Depending on your view it could be easy to confuse the Philodendron Moonlight and Golden Goddess, as both have bright green, almost yellow foliage. But once you read this article you’ll see beyond the surface level and I can assure you that you’ll notice many ways the Philodendron Moonlight and the Golden Goddess are remarkably different from one another.
The differences between the Philodendron Moonlight vs. Golden Goddess include leaf shape and size, vining behaviors, pruning needs, color brightness, and plant size.
Still not seeing it? Don’t worry, you will by the time you finish reading. In this guide, I’ll talk further about the differences between these two philodendron varieties and how their care intersects, so don’t miss it!
Philodendron Moonlight vs. Golden Goddess: What Are the Differences?
The beautifully-nicknamed Golden Goddess also goes by another name, the Philodendron Lemon Lime.
That’s right, as if matters weren’t already confusing enough, now there’s another name to add to the mix that refers to the same philodendron variety.
The Moonlight, by comparison, is widely known among indoor gardeners by that name.
To prevent confusion, for the duration of this article, instead of the Lemon Lime, I’ll refer to this philodendron variety as the Golden Goddess.
If you’re struggling to discern between the Golden Goddess and Moonlight philodendron, the shape and size of the leaves should help you do it.
Let’s start by talking about the leaf shape. The Moonlight philodendron variety grows longer, narrower leaves than the Golden Goddess.
Part of what lends the leaves such an elongated appearance is their connection to petioles. The long petioles visually expand the leaf length of the Moonlight.
By comparison, the petioles attached to the Golden Goddess lack length. The stems are long, but the shorter petioles don’t create the same illusion of length as seen in the Moonlight philodendron.
This gives the Golden Goddess much rounder leaves that take on a heart shape like some philodendron varieties. The Moonlight philodendron has banana-like leaves that don’t have nearly as much roundness.
It’s not merely about the shape of the leaves but the size as well.
Now, to further make matters tricky, the Philodendron Moonlight and Golden Goddess have the same leaf width on average, a relatively standard five inches.
The length of the leaves diverges. The Moonlight has 10-inch leaves, while the leaves of the Golden Goddess reach six inches on average but can grow up to eight inches long.
I must add a caveat about leaf size as an indicator of which philodendron variety you have. If you don’t know the age of your plant and you’re comparing a juvenile against a mature plant, then the Golden Goddess can seem like it has larger leaves than an immature Moonlight.
On top of that, the leaf size difference is a matter of mere inches, sometimes four inches, and sometimes as little as two.
While you can keep the leaf size in mind as a method for differentiating between the two plants, I’d use it more as a last resort or to confirm evidence that you have a Golden Goddess or Moonlight, but not as your sole indicator.
The next difference between the Moonlight and Golden Goddess is more profound: vining behavior.
Only one will climb between these two philodendron varieties, the Golden Goddess. That’s because the Moonlight is technically a bush. It’s also a self-heading plant, as evidenced by its smaller stems.
The leaf stalks may grow long, but without long stems to support them, and with heavier leaves attached, the stalks get lost in the background. This encourages the shrub-like broadness of the Moonlight.
The Golden Goddess needs a trestle or climbing pole to attach to, then it will begin climbing to its full potential.
This does make the Golden Goddess more of a handful to care for, but many indoor gardeners agree it’s worth it.
All houseplants benefit from pruning every now and again, but how frequently you’ll prune your philodendron depends on which variety you own.
The Moonlight requires only basic pruning when it’s grown too bushy or if its leaves are dying or diseased.
Removing old leaves creates space for new leaves to grow, which makes for a happy plant.
The Golden Goddess will climb, climb, and climb some more. If you only have so much room to contain the plant, then after a short while, you’ll want to reach for the pruning shears to trim it back.
If you must, wait until the spring and always trim with the leaf node intact. Cutting off the lead node prohibits new growth!
The Philodendron Moonlight and Golden Goddess both shine with the force of a thousand highlighters.
The bright yellow-green hue, which some indoor gardeners have said almost looks florescent, certainly grabs attention more than most houseplants.
