Philodendron gloriosum is an exotic houseplant belonging to the Araceae family of tropical plants. The slow-growing creeper has unique air-purifying attributes that make it a favorite with many homeowners.
It’s a plant that thrives on moderate watering and vast amounts of humidity. Read on to learn how to grow and care for this beautiful and striking velvety green-leafed plant.
- Scientific Name and Common Names: Philodendron gloriosum, Creeper Plant, Velvet Philodendron
- Origin: Native to Colombia, Venezuela, and nearby tropical areas
- Indoor or Outdoor Plant: Indoor plant (best placed near a window with indirect lighting, e.g., an Eastern or Western facing window)
- Height and Structure: Maximum height of around 12” achievable in three to five years.
- Temperature: 55ºF – 85ºF (12ºC – 24ºC) Easily achievable in most homes.
- Flower Color: Dark green, with white veins, pink margins, and a velvety texture.
Philodendron gloriosum is a creeper plant that grows by sending up leaf stems and crawling along the length of the ground. While it’s originally from Columbia, it’s also native to Mexico and other Central American countries.
When mature, the plant flowers every year between May and July, making for a beautiful houseplant. It requires enough light for it to grow faster and develop bigger leaves. Leggy growth, sparse foliage, and long stems are indications that it’s getting insufficient light.
In general, the Philodendron Gloriosum plant has a high-speed growth rate. The best time to plant them is during the spring season. But considering that these are houseplants, it means you can start them with success at any time of the year.
All you have to do is ensure they have all the necessary conditions needed for them to grow. Remember, these plants are highly toxic to humans and pets when ingested.
Being a native tropical plant, the Philodendron Gloriosum plant contains excellent air purifying qualities. Potting it in your home will allow you to take advantage of these qualities for a healthier home environment.
When it comes to spacing, it’s best to place the plants after every 100 square feet of living space. That’s enough space for it to do what it does naturally.
The plant typically grows best in partial or indirect sunlight. In their native habitat, the Philodendrons would naturally get speckled light under the tropical canopy. They never come in contact with direct sunlight.
When planted indoors, consider setting them up close to a window that receives bright, indirect sunlight. Make sure the light isn’t too little as this can result in leggy growth, culminating in large empty spaces between the leaves.
On the other hand, too much direct sunlight will cause its leaves to yellow simultaneously.
Your best choice for the Philodendron Gloriosum will be well-draining soil that’s rich in organic matter. After adding perlite and peat, you could use an orchid potting mix to lighten the soil and aerate it better. The roots need a regular supply of oxygen to develop.
Horticultural charcoal is a common ingredient added to the soil to assist with the removal of toxins and in sweetening the soil. The addition of charcoal makes it possible to imitate the natural habitats of this plant.
Using too dense soil will cause the roots to begin suffocating and to develop root rot symptoms. Homeowners can also grow the plant in 100% Sphagnum moss. It’s an option that will require you to regularly fertilize your plant to ensure the plant has enough nutrients.
Ideal soil acidity is between 6.5 to 7.5.
The slow-creeper, as some people call it, is a slow grower. It can take more than a month from the time you notice a leaf spike to when it reveals a new leaf. According to the Exotic Rainforest website, its leaves can get up to 90 centimeters (twenty-six inches).
The climbing philodendrons tend to have aerial roots. For this reason, this particular species will need to have a different type of trellis compared to the other houseplants. Instead of latticework, you should give the plants damp and rough support to attach their roots.
Philodendron gloriosum plants require a moderate amount of soil moisture. You should only water the plant after noticing that the top inch of the soil has started to dry out. Underwatering and overwatering can cause its leaves to droop.
Use the soil conditions instead of the leaves to gauge when it’s the best time to water the plants. The plants don’t do well in soggy soil. Such soil conditions will lead to root rot symptoms.
Non-climbing varieties have more tolerance to underwatering than the vining species. Indoor plants require less watering around the year and more so during the winter when it’s cold inside the house.
The amount of fertilizer applied and when it’s applied will affect the foliage size. Application of too much fertilizer will cause its roots to burn, leading to death. It’s best to use a balanced houseplant fertilizer carefully diluted to fifty percent of its original strength.
Fertilize once a month during the growing season to encourage the plant to develop large, beautiful leaves. Refrain from applying fertilizer during the winter season. Over-fertilizing can lead to a build-up of minerals in the soil, affecting its growth habits.
The plants typically do well in areas with slightly higher humidity, e.g., between sixty to eighty percent. It’s also possible for the Philodendron Gloriosum to thrive in humidity levels of between forty to fifty percent, but this is not considered ideal.
