Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ Complete Care Guide

One of the rarest Philodendrons, the ‘Thai Sunrise’ is in great demand among collectors of rare and unusual plants. It stands out with unique, distinctive, and striking 7 to 10 inches long, shiny leaves with a magnificent dark and lime green pattern. Its variegated leaves grow on yellow stems which further emphasizes the vivid appearance of the plant.

Despite its exotic appearance and the fact that it is difficult to find, ‘Thai Sunrise’ is easy to grow and propagate, so it can be successfully grown by both beginners and experienced flower growers.

The Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ prefers bright indirect sunlight, a well-draining soil mix, temperatures between 60 to 75Fº (16 and 24ºC), and at least 50% humidity. You can use a balanced fertilizer once a month during the growing season if you want.

CC featured pictures by VariegatedVibes.

Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’

Summary:

  • Light: Bright indirect sunlight
  • Water: Only water when the top 1 inch of the soil is dry
  • Soil: Light, nutritious and well-draining
  • Fertilizer: Every month during spring and summer
  • Size: 3ft in height (90cm)
  • Size: 12″ wide (30cm)
  • Temperature: Between 60 to 75Fº (16 and 24ºC)
  • Humidity: Prefers over 50%
  • Cold hardy: Winter hardy in USA zones 9 to 11
  • Propagation: By stem cuttings
  • Toxicity: Toxic to humans and animals

General Care for Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’

Water

As a general rule you want to water the Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ once every two weeks, from spring to fall using stagnated and lukewarm water. However, it is just a frame since every plant has its specific needs conditioned by the overall environment, including room temperature, exposure to sunlight, and plant or pot size.

Therefore you have to establish your regime of watering, having in mind mentioned factors.

If you are not sure when to water your plant, feel the soil with your fingers, and if the soil is dry at a depth of one inch, water the plant. In other words, it is better to let the soil slightly dry before you hydrate it again. During the winter reduce watering to twice a month,

Light

Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ prefers bright, diffused light. Keeping it close to the light source will make the neon-yellow leaves even more vibrant and striking. The ideal positions are next to the east or west window or a few feet from the south window.

If you expose it to direct sunlight, it will quickly get sunburn. In their natural habitat, Philodendrons grow in the bright shade of high tropical vegetation protected from direct light. Due to the unusual bright color of the leaves, ‘Thai Sunrise’ needs even more light than some other varieties.

It tolerates living in shady positions, but lack of light will affect its growth: its leaves will be smaller and less vibrant.

Soil

Like many other species of Philodendrons, the ‘Thai Sunrise’ likes nutritious and well-drained soil which does not retain moisture around the root system. The best option is to get a mixture specially created for Philodendrons.

However, if you do not have those at hand, there are simple homemade alternatives that will provide your Philodendron everything it needs. You could mix standard substrate for houseplants with sand or perlite in equal proportions.

Another option is a mixture of the all-purpose substrate, peat moss, and perlite. This combination provides the needed nutrients and allows your plant to grow stronger.

You can also mix a commercial substrate for houseplants with a substrate intended for growing cacti and succulents since it contains sand and other ingredients that improve drainage. Hence, the only thing that matters when it comes to soil is to provide as much permeability as possible.

Potting

When potting your Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’, you need to choose a stable pot that is 1 to 2 inches larger than in root ball diameter. Too much space will stimulate the plant to develop roots instead of growing leaf mass. Therefore do not plant your Philodendron in a too big pot.

You can choose a pot made of any material, as long as it has a drainage hole that will provide excess water to drain. Be sure to place a layer of coarse gravel and broken tiles above the drainage opening. That layer should be one-fifth of the total volume of the vessel.

Repotting

Since the ‘Thai Sunrise’ is a fast-growing plant that draws nutrients from the soil, it is transplanted every other year or as soon as you notice that part of the root system has started coming out of the drainage hole.

Choose a pot that is one or two inches larger than the previous one and fill it with a substrate of similar composition to the one in which the plant has already grown. Namely, ‘Thai Sunrise’ Philodendron does not like changes, so the process of adapting to new circumstances will take shorter in a similar mixture.

Top layer replacement

When transplanting a Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’, you don’t always have to transplant it into a larger pot. Adult specimens can live in the same container for years if you change their substrate regularly. Transplanting large plants can be a real challenge, so it is more practical and equally effective if you replace only the top of the substrate in the pot without removing the plant from the container.

The worn layer you are removing should be at least 1/3 of the total soil mass.

Fertilizer

All potted plants benefit from additional nutrients, and Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ is not an exception. It grows fast, which means that it quickly consumes nutrients from the substrate, so fertilizing boosts its growth.

Feed it once a month from spring to fall with liquid fertilizer of balanced NPK ratio or fertilizer intended for plants with decorative leaves. In winter, you can use fertilizer every other month due to slowed metabolism of the plant and reduced sunlight.

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Humidity

Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ is a tropical perennial and therefore prefers elevated levels of humidity in its environment. As it is durable and adaptable, the plant will withstand the standard humidity level in our living space in the range of 30 to 50%.

However, there is a big difference between tolerating and thriving. The plant will feel better and grow faster if the level of humidity is over 50%. So if you want your Philodendron to thrive rather than survive, here are a few simple ways to change humidity levels in its immediate surroundings.

  • Spray the leaves of Philodendron with lukewarm stagnant water two or three times a week. 
  • Use a humidifier, a simple solution that provides uniform air humidification
  • Use a pebble tray

Temperature

In the USA zones, 9 to 11, the plant can grow outdoors year-round without any problems. In other areas, it is best to keep your plant indoors, protected from low temperatures.

