The Unique Plant Joanna Gaines Keeps Above Her Fireplace

HGTV and Magnolia Network design expert Joanna Gaines is known far and wide for her green thumb. Because of this, she often decorates with lush greenery in her designs for other homeowners. In her own home, she also includes a large number of attractive and diverse plants that are placed in an ever-growing collection of vintage stone, terracotta, and brass vessels. In an Instagram reel, Gaines showed off the abundance of eye-catching plants in her living room, including a red congo philodendron perched atop her red brick fireplace mantle. 

This tropical plant with heart-shaped leaves and a red tinge offers a splash of greenery atop the stylish brick fireplace, where it accompanies an exquisitely-carved gold mirror and cozy glowing candle. While it's not very large, this plant still packs a punch and really stands out, especially because it's placed right on the mantle. Like all of the plants in Gaines' home, the green leaves offer an inviting sense of texture and color to the otherwise simple and neutral shades of the living room.

More about the red congo philodendron

The red congo philodendron (Philodendron rojo congo) is a perfect fit for this spot, as it's large enough to make an impact but not too flowing or vine-like to interfere with a working fireplace. Unlike many members of the philodendron family, the red congo boasts a single stalk and does not require climbing or guiding apparatuses but can grow to be 3 feet tall. The leaves are large and dark green, while the stalk and new growth are a vibrant red. This plant provides a small pop of color that still looks incredibly natural.

The red congo philodendron is a hybrid breed, or a mix of the imperial red philodendron that gives it its crimson coloring and the philodendron tatei which gives it its large and pointed leaves. Red congo philodendrons only require indirect sunlight but may need additional fluorescent lighting in colder and darker seasons to thrive. Unlike many other drought-friendly philodendron varieties, the red congo needs to be watered about once a week or whenever the soil is dry about 2 inches below the surface.

Styling your red congo philodendron

While Gaines' red congo philodendron is an eye-catching addition to the focal point of her living room, these plants are ideal for high locations of any kind where you want to showcase large sculptural leaves, such as the top of an armoire or bookshelf. They also make a great solution for lower spots like floors and short tables. Try placing a red congo philodendron in a tight corner spot as a vertical alternative to other more sprawling plants. However, those who have pets may want to keep this plant on a high ledge, as it is toxic if ingested. 

These plants are a perfect addition to any pretty or vintage vessel that you want to be completely visible. This is because red congo philodendrons only grow upwards on a single stalk and don't have leaves that drape down too heavily over the sides. The red congo philodendron looks beautiful as a stand-alone plant or when grouped with other plants on shelves or tables, as it will present its signature pop of red amidst the greenery.