There is growing interest in aroid plants, especially rare cultivars and hybrids. The aroid family (from arum, i.e., Araceae) includes all the monstera, philodendron, alocasia, pothos, and dieffenbachia species.
You can usually spot aroids by their colorful, spiky blossoms. Each aroid blossom comprises numerous tiny flowers clustered together on a “spadix” found within a curved, leaf-like “spathe.”
The species name, Philodendron, translates to tree-loving (Philo – friend; dendron – tree), but the Philodendron gloriosum is not a vining plant. In 2019 the IUCN classified P. gloriosum as vulnerable in its natural habitats in Colombia and the Hawaiian Islands.
The self-heading plant’s foliage is heart-shaped, presenting a velvet surface and pink margins, emphasized by a delta of white, pale green, or pinkish veins, like an aerial view of a river in a mountainous area.
It is truly a spectacular plant, and its presence on the red list of endangerment is most unfortunate.
Growing one of these plants serves nature well, and propagating it is even better – so let’s dive into how to do that.
Philodendron Gloriosum Soil requirements
Like most in the aroid family, the soil needs are best achieved by considering the plant’s natural habitat. The P. gloriosum’s natural habitat is limited to five sites in Colombia, with an introduction to the Hawaiian Islands.
The natural habitat is rainforests, where the P. gloriosum is found on the ground, unlike some other Philodendron species that seek trees to grow in.
Interestingly, the Philodendron family (tree-loving) photoresponse is negative, i.e., they grow away from the light source.
This helps the plants find the trees that are casting the shadow to use them to grow high enough to reach the direct sun. The P. gloriosum, however, is a ground hugger, growing laterally along the ground.
The preferred soil must represent the forest floor, a medium rich in decaying organic matter, moist yet light and well aerated.
The pH should be slightly acidic, just off basic at 6.80.
There may be some wood ash, and there will be an abundance of microorganisms essential for making nutrients bioavailable to plants.
So let’s replicate the forest floor soil for our precious and spectacularly beautiful P. gloriosum:
- For good water retention, we’ll use coconut coir, and it’s renewable, neutral, and drains water well while not drying out. Remember, you want to keep your roots damp but definitely not wet.
- For aeration, we’ll add perlite, an amorphous volcanic glass with a relatively high water content, typically formed by the hydration of obsidian. As a soil additive, it’s light and prevents compaction, promoting airflow in soil.
- Horticultural charcoal. Activated charcoal (carbon) in industrial settings is employed to control odors, purify liquids, and absorbs gasses. As a soil amendment, it helps balance pH levels, supports bioactivity, prevents compaction, and aids water management (drainage and retention). Unlike other carbon materials, Charcoal does not bind nitrogen as it is already in a stable form and can’t be decayed further.
- Compost builds soil health and promotes the population diversity of essential soil-borne microorganisms to break complex compounds down to bioavailable nutrients. Many slow-release fertilizers are microorganism-dependent.
- The fungi-to-bacteria ratio on forest floors is about 100:1. One reason is that fungi are needed to break down the lignin in wood, and the other is that fungi play a symbiotic role in feeding plants via mycorrhizal networks, as this Harvard study shows. Adding leaf mold to your mix is a great way to boost your fungi population.
So, ideally, we want a balanced mix of the five ingredients listed above. Adding about 5-pounds of dolomite per cubic yard of potting soil will help with the plant’s calcium and magnesium needs.
Philodendron Gloriosum Light Requirements
In nature, P. gloriosum grows on the forest floor in the shade with lateral rhizome expansion. They grow big, sturdy leaves that resemble solar panels that absorb light effectively to maximize access to available light for photosynthesis.
If grown outside, you need to plant P. gloriosum to ensure protection from the midday sun.
They can manage morning and evening exposure to some light, but it should be minimized. Indoor artificial light can be used to boost photosynthesis.
Some growers extend the winter lighting to 12 hours to ensure sustained growth.
If you notice irregular patches of the leaf margins becoming necrotic or burned patches in the centers and tips of foliage, this may indicate excessive light exposure. Move your plant to reduce light levels and ensure all light is indirect dappled light.
On the other hand, plants become leggy when they’re not getting enough light. To reach the light, leaves become elongated and emerge further apart.
If this is the case with your P. gloriosum, you will need to increase the light levels but refrain from using direct sunlight.
Light color in leaves can also be attributed to excessively high light levels or low nutrition. The recommended light levels and the recommended fertilizer application rates will assure good plant color.
