Have you been looking for the biggest, most beautiful philodendron that money can buy? Well, good news, you can stop searching–Philodendron Gloriosum is all that and more!
Philodendron Gloriosum is a terrestrial (or creeping) type of philodendron that reaches about 3 feet tall and 3 feet wide. One of the Gloriosum plant’s most striking characteristics is its vivid green leaves that measure up to 24 inches across.
Today, you’ll learn about what makes this plant unique, and how you can help it thrive as a houseplant in your care.
RELATED: Philodendron Gloriosum isn’t the only tropical plant to boast unusual features. Stop by our post on Anthurium Clarinervium to check out its unique leaves that earned it the nickname “velvet cardboard.”
Philodendron Gloriosum Background
Like other philos, the Gloriosum plant hails from the humid tropical rainforests of South and Central America. The Gloriosum specifically has been found growing in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, and Venezuela.
These two philodendrons are epiphytic in their natural habitat. This means that they grow lodged in the crook of tree branches, anchoring themselves with aerial roots and sending vining leaves up towards the sun.
Philodendron Gloriosum is different from its siblings because it is a rare terrestrial philodendron. Instead of vining on a tree, the Gloriosum plant has a long, knobby stem-like growth called a stolon. According to Britannica, the stolon is where the plant reproduces, and it’s much like a strawberry plant growing by producing runners.
The stolon lies on the surface of the soil, and it both sends roots down into the ground and also produces vertical stems and leaves. The vertical stems can grow a few feet long, and they lift the large leaves out of the rainforest undergrowth.
This terrestrial or creeping habit is actually why the leaves of the Gloriosum are so large: When you’re that far away from the sun, living in the shade of the jungle canopy, you need as much photosynthetic surface area as you can get!
The leaves have a heart shape with deep green coloration and broad vascular veins radiating out from the center point of the heart. On a young plant, these veins are pink, while on a mature plant they are a lovely creamy-white.
In its native habitat, a very mature Gloriosum plant will produce a flower, but not when kept as a houseplant. It is a slow grower, and each leaf takes up to a month to slowly unfurl into full glory.
Unfortuantely, Philodendron Glorisoum numbers are decreasing the wild. According to the IUCN Redlist, it’s listed as a “Vulnerable Species,” likely due to the loss of its rainforest habitat.
Where to Buy Philodendron Gloriosum
The Gloriosum is a relatively rare philodendron, but there are a few online vendors that carry it.
Etsy is our favorite place to buy live plants online, and these sellers each had Gloriosum plants in stock at the time this post was published. But if they don’t have it in stock when you first look, keep checking back!
Philodendron Gloriosum Care
Once you have your Gloriosum plant, it’s important to give it a good home in the conditions it likes. In this section we’ll cover best practices for Philodendron Gloriosum care.
Correct Pot Size and Type
Like we’ve already mentioned, the Gloriosum has the potential to become quite large. Keeping it in a relatively small pot will limit the size of its root ball to something manageable, plus it will prevent an excess of waterlogged soil.
Look for a pot that’s no more than 1 to 2 inches larger than the diameter of your Gloriosum plant’s root ball.
Also, keep in mind that Philodendron Gloriosum is a creeper that grows very near or on the soil surface. If you have the choice between a wider pot or a deeper one, choose the wider option.
Make sure whatever pot you choose has good drainage holes. Unglazed ceramic or terra cotta are the best choices since their porous materials allow for good oxygen and water exchange to the soil within the pot. A plastic pot will work as well, but you’ll have to be extra careful about overwatering.
In its natural habitat, Philodendron Gloriosum grows in loose soil that allows excess water to drain away quickly.
To re-create these conditions in your home, use a well-draining potting soil. This formula from Fox Farm also has other nutrients to help nourish your Gloriosum. Adding a handful of vermiculite, orchid bark, or cactus mix can help lighten the soil even further.
Place your Gloriosum in a spot with bright indirect light. An area a few feet back from a south or east-facing window is typically ideal.
Philodendrons can also do okay in low light for short periods of time. But growth and appearance will be best with consistently bright filtered light year-round.
As long as your climate reaches at least 65 degrees overnight, you can take your Philodendron Gloriosum outside in the summertime! Place it in a spot that gets good morning sun and afternoon shade.
The Gloriosum plant has moderate water needs, meaning that it prefers to dry out a little bit before watering, but not so much that all the soil is dry.
Wait until the top two inches of soil are dry to water. Use your finger to check the soil for moisture levels. During the heat of summer, check your soil moisture a couple of times a week and water accordingly.
Philodendron Gloriosum enters dormancy in the cool months of winter. This means that from late fall until spring, you should not expect to see new growth, and the watering needs will drop by about half.
Philodendron Gloriosum likes things to be warm, with an optimum ambient temperature range of 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, and 60-80 degrees in the winter.
Keep this plant away from HVAC vents; the hot or cold air that comes blowing out of these is very dry and can easily dry out the Gloriosum’s large leaves.
The philodendron gloriosum likes a bit more humidity than can usually be found in dry indoor air. But there are a few things to do to raise the humidity around your Gloriosum:
- Group it with other plants so the Gloriosum can absorb moisture released by its neighbors.
- Place a jar or bowl of water nearby, and refresh the water every couple of days.
- Keep your Gloriosum in the bathroom or kitchen, where air tends to be more humid all the time.
- Put the pot on top of a tray filled with pebbles, and add enough water to just cover the pebbles. Change the water in the tray frequently to prevent bug issues.
- Use a plant humidifier.
