Philodendron gigas: The Care, Propagation, and Watering Guide You Need

One of the most popular plants in the world is the Philodendrons. They achieved high popularity not just because of their undeniable, fascinating foliage but also because they are low maintenance. Because of these desirable traits, a wide variety of these species are cultivated as ornamentals.

Philodendron gigas is one of the most in-demand Philodendrons in the market. This giant Philodendron, which could grow up to 20 feet tall, is a must-have in your plant collection because of its size and the tricolored foliage that is majestic and fascinating.

Learn more about this giant Philodendron below.

Philodendron gigas

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Philodendron gigas Profile

General Information

Philodendron gigas is one of the largest growing plants existing in the world. It is a large climbing Philodendron that can grow up to 20 meters. The giant Philodendron is native to the tropical forests of Panama.

This magnificent Philodendron has stunning foliage that starts as copper-colored with white venation. This color gradually changes to dark, velvety evergreen having yellow and brown speckles, with the veins becoming light green as it matures. However, the red/copper glow is still visible on the leaf surface, making it more dashing and lovely.

The Gigas Philodendron is a trendy plant and is always in high demand due to its size and the tri colored foliage. The same with Philodendron melanochrysum and other philodendron varieties. 

Etymology

The name “philodendron” comes from the Greek words “philo”, meaning “love” and “affection”, and “dendron,” meaning tree. So the Philodendron is loosely translated as “tree huggers” with these meanings. This is because they are often seen in the wild as tree climbers.

The species name “gigas” is a Greek word that directly means giant. This is due to the large size of the plant.

Flowering

The Philodendron gigas produces an inflorescence called a spadix, consisting of a leaf-like spathe and an anthurium-like spadix. The flowering season of the Gigas Philodendron dramatically depends on the location and the environmental conditions. However, they generally bloom in rainy seasons, and the blooming season could last for several months.

Like other houseplants, they rarely flower indoors.

Season of Interest and Purchasing

Philodendrons grow actively during the spring and summer seasons. Therefore, it is during these seasons that they are best purchased. Commercially, they are available worldwide. But because of popularity and high demand, Gigas may be hard to get in the market. 

Growth

Philodendron gigas grow quickly if given the right growing conditions, such as temperature and humidity. These plants can grow up to 20 meters tall in the wild, and their leaves can grow over 2-4 feet long. However, the plant grows smaller when grown indoors.

Gigas is a real climber, so its growth pattern is upward rather than along the surface. Therefore, a moss or coir pole is recommended to be given to this plant to grow on.

Philodendron gigas Overview

Scientific namePhilodendron gigas
Common name/sGigas, Giant Philodendorn
FamilyAraceae
Growth HabitHerbaceous, Vine
Height and Spread20 meters tall, 2-4 feet leaf length (wild)
Classification based on life cyclePerennial
Origin and DistributionOriginated from Panama
Climate ZoneGenerally mild climate
USDA Plant Hardiness ZoneUSDA Zone 9-11
ColorVelvety, dark green leaves having brown and yellow speckles and light-green venation (mature), red copper glow present

RELATED: Philodendron rugosum: The Care, Propagation, and Watering Guide You Need

Care Tips

Care tips

Light Requirement 

Gigas Philodendron thrives best in moderately bright lighting conditions. Therefore, a 70-85% filtered light, may it be natural or artificial, should be achieved for optimum growth. However, this particular Philodendron is more tolerable to lower light conditions than other Philodendron plants.

The different lighting conditions will indeed affect the growth pattern of your plant. For example, you will have a leggy Philodendron with small leaves in low light conditions. However, remember to not put your plant under direct light, for it will definitely burn its foliage.

Temperature Requirement

Being a tropical plant, Gigas has an ideal 55-88 degrees Fahrenheit temperature to thrive. However, the minimum temperature for this plant to survive in winter is 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Below this temperature, the plant will stop growing. Therefore, protect the plant from freezing or frost damage by putting it indoors during the winter season.

When it is indoors, make sure to put the plant away from a heat source like a radiator. Also, avoid placing it near air conditioners, doors, and draughty windows.

Water Requirement

The Philodendron gigas is a water-loving plant. It has to be watered once a week during the spring and summer seasons, given that optimum light and temperature conditions are given. This frequency is flexible, depending on the environment of your place. If the temperature is high and the light is bright and direct, it is quicker for the soil to dry out.

In the winter season, the soil takes longer to dry out. Therefore, you may decrease the watering frequency to avoid waterlogged soil. However, waterlogged soil ultimately leads to root rotting, so maintain a proper watering schedule depending on the season and the environmental conditions.

Humidity Requirement

The higher the humidity, the more desirable it is for your aroid plants, including your Philodendron gigas, so always try to achieve a higher humidity. A humidity of around 60-80 percent is best for your plant. However, this plant is tolerable to low humidity. Just make sure to hydrate it properly to avoid drying out.

