Philodendron giganteum is a stunningly huge tropical plant that will make a striking addition to your houseplant collection. Learn about philodendron giganteum care including how large this plant can get in a pot!
Philodendron giganteum care & all about this colossal stunner!
I have written about a lot of different philodendrons, but today is a newer variety for me: philodendron giganteum. I have been eyeing this variety for years but haven’t had the room for one. Well, I pulled the trigger on one recently not because I have the room, but because I can put it outside soon 🙂
Philodendron giganteum is an exceedingly gorgeous variety, and its name suggests why—it’s huge. Giant, if you will. It is one of—if not the—largest variety of philodendron. A tropical plant native to South America and the Caribbean, the philodendron giganteum makes a dramatic statement in any houseplant collection.
What is the giant philodendron?
Philodendron giganteum has very large, billowy, heart-shaped green leaves. They remind me a lot of large elephant ear varieties. But instead of being an upright plant like elephant ears, philodendron giganteum is a climbing plant.
Does philodendron giganteum climb?
Speaking of climbing, much like its relative and other large philodendron the philodendron selloum, it enjoys support as it grows. Not only because its aerial roots are looking for something to cling to, but because those big leaves are heavy!
In its native home, it uses its aerial roots to cling to trees, branches, and other things for support. You can mimic this environment by adding a moss pole, a large DIY jute pole, or some other type of trellis.
For more philodendron content, check out my Silver Sword Philodendron Care guide, my Philodendron Birkin Care guide, my Philodendron Brandtianum Care guide, and my Pink Princess Philodendron Care & Stem Propagation guide!
How do you care for a philodendron giganteum?
So let’s talk about philodendron giganteum care. Is it hard to care for? It’s about on par with other common philodendrons, meaning that it is relatively easy. The hardest part will likely be finding a spot large enough to accommodate the plant that also gives it enough light!
Philodendron giganteum lighting needs
The giant philodendron will thrive in bright indirect light. It can even do well several feet away from a window if it is a very sunny window.
That’s because too much direct sun can burn the foliage. While the leaves are large, they are somewhat fragile. They feel a lot like monstera deliciosa leaves to me, and I’ve scorched those before 🙁
If you have your philodendron giganteum outside for the spring and summer, put it somewhere it can get dappled sunlight—like under a tree or on a covered patio. It can get some direct morning sun, which is generally weaker than afternoon sun.
Watch for evening direct sun, though. Many people think that morning and evening sun are both weaker, with the harshest light being midday. While that may be true, I have found the early evening sun where I live to be incredibly strong.
If you can find a spot for your philodendron giganteum where the plant fits and also gets enough light to keep it happy—you’ll be golden!
If you are having trouble finding a spot that can accommodate your plant’s size and provide it with enough light, you can consider adding a grow light. See my post about how to use grow lights with houseplants for more!
How often should I water a philodendron giganteum?
The philodendron giganteum’s watering frequency depends on many variables: the amount of light it gets, the type of soil it is planted in, and the temperature, just to name a few. Therefore, it is best to check the soil moisture while you are still establishing a watering routine.
Philodendron giganteum is prone to root rot and does not like to be overwatered. Giving your plant too much water will kill it slowly, suffocating the roots. Signs of overwatering include yellowing leaves.
If you have your philodendron giganteum in a well-draining soil, you’ll probably need to water it weekly when it’s warmer out, much less in the fall and winter. Monitor the moisture if you have the plant outside, because summer heat and lack of AC will probably zap the water out faster.
Philodendron giganteum care and soil mixtures
A critical part of the watering equation is soil. If your soil is too dense, the roots won’t get enough oxygen, and the soil will take forever to dry out. This happened to be two years ago with a large philodendron selloum I had on my patio.
I watered it almost every other day since it was hot as the devil outside, but the leaves were still coming out yellowish! It was not cute. My other plants were doing just fine with that amount of water, but the selloum wasn’t.
Well, it was because the soil was too heavy. I realized that, while the top few inches were drying out, the rest was retaining water and choking out the roots. It never dried out. Once I repotted the plant with better soil, all of the new growth was fine!
The best soil to use for a philodendron giganteum is a well-draining houseplant mix. Even if you have the plant outdoors, as my experience shows! I like to add in some extra coco coir for plants in this family as well (the Araceae family, or aroids).
Coco coir is a great peat moss alternative and helps the soil retain moisture without being too heavy. Adding a bit more perlite to the soil mixture also helps enhance drainage and create tiny air pockets for the roots to get oxygen.
Temperature & humidity needs
As a tropical plant, philodendron giganteum appreciates warmer temperatures. It does well in all normal household temperatures, but you will likely notice growth slowing down in the winter when temperatures drop outside and the heat is running indoors.
Philodendron giganteum is not cold or frost hardy, so if you live in an area with all four seasons like I do, it needs to come inside for the fall and winter. While it can do temperatures that dip into the 50s at night, this isn’t ideal.
I bring most of my plants out when I see that the temperatures are consistently in the 50s at night, at least in the 10-day forecast. After a couple weeks, that will bump up to the 60s at night, and I know I’m safe until the fall!
