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Weekly planter: A tropical philodendron with stunning color

Philodendron gloriosum is a beautiful and slow-growing plant that does well in light shade.
Philodendron gloriosum is a beautiful and slow-growing plant that does well in light shade. Miami Herald Files

There are beautiful leaves and there is Philodendron gloriosum. This stunning philodendron is a superb tropical for South Florida gardens. The silver-white veins stand out dramatically against the deep green, velvet leaf blade.

It’s a terrestrial plant and creeps along the ground on a rhizome, which produces leaves on top and roots on the bottom. Gloriosum is well-behaved for a philodendron; it tends not to wander into the next planting bed and it grows fairly slowly.

Height: 24 to 28 inches

Light: Shade with some morning light, flecks of light throughout the day

Culture: Decide on a planting bed that will provide the right light and drain well in an area that’s not too windy. (Young leaves on most aroids are prone to tearing in wind and even if they brush against each other before they are fully developed.)

Work some compost into the soil. Use a trowel to create a shallow trough and place the rhizome so the upper portion is slightly above ground. Mulch thoroughly. Use a slow-release fertilizer a couple of times a year, not too heavily. After an extended rainy season like the one we’ve just experienced, apply fertilizer and perhaps some diluted fish emulsion to bring the color back to the leaves.

— MIAMI HERALD FILES

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