Philodendron Ring of Fire: Rare Plant Care


With its red variegation and blade-like leaves, the Philodendron Ring of Fire makes quite the impression on indoor gardeners, but what kind of care does this rare plant require? I’ll tell you what you need to know ahead.

How do you care for the Philodendron Ring of Fire? To care for the Philodendron Ring of Fire, water when its soil dries out, use well-draining organic soil (or LECA balls), provide bright and indirect light, keep temps at 55-80°F and humidity at 30-60%, and fertilize only several times a year.

This extensive guide will provide all the information you need to know to care for the rare Ring of Fire. I’ve even thrown in a handy FAQs section, so make sure you don’t miss it!  

Philodendron Ring of Fire – Caring for This Rare Plant

Watering the Philodendron Ring of Fire

Let’s jump right in and discuss the Ring of Fire’s watering requirements. 

Philodendrons generally like moist soil, and the Ring of Fire continues that trend. 

When watering the Philodendron Ring of Fire, let its soil fully dry before you water it again. Philodendrons are only moderately drought-tolerant, so you don’t want to starve your plant of hydration.

If the Ring of Fire has wilted leaves that feel like crispy paper, and if you see brown tinges instead of that trademark red, your plant needs water right away.

Many indoor gardeners prescribe a watering schedule of every six to nine days for the Ring of Fire. I’d tell you to forget all that and use the fingertip test instead. You can feel for yourself how much moisture the soil has retained.

Why is that better?

Plenty of factors affect how often you should water a plant, the Ring of Fire or otherwise. 

They include the temperature and humidity levels. The time of year and region could require you to water the philodendron more or less frequently.

Philodendrons hate being overwatered and can succumb to root rot if you’re not careful. The fingertip test should prevent overwatering. 

Lighting Requirements for the Philodendron Ring of Fire

Although philodendrons tolerate a wide range of lighting conditions, I’d say to tread carefully with the Ring of Fire. As a variegated plant, it needs sunlight.

Bright, indirect light from a northerly or easterly curtained window is the ideal setup for the Ring of Fire. 

The plant will receive enough sunlight (or artificial light) to sustain its fiery red coloration but not enough to burn.

Alternatively, you might provide bright, dappled light for the Ring of Fire. You can do this by placing a larger plant or small tree over the philodendron. 

If you see the Ring of Fire’s leaves yellowing or browning with wilting and a crispy foliar feel, you need to dim its lighting conditions immediately. The light it’s receiving is way too harsh.

Just make sure you don’t overcompensate by going too far in the other direction. A lack of sunlight will hurt your Ring of Fire in other ways. 

Its growth will slow down, and its red coloration can slowly yet steadily disappear. Variegated plants need sunlight to stay colorful! 

Soil and Pot Requirements for the Philodendron Ring of Fire

The Philodendron Ring of Fire needs well-draining soil above all else. Organic soil also suits this plant especially well.

You have several options for its growth medium. One is a standard organic commercial houseplant soil. You can also try an aroid mix or LECA balls

It’s been a minute since I’ve discussed LECA balls, so here’s a refresher. Lightweight expanded clay aggregate or LECA is a ball-shaped houseplant growth medium that’s water-retentive. 

Each ball can retain 30 percent of its own weight in water. 

While you can reuse LECA balls, if you choose them as a growth medium for the Philodendron Ring of Fire, you’ll have to scale back how often you water this plant. The water retention of LECA balls will maintain moist soil for longer.

Double-check the pH if you choose standard organic potting soil for the Ring of Fire. This philodendron does best with a pH range of 6.1 to 6.5.

To ensure the soil remains in optimal condition, use soil amendments like peat moss, orchid bark, or perlite. Chunky orchid bark prevents soil compaction and increases water drainage.

If you are struggling with compacted soil, I suggest reading my article Easy Ways to Loosen Compacted Soil in Potted Plants.

