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Philodendron White Knight Care & Propagation

Learn about philodendron white knight care and propagation! This gorgeous variety of philodendron has pretty white and green leaves and makes a perfect addition to your variegated houseplant collection.

Philodendron white knight care…is it hard?

Alright everyone, it’s time for a philodendron white knight care guide! I did not get my white knight until recently…and why is that? Because it has been pricey for a long time!

But the big retailer Costa Farms recently announced they were rolling out philodendron white knight as a part of their Trending Tropicals collection. This was pretty shocking, because the plants in Costa’s Trending Tropicals are always super affordable.

philodendron white knight plant

In fact, you can get a sizable philodendron white knight from Costa’s website for $50 (if it’s in stock!). I even used a $10 coupon I had, so mine was $40. Once they appear in stores, they will likely be at a price point of about $20.

So that means these gorgeous plants are now accessible to way more people…including me! I have to be choosy about what I drop a few hundred bucks on (like my Thai constellation monstera plants…). 

So I had to order one of these white knights to see if it was all it was cracked up to be! Costa did roll out pink princess philodendrons a few months ago, but I wasn’t too tempted. The variegation on the ones I was seeing online wasn’t that impressive. But the white knights? They look pretty fab!

philodendron white knight leaf

What does a philodendron white knight look like?

A philodendron white knight has lovely deep red stems that look a lot like pink princess philodendron stems. The leaves, however, are a deep green with bright white variegation. Not ivory, not cream. Bright white.

When was the philodendron white knight created?

I’ve searched and cannot find the origins of this plant. I assume it is a cultivar grown from a mutation in the plant, but I can’t find a patent or anything about who created it. If you know, I’d love to know!

philodendron white knight leaf

Is philodendron white knight rare?

Philodendron white knight has traditionally been a rare plant, yes. You can still find it on Etsy and other online shops for over $100—and those seem to be plants in a variety of sizes.

However, whenever a plant is mass produced, the prices will come down. And this then makes the plant less rare. Being “rare” is also a funny concept…a plant that is rare in one area of the country or world can be totally different from another.

So, if you have the money to spend, have at it! Who knows how widely Costa Farms will release their philodendron white knights. And they seem to be going in and out of stock on the website. (Writing this as of August 15, 2022.) If you can snag a cheap one, why not?

philodendron white knight plant

Is white knight a stable variegation?

I will say yes, and here’s why. Variegated plants can be dicey no matter the plant, and growing conditions are important. But the white knights in circulation now have been bred from other plants with strong variegation.

And…here’s the thing. I don’t think a big plant producer would pick this plant up as part of its flagship collection if the variegation weren’t stable. It’s why albo monsteras aren’t mass produced. The variegation is very unstable.

philodendron white knight leaves

How do I get more variegation in white Knight?

Variegated plants do sometimes lose their variegation, though. And leaves can have different levels of variegation, so don’t panic if you get a new leaf that isn’t as variegated. 

As I recommend in my philodendron birkin care post—a plant with the same issue—simply cut off a new leaf if it seems to be reverting and totally losing variegation. Make sure the plant is getting plenty of bright indirect light, which helps encourage good variegation.

philodendron white knight plant
philodendron white knight leaves

How do you take care of a white knight?

So let’s jump into caring for this plant. It isn’t a hard plant to care for. But as a variegated plant, there are a few additional considerations to take.

Lighting needs

Bright indirect light is best for optimal philodendron white knight care. By a sunny window is perfect. As I mentioned, light is super important for maintaining variegation. That’s because the white areas on the leaves have less chlorophyll, which is what the plant uses to convert light into growth.

If the window gets too much sun in the afternoon, you may want to move it a bit farther away from the sun. That’s because the plant can scorch or burn with too much direct light. 

Particularly the white areas on the plant. However, I rarely have problems with scorching indoors. You may be lucky with a sunnier home, though.

Variegated plants can generally do well in medium light levels, but their beautiful variegated patterns may suffer and either dull a bit or completely revert.

