Today we are discussing another aroid Philodendron for you, Philodendron Gigas. It is pronounced as ‘fil-oh-DEN-dron JY-gas.’
This can be easily grown as an indoor houseplant or outside in mild climates. Originally from Panama, this Philodendron is grown widely in many different climates.
The Philodendron Gigas has average watering needs and should be watered well during the growing period. Make sure you grow it in a well-draining, rich soil that can also hold some moisture for the plant. Keep this Philodendron at a distance from direct sunlight. It can tolerate low light but not overwatering. So water moderately in growing months.
This plant is oftentimes compared with Philodendron Melanochrysum because of the huge leaves. Philodendron Gigas is an easy to care tropical plant that requires minimal attention from you both indoors and outdoors.
This rare plant has velvety green leaves with yellow and brown speckles. The new foliage is copper-colored with white veins.
This plant is always in high demand, so if you find one, don’t miss it. It is one of the three large Philodendron variety. Tricolored, large foliage is the selling point for this plant.
The best way to grow any houseplant is to imitate its natural habitat. Keep reading if you want to know about the perfect environment for the Philodendron Gigas.
- 1 Philodendron Gigas Plant Care
- 2 Common Problems for Philodendron Gigas
- 3 Tips for Growing Philodendron Gigas
- 4 Frequently Asked Questions
- 5 Conclusion
Philodendron Gigas Plant Care
Soil is the most critical parameter for any plant’s health. Ensure that you pot your Philodendron Gigas in a rich and fertile soil that has all the nutrients needed.
Grow it in an extremely fast-draining mix. The potting mixture should also have good moisture retention to ensure moist soil for the Gigas plant. This climbing species grows best when provided a burlap pole or mossy post to climb.
You can use the following in equal parts to create an ideal mix for your Gigas plant:
- Worm castings
- Orchid bark
- Horticulture charcoal
- Sphagnum moss
If the potting mixture is too compact, it stays wet for long periods leading to root rot and other issues. This happens because the bottom layers are not getting enough air circulation.
Outside you can grow it in mild climates in USDA hardiness zones 9b – 11. Keep the soil pH between 5.6 (acidic) to 7.5 (neutral).
This water-loving plant has to be watered regularly in the spring and summer. Watering it once after 5-7 days is suitable under optimum temperature and light conditions.
This frequency will change depending on your apartment’s environment.
If the temperature is higher, the plant will dry out quicker than usual, leading to more watering sessions per week. Similarly, if located in the bright sun, the soil is going to dry faster.
If you do not want to fuss about your plant’s watering needs, maintain optimum indoor conditions.
Prevent your potting soil from getting extreme dryness or continuous wetness. This can be done by maintaining a strict watering schedule that is entirely based on potting soil moisture levels. Before adding water, check the soil using fingers or wooden sticks.
I water my Philodendron Gigas right after the potting soil has dried out completely. Leaving the soil dry for several hours or days creates water stress, which in return leads to stunted or slow growth. Therefore it is best to regularly check your plant’s soil for water.
In winter, the plant requires very little water. In colder months, the evaporation rate is very low; therefore, the soil takes longer to dry out.
Try not to leave the soil sitting in water for very long as this can cause root rot. Leaving water on the foliage for too long is also discouraged because that leads to stem and leaf rot.
Philodendron Gigas likes growing in moderately bright light. 70-85% filtered sun should be your goal; however, this superior Philodendron variety can thrive in lower light conditions compared to other houseplants.
But oftentimes, low light results in a leggy plant with tiny leaves. If you want that, go for a low light setting. This is a light-sensitive plant. Outside you have to place it in a shady corner either under a tree or shade cloth.
I create the perfect lighting for my houseplants using LED grow lights since they are more manageable and generate less heat. You can also keep your sun-loving Philodendrons in the east, west, or south-facing window but ensure that you screen the window to reduce the intensity of sunlight.
Outdoors, the Gigas plant likes growing in semi-shade. Indoors it loves growing under filtered, bright light.
As a simple explanation, remember that in nature, the Gigas plant grows in bright sunlight that is filtered via huge trees. So it’s hardly exposed to the direct sun, which makes it difficult for the plant to tolerate direct sun in an artificial environment.
