name suggests, Philodendron El Choco Red has beautiful red foliage.

The large leaves have striking red stems and veins contrasting with olive-green leaves. With maturity, the leaves turn entirely red. This hybrid grows best in a warm, humid environment in bright, indirect light. Even young plants command high prices due to their rarity.

6. Philodendron White Princess

10 Varieties of Rare Philodendrons

While plain green philodendrons are common, the White Princess sports gorgeous variegated foliage. Each leaf is a tapestry of green, white, and pinkish tones.

This slow-growing upright philodendron typically reaches around 1-2 feet tall. Provide bright, indirect sunlight to bring out the best coloration. Rare variegated cultivars like this are highly sought after by collectors.

7. Philodendron White Knight

Philodendron White Knight by the gardenation

Closely related to the White Princess, Philodendron White Knight is another stunning variegated hybrid. The leaves have blotchy white and green coloration sometimes with different pinkish hues mixed in.

This hybrid grows a little faster than the White Princess. With ideal care, the White Knight can grow up to 3 feet tall. The marble-like patterns on every leaf make this a special rare plant.

8. Philodendron Floridianum

Philodendron Floridianum by the gardenation

This endangered species is native to a small region in Florida in the US. It’s estimated there are only around 1,000 Philodendron Floridianum left in the wild.

The large, lobed leaves emerge in a rich burgundy before maturing to glossy green. This vining philodendron can reach 10 feet or more in its native habitat. Providing warm humid conditions will help mimic its natural environment. We have also discussed: 13 Varieties Of Black Pumpkins

9. Philodendron Silver Sword

Philodendron Silver Sword by the gardenation

Named for its upright, sword-like leaves, this philodendron is a sight to behold. ‘Silver Sword’ has elongated gray-green leaves with bright red stems and undersides.

Native to Ecuador, this variety does best in warm humid conditions and thrives in a greenhouse environment. The Silver Sword grows slowly but large specimens can reach 3 feet tall with 2-foot long leaves.

10. Philodendron Verrucosum

Philodendron Verrucosum by the gardenation

Hailing from Costa Rica and Panama, Philodendron Verrucosum is an epiphytic climber. The leaves are oval-shaped and leathery with a warty or blistered texture. This unique feature gives the plant its name – ‘Verrucose’ means covered in warts.

In bright light, the leaves flush pinkish-orange on the undersides and edges. This vigorous grower does best in a greenhouse or terrarium where the humidity can be kept high.

Factors Considering Before Getting Rare Philodendron

Caring for Rare Philodendrons

While care depends on the variety, rare philodendrons typically thrive under the following conditions:

  • Warm temperatures between 65-85°F (15-30°C)
  • High humidity – 50% or higher
  • Bright, indirect light
  • Well-draining but moisture-retentive potting mix
  • Frequent fertilization during growth periods

Monitor for pests like spider mites, mealybugs, and thrips which can quickly damage rare philodendrons. Be very careful of overwatering as wet feet can lead to root rot. Increase humidity with pebble trays or a humidifier.

Rare Philodendrons Lookalikes

There are a few common houseplants that are sometimes confused with rare philodendrons:

  • Pothos – Often mislabeled as philodendrons, pothos have thicker, waxier leaves and faster growth.
  • Monstera – While related, monsteras have leaves with fenestrations and less prominent venation.
  • Anthurium – Anthuriums have a distinct curled white or pink flower spike (spadix) protruding from the colorful spathe.
  • Aglaonema – Aglaonemas have more solid colored leaves without pronounced veins. They also have thicker stems.

When shopping for rare philodendrons, consult with reputable sellers and check details like the venation and growth habit against reference photos. Getting a correctly identified and labeled plant is key for collectors.

The Appeal of Rare Philodendrons

For houseplant enthusiasts, rare philodendrons offer something special:

  • Unique morphology – Many rare philodendrons have unusual shapes, textures, growth habits, or coloration that set them apart.
  • Conservation value – Collectors can feel good about helping propagate endangered and vulnerable species.
  • Conversation piece – Guests will undoubtedly be impressed by some of the rarest philodendron gems.
  • Challenge to grow – Rare philodendrons can be tricky but ultimately rewarding when grown successfully.
  • Investment potential – Well-grown specimens of the rarest philodendrons gain significant value.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which philodendron is the most expensive?

The Philodendron spiritus-sancti is one of the most expensive and rare philodendrons. This Colombian species has an ethereal appearance with slender pointed leaves and can cost over $4,000 for a juvenile plant. Other costly rare philodendrons include Philodendron Patriciae, Melanochrysum, and Verrucosum.

What is the most sought after or wanted philodendron?

Currently, the Philodendron El Choco Red is exceptionally high in demand among collectors and trades for incredibly high prices. This new hybrid from Colombia has beautiful red foliage and is still extremely limited in availability. Other highly coveted varieties include the White Princess, White Knight, and Melanochrysum.

Is Philodendron Red Sun rare?

The Red Sun philodendron is not rare but it is an uncommon and desirable variety. It has large reddish leaves that emerge coppery orange. Mature plants can get pricey, but small starters are affordable for most collectors.

Is Philodendron Prince of Orange rare?

Prince of Orange isn’t rare but it’s harder to find than plain green philodendrons. It has stunning reddish-orange new leaves that turn green. It’s gaining popularity and commands higher prices for mature specimens.

How can I find rare philodendrons to purchase?

Your best chance of finding truly rare philodendrons is through specialized online sellers, private collectors, or auctions. Be prepared to pay premium prices. Use caution buying unrooted cuttings which are prone to rot.

Why are variegated philodendrons so expensive?

The delicate variegation in philodendrons like White Princess is unstable and difficult to propagate. Each leaf is unique, making large specimens with consistent variegation valuable. Slow growth also limits availability, driving up costs.

How can I tell if a philodendron is rare or valuable?

Signs of a rare philodendron include: unusual leaf color/shape, very slow growth, limited availability, high cost, noticeable venation, collector hype, and coming from an endangered habitat. Research photos and descriptions to identify rare varieties.

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