Philodendron Giganteum Plant Care

Nothing is more exotic to add to your houseplant collection than the Philodendron Giganteum.

You must agree this is one majestic plant, and everything about it is mammoth. You can grow the Philodendron Giganteum indoors to add volume to any living space or even place it outside to fill the gaps in the garden. However, how do you care for this plant?

The fact remains if you provide it with the right conditions, it grows fast. Plantly has all the juicy details right here to keep this tropical plant flourishing.

What is the Philodendron Giganteum?

When you look at the Philodendron Giganteum houseplant, you see lustrous rich green fanning leaves looking like an elephant’s ear. Therefore, many refer to the tropical plant as the Philodendron Giganteum Elephant Ear. However, you can find many Philodendron Giganteum variegated species sold online.

The leaves grow up to two feet long, and it stands several feet tall. Now, this is not a delicate plant and is more of a filler for bare spaces and works well in substantial living spaces. While searching for its natural habitat, you find several opinions noted. Still, we prefer to go with the ITIS report and indigenous to the Caribbean.

If you are in the market to buy one, many nurseries sell it as the Giant Philo but do not tell you which one. One notable thing is the heart-shaped green leaves with a complete but not pinnate form. When you look underneath the leaves, you notice a midrib with veins that comes to life when light falls on it.

Another notable thing is the vine-like appearance. The leaf stalks you notice are stacked up close, making the stem invisible.

Philodendron Giganteum Classification

Philodendron Giganteum

Philodendron Giganteum Care Basics

Philodendron Giganteum Plant

The gentle giant you can grow as a tropical plant with plenty of bright light, warmth, and moisture. So is the Philodendron Giganteum variegated care the same as the Philodendron Giganteum Elephant Ear, not to be confused with the others with the same name. So yes, luckily, it does have the exact needs for growing.

FYI, Philodendron giganteum is a poisonous type of philodendron. All parts of the plants hold Calcium Oxalate crystals which are harmful to both humans and pets. Keep this gorgeous plant away from your children and pets.

Humidity and Temperature 

The gorgeous giant loves warmth and grows near the equator in temperatures 55° to 80² F. Even you can enjoy growing this tropical plant if you keep room temperatures within this range. You can bring it inside if it’s winter to help the plant from not frosting.

For growing, the plant needs a humid environment for it to remain clean and fresh. Try to keep the humidity above 60% in terms of health and growth.

Now and again, you give the leaves a sponge bath to make them look shiny. Alternatively, you can mist them four times a week during winter.

Philodendron giganteum Lighting Requirement

Great, you have invested in the Philodendron Giganteum Elephant Ear and know your home’s temperature is right. Yet, oh my, where should I place it? No stress as this tropical plant thrives in the understory of the rainforests- limited access to sunlight. Exposing them to full sun will burn their beautiful foliage

You want your houseplant to remain to have a rich green tint as light helps produce enough chlorophyll to keep it that way. Grown under the canopy of trees with cool shade, this plant feels at home.

For indoors, low-filtered sunlight is recommended to make it look fabulous. You can grow it in a pot under a fluorescent light during winter.

Recommended Soil Mix

plant soil requirement

Now, this is where it becomes tricky. If you decide to grow the Philodendron Giganteum indoors in a pot, it needs loose potting soil. Providing it with well-drained soil with high organic matter and sphagnum peat moss will allow it to remain healthy.

Another option is to invest in succulent or cactus mix with perlite and peat moss added. Finally, you can use coconut husk, bark, or brick bits for the roots to wrap around for organic matter.

Growing them outside is more effortless and grows well in quick-draining soil with leaf mulch and sterile compost to retain moisture.

One more tip is to grow it along the edge of your yard with a raised spot or trees for it to grow.

Philodendron giganteum Watering Schedule

Now, this is where things become confusing, as some nursery owners advise you to dry the soil out between watering. Personally, we found that the gentle giant loves moisture and basic care changes according to the climate zone, time of year, and growing conditions.

When grown in a tropical area outside, you can water it every fortnight, but it needs to be well-drained in a pot. The best is to leave the top inches of the ground dry before wetting it again during spring and summer. In winter, cut back on watering but do not leave it short of moisture.

For colder climates, indoors is the best way to keep this tropical plant growing with light watering twice a week in summer and minimal watering in winter.

Philodendron giganteum Fertilizer Requirement

The Philodendron Giganteum houseplant needs a rich soil mix with a lot of organic matter and minimal fertilizing. Your plant will respond well to regular fertilizer, but it works well to decompose bark and leaves in the ground.

organic matter

Growing the plant indoors, you will need to provide it with fertilizer bi-monthly with a balanced organic fertilizer. Only use it in the growing months and stop the feeding in winter. During the winter, you need to continue with moisture management.

Plantly prefers using organic instead of chemical fertilizers, as it is slow releasing plus safe for your Philo. However, if you choose to use chemical products, make sure it is a balanced liquid. Using one cuts down the concentration more and makes sure to thin it down to half.

You do not want your Philodendron to have curled tip leaves, and it can kill your plant.

