Philodendron Giganteum Plant Care for Beginners & Experienced Gardeners

The Philodendron giganteum is a beautiful plant that’s perfect if you need an accent piece or something to fill out space in your living room or garden.

This was and still is a plant I wanted so bad to have. But when I saw it at its full size, I knew I did not have the extra space needed inside my house to keep it there.

Alas, it is on my wish list in hopes that I can one day figure out how to accommodate its size. Hopefully, one of these days…

In any case, the Philodendron giganteum is a fast grower that can get to 4 to 5 feet tall and cover 3 or so feet from side to side. But what makes it captivating and attractive to look at are its leaves.

These are huge, green colored foliage that come in a heart shaped. They are held up at a diagonal by long, thin stems.

It is native to the Caribbean and Brazil. Thus, making it tropical and nature and a warm weather loving plant.

Philodendron Giganteum Varieties

More interestingly, there are quite a few different Philodendron giganteum varieties around. So, if you’re looking for other similarly large-leafed philodendron with similar features but different colors and variegations, here’s an illustration of the different Philodendron Giganteum varieties available.

Philodendron Giganteum varieties 1

Philodendron Giganteum varieties 2

Philodendron Giganteum Plant Care

Light Requirements

The Philodendron giganteum loves bright light. Its large, green leaves require a good amount of light to sustain the plant via photosynthesis. That said, it does not have a problem with medium or low light, which makes it easy for the plant to adapt to indoor living.

It will likewise be okay with fluorescent lighting if your apartment or home does not get ideal amounts of natural light. This is especially true during the winter.

But you want to be careful with overly dark locations or too much shade as the Giganteum will lose some of its green color. This is a result of it not getting as much light as it should plus, its way of adapting to the lack of light.

As a result, it will produce less energy from photosynthesis which also slows down its growth.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that it cannot tolerate direct sun or very intense light. The reason for this is that in its native habitat, the plant lives under the forest canopy.

So, the larger trees, their branches and leaves block out the rays of the sun. And depending on how thick the canopy is, the Philodendron giganteum receives anywhere from low to bright filtered light.

As such, by mimicking this kind of lighting, you’ll be able to help the plant flourish.



Since the Philodendron giganteum comes from the tropical forest, it is accustomed to warm weather. This gives it the ability to tolerate very hot and humid conditions.

But because it is covered by some shade of the larger trees, it stays cooler than other plants.

This is why its ideal temperature is between 55 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it has no issues with hotter climates going up as high as 90 to 95 degrees. Although the more heat there is, the better hydration it will need for optimal growth.

On the other hand, cold is a problem. The plant is sensitive to cold and cannot tolerate frost. So, if you have snow in wintertime, it is a good idea to keep the plant indoors through this season.

Outdoors it is only hardy to USDA Zones 9 to 11, which means it won’t be able to get through anything other than mild winters seen in the southern coastal states like California, Texas, Florida and Louisiana.



In the same way, its tropical nature makes it want high humidity. Ideally, it needs humidity of 60% or higher to achieve optimum growth. This will let it produce its humungous leaves and the plant grow into as big as half or an entire person if you let it.  You’ll also get the best color and vibrancy at this range.

Fortunately for us home growers, it can tolerate somewhat dry air.

I say somewhat because it can take some low humidity but only to a certain degree. To be safe, try to keep indoor humidity at least 40% and above. Although it is also to withstand levels in the 30s with proper watering.

If your home’s humidity averages in the low 30s or even the 20s, it is important to help the plant out. This can happen during very hot summers and in the winter as well. Both periods are notorious for drying up the air.

Giving the plant’s leaves a shower or a sponge bath helps. I find that their effects last a bit longer than misting, especially the showers. With sponge baths, you may need to do it 3 or even 4 times a week, so it is nearly the same as misting.

Other more passive methods are grouping it with other plants, moving the Giganteum to the bathroom and placing it on a pebble tray.

Of course, you can always pick up a humidifier and use that.


How Often to Water Philodendron Giganteum

Like other houseplants, watering the Philodendron giganteum is the toughest part of plant care. That’s because you need to find the right balance between too much and too little water.

Basically, the Giganteum loves water. And it prefers having consistently moist soil. However, if you ask the guides in the nursery, they’ll tell you to let the soil dry out.

This makes things confusing.

So instead, I prefer following two simple guides.

  • Go based on the climate of the season
  • Always check the soil before you water.

The first part is very important because how much you water will depend on the weather.

  • The more sun there is, the more water the plant needs
  • When the temperature is hotter, the plant also needs more water. But the colder it gets the longer it takes for soil to dry
  • More humid conditions means less water and vice versa
  • And so on.