This plant needs an indoor temperature of about 55 – 88 degrees Fahrenheit (12 – 31 degrees Celsius).
Keep in mind the minimum winter temperature for this plant is 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).
If the Gigas plant is exposed to a temperature lower than the minimum, it will stop growing.
In some Philodendrons, lower temperatures help initiate flowering. If the temperature drops very low in your area, you can bring the potted Philodendron Gigas inside for winter months. This will protect the plant from frost damage or freezing temperatures.
Indoors also you have to protect your Gigas plant from extreme temperature. Never place it near a heat source like a hot radiator. You should also avoid placing it near draughty windows, doors, and air conditioners.
As tropical plants, higher humidity is more desirable for aroid plants. Around 60-80% humidity is perfect. However, this plant will not die with low humidity levels only if you keep it hydrated by following the instructions given in the water section.
Fertilization is a great way to make sure the plant has all the necessary nutrients and grows well. You can use any mild- dose houseplant fertilizer for the Philodendron Gigas.
I use a 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer that is diluted in water to half strength. Apply it every week, regularly in growing months. However, reduce application in cold months when the plant is not growing actively. From fall to winter, you can add fertilizer once a month.
Often as an over enthusiast plant parent, you might end up applying more fertilizer than required.
This should be avoided because it only harms your Philodendron. Overfertilization leads to chemical burns. Never use low quality fertilizer because you might kill your precious plant.
This plant has a healthy, well-established root system, so you don’t have to worry much about repotting. When you repot make sure the pot size is not very large compared to the root ball.
You can either refresh the soil and repot the Gigas plant to the same pot. Otherwise, select a pot that is about 2″ large in size compared to the previous one.
Choosing a very large pot can drown the roots and cause root rot because the roots are exposed to more moisture. This species likes its root system to be slightly loose, so try to fulfill this condition while repotting.
You can trim away any damaged or mushy roots. Make sure you use a sharp instrument like a scissor or pruning shear that is thoroughly sterilized.
This hemi-epiphytic plant can take a lot of space with its huge foliage. You should give your plant a good pruning session to do the following:
- To remove any dead or damaged leaves that might be rotting, yellowing, or browning. You can also remove the rotted stalks.
- Remove any dead or faded flowers. This will help your Gigas plant have more blooms.
- Trim a few parts of the plant to maintain a neat look. This is necessary, especially when the plant has outgrown its pot.
Prune your plant moderately at different intervals instead of doing hard pruning in one session. Pruning and deadheading generally encourage new growth, but over-pruning can have a negative effect. Your plant might stop growing and never bloom.
Remember, you should not prune more than 1/3 of the Philodendron Gigas.
Propagation is simply using a part of an actively growing or even a dying (not dead) plant to start new growth. Take stems cuttings from a healthy plant in spring or summer. I take mine in early spring because this gives the parent plant plenty of time to recover from any shock, and the new cutting can also grow in the coming season.
- Take a few inches (4-6 inches) long stem from a healthy Philodendron Gigas. Make sure the stem is also healthy and does not have any damaged or diseased foliage.
- Take the cutting by using a sharp instrument that is sterilized before and after propagation. Isopropyl alcohol is a good option to sterilize any instruments. Make an angled cut 1-2 inches below the leaf node.
- The cutting should have at least 1 pair of leaves; however, more would be better. Trim the leaves from the lower region that will be either buried in soil or submerged in water.
- Let the Gigas cutting dry for a few hours to help it form a callus. Dip the lower end of cutting in rooting hormone powder that’s diluted in water. This is entirely optional, but I would encourage doing this because your cutting will have a better chance at rooting.
- Now bury the lower node in the soil; you can use the potting mixture discussed before. A simple option is to grow the cutting in sphagnum moss. If you want to grow, the cutting in water submerge the lower node in a glass jar.
- The leaves should not touch the water surface. Change water after a few days and provide some warmth and bright light.
- Your cutting will start developing tiny roots in a few weeks. You can continue growing it in the existing medium or transfer it to a new potting mixture once established.
This plant produces inflorescences instead of flowers. With the right care, Gigas can produce up to 7 inflorescences per axil. The inflorescence tubes are white with a red tinge. Whereas the inside of the spathe is dark red or violet. The spathe is hooded and about 3 inches(7.5 cm) in size.
