How to Plant, Grow, and Care For Philodendron Gloriosum
Thinking of adding a Philodendron to your flourishing houseplant collection? Philodendron gloriosum, with classically large heart-shaped leaves and silvery veins, is a great choice. In this article, gardening and houseplant expert Madison Moulton goes through everything you need to know to successfully plant, grow and care for the Philodendron gloriosum.
Philodendrons are the one plant that houseplant parents can’t seem to get enough of – other than the ever-popular Pothos, of course. With their large, heart-shaped leaves that create a jungle right in your home, it’s no wonder they’re so popular.
Houseplant collectors often go for the striking and rare Pink Princess Philodendron, or the classic Split Leaf Philodendron. But the velvety, silvery-leafed Philodendron gloriosum is a worthy addition to any collection.
This rare philodendron has interesting coloration, much like the ever-popular Crystal Anthurium. Its larger-than-life leaves are a dark green and feel like velvet, and, adding to its lush look, its veins are pale and silvery.
But, thanks to their similar, striking looks, the Philodendron gloriosum and the Crystal Anthurium are often confused. In this guide, we’ll clear up the confusion and go over everything you need to know about the rare, but easy-going Philodendron gloriosum.
Philodendron Gloriosum Plant Overview
Plant Type: Houseplant Family Araceae
Genus: Philodendron Species P. Gloriosum
Species P. Gloriosum
Native Area Columbia
Exposure Bright, indirect light
Watering Requirements Moderate
Hardiness USDA zone 11
Pests & Diseases Aphids, mealybugs, root rot
Soil Type Airy and well-draining
What Is It?
Philodendron gloriosum is a member of the ever-popular and continually growing Philodendron genus. The genus falls under the Araceae family, whose members are all houseplant favorites, from Monsteras to Pothos to Anthuriums.
Gloriosum, with its stunning, velvety leaves and silvery veins, makes this a simple, yet unique Philodendron, worthy of being added to any houseplant collection.
Philodendron Gloriosum vs. Crystal Anthurium
As unique as Gloriosum is within the Philodendron genus, it often gets confused with another heart-leafed, silvery veined houseplant – the Crystal Anthurium. Adding to the confusion is the fact that this plant is often incorrectly called Anthurium Gloriosum, despite it not being a member of the Anthurium genus.
While they share many characteristics, their similarities are only at leaf value. Both Philodendron gloriosum and the Crystal Anthurium have large, velvety heart-shaped leaves with striking white veins. But that’s where their similarities end.
If you take a closer look, you’ll notice a couple of major differences. The undersides of the Crystal Anthurium’s leaves are a stunning, coppery color, while the Philodendron’s undersides remain olive green.
The pattern of each plant’s veins is also slightly different. Philodendron gloriosum sports significantly fewer veins than the Anthurium and has a pinnate venation. This means that the secondary, smaller veins run parallel to each other toward the margin of the leaf, from the main, middle vein. The Crystal Anthurium, on the other hand, has a reticulate venation, which has a strong middle vein, and several secondary veins that branch out towards a prominent leaf margin.
The Philodendron gloriosum’s venation can also take on a slightly pink hue, and sometimes dark, purple borders the on veins, adding to its mysterious, striking look.
Crystal Anthuriums are also relatively short, only growing to about 1.5 feet, compared to the Philodendron gloriosum which can reach 3 feet or more.
As different as these plants are, because they’re both a part of the Araceae family, they have very similar care requirements and they’re both toxic.
Philodendrons are the second largest genus in the Araceae family, with over 400 different species and cultivars. The name Philodendron comes from the Greek words philo and dendron, meaning love or affection, and tree, respectively. Philodendrons get their unique name ‘tree lover’ because, in the wild, they can be found creeping up and clinging to trees.
The genus was first collected as early as the 1640s, by two famous botanists, Georg Marcgrave and Charles Plumier. Philodendrons were initially added to the Arum genus, and only in 1829 were they reclassified as Philodendrons – a genus in their own right.
When it comes to Philodendron gloriosum, credit goes to the French botanist and scholar, Charles Antonine Lemaire, who discovered the plant in 1876. He identified the plant thriving in Columbia and took it to Gand, Belgium for documentation.
Unlike several other plants, Philodendron gloriosum didn’t take root in many other tropical locations in the world. They’re found in a handful of other tropical spots in Southern and Central America and were introduced to Hawaii through commercial reselling. Because of this, this striking plant is extremely rare and unfortunately endangered. It’s currently still listed as a threatened species on the IUCN’s international red list.