Thus things change depending on the time of year.

Then your climate is also specific to where you live.

I live in Southern California where the weather is similar to the Mediterranean. It is sunny all year long and very little rain. Depending on where you live in the state, humidity can be low, medium or high as well.

So, it is important to adjust.

For my part, I water my philodendrons once every 7 days give or take 1 to 2 days. In winter that drops to around 10 to 14 days depending on how water sensitive the plant gets.

If you get hotter summers, you’ll probably need to go up to about twice a week. And, cut that back to once every 2 to 3 weeks if you have freezing winters.

In Southeast Asia and other tropical countries near the equator, they water once every day or two days. During their “colder” season (which is still hot, you can wear shorts during December to February to give you an idea), they’ll water closer to once every 3 to 7 days.

The reason why watering is very important is because the Philodendron giganteum is susceptible to overwatering (and therefore root rot). So, always side with keeping the plant on the drier side.


Philodendron Giganteum Potting Soil

Due to its size, you can grow the Philodendron giganteum in your garden. Unfortunately, because it is not frost hardy, you can only do this in USDA Hardiness Zones 9 to 11.

If you keep it in a pot, make sure that the plant gets soil that drains well and provides good aeration. Thus, a light, well-draning, chunky or airy mix works best.

In case you have cactus or succulent potting mix around, you can used that. Similarly, you can go with potting mix with added perlite. If you have peat moss, you can go with that instead of the potting mix.

I like to use an Aroid mix for my philodendrons because it works pretty well for them. Also, it makes things easier since I don’t have to use so many different kinds of potting soil for different philo varieites.

Does the Philodendron Giganteum Climb?

Yes, it will climb if you let it. This is something that it likes to do. And clinging onto larger objects or plants allows it to grow bigger because it has more space to expand.

That said, it is not necessary to give it a moss pole or other structure to climb.



If you use potting soil with compost or worm castings, you don’t have to use as much fertilizer. This is another reason why I like Aroid mixes. The recipes I have include components that are rich in organic matter which helps the plant.

That said, fertilizer plays an important role if you want to maximize the growth of your Philodendron giganteum.

You can use an all-purpose liquid fertilizer twice a month during its growing season. Then stop completely during the winter.

Make sure to choose a produce that contains calcium and magnesium because deficiencies in either or both can cause pale colored leaves.

Magnesium is particular important if you want large, green leaves. This mineral plays an important role in the production of chlorophyll which is the pigment that makes the leaves colored green.

More importantly, chlorophyll is what allows the leaves to absorb sunlight to use in photosynthesis to create food and energy for the plant.

So, lack fo this will affect its health and growth.



The most alluring thing about the Philodendron giganteum are its huge leaves. And to support such foliage, the plant will grow to a fairly large size as well.

Don’t be surprised to see them get to 4 to 5 feet tall and cover about 3 to 4 feet side to side. I remember seeing one in Asia that was about the size of a whole person.

Unfortunately, it was that moment that also swayed me not to get the plant because I knew I wanted to keep it indoors but don’t have that kind of free space to give one plant.

The interesting thing is that the plant starts out fairly small. This means you can keep it on a tabletop or counter for a while. But over time, it will find its way to the floor as it gets bigger.

As big as it can get, I don’t advise on pruning it beyond removing old, dead and yellow leaves. That’s because it does not produce a ton of leaves like the vining philodendrons.

And, each leaf it does produce is huge. They’re also why you grow the plant.

As such, you want the plant to grow as bushy as it possibly can because that’s when it looks amazing.


How to Propagate Philodendron Giganteum

The Philodendron giganteum is a self-header. So, you won’t get a lots of thin, long stems to propagate. Instead, what you’ll see are a few stems coming out from the center (usually 6 or fewer of these with average sized plants and less than 10-12 for larger Giganteum).

Also, there will be some larger stems that branch out to multiple smaller stems. Finally, you’ll need something more sturdy than a pair or scissors. A small knife is the best tool since you can enter through different angles. But pruning shears work well too.

Here’s how to propagate Philodendron giganteum from cuttings.

