Philodendron Gloriosum: A Complete Guide for Beginners

By Kee

The philodendron gloriosum is a tropical plant with large cordate/heart-shaped leaves with a velvety feel. The leaves are matte green in color, and they display striking pinkish veins that may turn creamy white slowly through maturity. The plant is also occasionally referred to as Velvet Philodendron or Anthurium Gloriosum. It is a crawling plant, and with that, its leaves grow from a horizontally growing thick rootstock or rhizome. 

The plant belongs to the Philodendron genus and the Araceae aroid family. Philodendron plants are exotic and tropical, but the gloriosum variety is easily grown as a houseplant. Most philodendron plants are climbing plants, and they have trailing stems. The gloriosum plant is very rare because of its growing terrestrial habit, which makes it pretty expensive. You may find the gloriosum going for over a hundred dollars. Its large and velvety leaves and appearance also play a role in its high cost. 

The philodendron gloriosum primarily grows in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America and can be found in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, and Venezuela.

How to Care?

Philodendron gloriosum is a relatively expensive plant, and that is why great and proper care is needed to maintain it and also for it to grow optimally.

Light

Like other plants, light is necessary for philodendron gloriosum leaves to grow and become large. However, the plant’s exposure also needs to be regulated. The plant’s growth is favored by bright but indirect light. Exposure to intense sunlight can make the plant suffer, similar to other tropical plants. 

The plant’s potting mix also requires a well-draining light. You can protect the potted plant from intense sunlight, especially in a position that gets maximum afternoon sunlight, using a sheer curtain or partially closed blinds to filter or diffuse the direct sunlight. 

Inadequate sunlight will not help the plant thrive; therefore, if you grow the plant in very dim conditions, you can supplement light or grow it exclusively under a grow light. If you use a grow light, it should be about 24 inches from the plant’s leaves to prevent leaf burn. Placing the plant on a window sill facing the morning sun (east-facing) will give enough natural light indoors for optimal growth.

Water

For philodendron gloriosum to thrive best, you will need to water it only when the plant’s top half of the soil in the pot is dry. An excellent measure would be watering when the soil’s top (approximately 2.5-5 cm) dries. You can feel if the top is dry using your finger. You also need to water the plant using filtered water at room temperature until it drains from the drainage holes. 

Overwatering or excessive water in the soil can cause the plant’s rhizome to be easily susceptible to root rot which is disastrous for the expensive houseplant. The plant can die. During summer, you can water the plant once or twice a week, and when it’s winter, you can water it less often. 

If you are growing the plant in a terracotta pot, you need to water it more frequently than when growing it in a plastic pot. The pot you use must provide good water drainage by having drainage holes.

Soil

The plant grows best in fertile and loose soil. Loose soil offers excellent drainage after watering and allows for even water distribution within the plant. Ideally, the soil’s pH should be kept between 6.5-7.5. To avoid guessing the best soil for growth, you can create a potting mix for your plant. An ideal one would be made by combining one part and two parts, perlite, and peat moss, respectively. In the same mixture, you also need to add worm castings. This is a great combination because sphagnum peat moss is excellent at moisture retention since it is light. 

Drainage is improved when combined with perlite, and root rot is prevented. Worm castings boost or enhance the soil nutrient levels. 

A potting commercial orchid mix amended with perlite and peat moss makes an excellently aerated potting medium. Horticultural coarse sand, gravel, charcoal, and pumice also work great as soil amendments. As you create your potting mix, the main goal should always be to have a mix that can consistently stay moist but doesn’t get soggy. 

Temperature

It is best to grow philodendron gloriosum under an average room temperature between 18-29 degrees Celsius (65-85 degrees F), but minimum temperature requirements are 16 degrees Celsius or 60 degrees F. The plant will rarely suffer indoors, but it is always crucial to avoid drastic temperature fluctuations. Keep it away from radiators or heat vents and cold drafts. 

Humidity

Humidity affects the watering frequency of the plant. Philodendron gloriosum will thrive best in the high humidity of approx. 60%. Philodendrons are adaptable and can do well at 40-50% relative humidity. If your indoor environment has less than 40% air humidity, it is best that you raise the air moisture levels. 

