This rare tropical Philodendron, which takes its name from its stunning, golden yellow foliage, is bound to take pride of place in your home. Placed in a location where it can climb, the Philodendron Golden Goddess can grow up to 6 feet (2m). To help it thrive, ensure it gets lots of indirect sunlight and your Golden Goddess will reward you with views of superb, glossy foliage across the room.
The leaves of this tropical climber become extremely large as they grow, maturing into that gorgeous bright yellow, while the contrasting younger foliage is almost lime green.
The Philodendron Golden Goddess, commonly known as Malay Gold and Lemon Lime Philodendron is a rare hybrid plant that was created in Thailand. It prefers bright, indirect light and enjoys warm, humid conditions so misting the leaves occasionally is a good idea. Golden Goddess thrives in temperatures between 65 and 75ºF (18 and 24ºC).
Keep reading to learn how best to care for this colorful plant, with a complete care guide, including how to water your plant, the best soil to use, what fertilizer it needs, its preferred environment, and how to propagate it.
Featured images by TropicalplantsFL.
- Light: Bright indirect sunlight
- Water: Only water when the top 1-2 inches of the soil are dry
- Soil: Sandy and fertile, with good drainage and some organic matter
- Fertilizer: Once every month (during growing seasons)
- Size: Can grow up to 2′ (60 cm) tall
- Size: Leaves grow up to 8″ (20 cm) long and 4” (10 cm) wide
- Leaf color: Redish-purple to dark green, almost black
- Temperature: Between 65º and 75ºF (18-24ºC)
- Humidity: Preferably between 25 and 49%
- Cold hardy: Winter hardy only in US climate zone 10 to 11
- Propagation: By stem cuttings, in water and soil
- Toxicity: Toxic to humans and animals
General Care for the Golden Goddess Philodendron
The leaves of your Golden Goddess plant enjoy humidity while the whole plant prefers the soil to be damp, but not drenched. This is difficult to gauge if you are new to gardening, so imagine the topsoil is like a sponge and the water needs to go through it.
Remember that this plant has an active growing season in spring and summer so, in these months, your Goddess needs a good watering. In the winter months just keep the soil moist. When the colder winds arrive and you’re wrapped up in scarves and hats, then you can give your Goddess much less water.
The top inch (2.5 cm) needs to feel slightly damp but if you are consistently over-generous with the watering, roots will change from normal healthy white to brown or black, becoming quite smelly. This is known as root rot. See common problems below for how to treat this.
A feature of Philodendrons is that they often produce aerial roots. This is the plant’s way to ensure the top leaves get more moisture, by fixing these mini roots into the ground. So if possible, fix these little roots into the soil and this will increase moisture to the golden leaves.
Sunshine is fabulous for the Golden Goddess but it is best if it is not direct, as this can cause sunburned leaves. Golden Goddess will survive in low light but if placed in a sunny location with indirect light, it will delight your eye with yellow leaves which look glossier, the more sun you give it.
Its leaves tend to look greener in shadier locations.
This Goddess prefers to keep out of the harmful direct rays of the sun but really thrives in brightness.
The traditional mix for Philodendrons used to be sand and soil, mixed with moss peat, but this is no longer seen as environmentally friendly.
For an alternative compost, replace the moss peat with organic matter such as homemade compost, coir (from coconut), woody materials like wood fiber, sawdust, or composted bark.
These by-products will add organic matter and bulk to the soil of your Golden Goddess. All the better because you know they are grown locally and sustainably!
Golden Goddess likes humidity but also needs a pot that allows excess water to drain away.
Use a pot with holes to ease drainage and if your Philodendron is sitting on a saucer, then make sure you empty the excess about 30 minutes after you water. This will ensure the roots are not sitting in water, which is a major cause of root rot.
Re-potting is necessary every 2-3 years, particularly if you notice the roots sneaking out at the end of the pot or if your plant seems cramped and the pot’s sides are bulging slightly.
All plants enjoy your loving care and your Goddess needs some fertilizer once a month or so, in the growing season, to speed up the leaf and stem production. However, you can cause damage if you fertilize your Golden Goddess too much.
Too much fertilizer is a major cause of leaf tip curl. Read on to learn more about this and find out how to treat this.
Another important reminder is to stop fertilizing in the plant’s dormant phase in winter when you also need to reduce your watering. The plant is sleeping and the fertilizer will remain unused and is likely to cause too much richness in the soil for this time of year.
Golden Goddess is a tropical plant from Thailand, so think steamy heat and never cold. These plants thrive with humidity levels between 25-49%. In summer, keep the air moist and in the winter, if the heating is on remember that will cause the philodendron to dry out.
Keep misting leaves, use a humidifier and if needed, you can surround the pot with damp soil.
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Golden Goddess will not forgive any cold drafts or low temperatures. You need to maintain a steady warmth at temperatures between 65º and 75ºF (18-24ºC).
Your Golden Goddess will certainly need pruning from time to time, as this is a climbing plant that can appear leggy. You can cut to tidy up the shape and then use these prunings to make leaf and stem cuttings for your friends. These will make fabulous presents, due to the rarity of this philodendron.
