If you’re looking to enhance your indoor space with a splash of green foliage, you can’t go wrong with the Philodendron gloriosum. Native to South America, this plant is prized for its broad, heart-shaped leaves with distinctive white veining. The leaves are often soft and velvety to the touch, making it an eye-catching addition to any houseplant collection. A Philodendron gloriosum’s mature leaves can reach a maximum length of two feet, which is about the size of a medium pizza!
This stunning tropical plant is slow growing and easy to care for no matter your plant parent experience. Keep on reading to learn all you need to know about Philodendron gloriosum care.
Table of contents
- Common Name: Philodendron gloriosum, Anthurium gloriosum, Velvet philodendron
- Scientific Name: Philodendron gloriosum
- Mature Size: up to 3 feet tall indoors
- Sunlight: bright, indirect light
- Water: water when top ½ inch of soil is dry
- Soil: rich, well draining
- Temperature: 65°F-85°F
- Propagation: rhizome division
- Toxicity: toxic to humans and pets
In spite of its popularity, the Philodendron gloriosum is considered a threatened species. This means demand is higher than the available supply, so it’s often more expensive than similar houseplants. Still, many plant collectors are willing to pay top dollar for the pleasure of raising this beautiful plant in their own home.
A variegated Philodendron gloriosum is even more rare. The variegated leaves are splotched with deep green and creamy whites. The variegated Philodendron gloriosum is caused by a very unlikely mutation and can go for thousands and thousands of dollars!
Growth Pattern and Habits
Unlike most other philodendrons that climb vertically, the Philodendron gloriosum “creeps” with stems that grow horizontally over the soil. As the plant spreads, the stems will begin to sprout cataphylls, which are leaf-like buds that precede actual leaf growth. From there, it can take up to two months for the Philodendron gloriosum to produce new leaves. A mature Philodendron gloriosum can reach a spread of three feet.
Expert Tip – Because of the Philodendron gloriosum’s slow growth rate, it’s common for a leaf to take at least one month to fully open. Do not attempt to open the Philodendron gloriosum’s new leaf before it’s ready. This will cause damage.
Because this is a creeping plant, you should choose a rectangular pot with drainage holes. A stem will stop growing when it encounters an edge and runs out of soil to root into, which is more likely to occur with a round or square container. On the other hand, a rectangular pot has two sides that are farther apart, providing a longer surface for the plant to spread horizontally.
To best provide Philodendron gloriosum care, be sure to remove any dead or dying leaves. If your plant is bushy with many small leaves, you can choose to prune some of them off to encourage the remaining leaves to grow bigger. The plant will stop growing when its stems reach the edges of the pot. This is a good time to repot it in a larger container.
The Philodendron gloriosum grows relatively slowly, which also makes it quite low-maintenance. Patience is key when it comes to raising this plant to its full potential. Those who put in the work during the slow, early stages often find their efforts worth it when the plant finally achieves its final form and unfurls its impressive foliage.
In its native habitat, the Philodendron gloriosum can be found creeping along the rainforest floor under the shade of the canopy. Because of its origins, this plant cannot handle direct sunlight very well. Bright, indirect sunlight is best. In most cases, a spot near a sunny window in any room of the house will be fine for raising a healthy Philodendron gloriosum.
Look out for browning edges on the leaves, which is a symptom of sun scorch resulting from too much direct sun. Alternatively, the plant will show poor growth and produce long, leggy stems with very few leaves if it doesn’t receive enough light. For best results, place it in a room that stays well-lit for most of the day, and watch out for signs of scorching.
A good watering schedule is a crucial aspect of Philodendron gloriosum care.The Philodendron gloriosum thrives in damp soil but is highly susceptible to root rot. To prevent overwatering, stick your finger about one half-inch into the top of your plant’s soil. If it feels dry, it’s safe to water your plant.
Always check the soil before you add more water. Your plant will consume more water during the spring and summer months, which is the time when it shows the most active growth. You may also have to water more frequently if you live in a hot, arid climate.
To keep your Philodendron gloriosum from developing root rot, it should be kept in a rich, well-draining soil. Many people have more success with an orchid potting mix over regular soil. Orchids absorb most of their nutrients from the air, and orchid potting mix is formulated to maximize air circulation. Most commercial formulas will include a high amount of firm, chunky ingredients like bark, moss, or perlite, increasing drainage and making them ideal for raising philodendrons.
Alternatively, you can create your own customized Philodendron gloriosum soil. Start with a base of potting soil, which provides plant nutrition. Then, add structure with perlite, coconut coir, peat moss, or bark chips to increase aeration and drainage. A small amount of horticultural charcoal can also boost oxygen levels and imitate the plant’s natural environment.
Temperature and Humidity
This tropical plant prefers a relatively warm temperature range of 65-85°F. At night, it can tolerate occasional dips to 60°F but not much lower. Due to this, most people choose to keep their Philodendron gloriosum as an indoor houseplant. However, you may be able to raise this plant outdoors successfully if you live in USDA hardiness zone 11.
Your Philodendron gloriosum also needs the humidity of the tropics, over 50% to be exact. For raising indoors, 40-50% is acceptable but may cause the plant to grow slower than you’d like. If you aren’t satisfied with the rate of growth, you may be able to provide a boost with the addition of a humidifier or pebble tray.
Apply fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer using a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strength. This will provide extra nutrients so your Philodendron gloriosum can create large, plush leaves. In the fall and winter, reduce feedings to once every two months. Stop fertilizing if you see that young leaves are turning yellow, which is a sign of overfeeding.
It is quite simple to propagate a Philodendron gloriosum with fresh cuttings using the plant’s rhizomes. Rhizomes are a modified stem that grows horizontally under the soil. New growth sprouts from rhizomes, so it’s no wonder that they are the vital piece needed for Philodendron gloriosum propagation. Keep reading to learn how to propagate a Philodendron gloriosum!
