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To care for a Philodendron Giganteum, it’s vital to ensure they receive adequate light and water, that you adhere to soil requirements, and feed with a balanced fertilizer to provide nutrients. Learn how to propagate, prune and deal with common problems such as pests to ensure your plant’s health.
A long-time favorite of nursery growers and gardeners, philodendron giganteum is an easy-to-grow houseplant and is prized for its extensive, glossy heart-shaped leaves. But it is also a bit fussy.
As a result, it is not as hardy as other plants and can be prone to withering and pest infestation, especially when not properly cared for.
This article will cover everything you need to know to properly take care of your philodendron giganteum. We’ll also cover some frequently asked questions.
A philodendron giganteum is a tropical plant native to Brazil that can grow up to 10 feet tall and thrives in indirect sunlight and partial shade. It is a large genus of flowering plants in the Araceae family that is a popular houseplant because they’re easy to grow.
Philodendron giganteum will grow in minimal natural light, and they do well in soil or water.
They have intensely dark green leaves with a glossy shine, and the underside of the leaf is red.
This plant is perfect for home or office environments as it cleans the air by absorbing toxins such as formaldehyde and carbon monoxide. In addition, philodendrons are one of the easiest plants to care for, so this is an excellent plant for beginners.
One of the most important aspects of caring for a plant is ensuring that you adhere to the plant’s watering requirement. The same applies to watering the philodendron giganteum.
To water your philodendron correctly, you will want to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
Watering too much will cause root rot, and watering too little will cause the leaves to droop. The best way to know when your plant is ready for watering is to check the top 1-2 inches (2.54-5.08 cm) of soil. If it is dry, give it a good soak until the water drains out at the bottom of the pot.
Philodendron giganteum are heavy drinkers, so they need more frequent watering than other plants, especially while they are young and growing.
Wilting is a pretty reliable sign that your plant needs water, but this could be due to too much sun, lack of fertilization, and soil type.
Soil plays a vital role in ensuring that the plant’s roots get enough oxygen and water. To achieve this, it needs the correct type of soil for philodendron giganteum.
Philodendron giganteum is a plant that loves moisture and humidity, requiring rich, well-draining soil.
- You can use an essential potting mix with peat moss added for drainage.
- You can also use a cactus mix with perlite added for drainage and moisture retention.
Philodendron giganteum is an easy plant to grow and thus thrives on indirect sunlight. In fact, it is one plant that can survive in the shade because it can photosynthesize even on very low light intensity.
That said, philodendron giganteum need a lot of indirect light. Too much sunlight and the leaves will turn a lighter shade of green, or your plant’s leaves will burn. So do not place it in an area with direct sun.
South or west-facing windows are ideal. They will also be happy in a north-facing window if it is well lit.
Before planning a home for your philodendron giganteum, you should first have a basic idea of its growing habits and conditions required for this plant’s survival.
Philodendron giganteum requires a minimum temperature of 65 °F (18 °C), and they must receive temperatures no lower than 10 °C (50 °F) at night.
They need warm and humid temperatures to survive and thrive and grow best in bright indirect light; you may also see some growth with direct sunlight when it’s filtered through a windowpane or sheer curtain.
Overly cold temperatures will cause damage to the plant, but overheating is an issue as well. So, avoid placing your plant next to heaters or air conditioning units, which may cause the plant to wilt.
As the name suggests, this type of philodendron is native to the tropical rainforest, where humidity levels and temperatures are high all year round.
To develop correctly, you will have to replicate its natural conditions within your home as much as possible. For example, if humidity levels are too low and the air isn’t circulating freely, the leaves will start to wither and die.
Provide good ventilation and maintain high humidity around the plant by misting the foliage or standing the pot on a tray of wet pebbles.
Philodendron giganteum owners need to know the proper time and method for fertilizing the plant.
Most philodendron fertilizer requirements are few and relatively simple. However, it would be best to fertilize your plant monthly during the growing season, which is spring and summer.