Household heating, especially during winter, is one factor that can lead to low humidity resulting in poor foliage and growth issues. Therefore, look for a way to increase the humidity during such times when you are running forced air heat. Dry and warm air can make the plant susceptible to spider mites; therefore, humid conditions are necessary to keep them away. As you raise humidity levels, you must not ignore air circulation. If the humid air is stagnant, it can invite fungal problems for the plant. Always try and circulate the air using a fan.

Fertilizing

It is best to fertilize the plant every four weeks when it’s in its growing phase, during spring to fall. Fertilizing encourages the growth of larger leaves faster. Diluted houseplant fertilizer is best when fertilizing. It should be balanced and mixed according to the manufacturer’s instructions. You can try a liquid fertilizer that has a 20-20-20 NPK formulation. During winter, it is best to hold off fertilizing. 

It is recommended that you flush the soil every three months to eliminate any accumulated mineral salts. Pouring filtered water through the soil for about a minute rinses out any fertilizer that may have been left over. Once you flush the soil, give it time to partially dry before you can resume watering and fertilizing.

Height and Growth Rate

The plant is a creeping plant and grows horizontally. Due to that, its thick rootstock should grow above the soil but partially. When the rhizome’s upper half is on the soil’s surface, the plant grows well, preventing root rot. 

The plant’s leaves will typically grow up to 60cm, with the stems being long up to one meter. If it grows in the forest, its leaves can mature significantly larger than those of the same indoor plant by up to 90 cm. The plant grows slowly and matures up to a height of about 1 meter. It can take more than a month for leaf spikes to open fully and become large, velvety, and heart-shaped with cream-colored veins.

When grown as a houseplant, the conditions for the plant’s growth are not as ideal as they would when growing in a tropical forest floor climate. Due to that, the plant will grow to be substantially smaller. However, keeping the ideal growth conditions can see the plant thrive.

Note: Since philodendron gloriosum is not a vining but rather a crawling plant, the pot you use for your plant needs to be much wider than it is deep. That will provide the plant with adequate room to grow and spread horizontally.

Flower

Philodendron gloriosum is typically a flowering plant, and its flowers are similar to and appear like those of other aroid plants. The plant’s flower has a leaf-like bract and flowering spike called spathe and spadix, respectively. You will mostly find that the philodendron gloriosum plants growing in their native habitat or tropical jungle have flowers. However, those grown as houseplants rarely bloom indoors.

How to Propagate Philodendron Gloriosum?

The plant is relatively easy to propagate, and propagating is best done in spring or earlier in summer. To propagate philodendron gloriosum, you need to take stem cuttings that are still intact on the rhizome. Doing it this way ensures that several roots are joined to the stems, allowing you to grow a new plant quickly. 

Because the rooted cuttings of the plant can sell for hundreds of dollars, propagation can be a way to earn yourself money. You may need to propagate your philodendron gloriosum, especially when it is at a high risk of dying. In such a case, the best way to do that is to take healthy leaf cuttings to propagate another plant.

To propagate the plant, you will need to cut a part of the thick rhizome with two leaves but make sure you leave the mother plant with at least three leaves. You then need to leave the rhizome for a few hours for it to be callous. After it has dried, put the cutting in a pot that has moist peat moss and then give it a higher humidity by covering it with a plastic bag. In the following few weeks, ensure that the soil is moist but not soggy. A good way to achieve that is to mist it gently. 

In about three to four weeks, you should see grown roots. At that point, you can transfer your rooted plant to a different container and grow it under the conditions highlighted above. 

Philodendron Gloriosum Repotting

Being a slow-growing plant, philodendron gloriosum will usually not require repotting often. Usually, it is recommended that you repot the plant every two to three years. That way, you give the soil an opportunity to refresh, and you can check for root decay. Repotting also encourages fuller and healthy plant growth. 

If the plant becomes root bound, that is always a typical sign that you need to repot. You will usually see small roots poking out of the pot’s drainage holes, or the plant may simply stop growing. Another sign that you need to repot is if you see water pools on the soil’s surface. 

