Philodendron melanochrysum “Black Gold” (10 Common Questions Answered)


Philodendron melanochrysum will make a great addition to your houseplant collection.  It is a vine with big, velvety, dark green leaves that have white to yellow-gold veins, but there is a lot more for you to learn about this plant.

So, what do you need to know about Philodendron melanochrysum?  Philodendron melanochrysum is variegated with long, velvety, dark green leaves with white, yellow, or gold veins. The color comes from a lack of chlorophyll due to genetic, chimeric, or viral causes. You can propagate Philodendron melanochrysum by air layering or stem cuttings to make more plants.

Of course, Philodendron melanochrysum is a rare and desirable houseplant, which makes it expensive – even for a small cutting.

In this article, we’ll talk about Philodendron melanochrysum, answering common questions about this plant, such as where it grows.  We’ll also talk about what to expect from this sought-after houseplant.

Let’s get started.

What Is Philodendron Melanochrysum?

Philodendron melanochrysum (also called Black Gold Philodendron) is a Philodendron cultivar that has big, velvety, dark green leaves with white or yellow-gold veins.  The leaves can be up to 2 feet long!

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Philodendron melanochrysum (also called Black Gold Philodendron) has long, dark green leaves with white, yellow, or gold veins.

Philodendron (from the Araceae family) has hundreds of species.  Many of them are epiphytic, meaning that they climb up other plants (like trees) as they grow.

In nature, Philodendron melanochrysum can grow to a height of 15 feet or taller.  It is evergreen, and since it is a tropical plant, it tolerates high humidity levels.

Philodendron melanochrysum cannot tolerate extreme cold, and it may succumb to frost without protection.  Its minimum cold hardiness is Zone 10b (35 degrees Fahrenheit or 2 degrees Celsius).

So, it is best to keep it as an indoor plant (or bring it inside for the winter) in colder regions.

Philodendron melanochrysum grows in areas with partial shade (2 to 6 hours of direct sunlight per day).  It prefers soil that is moist, but with good drainage, and a pH of 5.1 to 6.0 (somewhat acidic).

What Species Is Philodendron Melanochrysum “Black Gold”?

The scientific name for Black Gold Philodendron is Philodendron melanochrysum (melanochrysum is the species).  Remember that Philodendron is an entire genus of plants with over 400 different species.

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Black Gold Philodendron is the species melanochrysum.
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David J. Stang via:
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The Philodendron genus is a member of the Araceae family.  The name “Philodendron” comes from the Greek “philo” (love, affection) and “dendron” (tree).

This may be because some Philodendron leaves are vaguely heart-shaped, or perhaps because as an epiphyte it climbs up trees (it loves trees!)

Philodendron Melanochrysum Origin

Philodendron melanochrysum originated in the Andes of Colombia, in warm and humid conditions.  As a result, it cannot tolerate cold, and it will succumb to frost or freezing temperatures without protection.

What Causes Variegated Philodendron Melanochrysum?

Variegation in Philodendron occurs when there is a lack of chlorophyll in some of the plant’s cells.  Chlorophyll is what makes plants green, so a lack of chlorophyll causes lighter white, yellow, or gold veins in Philodendron melanochrysum and other variegated Philodendron varieties.

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Variegated Philodendron melanochrysum is caused by a lack of chlorophyll in parts of the leaves, leading to white, yellow, or gold veins.
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Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz via:
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According to Horticulture Magazine, variegation in plants has three main types:

  • Genetic (inherited from a mutated parent plant) – this type of variegation is stable.  So, if you propagate a Philodendron from any leaf or stem (variegated or not), you will get a new plant that has the same variegation in leaf coloring.
  • Chimeric (due to a random mutation) – this type of variegation is unstable, and it happens when there are two types of plant tissue present (the “normal” and the “chimeric” or mutated variegation).  You must propagate from a variegated leaf or stem to get a new plant with the variegation in leaf coloring.  If you propagate from a green leaf on a plant with chimeric variegation, the new plant will not have the variegation.
  • Viral (an infection resulting in discolored spots on leaves) – this type of variegation is also stable.  So, you can propagate a plant with variegation in coloring from a virus, and the new plant will also have the variegation in leaf coloring.

