Philodendron Gloriosum: The Complete Guide
Native to Columbia, the Philodendron Gloriosum is a slow-growing terrestrial plant with very large velvety green leaves and beautiful creamy white veins. This stunning plant is grown for its striking heart-shaped and velutinous foliage, making it a popular indoor plant. It can also occasionally yield gorgeous white flowers in spring.
The Philodendron Gloriosum is part of the huge Philodendron genus of the Araceae or aroid family, which contains over 500 different Philodendron species. While it is native to Columbia, it is also widely grown Central America and South America, especially in highly humid areas, where the Gloriosum thrives.
Compared to other Philodendron species, P. Gloriosum is a crawler, meaning that it tends to creep on the ground, with a horizontally growing main stem, or rhizome.
This complete guide will give you all the information you will need in order to grow and care for the stunning Philodendron Gloriosum.
Growth and Size
Philodendron Gloriosum is a slow-growing aroid that requires patience, but it will repay you for it when it grows its beautiful velvety leaves.
This plant’s leaves can reach a whopping size of 36 inches in its natural habitat, in ideal growing conditions, in a span of multiple years. However, it is more likely that they will grow smaller than that, whether they are grown outdoors or indoors, potentially reaching a size of 24 inches within a few years.
The Philodendron Gloriosum can reach a height of around 3 feet, with its vertically growing stems. However, it will take years for this slow-growing plant to reach its maximum height.
Since the Gloriosum is a crawler, it prefers to develop horizontally rather than vertically, with new stems growing from its horizontal rhizome. This means that, as the plant matures, it will form a wider spread, due to the length of its leaves.
Gloriosum’s leaves grow from a horizontally placed rhizome, or main stem, just above the soil, from which small sprouts will appear. These small pinkish-white sprouts are leaf spikes, which are basically curled up light green leaves inside a pinkish sheath.
Initially, Philodendron Gloriosum leaves are a light, almost white to green color and are very soft. As the leaf grows it will emerge from the sheath into a furled leaf while its stem grows from the bottom of its protective sheath. Progressively, the leaf will unfurl, taking its definitive cordate, or heart-shaped, form, becoming firmer and sturdier. As the leaf grows it will also darken to its natural darker green color. Its leaves will first develop pink margins, which then make way for more defined and larger creamy-white veins as they mature.
From when the leaf spike first sprouts, it usually takes at least a month and a half to over two months before the leaf is fully unfurled.
Like many other plants, Philodendron Gloriosum excels in loose, well-draining but moist soil that is also rich in organic matter.
Orchid potting mix is often recommended for Philodendron Gloriosum because it is extremely aerated and contains little to no actual soil at all. Rather, orchid soil mix contains ingredients such as bark, spaghnum moss, perlite and charcoal. Soilless mixtures like these work well because they are extremely aerated and they maintain moisture.
While the Gloriosum can survive and grow even in 100% spaghnum moss, it isn’t the ideal choice as it will leave your plant without nutrients and requiring more fertilization.
You should aim at providing your Philodendron Gloriosum with a soil mixture that contains some good quality potting mix, perlite, orchid bark and horticultural charcoal.
Perlite will help with soil drainage, stopping it from becoming soggy and it will prevent the soil from being too compacted. Orchid bark will give the soil great aeration that your Gloriosum will definitely appreciate. Horticultural charcoal helps purify the soil from toxins and improves aeration by decreasing soil density.
To maintain aerated soil, it must be loose enough so that there are pockets of air and the plant’s roots can receive enough oxygen. However, soil looseness does not only depend on whether you add bark or perlite to your mixture; it depends on how much you compact the soil. You should leave the soil rather loose, without compacting it much.
The Philodendron Gloriosum isn’t too picky about soil acidity as much as it is about aeration and soil drainage. Nonetheless, you should aim at a soil acidity that is from slightly acidic to neutral, with a pH of 6 to 7.
Philodendron Gloriosum thrives in bright indirect sunlight. Additionally, the more indirect sunlight it receives the more its leaves grow.
The Philodendrum Gloriosum’s natural habitat is the Amazon rainforest, where the plant tends to grow under a canopy, solely receiving indirect sunlight.
At the same time, while this plant can tolerate conditions of shade, excessive shade will hinder its growth and it does really seem to prefer more light than shade.
Signs that your Gloriosum is not receiving sufficient light are excessively leggy plants and stems that grow distant from one another. The reason this happens is that the plant is reaching for more light by either growing upwards, towards the sun, or growing new shoots further laterally, to search for an area with more light.