The berries or seeds are greenish-white. The blooming begins in the rainy seasons and lasts for several months.
This easy-to-grow plant looks lovely in hanging baskets or sitting in containers. The large, velvet leaves are absolutely gorgeous, and in nature, the leaves are 3 to 4 ft long.
The leaves grow in a range of colors from olive green to dark green and are triangular, ovate, and elongated. The petiole is also D shaped instead of round with short internodes.
This is a fast grower; mine has tripled in size within one year. Normally this plant has a mature size of 8-10 ft. This evergreen plant has tricolored foliage throughout the year.
Common Problems for Philodendron Gigas
Almost all houseplants suffer from water stress at some point in their plant life cycle. Therefore it is important to understand the signs that your plant gives when it’s unhappy.
If you fail to maintain an optimum watering schedule, you will either overwater or underwater your Philodendron Gigas.
Yellow leaves are a symptom of overwatering, whereas brown leaves are a symptom of underwatering. You should avoid both scenarios to keep your plant healthy.
For an overwatered plant, let the potting soil dry well for a day or two. Then resume watering but reduce the watering frequency. If you were watering twice a week previously, you could reduce it to once a week.
The potting soil is the most accurate indicator of your plant’s watering needs. Either check with your fingers, or some growers might suggest using a moisture meter.
Aphids are also called plant lice; these are tiny insects that have soft bodies colored black, yellow, brown, or green. They often go unnoticed until large colonies have formed on your houseplant. Unfortunately, like other houseplants, Philodendron Gigas is susceptible to these annoying pests.
Aphids can grow at a very fast rate as the female aphids are capable of laying 100 eggs that can further start reproducing within 6-8 days of their birth. They feed on new growth, the underside of leaves and flower buds. The infected plant has curly and crinkly leaves.
These pests not only spread viruses from one plant to another but also secrete a sticky substance called honeydew. This substance is a perfect growth material for sooty mold. You can remove them from your velvet plant by spraying neem oil or any other green solution.
Another solution is to prepare a mixture of mineral oil and dishwashing soap in lukewarm water. Spray this on the plant as soon as you notice any pests. You might have to repeat applications for complete disinfection.
Soft brown scale insects attack most houseplants, including Philodendron Gigas. These also secrete the honeydew that will attract other insects like ants and black mildew.
Because of the shell exterior on their bodies, sprays are hardly effective against brown scales. You have to wipe them off the leaves and stems using a cloth or old toothbrush. Later spray your plant with neem oil or horticulture soap.
Tips for Growing Philodendron Gigas
- Flush the soil with plenty of water; this oxygenates the soil as well as removes any salt or mineral buildups.
- Allow the Philodendron Gigas potting mixture to dry well, about 80% before watering the plant next time.
- Try maintaining a consistent temperature throughout the year for your plant to avoid any temperature shocks.
- Avoid using a heavy soil mixture for your Philodendron Gigas.
- Heavy fertilizers can damage the plant by killing the roots. They can also deprive your plant of good nutrients.
- For garden or porch planting, use a 20-40% shade cloth to filter the sunlight. Never allow the sun to fall on the plant directly.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best location for Philodendron Gigas?
This plant will love a shadier corner in your sunroom.
My Philodendron Gigas is drooping what now?
Give your plant a totem or any other climbing support to help it climb. This will also help it grow faster. You can add mulch to the potting mixture to keep your Gigas plant upright. Drooping can also be caused by underwatering. If the soil is dry give your Gigas a good soak.
How to improve drainage for Philodendron Gigas?
Poor drainage negatively impacts your plant’s health. It can also suffocate the roots. Consider adding perlite to the potting soil; it will loosen the soil and prevent any clumps.
How can I improve air circulation for my Gigas plant?
Good air circulation is a must for every indoor plant. You can do this by either using a fan in the growing area or by adjusting the potting mixture.
If you like collecting unusual plants, you definitely need a Philodendron Gigas. This plant is the rarest velvet Philodendron and is well-known for its slender, velvety leaves. This is a vining and climbing evergreen plant that will decorate your house with beautiful foliage throughout the year.
Read next about the Philodendron Melanochrysum.