Philodendron gloriosum is exceptionally rare and as of 2021, there are only 7 locations across the world where it can be found growing natively.
Its presence is most prominent in Columbia, but smaller clusters can be found in Peru, Southern Mexico, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Gloriosum can also be spotted thriving in Hawaii.
Thanks to their tropical habitats, they love warm temperatures and high levels of humidity – similar to indoor environments. Philodendrons, and most tropical plants, make great houseplants because they enjoy the same conditions as we do.
The beautiful characteristics of this plant are what make it so popular and a worthwhile investment. Their large heart-shaped leaves are a true Philodendron feature, but their pale veins are what make them stand out from the Philodendron crowd.
Its leaves can grow to a whopping 24 inches and its sheer size makes one notice what sets this plant apart from the rest.
These massive leaves are dark, olive green, and sometimes sport subtle splashes of deep purple along their veins. The combination of dark green and purple gives the plant a mysterious, ominous look. But, its pale, creamy veins add a pop of contrast, creating a truly spectacular picture. Sometimes, the Gloriosum’s veins can be pale pink or a stark white.
Unlike other popular Philodendrons, Gloriosum does not climb. Instead, it creeps along with the forest floors of its native habitats. This rare trait is all thanks to its rhizome, which grows horizontally.
It’s also a slower grower, unlike other members of its genus. New leaf growth can sometimes take an entire month to completely uncurl, and it may take years for Gloriosum to reach its mature size of around 3 feet. Luckily, most philodendrons have long lifespans that give them plenty of time to reach their full potential.
As unique as Gloriosum is, it does share a few similarities with the rest of its genus and family. It also contains insoluble calcium oxalate crystals which makes this plant toxic and harmful to both pets and humans.
Another similarity is the flower the Gloriosum produces. While rare, under the right conditions, you may be treated with a pretty white flower that resembles a Peace Lily.
Where To Buy One
You’re unlikely to come across the Philodendron gloriosum in your local nursery. As mentioned, these plants a exceptionally rare, and usually very expensive.
The Gloriosum’s hefty price tag is due to its rarity, slow-growing nature, and the limited production of seeds thanks to its rare flowers. While propagating this plant is simple, you can’t be guaranteed the same striking venation that makes this plant so popular.
The best way to reproduce the striking beauty of this plant is through tissue culture propagation – a very expensive and time-consuming process, increasing the cost.
Avid and enthusiastic houseplant owners tend to snatch them up quickly, making them even more difficult to find. You may find a few cuttings and clippings on online marketplaces like Etsy or sold through plant collecting groups. Due to its rarity and difficulty reproducing, you’ll need to do some detective work or hunt down a specialized grower to find the real thing.
Do enough research before you purchase any Gloriosum cuttings online. Plants often don’t survive the shipping and transportation process, and there is no way to ensure that the plant you bought is not an imitator.
Rather than wasting your time and money – potentially more than $100 – find an experienced, trusted reseller.
When you buy your Philodendron Gloriosum online, you will likely receive a cutting of a parent plant. Typically, these are with their roots and rhizome exposed. It’s best to plant your new Gloriosum as soon as possible, as transportation can be highly stressful. The sooner you get your plant into the soil, the better the chances of its survival.
Start with a large pot, big enough to accommodate their root system. If you’re reusing an old pot, remember to clean it thoroughly before starting to avoid the spread of pests and diseases.
Fill the pot with store-bought houseplant mix, or homemade potting soil amended with coconut coir or peat moss, and perlite, or bark. These amendments improve drainage and aeration while retaining enough moisture to keep your Gloriosum happy.
Place the rhizome on top of the soil and gently press it in, leaving at least half of it exposed. Don’t bury the rhizome completely in the soil, as this encourages root rot.
Once placed, water thoroughly and immediately to anchor it in place and encourage new root growth. Watering immediately also quenches its thirst and reduces shock. Place your plant in its new spot and water it well until it’s established itself.
How to Grow
Despite what its hefty price tag and rarity might suggest, the Philodendron gloriosum is not a difficult plant to care for. They’re extremely low-maintenance and have much of the same care and condition requirements as other Philodendrons. Their easy-going nature, along with striking beauty, makes them a worthwhile investment for new and experienced houseplant parents alike.
Like most Philodendrons and other tropical houseplants, Philodendron gloriosum favors plenty of bright, indirect light, like the dappled light of jungles. Keeping true to its genus, its large velvety leaves are sensitive to direct sunlight and can burn quickly.
For optimal growth, Gloriosum needs a full day of indirect sunlight to truly thrive in your home. The best spot for this plant is near an east-facing window, or in a bright room that gets plenty of morning sun and limited afternoon sun.
