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Philodendron Micans Care

Today’s article is all about philodendron micans care!

How to care for the gorgeous philodendron micans!

Around mother’s day one year I decided to treat myself to a new plant purchase on Etsy. At the time, I hadn’t ever seen a philodendron micans at a local nursery, which is always my first stop. If you haven’t read about Etsy being one of my favorite places for more unique plant purchases, this is a great example of that.

People often ask me if I have any favorite Etsy shops to buy plants from. The answer is no, because supply is constantly changing. I usually just search for what I want and look through the recent reviews of the shops that have the plant I want. Make sure to check shipping, too!

beautiful velvet leaf Philodendron

Philodendron micans care overview

  • Philodendron micans is a trailing or climbing variety with unique deep green velvet-feeling leaves.
  • Prefers bright indirect light; direct sunlight can burn the leaves, while lower light can lead to smaller leaves and a leggier plant.
  • Water when the top few inches of soil dry out, avoiding overwatering.
  • Plant in a well-draining indoor potting soil; repot every 1-2 years into a pot only slightly larger.
  • Does well in regular household temperatures and humidity but appreciates extra humidity.
  • Minimal pruning needed, but pruning can promote fuller growth.
  • Propagate through stem cuttings in water or moist soil.

What is a philodendron micans?

Micans is a type of philodendron, which is a large genus of plants in the Araceae family. There are tons of different types of philodendron, and they can all look very different. Philodendron micans looks a lot like the typical heart-leaf philodendron you might be used to seeing in local nurseries.

What sets the philodendron micans apart from the traditional heart-leaf philodendron, though, is its leaves have a beautiful velvet-like look. In fact, the common name for the philodendron micans is the velvet leaf philodendron. The leaves emerge a copper color, hardening off to a lighter green and then eventually a deep green/purple with a bit of a shimmer.

Philodendron Micans leaf
Philodendron Micans leaf

How much light does it need?

Like a lot of other philodendrons, velvet leaf philodendron plants enjoy bright indirect light; too much direct light can burn the leaves. They can tolerate slightly lower levels of light as houseplants, but the leaves will be smaller.

The plant might also become a bit stemmy or leggy when it doesn’t have enough light. Stemmy/leggy just means that there is more space between each leaf—the stems become more sparse because the plant is reaching for more light.

Take a look at my micans below. In this photo, I had just moved it to this bright window after having it in our bedroom for a while. If you look closely, you can see that the newer leaves near the ends of the stems are a bit more spaces out and smaller. This plant needed more light.

velvet leaf Philodendron in a bathroom

How much should I water my micans?

Avoid overwatering your velvet leaf philodendron and you’ll be fine. That means watering it again when the top few inches or so of soil dry out. Be careful to not let the soil dry out too much—a sure sign of this is when the soil begins to contract and pull inwards away from the edges of the planter.

This won’t necessarily hurt the plant if it happens a time or two. However, when the soil shrinks away from the sides of the planter, water can escape down those gaps and go right to the bottom—not even hitting the roots!

Find the sweet spot between the soil beginning to dry out and starting to shrink. In general, this means that I water my micans about once a week in the spring and summer and about once every 10-14 days in the fall and winter.

What type of soil should I use?

Any well-draining indoor potting soil is a safe bet. I don’t typically use anything fancy for my philodendrons. Occasionally I’ll use a heaver soil if it’s what I have on hand and lighten it up myself using some coco coir or fine moss and perlite, which are both excellent supplies to have on hand for any house plant hobbyist. Read more in my Indoor Potting Soil 101 article.

I generally do not fertilize my houseplants often. But in the spring and summer, I’ll use concentrated Liqui-Dirt added to my watering can about once a month in the spring and summer. It’s a nice way to give my plants a nutrient boost without worrying about over-fertilizing and burning my plants.

Philodendron Micans plant

Temperature and humidity needs

Philodendron micans does well in all normal household temperatures. This plant is not cold or frost hardy at all, so if you have it outdoors for the spring and summer, make sure to take it indoors when the temperatures begin regularly dipping into the low 50s Fahrenheit at night.

While the micans is very patient with all types of indoor humidity levels, you’ll find that the leaves are bigger and healthier when humidity levels are higher. You can add a humidifier to your plant space and group your micans with other plants to help boost humidity levels.

