The Philodendron Gloriosum is a rare beauty from the Araceae family (known as Aroids!). This attractive plant features uniquely large, heart-shaped velvety leaves and large white-green veins…. gorgeous! 🙂
Philodendron Gloriosums are easy-going plants that appreciate conditions that mimic tropical rainforests, their native environment. They enjoy 70-90% humidity, loads of bright but filtered light, and light fertilizing. A well-draining potting mix is key to root health, but don’t be afraid to water this Aroid deeply when the topsoil is dry.
Avoid succulent potting mixes as these tend to dry out too quickly.
Let’s dive into the details!
Philodendron Gloriosum’s origins and native habitat
There are mixed accounts on the origins of this Philodendron. They were first identified in the early 1800s in the tropical rainforests of Colombia. Since then, Gloriosums have been documented growing in the wild in other parts of Central America and some regions in Brazil.
Because of its origins, Gloriosum means “glory of the rainforest”. Your plant is also known as Anthurium Gloriosum and Velvet Philodendron, the latter a nod to its velvety leaves. 🙂
Where can you buy a Philodendron Gloriosum?
Despite being on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, they are readily available on Etsy.
But, it’s not unusual to have to pay around US$100 for a mature, well-established plant! Smaller plants go for US$30-40.
Caring for your Philodendron Gloriosum
Keep your Philodendron Gloriosum in a spot that receives ample bright but filtered light. Avoid direct light altogether. This low-growing creeper is typically found near the forest floor… making it less adapted to harsh light conditions.
Opt for East-facing windows, and rotate your plant every week for even growth. 🙂
During the winter, consider using a grow light. Around 800-1,500 foot candles for 5 hours a day is optimal.
Too much sunlight causes the yellowing of leaves. On the other hand, small and leggy foliage is a sign of too little light. Observe your plant and adjust accordingly.
Watering is an important and often misunderstood area of Philodendron Gloriosum care. While these plants have moderate watering requirements, they are also susceptible to root rot from overwatering. Root rot is the most common culprit for ailing Gloriosums.
Here are some tips:
- Always use your finger to check whether the top 2 inches of topsoil is dry. If it is, water your plant. Otherwise, check back again in a day or two. Do not water your plant on a fixed schedule (i.e., water every X days)!
- This is the best method as it naturally adjusts to account for climate, evaporation rates, and the changing water requirements of your plant. As an example, you’d find that in the winter, you’ll be watering your plant much less as it enters dormancy and its water requirements drop.
- Water until the excess runs through the drainage hole.
- Always use a pot with drainage holes! You don’t want water to pool at the bottom of the plant, which keeps its roots wet. For the same reason, empty any excess water from its saucer religiously.
Signs of over and underwatering
Droopy leaves and stems which are soft is a sign of overwatering. Underwatering also features limp leaves, but you’d see the leaves appearing “crispy” rather than soft. Check if the soil is moist to determine if your issue is overwatering or underwatering.
Though Gloriosums are usually easy-going… they are fussy about humidity. Your “glory of the rainforest” absolutely thrives in 70-90% humidity. You’d minimally want to shoot for 60% humidity.
Often, this is higher than normal moisture levels depending on where you live. If you can, invest in a humidifier. This is the most effective and convenient way to increase moisture levels in the air.
Alternatively, the second-best way is to use a pebble tray.
- Simply find a shallow dish, add pebbles and water.
- Be careful that the pebbles are not completely submerged.
- Situate your potted plant directly on top of the pebble tray.
- The evaporating water increases humidity around your plant.
All Philodendrons are tropical plants, so naturally, they love warmer climates. However, they can tolerate temperatures above 60 degrees F (15 degrees C) in winter. Optimally, you’d want the temperature to be stable, and between 70-90 degrees F (21 – 32 degrees C) year-round.
If you live in a country with seasons, your plant will turn dormant in colder winter months. This means, from late fall to spring, you shouldn’t expect to see any new growth.
Your Philodendron Gloriosum needs a loose and well-draining potting mix. Soil that is slightly acidic (pH 5-8) is best. Avoid succulent mixes as these tend to dry out too quickly.
Here’s an ideal soil mix you can use:
- Two parts potting mix
- 1 part pumice or perlite
- 1 part orchid bark
- plus a handful of charcoal
The perlite and orchid bark keeps your soil loose and well-draining. This allows excess water to run off and roots to breathe easy. The potting mix provides nutrients.
Charcoal is a more unusual addition. Recall that your plant’s native habitat is forested. Wildfires are a natural occurrence, making way for new growth. Charcoal, a product from burned trees, is present in the natural growing environment of Aroids.
Charcoal is helpful for your Aroid’s growth, absorbing impurities and stabilizing soil pH. It has the added benefit of being a natural deterrent to many pests!
Some articles suggest growing your plant in 100% sphagnum peat moss. However, this is less than optimal as sphagnum moss has little nutrition. We prefer the above mix instead.
When planting your Gloriosum, use:
- Terracotta pots or clay pots are porous, allowing your plant to breathe.
- A pot that is as wide rather than deep. Remember that your plant is a creeper, not a climber!
