Wondering how to care for a philodendron gloriosum? This type of philodendron might be hard to get your hands on, but philodendron gloriosum care isn’t rocket science. Learn all about it here!
The gorgeous heart-shaped philodendron gloriosum!
I am so excited to finally be writing about the philodendron gloriosum! There is a seemingly endless variety of philodendrons you can collect, but some of them are harder to get your hands on than others.
The philodendron gloriosum was one of those plants for me. I just wasn’t willing to pay the price for it until I got one for a great deal. And isn’t it gorgeous? It’s quickly climbing on my list of favorite plants!
What is a philodendron gloriosum?
Philodendron is a genus of plants, and gloriosum is the species of plant within the philodendron genus. The lovely philodendron gloriosum is native to Colombia, where it grows along the ground in warm, humid environments.
Along the ground? Yes! In its native habitat, gloriosum plants tend to vine along the group instead of climbing. But as smaller potted planted, they tend to be upright and wide in their growth pattern.
The leaves are large, even in their juvenile form. They are a lighter green when they first unfurl, eventually deepening into a gorgeous deep green. And the finish on them—velvety. Much like the philodendron micans.
The veining on the heart-shaped leaves is much lighter, often having a somewhat pink tinge to it. The leaves can also have a pink tinge along the edges, though this can vary in intensity.
Why is the philodendron gloriosum so expensive?
A loaded question for sure! There are a number of reasons why any plant is expensive. They can range from growth method and growth rate to popularity and hardiness.
I’d say the philodendron gloriosum is so expensive because it is not a fast grower, meaning that creating new plants takes longer than it might with some other plants. It’s also very popular, and there aren’t any being mass produced—and you know what low supply and high demand means!
If you want to get your hands on a philodendron gloriosum, I would recommend checking out a local nursery. Their prices tend to be high, but you know you’re getting a quality plant.
I understand that not everyone can afford this route, though. I certainly couldn’t. If that’s you, I recommend checking out local houseplant buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook. You might be able to find one for a better price, but you also can’t be totally sure on the health of the plant.
You can also consider importing a plant. Prices on imported plants, at least for us U.S. buyers, are typically much lower. However, you have to pay a lot for shipping and import fees, so going in on a large order with other people is typically the best bet.
Is philodendron gloriosum hard to care for?
I have seen people say that the philodendron gloriosum is easy to care for, but I’d say it’s a more moderate difficult level. You can’t set it and forget it like a snake plant—that’s what I consider to be on the easiest end of the spectrum.
I like this one more to caring for a calathea. It isn’t hard, but you can’t do it on autopilot. Unless you live somewhere fantastically humid and warm year round! You’ll see why in the care section. Some aspects of its care are easier than others.
How much light does a philodendron gloriosum need?
So let’s get started with light needs. Philodendron gloriosum needs bright, indirect light. So that’s pretty easy to achieve. Close to a sunny window is best. If it’s a south-facing window that gets sun all day, just monitor to make sure it isn’t getting too much light.
Too much light will fade and even burn the leaves, but I generally do not have issues with burning plant leaves on my indoor plants.
Outdoors, on the other hand, is another story. If you have the plant outdoors, make sure to shield it from too much direct sun. Some morning sun will likely be fine, but as the day goes on, the sun becomes more intense.
If you notice that the leaves are decreasing in size—or not increasing at all—or that the stems are getting long and generally sad looking (leggy), the plant is probably not getting enough light. Don’t slow down this slow grower’s pace even more!
Is philodendron gloriosum fast growing?
Speaking of growth rate…absolutely not. Philodendron gloriosum is not a fast grower. It is notoriously slow, in fact. Which makes those new leaves all the more rewarding!
It can take several weeks for a single leaf to open up completely, which can be torture to watch. But don’t pick at them—it can scar or tear the leaves. Just let them do their thing and ensure you’re giving your gloriosum optimal care.
What kind of soil is best?
Well-draining soil. Look for something suitable for tropical plants or houseplants in general. I generally throw in some additional bark (or, more recently, coconut husks!) and perlite to help further enhance drainage on plants like the gloriosum.
Why is using a chunky, well-draining soil so important? Well, you not only want extra water to drain through the soil and out of the drainage holes, but you want to ensure the plant’s roots have access to oxygen.
Because the roots are buried in the soil, chunky soil helps to enhance aeration and encourage the flow of oxygen to the roots. It’s essential. If the roots can’t breathe, they’ll drown. The soil will also retain too much water if it’s too heavy, choking out the plant and leading to rot.
When should I water my gloriosum?
And because I mentioned water, let’s jump into that. Watering a philodendron gloriosum is a pretty easy aspect of its care. That’s because you just have to check the top few inches of soil.
If they are dry, go ahead and water it. Much like the philodendron silver sword, the gloriosum will show you if you’ve gone too long without watering it. It will drop leaves. I’ve generally found that my silver sword yellows and drops off its oldest leaves if I deprive it of water for too long.
If you keep the soil too wet—even if it is well-draining soil—by watering the plant too often, it won’t be happy. Yellowing leaves are generally a good sign of overwatering if they are also accompanied by wet soil.
All of this is to say that philodendron gloriosum typically requires water every week or so in the growing season, every few weeks in the winter when it’s colder.
For my plants that tend to be a bit more demanding with their watering needs, I group them together. That way I won’t forget that they need a tad extra water and won’t be happy with me when I go a few days too long.