But be careful, this plant only wants indirect sunlight. While it can tolerate a few hours of moderate direct sunlight, if acclimated, continuous exposure to direct sunlight will damage your Philodendron Gloriosum’s leaves via leaf burn. Symptoms of leaf burn can include pale discoloration, dry brown to black marks and yellowing leaves.
In sum, when planting your Philodendron Gloriosum indoors place it close to a window that receives continuous bright light throughout the day, but where it will not receive the sun’s rays directly.
If you are planting it outdoors, plant it in a location that is in semi-shade, where it can still receive enough indirect sunlight.
If you are using a grow light, be careful to use medium brightness from a distance of around 2 feet.
Water your Philodendron Gloriosum enough so that the soil remains moist, but not excessively damp.
To tell when your plant needs watering, check if the soil is drying out. If the first couple of inches of soil is drying out, it is time to water your Gloriosum. In most household conditions, this should amount to watering 1 or 2 times a week, but this varies depending on a number of factors, the first of which is household humidity. Do not let the soil dry out more than a couple of inches, otherwise it will hinder your plant’s growth.
However, do not overwater your Philodendron Gloriosum because one of the main problems it can suffer is root rot.
When watering your plant make sure you water the soil thoroughly and abundantly, letting the water exit from your pot’s drainage holes.
If your soil is well-draining, water should pour through it, moisturizing it but without creating pockets of stagnating water that will contribute to root rot. Also, don’t leave your pot on a tray where water accumulates at the bottom of your pot; it will make the bottom of your soil soggy and therefore more prone to rotting.
When your Philodendron Gloriosum is watered improperly, either by overwatering or underwatering it, you may see signs of its leaves drooping. However, drooping leaves are not an irreversible condition: once you solve the watering problem at the root of it – pun not intended – your leaves will go back to normal.
Philodendron Gloriosum prefers tropical temperatures with high humidity. The ideal temperature range for this plant is from 70°F to 85°F during the day. During the night temperatures from the 60°F to 70°F range are perfectly fine.
Keep in mind that Philodendron Gloriosum can survive and can also thrive in temperatures that are outside this range. It can survive with a temperature up to 95°F and it begins to struggle at temperatures below 55°F.
Philodendron Gloriosum is listed as cold-hardy to USDA zone 11, meaning it can survive in temperatures from the 40°F to 50°F range. While it is true that it can survive in these colder temperatures, it does risk damage, so we do not recommend growing it in this temperature range.
Being from the Amazon rainforest, Philodendron Gloriosum thrives in a high humidity environment. Therefore, the Philodendron Gloriosum has a recommended humidity range of 60 to 80%.
However, it can also survive on lower humidity, such as the 40 to 50% range.
Given that this plant is often grown as a household plant, it can be difficult to reach such a high level of humidity at home.
Aside from using a humidifier next to your plant, there are a couple of best practices to maintain a higher humidity level.
Place your plant’s pot on a wet pebble tray, so that the water from the pebbles will progressively evaporate, increasing humidity for your Gloriosum.
In addition, make sure to regularly mist your plant at least once a day, but preferably even more often, especially when it is actively growing.
One of the issues that can hinder your Philodendron Gloriosum’s growth the most is low humidity. Often, if your plant’s leaf spikes are not unfurling this can be due to lack of humidity and moisture.
Another problem that can emerge because of low humidity is leaf tearing, so remember to keep spraying it with water!
In general, Philodendrons are heavy feeders, due to the need to grow their huge leaves.
So, to aid your Philodendron Gloriosum’s growth you should fertilize it regularly, especially during spring and summer and then occasionally during fall. You can fertilize this plant during winter as well, but it is not necessary.
During spring and summer fertilize your Philodendron Gloriosum monthly with a diluted half-strength fertilizer.
During fall fertilize your plant once every two months.
Use a balanced liquid fertilizer, such as an NPK 20-20-20 fertilizer and use half of the recommended amount diluted in about a gallon of water.
In addition, apply the fertilizer to soil that is already slightly moist, otherwise you risk burning the plant’s roots.
Also, be cautious not to overfeed your Philodendron because it can cause serious root burn.
When deciding on which pot to use for growing your Philodendron Gloriosum, consider that this plant is a crawler whose stems grow from a horizontal rhizome on top of the soil. This means that if you pick a pot that isn’t wide enough, it will soon run out of space and its stems and leaves will crowd each other, impeding each other’s growth.
Consequently, the best kind of pot is often a rectangular one, where you should plant your rhizome parallel to the pot. Make sure that the pot you choose is wide enough to account for its future growth because you will want to avoid re-potting your Gloriosum for at least a couple of years, to avoid damaging it.
Make sure that you use a pot that has drainage holes and that they aren’t covered (you’d be surprised at how many times you can find a label covering those drainage holes). If your pot doesn’t have drainage holes, water will accumulate and stagnate at the bottom of your pot, causing root rot.
