Skip to Content

Philodendron Imperial Red Vs Rojo Congo (Home Gardening Guide)

Sharing is caring!

The Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo are both luxury-looking options for gardeners who want something “tropical” in their homes.

If you are having a difficult time deciding between these two plants, today’s article on Philodendron Imperial Red vs Rojo Congo will give you all the information you need to make a decision.

We will go through the similarities and differences, so make sure you read until the very end! P.S: We will throw in many photos and a few tips as well! 

Philodendron Imperial Red Vs Rojo Congo

Overview Of Philodendron Imperial Red & Rojo Congo 

The (Philodendron) Imperial Red 

The Imperial Red is a decorative household plant with large, oval, and burgundy leaves. This type of plant is part of the bigger Araceae family. It is also quite easy to grow and maintain. 

Here is a snapshot of the Imperial Red: 

Philodendron Imperial Red Philodendron Imperial Red Vs Rojo Congo
Philodendron Imperial Red via Reddit

The (Philodendron) Rojo Congo 

This is a pretty indoor plant with large leaves. It is chosen by many gardeners for its appealing foliage and flower coloration. It thrives in well-lit and warm settings, but it is not too difficult to grow or maintain. 

Fun Fact: They are the plant of choice for most nurseries and clinics. The Rojo Congo also goes by the name “Red Congo”. 

Here is a snapshot of the Rojo or Red Congo: 

Philodendron Rojo Congo Philodendron Imperial Red Vs Rojo Congo
Philodendron Rojo Congo via Reddit

Similarities Between Philodendron Imperial Red Vs Rojo Congo

First, let’s start by looking into the similarities of the Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo. 

1. Growing Conditions 

Since they are both Philodendrons, the Imperial Red and Rojo Congo share very similar growing conditions. 

  • Soil 

Both plant species should be grown in a pot, indoors. The potting soil should be porous and loose. Hence, the plants’ roots can breathe, and any water can drain well. Adding chinky coco chips, gravel, bark bits, and sand Is recommended for either species. 

As for the organic matter, decomposed and sterile peat moss, sphagnum moss, and coco peat work for both. Plus, the organic-to-inorganic should be 50:50. If you want to avoid all the selection hassle, you can simply use a “cacti mix” for both plant species. 

  • Light 

Both the Imperial Red and Rojo Congo require a lot of indirect sunlight to thrive. Without the indirect sunlight, both plants’ bold red hue can drain off. It is best to keep them by a west or east-facing window. Otherwise, make sure you set them under fluorescent lights 12 hours a day.

Note: Although they need sunlight, do not place them under direct sunlight. This can burn their foliage. They should be about 3 to 3.5 feet away from a window. 

  • Temperature 

As a “tropical” species, both plants have no frost tolerance and thrive in warm temperatures. You need to keep them within 18 – 27°C or 65 – 80°F. 

  • During too-warm temperatures, use filtered light and water well. 
  • During too-cold temperatures, avoid cold drafts. 

Nevertheless, since these are both indoor plants, it should not be too difficult to adjust and manage the temperatures. 

2. Toxic to Pets 

Both the Imperial Red and Rojo Congo are toxic to pets. They consist of crystals that can poison your pets if ingested. Therefore, if you have pets, especially ones that cannot keep themselves away from ‘cool’ plants, you may have to reconsider growing either of these plants. 

4 Main Differences Between Philodendron Imperial Red Vs Rojo Congo

Since you have gone through the similarities, let’s now look at the differences in size, color, shape, and strength of the two plant species.  

1. Size 

  • Overall (As a Whole) 

The Imperial Red is not as large as the Rojo Congo. Whereas the latter can grow up to 4 feet high and wide, the former does not grow more than 3 feet.

Note: If you want a tall-looking plant for a corner of your home or office, then the Imperial Red is ideal. 

  • Leaves

The leaves of the Rojo Congo are longer than those of the Imperial Red. They can be as long as 10 inches, while Imperial Red leaves are usually shorter than seven inches.