A Lux reading of between 16,000 and 27,000 (1500 – 2500 foot-candle) is needed for optimal growth. To contextualize that, see the comparable Lux table below:
|Natural Light Condition||Typical Lux|
|Direct Sunlight||32,000 to 100,000|
|Ambient Daylight||10,000 to 25,000|
|Sunset & Sunrise||400|
|Moonlight (Full moon)||1|
|Night (No moon)||< 0.01|
Philodendron Gloriosum Water
Keep the soil damp but prevent it from becoming soggy. Like most aroid plants, P. gloriosum prefers to have its roots in slightly moist soil. Dry soil is preferable to soil that remains wet for an extended time as this can lead to root rot.
One of the most common causes of aroid plant death is water mismanagement. Too much water and extended droughts will cause this plant to lose its vitality.
A reliable yet basic way of measuring soil moisture is the finger-tip test. Your next watering trigger should be when the top inch of the soil is dry.
Philodendron Gloriosum Preferred Temperature Range
Philodendron gloriosum requires a temperature that does not exceed 85°F (29°C) at midday temperatures and does not dip below 60°F during the nighttime.
A good indicator of a plant’s preferred temperature is the seed germination temperature of 75 to 80°F for most Philodendron self-heading types.
Winter cold causes chlorosis to appear first on the lower leaves. Various cold-protection methods can help you avoid becoming chilled. Excessively bright light or a lack of nourishment can also cause light color. Plant color will be assured if the required light levels and fertilizer application rates are followed.
Philodendron Gloriosum Plant Preferred Humidity Range
These plants thrive in slightly higher humidity, between 60 and 80%. If the relative humidity drops below 40%, you should invest in an indoor humidifier to boost humidity levels – even to 100%.
Fertilizing Philodendron Gloriosum
Potted plants are prone to nutrients being leached due to increased watering. It’s important to provide plants with extensive foliage, like P. gloriosum, with regular diluted feeds of liquid fertilizer. Using compost in your mix increases the cation exchange capacity (CEC).
The CEC improves the soil nutrient (and moisture) holding capacity, reducing the amount leached by successive watering in well-drained soil.
CEC acts as a magnet for nutrients, keeping them close to the roots where the plant can use them.
The occasional addition of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) will also boost growth. Magnesium is a positive ion and thus not affected by CEC, meaning that it is prone to be leached out of the soil, even if compost is present in the mix.
Philodendron Gloriosum Propagation
Most of the self-heading hybrid Philodendrons are only propagatable using tissue culture. These include:
- Black Cardinal Philodendron
- Emerald Prince Philodendron
- Imperial Green Philodendron
- Imperial Red Philodendron
- Moonlight Philodendron
- Prince Albert Philodendron
- Prince of Orange Philodendron
- Xanadu Philodendron
Philodendron gloriosum, however, is not a hybrid and is best propagated by stem cuttings. The sections between leaves can be used to grow new plants.
Below are the steps to follow to propagate your P. gloriosum:
- Identify an appropriate portion of the rhizome between two leaves.
- Make sure the surviving mother plant has at least three leaves.
- The cutting may or may not contain leaves, and it may or may not be the rhizome itself.
- To guarantee a clean and equal cut, use a pruning shear to cut the rhizome.
- Allow the cutting callous to heal for a couple of hours after cutting the rhizome.
- Sprinkle cinnamon on the cutting board. It functions as a disinfectant and aids in the healing of the wound.
- You can go on to the following phase after a few hours (depending on the thickness of the cutting).
- Put some moist (not soaking wet!) food in a pot (we recommend plastic pots). It contains sphagnum moss.
- Place the cutting gently into the moss.
- If possible, place the pot with the cutting in a plastic container or cover it with a plastic bag.
- Every couple of days, open the lid or the plastic bag for a few minutes to keep the air fresh.
- The increased humidity will aid the plant’s root development.
- This might take anywhere from two to four weeks. We like to aid the process by placing a seedling heat pad beneath a plastic box, as the added warmth from below significantly speeds up the process.
- When your cutting has substantial roots and the first 2-3 leaves have formed, it’s time to put it into a pot with potting soil.
- Congratulations on propagating one of the world’s red-list endangered Philodendrons!
Propagating Philodendron Gloriosum from Seeds
The small seeds are spread on the medium surface and covered with a fine layer of screened sphagnum moss or peat.
Seeds germinate best at 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and the top layer of the medium must be kept wet and low in soluble salts; otherwise, the sprouting seeds will be destroyed.
Moisture in the germination media may be stabilized using a variety of approaches.
Fine mist nozzles put above the germination flats, translucent polyethylene sleeves placed over the flats, or stiff plastic covers intended to fit over the top of a flat will all aid in keeping the germination medium at an appropriate moisture level.
Germination can occur in shaded greenhouses or germination rooms with cold white fluorescent lights.
Certain horticulturists favor the latter due to the ability to produce more homogeneous light and temperature regimes.
Germination usually requires light levels of 300-600 foot candles.
To promote development and keep plants compact, increase the light output to 1500-2500 foot candles when seedlings have developed roughly two leaves.