- Identify a rhizome. You will have to gently brush the top layer of soil away in a pot or remove the plant completely.
- Using a pair of sanitized, sharp scissors or a knife, cut off a section of the rhizome that does not have any mature leaves attached.
- Divide the removed rhizome into ½ to ¾ inch pieces that include at least one node, or growth bud. These look like small bumps along the surface of the rhizome. Sometimes nodes can be hard to identify so don’t overly stress. Cutting the rhizome into these sized sections will give you a good chance!
- Allow the cuttings to dry out overnight in a cool dry place. Doing so forms a callous over the ends and decreases the chances of the cutting rotting.
- Place the new cuttings two inches underneath fresh soil.
- Keep the soil moist by misting at least once daily until new Philodendron gloriosum roots begin to form and stabilize the new cutting. This can take a couple of weeks. At this point, gently tug at the cutting and feel for resistance. Resistance indicates that new roots have correctly formed.
Expert Tip – To speed up this process, you may consider covering the entire pot with a large plastic bag to retain humidity and warmth. In 2-4 weeks, the cutting will be rooted, and you should be able to remove the plastic bag and enjoy your new plant.
- At this point, begin to care for your newly propagated plant as you would a fully mature Philodendron gloriosum plant.
Now that you know how to propagate a Philodendron gloriosum, you have the opportunity to grow your collection without breaking the bank!
Leaves Turning Yellow
Occasionally, older leaves will turn yellow and die off as the plant continues to produce new leaves. This is natural and to be expected. However, if you notice any younger, smaller leaves turning yellow, it can be a symptom of too much fertilizer. It can also be a sign of over or underwatering.
If your Philodendron gloriosum is turning yellow, check the moisture level in the soil and adjust the watering schedule accordingly. If too much fertilizer is to blame, stop feeding until the plant shows improvement. Then, make sure to dilute your fertilizer before the next time you use it on your plant.
Leaves Turning Brown
The leaves of the Philodendron gloriosum are very sensitive to direct sunlight, and too much sun will cause them to turn brown. These changes usually start as brittle, brown lesions forming at the tips or edges of the affected leaves. If your plant has scorched leaves, you should move your plant to a different area or provide a form of shade to protect it from further damage.
Root rot occurs when the soil becomes waterlogged due to overwatering. A Philodendron gloriosum affected by root rot will appear wilted and limp in the early stages. As its condition worsens, the plant may turn yellow or begin to smell moldy.
You can often identify this problem by inspecting the plant’s roots. Healthy roots will be pale, stiff, and dry, while rotten roots will be dark and mushy. In most cases, root rot is caused by overwatering or poor drainage. Therefore, you must change your watering frequency or improve soil conditions.
To save a Philodendron gloriosum from root rot you must first remove the entire plant from its pot. Shake off excess soil and identify the rotten roots. Remove these with sharp, sterile scissors. Next, run the healthy roots under fresh water then let the plant dry out on a newspaper for two days. Replant in high quality, appropriate soil and manage your watering schedule using the tips above.
Expert Tip – You can also propagate a Philodendron gloriosum’s healthy rhizomes if the majority of the plant shows signs of root rot. Check out the section above on Philodendron gloriosum propagation to learn more.
Wilting is a sign of too much or not enough water. If your plant is wilting, take a close look at its leaves and stems. A wilted plant that looks stiff, dry, or crunchy is dehydrated and should be watered more often. Meanwhile, wilting that appears soft and pliable means your plant’s roots are waterlogged and can’t absorb more water to maintain its tone.
Just like any other houseplant, the Philodendron gloriosum is vulnerable to common indoor pests like aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, and scale. These types of insects enjoy feasting on sap, and a severe infestation can easily overwhelm and kill the host plant. Some species will lay their eggs in the soil, where newly hatched larvae can ravage and destroy the roots of your plant.
Sometimes, you may be able to see these pests directly on the plant itself. If they’re too small to see with the naked eye, you will know your plant is infested if it has unexplained lesions or if leaves begin to die off. You may also notice small, black spots in different areas, which is waste passed by the tiny bugs after they’ve eaten parts of your plant.
To treat a Philodendron gloriosum with a pest problem, simply wipe down affected areas with a cotton ball dipped in alcohol once a day until conditions improve. Make sure to isolate your plant away from any others to prevent the pests from spreading through the household. As an additional preventative measure, you may want to spray your plant with a weak solution of neem oil once every two weeks.
All varieties of philodendrons are toxic to humans and pets, including the Philodendron gloriosum. This is due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals in all parts of the plant. Once ingested, these tiny, salt-like crystals are insoluble in water, so they maintain their sharpness as they travel through the body.
In small amounts, calcium oxalate can irritate soft tissues and cause localized swelling. In higher doses, it can cause diarrhea, vomiting, or kidney failure. Calcium oxalate in plant sap can also irritate the skin or eyes.
To keep your family safe, always supervise young children and pets around your Philodendron gloriosum and wear gloves whenever you handle your plant. If you observe someone trying to eat part of the plant, remove the plant from their mouth and give them a cool drink to soothe irritation. Difficulty breathing, swelling in the airway, or an irregular heartbeat are signs of extreme distress. If you notice any of these symptoms, seek emergency services right away.
I hope you now feel super confident in providing top notch Philodendron gloriosum care. This velvety plant is slow growing and requires patience in order to reveal its full potential. Be conscientious and provide your Philodendron gloriosum with the correct light, water and soil requirements.
Taking a little extra time to perfect Philodendron gloriosum care (and Philodendron gloriosum propagation to make more plants!) will reward you with infinite beauty! Remember to be patient because of the Philodendron gloriosum’s slow growth rate.