Soil Requirement

Like all plants, the Gigas Philodendron’s health is critical with the type of soil used. A rich and fertile soil that is well-draining and airy is best for this Philodendron. The soil must also have good moisture retention, ensuring the soil is always moist for your Gigas plant. Using a burlap or mossy pole as a climber will help this plant with its climbing needs.

An inefficient and improper soil mix will cause many issues to your plant; that is why it is best to always use the proper mixture. To create an appropriate mix for your Gigas, you can add worm castings, orchid bark, horticulture charcoal, sphagnum moss, and perlite. Charcoal keeps the soil acidity optimum, while sphagnum moss keeps the moisture.

The optimum soil pH for this plant is between 5.6, acidic, to 7.5, which is neutral.

Fertilizer Requirement 

Plants need adequate fertilization to have optimum growth and development. For Gigas, as a heavy feeder, apply fertilizer once a week in growing months. This is because they are actively growing during these times and benefit from prolific feeding. However, during fall and winter, decrease the feeding frequency to once every four weeks.

A mild-dose houseplant fertilizer is the most acceptable type to use. If you’re using a 20-20-20 liquid fertilizer, dilute them to half the strength to avoid chemical burn. Feed them after watering and never use a low-quality fertilizer.

Space Requirement

The Philodendron gigas is one of the largest Philodendrons existing. It can grow up to 65 feet tall in the wild with a leaf length of 3-4 feet. It grows around 8-10 feet in indoor conditions, with a leaf length of one foot. You may reserve a relatively large space for this massive plant with this proportion. 

RELATED: Philodendron verrucosum: The Number 1 Care, Propagation, and Watering Guide for This Velvety Plant

Growing and Planting Tips

Propagation

There are many ways to propagate Philodendron gigas plants. However, stem-cutting propagation is the most common method that ensures a high success rate. It can be done using water or directly to the soil.

Choose a branch with at least one node to propagate using stem cutting. It is a better option if aerial roots are present since they transform into normal roots when put into a growing medium. Put the cutting into the desired growing medium and allow it to develop roots for two weeks or more.

If you are using soil, make sure to mix your soil with vermiculite and moisten it before putting the cutting. On the other hand, if you are going via water propagation, choose a container with a proper size that the water will cover the node. Retain only two leaves in the stem and place them in a well-lit area. 

Pruning

Pruning is not necessary for most Philodendrons. However, it is a different story for this massive Philodendron because it can take up a lot of space with its large foliage. If you want to control the growth and size of your plant, prune it using a pair of clean, sharp scissors or even a knife. 

 You can prune your Gigas Philodendron during the growing season to increase blooming success. This also helps direct any energy and nutrients toward the development of new foliage.

Potting and Repotting

Philodendrons tend to be fast growers. Check your plant every year for repotting. The presence of roots peeking out from the drainage holes is a good sign that your plant is ready to be placed in a larger pot.

When repotting, you can also refresh the potting soil mix. Please do not use an overly large pot since it can cause root drowning because of more moisture retention. Always ensure the right well draining potting mix is still used when you repot to keep your plant healthy.

Philodendron gigas Care

LightModerately bright light, filtered
TemperatureIntermediate to warm, 55-85 degrees Fahrenheit
WaterTwo to three times a week, increased in summer, decreased in winter
SoilWell-draining, rich soil
FertilizationRegular household fertilizer, once a week; decreased in winter
SpaceHuge space to grow and climb
PropagationVia stem cutting propagation
BloomingBegins in rainy season and continues for few months
PruningRegular pruning
PottingRegular potting mix, use of peat, charcoal, perlite and orchid bark, sphagnum moss is recommended

Problems and Troubleshooting

Overwatering 

Overwatered Philodendrons usually have yellowing leaves. This is the first indicator and a warning sign that you need to rectify your watering frequency. It could also help if you check the soil of your plant. If the soil gets easily waterlogged, replace the soil with an airy and well-draining type to remedy the problem.

Check also the roots and see if it is rotting. Usually, overwatering is the main culprit of root rot. This is a severe problem for plants and needs to be remedied immediately. 

Underwatering

Underwatered Philodendron gigas usually has wrinkled leaves with brown and crispy edges and tips. In addition, dried-up and dead leaves are often seen at the bottom of the underwatered plants. Depending on the severity of the problem, this can be corrected by having the plant drenched in water and adjusting the watering schedule as needed.

Nutrient Deficiency 

When a plant cannot get the proper amount of essential nutrients necessary for growth and development, nutrient deficiency occurs. This is often characterized by stunted growth of roots and leaves, yellowing and browning of leaf tips and surfaces, and purplish hues, among many others.

