The Philodendron Gloriosum is a rare plant that any houseplant owner would love to have. Besides being hard to find, it has a unique look to it. This is thanks to its large, heart-shaped leaves that are adorned with white veins. If you get close enough to touch them, you’ll also realize that its foliage feels like velvet.
The plant itself groups to 8 or so inches tall and about 6 inches wide. This makes it a small houseplant your can easily put anywhere. What makes it eye catching is that its leaves take up majority of the size of the plant with the smallest leaves being 4 inches long and the biggest being as big as the entire plant (8 inches).
Another thing worth noting is that the Philodendron Gloriosum is a creeper. That means it crawls on the ground instead of climbing up trees as some philodendrons are. As such, you’ll see it send up stems on a horizontal fashion from the soil.
Philodendron Gloriosum Plant Care
Philodendron Gloriosum Light
The amount of light you give your philodendron gloriosum directly affects its growth. Basically, the more light you can give it, the happier it will be. You’ll immediately be able to notice this because its leaves will be bigger when given enough illumination.
However, it needs indirect, filtered or dappled light. And, it cannot tolerate direct sunlight. Otherwise it will suffer leaf burn. And, you’ll see its foliage turn pale in color.
- As such, the best place to put your gloriosum plant is near an east facing window. The east gets morning sunlight, which is gentle. Additionally, it provides about 5-7 hours of bright natural light, depending on the time of year.
- If you decide the place it in a west or south facing window, you’ll want to keep the plant farther away from the windowsill. This keeps it from staying under direct sun.
- A north facing window is a less than ideal location for this plant because of the low light you’ll get if you live in the northern hemisphere (U.S. and Canada). This will prevent your plant from growing optimally.
Thus, if you want to keep the gloriosum in a bathroom, kitchen or bedroom, make sure there is enough bright light that’s gets through for at least a few hours a day.
Another alternative to natural light is grow lights. The philodendron gloriosum responds well to artificial light as long as it gets enough of it. But remember, you need to keep the grow lights on for longer periods of time because they don’t provide the same full light spectrum as the sun. So, you’re compensating for this by giving it more hours of light.
Additionally, do choose the right grow lights. Some produce more heat than others. As such, if you do choose a “hotter” light product, make sure to keep the plant farther away from the light. Otherwise, too much heat can burn the plant’s leaves.
That said, if you’re able to grow this tropical plant outdoors, you will want to put it under partial shade. The ideal location will be somewhere that gets a lot of bright light while hidden under shade. This keeps it away from the sun’s rays.
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Philodendron Gloriosum Temperature & Humidity
Being native to Colombia, Mexico and other parts of Central America like Venezuela and Peru, the philodendron gloriosum is used to tropical conditions. This means it needs warm, humid conditions to grow optimally.
It is also this reason why it is better suited as an indoor plant here in the U.S. The only exception is if you live in parts of USDA zone 9 or in zones 10 to 12. Although according the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), you’re most likely to see the plant in zone 11.
The reason is that your gloriosum prefers temperatures to stay between 60 and 80 degrees. The smaller middle range of 65 to 75 degrees is even better. The more consistent the temperature stays within this moderate to warm range, the happier it will be.
That said, the philodendron gloriosum can tolerate dips and rises over this range. So, as long as you keep it within 50 to 95 degrees it won’t die on you. But, extreme cold and heat are both going to put stress of your plant.
As with most tropical plants, this one is not frost hardy. This is the main reason you can’t grow it below USDA zone 9. Similarly, you will want to watch out for fall and winter nighttime temperatures which can sneak up on you because they sometimes produce sudden drops.
With this plant, humidity is less of a problem if you keep it indoors. That’s because the minimum humidity it needs is 40% which many homes achieve. However, for best results, the gloriosum prefers relatively humidity between 60% and 80%.
Thus, if you want to allow the plant to grow at its best, you’ll likely need to increase humidity around the plant.
The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to use a pebble tray. Here, you place the plant on top of rocks or pebbles that sit in a water bath. Make sure the rocks are big enough to keep the pot’s bottom away from the water. You don’t want your plant sitting on water.