Sometimes, however, the spot we have in mind for our plants isn’t always perfect, leaving them exposed to direct sunlight. If that’s the case, you can hang a sheer curtain over the room’s windows. This little hack keeps the room bright and sunny while filtering out the harsh rays.
Alternatively, if the desired spot is too dark, you can always add a few grow lights to the room. They can tolerate low light but, for better and slightly faster growth and larger leaves, the more light the Gloriosum receives the better.
You’ll know when this striking plant isn’t getting enough light. The Gloriosum’s beautiful, green leaves tend to yellow, and new growth is often small. The incorrect light tends to affect its growth overall too, most times, this bushy, trailing plant becomes leggy and sparse.
On the other hand, when this plant receives too much direct light, the leaves brown and become crispy.
Watering indoor plants often call for a very fine balancing act as they tend to be quite fussy. The Philodendron gloriosum is no different. Thanks to their tropical roots, these plants adore water and moisture. However, its soil should never be soggy or waterlogged, as it encourages stress and the proliferation of diseases.
When it comes to the Philodendron gloriosum, the correct watering methods are extremely important. Often the first sign of watering incorrectly are yellowing leaves and root rot – key signs of overwatering. Browning leaves, with curled edges, are clear indicators of an underwatered Gloriosum.
Luckily, watering correctly is relatively easy. When you water, do so slowly and deeply, avoiding its leaves and upper foliage as much as possible. This allows the water to soak every inch of the soil without waterlogging it and suffocating the plant’s roots.
It’s important to avoid watering, on a strict schedule. The conditions around your plants change daily, affecting how quickly the soil dries out.
Instead, water only when the top layer of soil has dried out. You can easily test this by poking the soil with your finger. If the soil is dry and slightly crumbly, it’s time to water your plants. If it’s still damp, let the soil dry out for a few days.
When it comes to soil, Gloriosum requires specialized soil the truly thrive indoors. This soil mix is a houseplant mix and contains all the right materials to help the soil drain, while keeping it moist, airy, and light.
These mixes are readily available at your local nursery or garden center and online. The mixes have just the right ratios for your Philodendron gloriosum and the rest of your houseplants. Sometimes, these mixes come with a touch of fertilizer, which gives your plants a healthy boost of nutrients when planting or repotting them.
However, it can be a lot easier, and far more affordable to make your own mix, especially if you have a large houseplant collection. Making your own mix also gives you the ability to cater to your plant’s specific needs and adjust it according to your home’s environment.
Your plant will thrive in a soil mix made up of potting soil, perlite or orchid bark, and peat moss or coconut coir. All these materials add certain characteristics to the soil, which keeps your Gloriosum happy.
Perlite is the small white rocks of volcanic glass that increase the space between soil particles, which improves the overall drainage of the soil and exposes the roots to oxygen. Orchid bark is a great alternative to perlite as it does the same thing. Coconut coir, or peat moss, holds on to plenty of water, without making the soil heavy.
When making your DIY potting mix, use a ratio of 2:1:1 – two parts of potting soil (preferably organic) with one part perlite and one part coconut coir. You can adjust the number of materials you use depending on your plant’s needs.
Temperature and Humidity
Philodendron gloriosum is native to hot, tropical areas, so they thrive in humid, jungle-like conditions. Despite this, the they can tolerate cooler temperatures better than most houseplants. However, the warmer and more humid the environment, the better.
This plant grows best in temperatures above 65F, with the optimal range being between 70F and 80F. Luckily, this range fits the most comfortable indoor environments.
True to their Philodendron nature, Gloriosums are far fussier about the humidity levels surrounding them than the temperature. Most houseplants enjoy humidity levels as low as 50%, but the Philodendron Gloriosum is more demanding. It needs levels to be between 60% and 80% to truly flourish.
Surprisingly, these demanding humidity needs are quite easy to meet. Bathrooms are wonderful spots for these beautiful plants, as they are typically the most humid rooms in the home. These creeping plants could also look great on top of your refrigerator, so long as it can get enough sunlight.
If you’d rather have your plant in the front and center of your home, you can try misting frequently. This is a commonly suggested hack and go-to trick for many. While it can help, the effects of misting don’t last very long, and it can be time-consuming. The extra water and moisture around the plant can also result in diseases, which is a big negative.
Another common hack is to place the pot on a tray filled with water and pebbles. The water in the tray evaporates throughout the day, increasing the humidity and moisture around your plant. The tray does work, but it doesn’t increase humidity levels by much, especially if they’re well below 50%.