  • Start by going to the base of the plant. Depending on how big your plant is you could have a small trunk-like feature that extends as high as 6 to 8 inches from the soil. And, from there, different stems will come out. For smaller Giganteum, the stems will be closer to the ground.
  • You’ll also see lots of aerial roots which you should use to your advantage. Including these roots with your cuttings will speed up the initial growth of your new plant so you don’t wait as long.
  • Next, it is time to choose which stem/stem segments you want to cut. You can get on stem or a larger stem that branches out of multiple stems. It is up to you.
  • Take your knife and cut the stem below the aerial roots. The lower you go the thicker and tougher it will be to cut through. So be careful not to hurt yourself with knife.
  • Once you cut the stem, you’ll see an entire white cross section on both the cut ends. You can cover with is fungicide to prevent infection.
  • Next prepare a new container and fill it with fresh potting mix. Choose a pot that fits the stem you took. If you took one with multiple branches you may have a few leaves with that. So, you might need a larger pot to balance the its top heavy nature.
  • Once you’ve planted the cutting, take care of the new plant like you would the parent plant.


How to Repot or Transplant Philodendron Giganteum

The Philodendron giganteum will need repotting every 2 to 3 years. Although I do prefer using this as a guide and check what the plant is telling me.

In most cases, the plant will give you hints to what it is feeling. And, you’ll be able to see this in its leaves, roots, color and overall statues. With repotting, the roots are where you want to look.

The sign will come once the roots start coming out from the surface of the soil or the holes at the bottom of the container. However, unlike other plants, you can take your time with the Giganteum because it enjoys being root bound.

The best time to repot is during the spring and summer.

Because the Philodendron giganteum produces quite a bit of aerial roots and its base will look like a tightly wound cylinder with the stems coming out from it, you want to be careful when taking the plant out.

Take the entire root ball out of its current pot and place it in a container that is 2 to 3 inches larger with some fresh potting soil in it. Then insert the root ball into the new container and backfill the soil.


Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

Please note that the Philodendron giganteum is toxic when ingested. This means it is important to keep young children and pets away from the plant to avoid any accidental chewing or consumption.


Problems & Troubleshooting

How to Make Philodendron Giganteum Fuller/Bushier?

Self-heading philodendron work differently to vining ones. As you’ve seen above, propagating is different. Also, pruning does not help to encourage more growth. So, you can’t simply pinch it back and wait for more stems and leaves. Also, there are much fewer stems and they are firmer as well.

So the best way to make the Philodendron giganteum fuller is to help it produce more foliage. This means giving it enough light (preferably natural light), space (repot when needed), humidity, and water.

Also, nitrogen rich fertilizer will help a lot. Nitrogen is the N in the N-P-K numbers you see in the label. So, you want that number to be the biggest of the three or at least equal to the others.

However, be careful not to add too much fertilizer as this will destroy the plant eventually.


Brown Leaves and Tips

Brown leaf tips are usually a sign that there’s a moisture issue. This can mean lack of humidity or sometimes not enough water.

As such, check both and use the process of elimination.

I keep a digital hygrometer near my plants so I can check the humidity on a daily basis. This lets me keep a mental note of what the levels are. In case something happens, I have an idea of what are the potential thresholds where certain plants grow better or start to suffer.

If humidity is not the problem, check the soil next.

Odds are the soil will by bone dry. If this is the case, add water and adjust watering frequency.


Yellow Leaves

Often overwatering the main cause of yellow leaves. Although, there are other reasons as well.

To make sure, check the soil. If it feels mucky and wet, it means the plant is getting too much water. Thus, cut back of frequency.


Pale Leaf Color

Pale leaf color can happen when the plant lacks light. Keep in mind that the green leaves are that color because of chlorophyll. This occurs naturally in plants.

Just as importantly, light allows the plant to go through photosynthesis where it creates its own food which it then turns to energy.

If it goes not get enough light, it will become weak. Lack of light forces the plant to adapt. And in doing so it uses less energy which causes slower growth and fewer leaf production. It also cuts down on overall energy consumption. So you get lighter color leaves.

Another reason for pale leaves is mineral deficiency. With philodendrons, lack of calcium and magnesium can cause this. Magnesium is also used by plants to create chlorophyll. So, when it is deficient in magnesium, there will be a lack of chlorophyll, which results in a pale green color.



Pest and insects are always a problem with houseplants. And the Philodendron giganteum is no exception. A few common pests that like to bug this plant are mealybugs, thrips, scales and aphids.

Keeping the plant healthy is the best way to prevent pests. Stress increases the risk.

Meanwhile, cleaning the leaves also helps prevent them from happening. You can also wipe them with neem oil or insecticidal soap once a month to keep insects away.



Root rot and leaf disease are the biggest things you want to avoid when it comes to diseases. Both are caused by excess moisture. But in different ways.

Root rot is caused by overwatering the soil. It also happens with regular waterlogging.

Meanwhile, leaf disease is caused by wet foliage that does not dry fast enough.

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