Over time, as the water evaporates, it will make the air around your plant more moist. Thus, increasing humidity. Remember to fill the water when it runs out.
Other methods to increase humidity include:
- Regular misting
- Grouping your plants together
- Using a humidifier
source: wikimedia commons
Philodendron Gloriosum Watering
By now, you’ve noticed that the philodendron gloriosum has specific requirements to avoid.
- With lighting, it is no direct sunlight
- With temperature, avoid the cold
- With humidity, don’t go too low
Well, the checklist continues with watering. Here, the basic rule is: NO OVERWATERING.
What’s great about these simple rules is that it makes it easy to care for your gloriosum once you have the important things down.
Like other philodendrons, this one is susceptible to too much water, sitting in water or being watered too often. Also, it doesn’t like its leaves left wet. The latter will cause fungal problems. Whereas the first ones can damage your plant until it causes root rot. if left unchecked, too much water will kill this beautiful plant.
So, it is one of the most important rules to remember.
That said, you philodendron gloriosum is a bit different from other houseplants in that it enjoys soil that’s slightly damp. However, make sure you don’t leave it soggy.
A good symptom to look for is drooping leaves. When you see this, you know it is a water problem. So, when you notice this, the first thing to do is stick your finger into the soil. The goal is to feel the top of the soil, then feel the first 1 to 2 inches below.
- If it is dry, you’re under watering
- If it is moist, you’re overwatering
Similarly, this finger test is also how to you know when it is time to water your plant. After watering, wait a few days to a week. Then stick your finger in to the soil down to 1 inch. This is about the length of the topmost joint of your index finger.
Once the water is gets dry there, it is a sign to water again.
From there, adjust accordingly depending on the time of year. You’ll likely need to water 1-2 times a week during the summer, depending on how hot it is your area and how much sun your plant gets. Since this is its growing season, it will drink more as well.
During the winter, the plant will “take a break” from growing. Also, as the climate gets cooler, water evaporates slower. So, you’ll need to scale back your watering frequency during this time.
Philodendron Gloriosum Soil
Philodendron gloriosum likes moist, well-draining soil that’s rich in organic matter. This combination gives the plant enough moisture but also allows for air and water to pass through. Most importantly, it prevents waterlogging.
The easiest way to get this combination is to use an orchid potting mix. Because orchids are epiphytes, they don’t like sitting in water. And, they like loose, airy soil. This makes it perfect for your gloriosum.
Additionally, you can add perlite and peat to the orchid mix to help it get fluffier. Thus, allowing more air circulation.
Another option to orchid potting soil is to use sphagnum peat moss. This will give the similar features that works well for the plant. However, this substrate doesn’t contain any nutrients. So, you’ll need to make sure you fertilize it accordingly since that will be its only source of sustenance besides water.
If you somehow find that your potting mix is retaining too much moisture, add perlite or orchid bark. Both will help improve drainage.
In addition, Philodendron gloriosum grows best in soil with pH levels between 6.5 to 7.5.
Pro Tip: add horticultural charcoal to prevent fungal and bacterial problems. This kind of charcoal helps sweeten the soil to make it similar to that in forest environments. In doing so, it helps pull out toxins from the soil. Note that you shouldn’t use regular charcoal that you use in BBQs. You need to buy horticultural charcoal.
Fertilizing Philodendron Gloriosum
Fertilizer is key for your philodendron gloriosum . With proper feeding, you’ll see your plant grow large, beautiful foliage. However, there is a fine line between feeding it enough and too much.
Like water, too much fertilizer can be the death of your plant. That’s because it can suffer fertilizer burn. The problem with too much fertilizer is nitrogen. When given in proper doses it helps make your plants grow as big as possible.
But, it also leaves salt residue that builds up over time. Also, too much nitrogen is harmful to plants. This is why dog urine causes brown patches and bald spots in lawns. It kills the grass.
As such, only apply fertilizer during spring to fall. Then stop during winter.
You can use a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer once a month. That will be more than enough for optimum growth. And, make sure to dilute the dosage to 50% strength. Otherwise, you’ll be using too high a concentration each time.