Repotting a philodendron gloriosum plant entails removing the root ball from the container then gently shaking off any excess root dirt. You then half-fill the container with an ideal soil mixture, but it should be one to two sizes more than the current mixture. Next is to plant your gloriosum such that the rhizome root section and leaf stems are above the soil. This prevents root rot and allows smaller roots to grow within the soil.

How to Prune Philodendron Gloriosum?

The plant generally does not require pruning. However, there are times when pruning is necessary. The primary reason for pruning would be to remove yellow, dead, or old leaves. You can also prune the plant’s leaves when you want to propagate new plants. Furthermore, you can prune the plant if you feel it occupies a lot of space. To prune, you need to cut at the stem’s base and then water to minimize stress.

Is Philodendron Gloriosum Poisonous?

A philodendron gloriosum plant is poisonous, and it can be harmful to people and animals like cats and dogs. The philodendron plant species have insoluble calcium oxalates, which, if ingested, can result in issues such as oral irritation, drooling, swelling, and swallowing difficulties.

Pests and Diseases

Common pests that affect houseplants will typically not infest philodendron gloriosum. However, its growth can be affected by thrips, aphids, mealybugs, fungus, and spider mites. Therefore, you must often inspect the plant’s stems and leaves for bugs or pest infestation signs. Chemical pesticides can pollute your soil mixture, so it’s best to avoid them. You can get rid of pests by using a neem oil solution. It is a natural pesticide that is made by mixing 1 tsp of dish soap, 1 tbsp of neem oil, and 1litre of water. You can liberally cover the leaves and stems using neem oil every week, then keep using the mixture until there are no evident plant bug signs.

The most common disease that affects philodendron gloriosum is root rot, which is caused by overwatering. Therefore, always employ the recommended watering technique and water requirements. Supposing you see any signs of damaged roots, you must get rid of all the affected rhizome, and root sections then repot the plant into fresh soil.

Philodendron Gloriosum vs. Glorious

Philodendron glorious is a hybrid made by crossing philodendron gloriosum and philodendron melanochrysm. It can therefore be thought of as an indirect gloriosum offspring. Philodendron gloriosum is mainly terrestrial, while philodendron glorious plants are typically semi-climbers. 

The philodendron gloriosum is rarer than glorious, and it is a terrestrial plant whose rhizome grows horizontally. Its rarity makes it more expensive. 

When you look at the leaves, those of the philodendron gloriosum are wider and shorter. They also have a lighter color compared to those of philodendron glorious, which are darker because of the attained characteristics of the philodendron melanochrysum. A philodendron glorious plant features an oval petiole, but a philodendron gloriosum features a petiole that is characteristic of a D shape and a flat top.

Common Problems

The plant may be susceptible to the issues highlighted below;

Leaves Curling

Curling philodendron gloriosum leaves will be a sign of overwatering. When the plant is overwatered, it can’t absorb nutrients adequately as needed, leading to curling or drooping leaves. 

Underwatering can also cause the leaves to become curly or droop. That is because excessively less water means that the potting soil is dry, which causes the roots to become dry. As a result, adequate nutrients do not reach the plant’s foliage.

Leaves Turning Yellow

If your plant shows yellow leaves, that is a sign that it is getting too much water, the potting mix is excessively dry, or you are growing the plant under direct sunlight. 

The remedy is to prune the leaves so that the plant can focus its growth on healthy leaves. Additionally, you need to adjust the mentioned growth conditions and care routine to prevent further yellowing. It is important to beware that old plant leaves typically turn yellow before they can die.

Leaves Turning Brown

If the leaves of your philodendron gloriosum are showing a brown color, especially on their tips, that is a typical sign that there is an issue of low humidity for the plant. 

You can boost air moisture quantities using a room humidifier or create a humid micro-climate by grouping plants together. Misting the leaves can increase the humidity for a relatively short time, but it is not ideal in environments that have dry air. It doesn’t raise the humidity high enough but only wets the plant.

Small Leaves

If you notice that the plant has smaller leaves than normal even after maturity, that may indicate that it is in too much shade. Therefore, the solution would be to move it to a brighter location alongside regular fertilization and maintain the desired soil moisture.

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