When the plant is dormant, you should skip fertilizing it. You can also feed your philodendron giganteum once a month during the spring and summer months with a slow-release fertilizer.
It is essential to feed philodendrons during the spring and summer months because they are actively growing. By providing them during these times, you can increase the number of flowers your plant produces and help it grow faster.
Use any balanced plant fertilizer but avoid those with high nitrogen levels as this may result in leggy growth. Water-soluble fertilizers are best for philodendrons.
You can quickly identify the need for repotting by the presence of roots growing from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. You will also notice that the soil remains wet for more extended periods than usual each time you water the plant.
This means that water is not absorbed as fast as before, and there is no proper draining from the soil. These are indications that your current pot has become too small for your philodendron, and it needs a new one.
Follow these steps to re-pot your plant:
- Gently remove the plant from its container. Place it on a hard surface with the roots facing up.
- Snip off any dead or damaged leaves, stems, or roots. Do this with a sharp, clean pair of garden shears or scissors.
- Loosen the root ball starting at the bottom and working your way up. This is important to do before placing the plant in its new container because once it is placed inside, it will be hard to loosen without damaging the root system and leaves of your philodendron giganteum plant.
- Place a layer of damp potting soil at the bottom of the new container. It needs to be damp but not soaked.
- Place your philodendron giganteum plant inside its new container and cover it with soil. This soil can also be damp.
The plant can be cut back at any time of year with minimum fuss. Although, you may want to wait until new growth appears before trimming your philodendron so you can see where it’s going to develop branches.
Here’s how to prune your plant:
- Water your philodendron thoroughly to make cutting easier, then snip off any large leaves with a pair of sharp scissors or pruning shears. Cut the leaf stem two inches (5.08 cm) below the leaf base. Leave smaller leaves alone so your philodendron does not become top-heavy with too much foliage and topple over.
- Prune off any dead stems and branches as close as possible to their point of origin without cutting into live tissue. This will encourage your philodendron to branch out from this area while maintaining its natural shape.
If you are cutting back an overgrown plant, cut off one-third of the old stems, making each cut just above a leaf node (the point where a leaf attaches to the stem).
The best time to propagate philodendron is during the spring and summer months, but you can propagate them at almost any time.
Propagating a philodendron is easy, and you can make one plant into many. Philodendrons grow from stem cuttings, so all you need is a sharp knife, some rooting hormone, and some potting soil or water.
Start the propagation process in water or good draining soil. Here’s how:
Things you’ll need:
- Philodendron cutting
- Sharp knife
- Rooting hormone
- Potting soil or jar of water
- Take a cutting from the stem of a mature philodendron giganteum mother plant. You can do this by cutting off a healthy limb with two or three leaves at about 10 centimeters (4 inches) long.
- Use sharp scissors or garden shears for this step. Make sure you remove all leaves from the bottom half of the stem so that you don’t damage any parts when you stick the stem into water or soil in the next step.
- Put your cutting into the water using a glass jar, with enough room for the roots to grow. Change the water every other day.
- If you want to plant your new philodendron in soil, use a potting mix that drains well. Also, keep the cutting in a warm area and out of direct sunlight for 4-6 weeks.
The cutting should root and begin putting out new growth. Once you see new growth, you may move the plant to a brighter location but still out of direct sunlight.
Philodendron giganteum is susceptible to several pests and problems.
- Yellowing the leaves due to underwatering
- Root rot from overwatering
- Pests such as spider mites, mealybugs, and fungus gnats
Here is how to spot these problems so you can deal with them as they happen.
The most common reason for yellow or brown leaves on a philodendron plant is too little water. The plant will lose its lower leaves first, and if the problem is not caught quickly, it can kill the plant.
If you notice the leaves of your philodendron turning yellow or brown, check to see if the soil is dry. If so, give it a good drink.
Once the soil dries out again, check your watering schedule to ensure you’re giving the philodendron enough water.
Here’s how you can tell if you are underwatering or overwatering your plant:
Overwatering can lead to the yellowing of leaves.