Remember that root cuttings from a variegated plant will often not yield a new plant that is variegated.

Variegation of the color in plant leaves is not an adaptation, but rather the result of a mutation.

Can Philodendron Melanochrysum Revert?

Philodendron melanochrysum can revert in some cases, although this is probably rare.  According to Capra Designs, variegated plants may revert due to extreme temperature (either hot or cold) or as a result of low light.

To preserve variegation in the plant’s leaves, they suggest pruning away any green leaves that appear.  This is because green leaves are more vigorous and will outgrow the variegated leaves that lack chlorophyll.

How To Identify Philodendron Melanochrysum (Black Gold Philodendron)

Philodendron melanochrysum (Black Gold Philodendron) is an evergreen plant with long, velvety, dark green leaves that can grow up to 2 feet in length.  The leaves are pointed at the ends, and they look something like tall “hearts”.

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Black Gold Philodendron has dark green velvety leaves that are up to 2 feet long and are shaped something like tall hearts. They also have white, yellow, or gold veins.
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Tsl09 via:
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Some of the leaves have white, yellow, or gold veins.  Its vines will crawl along the ground until they find something suitable to climb.

Should You Prune Philodendron Melanochrysum?

You should prune Philodendron melanochrysum to keep the plant under control indoors.

To prune Philodendron melanochrysum in a container, focus on pruning the top part of the plant to reduce its size and weight.  Otherwise, the plant will become top-heavy, and you risk it falling over.

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Use clean scissors to prune Philodendron melanochrysum if its vines grow too tall.

You can also put the plant in a hanging basket and let it hang down instead of climbing.  Then, you can just trim the end of the plant when it starts to touch the floor.

You can also put hooks in a wall and let the vines of Philodendron melanochrysum climb and hang along the walls.

Either way, you might be able to use the cuttings from pruning to propagate more Philodendron melanochrysum plants.

How To Propagate Philodendron Melanochrysum

You can propagate Philodendron melanochrysum by air layering or stem cuttings.  Remember that for a chimeric plant, you will need to use a leaf or stem with variegation in its coloring to produce a new plant with the same coloring.

You can learn more about how to propagate Philodendron melanochrysum from Sprouts and Stems.

Is Philodendron Melanochrysum Rare?

Philodendron melanochrysum plants are somewhat rare, since the variegation that leads to white, yellow, or gold veins is not common. However, this Philodendron species is not endangered or threatened.

You can propagate the plant from stem cuttings, and many plant enthusiasts do so to share or sell the plants when they become more established.

Why Are Philodendron Melanochrysum So Expensive?

Philodendron melanochrysum plants are expensive because they are rare and there is a high demand for them among houseplant enthusiasts and collectors.

Keep in mind that more established plants will be more expensive, since they take longer to grow and cost more to ship.  Smaller cuttings will be more affordable, but it will take more time to grow them into specimens that you can show off.

Philodendron Melanochrysum Price

You might be able to find a Philodendron melanochrysum cutting for as little as $15, but it will not grow into an impressive plant for some time.

If you want something more established, expect to pay $40 or more for a small plant, with a price of $50 to $100 for a larger specimen.

Where To Buy Philodendron Melanochrysum (Black Gold Philodendron)

You can buy Philodendron melanochrysum at the following online stores:

Just be careful about ordering them during winter if you live in a cold climate. If left outside on your doorstep, Philodendron melanochrysum may succumb to cold temperatures.

Conclusion

Now you know a little more about Philodendron Melanochrysum and what it looks like.  You also know where to look if you want to find one to buy as an indoor houseplant (or as an outdoor landscaping feature for warmer climates).

You might also want to learn about another variegated Philodendron species: White Knight or the very rare Philodendron spiritus sancti.

You can find 10 tall houseplants that can grow to 6 feet or taller in this article.

I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

If you want to read some of my most popular posts, check out the “Best of GreenUpSide” page here.  Enjoy!

~Jonathon

jonathon.david.madore

Hi, I'm Jon. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year!

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