Yet, in the summer months, the plant will enjoy if you take it outside and place it on the balcony or in the garden in a shady place.

The lower minimum it can withstand is 50F or slightly less, but only for a short period. It is best to grow your ‘Thai Sunrise’ at a uniform temperature between 60 and 75Fº throughout the year. When exposed to too high temperatures, Philodendron slows down or stops growing. On the other hand, low temperatures near the freezing point will destroy the plant. 

Pruning

Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ does not require a lot of pruning. Yet, it can provide various benefits.

The general rule for pruning is to establish first whether your plant needs pruning, and the most obvious indicator is if your plant is overgrowing its surroundings and taking up too much space. Pruning, which you can do only when it is necessary, takes place in spring or fall.

Additional advice is to sterilize your pruning tools such as scissors to prevent potential bacteria spread. To disinfect your tools, use a mixture of nine parts bleach and one part. However, be sure to wash the tools considering that bleach is a highly corrosive chemical product.

Disease

Despite their durable nature, Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ can be susceptible to diseases, which usually are caused by fungi or bacteria.

Root rot is a disease caused by fungi, and its usual symptoms include leaf dropping and browning. It usually starts at the lower parts of the plant and progresses upwards. To avoid this from happening, use sterile and clean pots.

Even though over-fertilizing and over-watering will not develop fungi on your plant, it might accelerate the process of declining.

Bacterial leaf spot is a common disease that you can recognize by tiny water-soaked areas developing on the leaves. If not treated, these areas will expand, throwing tan and dark lesions.

These infections spread exceedingly fast, so it is vital to remove the affected leaves, stopping the bacteria from spreading. However, if it progresses, your plant might develop a very uncomfortable fishy odor. Additionally, you can be careful when watering your plant, considering that bacteria spread through handling and splashing water.

Pests

Pests are a common occurrence with many plants, including Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’. Usually weakened and stressed Philodendrons, lacking nutrients and proper moisture, are more prone to be attacked by small insects and arachnids such as spider mites and scale.

These tiny vermin extract the fluids from leaf tissue causing your plant to lose moisture.

If you notice that your plant has uninvited guests roaming on its leaves, it is crucial to deal with this problem early on. Otherwise, the leaves of your plant will turn yellow or twist.

Additionally, to prevent this from happening, you can perform check-ups while watering to establish whether your plant has been attacked. Luckily a wide range of chemical pesticides is available in most markets. They also offer different natural preparations, soaps, and neem oil, which removes these bugs on contact.

How to keep your Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ problem-free?

When you meet the basic needs of plants such as nutrients in the right amount, the temperature in the range of 50 to 70 Fº, moderate watering, and enough light for proper growth and development, these otherwise very hardy plants can grow for years without problems. However, inspect the plant regularly as prevention is the best way to avoid diseases.

Regular removal of dust from the leaves is also one of the measures that help keep the plant healthy. In addition, periodically rotate the plant to prevent it from bending toward the light source. It also encourages a fuller and more regular shape growth.

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How to Propagate Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’

Stem cuttings

The most successful way to propagate the Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ is by stem cuttings in water. The great thing is that it’s very easy to do if you follow these simple guidelines.

  1. make sure the plant is healthy and strong before propagation
  2. Find a node (where the leaf is attached to the stem)
  3. Cut the stem 0.5 to 1 inch below the node
  4. Remove the lower leaves leaving just one or two at the top
  5. Place the cutting into a glass with lukewarm water
  6. Replace the water with fresh water once every 3-5 days
  7. Wait till the roots have grown to about 3 inches in length
  8. Plant the cuttings (with roots) in a very light and well-draining potting mix

Tip: best time of the year to propagate this plant is in the growing season, which is any time from spring to fall.

Related questions:

Why are the leaves of my Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ turning yellow?

Overwatering or improper soil moisture most likely causes a change in the leaf’s color. The plant does not like sitting on a wet substrate. Hence, it is safer to water it more often in small amounts than overdo it. After all, a lack of water is easier to solve than an excess of it!

Why are the leaves of my Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ brown?

Such deformations on the leaves occur due to a lack of water in the soil or the air. Dry and brittle tops indicate dry air since lifeless, brown leaves suggest that the plant suffers from dry soil. In addition to the above reasons, it is worth mentioning that changes in leaf color can also occur if the plant is exposed to direct sunlight.

Is the Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ toxic?

Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ is a highly poisonous plant; every part of the plant contains calcium oxalate, which can cause rash or skin irritation. If digested, this substance can result in serious health issues such as vomiting, diarrhea, and swelling of the tongue and lips. It is best if you keep this plant away from children and pets.

Does the Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ revert?

The process of reverting is quite recurrent with variegated plants such as Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’. Reverting can happen for several reasons. It might suggest that the plant is under unfavorable conditions such as extreme cold or hot weather. It is also a survival technique, considering that plant with more chlorophyll is stronger. Once reverted to green leaves, it is not possible to reverse it back to variegated colorings.

Why has my Philodendron a mushy stem?

If the stem of your Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ is mushy, it can mean only one thing- it suffers from root rot since it is overwatered. In that case, the first step is to stop watering it and introduce an effective drainage system. Additionally, you can prune damaged roots to stop the process of rotting and allow them to dry out. Lastly, you can re-pott the plant if the soil looks moldy and greenish.

Is a Golden goddess a reverted ‘Thai Sunrise’?

Even though many commonly mistake a golden goddess for a juvenile Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ – it is not the same plant. Golden Goddess Philodendron is another term for Lemon-lime Philodendron. Philodendron ‘Thai Sunrise’ has very distinct variegation, while the golden goddess is usually not variegated. However, sometimes it can throw a variegated leaf which is the root of this common misconception.

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