A vibrant houseplant with positively striking foliage, Philodendron gloriosum lives up to its name – glorious! The velvety dark-green leaves and contrasting white strips create a Philodendron with such character, it’s impossible to resist. While Philodendron Gloriosum requires some patience, it’s super easy to take care of and keep thriving.
Table of Contents
- History and Naming
- Temperature & Humidity
- Pests & Issues
- Common Questions
Origin and Naming of Philodendron Gloriosum
A native of the rainforests in Central and South America, Philodendron Gloriosum loves a warm, humid tropical environment. It grows along the forest floor in Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Brazil.
Also commonly known as the Velvet Goddess, Philodendron gloriosum grows the most spectacular dark-green velvety leaves. The heart-shaped leaves often reach 26 inches long. When new leaves form, they have pink veins. Then, as the leaves mature, the veins turn white or cream-colored, or even sometimes, yellow.
This houseplant is leisurely, preferring to grow at its own, rather slow, pace. For those massive, soft leaves, though, it’s completely worth it.
Philodendron Gloriosum Care
Here are some of our care tips for Philodendron Gloriosum. Follow these are guidelines to help your Philodendron Gloriosum thrive.
Philodendrons are either climbers or creepers; the Gloriosum is a creeper. Creeping Philodendrons extend their tendrils across the ground (climbers grow vertically, reaching their vines upwards). This means that the growth is sideways as opposed to upwards.
As it crawls across the ground, Gloriosum sends up new leaf stems and grows one new leaf on each stem. A fully mature specimen averages 2-3 feet long. With this slow grower, it will take years to reach that stage, so don’t worry too much at the beginning about space. Gloriosum grows towards the light, so you’ll need to position the planter in a way that makes creeping easy for your plant, or it will have awkward growth.
Philodendron gloriosum grows leisurely, often taking a month or two to produce a new leaf. Don’t worry; this is normal! This Philodendron takes some patience but then rewards you with the most wonderful display. If you want a fast-growing Philodendron, this is not the one for you.
Don’t try to speed up the process through extra fertilization or watering; this only leads to adverse side effects. Embrace the slowness and celebrate the wonder of each new leaf as it emerges and matures.
Philodendron gloriosum’s prefer slightly damp soil that is not soggy. This can be a bit of a balancing act, but once you’ve been watering your plant for a while, you’ll start to learn its habits and preferences. It’s best to err on the side of too dry as opposed to too wet; consistent soggy soil leads to root rot, one of the leading killers of Philodendrons.
The best watering practice is to always check the soil before watering. Do this by sticking your finger into the soil. If the top two inches are dry, it’s time to water. Any moistness in the top few inches of soil and your Philodendron is doing fine and doesn’t need to be watered. Plan on watering your Gloriosum 1-2 times a week, depending on your climate, indoor air quality, and humidity levels.
One remarkable thing about the Philodendron gloriosum is that it will tell you if it needs water or is receiving too much. You just need to pay attention to the leaves. When the leaves droop, the plant is struggling from being overwatered or underwatered.
Bright, indirect sunlight or artificial light is the best option for your Philodendron gloriosum. An east or west-facing window is ideal. A south-facing window is also suitable as long as the plant is set a little away from the window, so it doesn’t get direct light and, in turn, burnt leaves. A light or sheer window curtain is another excellent way to filter the sun’s rays.
When there is less natural light during the winter, you may need to supplement with grow lights. This is also a great solution for office spaces or darker homes where natural light isn’t available.
The Philodendron gloriosum will grow much better when it has sufficient light, too. The leaves will be bigger, which is a prime objective with this Philodendron since its leaves are so magnificent.
If your plant develops long, leggy leaves and there are significant distances between the leaves, your plant isn’t getting enough light. You’ll need to either move it closer to the sunlight or start using grow lights.
A well-draining potting soil mix is necessary to Philodendron root health. An all-purpose houseplant potting soil or orchid potting mix will do well. To enhance its aeration and draining capabilities, mix in some perlite and coconut coir.
Containers or planters with drainage holes are a must, so the soil doesn’t stay soggy for long periods. Waterlogged soil leads to root rot, a big problem with these houseplants. Because the Philodendron gloriosum is a creeping plant, it needs a long, rectangular container. It does not grow well from hanging baskets or regular round pots like other Philodendrons.
The way Gloriosum grows, it needs to continually root to the soil. This is how it spreads. If it is in a small container, it will quickly run out of new space to root and stop growing.
Temperature & Humidity
The ideal temperature range for this Philodendron is between 50F-9F, and the best humidity rate is between 60-80%. Indoor temperatures fluctuate throughout the seasons, so don’t assume that your plant will be fine just because it is indoors. Air conditioning and heating systems significantly affect temperatures, humidity, and the health of plants.
Humidity levels are often an issue with tropical houseplants, like Philodendrons. Our indoor, more northern climates are too dry. An excellent way to easily increase indoor humidity is to set up a pebble tray.
Line a baking sheet with pebbles and fill it with water. Place the houseplant on top of the stones. As the water evaporates, moisture is added to the air. You’ll need to semi-frequently refill the tray with water to keep this DIY solution working.
