Love for plant burns strong

Collector plant produces color that is best in areas with a lot of sunlight

This+plant+appears+to+be+on+fire+with+deep+contrast+in+the+leaves+between+greens+and+oranges.

SANDI KOBIESA

This plant appears to be on fire with deep contrast in the leaves between greens and oranges.

SANDI KOBIESA, Managing editor

Johnny Cash has several catchy songs and some fire hits. One of them is “Ring of Fire.” Now, you may be thinking, why the heck are we talking about this classic singer with classic songs?

Well, sweet plant friends, last week, I purchased one of my wish list plants, the philodendron Ring of Fire. And to pay tribute to one of my favorite singers, his name had to be Johnny Cash. 

Johnny has the most beautiful variegated leaves, which was the first (and let’s be honest) only thing I noticed about him. As the official name implies, the plant looks like it’s on fire. The green of the leaves has an intense contrast against the orangey-pink splashes.

There are several types of philodendrons: you have a beautiful vining plant, your standard straight up bushy type and your climbers. 

Johnny Cash is your classic bushy guy, so he doesn’t need a moss pole or to vine down. Convenient for me, I don’t have space for a climbing plant right now (not that it stops me).

To help promote more of the variegation on the leaves, I have Mr. Cash directly underneath a grow light. As with many variegated plants, the higher the light, the higher the variegation. So, like many of my collector plants, he is sitting in my greenhouse IKEA glass cabinet. 

With him being in the cabinet, he gets that extra humidity. This is always a plus, as their natural habitat is a tad bit more humid than Eastern Washington can provide. 

I currently have this bad boy in sphagnum moss, but I will be transitioning him into a chunky aroid mix. My sweet baby came to me from A Modern Plantsman in Colfax. What I really appreciate about their plant store is they propagate from a mother plant and raise the baby until they have extremely established roots and are in good condition. 

Not many shops keep mother plants and propagate from them. A Modern Plantsman does it; C&M Nursery in Richland, Washington, does it; Kent East Hill in Seattle does it. Those are the only ones I know of. 

Buying unrooted cuttings or poorly established plants can be a very stressful process; trust me, I know. I currently have a philodendron melanochrysum propagating, and it has been causing an insane amount of stress in my plant life. 

Anyways, I apologize for that rant. The philodendron Ring of Fire is considered a collectors plant, so the price point is a little pricey. I spent a little less than $150 but definitely more than $125 for that plant. No complaints from me; I was just beyond happy to add this plant to my collection. 

Like I’ve said before, any philodendron is a good starter collector plant, and the Ring of Fire, aka Johnny Cash, is included in that.