Differences & Similarities of Philodendron Black Knight & Black Cardinal

Philodendron Black Knight vs Black Cardinal, is one of the most asked questions about philodendron. Because these two are the most popular houseplants and both are very amazing plants. We people are often confused with them because of their similar appearance.

The color and outlook of these plants are almost the same. But actually, they have some important differences. It’s not too difficult to separate them. But sometimes people face problems identifying the Black Knight and Black Cardinal.

 This article is about the basic differences between Black Knight and Black Cardinal. In this article, the comparison between these two plants is shown so that you can easily identify each one.

Actually, there are many similarities too and the similarities are more than differences between these two plants. That’s why people often get confused.

Philodendron Black knight VS Black Cardinal: What is the difference?

The main difference between a Black knight and Black Cardinal is, Black Knight has dark burgundy color and heart-shaped leaves, Black Cardinal has a Blackish green color and round, oval-shaped leaves. Black Cardinal grows slower than Black Knight. 

The Black Knight requires 55°F temperature whereas Black Cardinal requires 60 – 70°F temperature. Partial Shade and indirect sunlight are best for growing Black knight plants and it requires very little watering.

On the other side, Black Cardinal plants grow well in bright light and indirect sunlight and an average amount of water is required for good growth. 

The mature height of Black knight is 3m and width is 0.5m where Black Cardinal Plants are found with 2.5 to 3 feet mature height and 12 to 16 inches width.

Comparison Table of Black Cardinal and Black Knight

ObjectsBlack KnightBlack Cardinal
LeavesDark burgundy (almost black color) and heart-shapedBlackish green color and more round, oval-shaped
GrowthSlowToo slow
Mature height and widthHeight – 3 meter width – 0.5 meterHeight – 2.5 to 3 feet width – 12 to 16 inches
temperature55F60-70F
LightPartial shade, indirect sunlightBright light, indirect sunlight
WaterVery little waterAverage water
Comparison table

Overview of Philodendron Black Knight and Philodendron Black Cardinal

Philodendron black cardinal is a very common philodendron grown nowadays. The botanical name of this plant is Philodendron ‘Black Cardinal’ and the common name is Black Cardinal philodendron, philodendron.

Often it creates confusion between Philodendron black cardinal and black knight because they are almost identical. Philodendron Black Knight has the same common name and the Latin name, Philodendron ‘Black Knight’.

Both plants belong to the Araceae family. They are the two different species in the genus Philodendron. The scientific name of the Black cardinal is P. bipinnatifidum. Because of their almost similar appearance, it can cause a lot of confusion in identifying these two plants.

Both plants seem similar in color. Though they are closely similar, they have distinct differences. Black cardinal has blackish-green leaves and glossy bronze.

It is not a climbing plant. It has the same growth habit as Prince of orange, Rojo congo. On the other side, the black knight has black leaves and might be the darkest and will climb.

It has a similar growth habit to the Pink Princess. Both black cardinal and black knight require similar care and are considered low maintenance. 

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Why identification matters

The main reason to find out the true identity of a plant is botanical curiosity. In spite of having some similarities, Black Knight and Black cardinal have many differences. 

The leaves of Black knight are more heart-shaped than black cardinal. The black knight is a bit pointer and a darker version of erubescens.

Black cardinals are slower growing than black knights. Both plants are toxic. The leaves and stems of black cardinals are poisonous and juices are irritated to skin. 

On the other hand, all parts of black knight plants contain oxalate crystals which irritate the mouth and esophagus.

Important differences which help them identify properly:

Philodendron Black Cardinal

Philodendron Black cardinals are low-growing clumping hybrids that have dark green or almost black leaves. The color of new emerging leaves has a beautiful glossy bronze color.

 In well-drained and moist soil, Black cardinals grow best. It requires average water and grows well in small spaces. Leaves can become pale and brown because of too much light or too little humidity and soil moisture.

It prefers tropical or subtropical climates, or warm, frost-free regions. In shady gardens, the Black cardinal philodendron is a fantastic understory plant and also an excellent houseplant in bright, warm indoor spaces.

It is also noted that it does not like wet or cold soils. All parts of Black cardinal leaves and stems are toxic and poisonous and people face skin irritation because of the juices.

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Philodendron Black Knight

Climbers and non-climbing varieties are the two popular types of Philodendron Black knights. The climbers need to be provided firm support for the stems; if you do so then it will be suited to the average room. It produces aerial roots from the stems.

Most of the non-climbers have large, deeply lobed leaves and they are capable of growing into immense plants. These plants require average warmth, not less than 55F in winter. The foliage of ‘Black knight’ is almost black (dark burgundy) in color.