Check out the micans below. This one is unfortunately not my plant—I saw it in a local nursery and took a picture of it. It’s an example of a superb specimen of micans and what it looks like growing in ideal conditions. Bright, indirect light; appropriate watering, high humidity, and warmth!

large trailing philodendron micans plant

Growth rate and repotting

With a solid philodendron micans care routine, this plant will be a fast grower, quickly trailing or climbing many feet. My heart-leaf philodendron reaches down to the floor from a 6-ish foot tall shelving unit, so I’ve got big dreams for my micans one day!

In ideal care conditions, you’ll likely need to repot your micans every 1-2 years. I recommend repotting your plant when its roots begin growing out of its drainage holes. That—or when the roots begin circling the bottom of your plants pot (aka, becoming “rootbound”) so much so that you can pick the plant up out of its pot without much mess.

When repotting your philodendron micans, size up your pot only about 1-2 inches, and make sure it has a drainage hole. Otherwise the plant might develop root rot from sitting in excess amounts of wet soil. You want to give the plant ample room to flourish and grow without drowning it!

I also generally do not disturb roots when repotting, even if they are relatively compacted. I find that most houseplants take care of themselves when you get them more room to expand. Make sure to use fresh well-draining soil when repotting your plant, too.

beautiful velvet leaf Philodendron

Pruning your philodendron micans

The velvet leaf philodendron has very low pruning needs, but trimming the stems can help give the plant a fuller look. That’s because cutting the ends off of stems encourages new growth out from the side of the area on the stem just above the cut.

If you don’t trim the plant, the single strands will just continue growing with no branching. I prune my trailing philodendrons quite a bit to encourage fullness. And pruning is also a great time to take cuttings to propagate!

lovely micans growing in a terrarium

How to propagate philodendron micans

Rooting philodendron micans cuttings is very easy—the process is a lot like propagating pothos plants, and pothos is famously easy to propagate! Both methods use stem cuttings, which basically just means cutting off the end of one of the stems, making sure to include a few leaves. 

When you take a cutting, you can gentle remove the bottom-most set of leaves to expose the plants growth points. This is also a great reason why trimming leggy stems are a good time to propagate. Sometimes you’ll find that there are growth points on your plant’s stems that don’t sprout leaves—look for these, prune them off, and propagate!

You can pop the cutting into water or plant it directly in well-draining soil. If you propagate in water, which I like to do for this plant, refresh the water every week or so and water the roots grow. It’s a fun process. After several weeks, you can transfer to soil and keep the soil moist as the water roots are converting to soil roots.

If you plant the cutting directly in soil, make sure to keep the soil moist and the environment around the plant warm. Your cutting will sprout new roots in no time.

propagating velvet leaf philodendron
Micans cuttings in water
propagating velvet leaf philodendron in water
Bundled cuttings going in water
propagating velvet leaf philodendron
Lightly rooted cuttings
propagating velvet leaf philodendron
Lightly rooted cutting
propagating velvet leaf philodendron
Propagated micans potted up!
new growth sprouting on a micans plant
With new growth sprouting a few weeks later

Common problems you might encounter

1. Pest infestations

Philodendron micans plants are vulnerable to the normal array of houseplant pests, including mealybugs, aphids, and scale (also common issue for umbrella plants). A sure sign of scale is a sticky residue on and around the plant. For more about other houseplant pests, see my articles on Mealybugs on Houseplants and How to Get Rid of Gnats in Houseplants.

2. Yellowing or limp leaves

Too much direct light can burn the leaves, leading to a yellowing effect. But too little light can also lead to yellowing leaves, confusingly enough. Looking at your environmental conditions will help you diagnose what the issue it.

Limp leaves can be a sign of too much or too little water—this one is easier to diagnose based on whether the soil has been consistently wet or consistently dry. If your leaves are yellow or limp, try adjusting your light situation and watering habits to be more in line with recommendations for this plant. 

Your plant should rebound once you fix the problem, and the leaves should perk back up. Don’t worry if some leaves are permanently damaged. You can simply pluck them off and the plant will continue growing.

3. Brown crispy leaves

A lack of humidity in the air around this plant can dry the leaves out, leading to brown edges or tips. Mine is in pretty good condition right now, but see what I mean with this leaf on my heart-leaf philodendron? This could be a sign that the air is too dry.

browning leaf on Philodendron

In conclusion…

Caring for a philodendron micans can be a rewarding experience for any plant lover. While its striking velvet leaves and rich green hue might make it seem high-maintenance, you’ll find it’s quite the opposite.

Just remember to keep it away from too much direct sunlight, water it when needed without overdoing it, and maybe give it a bit of extra humidity to thrive. Happy planting!

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