If you’ve got a large houseplant collection, you can group them to increase humidity levels in their immediate area. As handy and easy as this trick is, ensure there is still plenty of airflow between all your plants. If your plants are too close together, you run the risk of encouraging the growth and spread of disease.
The best and most reliable way to increase the humidity levels in your home is to use a humidifier. While this can be a pricey investment, it’s well worth it. Humidifiers replicate the jungle-like environments that they love.
Compared to other Philodendrons, the Gloriosum is a slow grower. Despite this, it needs a lot of nutrients and minerals to feed its large, velvety leaves. To keep your Gloriosum happy, you’ll need to fertilize it frequently during its growing season.
There are several important nutrients and minerals in fertilizers, split into three groups – macronutrients, micronutrients, and secondary nutrients. All are necessary for the overall health of your Gloriosum, but the macronutrients – nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium – are the most important.
Balances fertilizers, with equal NPK ratios, are perfect for most houseplants, the Philodendron gloriosum included. It’s best to feed your plants during spring and summer, their peak growing seasons. But, how often you fertilize your plants all depends on the type of fertilizer you use.
There are many types of fertilizers, the most common of which for indoor plants are slow-release fertilizers and liquid fertilizers.
Slow-release fertilizers break down over time, allowing the plant to take up nutrients slowly. This takes a lot of pressure and stress off houseplant parents and reduces the risk of fertilizer burn. Slow-release fertilizers also last longer than liquid ones, as they won’t get washed away when watering your plants.
Liquid fertilizers, on the other hand, get absorbed quickly by the plant’s roots and give you complete control over how much nutrients your plant receives. As mentioned, they, unfortunately, wash away when you water your plants, meaning you’ll need to fertilize more often.
Both are great options, however, it’s important to apply them correctly. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer exactly to avoid over or under-fertilizing your plant.
This slow-growing laid back plant requires very little fuss and maintenance. However, there are a handful of things you can do to keep your Philodendron gloriosum looking Pinterest perfect.
Pruning isn’t always necessary when it comes to this silvery veined Philodendron. But an occasional snipping helps get rid of dying leaves and keeps the long, creeping stems a manageable length. Pruning also encourages the production of new growth, making the Gloriosum bushier and a little more compact.
To prune, use a sharp, clean knife. Cut a few inches off the ends of the stems, just above the node, leaving the node attached to the main plant.
The large striking leaves tend to attract plenty of dust and debris. Every month or so, gently wipe down the leaves using a clean, damp cloth. This not only keeps your plant looking great but also improves evaporation and gas exchange through the leaves. Clean leaves also absorb sunlight better, improving photosynthesis and the overall health of your Gloriosum.
When cleaning, take the time to check for any signs of pests and diseases, and remove any debris around the base of the plant. Remember, the Gloriosum can irritate the skin, so wear gloves when pruning and handling it.
Whether you’re looking to add more Philodendron gloriosums to your collection or share them with your friends, you’ll probably propagate your plant at some point. While the propagation process is a simple one, it’s important to remember that your new Gloriosum might not look like the parent plant.
To propagate, follow the simple steps below.
Clean Your Tools
Before you start cutting away at your plant, it’s essential to ensure your tools are properly cleaned and disinfected. Used garden tools can cling to dangerous bacteria and germs that can easily get transferred to your indoor plants.
Clean your pruning shears or scissors with a bleach solution, or normal soap and water if your tools were previously cleaned. While you’re at it, clean and disinfect any pots or glasses you intend on using too. This is especially necessary if they previously held other plants.
Find The Rhizome
The Philodendron gloriosum has a rhizome that grows horizontally along with the soil and is essentially the main ‘stem’ from which the plant grows. When propagating the plant, you’ll take cuttings from the rhizome.
Find a spot along the rhizome between two leaves and cut, ensuring at least two leaves remain on the parent plant. Your cutting can have a few roots and leaves, although it’s not necessary.
While it’s not necessary, it’s a good idea to let your cutting, with its small rhizome, heal for a few hours. Once a callus has formed, your cutting is ready for the next step, rooting.
You’ll only need to root your new Gloriosum cutting if it doesn’t have roots. While most plant cuttings can be rooted in either water or soil, Gloriosum cuttings prefer being rooted in sphagnum moss.
Plant your cutting in some moist sphagnum moss and wrap the container with plastic wrap. This increases the humidity around the rhizome, encouraging root development.
For the best results, poke some holes into the plastic wrap or let your cutting air out every so often. You should also place the container in a warm spot that receives plenty of indirect sunlight.