If your plant shows any of these symptoms, feed your plant when necessary. Once a month feeding during spring and summer, and once every six to eight weeks during fall and winter is recommended to ensure proper nutrients are given to the plant. Keep the soil pH at its optimum too to facilitate nutrient uptake.

Flowering Problems

Philodendrons gigas begin to bloom in rainy seasons and often last for several months. To ensure that your plant blooms, maintain the right environment and feed it as necessary. Adequate sunlight is also very crucial as the genes responsible for flowering are light-activated.

Philodendron gigas Pests and Diseases

Common Pests/DiseasesSymptomsTreatment and Prevention

Common diseases include crown rot, stem rot, root rot, leaf spot, fungal diseases, and Xanthomonas infection
Yellowish rimming around black or dark brown spots on leaves
Avoid overwatering. Keep soil dry. Avoid too high humidity.Proper ventilation is needed around the plant. Remove infected parts of fungal infections to avoid spreading
Common pests include mealybugs, spider mites, aphids, and scales


Visible insects on the surfaceSpray plant with warm, soapy water. If infestation is present, use insecticide or neem oil. Use diatomaceous earth. 

Problems with People and Animals

Toxicity

Philodendrons contain calcium oxalate crystals in their stems and leaves like all Aroid. These crystals are toxic when ingested and cause irritation and swelling to the throat. These crystals are what makes Philodendron gigas toxic.

In severe conditions, it could block the air passage, causing difficulty in breathing and swallowing. It can even lead to death in the worst situations. So it is crucial to keep them out of your children and pets.

Philodendron Plants Meaning and Symbolism

Many Philodendrons are grown as ornamental and indoor plants. The name derives from the Greek words Philo-, or “love, affection,” and dendron, or “tree.” With these translations, the plants symbolize affection and love for nature. They are good gifts to people who love nature and advocate for eco-friendly living. The plants also represent personal growth.

Philodendron leaves were used by Pablo Picasso in his work “Woman in the Garden”. The leaves are seen with the nymph Daphne in the artwork.

Philodendron gigas Symbolism and Meaning

General Meaninglove of nature, passion for eco-friendly living
Symbolismpersonal growth
Cultural Significanceused by Pablo Picasso in his work “Woman in the Garden”

Landscaping and Gardening Ideas

Landscaping

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Companion Plants

Philodendron gigas is a pretty large plant that will pair nicely together with other Philodendrons. Philodendrons should be grown among other Araceae family members because they all require the same level of care.

Philodendrons go well with other tropical plants. Consider using bird of paradise, areca palms, fire spike, heliconia, variegated arboricola, croton, chenille plant, and pentas to plant along with Rugosum. The colors of these plants, mainly warm oranges and reds, will complement the foliage color of Gigas perfectly.

Landscaping Ideas

Large-sized Philodendrons go well as accents inside a humid room or a cozy deck or patio. An entire plant can also be placed in the corner of the house or along the entryway. Outdoors, it can be a filler plant for a garden corner, in between palm trunks, or under tall trees. It can also be placed near pools to add even more tropical vibes as long as it won’t get splashed.

What to plant withOther Aroids, Bird of Paradise, Areca Palms, Fire Spike, Heliconia, Variegated Arboricola, Croton, Chenille Plant, Pentas
What NOT to plant withBasically nothing

Conclusion

Philodendron gigas is a giant Philodendron you don’t want to miss having in your plant collection. With its large, velvety green foliage with light green veins and red-copper glow, this Philodendron is a must-have. This climbing evergreen perennial that is very easy to grow will surely make a good decor in your home.

FAQS

  1. Is Philodendron gigas rare?

The Philodendron gigas is a rare Philodendron species. It is an uncommon Philodendron.

  1. Is Philodendron gigas a climber?

Philodendrons are climbers. They like to climb huge trees in the wild, hence their name, which means “tree huggers”. They are hemiepiphytes, so make sure to put a moss or a coir pole for them to climb on.

  1. How big can Philodendron gigas get?

Your Gigas is really a massive plant. In the wild, Gigas reportedly grow up to 20 meters tall with a leaf length of reaching 2-4 feet. However, when grown indoors, they are “smaller” compared to wild types.

  1. Are Philodendron gigas fast-growing?

Philodendron Gigas are fast-growing Philodendrons, assuming proper care and attention to this plant.

  1. How do you propagate a Philodendron gigas?

The Philodendron gigas is best propagated using stem cuttings. Choose a stem with at least a node and 2-3 leaves. If an aerial root is present, it is best to choose that node. Put the stem into a proper potting mixture and wait for the roots to develop.

Do you like the Philodendron gigas? Comment below. Also, check out our other articles:

Yellow? Goodbye! 7 Reasons Why Your Philodendron Is Changing Color

How To Propagate Philodendron: Things To Know

Philodendron Pink Princess: The Perfect Care, Propagation, and Watering Guide

Morgan Daniels

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