Philodendron Giganteum Care Guide

Philodendron giganteum is a name that suits the plant. These are undoubtedly giant plants with their enormous lush leaves. This plant makes a statement, and it is impossible to overlook a giant philodendron. They are incredibly useful as fillers in the garden. If you enjoy the indoor tropical look, then a philodendron giganteum is a must-have house plant.  

Philodendron giganteums are part of the Araceae tropical plant family and have leaves up to six feet in length. The giant philodendron is a creeping plant and, in the wild, is often found climbing up a tree. It requires warm growing conditions with rich soil and has become a popular house plant.

Philodendron giganteum are attractive plants that can create a feeling of being out in nature in even a dingy office space. They are popular with homeowners and are available in nurseries around the world. Their English name is giant philodendrons.

What Do Philodendron Giganteums Look Like?

The most notable feature of the philodendron giganteum is the vast size of the leaves. These leaves are attached to a central stem via a long green stalk. The leaves are heart-shaped and have very clearly identifiable midrib and side veins.

A central stem is usually brown or brownish-red, and there may be brown remnants of dead leaf stalks still attached. Giant philodendrons are epiphytes which means that they can grow on trees and other plants and do not need to grow in soil.

Although giant philodendrons can grow as epiphytes, they are also happy to grow in soil. They can be kept from creeping and encouraged to grow more like a bush by regular pruning.

Read more: Philodendron Mamei

Is There More Than One Type Of Philodendron Giganteum?

There are two types of giant philodendrons, and the major difference is in the leaf color. The philodendron giganteum variegata has two-toned leaves. The philodendron giganteum Schott produces leaves that have a lush, glossy green color.

Where Do Philodendron Giganteums Come From?

Close up of the Philodendron Giganteum Blizzard Variegated Leaf

There is some argument about where philodendron giganteum first originated. They can be found growing naturally in the Caribbean and certain parts of South America. Their preferred environment is a tropical climate where they grow on river banks, as part of the forest undergrowth, or climb trees.  

Is Philodendron Giganteum The Same As Elephant Ears?

Elephant ears are a colloquial name for many plants with large leaves with prominent midribs and side veins. Giant philodendrons are known as elephant ear plants, and the leaves indeed resemble an elephant’s ears.

Many other plants from the Araceae plant family are also known as elephant ears. These include other philodendrons and some Alocasia, Colocasia, Xanthosoma, Anthurium, Caladium, and Monstera.

How Big Do The Leaves Of Philodendron Giganteum Get?

Giant philodendron leaves can become massive in size, with some reports of leaves growing up to six feet long and three feet wide. These sizes usually only occur when the plant is growing in ideal conditions in its native habitat.

In garden settings and occasionally in perfect house environments, the maximum the leaves grow to is about three feet. This is still an enormous leaf and worthy of the name giganteum.

It is necessary to consider the growing conditions required for the giant philodendron if you want to make the most of its size potential. Many gardeners are enamored with the large leaves, and it becomes a personal goal to grow a plant with the biggest leaves possible.

How Much Light Does Philodendron Giganteum Need?

Giant philodendrons have gigantic glossy green leaves for a reason. They use the excessive surface area and the high levels of chlorophyll to collect sunlight for photosynthesis. This adaptation is because this plant grows below the top canopy in the forest and therefore does not receive direct sunlight.

If you try to imitate the filtered light that the philodendron giganteum would receive in the jungles, you will be heading in the right direction. Filtered sunlight with no more than eighty percent light is best suited for the giant philodendron.  Direct sunlight will burn the philodendron’s leaves, causing them to become brown.

Philodendron Giganteum

Can A Philodendron Giganteum Grow In The Shade?

A giant philodendron can tolerate some shade, but it is not the ideal growing condition. The plant will probably grow slowly and may be dormant for many months of the year. It will not grow in deep shade and will likely turn yellow and die off.

If you want to grow magnificently large leaves, you need to aim for bright, filtered sunlight. In cold climates, philodendron giganteum enthusiasts grow the plants indoors and use fluorescent lights during the winter.

What Soil Is Best For Philodendron Giganteum?

Gigantes grow in tropical forests, which have soil rich in humus due to the fall of all the forest vegetation. These conditions create soil that drains well and does not collect water. Your aim should be to reproduce these soil growing conditions as much as possible.

Choose potting soil that is high in organic matter and has a loose texture. Some people prefer to use cacti potting soil with an increased organic matter created by adding sphagnum peat moss. Perlite also assists in creating a soil that retains moisture while keeping the texture loose.

Other gardeners prefer to add bark or coconut husk to the soil. If these giants grow outside in the garden adding leaf mulch to the topsoil layer mimics their natural environment.

The giant philodendron has roots that like to get up close and personal with stones, brick pieces, or large chunks of wood. Be sure to include these elements when preparing the soil so that the roots can wrap around these objects to anchor this massive plant.

Also Check: Philodendron Sodiroi: Detailed Care Guide

How Much Should I Water My Philodendron Giganteum?

There is quite a lot of controversy on how much water these plants need. Some plant nurseries recommend letting the plant dry out between watering, and some say do not do this.

If we think back to the tropical rain forests again, we can find an answer by considering the rain pattern there. The first aspect to note is that tropical forests have high humidity. You should aim for an environmental humidity of at least sixty percent if you want your giant philodendron to flourish.

Tropical rainforests have almost daily rain throughout the year. The critical clue, though, is that the soil drains very well and does not become waterlogged. You do not need to water your giant philodendron every day. A quick shower every second day or a heavy watering twice a week should ensure that your plant thrives.

Watering recommendations are always dependent on environmental conditions. If you live in a dry climate or your plant is in an air-conditioned room, you may need to increase the amount you water, and humid climates may need less water. You need to monitor the soil and the plant to establish the best watering schedule for your environment.

Marbled Philodendron Giganteum

What Is The Temperature Range For Philodendron Giganteum?

The ideal temperature range for philodendron giganteum is 60° – 80° F ( 15° – 27° C). these plants do not lie the cold and rapidly die when exposed to frost. The lowest minimum temperature they can survive is 55° F ( 13° C).

If there are sudden drops in temperature as the season changes, it is best to bring your giant philodendron inside. It is best not to risk a sudden cold snap damaging the plant.

Are Philodendron Giganteum Easy To Propagate?

Giant philodendrons are not easy to propagate from cuttings but can be grown from seeds. They need a consistently warm environment to germinate. If you are skilled with plants, you can try to grow a giant philodendron from seed. Alternatively, purchase a healthy young Philodendron giganteum and enjoy the growth of massive leaves.

Is The Philodendron Giganteum Toxic?

All philodendron plants, including philodendron giganteum, contain calcium oxalate crystals which are toxic. The crystals produce a burning sensation in the mouth with hypersalivation. This usually prevents the pet or child from ingesting it.

Some dogs and children are persistent, though. If it is ingested, any parts of the plant will cause gastrointestinal distress, requiring a visit to the emergency department or veterinarian.   


Philodendron giganteum is truly a giant among plants. The heart-shaped glossy leaves with the lines and wrinkles from the veins resemble elephant ears. These plants grow best in warm conditions with filtered sunlight.

If you enjoy a forest vibe, these attractive plants are well worth the purchase. They are not difficult to grow if you follow some simple rules.