A gentle (urea-free) but nutritionally complete fertilizer is your best option. We recommend using this houseplant fertilizer, which produces impressive results.
During the spring and summer months, fertilize every time you water. If using the fertilizer in the link, mix 1/2 teaspoon fertilizer with a gallon of water (otherwise check specific instructions for your brand). Skip fertilizing in fall and winter.
Plant Structure and Growth
Unlike many other Philodendrons, your Gloriosum is not a climbing plant.
Instead, it is a terrestrial (creeping or “runner”) plant, more akin to the Philodendron Mamei. Gloriosums have a woody stolon, a modified stem that grows horizontally along the surface of the ground. Along the length of the stolon, you’d find upright stems growing vertically; and roots sent down into the ground.
Strawberry plants function in a similar way. Here’s a graphic to better show you what this looks like:
Upright stems can reach up to several feet (1 foot = 30cm) high, giving your plant some height. This also lifts its large heart-shaped leaves above the forest undergrowth.
Kept as a houseplant, you can expect your plant to reach up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall and leaves up to 8 inches (20cm) wide. In the wild, leaves are known to reach up to 36 inches (90cm)! But it’s improbable you’d see such enormous growth indoors, away from its natural environment.
In its juvenile state, your plant’s leaves start as light green, slowly darkening and enlarging as it matures. Its veins become more pronounced and change from a pinkish-light green to a pure white.
In its native habitat, mature Philodendron Gloriosums flower but only do so after more than 15 years!
Repotting only needs to take place every year or two, as the Gloriosum is a slow-growing plant. Spring is the best time for repotting.
- Prepare for repotting by watering your plant the day before repotting.
- The next day, gently remove your plant from its current pot. Use your fingers to carefully tease out the roots, making sure not to damage the plant.
- Examine your plant’s roots. If you see any brown or decaying parts, snip these off with a pair of clean garden shears.
- Take your new pot and fill up all the ways with fresh potting mix (see the Soil section for details on the best mix). You shouldn’t reuse the old soil as nutrients would have depleted over time.
- Take the plant and let the stolon rest above the soil’s surface.
- Gently tuck roots under the soil’s surface, making sure that the stolon still rests above its surface.
- Tap down the soil gently to hold your plant in place.
- Water your plant the next day.
Unfortunately, your plant is toxic when ingested. Philodendrons contain insoluble oxalate crystals, like many other houseplant favourites like Monsteras. When ingested by humans or pets, they can cause severe mouth irritation, burns, vomiting and nausea, and gastrointestinal discomfort.
However, more severe symptoms usually result only when large quantities are ingested. For an accident occurs, wash the affected area with cool water and seek medical attention if necessary.
Pruning a Philodendron Gloriosum is an excellent practice to keep your plant looking fresh and encourage new growth.
Use clean garden shears to cut away any dead or yellow foliage. Also, prune away any stems that are too long or knotty.
Pruning off large portions of stems is best done in late spring. However, you can cut off any lacklustre leaves throughout the year.
It is hard to propagate through seeds because it takes your plant over 15 years to flower (and this only happens in the wild).
You might have guessed that the best way to propagate is through stem-cutting or stolon cutting, to be precise! Stolons are modified stem. However, you can only propagate a plant with a mature stolon of more than 8 inches.
- Identify a part of the stolon with a few nodes but minimal leaves. (Nodes are the nubby-looking thing on the stolon.)
- Cut your stolon in between two nodes, ensuring you use clean and sharp garden shears not to cause damage to your plant.
- Use a plastic container with a lid (a normal takeaway container works). Poke a couple of holes on the lid.
- Fill the plastic container with some potting mix (see the recommended mix in the Soil section).
- Place the stolon on top of the soil.
- Close the plastic container with the lid. This ensures high humidity for your cutting. Open the container for about 10 minutes to refresh the air every few days.
- Place your container in a bright spot but away from direct sunlight.
- Within 4-6 weeks, you should see new growth emerge.
You can also choose to propagate your cutting in water, and once roots establish, transfer this cutting into a potting mix.
Your plant can benefit from a bamboo or wooden stake to support its top-heavy leaves. However, Gloriosums will not climb or train on these supports, so it does not have to be very tall.
Simply prop your stake up, using garden ties to loosely bind any floppy-looking stems.
Gloriosums are not generally prone to infestations, but you still may encounter the usual houseplant pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and aphids. The best way to deal with an infestation is to use an Insectidical Soap spray. We like this brand, which thankfully eradicates all these common pests!
Similar Plants and Varieties
A hybrid between Philodendron Gloriosum and P.melanchochrysum, the Glorious’s leaves looks a lot like the Gloriosums but are less round. They also feature a more pointed leaf tip. 🙂
Philodendron Spiritus Sancti
The rarest Philodendron, the Philodendron Spiritus Sancti, hails from Brazil. It is one of the most endangered plants in the world. A potted plant may cost up to US$50,000!
Lacy Tree Philodendron (Philodendron selloum)
The Lady Tree delights with large lobed leaves that span several feet, a rapid glowing and attractive houseplant. It’s also an easy-going variety that is perfect for beginner gardeners.