You should fertilize your Gloriosum every two to three weeks during the long, warm days of summer. This formula specifically blended for philodendrons is a great choice.
During the fall and winter dormant months, skip fertilizing altogether and just water lightly when the soil gets dry.
You can regularly prune out leaves that are tattered, yellowed, or brown, as well as any stems that are too long or too knotty. Pruning back older growth will often refresh the plant’s appearance and prompt it to send out a fresh batch of new leaves.
The best time for trimming entire stems is in late spring when the plant is still mostly dormant. If you’ve got a leaf that’s starting to get past its prime, you can trim it off at any time of the year.
Always remember to use sanitized tools to make your cuts!
The stems of the Philodendron Gloriosum can reach up to 3 feet long, and in the wild, these stems can rest on the dense foliage of the rainforest floor to stay upright.
So you may need to provide a little external support to keep your plant from flopping over, especially as it gets older.
All you need to do is place a few bamboo stakes in the soil, making sure to avoid damaging the stolon. Then use twine or a plant tie to gently attach the longest, floppiest stems to the poles.
How to Re-Pot a Philodendron Gloriosum
You’ll need to take special care when potting up or repotting your Gloriosum, as the placement of the stolon is very important.
If you have just purchased a young Gloriosum, you can pot it up when you receive it.
For older plants, your re-potting frequency will depend on the plant’s growth rate. Typically, you’ll need to re-pot an older Gloriosum every year or two, in the spring.
Regardless of age, follow these steps:
- Prepare for the potting process by watering the plant in its current pot thoroughly one or two days before you plan to re-pot it.
- Remove the root ball from the pot by tapping it gently on all sides. Then, tilt the pot onto its side, place your hand on the top of the soil–not gripping or pulling on the stem or stolon in any way–and wiggle it free gently.
- This is the time to look for any brownish, squishy roots sections or areas of tightly compacted, circular root pattern. If you find either of these, use a pair of sanitized shears to clip off any infection or to trim especially long roots. If you’re placing your plant back into the same pot with new soil, gently shake free a portion of the old soil clinging to the roots.
- Use damp potting soil to fill the bottom of the pot. Aim to position the stolon and the top of the root ball an inch or so below the lip of the pot. Note: If you’re potting up a small Gloriosum seedling without much root development, make sure not to bury the stolon. Instead, fill the pot with soil and place the stolon on top. Then gently tuck any roots it does have under the surface of the soil.
- If you need to stabilize the stolon, use short stakes to stabilize it from each side, or u-shaped braces to hold it upright.
- Tap down the soil in your pot to make sure that there are no air pockets. Add more soil if necessary, and wait a day or two before watering the pot again.
If you’d like to see the re-potting process in action, check out this video by Casey’s Green Thumb:
Potential Problems with Philodendron Gloriosum
So what are some of the things that might negatively impact your Gloriosum?
This plant does not like to have wet feet, so overwatering can make it very unhappy.
The tell-tale sign of overwatering is the appearance of yellow leaves that drop off the plant. If you see this, check the soil for moisture right away. If it is very wet, stop watering for several days to allow it to dry out until the top 2 inches of soil feel dry.
Going forward, water it less frequently, and always check the soil moisture first.
Philodendron Gloriosum Pests
Aphids can infest a Gloriosum and cause new growth to be yellowed, rumpled, and sticky.
Remove any parts of the plant that are past the point of no return, and use a strong stream of water to thoroughly rinse the remaining stems and leaves. Spray the new growing tips with an insecticidal soap. This formula from Safer Brand is a good choice.
Depending on how severe the aphid problem is, you may need to treat your plant with insecticidal soap a few times. Even after the aphids are gone, keep an eye on it for the next few weeks for a resurgence.
Mealybugs form white cottony deposits on the stems and leaves.
You can pluck them off with tweezers or use a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol to rub them off. Check back for more mealybugs five to seven days later and repeat if necessary.
Bugs tend to spread, so if you find either of these pests on your Philodendron Gloriosum, make sure to inspect any other houseplants, too.
A Philodendron Gloriosum that receives too much light will experience yellowing, especially of they’re older leaves.
Try moving the plant back from the window or to a different location where light is bright, but not hot and intense. Remember that its natural habitat is on the rainforest floor, with tropical sunlight filtered by the forest canopy.
Conversely, if your Gloriosum is excessively leggy or if its stems begin leaning towards the light, it’s too far away from the light source. Move it into stronger light or to a place where it can receive more hours of daylight.
Propagating Philodendron Gloriosum
Once you have a plant with a developed and mature stolon that is 6 inches or longer, it is easy to propagate a whole new plant from stem cuttings.
- Locate the part of the stolon with the fewest leaves. Look for the leaf nodes, which are circular scars left behind on the stolon by old leaves.
- Use sanitized shears to cut off a portion of the stolon. Make your cut in the blank space between two leaf nodes.
- Tuck your cutting into a pot of damp, well-draining soil mix, and place it in a warm, slightly humid location.
- Within four to eight weeks, the cutting will produce a small green shoot, which will develop into a new growing point for a brand new Philodendron Gloriosum.
This process can be a little tricky to follow from written instructions. So for some visual guidance, here’s a video from OnlyPlants:
Frequently Asked Questions about Philodendron Gloriosum
Another big-leafed houseplant for the big-hearted plant lover, the Philodendron Gloriosum is relatively easy to care for and makes a big statement as an indoor plant.
One important point to keep in mind is to keep that stolon above the surface of the soil, and you’ll do fine!
We want to hear from you! Do you have any other questions about Philodendron Gloriosum? Have you got any other helpful tips to share?
Let us know in the comments!