If you’re looking to add a beautiful, low maintenance houseplant to your indoor plant family, meet the Golden Goddess philodendron (also known as the golden philodendron or the lemon-lime philodendron). It is a gorgeous plant with eye-catching golden-yellow foliage. With age, it develops a climbing growth habit and creates a stunning display. In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know to grow this plant with success.
Meet the Golden Goddess philodendron
Of all the purchases I’ve made for my ever-growing collection of indoor plants, few have been as rewarding as philodendrons. They are low maintenance plants and are a great addition for both expert and novice houseplant growers. While I have several different types of philodendrons in my collection, the Golden Goddess philodendron is the one that garners the most attention. Each and every neon-yellow leaf on this member of the trendy philodendron family is a stand-out.
When the plant is young, it easily fits on a desk or small window shelf. But, with time, Golden Goddess matures into a climber that can vine up to 6 feet in height. In other words, the older it gets, the better it gets!
A member of the Araceae family, the leaves grow larger and bolder as the plant ages, especially if it is given a structure to climb (more on how to do that later in this article). Combine it with darker-leafed plants, such as the ZZ plant or Monstera deliciosa for an extra cool combo.
Golden Goddess vs Malay Gold vs Lemon Lime – what’s the deal?
There is a good bit of confusion around this plant and several other similar cultivars. Known botanically as Philodendron domesticum Golden Goddess, it is an unpatented variety that is a natural golden mutation of the species Philodendron domesticum, which is native to Indonesia and Thailand. ‘Malay Gold’ is a patented cultivar of Golden Goddess that is also a good choice, as is another patented cultivar named ‘Lemon Lime’ which has pink petioles and a more compact form. Once difficult to source, Golden Goddess (and its various patented cultivars) are now easy to find on the market and is available from various mail order sources.
The best light for Golden Goddess Philodendron
Warm, bright conditions are best for this houseplant. Place the pot in an east- or west-facing window so it receives bright, indirect light for a few hours each day. Light from these two exposures is considered a medium light level. If you’d like to grow Golden Goddess in a south-facing window, where the sunlight is strong for the majority of the day here in the Northern Hemisphere, place your Golden Goddess philodendron a few feet back from the window. This will position it in a bright location, without blasting it with intense direct sun.
I like to say that if your plant casts a significant shadow, that means it’s in direct sunlight that is likely to be too intense for most houseplants (with the exception of succulents, cacti, and a few other high-light lovers). North-facing windows are less than ideal for this plant which requires more light than they are able to provide (if you want to meet some great plants for north-facing windows we have them listed here).
Does humidity matter for the Golden Goddess philodendron?
Since this plant evolved in a warm, tropical rainforest climate, it makes sense that Golden Goddess philodendron prefers moderate to high humidity, which it certainly does. However, it also tolerates the lower humidity levels of the average home quite well. We have a humidistat on our furnace that enables us to control the humidity in our home throughout the winter. We keep it set at 35% in the winter months and none of my philodendrons complain (though my shingle plants often do!), despite our home being heated by a forced-air furnace. However, as with all houseplants (especially Peace Lilies), I do recommend keeping the plant away from air ducts and cold drafts.
If you’d like to increase the humidity level around your Golden Goddess philodendron to better mimic its natural habitat, place it in close proximity to a group of other houseplants. This creates a “humidity microclimate” where their transpiration collectively raises the ambient humidity in the area. You can also use a plant humidifier or put the pot on a pebble tray to raise the humidity around the plant’s foliage.
I must admit I’m an absent-minded houseplant parent when it comes to watering. I don’t keep a watering schedule or adhere to anything strict in terms of timing. Instead, I water all my houseplants based on feel. I lift the pot of each of my houseplants every week or two to feel how heavy it is. If a pot feels light, I stick my finger into the soil to see how dry it is. If the top couple inches of the soil are dry and the pot is light, it’s time to water. I do the same for my Golden Goddess philodendron.
There is no need to measure out X-number of cups of water per plant when you irrigate either. Instead, move the entire pot to the sink or bathtub and turn on the water, allowing it to flush through the pot and out the drainage holes for several minutes. Do this until the soil is thoroughly drenched then turn off the water. After the excess water drains away a few minutes later, put the plant back on display, making sure the saucer is fully emptied of water to prevent root rot. Alternatively, you can water the plant using bottom-watering, too.
A word of warning: Philodendron plants in general are sensitive to overwatering. If overwatered and left to sit in soggy soil, they will wilt and droop, which looks very much like the symptoms of underwatering too, so be careful. Feeling the weight of the pot is the best way to tell if the plant needs to be watered.