If you choose to move your philodendron outdoors for the spring and summer, a shady spot is great. Under a covered patio or canopy of a dense tree works just fine. Some direct morning sunlight is probably fine outdoors.

philodendron white knight leaves
philodendron white knight plant

Philodendron white knight care & the best soil

Soil is not a huge issue as long as it’s well-draining. Any high-quality soil labeled “indoor” or “houseplant” will work great. I generally like to add a handful or two of shredded coco coir to these mixes for philodendrons, too.

Take a look at what mixture the plant comes in for a hint at what it might like living in for the long haul, too. A well-draining mix helps a lot when it comes to your watering routine.

philodendron white knight plant

Watering routine

And speaking of watering and its relationship with soil…checking your soil is the best way to know if your plant needs more water. Water your philodendron white knight when the top few inches of soil dries out.

If you underwater your plant, the leaves will droop, and you might see the bottom leaves begin to yellow and wilt off. (I have experienced this with my silver sword philodendron—oops.)

If you overwater your plant, it will likely lead to root rot. This occurs when the soil is wet for too long, which suffocates the roots. A light, well-draining soil and letting the top few inches of soil dry out before watering again prevents this and encourages oxygen flow to the roots.

For philodendrons like this one, I typically water once a week in the spring and summer and once every 10-14 days when the temperature drops in the fall and winter.

Why is my white knight yellow?

If the leaves on your white knight are turning yellow, it’s likely related to watering. For example, if the leaves are fading and turning yellow while the soil is wet, it’s likely a result of overwatering and root rot.

However, if the soil is very dry to the touch and leaves are turning yellow—especially the older leaves—it’s probably due to depriving the plant of water.

philodendron white knight

Temperature & humidity needs

Speaking of temperature, the philodendron white knight enjoys a variety of normal household temperatures and humidity levels. For temperature, it is happiest in the 70s and 80s Fahrenheit.

This is not a cold or frost hardy plant. So if your location gets down into the 40s or lower (Fahrenheit) and you have the plant outdoors, it needs to come inside. I love summering my plants outside, but they gotta come in around late September/early October.

While the white knight does fine in average household humidity, it will do best in the higher end of normal. For example, 50% humidity. That’s what my house is normally in the summer since it’s soo humid where I live.

However, in the fall, winter, and early spring, the humidity levels drop down. Adding a humidifier might be a good option. Air that is too dry can lead to pests like spider mites indoors, which I’ve dealt with on my birkin before. 

philodendron white knight

How fast does white knight grow?

Philodendron white knight is actually a relatively slow grower. A lot of variegated plants are—remember, the white areas might be pretty, but they generate no energy for the plant to help it grow.

You can help your white knight grow as best as possible by giving it optimal care conditions and adding a pole for it to climb. If you use something like a moss pole, the plant will reward you with larger leaves, too.

I would not recommend repotting your plant until the roots begin growing out of your plant pot’s holes. That—or when the roots are circling the inside of the pot so much that you can pull the entire plant, root ball, and soil out of the pot at the same time without making a mess. 

philodendron white knight leaves

How do you propagate a white knight philodendron?

I recommend propagating a philodendron white knight cutting in sphagnum moss and perlite. To get started, make sure you take a cutting of your philodendron with a few leaves and 1-2 nodes.

Dampen some sphagnum moss and mix with perlite. Add to a cup or a clear plastic propagation box. Add the cutting and make sure to keep it humid (either with a box and lid or a plastic baggie).

Make sure the moss doesn’t dry out completely. It should remain damp, but not wet. Keep the plant warm as well. Monitor root growth, and once the roots are a few inches long, you can transition the cutting to soil. 

After transitioning the cutting to soil, keep it moist for a few weeks while the roots adjust. Then back off the watering and treat the plant as normal.

pink princess philodendron cutting
Pink princess philodendron cutting rooting in moss
philodendron white knight

What is the difference between philodendron white knight and white princess?

You might be confused seeing the names “white knight” and “white princess.” Are they the same plant? No, they aren’t—but they are really similar. They’re both philodendrons.

In general, the white princess is lighter than the white knight. It’s kind of like a cross between a white knight and a pink princess, in my opinion. The plant can have pink hues in addition to green and white.

Is the philodendron white knight pet safe?

No, this plant can lead to gastrointestinal issues if ingested by humans or pets. It is not meant for consumption. Keep it away from nibblers.

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