Early spring is the best planting time for Black knights. It should be planted in a location with bright, indirect sunlight. Too much light can cause the leaves to turn yellow. If stems are long and leggy, it indicates that the plants are most likely to be receiving insufficient light.

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The propagation time of the plant is from early summer to late summer. Warm conditions are required for cuttings. All parts of the plant are poisonous and irritant to the mouth and esophagus.

Philodendron black knight vs. black cardinal

Leaf differences

Though these plants are closely similar, the leaves have differences that make it possible to identify them. For identifying them, checking the leaves is generally the quickest method.

Color

Philodendron Black Cardinal Leaves
Philodendron Black Cardinal Leaves

The leaves of ‘Black knight’ are dark burgundy or green (almost black) in color. ‘Black Cardinal’ has blackish-green leaves. The leaf color of these two houseplants is almost the same but the black knight leaves are darker than black cardinal leaves.

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Shape

Black knight leaves are a bit pointer and more heart-shaped than Black cardinal. The leaves of the black cardinal are more rounded shaped, broadly oval or truly lance-shaped, less pointer, and 7 to 10 inches long. Black knight leaves are longer than Black cardinal.

Philodendron Black Knight Leaves
Philodendron Black Knight Leaves

Finish

The leaves of both philodendrons have a matte-like finish and have a smooth glossy surface.

Growing Differences

Like the differences of the external look these plants also have some growing differences. Now let’s talk about the growing differences between these two plants.

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Growth rate

Philodendron Black Knight and Black Cardinal both plants are slow-growing. But comparatively the growth rate of a Black Cardinal is slower than a Black knight. Because of its low growth rate, you cannot propagate it very fast.

Mature height and width

The Black cardinal plant can be found with 2.5 to 3 feet height when it is mature. And the width is 12 to 16 inches in the mature condition.

Elsewhere the mature height of the black knight is 3 meters and the mature width is 0.50 meters. The black knight is comparatively longer in size than the black cardinal because the black knight grows faster than the black cardinal.  

Temperature

The ideal temperature for the black cardinal is 60-70F/16-24C. Plant growth becomes slowed down if the temperature goes above and beyond this.

On the other hand, The Black knight plants require average warmth, not less than 55F. Too much or too little temperature is harmful to plant growth.

Light

Black cardinal is relatively long-lasting and can thrive in many different conditions. But bright light is more suitable for this plant but not direct sun. However, it can cope with low light also.

Black knight requires partial shade, indirect sunlight. The color of leaves turns yellow if there is too much light.

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Water

Average water is required for Philodendron Black Cardinal plants. In the spring and summer seasons the soil should be kept moist but during the winter season the soil should be allowed to dry.

In Black Knight, you should give very little water than Black cardinal. It does not need so much water.

Soil

Well-drained and moist soil is best for growing Black Cardinal plants. Any high-quality and fast-draining potting mix is good for this plant. Loam and sand type soil is required for Black cardinal plants. Soil pH should be Acidic, Neutral.

For Black Knight plants, moist and free-draining soil is required.

Planting time

The best time for planting black cardinal stems is during spring or early summer. The stem is to be placed in water or moist soil and they should root quite easily.

For black knight plants, the best time to plant is Early Spring or March.

Color of a new growth

The difference between a newborn leaf and the main plant is always noticeable.

The color of new emerging black cardinal leaves is initially a burgundy red, as they mature they become dark green. The oldest leaves on the lowest part of the plant are darkest and dullest.

Black Knight does not get so fancy with its new leaves. The new growth of black knight plants is found in dark burgundy and dark green coloration. They become darker when they mature.

These are the major differences between the Philodendron Black Knight and Black Cardinal which will help you enough to identify these two plants.

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What are the similarities?  

As they both are from the same family and genus, they have many similarities. If you have them you will find them almost the same.

  • Both plants are almost similar in their appearance.
  • Both plants are slow-growing.
  • Both require bright, indirect sunlight.
  • Moist and well-drained soil is needed for both plants.
  • Both plants cannot survive when overwatered.
  • They need the same type of fertilizer and are considered low maintenance.
  • Both plans are toxic and juices are irritant to the mouth and skin.

They give almost the same type of appearance and do extremely well in offices or buildings where they can live long. They both are planted in the spring season or early summer. They look so nice in atriums indoors paired with many different plants.

Final thought

Philodendron is the most common houseplant nowadays. I think no other plants can exceed them in name recognition.

Philodendron Black Knight and Black Cardinal both are amazing houseplants and they require little care and light. Because of this, they have a unique reputation.

Most people become confused in identifying these two plants. But I think the differences between them discussed above will help enough to identify them properly.

Hope you will not face any difficulties to choose Philodendron Black Knight and Black Cardinal.

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