After a few weeks, once new shoots begin to sprout, your Gloriosum cutting is ready for transplanting into a larger pot.
Many houseplant parents often rush to repot their plants, which can result in shock, or worse, the death of the plant. The sluggish growth of the Philodendron gloriosum means that it won’t need to be repotted often. When you notice stunted growth, or roots creeping out the drainage holes, you’ll know it’s time to repot your Gloriosum.
To repot, follow the planting instructions above, choosing a slightly larger pot. A size or two up is usually best when repotting, as it supports the slightly larger growth.
The best time to repot is during its growing season, spring and summer. The warmer temperature reduces the chances of transplant and environment shock.
The Philodendron gloriosum is notoriously easy to care for, despite its rarity. It truly is a great plant for newer, and more laid-back plant parents alike. However, it’s not without its problems. You can face several issues, but at least they’re all easily fixed and preventable with the right care.
Leaves Changing Color
The most common issue most, if not all, houseplant parents face is yellowing and browning leaves.
There are several causes of the discoloration of the striking, silvery veined leaves of the Gloriosum but, the main culprit is often water – either too much of it or too little.
Yellowing leaves are the first sign of overwatering or letting your Gloriosum sit in soggy soil for extended periods. Browning leaves, on the other hand, coupled with curling edges, signal a severally dehydrated plant.
The best way to avoid underwatering or overwatering your plant is to use the correct watering methods. Only water when the top layer of soil is dry. Depending on the immediate environment of your Gloriosum, weeks could go by between watering. When you water your plant, remember to do it slowly and deeply.
However, too much or too little water aren’t the only causes of discoloring leaves. When your Philodendron gloriosum doesn’t get enough light, its leaves tend to yellow, too. On the other hand, dark brown spots across the velvety leaves are a sign of sunburn, indicating that your plant is being exposed to direct sunlight.
Older leaves tend to discolor and dry out as they age and will eventually fall off the plant. This isn’t anything to worry about, it’s part of the plant’s natural processes
Unfortunately, pests love the big, beautiful leaves of the Philodendron gloriosum as much as we do. The most common ones to keep an eye out for are aphids and mealybugs.
Seasoned houseplant owners are very familiar with aphids. They are perhaps the bane of all plant parents, as they settle on most plants, whether they’re grown indoors or outside. These tiny, soft-bodied insects nestle on the undersides of the massive Gloriosum leaves and suck out the sap. Their eating habits eventually weaken the plant and can quickly kill it. Additionally, aphids secrete a honeydew-like sap that leads to several other problems. It slows photosynthesis and tends to attract other pests, like ants.
Mealybugs are very similar to aphids. They also huddle on the undersides of leaves, sucking on plant sap and feeding on leaf tissue. As they eat, they lay eggs, resulting in a rapidly growing infestation.
Both a mealybug and aphid infestation can go from small to unmanageable very quickly. Luckily, neem oil is a highly effective natural pesticide that gets rid of both aphids and mealybugs.
If you spot these tiny pests during your daily plant checks, gently wipe the leaves down with a cloth dipped in a neem oil solution. However, if you’ve got a larger infestation on your hands, you may need to spray down your plants.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Philodendron Gloriosum Toxic?
Unfortunately, like all the members of the Araceae family, the Philodendron gloriosum is toxic to both humans and pets. All parts of the plant contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause irritation of ingested or handled roughly.
It’s best to keep this striking plant away from curious paws and little hands. Extra care should also be taken when pruning, cleaning, and propagating the Gloriosum to avoid skin irritation.
Should I Mist My Philodendron Gloriosum?
It’s no secret that the Philodendron Gloriosum is a lover of humidity. For it to thrive, it requires humidity levels of at least 65%. The Gloriosum’s humidity needs may be difficult to meet, and you may find yourself turning to quick hacks, including misting your plant.
While it can be somewhat effective, misting is not a viable long term. Its effects on humidity levels aren’t that impactful and it takes up a lot of time. Additionally, the extra moisture around and on the large leaves encourages the growth of diseases.
The best way to improve the humidity around your Gloriosum is by adding a humidifier to your space
Is the Philodendron Gloriosum Rare?
Unfortunately, this popular, gorgeous plant is quite rare. It only grows natively in 7 areas around the world and is even listed as a threatened species on the IUCN’s international red list.
While extremely rare, the Philodendron Gloriosum is highly sought-after. With its large, beautiful leaves, it’s no wonder. Its striking beauty and easy-going nature make it a worthwhile initial investment. It’s also easy to propagate, allowing you to create plenty of extra Philodendron gloriosums at no extra cost.