Perlite and peat moss retain water, so the Ring of Fire doesn’t experience bone-dry soil.

Okay, so what pot do you need for the Philodendron Ring of Fire? Well, considering the plant likes some moisture but not too much, I’d suggest a glazed terracotta, clay, or ceramic pot.

The glaze layer will prevent these usually highly absorptive materials from sucking up all the moisture in the Ring of Fire’s pot, drying it out. 

If the soil still goes dry faster than you’d like, I recommend a plastic liner for the pot. Plastic is nonporous and will retain more water. 

Philodendron Ring of Fire Temperature and Humidity 

The Ring of Fire needs temperatures from 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Philodendrons usually prefer warmer daytime temperatures of at least 75 degrees, but for the Ring of Fire, I’d say anywhere between 70 and 80 degrees should suffice. The plant will get plenty of sunlight, so its conditions won’t be cold. 

By night, you can let the temps drop to 55 to 65 degrees, but don’t expose the Ring of Fire to temperatures colder than 55 degrees. 

Sometimes, a plant’s lower temperature limit doesn’t feel that cold to you, but that shouldn’t be the case at 55 degrees. If you’re cold, you can bet the Ring of Fire also feels cold, so keep it indoors, away from air drafts.

You wouldn’t want its appealing serrated leaves to freeze. The water in the cells can turn to ice and even explode, and there’s no going back from there. You’d have to prune those leaves and start afresh. 

Although philodendrons can withstand temperatures over 80 degrees, the Ring of Fire can’t. Pushing it too far past 80 will cause it to sag and dry out. The leaves can even burn. 

Now let’s switch gears and discuss humidity. The Ring of Fire doesn’t need high humidity and can tolerate humidity levels at 30 percent. 

It likes humidity up to about 60 percent, so if you can double its humidity levels, you’d make your plant quite happy. 

I have a few ideas for increasing humidity, especially at home. You could grow the Philodendron Ring of Fire in the bathroom if the area has a good enough light source. 

You can also buy a humidifier and let that run for several hours a day. Use a hygrometer to test the humidity in your home or office to confirm the levels are around 60 percent. 

Fertilizing the Philodendron Ring of Fire

While some indoor gardeners swear by foregoing philodendron fertilizer, I recommend fertilizing the Ring of Fire. You’ll provide the nutrients it needs and enable healthy growth.

The question becomes, how often to fertilize? Not frequently at all. This plant’s active growing season begins in the spring and lasts until autumn. Fertilizing about three times over the entire growing season (so not once a month!) should do it.

Use a high-quality organic houseplant fertilizer. Slow-release fertilizer works since it lasts longer, but you can also choose faster-acting liquid or powder fertilizer. 

Moisten the soil first and then apply the fertilizer. If the instructions recommend you dilute the fertilizer, then please do so. 

Philodendrons like fertilizer, but too much of a good thing can quickly go sour. Inducing salts into the soil through fertilizer can lead to fertilizer burn.

Your Ring of Fire might develop brown or yellow foliar spots and dry and crunchy leaves. Flushing the soil or refilling the philodendron’s pot with fresh soil will help mend it. 

Philodendron Ring of Fire Pests and Diseases

The Philodendron Ring of Fire doesn’t attract too many pests, but it’s not an entirely bug-free houseplant, as none are. 

One troublesome insect to keep an eye out for when caring for your Ring of Fire is the mealybug. 

These tiny insects can impede the Philodendron Ring of Fire’s growth by drinking its juices. You might see yellow leaves in the wake of a mealybug infestation.

If you do find yourself struggling with mealybugs on your philodendron, I highly recommend reading my related article 10 Natural Ways to Rid Indoor Plants of Mealybugs.

The secretions known as honeydew that mealybugs leave behind also pose a problem. Other insect species are attracted to the honeydew, and mold typically develops on the sticky secretions. 

