Of all the members in the Araceae family, few get more attention than those of the genus Philodendron (fil-oh-DEN-dron).
These benign plants range from creepers to epiphytes, with foliage that keeps them in high demand.
However, one of the rarest and most interesting dwarf cultivars from these perennial Central and South American plants has to be Philodendron ‘Paraiso Verde,’ or green paradise philodendron.
Sometimes also referred to as Marina Ruy Barbosa, it has another form known as Philodendron ‘Paraiso Verde Variegata.’
Philodendron ‘Paraiso Verde’ Care
Size and Growth
As mentioned, this is a dwarf plant, so you’re likely to only get a maximum height of 15″ to 20″ inches out of it indoors, and that’s only if you give it a bamboo pole or other form of support o cling to.
It’s a fast grower and prefers a vertical growth habitat, although it can also be left to creep.
The funny thing about this is that the plant’s leaves can grow up to 10″ inches long, making the plant appear almost boxy.
However, the thick, leathery leaves are really the main attraction here, so this squared-out shape is well worth it.
Each leaf is long and thin, and the exact coloration can vary from one leaf to the next.
Some will be a uniform green, while others might display lighter or darker green marbling.
This variegation contradicts logic, as variegated patterns normally fade in lower light but only become apparent in green paradise when the light is lower.
Flowering and Fragrance
Philodendrons aren’t keen on captivity, and a potted specimen will seldom bloom.
In the rare event your’s does, however, you can expect a rather ordinary inflorescence with greenish-white flowers.
Light and Temperature
Philodendrons are adapted to live under a forest canopy, so they scorch easily in direct sunlight.
That said, you can give your green paradise some direct exposure in the morning or evening as long as it has shade during the harsher afternoon.
Bright, indirect sunlight is certainly the game’s name if you want the best out of your plant, but it can tolerate partial shade, which (contrary to logic) can result in variegation.
Try placing it beside a south-facing window where the sun’s rays won’t hit it directly or protect it with a sheer curtain.
You can also augment lower light levels with a grow lamp placed a few feet away.
Another thing to remember is that this plant is a little more demanding than other Philo regarding humidity levels.
It can tolerate a range of 50% to 75% percent, but lower will dry it out and higher increases the risk of fungal infections.
A general consensus among growers is that the plant does best at 65 to 75% percent humidity levels.
This can be accomplished by using a pebble tray, humidifier, or grouping plants together.
The plant’s thick leaves make it less prone to damage in sudden drafts, although this can still stress the plant out.
Therefore, you’ll want to keep it away from vents, air conditioners, and frequently opened doors.
If you live in USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11, you can actually grow your ‘Paraiso Verde’ outdoors and possibly get a little extra height out of it.
However, it’s much harder to control Mother Nature than to control the conditions in your home, so you may wish to only take the plant outside during nice weather.
Also, remember that the plant only tolerates a temperature range of 55° to 85° degrees Fahrenheit.
Anything below 50° degrees Fahrenheit can cause permanent damage, and above 90° degrees Fahrenheit will result in major stress and possible permanent damage.
Below 60° degrees Fahrenheit, the plant will begin growing slower and may go dormant.
That said, a great temperature range to aim for is 65° to 75° degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 60° to 70° degrees Fahrenheit at night.
Watering and Feeding
As with most plants, you can’t go wrong using the soak and dry method to water this plant.
Always use room temperature distilled water or natural rainwater to minimize the risk of chemical burns or other adverse reactions.
Using the finger trick, you’ll want to water the plant whenever the soil feels dry 1” inch down (essentially to the first knuckle of your index finger).
Pour slowly and evenly, ensure not to get the plant itself wet, and work your way around the stem as you go.
Stop when the soil is no longer absorbing as fast as you pour or you see water beginning to seep from the drainage holes.
You might be wondering just how much fertilizer you’ll need to keep such a fast grower going but probably aren’t expecting that answer to be “none.”
That’s right; fertilizer is technically optional because you give it fresh soil every year at the beginning of its growing season.
However, this does slow the plant’s growth and can stunt it, so a bit of fertilizer can go a long way.
One of the best things you can give it is a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer once every 6 to 8 weeks during the spring and summer.
Be sure to stop when autumn approaches, as the plant will be dormant throughout the cooler seasons.
Alternatively, you can sprinkle some worm castings on top of the soil (obviously, don’t use this if you made your own mix that already has castings in it) right after repotting to give it all the nutrition it will need for the year.
Soil and Transplanting
Any good African violet mix with a little added perlite will work wonders for this Philo, but you can also make your own soil-free mix.
One popular recipe is to combine:
- 4 parts coconut coir
- 2 parts of orchid bark
- 1 part activated charcoal
- 1 part perlite
- 1 part pumice
- 1 part worm castings
The soil needs to be slightly acidic to neutral, meaning a pH range of 6.1 to 7.4.
However, it’s usually best to aim for a pH of around 6.5, making the soil compatible with most houseplants.
You will need to repot your green paradise annually in the spring to replenish the soil and (if there are signs of root-binding) give it a slightly larger container.
Grooming And Maintenance
While a fast grower, you won’t need to do a lot of maintenance for this Philo beyond occasionally cutting back a leggy stem or removing damaged or diseased leaves.
Wipe the foliage down occasionally to aid in photosynthesis.
You can also pinch the stem just above a leaf node to encourage fuller growth.
How To Propagate Marina Ruy Barbosa?
As this is a cultivar, propagation through seeds is highly discouraged (unless you want the parent plant, that is).
Instead, the best method of propagating this short vine is through stem cuttings, which may be rooted in either soil or water.
Green Paradise Pests Or Diseases
While easy to maintain, this plant is not entirely immune to pests and disease, especially if not adequately watered.
Aphids, mealybugs, scale, and spider mites are the most common pests, while fungal infections and root rot are your most likely infection risks.
Also, be warned that this plant (like all in its genus) contains high calcium oxalate crystals, which can be mild to moderately toxic in humans and pets.
Philodendron ‘Paraiso Verde’ Uses
The small stature of this Philo makes it a great choice for tables or shelves, although it’s not as attractive in a hanging basket as other Philos.
It can brighten a room with enough light for its variegated patterns to show.
Also, as with all philodendrons, this plant helps to remove dangerous toxins from the air.