Fertilizing the Golden Goddess Philodendron
Golden Goddess philodendron should be fertilized every 4 to 6 weeks during their period of active growth, which is typically from March through August. There is no need to fertilize the plant in the autumn or winter. There are many houseplant fertilizer options, including both liquid and granular types (checkout this article for more details on houseplant fertilizer choices). Which fertilizer type you choose is up to you but be sure the NPK ratio is tailored specifically for houseplants. For my houseplants, I like to use Espoma’s Liquid Houseplant Fertilizer, but there are lots of other options out there.
Do not overfertilize your Golden Goddess philodendron. Doing so could result in tip burn, which is where the tips of the leaves turn brown and crispy. It could also yield distorted growth, salt crust on the soil or pot, and discoloration of the foliage. If you’re going to err one way or the other, opt for benign neglect and fertilize less than you think you should.
The best soil for Philodendron Golden Goddess
Like many other houseplants, the golden philodendron performs best in sterile, well-draining, sterile soil. Ideally it should be a commercial potting mix that is created specifically for houseplants. Most often these are peat-based, but there are also peat-free potting soils that are another good option. Some growers add in a few cups of orchid bark or perlite to enhance the drainage, but it isn’t necessary if you’re using a high-quality mix in the first place. Do not use dirt from your landscape to pot houseplants. Its texture is too heavy, and it’s often poorly draining. Not to mention that it could harbor pathogens like fungal spores.
Repotting a golden philodendron
As mentioned earlier, the Golden Goddess philodendron plant starts out as a cute little tabletop plant. But with the proper amount of TLC, within a two to three years, its stems will lengthen, and it will “tell” you it’s ready to climb. You’ll see tiny initial nubs of aerial roots begin to emerge from all of the leaf nodes. When you see this starting to happen, it’s ready to get moving! While you may or may not have to repot the plant prior to that shift in growth habit, it is essential that you up-pot when you see those aerial roots arrive.
Each time you repot the plant, choose a slightly larger pot that’s one to two inches wider in diameter than the previous pot, and use the potting mix recommended in the previous section. Loosen any pot-bound roots by gently teasing them apart with your fingers, and then settle the plant into its new pot. Do not bury it any deeper than it was in its previous pot.
If this up-pot is taking place at the first sign of aerial root production on your Golden Goddess philodendron, you’ll also want to provide the plant with a climbing structure at the same time. Let’s talk about that next.
Do you have to stake or support a Golden Goddess Philodendron?
Once the plant hits maturity and is ready to climb, it’s essential that you give it some kind of support system to ramble up. Some houseplant enthusiasts use a moss pole or a coir pole inserted into the pot; others prefer to use a trellis. You might opt to use a piece of rough-cut lumber or a sheet of tree bark as a support structure. Whatever you choose, it will encourage your Philodendron Golden Goddess to fully develop into the spectacular vine it is meant to be. In the jungle, these plants climb the trunks of nearby trees and envelop them with greenery. Imagine that happening to a protected wall or column inside your home!
Pruning this climbing houseplant
Pruning is occasionally necessary when caring for a Philodendron Golden Goddess plant. Your primary pruning job will be to remove any dead or yellowing leaves. Use a sharp pair of scissors or a needle-nose pruners to carefully trim off any unsightly foliage. Yes, you can prune the climbing stems if they get a little overambitious but try not to make a habit of it. It can keep the plant bushier instead of taller, but since that is not the natural habit of this plant, it’s something you can only force for so long. Eventually, if over-pruned, the plant will send out a bunch of slender side shoots which will be weak and spindly. It’s better to keep the plant unpruned and let it climb as nature intended.
Potential problems and pests
While Golden Goddess philodendron is carefree overall, occasionally problems do crop up. Common pests on this plant include spider mites, which can cover old and new leaves in a fine webbing as they suck out plant juices (learn how to control them here); fungus gnats, an annoying pest that feeds on the fungal spores naturally found in potting soils; and mealybugs, which appear as small tufts of white cottony tufts on stems and leaves. Our thorough article on houseplant pests offers safe, organic control measures for all of these philodendron pests.
Propagating Golden Goddess is easier than you might think. Stem cuttings cut from the plant can be rooted in water on a windowsill. You can also root a stem in a pot of soil while it is still attached to the mother plant. Remember those aerial roots that form when the plant is ready to climb? Well, if you bend down a branch and pin the stem into a pot of potting soil where one of the root nodes occurs, it will take root within a few weeks. The newly rooted stem can then be cut from the mother plant, and you’ll have a new plant to share with a friend.
Golden Goddess for the win
Houseplant lovers with a bright spot in a sunny window will find Golden Goddess philodendron to be a faithful leafy friend. Give it something to climb when the time is right and follow good care practices, and you’ll be rewarded with oodles of neon yellow leaves that are sure to make you smile.
For more unique houseplants to add to your collection, please visit the following articles:
- Succulents for low light
- Mother of thousands plant
- The kangaroo fern
- Silver squill plants
- ‘Gryphon’ begonias
- Anthuriums: Growing the flamingo flower
Pin this article to your Houseplants board for future reference!