Being a tropical plant also means that philodendron giganteum enjoys humidity. However, it should be fine in normal household humidity levels. You can help it along by adding a humidifier to the space it lives in.
You can also mist the plant with something like a continuous mister, but this has only a temporary effect. I personally find misting my plants to be relaxing and therapeutic, so I do it 🙂
Repotting & fertilizing
Philodendron giganteum does not need to be repotted often despite growing pretty quickly. It enjoys being snug in its pot, so don’t size it up until you notice the roots growing out of its pot’s drainage holes.
When repotting, use fresh soil to replenish lost nutrients and give it a boost. Size up only about an inch to ensure it isn’t swimming in soil. This can also lead to overwatering problems.
Since philodendron giganteum is a rather prolific grower, it does enjoy some extra plant food. I recommend adding some Liqui-Dirt to your watering routine, especially if your plant hasn’t been repotted that growing season.
Another option is to use a fork and work in worm castings to the top few inches of soil. When you water the plant, the nutrients will penetrate the soil and get to the roots. I buy worm castings in bags—I don’t make my own.
How big does a philodendron giganteum get?
The leaves alone on a philodendron giganteum can be up to three feet wide. Three feet! So that gives you a little hint at how large the plant can get. The length on the leaves can be larger than three feet, too.
The stems are thick and sturdy to support such showstoppers. And the plant itself can get very tall. The size of a tree if grown in ideal conditions, likely outdoors in the ground.
As a houseplant, you can still expect your philodendron giganteum to get very tall. It will grow to be taller than you in all likelihood—up to 7 or 8 feet in a pot.
Philodendron giganteum propagation
You can easily propagate a philodendron giganteum plant by taking a cutting. However, you must be aware that there are fewer growth points on this plant because it grows from a single stem. Accordingly, it can be a while before the plant matures enough to be able to take a cutting.
When you can take a cutting, do so from an area on the stem that has a few nodes. These are the areas where the stems meet the leaves (or they could be an aerial root).
Since this is a bigger plant, I recommend using a rooting gel or power on the cut end of the plant. Then plant the cutting in fresh well-draining soil. Give it a small stake and use some plant twine to keep the cutting upright if necessary.
Water the plant enough to keep the soil moist but not wet and keep it in a warm spot with bright, indirect light. When you feel resistance upon tugging the cutting, it is starting to root. You can back off watering to normal levels.
Philodendron giganteum issues & how to fix them
This section will help you pinpoint and address a few of the issues you might encounter with your philodendron giganteum.
This type of plant is not exceptionally vulnerable to any houseplant pests. It can harbor pests like fungus gnats, mealybugs, and other common ones. If you notice signs of any pests, wipe down the leaves.
Depending on the pest, I’d also recommend spraying down the plant with an organic insecticide spray, too. There will be many options at your local nursery that control for a variety of pests.
2. Yellowing leaves
If the leaves on your philodendron giganteum are yellowing, it’s possibly a result of overwatering, dense soil, or both. Check to make sure the top several inches of soil are drying out before watering the plant again, and make sure it is potted in a well-draining soil mix.
3. Moldy soil or fungus gnats
Moldy soil or fungus gnats is likely a result of overwatering. I recommend simply scraping the top half inch or so of moldy soil off and throwing it away. Then use a fork or chopstick to break up the top few inches of soil to aerate it.
Let the soil dry out before watering the plant again. Fungus gnats lay eggs in the top layer of soil, and they like moist soil! Learn more about fungus gnats.
4. Wilting leaves with brown tips
Wilting leaves with brown tips on a philodendron giganteum is likely underwatering—if the soil is dry! The browning areas won’t rebound, but the plant should perk up when you give it a drink.
Philodendron giganteum can survive some neglect and the occasional period of drought, but it will not do well if it happens regularly.
Other philodendron giganteum questions
Below are a few other things you might be wondering about the philodendron giganteum.
Is philodendron giganteum a fast grower?
Yes, it is a very fast grower. With a solid philodendron giganteum care routine, your plant will throw out new leaves left and right. So if your plant is relatively small when you get it, have patience. The impressive size will come!
Is philodendron giganteum rare?
Ummm, I would say it isn’t rare as much as it is difficult to find. Let me explain! It isn’t mass-produced by any big growers as far as I know, so that can make it hader to find. However, when you do find one, they seem to be relatively reasonably priced.
I saw some at nurseries around me, but none of them looked very healthy. They were also WAY too big for my space, so I had to pass. I ended up ordering mine off Etsy for what I think is a very reasonable plant.
Also, since these plants get big quickly, you can settle for a smaller plant that is a bit cheaper and easier to ship!
Is philodendron giganteum safe to have around pets?
Just being around the plant is not a problem, but ingesting it is. It contains calcium oxalate crystals, much like many other common houseplants do. Ingesting calcium oxalate can lead to swelling and irritation in your mouth and GI tract.
So, if your pets eat your plants, it’s probably not a good idea to let them have access to your philodendron giganteum. If they just want to lay under it and pretend they are big jungle cats, that is fine. This goes for humans, too—no eating.