Temperature & humidity
While I mentioned that philodendron gloriosum can happily summer outside in my humid Maryland climate here, that doesn’t mean it can stay outside. It will be happiest in temperatures that span the 60s into the high 80s and even low 90s.
It is not cold or frost hardy, so make sure you take it inside once temperatures drop down into the 50s at night. If you keep your gloriosum indoors year round as a houseplant, know that it will be just fine—it tolerates a variety of normal household temps.
Humidity is where I generally find that this is a more difficult plant. That’s because it prefers a higher humidity level. It likely won’t be happy with your normal household humidity levels (that is, unless you live in the tropics). Monitor humidity levels with a temperature & humidity gauge.
I do recommend adding a humidifier by your plant. I have mine in my Ikea greenhouse cabinet with some LECA trays that I fill with water to help with ambient humidity. We’ll see if I keep it this way in the future!
How big does a philodendron gloriosum get?
Since this plant is more of a creeper along the soil line, it doesn’t get too high (though you can prop it up with something like a moss pole). Instead, it can slowly spread from rhizomes that are nested near the soil line.
The leaves themselves can grow to be a couple feet wide when the plant is mature, well cared for, and happy. You can also help encourage healthy growth by applying organic fertilizer like a Liqui-Dirt diluted fertilizer when watering the plant.
Growth patterns & the best type of pot
I’ve mentioned that the gloriosum grows horizontally, so you may be wondering how it grows in a round pot. Well, it has no bounds in nature, and in your home it will reach the bounce of a round pot’s perimeter 🙂
Because it is a slow grower, it will likely take a while before the plant needs to be sized up from the diameter of the current pot it’s in. And if you size up to the next size of a round pot, there may be too much soil.
Instead, look for something in a more non-traditional shape like a rectangle. You can use a variety of creative things once your gloriosum outgrows a traditional circular pot. If you don’t give it something long and lean, it will no longer be able to root and grow at a certain point.
New leaves emerge from the plant’s rhizome, so it’s important to make sure it always has contact with the soil. Don’t bury it completely, and don’t stake it up away from the soil. Half in and half out is great.
How to root a philodendron gloriosum stem cutting
And while we’re talking about growth patterns, let’s talk about how to grow more gloriosums! Plant propagation is one of my favorite topics—especially when the plant is a harder-to-find plant.
When you take a cutting from the gloriosum, “stem cutting” is a little misleading. That’s because it actually needs to have a bit more than the stem—it needs to have part of the rhizome with it.
Roots grow from the rhizome, so if you don’t take any of the rhizome with your cutting, your new plant will not grow. If you take a cutting from the rhizomes and it brings roots along with it—lucky you! This is basically just dividing your plant, and you can go ahead and plant it.
If you did not take roots along with your stem cutting and rhizome piece, you’ll need to root the cutting. I recommend using a mixture of sphagnum moss and perlite for the rooting process.
Mix damp sphagnum moss and perlite together in a cup. Add the cutting, making sure the rhizome is in the moss. Don’t bury the cutting too deep in the moss. Keep humidity high by putting a clear plastic bag overtop of the cutting or by using a large container as a plastic prop box.
Root growth should occur in a few weeks. You can help it along by cutting the rhizome in rooting hormone powder or gel first. I do recommend removing the bag or box’s lid every few days to encourage air circulation.
Once your roots are a few inches long, you can pot the cutting in your chunky, well-draining soil and treat it as you would any other gloriosum. The plant may wilt a bit as it transitions its roots to soil, but it should bounce back. Keep humidity high!
Are philodendron gloriosum plants safe to have around pets?
Philodendron gloriosum plants are toxic when consumed. They can cause gastrointestinal issues, as well as a number of other uncomfortable health problems ranging from minor to serious (depending on the amount consumed).
This goes for humans and pets. My kid and my pets don’t really bother my plants, so it’s not really a concern of mine. But you should keep this in mind when deciding where to put your plant. Keep it away from anything or anyone who nibbles!
Philodendron gloriosum care & pest issues
Philodendron gloriosum is susceptible to a variety of normal houseplant plant pests: fungus gnats, mealybugs, aphids, spider mites, thrips, scale, etc. For almost all of these (except fungus gnats and thrips), I recommend just buying a store-bought insecticide spray like Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew.
When you treat a plant, make sure you are spraying down both the top and bottom of all leaves. Pests will often hide on the bottom of leaves, especially in the area where the leaves meet the stems.
For fungus gnats, insecticide alone won’t cure them. That’s because fungus gnats lay eggs on the top few inches of soil, and they only lay eggs in moist soil. Therefore, the best defense against fungus gnats is letting the soil dry out.
If you can’t let the soil dry out entirely, make sure you let the top several inches of soil dry out. You can speed along this process by using a fork to gently aerate the top layer of soil. Basically till it up like you would ground soil.
If you remove the wet environment, you will prevent the gnats from laying their eggs. Using sticky fly traps to catch adults while you’re drying things out! (Read more about what causes fungus gnats and how to get rid of them.)
If your philodendron gloriosum acquires thrips, there are a few extra stems I’d recommend taking. You can isolate the plant and use beneficial insects to eat the thrips larva and adults, but that isn’t practical for a lot of houseplant hobbyists.
Instead, I recommend spraying the plant down thoroughly and supplementing this approach with systemic insecticide granules. That’s because thrips breed in both your soil and on your leaves. You can read about thrips and how to get rid of them for more! (Read more about getting rid of thrips.)