One of these two varieties shines just a little bit more as its color is brighter. That’s the Moonlight.
The reason is the interesting coloration both plants display as they grow. The Golden Goddess begins with moderately pink leaves that later become that bright, cheery yellow.
Then the color deepens even more to a fresh lemon yellow hue. Once the Golden Goddess reaches maturity, the color morphs into lime green instead of lemon yellow.
The Moonlight starts with yellow leaves, no pink. The color morphs to green in the same way as the Golden Goddess, but the hue is darker and brighter.
Again, this is one of those nitpicky things that indoor gardeners might have a tough time discerning, but it’s there.
The last means of telling the Golden Goddess and Moonlight apart is to pull out the measuring tape and calculate the width.
Both plants can reach heights of 20 inches in maturity, but one is squatter than the other. If you guessed the Golden Goddess lacks width, that’s right. It’s about 10 inches wide when fully grown.
The Moonlight is double that at 20 inches wide when mature!
How Are the Philodendron Moonlight and Golden Goddess Similar?
It doesn’t take much digging online to read horror stories of indoor gardeners who received a Philodendron Moonlight and were told it was a Golden Goddess or vice-versa.
Of course, this phenomenon isn’t unique to philodendrons by far. Houseplant varieties get confused all the time. Sometimes, an indoor gardener makes an earnest mistake, and in other cases, they lie about the true origins of the plant to make it seem rarer and earn more money from the purchase.
It’s never fun to be hoodwinked, but if you were, know that the care the Golden Goddess and Moonlight philodendron needs isn’t all that different. Here’s what you need to know.
The Philodendron Golden Goddess and Moonlight don’t like soggy, waterlogged conditions. Timing your watering according to how dry the soil feels will prevent overwatering that can lead to root rot.
The philodendron genus as a whole is very sensitive to overwatering, which is another great reason to watch how much H2O you pour into your plant’s pot.
Allow at least two inches of water to dry out before watering the Moonlight or Golden Goddess.
The two philodendron varieties also love humidity but don’t need it. They’ll just be happier if they have it.
The average relative humidity in most buildings doesn’t surpass 50 percent, whereas the Golden Goddess and Moonlight prefer higher humidity levels.
However, if you can’t move the plants to your bathroom at home or plug in a humidifier at work, neither philodendron will wilt and die on you. The plants can still do well in less humid environments, at least most of the time.
Carefully monitor your plants for dry, crispy, brittle leaves in the winter especially. The overly dry air could be too much for these philodendron varieties to handle. Then you’d need a humidifier.
Unsurprisingly, the two philodendron varieties have identical temperature preferences. Both plants like conditions between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit on the dot.
The plants will do fine in slightly warmer temperatures, but don’t make it too hot. In very warm temperatures, your Moonlight or Golden Goddess could begin to burn.
Temperatures lower than 55 degrees are simply too cold for these philodendron varieties. Monitor your thermostat to prevent cold stress that could possibly cause permanent leaf cell damage.
Bright light helps a colorful philodendron maintain its highlighter brightness, but don’t go too bright.
In the morning, when bright light hasn’t gotten too harsh, a few hours in direct light won’t hurt your plant, but by the afternoon, it’s time for some safeguarding from the sun. Put your philodendron in indirect light.
If that sounds like too much of a headache shuffling your plant around from spot to spot, you can always position it in front of a window that receives bright, indirect light more consistently.
The active growing season for the Moonlight and Golden Goddess philodendrons starts at the same time in the spring. That’s the ideal period to fertilize your plants.
Apply fertilizer once a month. You can use a standard houseplant fertilizer of the organic or inorganic variety depending on your preferences and budget.
Stop fertilizing by autumn, and never fertilize more than once a month during the active growing season. Make sure you follow product instructions so you don’t overfeed your plant.
Spring has sprung, and now that it’s here, it’s time to revitalize your indoor plants and make the most of the season. This guide will cover all the care your plants need in a helpful checklist...
It’s easy to fall in love with growing and caring for orchids. If you're a beginner indoor gardener or just new to growing orchids, this beginner’s guide is for you. This is the guide I wish I...