Philodendron Pink Princess
True to its name, this Princess has variegated soft pink foliage. Also a rapid grower, this vining plant trains up poles or stakes or trails down from hanging baskets.
The Birkin is known for its attractive white stripes on dark green foliage. It is easy to grow!
Another large, heart-shaped favorite is the beautiful Philodendron Mamei. We love its silvery-grey variegation.
For another rare Aroid with a similar leaf shape and a pop of color, give the Philodendron Verrucosum a try!
The Melanochrysm is a rare aroid that is often referred to as the Black Gold Philodendron. This refers to the way its pale veins glimmer in direct sunlight, against its dark leaves… so hard to capture on photos, but its amazing in real life!
Other Philodendrons we love
- Philodendron McDowell – a hybrid between the Philodendron Gloriosum and the Pastazanum
- Philodendron El Choco Red – a large, heart-shaped velvet leaf with a surprising red underside
Why are the leaves yellow?
Yellow leaves can be normal and expected. Old leaves turn yellow and die off naturally.
However, if the yellowing is not confined to old foliage, it is usually a sign of either over or underwatering. Check your soil’s moisture to determine which of these problems is ailing your plant.
Another tip is that overwatered plants also usually look limp and soft, while underwatered Gloriosums have crispy-looking leaves.
Why are the leaves pale?
Pale foliage signifies that your plant is not getting enough nutrients, such as calcium and magnesium. Our recommendation is to use this fertilizer, which has done our plants well! Ensure you are fertilizing your Gloriosum regularly, and that the fertilizer you are using is nutritionally complete.
How do you encourage the leaves to get bigger?
Don’t we all want our plants to grow large and vibrant foliage! We have three pieces of advice:
- Sunlight: This is the most common issue preventing your plant’s leaves from enlarging. Ensure your plant has ample indirect sunlight from an East-facing window. You can also supplement your light requirements using a grow light at 800-2,000 foot candles.
- Fertilizer: Ensure your plant is getting a nutritionally complete diet. Follow the Fertiliser sections to ensure it has all it needs to grow healthy.
- Patience: Lastly, recognize that your plant is a slow-growing variety. The time taken for a leaf spike to fully develop into a large leaf can take 1-2 months!
My plant has root rot. Now what?
Root rot occurs when your plant is persistently overwatered. Roots are drowned out by the water, cannot breathe and start decaying. Root rot can also happen when a moisture-loving fungus attacks our plant’s waterlogged root system.
Common effects of root rot on Gloriosums are blackening leaves, leaves that struggle to unfurl and stunted growth in general. If not treated promptly, it can lead to plant death.
What should you do if you notice these symptoms?
First, confirm that root rot is the issue by examining your plant’s stolon. If it is soft and blackened, root rot is undoubtedly present.
To remedy this, prune away the rotten parts of the stolon and roots. Then, replant your Gloriosum in a fresh potting mix.
Ensure you read the Watering section to prevent recurrence!
Frequently Asked Questions
How big can Gloriosum get?
Kept as a houseplant, Gloriosums can grow up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall, with a leaf span of up to 8 inches (20cm).
How fast does Philodendron Gloriosum grow?
They are a slow-growing plant. It can take two months for a leaf spike to develop into a leaf fully.
Does Philodendron Gloriosum like shade?
There is some dispute about whether Gloriosums like shade or prefer some indirect light. It has been found that in its native habitat, your Gloriosum does best in the shade.
However, it prefers indirect light when kept in the home or garden. This sunlight helps your plant grow large and attractive foliage.
Why is the Philodendron Gloriosum so expensive?
Let’s be honest. Gloriosums are undeniably handsome! It’s no wonder that demand for these plants is so high. Its popularity has grown exponentially due to social media.
At the same time, supply is limited as these plants are rare. Remember that this plant is on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species! Gloriosums are also notoriously slow-growing, meaning that propagation through stem-cuttings is a slower process.
If you ask us, this has only added to the appeal.
Where can I buy a Philodendron Gloriosum?
Etsy is a good source for rare Philodendrons. You can also find Gloriousums sold as chonks which are small stem cuttings. Follow the repotting steps to ensure your plant is well-established in its new home!
Are they related to Monstera?
Philodendron Gloriosums and Monsteras are different species from the same Araceae family (plants from this family are known as Aroids). We love Monsteras too! Some of our favourites are Monstera Siltepecana and Monstera Dubia.
Are Philodendron the same as Pothos?
Both Philodendrons and Pothos are Aroids. However, they are different genera (plural for genus). Here’s how to differentiate between a Philodendron and a Pothos.
Where should you keep your Philodendron Gloriosum?
The Gloriosum is one attractive plant. When planted around the base of a tree, it will look stunning. Consider growing it outdoors if you live in a warm climate with high humidity; a greenhouse is also a good bet.
Do note that when kept outdoors, your Philodendron Gloriosum prefers to be in the shade.
You can grow it indoors too, of course! East-facing windows are best for ample amounts of bright, indirect light.
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.
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