Common pests for the Golden Goddess include red spider mites, scale insects, and mealybugs.
A sure sign your plant has got red spider mite is the telltale cobwebs that these bugs leave hanging all-around your plant. As soon as you spot these webs, spray the leaves with water, then wipe them away with a damp cloth.
Next, clean each leaf well and this should remove the bugs but continue to check your plant weekly, in case they return. These bugs can only survive in dry conditions so misting will keep them at bay.
Other insects suck moisture from your plant, causing the leaves to discolor but they can be easily removed with a mixture of dish soap and water, which you spray onto the leaf or a damp cloth.
So wipe away pests and watch your Golden Goddess return to good health!
Golden Goddess can suffer from:
- Bacterial leaf spot. Remove any infected leaves and destroy them.Try not to water directly on the leaves from now on as this is what often causes this problem. Aim for the roots with the nozzle of you watering can.
- Magnesium deficiency in soil causes yellowing areas on leaves, particularly if the ambient temperature is too cool. To treat this use a fertilizer of water and Epsom salts (one teaspoon per gallon of water) and turn up the thermometer to keep your plant cosy.
You can also buy a tonic, including magnesium, for your plant at any good garden center.
- Leaf tip curl: Leaves turn brown and they curl up, while the roots may actually be dying off. This is caused by too rich a soil or too much fertilizer. You need to carefully remove the plant and check the roots. See below.
- Root rot: Allow the whole plant to dry out and snip off any brown, black or smelly roots with a secateurs. Ensure you clean the blade at every cut to avoid spreading disease! Then stop fertilizing for at least a month and completely replace the soil, if using slow release fertilizers.
How to keep your Golden Goddess healthy
Below are 4 tips you can use to keep your Philodendron Golden Goddess healthy at all times.
- Do not let the temperature dip below the recommended temperature, because this is a tropical plant which likes to be snug and moist.
- Mist the leaves occasionally and wipe them down with a damp cloth to ensure you keep pests at bay.
- Give your Golden Goddess a sandy, well drained soil and do not let the roots sit in water.
- Finally, keep this plant out of direct sunlight.
How to Propagate the Golden Goddess
There are 2 ways to make new plants; the preferred method is stem cuttings with at least 2 joints but you can also try to root leaves in water. Take stem cuttings by carefully cutting stems with leaves attached.
Sometimes you can see aerial roots actually ready to go! Some gardeners try to root leaf cuttings in sphagnum moss, with varying success.
Water: Place the cutting in water and all you need is some patience! Roots should develop in 2 weeks or so. Leave them for another week and then pot up in an organic and well-draining potting soil.
Soil: Stem cuttings need darkness and a moist pot. Fill a tiny pot with soil, water it, and then place this in a plastic bag, which will conserve both moisture and heat. Carefully put about 5 or 6 small stems horizontally on the surface of the soil.
Place the pot in a darkened area (under the stairs cupboard, for example).
After a week or so, the roots should start to develop.
Leave them for another 3-4 weeks to make sure, water occasionally and as soon as some leaf foliage starts to appear, you can separate each of the stems and give them their own individual pot.
Why are the leaves of my Golden Goddess turning yellow?
Pests and moisture are usually the reason for yellowing leaves so read on to solve this.
- Pests. Golden Goddess is famed for its golden, yellow leaves, so when insects attack it you can see the leaves, the stem, and sometimes the whole plant drooping and turning a dirty yellow color. See treatment for pests above.
- Overwatering or under-watering. If your Philodendron has soaked soil, the roots will feel wet, which turns leaves yellow and can also cause root rot. Not enough water shows as wilting foliage and drying, yellow leaves.
If you are a novice gardener, consider buying a moisture probe, which will let you know accurately when your plant needs water. That way you can avoid both of these problems!
Why are the leaves of my Philodendron Golden Goddess brown?
The edges of your Golden Goddess turning brown may be caused by leaf tip curl. The leaves curl and twist oddly at the edges and then turn a wilted brown. The cause is often excessive fertilizer in the soil. Maybe you added slow-release pellets? If so, remove your plant, dry it out well, remove any brown roots and then, re-pot in new soil.
Is the Philodendron Golden Goddess toxic?
The leaves of all Philodendrons contain a substance called calcium oxalate crystals. If eaten, these can irritate the mouth and also digestive upsets, and stomach pain. If the juice from the leaves touches the skin, it can cause dermatitis, with rashes and itching. Keep them away from pets and small mouths to keep on the safe side!
Is the Thai sunrise Philodendron the same as the Golden Goddess?
The name “Golden Goddess” is a patent of Costa Farms but the plant is also commonly known as Malay Gold and Lemon Lime Philodendron. The Thai sunrise plant is a variety that is much more common. Some experts believe that the yellow leaf Golden Goddess is a variation of the Thai sunrise Philodendron domesticum. This could explain why the Golden Goddess sometimes has variegated leaves.
However, the Thai sunrise Philodendron is not the same as the Golden Goddess.
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