You only need 70-percent isopropyl alcohol and water to take care of mealybugs. Take a cotton swab or a cotton ball, cover it in the mixture, and rub it on the Ring of Fire’s leaves where you see the bugs.

Thrips also like the Philodendron Ring of Fire. To stop these winged insects from spreading to the rest of your indoor garden after sucking your philodendron dry, combine a liter of water with a teaspoon of mild liquid dish soap. 

Insecticidal soap works effectively but is a harsher solution. 

Keep an eye out for spider mites and aphids, as they also like the Ring of Fire. You can rely on insecticidal soap for treating spider mites or wash them off your plant with a high-pressure garden hose. A hose will also get rid of aphids.

Now let’s switch gears and take a closer look at some diseases that can harm and even kill the Philodendron Ring of Fire.

  • Fungal root rot: All plants can succumb to root rot, but some are likelier than others. Philodendrons, in their sensitivity to standing water, are one of them. Caused by compacted soil or overwatering (or both!), fungal root rot causes the Ring of Fire’s roots to die, followed by the rest of the plant. Removing the dying roots, replanting in drier soil, and monitoring watering habits might save your plant.  
  • Erwinia blight: The Erwinia amylovora bacteria causes Erwinia blight. Symptoms affecting the roots, branches, shoots, and leaves include areas that look soaked with water and later dry out and crack. Copper bactericides can slow the pathogen spread in philodendrons, but once your plant is infected, you can’t do much else. 
  • Rust: The fungal plant disease known as rust can appear in plants with water-soaked leaves. Soon after infection, you’ll see pale spots on the leaves that later become pustules. The pustules release spores and spread the disease further. Cutting away infected parts could stop rust in its tracks. 

Philodendron Ring of Fire FAQs 

Do you still have some curiosities about the Philodendron Ring of Fire? This FAQs list should provide answers. 

Is the Philodendron Ring of Fire Toxic?

The Ring of Fire and the calcium oxalate crystals within are toxic to humans and animals alike. 

If you have pets in the house like cats or dogs, you should reconsider keeping this plant. It’s also a poor idea to grow a Ring of Fire in the vicinity of children.

I’d also suggest wearing gloves when handling the Ring of Fire to prevent irritation. 

How Often Should You Repot the Philodendron Ring of Fire?

The Ring of Fire appreciates a new pot whenever it doubles in size, or roughly every year. 

When the time comes to introduce the philodendron to a new pot, buy one that’s two to four inches larger than its last pot.

A plant grown in a pot that’s too large never ends well. The plant is unbalanced and can tip and fall. The excess soil also makes it harder for water and nutrients from fertilizer to reach the roots.

Your Ring of Fire can end up dried out and nutrient-deficient. 

How Big Does the Philodendron Ring of Fire Grow?

The Ring of Fire can grow to a decent size in maturity, reaching lengths of two to three feet and widths of up to 16 inches. 

The plant is large enough to make an impact in your indoor garden but not so big that you won’t know where in your home or cubicle to grow it!  

Does the Philodendron Ring of Fire Grow Fast?

You must have a lot of patience when growing the Philodendron Ring of Fire. It takes a while for the plant to reach any meaningful size, but I’d say the results are worth it! 

Can You Propagate the Philodendron Ring of Fire from Cuttings? 

Spread the joy and give some indoor gardeners in your life Ring of Fire cuttings. 

Propagation is simple, as you can use either water (a jar or vase) or soil (a shallow container or small pot). 

Select a cutting that’s three to six inches and trim it from the Ring of Fire using gardening shears or scissors. Trim at a 45-degree angle and cut an inch below a leaf node. 

Leaves at the top of the cutting can remain, but lower leaves usually have to go to support the cutting’s growth! 

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Fred Zimmer

I'm a lover of plants, animals, photography, & people, not necessarily in that order. Currently, I'm focused on photographing indoor plants & chachkies. I write & rewrite articles about creating an environment where indoor plants can thrive. I'm good at listening to music but bad at shopping to muzak.

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