Plants grown in liner trays with plugs one or more across will transfer to finishing pots with less stress than those established in community flats or propagation beds and subsequently transplanted.
Many plant finishers buy seedlings from propagation specialists in the form of plugs to avoid the hassle of managing plants through the critical germination and early development stages.
Philodendron Gloriosum Care & Growth
Plants should be cultivated in a potting medium that drains well and holds a lot of water.
Most nurseries that grow plants in greenhouses use pots with a diameter of up to 8 inches filled with high-quality, preblended mixes containing at least 50% Canadian peat and other clean additions.
Growers in shade houses usually use potting mixes that incorporate some Florida sedge peat, bark, and sand.
To correct the pH to around 6.0, dolomite combined with the potting medium at a rate of 4 to 10 pounds per cubic yard is usually used.
The amount of dolomite used will depend on the initial acidity of the mix and the expected influence of fertilization and irrigation water on the pH of the mix.
A microelement blend can be applied at the time of mixing or as a post-plant treatment with a soluble microelement mix.
Microelements should also be administered as part of a liquid fertilizer program at regular intervals during crop development.
At a rate of 2.9 to 3.4 pounds of nitrogen per 1000 square feet per month, a fertilizer with a 3-1-2 or 2-1-2 ratio should be applied.
Philodendron Gloriosum Potting
Use a pot with drainage holes because you’ll need well-draining soil and don’t want your Philodendron gloriosum to sit in water. Excess water will be able to drain rapidly through drainage holes.
The optimum containers for these plants are rectangular and as long and thin as feasible rather than spherical.
Because Philodendron gloriosum is a creeper, it will creep along with the soil and eventually reach the end of a standard circular pot.
The plant can no longer develop roots in the soil once it is dangling over the edge, and the leaves will shrink as a result.
Common Problems with Philodendron Gloriosum
|Chlorosis (yellowing) of lower leaves||Exposure to 33 to 40°F for several hours||Avoid low temperatures|
|Petioles become excessively long, and the plant has an open appearance||Light Levels are too low||Grow plants under higher light levels|
|Leaf color fades or looks bleached out||Light levels may be too high, or fertilizer rates too low||Check light levels and fertilizer rates – adjust as needed|
|Older leaves have v-shape chlorosis, which spreads from the petiole attachment to the leaf margin. Midrib remains green.||Magnesium deficiency||Apply magnesium sulfate at a rate of 0.5 to 0.8 oz. per gallon of water|
|Leaves have a wrinkled line dotted with chlorotic or necrotic spots in the basal portion of the leaf lobe.||Pesticide phytotoxicity or burns from drying liquid fertilizer in the leaf roll||Apply 20-20-20 liquid fertilizers at a rate of 3.2 oz per 10 gallons of water. Do not exceed recommended pesticide rates.|
|New leaves of hybrid philodendrons are slightly twisted or distorted||Calcium deficiency||Increase calcium levels in liquid fertilizer or apply chelate calcium.|
|New leaves are purplish and twisted and may appear torn or have purplish spots.||Manganese toxicity||Increase soil pH to 6.5. Avoid spraying fungicides containing manganeses. Top dress with dolomite|
|Margins of older leaves turn brownish, and discoloration spreads towards the midrib||Potassium deficiency||Increase potassium levels in liquid feed or growing medium|
|Irregular patches of leaf margins become necrotic.||Water stress combined with high light||Maintain soil moisture levels and reduce light levels|
|Chlorosis and reduced leaf size||Nitrogen deficiency||Apply a granular, high-nitrogen fertilizer|
|Leaf scorch on tips of older foliage.||Sodium toxicity||Apply extra potassium, topdress with gypsum, and switch to a less saline water source|
|Burned patches in the centers and tips of foliage||Sunburn||Increase irrigation frequency and move to a lower light area|
|Bronzed edges||Light levels or temperatures are too high||Move the plant to an area that provides a better environment|
*An extract from IFAS Extension
Philodendron Gloriosum Diseases
|Bacterial Leaf Spot||Translucent spots on leaf margins become reddish-brown with yellow halos. Large spots are tan and irregularly shaped.||Purchase plants free from the disease. Avoid overhead watering. Remove infected leaves.|
|Bacterial Blight Philodendron selloum||Small, very dark green spots on leaves expand rapidly and spread to petioles. Infected leaves collapse in a wet rot that smells foul.||Avoid overhead watering. Remove infected leaves of plants not severely affected—water in a manner that keeps the surfaces of leaves and petiole dry at all times.|
|Cold Injury||Very dark green to brown blotches form between leaf veins.||Do not place plants near air conditioners. Maintain temperatures above 55° F.|
|Magnesium Deficiency||V-shaped yellow areas form on leaves, especially in cool greenhouses.||Apply one teaspoon of magnesium sulfate (Epsom salts) per gallon of water.|
|Tip Curl||Leaf tips curl downward, and leaf margins are brown. Roots die.||Reduce fertilizer rate and leach the soil if slow-release fertilizer is not present. Repot if excessive slow-release fertilizer was used.|
Potential Philodendron Gloriosum Pests
The major arthropod pests of this plant species include aphids, moths (worms), fungus gnats, mealybugs, scales, shore flies, and thrips. Mealybug, mite, and scale infestations are typically the result of bringing infested plant material into the greenhouse.