If the humidity drops below forty percent, you will have to think about using a humidifier inside your house.
You will need to use sterilized pruning scissors or shears to cut back the Philodendron plant if its vines become too long or leggy. Ideally, the best time to prune the houseplant is during the summer or spring seasons.
However, you can always give it a light trim at any point in the year. A light trim helps in removing yellow leaves and in preventing weak growth. The best places to cut are slightly above a node or leaf.
The stem cuttings resulting from the pruning session will come in handy when propagating.
For potting, choose a long and rectangular pot. Make sure it has enough drainage holes on its sides. Round pots aren’t considered ideal, as this plant is a known creeper. As such, it won’t take long for it to reach the edge of the pot requiring you to repot way too many times.
Once it reaches over the edge, its roots will no longer grow into the soil. Its leaves will become smaller, indicating that the time to repot has come. Repotting should only happen after it has become rootbound.
The best time to repot is during the summer months when it’s still growing. Signs that it’s time to repot include:
- Leggy and reduced growth
- Yellowing foliage
- Roots become easily noticeable above the soil
- Roots begin to appear through the drainage holes in the pot
You can easily propagate Philodendrons from division and stem cuttings. If propagating, consider doing so during the early days of the spring season. Follow these steps to propagate from stem cuttings:
- You will need heavy-duty scissors or sterilized pruning shears, a pot, potting mix, and an optional rooting hormone.
- Use the shears or scissors to cut a six-inch portion of the stem. Take the resulting piece and place it in a water container to allow it to develop roots. Though not necessary, you can introduce a rooting hormone to assist the piece in developing roots.
- Continuously top up the water in the container as it evaporates. Change the water after every two to three weeks. Changing the water helps in preventing bacterial or algae growth.
- Allow it to develop several roots before potting it into moist soil. It can take several weeks for this to happen.
Division and transplant are other methods used to grow or propagate the Philodendron Gloriosum plant.
How to divide the plant:
- It’s common for the plant to develop removable plantlets, complete with intact roots. You can remove this from the main plant and transplant them once they have grown several inches long.
- Make sure to water the plant well at least twenty-four hours before the division. Dividing is often a traumatic experience for the plant. Watering it beforehand increases its chances of recovering and continue to grow.
- Before the division, ensure you have a new pot, potting, mix, and a sharp knife.
- Remove the entire plant from its present container, and place it on a flat, steady surface. Loosen the root ball using your fingers, and pull off the plantlets from the main plant with their roots. If necessary, use a sharp knife to cut through the dense roots.
- Replant your plantlet immediately after removing it from the main plant. Use a fresh, moist potting mix for the replant.
All plants suffer from a pest problem at some point in their growth cycle. The emergence of pests shouldn’t be attributed to lousy plant parenting. Pests love feasting on juicy green leaves and are always on the lookout for their next snack.
Common pests known to afflict this plant include:
- Spider Mites: Pale or yellow foliage is the first indication that the plant has spider mites. Separating the plant from the other houseplants should help to take care of this problem.
- Aphids: Usually characterized by the growth of stunted or damaged leaves. You can use homemade insecticidal soap to kill them. Prepare the solution using one tablespoon of dish soap and 1 quart of lukewarm water.
The Philodendron family is quite large and includes a wide variety of species and cultivars. They all come in varying colors, shapes, and sizes. Below is a look at some of the most common.
Also known as split-leaf philodendron (P. bipinnatifidum). It’s an upright vine characterized by rope-like roots and a four-inch diameter trunk. Its main attraction comes in the form of its half-lobed leaves. It grows well in its natural habitats and rarely thrives in indoor locations.
It’s a renowned climber scientifically known as P. scandens. It has heart-shaped leaves that can grow up to four inches long. Its stems can grow up to four feet long. Some refer to it as the sweetheart plant, and it is among the most dependable houseplants you can find anywhere.
Companion houseplants refer to plants with similar water, nutrition, and light requirements as the Philodendron gloriosum. In this regard, suitable companions for this plant would include peace lilies and Schefflera.
You could also throw in coleus for color and a dracaena for height.
Please note that the Philodendrons Gloriosum plant is highly toxic. If ingested, it could lead to throat irritations, oral pain cramps, and swallowing problems. It could also contribute to other health problems such as kidney failure, seizures, and cramps.
Therefore, make sure to keep it away from kids, cats, dogs, and all other house pets.
The Philodendron Gloriosum is a gentle velvet plant that requires moderate care to thrive in an indoor environment. Once you master all its needs, it shouldn’t be hard to grow and propagate it in your home. The above guide should arm you with the information needed to care for it.