Philodendron White Knight (10 Common Questions Answered)

Philodendron White Knight will make a great addition to your houseplant collection.  It is a vine with shiny leaves and interesting white and green color patterns, but there is a lot more for you to learn about this plant.

So, what do you need to know about Philodendron White Knight?  Philodendron White Knight is a variegated Philodendron with green and white or all-white leaves. The white color comes from lack of chlorophyll due to genetic, chimeric, or viral causes. You can propagate Philodendron White Knight to create more plants, depending on the nature of the coloring.

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

In this article, we’ll talk about Philodendron White Knight, 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 White Knight?

Philodendron White Knight is a Philodendron cultivar that has both bicolor leaves (that are green with white markings) and white leaves.

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 White Knight can grow to a height of 10 to 12 feet or taller.  It is evergreen, and since it is a tropical plant, it tolerates high humidity levels.

Philodendron White Knight cannot tolerate extreme cold, and it may succumb to frost without protection.  Its minimum cold hardiness is Zone 11 (40 degrees Fahrenheit or 4.5 degrees Celsius).

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

White Knight Philodendron 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 5.0 to 7.0 (acidic to neutral).

What Species Is Philodendron White Knight?

The scientific name for this plant is Philodendron sp. “White Knight”.  Remember that Philodendron is an entire genus of plants with over 400 different species.

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 with heart shaped leaves
This philodendron has heart-shaped leaves.
Image courtesy of user:
Krzysztof Ziarnek, Kenraiz
via: Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.

Philodendron White Knight Origin

Philodendron White Knight originated in South America, in warm and humid conditions.  As a result, it cannot tolerate cold, and frost will kill it without protection.

What Causes Variegated Philodendron White Knight?

Variegation in Philodendron is due to a lack of chlorophyll in some of the plant’s cells.  This is what yields the lighter yellowish-white or cream color in White Knight and other variegated Philodendron varieties.

Chlorophyll is the molecule that makes plants green. it has a central magnesium atom, surrounded by four nitrogen atoms.

According to Horticulture Magazine, variegation in plants has three main types:

  • Genetic (inherited from a mutated parent plant) – this type 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 variegation in leaf coloring.
  • Chimeric (due to a random mutation) – this type is not stable, and it occurs when there are two types of plant tissue present.  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 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.

Philodendron with white veins
Variegation of Philodendron plants often leave white spots or veins on leaves, caused by a lack of chlorophyll.
Image courtesy of user: Theoperatingsystem via:
Wikimedia Commons: https://commons.

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

Can White Knight Philodendron Revert?

White Knight Philodendron can revert, although this seems to be 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 the variegation in a 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 White Knight Philodendron

White Knight Philodendron has oval-shaped leaves with pointed tips at the ends.  Some of the leaves are partially white or entirely white, while the rest have dark green coloring.

Difference Between Philodendron White Knight, White Princess, & White Wizard

The key differences between Philodendron White Knight, White Princess, and White Wizard are the nature of the coloring:

  • Philodendron White Knight has purple stems with both white leaves and bicolor white/dark green leaves.
  • Philodendron White Wizard has green stems with both white leaves and bicolor white/dark green leaves.
  • Philodendron White Princess has green stems with leaves that may have pink, white, and green coloring.

The table below summarizes these differences at a glance.

Size Of
This table summarizes the differences between Philodendron
White Knight, White Wizard, and White Princess.

Remember that all three of these are types of variegated Philodendrons, as you can see in the diagram below.

philodendron variegated Venn diagram
Philodendron White Knight is a specific type of variegated Philodendron. Variegated Philodendron are just plants that are different in some way from the “usual” Philodendron plants.

You can learn more about the difference between these three Philodendron variegations from Flat With Plants.

Should You Prune Philodendron White Knight?

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

To prune Philodendron White Knight 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.

philodendron small plant
Keep philodendron pruned in a container, or it will soon grow where you don’t want it. The cuttings can make new plants for you!

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 White Knight Philodendron climb and hang along the walls.

Either way, you might be able to use the cuttings to propagate more White Knight Philodendron plants.

How To Propagate Philodendron White Knight

You can propagate Philodendron White Knight by air layering, stem cuttings, or seeds.  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.

Garden Tags suggests propagating climbing Philodendron White Knight in early to late summer, since the cuttings will need warm temperatures to thrive.  For non-climbers, shoots from the base will also work as cuttings for propagation.

Is Philodendron White Knight Rare?

Philodendron White Knight plants is somewhat rare, since the variegation that leads to white leaves is not common. However, the 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 White Knights Expensive?

Philodendron White Knight 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.

Philodendron White Knight Price

A Philodendron White Knight can cost close to $100 or more for just a small cutting.  An established plant with lots of white leaves can cost hundreds of dollars up to $1,000 or more.

Where To Buy Philodendron White Knight

You can buy Philodendron White Knight 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 White Knight may succumb to cold temperatures.

(You can learn more about temperature ranges for philodendron here).


Now you know a little more about Philodendron White Knight 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 be interested in another variegated Philodendron: “Black Gold” or melanochrysum or the very rare Philodendron spiritus sancti.

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!


Jon M

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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