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Philodendron Moonlight vs Lemon Lime: 5 Key Differences

Even though Lemon Lime and Moonlight are both part of the philodendron family, they have several key differences. Yet, they also share many traits, making it entirely reasonable to compare these two fascinating plants.

The Philodendron Moonlight and Philodendron Lemon Lime differ primarily in their leaf color and growth habits. Philodendron Moonlight features bright, neon green leaves that maintain their vibrant color as they mature. In contrast, Philodendron Lemon Lime has chartreuse or bright lemon-lime colored leaves, which may slightly mellow as the plant ages.

Moonlight typically has a more upright growth pattern, whereas Lemon Lime exhibits a more sprawling or vining habit. Both plants thrive in similar conditions, preferring indirect light and moist, well-draining soil, making them popular choices for indoor gardening.

philodendron lemon lime vs philodendron moonlight

Philodendron Lemon Lime and Philodendron Moonlight

Philodendron Lemon Lime Philodendron Moonlight
USDA Hardiness zone 10-11 10-11
Mature height 50” (0.5 m) 20” (0.5 m)
Mature width 10” (0.25 m) 20” (0.5 m)
Growth rate fast fast
Habit vine bush
Light exposure indirect indirect
Soil well-drained well-drained
Soil pH 6.4-7.3 6.4-7.3
Watering 1-2 times per week 1-2 times per week
Diseases fungus fungus
Pests insects insects

Philodendron Moonlight vs Lemon Lime: Growth Habit

The main difference between Lemon Lime and Moonlight is their growth patterns. Lemon Lime is a classic climbing philodendron, typical in the rainforests of South America, where it attaches to large trees, growing upwards and slightly outwards.

Moonlight, in contrast, is a self-heading philodendron. Its central stem grows only a little each year, and it has longer leaf stalks that tend to droop under the weight of the leaves, creating a wider, bush-like shape.

While Moonlight grows bushy, Lemon Lime takes on a vine-like form. One downside of Lemon Lime is that it requires support to climb, unlike Moonlight. Additionally, it may need occasional trimming, as these plants can grow quite long in nature, a topic we’ll delve into later.

Philodendron Moonlight vs Lemon Lime: Color

Lemon Lime’s young leaves start off as yellow with a hint of pink, a trait common in many yellow-leafed plants. Over time, they transition to a lemon yellow color. Upon reaching full maturity, the leaves become lime green, though not as vivid as those of its counterpart.

In contrast, Moonlight’s young leaves are also bright yellow but lack the pink tinge. As they mature, they darken to a more intense green. The vibrancy of Moonlight’s color remains high and consistent as the leaves age.

Philodendron Moonlight vs Lemon Lime: Leaves

Lemon Lime features leaves that are 6-8 inches long and 5-6 inches wide. The leaves, with short petioles attached to a long stem, have a more rounded appearance and a pronounced heart shape due to their length-to-width ratio. Additionally, Lemon Lime tends to have more leaves than its counterpart.

In comparison, Moonlight’s leaves are about 10 inches long and 5 inches wide. These narrower leaves are connected to long petioles, which give them an elongated visual appearance.

Overall, the larger and longer blades of Moonlight’s leaves give a more robust look compared to the medium-sized leaves of the Lemon Lime on its climbing vine.

Philodendron Moonlight vs Lemon Lime: Origin

Lemon Lime originated from a laboratory in China, discovered as a spontaneous mutation among numerous Philodendron domesticum. Its vibrant foliage has made it a favorite in the homes of many tropical plant enthusiasts.

The origins of Moonlight are less clear. It’s likely a hybrid philodendron, valued for its many benefits. The specific details of its origin, while intriguing, are not crucial to its popularity among plant lovers.

Philodendron Moonlight vs Lemon Lime: Pruning

Lemon Lime, being a vine, can grow quite tall. To maintain its compact shape and avoid constantly enlarging the support structure, it’s advisable to trim it. Spring is the best time for this. Cut just above the leaf node, using a sharp and sterile tool to prevent infection. Keeping the cut wounds clean and allowing them to dry quickly is important.

Moonlight, on the other hand, grows slowly in height and doesn’t require frequent trimming. The main pruning needed is preventive. Periodically remove older leaves from the bottom to promote the growth of new leaves. Also, any dead leaves should be removed as soon as they are noticed.

Philodendron Moonlight vs Lemon Lime: Similarities

Let’s dive into what Philodendron Moonlight and Lemon Lime have in common:

  • Easy to Care For: Both varieties are pretty similar in their care needs. There might be tiny differences, but generally, their growing requirements are alike.
  • Light Requirements: These philodendrons thrive in indirect, bright sunlight. They naturally grow under large trees, so direct sun can harm them. Place them near a window, but not directly in front of it, unless it’s a north-facing room.
  • Love for Warmth: Originating from the tropics, these plants prefer a warm environment. Aim for a cozy temperature around 70-75 °F. Avoid cold temperatures, as they can slow down the plant’s growth or cause harm.
  • Moderate Humidity is Key: They do well in normal room humidity, but for optimal growth, aim for about 70% humidity. Avoid placing them near heat sources.
  • Watering Schedule: Watering these philodendrons about twice a month works well. Check the soil’s dryness; if it’s more than half dry, it’s time to water. Water more in summer and less as winter approaches.
  • The Right Soil: They need well-drained, loose soil. Mix potting soil with quality compost for the best results. Some growers use bark, but that requires a different watering routine.
  • Feeding Habits: Due to their fast growth, regular feeding is important. Fertilize once a month during active growth seasons, reduce in autumn, and stop in winter. Liquid fertilizers or those with a balanced NPK formula are great choices.
  • Pests and Diseases: Generally, these plants don’t face many diseases indoors. However, overwatering or poor air circulation can cause problems. For pests like aphids or spider mites, use horticultural oil, insecticides, or acaricides.
  • Toxicity: Be aware that both varieties are toxic. If ingested, they can cause nausea or vomiting, so it’s best to keep them away from children and pets.