2. Color 

  • Petioles (Stalks) 

The petioles are the stalks that bridge a leaf and its plant system. For the Rojo Congo, the petioles are dark red with a tint of purple—a lot brighter than the Imperial Red’s green and brownish petioles. 

Here is a photos of a Philodendron Imperial Red petioles vs Philodendron Rojo Congo petioles

  • Foliage 

The Rojo Congo, on the whole, sports darker leaves with a more apparent dark red hue. More specifically, however, the center of the lead is greenish-brown, much like its competitor: the Imperial Red. 

The darker leaves entail that there the plant can reflect more light and appear glossier. As a result, the Rojo Congo is better at highlighting an area’s beauty. 

The Imperial Red’s leaf blades are mostly dark green with several brown bits here and there. Unlike the Rojo Congo, there is no obvious, attractive red hue.

  • Flower 

Both glowers begin blooming around the second half of Spring and the result is usually a single large flower. However, the petals of the Rojo Congo are brighter with a purple color, while the Imperial Red is dark red, which makes the latter a bit less appealing. 

Here is a photo to help you imagine the plants’ flower color difference: 

3. Shape 

  • Leaves 

Aside from the size, the shape of both species’ leaves are also different. The Rojo Congo has longer and wider leaves that look like a rounded oval, while the Imperial Red’s leaves are pointed and elongated.

The latter looks slightly more elegant and sophisticated. Moreover, the Rojo Congo leaves are denser and thicker. 

4. Strength   

  • Root System 

Another difference lies in the two plants’ root systems. The Rojo Congo’s roots are larger and more developed. Thus, they are able to supply the plant with more nutrients and water.

However, they need more growing space. As such, you will need bigger pots that are at least 10 to 15 inches high and wide when planting Rojo Congos. 

Philodendron Imperial Red Vs Rojo Congo: Which Should You Get?

Now that you have all the information you need, you can make your final call. So, which plant should you get? Here is a short gist to take into account: 

  • If you have limited space and only small pots to plant but still want a pretty household plant to decorate, it is best to go with the Imperial Red. 
  • If you have an empty corner you want to spruce up with a tall plant, opt for the Imperial Red.
  • On the other hand, if you value the aesthetics of the plant more, you will be happier with the redder and glossier Rojo Congo. 
  • If you want wider, oval leaves that spread in all directions to accentuate a space, the Rojo Congo is preferable. 

To ease the ultimate decision-making process, let’s take one last look at the two plant contenders:

Both the Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo make great houseplant gifts as well. Therefore, if you intend to give either plant to someone else, you should consider the recipient’s likes and available space to make the right choice. 

One important note to consider: If you or your houseplant gift recipient takes care of pets at home/office, you may need to rethink getting either of the Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo. 


Before you reach the end of this article, here is a short section dedicated to FAQs or frequently asked questions. 

What are some tips to take care of the Philodendron Imperial Red and Rojo Congo? 

There are a few essential tips that you should always keep in mind when taking care of these two plants:

  • Change the potting soil of either plant once every two years 
  • Do not overfeed either plant with fertilizer or the stems will become brittle 
  • Remove dead and yellowed stems and leaves but do not prune the plants 
  • Spray either plant with neem oil if there are pests, such as aphids and spider mites 
  • Mist the leaves if you notice dry spots appearing on the leaves of either plant; the spots occur because of a lack of humidity 
  • Do not overwater the plants and sog the soil; watering 1 time per week is sufficient 
  • Be patient with the plants’ growth rate; the Imperial Red typically grows slower than the Rojo Congo 

With these tips up your sleeves, taking care of the Imperial Red or Rojo Congo should be a breeze! 

>> Related Post:


Hopefully, you can now make an informed decision about getting one of the two philodendrons. If you found this article on Philodendron Imperial Red Vs Rojo Congo informative and helpful, please spare a few minutes to leave a comment and share this with other readers! Be sure to tell us which plant you chose!