Planting your Philodendron Gloriosum Rhizome
When you plant your Philodendron Gloriosum rhizome, do not bury it under the soil. Place the rhizome on top of the soil and gently push it in, making sure at least half of it is exposed above the soil level. If you bury the rhizome under the soil, it risks developing root rot. However, make sure you do press it in a bit, otherwise it will struggle to grow roots under the soil. If your rhizome has underdeveloped roots, your Gloriosum will grow smaller leaves and will have trouble developing new shoots.
Luckily, Philodendron Gloriosum is an easy plant to propagate.
There are fundamentally three ways to propagate Philodendron Gloriosum by rhizome (or stem) cuttings. Whichever propagation method you choose, it is best practice to leave at least three leaves on the mother plant, but it is not an absolute necessity.
The first and most simple way is by cutting your rhizome on the side of its newest growths, including one or more stems.
The steps for this method of propagation are the following:
- Remove your plant from its pot and remove most of the soil so that you can see its roots.
- With disinfected pruning shears, cut off part of the rhizome with at least one plant node from the side of its newest growth. The part you cut can include one or more leaves or shoots.
- If the part of the rhizome you cut off has already grown some roots, then you can go ahead and re-pot it.
The second way to propagate your Philodendron Gloriosum is used when you cut off a rhizome with a leaf attached but no roots.
To help the rootless rhizome to grow roots, all you have to do is place it in about three inches of water. Remember to change the water more or less once a week and place the cutting in a bright area with indirect sunlight. After 4 or 5 weeks, the rhizome should have grown roots and be ready to plant.
The third way to propagate your Philodendron should be used when you cut off a piece of its rhizome that doesn’t have any roots or leaves. This method is often used to save your plant when part of the rhizome is dying, usually because of root rot.
In this case, you should place your cut rhizome in some moist, but not soaked spaghnum moss.
Then you cover the container with some plastic wrap or a plastic bag, so that a humid atmosphere is created for the rhizome. To avoid the air becoming excessively stale, either poke some air holes on the plastic or let the container aerate for around ten minutes every couple of days. Place the container in indirect sunlight. If you wish to add additional heat, you may consider using a heating mat, but it is not fundamental.
In 2 to 4 weeks roots should begin developing and when you see a first shoot begin to appear, then you can proceed to planting it.
Philodendron Gloriosum is a plant that doesn’t usually need pruning.
However, there are some cases for which pruning is necessary.
If your plant develops yellowing leaves or has dying leaves you should prune them. Using sterilized pruning shears, you should cut the stem off where it meets the rhizome.
You may also choose to prune stems that are too leggy.
Philodendron Gloriosum is a toxic plant for both animals and humans. It should not be digested, so you should keep children and household pets such as cats and dogs away from it.
This plant can cause stomach cramps and throat irritation if ingested.
If it is ingested in extremely large quantities it can cause a host of other more serious issues.
Problems and Pests
Philodendron Gloriosum is usually not subject to many serious problems or pests, provided it is placed in optimal or close to optimal growing conditions.
Some of the problems the Gloriosum may encounter include root rot, yellowing leaves, droopy or torn leaves, leaf spikes struggling to unfurl, leggy growth and susceptibility to spider mites.
Root rot is a common consequence of overwatering your Philodendron. By overwatering, the soil remains soggy, damaging its roots and most often its rhizome. Root rot can also be caused in a normal watering regimen when the rhizome is fully planted below soil level, instead of being placed on top of the soil.
The effects of root rot can be stunted growth, blackening leaves and leaves that struggle to unfurl. If root rot isn’t addressed, it can end up killing your plant.
Check for root rot by verifying if your plant’s rhizome is strong and firm rather than soft and mushy or blackened. Also check your plant’s roots to verify that the rotting isn’t happening from below, due to poorly draining soil or stagnating water in pockets in the soil.
If you find evidence of root rot, remove your plant from the soil, cut off the rotting parts and re-pot with a new soil mixture. If you use the same pot, make sure to clean it thoroughly before repotting.
Yellow leaves are a physiological occurrence on more mature plants. When leaves begin aging, they will eventually become yellow and begin to shrivel before dying. If this is the case, you shouldn’t worry, but you should eventually cut off the dying or dead leaf at the base of its stem.
If your younger leaves are yellowing, the main causes of this are excessive direct sunlight and overwatering.
When your Philodendron Gloriosum receives more intense sunlight than it can tolerate leaves will begin to yellow, as they are beginning to suffer from leaf burn.
If this is the case, move the plant in a location with a lower light intensity and is shielded from any direct sunlight.