Aphids are soft-bodied insects that are pear-shaped and range in color from pale green to dark brown. Infestations might be unnoticed for a long time until honeydew or sooty mold appears. Aphids can cause new growth to be distorted or, in the worst-case scenario, afflicted plants to be stunted.
Aphids are easy to manage with a variety of certified products. Many different substances have produced phytotoxicity in this plant.
Please run your own testing to determine what is safe for you. Diazinon soil drenches have been used to control root aphids.
Fungus Gnats Symptoms
Fungus gnats are little black flies (about an eighth of an inch long) that are commonly seen scurrying over the soil surface or on leaves and are usually mistaken for Shore flies (see later section).
Adults have long, bead-like antennae and fly with their legs dangling below. These insects have poor flight abilities and appear to “flit” around aimlessly.
The larvae are little legless “worms” that live in the soil and have blackheads and transparent bodies. On the soil surface, the larvae create webs that mimic spider webs.
Larvae feed on roots, root hairs, soil-contact leaves, and lower stem tissues, which cause damage. Feeding damage can predispose plants to disease, and it’s common to see them near diseased plants or cuttings.
Fungus Gnats Control
If possible, reduce the amount of water used in each pot. If at all possible, avoid algae development. Soil drenches or soil-surface sprays can control the larvae.
Commercially available nematodes that seek out insects in the soil have effectively managed pests without harming the host plants. Most chemicals are extremely toxic to adults.
Mealybugs are white cottony masses in leaf axils, on lower leaf surfaces, and on roots. Plants plagued with honeydew and sooty mold grow stunted, and in severe infestations, plant portions begin to die.
The use of systemic materials is preferred. Insecticide-treated soil drenches are used to control root mealybugs.
When pesticides are sprayed on the soil, it’s important to ensure the pots have sufficient drainage and no saucers connected, or phytotoxicity may occur.
Plants that are infested grow weaker or stunted and eventually perish. Scales graze on the leaves, petioles, and stems of plants.
They are typically distinguishable from the plant matter they feed on.
Their size (pinpoint to 2 mm long), shape (round to oval), and color (light to dark brown) all vary, and many scales are difficult to identify from the plant material on which they feed.
Shore Flies Symptoms
Shore flies are little black flies (less than an eighth of an inch long) that feed on algae at the ends of leaves or on the soil surface.
The antennas of adults are quite short.
These insects are excellent flyers who fly in a controlled manner (straight between 2 points).
The larvae are little legless “worms” with transparent bodies and no apparent heads that live in the soil.
Larvae are not known to cause any harm, and this bug is thought to eat algae solely.
Adults may not cause direct harm to plants, but they may be responsible for the spread of plant infections, lowering value by defecating on the leaves (little black to green spots), and a high number of consumer complaints to farmers.
Shore Flies Control
If possible, reduce the amount of water used in each pot. Algae growth should be avoided on sidewalks, benches, and cooling pads. Chemicals aren’t thought to be very successful in eradicating this bug.
Thrips are small, slender insects. A lengthy fringe of hair along the edges of both pairs of wings distinguishes adult thrips.
Western and other flower thrips are yellow to light brown, while banded greenhouse thrips and a few other thrips that feed mostly on leaves are dark brown to black.
Feeding is done by rasping mouth parts. Curled or deformed leaves with silver-gray scars or calloused regions where feeding has occurred appear on infested leaves.
The tomato spotted wilt virus can be spread by thrips to various ornamentals. Any strange symptoms should be looked into.
Many materials are registered and effective at controlling thrips.
Toxicity to This Plant
Philodendron Gloriosum is a poisonous plant, and it can cause throat discomfort, swallowing difficulty, mouth pain cramping, and other complications if swallowed.
If used in large quantities, it can cause cramping, convulsions, renal failure, and coma.
FAQs about Philodendron Gloriosum
The Philodendron Gloriosum is one of my certain recommendations. As a natural plant (non-hybrid) with a fast-shrinking habitat, propagating this plant would be a priority for most serious gardeners.
I have tried to give the most comprehensive guide to make it easy for you to grow this absolutely adorable plant. A beauty that will create a backdrop to any living space.
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