The leaves turn yellow because the roots cannot absorb enough water. This is usually a sign that your plant has been over-watered and requires drainage.
Check the soil moisture and allow the top half to dry out between watering if this occurs. If the soil remains soggy, repot with fresh potting mix.
Root rot is another overwatering issue where the stems become yellow and dull with soft, water-soaked spots that turn black and mushy as the plant rots.
One way of identifying root rot is when you notice that the roots turn brown and slimy. If this happens, cut them off with a sterile knife or scissors before repotting.
Underwatering can result in brown or crispy tips on the leaves. This is usually caused by dry air or a lack of water.
To fix the problem, increase humidity by placing a humidifier near your plant, misting it daily, or putting the plant on a pebble tray with water.
Philodendron giganteum should be in bright but indirect sunlight or shade.
Direct sunlight will burn the leaves, turning them yellow and crispy. That said, you may find that you need to place your philodendron outside in the summer months if it’s getting too big for your home or office. If you do so, put the plant in a shady location where it won’t get direct sunlight.
Spider mites are tiny spider-like pests that may be red, black, brown, or yellow. They are more common in dry conditions and feed on the underside of leaves, leaving telltale tiny black fecal spots.
This causes the foliage to turn yellow and become dry.
Treatment: Spray with water or insecticidal soap to help control spider mites.
Mealybugs are tiny white insects that feed on plant sap.
They attack a wide variety of plants and often appear as a fluffy white mass on the stems or undersides of leaves.
Mealybugs can weaken a plant leading to a decrease in growth.
Treatment: Isolate infested plants and use neem oil or horticultural oil sprays according to the manufacturer’s instructions for controlling pests.
These flying insects feed on root hairs and cause root rot if left unchecked.
Try to water less frequently or at the plant base instead of overhead watering. A yellow sticky trap will help catch them before laying eggs and provide an early warning sign that you may have an infestation.
Treatment: Isolate infested plants from healthy ones as soon as you notice signs of infestation, so the pests don’t spread.
Philodendron giganteum can grow in water after it has been propagated. However, though many people have successfully grown philodendrons in water, it is not recommended. This is because the plant can develop root rot due to a lack of oxygen in the water.
The best way to grow a philodendron is to use soil because its leaves are pretty large and can weigh a lot when wet.
Keeping the weight of the leaves and stem in mind, it is better to provide support for the plant using a stake or a trellis and keep the plant in a pot with soil.
If you want to grow your philodendron giganteum in water, you can do so as long as you change the water every few days. This will allow it to get enough oxygen and prevent root rot.
Philodendron giganteum is poisonous as, like other members of the Araceae family, these plants contain calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals are toxic and cause an intense burning sensation in the mouth if ingested. They can also cause skin irritation if touched.
Other symptoms may include:
- Swelling of tongue and throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Swelling of lips, face, tongue, and throat
- Vomiting (with or without blood)
Seek medical treatment if you suspect you’ve ingested philodendron giganteum.
Philodendron giganteum can be planted outside, but you should consider the temperature. If you live in a place with high humidity and temperatures that never go below 50 °F (10 °C), your philodendron will be fine.
First, you have to have sufficient light and fertilizing, and second, you have to have a large enough pot so the plant will be stable and not blow over.
Philodendron giganteum is an aroid, meaning it uses asexual reproduction. This occurs by adventitious rooting, or plant babies, which form on the main vine. These plantlets can be cut off and potted individually to make new plants.
What Is a Philodendron Super-Atom?
A philodendron super-atom is a unique species of the philodendron family. This plant is perfect for any indoor space, with its bright green leaves with dark green veining. The veining differentiates it from the other philodendrons, giving this plant a bold look that will make any room pop.
The philodendron giganteum can live in a pot indoors as long as it is acclimatized to the new environment properly. It needs a relatively high humidity level and does best when there is not much fluctuation in temperature.
With the right kind of care for pest control and a watering schedule, there is no reason why keeping a philodendron giganteum should be overwhelming.