Sometimes, watering your plant too often can cause yellow leaves.
Consider changing your watering regimen and only water your plant when the first couple of inches of soil are drying out.
Another common sign of an incorrect watering regimen are droopy leaves. If you find that your Gloriosum’s leaves begin to droop, consider whether you are watering it too often and decrease frequency.
This issue also happens when you are underwatering the plant.
The best solution to this kind of problem is checking your soil before watering the plant instead of sticking to a fixed watering regimen.
The crown jewels of the Philodendron Gloriosum are its stunning velvety leaves. Unfortunately, they sometimes tear. When your plant’s leaves are prone to tearing, this is often due to a lack of humidity and moisture.
To solve this problem, increase humidity by adding a wet pebble tray under your pot so that water evaporates (remember to wet your pebbles every time they dry out), mist your plant often, or use a humidifier close to the plant.
Leaf Spikes Do Not Unfurl
When your Gloriosum grows new shoots it’s often an exciting moment, but sometimes these leaf spikes struggle to unfurl and reveal the new leaf.
Once again, when leaf spikes have trouble unfurling, it is often due to a lack of humidity.
Fortunately, you can solve this by misting your plant, using a wet pebble tray or a humidifier.
Leggy Stems and Distance Between Stems
Like many other plants, the Philodendron Gloriosum sometimes grows leggy stems or stems that grow too far apart from each other, or even at a very wide angle.
These are signs that your plant is not receiving enough sunlight. The plant is literally reaching for more light by growing upwards and outwards, searching for more light.
If this is the case, place the plant in a more luminous location, but not under direct sunlight.
Your plant may become slightly unattractive with leggy and wide stems, so a good idea can be to cut off one or more stems (and a part of the rhizome) and propagate it. Your mother plant will be more orderly and attractive, and you can grow a new Philodendron in the meantime.
Philodendron Gloriosum is not particularly prone to pests; however, it is prone to spider mites.
Spider mites are arachnids that feed on leaf cells and can create holes in leaves or leave them looking stippled. It’s often hard to detect spider mites, but they generally live on the undersides of leaves. Signs that spider mites have infested your plant is when the leaves look dusty due to their deposited waste.
Fortunately, Philodendrons tolerate pest treatment very well, so you can use a spider mite miticide to kill them. Before spraying your plant, make sure to wipe the leaves thoroughly to get rid of the bugs, webs and eggs especially because spider mite eggs protect from pesticides.
Other pests that can affect Philodendron Gloriosum are mainly aphids, mealy bugs and fungus gnats.
Two solutions to rid your plant of these pest infestations are neem oil and rubbing alcohol. Spray diluted neem oil on every part of your plant twice, with an interval of two weeks to kill these pests. Neem oil is a natural solution, so it can be used indoors compared to chemical pesticides that should be used outdoors due to their toxicity.
A cheaper but more laborious solution is to use rubbing alcohol. Using a cotton swab, you should clean every part of your plant, from stems to foliage every couple of days for one to two weeks, to make sure that all pests and their eggs are removed.
Philodendron Gloriosum Hybrids
Philodendron Gloriosum have been cross-breeded with a few different Philodendron species to create some very interesting hybrids. Four known hybrids are Philodendron Glorious, Philodendron Dean McDowell, the yet unnamed Philodendron Giganteum x Philodendron Gloriosum hybrid, and Philodendron Gloriosum x Philodendron McColley’s Finale. There is very little information and availability of the latter two.
Keep in mind that due to the nature of hybridization, hybrid plants often have characteristics that can vary among specimens of the same hybrid.
Philodendron Glorious is the most famous Gloriosum hybrid available. This plant is a Philodendron Gloriosum x Philodendron Melanochrysum. Philodendron Melanochrysum is a climber with gigantic leaves that can reach almost 4 feet in length with darker oval shaped leaves.
The Philodendron Glorious is like a Philodendron Gloriosum but with darker and more oval shaped leaves that can grow larger than your average Gloriosum, while tending to climb more than it does creep. It is also considered to be a more vigorous grower.
Philodendron Dean McDowell
Philodendron McDowell is a Philodendron Gloriosum x Philodendron Pastazanum hybrid that is a crawler.
The McDowell has bright green leaves that aren’t as dark as the Gloriosum but look glossier and has very light silver veining with smaller leaves than the Pastanzanum.
Its leaves are also wider than the Gloriosum’s while maintaining its heart shape.
Keep in mind that this is a difficult plant to find and is often mislabeled by growers, who actually sell Philodendron Pastazanum as “McDowelli” even if it is a misnomer.
Published by Davide Zancan on 3 Dicembre 2020