Pruning isn’t much of a problem with the philodendron gloriosum because it grows slowly. In fact, it takes over a month from the time they spike until you see a new leaf. So, you don’t have to worry about having to set a regular pruning schedule as you do with some philodendron varieties.
It also means you can’t rush the plant and expect it grow lots of foliage quickly. Or, that it will grow big over a span of a couple of weeks.
That said, if you give it enough time, you’ll see it get bigger on its own. Its leaves have the potential to grow past 2 feet.
As such, when it comes to pruning, it is all about keeping your plant healthy. Here, you want to trim dead, dying, diseased or discolored leaves. For one, they don’t look nice.
But more importantly, removing these deteriorating parts allows your plant to focus on new growth as well as growing the healthier parts.
Philodendron Gloriosum Propagation
Stem cuttings is the easiest way to propagate your philodendron gloriosum. This lets you clone this rare plant. Here’s how to do it step by step.
- Choose a healthy stem that’s between 4 to 6 inches long. Ideally, you want to pick a stem with at least 2 to 4 healthy leaves.
- Cut the stem. Make sure to use a sterile pair of shears of scissor. You can use cotton and rubbing alcohol to wipe down the blade. This ensures no bacterial is passed from the cutting tool to your plant.
- Leave the stem cutting to dry. You want to cut end to heal and callous.
- Once the stem end has calloused, dip it into rooting hormone powder. This is an optional step. But, it helps speed up the rooting process while increasing the propagation success rate as well.
- Place the stem cutting into a container with fresh potting mix.
- Water the soil thoroughly
- Place the plant under bright, indirect sunlight
After a while, it will begin to root. Then from there, you’ll start seeing the new plant grow. Since this is a slow grower, patience is key.
Philodendron Gloriosum Transplanting & Repotting
How often you’ll repot your philodendron gloriosum will depend on a few things. This includes:
- How much light it gets. The more bright light it gets, the faster it grows. As long as you provide it with indirect or filtered light, it will be happy.
- Fertilizer is key to this plant’s growth. In its growing season, you want to give it enough food to optimize its growth. Then stop during wintertime.
- The right kind of soil also allows it grow faster. That’s because it gives it the right environment to do so. Additionally, moist, well draining soil that’s high in organic matter lets it get enough air, water and nutrients.
Just as importantly, do consider the kind of container you put this plant in.
Philodendron gloriosum are creepers. That means the crawl on the ground and extend outwards. In contrast, many houseplants are upright and grow taller or spread out (especially foliage plants).
Thus, you want a long, narrow container. The more space for it crawl the longer the time between repotting you’ll have.
In contrast, a round pot only has so much space. That is, unless you get a huge pot. But, you already know the problem with that. It also adds a lot of unnecessary volume. With more soil needed to fill that, it leaves the plant to sit in water while the soil dries.
That’s less of a problem with a long, narrow container.
As with other philodendron plants, the gloriosum is toxic to both people and animals. Thus, it is essential to keep young children, dogs and cats away from this plant.
Ingesting any part of the plant can cause mild to serious issues. These include mouth and throat irritation, issues with swallowing and even cramps and seizures.
Pests and Diseases
Mealybugs, spider mites, scale and aphids are all common pests that may infest your philodendron gloriosum. Unfortunately, the only way to prevent from happening is to keep your plant healthy by providing it with all the requirements above and keeping it clean.
When they do happen, you’ll also want to use natural remedies and avoid strong chemicals that can pollute your soil. Since you’re growing the plant indoors, this also isn’t good for your surroundings.
So what can you use?
Here are the best options
- Water and insecticidal soap. You can actually make your own natural insecticidal soap. Apply this like you’re washing the leaves.
- Neem oil. This is a natural pest solution that comes in spray form. Thus, it is easy to apply.
- Cotton and rubbing alcohol. Apply rubbing alcohol on cotton and wipe the leaves down gently on both sides.
The biggest problems with pests is that not only do they damage your plant, they also spread and infest other plants around it. So, it is important to inspect regularly so you can catch them early. Otherwise, you may end up having to treat all your plants.
Additionally it takes around 2 weeks, sometimes more of regular treatment to get rid of them. So, prevention is key.