Philodendron Gigas Species Profile & Care Guide

Philodendron Gigas is a tropical houseplant sought by enthusiasts for its velvety dark green leaves and unique aesthetics. Native to Central and South America, this plant exhibits an epiphytic habit, meaning it naturally thrives on other plants for support.

Though it is stunning to behold, this Philodendron species requires careful maintenance and specific conditions to thrive. This guide aims to provide an extensive care regimen for Philodendron Gigas for both seasoned and new plant lovers.

Philodendron Gigas

Profile Overview

  • Common Name: Philodendron Gigas
  • Scientific Name: Philodendron Gigas
  • Family: Araceae
  • Origin/Native Region: Central and South America, specifically Panama
  • Growth Habit: They are typically hemiepiphytic (they start as seedlings in the canopy and grow towards the ground) and can reach a significant height with proper care and suitable conditions.


The Philodendron Gigas is a captivating indoor plant known for its unique aesthetic features. Its leaves, in particular, are its prominent stunning feature, which makes it a standout in the world of indoor plants.

This decorative evergreen plant unveils large velvet-textured foliage that grows into an elongated heart shape. The leaves start out having a brighter, lighter green hue that darkens as they mature.

The thick and robust stems of the Philodendron Gigas are equally noteworthy, as they provide sturdy support for the plant’s large leaves.

Overall, the Philodendron Gigas is an extraordinary plant visually packed with a distinct lush, tropical feel.

Leaf Size

The Philodendron Gigas sports impressively large leaves. Each leaf can reach up to 3 to 4 feet in size when mature. The young leaves, however, start out much smaller and gradually increase in size as they develop and the plant grows taller.

This large leaf size is a key aspect of the plant’s overall appearance, contributing significantly to its stunning visual impact. The Gigas relies on these broad leaves for photosynthesis, which is vital for its growth and health.

Therefore, the size of the leaves directly impacts the plant’s general nutritional needs and light requirements.

Leaf Shape

The Philodendron Gigas is recognized for its unique leaf shape. Young leaves start out as small heart-shaped structures, but as the plant matures, they develop into expansive, elongated and arrow-shaped fronds.

Frequently, they bear resemblances to the shape of a rhombus. The leaf margins are undulate, adding to the overall beauty of the foliage. The leaves are typically quite large, which adds to the grandeur of this plant species.

This unique leaf shape, in addition to its alluring color, makes it a coveted specimen amongst houseplant enthusiasts. Optimizing growth conditions can further enhance the gorgeous shape of these leaves.

Leaf Color

The Philodendron Gigas boasts an arresting leaf color that can elevate the aesthetic appeal of any space. The velvet-textured leaves are a stunning shade of deep green, which tend to grow darker as the plant matures.

An interesting contrast is achieved when you observe the underside of the leaves, which bear a vibrant shade of burgundy red. The color can somewhat vary depending on the lighting conditions.

A higher light exposure can induce an intensity in the green, while less light might make it veer towards a softer, darker hue.

Stem Characteristics

The stems of the Philodendron Gigas are a quite remarkable feature. The stems have a reddish hue and are thick and sturdy, lending to the overall robustness of the plant. They can extend quite a distance, growing profusely and aiding in the plant’s sprawling growth habit.

Additionally, these stems are characterized by distinctive nodes, from which new leaves sprout, and aerial roots, which are critical for the plant’s climbing and attaching capabilities.

Overall, the stem’s robust and vigorous nature significantly contributes to the Philodendron Gigas’s distinctive appearance and its adaptability to various conditions.

Mature Size

The size a Philodendron Gigas can achieve when it’s fully grown, or mature, can be quite impressive, reflecting its tropical origin. It can reach up to 2-3 feet in width, and the climbing vines can ascend to a height of 10-15 feet if given proper support.

As an indoor plant, however, it often stays smaller, depending on the care and space available. These dimensions make the Philodendron Gigas a prominent feature in any setting, requiring spacious placements that allow it to exhibit its sprawling nature and unique leaf display in the best possible way.