Philodendron Giganteum Repotting

The Giganteum Philodendron proliferates in cramped pots as it is a root-bound plant. That is why placing brick bits and stones with your soil mix is ideal. When you notice the root creeping out of the drainage holes, it is time to give this plant a new home.

You need to remove the plant with the root ball into a pot that is a bit bigger than the one it is growing. Once your plant reaches maturity, it can take up to three years before it needs a new abode. During repotting in spring to summer, it is also the right time to propagate the plant.

Propagating our Giganteum Philly

The sad news is that the Philodendron Giganteum is not easy to propagate compared to its climbing counterparts. The method is more complex with the self-header and not feasible to do for gardeners but not impossible. Sometimes the foliage throws out plantlets you can pot separately once it gains size. Here is a guide on how to do it:

  • Always remember to do it in spring and the techniques using plantlets found on the mature plant.
  • Look for tiny plantlets in the soil where the stems are visible after old leaves fall off. You will notice a node popping a plantlet.
  • You can wait for it to grow bigger until the stems are visible which can take up to a month or months. Sometimes they even grow aerial roots and air-layering works best here.
  • Once the root is long enough you can plant it in soil.

Air-Layer Method

  1. Get three six-inch transparent plastic bags with twisty ties and sphagnum moss.
  2. Look for that small aerial root in the older leaf nodes found at the base of your plant.  
  3. Make a few holes at the bottom of the bag and place wet sphagnum moss at the bottom.
  4. Cut the top of the bag to create flaps to roll around the stem.
  5. Hold the soaked moss in your plastic bag against the root on the stem gently with one palm. Use your free hand to wrap the flaps around the stem. Secure it with twisty ties to make a cocoon for the roots to grow.
  6. Make sure the cocoon does not slip off the node and keep watering the moss through the holes.
  7. Wait a couple of weeks to see if the roots grow into the moss, and carefully remove the bag.
  8. Take sterilized scissors and cut below the new roots to create a cutting.
  9. Place the cutting as per our instructions on the best soil in a container. Keep it in the shade with moist soil until established.
  10. Continue caring for your plant as usual, and for success, do multiple nodes one at a time to see if any catches a root.

Propagation from Basal Branch

When the mother plant branches out at the base with a new branch, it throws a root into the soil. Once you notice, an ancestral root cuts the stem off on the mother plant using sterilized shears. If it is firmly fixed, you see that you can tug at it in the soil gently.

Next, plant the new cutting as you would with the above method and follow the same procedure.

Philodendron Giganteum Growth Zone

This is a tropical plant native to Brazil, so maximum growth will be seen in its natural habitat. However, this plant can still grow and thrive if you live in the USDA growing zones 9 to 11 ( 25-40 degrees F ).

With the zone’s lowest temperature, you can prosper your plants outdoors in a  partly shaded area and take them indoors during winter, which rarely occurs in this zone.

Philodendron Giganteum Varieties and Similar Plants

The Philodendron Giganteum Elephant Ear you can find with similar plants that are not the same.

  • Philodendron Giganteum Blizzard

Is a variegated cultivar of the P. Giganteum, and its leaves reach up to six feet long. It is a terrestrial plant but also capable of climbing over rocks. When grown indoors, the leaves do not overtake the place, but they need loads of space. On the leaf, you notice speckled white tints.

  • Giganteum Variegata

Is a climbing cultivar that grows huge, producing masses of elephant ear leaves. However, it can maintain a brushy form if you keep it trimmed back twice a year.

Philodendron Giganteum Diseases & Pests

The Philodendron Giganteum indoor plant can show you quickly if there is a problem.

Tan Patches on Leaves

It can be a bacterial infection Erwinia blight or Pseudomonas leaf spot found in similar plants. The plant will emanate a smell and can affect smaller plants as well. You need to isolate the plant and cut away affected leaves. Minimize watering and if you mist, stop to let the leaves dry fast to control spreading.

Leaves Have Dark Patches

It can be from a draft, and cutting off the leaves and moving the plant to warmer areas can help. If the leaves are yellow or wilt, it can be root rot caused by overwatering or fungal infection. You need to check the base and salvage the most cuttings possible to propagate separately in a sterile pot and soil.

Brown or Yellow Leaves

If the leaf edges are brown and dry, the plant is under-watered, and if they turn yellow and the soil is soggy, it is overwatering.

Pale Leaves

The leaves should be dark green, and if not, they need more lighting and best to move them to a brighter spot.

Common Pests

  • Aphids
  • Moth worms
  • Mealybugs
  • Shore flies
  • Thrips
  • Scales
  • Fungus gnats

To control these pests, you can use Neem oil or insecticidal soap once a month. In addition, you can wash the plant down regularly using water jets once a week and wipe them dry.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Philodendron Giganteum variegated form is rare as it has a splashy light green leaf and grows several feet across. It can also climb trees.

Yes, it is toxic to humans and pets. In addition, it has calcium oxalate crystals causing mouth irritation in your mouth and GI tract.

It can be cold or a dry, constant airflow as it is a tropical plant that loves humid environments.

You can find them online from different growers, but the good news is that you can browse through our collection of tropical plants on Plantly to find one here.

Whether you want to buy, sell or simply reach out to other plant enthusiasts, Plantly is the right place to be!

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