An application of fertilizer once a month is sufficient to keep Philodendron gloriosum thriving and producing large, luxurious leaves. If you notice slow growth and smaller-than-expected leaves, it’s likely your plant isn’t getting enough nutrients.
In the winter months, hold back on adding fertilizer so your Philodendron can rest and conserve energy for the following year.
Remove dead, dying, or yellow leaves as they occur. If your Gloriosum is getting too big for the space, it’s okay to prune it back. Trim it at the base of the stem and then water it thoroughly to reduce stress.
When your Philodendron gloriosum reaches the edge of the pot, it will stop producing new roots. Also, the leaves will grow smaller. It will take some time for this to happen since the Gloriosum is such a slow grower.
All Philodendrons, including the Gloriosum, are toxic to people and pets. Keep plants up and away from small children, cats, and dogs.
Philodendron Gloriosum Propagation
The preferable propagation method for Philodendron gloriosum is with stem cuttings. This is a straightforward propagation technique and almost always delivers excellent and reliable results. Propagate in the spring or early summer, when the Gloriosum is at its strongest.
Due to the creeping growth nature of Gloriosum, it is even easier to propagate than most other Philodendrons. You don’t have to wait for the cutting to sprout roots; the cutting will include roots already emerging.
- Only take stem cuttings from mother/parent plants with at least three leaves and a healthy stem system.
- Sterilize a pair of sharp scissors or shears.
- Choose a healthy stem at least 3-6″ long with leaves and roots already starting.
- Carefully cut the stem at the point where it meets the main crown.
- Sprinkle some cinnamon on the cut side; it acts as a disinfectant and facilitates wound healing.
- Let the cutting sit in a warm, dry spot for a couple of days to callous over. Callousing means letting the wound heal a little before being replanted. If this step is skipped, it could cause the stem to rot before it can grow.
- Place the roots into a prepared planter with potting soil.
- Water the soil and place the cutting in indirect sunlight; the same location as the mother plant is perfect.
Common Issues & Pests
All houseplants are susceptible to pest problems, and Philodendron is no different. A good rule of thumb is to check out the plant, stems, and leaves (not forgetting to look underneath the leaves), every time you water. This way, you’ll be sure to catch any issues before they become big problems.
Thrips, Spider Mites, Mealybugs, and Aphids
These minuscule houseplant pests eat leaves and suck out the plant’s juices from the stem. Small infestations aren’t problematic, but they can quickly escalate. These pests are tiny and hard to see. However, you’ll definitely see the results of them being on your plant. Brown spots on leaves, yellowing edges, and slow or stopped growth are all signs of pests.
If you notice an issue or infestation, the first thing to do is remove the plant from your other houseplants. Pests love to jump from one plant to another, and when that happens, it is awful. It’s best to get ahead of the problem if possible and seclude the infected plant far from others.
The simplest and easiest method to deal with these bugs is with a neem oil spray. Repeat the treatment every 5-7 days, and soon you’ll be free of the pests. Combine two teaspoons of neem oil with one teaspoon of dish soap in a quart spray bottle. Fill up the bottle with water and shake it well. Spray the plants lightly, being sure to get underneath the leaves, too.
Common Questions and Solutions
Here are a few common questions that we often see regarding Philodendron gloriosum care:
What is this odd growth near the stem?
Philodendron gloriosum grows rhizomes where the new leaf is emerging. A rhizome is a prominent part of the stem, also commonly called the rootstock, that runs underground. Above ground, fresh leaves grow from the rhizome, while underground new roots emerge. This growth pattern is natural in creeping plants.
Leave the rhizome above the soil; don’t bury it. The rhizome wants to be partially exposed as it creeps across the soil. Burying the root may cause it to get mushy and rot.
Why are the leaves yellow?
Yellow leaves usually mean the plant is receiving too much direct sunlight. Move it to a different location where it won’t get as much direct light or block it with light curtains or shades.
What causes droopy leaves?
Droopy leaves are the result of too much or too little water. You’ll know which your plant is suffering from by feeling the soil. Adjust the watering schedule appropriately, and don’t forget to always check the soil before watering.
Does Philodendron Gloriosum like being in the shade?
No. In its native habitat, the Gloriosum grows in shady areas, but as an indoor houseplant, shade is not beneficial. In fact, if this plant is too shaded, it will grow even slower, and the leaves will be smaller.
This is one plant where you don’t want to replicate the native habitat too closely. Outdoor Gloriosums have the benefit of space. When they grow somewhere too shady, they use their creeping abilities to march towards the light.
Why is the Philodendron Gloriosum so expensive?
Due to its slow growth and unique creeping nature, it is a rarity in the wild. The plant nurseries have not been able to keep up on demand, making Philodendron gloriosum a difficult to find houseplant with a price tag to go along with it.
Philodendron gloriosum is a queen among houseplants, forcing you to be patient as she takes her time producing a grand spectacle of each leaf. We love this houseplant for the slow drama, exquisite markings, and prodigious display. Follow all the growing tips in this guide, and you’re in for a real treat with this Philodendron.