Care Requirements

To ensure the health and vitality of your Philodendron Gigas, specific care requirements need to be met. The plant is not demanding but needs the right balance of light, water, humidity, and specific temperature ranges.

It requires a specific type of soil with ideal pH levels for optimal growth. Regularly caring for your Philodendron Gigas involves adhering to these requirements.

Light Needs

Philodendron Gigas thrives in indirect sunlight. Too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves to scorch, while a lack of light stunts growth and dulls leaf color.

The ideal setup is a north or east-facing window with bright, filtered light. However, this plant can also do well under fluorescent light, making it a great option for offices and parts of your home with less natural light.

Always remember, changing light conditions gradually helps the plant adjust and prevents shock.

Watering Frequency

The Philodendron Gigas prefers consistently moist, but not waterlogged, soil. It’s important to let the top 1-2 inches of soil dry out before re-watering to prevent overwatering which can lead to root rot.

In warmer climates or growing seasons, this could mean watering your Philodendron Gigas once every week, while in cooler climates or dormant seasons, watering may be scaled back to once every two to three weeks.

Regularly check the dryness level of the soil to determine the ideal watering frequency for your particular plant and environmental conditions. Remember, it’s always better to under-water than over-water.

Humidity Preferences

Unlike many houseplants, the Philodendron Gigas thrives in a high humidity environment. They are native to the tropical rainforests of Central America where humidity levels can exceed 80%.

As such, in a home setting they would ideally need humidity levels to remain above 60%. If your space cannot naturally provide such a high level of humidity, consider placing your Philodendron Gigas in a bathroom or kitchen where moisture levels are typically higher, or use a humidity tray or a room humidifier.

Mistings of water on its leaves can also help to replicate its natural environment.

Temperature Range

The Philodendron Gigas thrives in warmer temperatures and does poorly in cool conditions. It has been observed that the optimum temperature range for this plant is between 16°C to 29°C (60°F to 85°F).

Any temperature below 12°C (55°F) can negatively affect the plant’s health, possibly leading to leaf drop and stunted growth. Similarly, constant exposure to temperatures above 32°C (90°F) may lead to leaf burn.

Therefore, if you are cultivating this plant indoors, endeavor to maintain the temperature within its preferred range by regulating your home’s heating or cooling system depending on the season.

Soil Type & pH Preferences

The Philodendron Gigas prefers soil that is well-draining and rich in organic matter. A mix of peat, perlite, and orchid bark tends to provide an ideal environment for this plant’s roots.

In terms of pH, the Gigas is not overly picky but generally prefers a slightly acidic environment. A pH of 6.0 to 7.0 is typically ideal.

It’s always a good idea to test your soil’s pH before planting, as well as monitoring it periodically to ensure it stays within this comfortable range for the plant.

Growth & Propagation

Philodendron Gigas portrays moderate growth, taking time to adapt and thrive in new conditions. Notably, its growth pace can be influenced by various factors including light, temperature, and watering schedules.

As part of the plant’s growth and propagation, they need support to climb up and expand. As a vining plant, they grow upwards and also laterally. When it comes to propagation, Philodendron Gigas can be multiplied through stem cuttings.

The best time to propagate is during the active growing season, typically the warmer months, to ensure cuttings root effectively and new growth initiates quickly.

Growth Rate

The growth rate of Philodendron Gigas is generally moderate. On average, you can expect your Philodendron Gigas to put out a new leaf roughly every 5-6 weeks, depending on the care provided and its growing conditions.

This speed can accelerate when the plant is in its typical growing season, usually spring and summer, and get slow down during the cooler months.

A healthy Philodendron Gigas which is receiving appropriate care can achieve significant growth annually. However, it’s important to note that this rate may diminish if the plant is not meeting all of its specific care requirements.

Propagation Methods

The Philodendron Gigas can be propagated through stem cuttings. To perform this, find a mature stem on the plant with at least one leaf, and cut it below the node (the point where the leaf attaches).

