Philodendron Imperial Red vs Rojo Congo: [Key Differences]

Although the Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo are similar, there are a few distinct differences. For instance, the Rojo Congo tends to grow more energetically and larger.

The main difference is the leaves of the Rojo Congo are much darker and wider when compared to the Imperial Red which has bright green, elongated leaves. Both are beautiful foliage plants with large oval leaves.

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the main differences, you’ll have no trouble identifying the strain you’re dealing with.

Below, you’ll discover a comprehensive breakdown of the key differences so you can always spot the strain in a hurry.

Philodendron Imperial Red vs Rojo Congo

1. General Size

The main difference between the Imperial Red and Rojo Congo is the size of the plants. As a whole, the Philodendron Imperial Red is slightly smaller than the Rojo Congo.

It is common for Rojo Congo plants to drop up to 4-feet in width and height. As for the Imperial Red, it typically only reaches 3 feet. The size of the leaves will be different too.

Rojo Congo plants have much longer leaves that sometimes reach 10 inches at the maximum.

However, the Imperial Red typically has shorter leaves although it depends on the age of both. Regardless, the Imperial Red generally reaches a maximum of seven inches in length.

With a tape measure and fully grown plant, you’ll easily figure out which one you’re dealing with.

2. Different Colors

The colors of the plants are also starkly different. By paying close attention to the color, you should have no trouble figuring out what you’re dealing with. First, you should look at the petioles or the stalks of the plants.

The stalk helps connect the leaf to the plant system. If you’re looking at an Imperial Red, you’ll notice that the petioles are brownish and green. The Rojo Congo is much different because it’ll have a dark red stalk that could easily be mistaken as purple. The foliage and flower are also different hues.

The Rojo Congo’s leaves are similar to the stalk since they’re dark red. It has darker leaves that are dark red.

However, the middle portion of the lead will be brownish green so that can make it harder to determine the difference.

Rojo Congo plants tend to be more beautiful because the plant can more effectively highlight its most beautiful attributes. When you’re dealing with an Imperial Red, the leaf blades will be dark green with a little brown sprinkled around.

The primary difference is the fact that the Imperial Red plant doesn’t have a reddish hue.

Finally, you can identify the type by looking at the flower. Both plants are going to start blooming near the end of spring. Usually, the plants will produce one single flower.

Many people prefer Rojo Congo plants because their flowers are brighter whereas the Imperial Red’s flowers are dark red.

3. Toughness

A plant’s strength depends on its root system. Ultimately, this is another area where the plants differ. The Rojo Congo is stronger because its root system will be more developed and larger.

As a result, the Rojo Congo’s roots can deliver more water and nutrients to the rest of the plant. The only potential downside is that a Rojo Congo will need more space to grow.

To grow a big, beautiful Rojo Congo, you’ll need a tall pot up to 15 inches in height.

The Imperial Red’s root system is smaller and less developed.

4. Shape

The shape of the plant can help you identify the type of plant you’re looking at. The leaves have different shapes.

The Imperial Red has leaves that are pointed at the end. They’re also more elongated. In some regards, the plant has elegant leaves. As for the Rojo Congo, it has wider and longer leave. Its leaves are going to be thicker.

5. Pot Requirements

Individuals wanting to grow one of these plants inside will likely be better off picking a Philodendron Imperial Red. If you are going to throw a Rojo Congo, you’ll need to use a taller pot.

Since the Rojo Congo has a larger root system, it needs a much taller pot. It is wise to use a pot that is at least 10 inches high. However, a 15-inch pot might be better. Make sure it is sufficiently wide too.

6. Pet Toxicity

Both the Philodendron Imperial and Rojo Congo species are toxic to felines and canines. The leaves of these plant species have crystallized calcium oxalate, which is insoluble. In other words, calcium oxalate does not dissolve in water.

Felines are notorious for digging in houseplant soil. These curious animals are attracted to houseplants. It is also natural for cats to nibble on the leaves of plants.

They may not intentionally swallow the leaves, but there is still the risk of them ingesting the poisonous calcium oxalate crystals.

7. Environment

Like other tropical plant species, the Rojo Congo and Philodendron Imperial should avoid cold weather at all costs. Botanists recommend temperatures between 65- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit (18 and 27 degrees Celsius).

Creating a tropical environment is as simple as utilizing artificial lighting. LED grow lights are efficient and effective for growing indoor tropical plants.

It only makes sense for natural light to rule over artificial light for plant growth. Thanks to modern technology, the gap between these types of lighting has narrowed significantly.

With a full-spectrum LED grow light, your plants will flourish. Natural light aids in plant growth by providing sufficient energy for normal photosynthesis.

Even though your home is warm and comfy to you and your family, it may not be ideal for the Rojo Congo and Philodendron Imperial. The perfect tropical plant environment is free of cold drafts.

A grow tent is highly preferable because it will encapsulate the plants, ruling out any risk of cold drafts.


The Rojo Congo and Philodendron Imperial make the perfect houseplants for apartments, flats, and condominiums, thanks to their compact size. In the right environment, the plants will thrive year-round.

It is crucial to know the similarities and differences between these two species. Creating the ideal environment is vital to their survival. The more you know in advance will increase the survival rate for your new houseplants.

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