Philodendron giganteum stands out even among other large-leaved Philodendrons because of its enormous size. It will grow up to 2 feet long with heart-shaped leaves in a fresh, intense green color.
This unique and pretty rare plant, native to the tropical forests of South America, reaches impressive dimensions of 10 to 15 feet in length and 6 to 8 feet in width.
The green colossus was discovered in the mid-19th century, and since then, the plant never ceases to amaze growers, plant lovers, and collectors.
Featured pictures by TropicalplantsFL.
- Light: Bright indirect sunlight
- Water: Only water when the top 2 inches of the soil are dry
- Soil: Well-drained, loamy and rich in organic matter
- Fertilizer: Twice a month, only during the growing season
- Size: Up to 15 ft tall (4.5 m)
- Size: Grows up to 8 feet (2.5 m) in width
- Leaf color: Green
- Temperature: 65-85°F daytime (18-28°C)
- Humidity: Best Above 50%
- Cold hardy: Not frost hardy. Keep indoors!
- Propagation: By stem cuttings
- Toxicity: Toxic to humans and animals
General care for Philodendron giganteum
A prerequisite for growing this gem among Philodendrons is to have enough space in your home or a greenhouse. Once you find it a place where it can grow undisturbed, the cultivation of this exotic plant is surprisingly simple.
The fundamental element in the cultivation of Philodendron giganteum is the establishment of an adequate watering regime.
This plant is sensitive to excess water in the substrate but equally does not like prolonged dry periods. Roughly, water it once every seven days during the growing season and once every ten days in the winter.
However, the needs of each plant for water depend on other growth factors, so it is best to check the substrate with your fingers before watering again. If it is dry to a depth of 2 inches, water the plant. If the substrate is moist to the touch, skip watering.
Regardless of species, Philodendrons are plants that grow in nature in the shade of high vegetation, out of reach of direct sunlight.
Philodendron giganteum is no exception and grows best when placed in a spot with a lot of filtered light. Ideal positions are next to the east or west window where the mild morning or afternoon sun will not harm it.
Move it at least 5 feet away from the south window and avoid the north window as there will not be enough light in such a place.
Philodendron giganteum grows in light, airy and loose soil through which water drains quickly.
The standard substrate for houseplants is prone to compaction, so you could improve its structure by adding peat moss, sand, or perlite in equal amounts. You can also grow it in a ready-made cactus mixture, to which you will add peat moss or perlite in the ratio of 50:50.
Add orchid barks, coconut husks, or smaller pieces of brick to the mixture because the root likes to wrap around them, forming air pockets, which contribute to the soil’s airiness and ultimately improve the plant’s health.
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For potting Philodendron giganteum, always choose a stable container that has drainage holes.
The size of the pot, of course, depends on the size of the plant, but one of the mitigating circumstances in its cultivation is that this Philodendron likes rootbound, so it should not be transplanted often. Even young plants do not need to be transplanted until part of the roots comes out through the drainage holes.
Always transplant the plant in early spring, leaving it enough time to adapt to the new circumstances before the period of intensive growth begins. If you did not transplant it in the spring, it is better to wait until next year since transplanting in the growing season causes stress from which the plant can not recover for weeks!
Adult plants are best not to disturb and transplant them only every third year. Repotting large specimens is sometimes very demanding, so instead of transplanting, you can only replace one part of the worn substrate with a new fresh mixture without removing the plant from the pot.
With additional fertilization, it will be enough for the plant to continue to grow.
Philodendron giganteum is a large plant that rapidly consumes nutrients from the soil. Therefore, it needs regular fertilization.
Twice a month, feed it with liquid fertilizer for leafy houseplants ONLY during the growing season. Liquid fertilizers have an advantage over slow-release ones since the nutrients are available faster, which is more in line with the accelerated metabolism of this plant.
Organic fertilizers like worm castings (click here to purchase from Etsy) or mature compost are also acceptable solutions. You can mix one or two handfuls of such material into the substrate at the beginning of the season to provide adequate nutritional support for the plant.
The amount, of course, depends on the size of the plant and the pot, but roughly the proportion of organic fertilizer should not exceed 1/10 of the total mass of the substrate.
One of the challenges in growing plants of tropical origin is to ensure the level of humidity in the air. Philodendron giganteum is a typical tropical plant accustomed to warm and humid air.
It grows best if you provide it with a humidity level of 60%. Keep in mind that this is significantly higher than the standard 30% humidity in our homes. Yet, there are a few simple ways to raise the humidity level and create the ambient for your plant to feel at home.
The simplest is misting the leaves several times a week. Wiping the leaves with a wet sponge or cloth will also do the job. In addition to removing dust and other accumulated particles, it is a convenient way to refresh the plant and provide additional moisture.
Finally, you can always install a humidifier as a practical solution that allows precise control of the conditions in which the plant grows.
In the US climate zone 9 to 11, you can grow Philodendron giganteum as an ornamental plant in the garden. In all other zones, it is a houseplant that grows indoors, protected from low temperatures.
As soon as the temperature drops below 55°F (13°C), the plant will show signs of hypothermia. Therefore, grow it in a space that is evenly heated throughout the year.