You can place this cutting in water or in a mixture of perlite and peat moss, and it will soon start growing roots. Always ensure the cut is made by a clean, sharp tool in order to reduce the likelihood of infection.

It’s worth mentioning that this plant is slow to propagate, and patience is crucial in the process. It’s also important to keep the propagated plant warm and humid.

Season of Active Growth

The Philodendron Gigas exhibits its most vigorous growth during the warm seasons, particularly from late spring to early fall. This period is the plant’s active growth season when it has the most energy for developing new foliage and stems.

During these months, the plant requires more frequent watering and feeding to sustain its rapid growth. During the colder months, the Philodendron Gigas enters a dormant phase and its growth slows down significantly.

As such, you should reduce watering and skip fertilizing until the weather warms up again and the plant resumes its active growth.

Potting and Repotting Recommendations

Philodendron Gigas must be potted in a container that is large enough to accommodate its extensive root system, but not overly large. Start with a pot that is around 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the plant’s root ball.

This plant thrives on being root-bound and will grow faster when its roots fill its pot completely. When you notice that the growth of your Philodendron Gigas has slowed considerably, it may be time to repot.

This is usually necessary every 2-3 years. While repotting, try to disturb the plant’s roots as little as possible to avoid causing undue stress.

Potential Issues

Like any living organism, the Philodendron Gigas is not exempt from facing potential problems during its growth and upkeep.

These problems usually take the form of pests, diseases, and sensitivities to certain conditions. Knowledge of these potential issues is a crucial part of a care guide, as understanding the possible problems can assist you in better maintaining the plant’s health.

Additionally, being aware of these issues also helps you in taking proactive measures for preventing such problems and ensuring the effective growth and prosperity of your Philodendron Gigas.

Common Pests

The Philodendron Gigas can become prone to certain pests if not adequately cared for. The most common intruders you’ll need to keep an eye out for include Spider mites, Aphids, Thrips, and Mealybugs.

These pests pose a risk as they suck the sap out of the plant, affecting its overall health and growth. Regular inspection of your Philodendron Gigas is imperative.

If you spot small brown or yellow spots, webbing, white cotton-like masses, or the insects themselves, it’s time for immediate action. Using a soapy water mix or an insecticidal soap usually provides effective control over these undesirables.

Maintaining cleanliness around the leaves can also act as a preventive measure.

Common Diseases

Philodendron Gigas is overall a well-adapted plant that resists most common diseases. However, overwatering or poor drainage can make it susceptible to root rot.

Symptoms include yellowing leaves and a stunted growth. To combat root rot, ensure the Philodendron Gigas is grown in well-draining soil and don’t overwater.

Leaf-spot disease, caused by fungi and bacteria, is another potential issue. It manifests as brown spots on the leaves.

Regularly cleaning the leaves and providing adequate airflow can prevent this issue. If infected, treat with a suitable fungicidal solution. General maintenance and attention to the plant’s needs will preemptively solve most disease concerns.

Other Sensitivities

Philodendrons, like the Gigas, are relatively hardy but can be sensitive to certain factors. Extreme temperature fluctuations and direct sunlight can potentially harm them.

They’re also sensitive to overwatering, which can lead to root rot, a common issue in philodendrons. Highly chlorinated water can also cause leaf burn. Additionally, these plants might show sensitivity towards specific fertilizers. It’s key to choose a plant-friendly type, preferably organic. Soil that is too heavy or poorly drained can also create unhealthy stress for the plant. Finally, while Philodendron Gigas can tolerate low light conditions, sustained poor light can impede growth and lead to smaller, less vibrant leaves.

Special Features & Uses

Philodendron Gigas stands out due to its unique characteristics and myriad uses which can set your space apart. Not only does it enhance indoor and outdoor aesthetics with its beautiful vining foliage, but it also purifies the air, making your environment healthier.

Despite its striking appearance and benefits, please note that it is toxic when consumed by humans and pets. Hence, it should be handled with care particularly around children and pets.

