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I’ve done a general care guide for all philodendron here, which covers the basics. This article will go over that stuff briefly, but will be more specific to the ol’ golden dragon.
My Philodendron golden dragon was one of the first rare house plants I got. Whilst P. golden dragon isn’t exactly rare, they’re not commonly available in shops. I’ve only ever seen one – the one I bought.
By the way, whilst they’re rare in shops, I don’t think they’re like, rare rare. This isn’t a plant that (at the time of writing) you’ll be shelling out a fortune for.
I got mine cheap for reasons I’ll explain later, but I absolutely wouldn’t pay any more than £50.
My Philodendron golden dragon is named Smaug, and will henceforth be referred to as such since it’s easier to type.
Are Philodendron Golden Dragon easy to care for?
I find Phildendrons in general fairly easy going, but some of the rarer ones can be a bit finicky. Philodendron verrucosum is one that many people struggle with. You have to be extra careful with humidity, fertilising, and all that good stuff.
Smaug is extremely chill. He lives in a terracotta pot, and often goes weeks without a drink. In summer, he grow well, and in winter he grows little leaves.
When I got him, Smaug was in bad shape. He’d been allowed to grow however he wanted, and was quite leggy.
I don’t think I’ll be able to get him into a nice shape without chopping him to bits, but I have a few propagations ready for an overhaul in the summer.
The upside of him being such a weird shape (it looks like he’s been allowed to grow across the floor, rather than up a pole) is that he was cheap – I think about £19.99.
He also doesn’t have much variegation, but there’s more coming through on the newer leaves – I’m hoping that a summer outside can encourage more.
I keep Smaug about five feet from an east-facing window, and he does ok. But (continued in the next section).
Light requirements for Philodendron golden dragon
This summer, I’m planning on having Smaug spend as much time as possible outside.
Because he’s recently got into vining.
I apologise for the terrible lighting in these photos, but if I wait for good light, we’ll be here for a good three months.
He has too great long vines that I’ve had to wrap around the moss pole.
Every now and again I think he senses my annoyance and produces a couple of leaves, but then…back to vining.
What I’ve concluded from this is that Smaug would really, really like a LOT of light to reach his full potential of growing those big, beautiful leaves.
He also would probs prefer not to be in terracotta, but at the time I couldn’t get any sturdy plastic pots that he’d fit into.
I’m planning on switching him to Leca too, because, er, I want to. I have a prop growing in leca and it’s doing really well.
Propagating Philodendron golden dragon
I like to root philodendrons in moss or leca. I don’t have that much luck with water propagating them.
If I’m planning to keep a plant in leca, I’ll prop it in leca because otherwise you have to pull all the moss off, which can be more tedious than getting soil off.
The prop above took a good few months to produce that sprout, but it has a really incredible root system going.
I’ve had much better luck with cuttings than wet sticks. The wet sticks have rooted but I have no growth. The P. hastatum sticks I cut at the same time have a load of leaves.
They’ve had exactly the same treatment, so I assume it’s just a quirk of Smaugs that they like a leaf.
I’ll try again with wet stick in winter (I have plenty of opportunity due to the vines).
Philodendron golden dragon & pests
Smaug isn’t close to any of my other plants, so he isn’t in the line of fire particularly. I did once see some thrips on him, but I gave him a shower (water only) and I’ve not seen any since.
Smaugs have quite thick, dark leaves that typically a lot of house plant pests aren’t interested in. Even thrips prefer new growth. They’re not succulent enough to be a target for mealybugs.
I really hope I’m not tempting fate by proudly proclaiming Smaug’s not got any bugs. I’ll keep this page updated if he gets any.
Would you recommend Philodendron golden dragon?
Absolutely, especially if you’re new to house plants but want to learn more about them.
Smaug could happily live in a dark, dry room. He’s pretty hardy and would need some serious neglect to decline significantly.
But if you increase the humidity and light (or one or the other) you’d quickly see an improvement.
Faster growth and bigger leaves are quite easy to encourage and will come pretty quickly – like Monstera deliciosa. Last summer I put my Monstera outside for less than eight hours and when I brought him in two new leaf shoots had appeared.
PGD are rare, and look really cool. They’re not prohibitively priced, they don’t need any special conditions, and they’re forgiving. They’re a great choice for someone new to plant parenthood (if you can find one).
Here in the UK Philodendron camouflage has a similar leaf shape and some really cool variegation. They’re not common by any means, but they do crop up in good house plant shops.
If you’re after something with big dragony leaves, it might be worth asking your local supplier of they can source you one.
Ok I just looked on Cowell’s website and they had a golden dragon for £49.99. Nice. Philodendron Florida green is also a nice alternative, though they’re a big pickier. If the light is good enough, you won’t get any growth.