The ideal temperature ranges from 65 to 80°F (15 to 28 °C), although the plant can tolerate short periods of several degrees above or below the mentioned values.
You do not have to prune Philodendron giganteum as an integral part of care. Regularly remove damaged aged or diseased leaves, but there is no need to shorten the stem as it does not grow fast.
After all, the unrestrained, bushy formation of its leaves is part of its charm! Therefore let it keep its natural shape!
The Philodendron giganteum is a pest-free plant. However, it can get infected with a pest if the plant is in a weak state or not being cared for in the right way. The most common pests are aphids, mealybugs, or thrips.
However, if you nurture the leaves regularly, you reduce the risk of pests infection. Preventively, you can treat the leaves with a neem oil solution that will keep them away from your Philodendron giganteum.
This miraculous hardness is a precious and completely natural aid in the fight against pests. It is equally effective as a prevention and treatment for an already infected plant. Chemically created insecticides are productive, but they can be harmful, so use them with caution and only in case of emergency or if you have no other choice
Frequent spraying of the leaves carries with it the possibility of fungal infections.
Moisture and heat are excellent conditions for various parasitic fungi that will form colonies on the leaves and stem in the form of dark or floury spots.
If you mist the leaves, always do it in the morning to make the water evaporate during the day. If the leaves are too wet, make sure you dry them with a cloth and do not allow water to accumulate on them. If the plant does get sick, cut off the infected leaves and treat the plant with a mild fungicide for houseplants.
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Due to its exotic appearance and impressive size, the Philodendron giganteum may at first glance look like a picky tropical plant that is difficult to grow. Yet, it is a plant that is very hardy and surprisingly adaptable.
Additionally, it is not prone to diseases or pests. If problems arise, they are the result of inappropriate care or very unfavorable conditions for growth. Excessive or insufficient watering or improper lighting are the most common causes of metabolic disorders manifested in different leaves deformities.
Tormented, twisted leaves without freshness, often with brown tips, are an indicator of water deficiency. Philodendron giganteum can survive short periods of drought, but still, you should not allow it to be thirsty for long. The plant will indeed recover as soon as you water it, but the period of drought affects its overall growth. A plant that you water sporadically usually gives fewer leaves that are not in full size.
Elongation stalks, pale foliage, slow growth, and scattered, sparse leaf arrangement indicate that the plant does not get enough light. Therefore, place it in a better location or use artificial lighting.
How to Propagate Philodendron giganteum
Like all climbing Philodendrons, the giganteum is easily propagated by stem cuttings. However, the problem is that this plant grows from a single stem and can have a bushy shape for years before the central stem elongates enough to take a cutting.
If you have a specimen with a stem that has grown at least 7 inches above the surface of the substrate and formed aerial roots below the nodes, propagating the giganteum is as easy as propagating any other Philodendron.
- Take a new pot with drainage holes and a diameter of at least 6 inches.
- Put a little coarse gravel or a few tile pieces at the bottom over the drainage.
- Place a layer of coconut shells or bark next and fill half the bowl with a mixture of substrate and perlite or sand.
- Water the plant before the process and wait for an hour until the plant absorbs it and the aerial roots become flexible.
- Cut off the top of the stem at a 45-degree angle, just below the nodes. it should have at least one or two leaves, at least 2 inches long part of the stem, and a few aerial roots.
- Leave the cutting in a shady place for two ot three hours to dry. Optionally, you can treat the incision site with rooting hormone powder to stimulate root development and prevent cut infections or stem rot.
- When a scab has formed at the cut site, insert the cutting in the prepared pot and bend the aerial roots keeping it inside the container.
Fill the pot with the substrate and lightly compact it with your fingers to make the plant stand upright. If the cutting has a bud with a new leaf, make sure that two-thirds of the bud should be above the surface of the substrate.
Now you can water the plant. If necessary add more substrate to keep the plant upright
Place the pot with the new plant in a warm, bright, and shaded place. When the new leaves appear you could begin to fertilize the plant.
Why are the leaves of my Philodendron giganteum turning yellow?
Yellowing of the leaves is often a consequence of excessive watering or stagnation of water in the substrate due to poor drainage. The leaves can also turn yellow due to low temperatures. So you should pay attention to watering and follow the rule that it is always easier to make up for the lack than to deal with excess water!
Is Philodendron giganteum toxic?
Genus Philodendron is part of a large family of Araceae plants. Their common characteristic, regardless of variety, is that they contain calcium oxalate, a toxic substance that can cause skin irritation and significant complications if it enters the digestive tract. When handling the plant, always wear gloves and keep it away from children or pets.
Is Philodendron giganteum a climber?
In the botanical classification, the Philodendron giganteum is designated as a climbing plant. It means that it grows on a stem that needs something to climb on. However, a thick central stem grows slowly in height, and the plant can grow as a self-header for years. Only older specimens tend to climb, but even then, props like a pole that you can stick in a pot all serve to support the plant rather than climb next to it.
Can I keep Philodendron giganteum indoors?
In addition to taking up a lot of space, the Philodendron giganteum outside the tropical zone is grown as a popular and decorative houseplant. As long as you can provide enough room for this tropical colossus, you can grow it like any other plant of similar origin.
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