Unique Characteristics

The Philodendron Gigas stands out due to its exceptional traits. What sets this plant aside is its remarkable velvet-like foliage. The leaves are tremendously large and oval-shaped, giving the plant a truly stunning appearance.

It’s the velutinous, or velvet-like texture and the pleasing deep green hue of these leaves that make the plant visually captivating. The plant has aerial roots which help it climb surfaces, giving it an adventurous appeal.

The Gigas is a hardy species with a good growth rate, making it an exceptional choice for indoor decor arrangements. Unique in texture and appearance, the Philodendron Gigas is truly one of a kind.

Decorative Use

The Philodendron Gigas, with its large, dramatic leaves, is an excellent decorative plant for both indoor and outdoor use. Its striking foliage makes it an ideal focal point in a living room or office space.

Due to its tropical origins, many choose to incorporate it into a rainforest or jungle-themed decor. When planted outdoors in suitable climates, it can add a touch of exotic elegance to patios, courtyards or near ponds.

Some also use them in vertical gardens, due to their climbing habit. However, always remember to consider the plant’s light, humidity and temperature needs when deciding its placement.


Philodendron Gigas, like many plants in the Philodendron genus, contains calcium oxalate crystals. These can cause irritation and discomfort upon ingestion or contact with the skin.

That’s why it’s advised to keep this plant out of reach of children and pets. Swelling of oral and throat tissues, difficulty swallowing, vomiting, and burning sensation are some possible symptoms if consumed.

Also, take care while handling the plant. If you have sensitive skin, you might experience irritation or inflammation after direct contact. Wear gloves for safe handling. In case of accidental ingestion or contact, seek medical help immediately.

Additional Tips & Tricks

In relation to the Philodendron Gigas care guide, ‘Additional Tips & Tricks’ refer to a set of extra recommendations and suggestions that can help you maintain good health and promote more robust growth in your Philodendron Gigas.

They include advice about suitable fertilization techniques, required pruning and maintenance tasks, and the need for any support structures. These tips, though optional, often help to enhance the plant’s appearance and vitality beyond what the basic care requirements stipulate.

Incorporating these strategies into your regular plant care routine can ensure that your Philodendron Gigas thrives optimally and that you get the most out of this enchanting indoor greenery.

Fertilization Recommendations

Philodendron Gigas prospers with regular feeding. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer mixed at half the recommended strength, as excessive nutrients can lead to root burn.

Fertilize your plant every 2-4 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer) and reduce to every 1-2 months during the cooler months.

Flush the soil periodically to prevent salt and mineral build-up from the fertilizer. Always ensure the soil is damp before applying fertilizer to avoid damaging the roots.

Remember, it is always better to under-fertilize than overdo it.

Pruning & Maintenance

Pruning your Philodendron Gigas is a crucial part of its upkeep. Regularly removing dead leaves and damaged stems promotes healthier growth. To prune, use sharp, sterile scissors and cut close to the main stem.

This activity also helps in maintaining the desired form of the plant. Remember to wipe the leaves with a damp cloth periodically to remove dust and maintain their luster.

Overall, the plant has low maintenance requirements but appreciates a little grooming. Regular monitoring can also help in early detection of common pests and diseases, offering you the opportunity to handle them before they become major issues.

Support Structures

The Philodendron Gigas will appreciate having a support structure to climb up such as a moss pole or a sturdy trellis. This species naturally grows up trees and therefore it thrives when it has a vertical surface to clamber up.

Providing a support structure not only benefits the health and growth of the plant, but also adds to its aesthetic appeal. A well-trained Gigas climbing up a moss pole can make a stunning focal point in your plant collection.

Carefully attach the tendrils to the support structure, and the plant will do the rest, tightly winding itself up the pole or trellis.

Philodendrons   Updated: October 25, 2023
avatar Hi, I'm Amy, a devoted horticulturist and the creator of, where I use my expertise to help beginners foster their green thumbs. My blog is a vibrant community where I unravel the complexities of gardening and share my profound love for nature.
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