Today I’m talking about philodendron micans care. This gorgeous heart-leaf philodendron has a deep green velvet leaf finish, and it’s just as easy to take care of as a regular heart-leaf philodendron.
Philodendron Micans Care: How to Keep Its Velvet Leaves Healthy
Alright folks, around mother’s day I decided to treat myself to a new Etsy purchase. 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. I have never seen a philodendron micans at a local nursery, but it’s been on my plant wish list for a while (along with a ric rac cactus…stay tuned!).
So I decided to jump on purchasing one from Etsy when I saw it listed for a good price from a highly reviewed shop. (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 in stock. Make sure to check shipping, too!)
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 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 beautiful velvet finish. In fact, the common name for the philodendron micans is the velvet leaf philodendron. The leaves have a greenish-purplish finish with a bit of a shimmer (though not as much of a shimmer as the scindapsus pictus silver satin pothos has!).
Velvet leaf philodendron light requirements
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 bright indirect light. Stemmy/leggy just means that there is more space between each leaf—the stems become more sparse.
Here’s an example of some smaller leaves on one of my traditional heart-leaf philodendrons that I’ve had in a lower-light area of our bedroom. You can see the difference in leaf size between these two—one is before I added a grow light, the other is a few months after! So keep that in mind when choosing the best spot for your philodendron micans.
Water and humidity—what’s best?
Avoid overwatering your velvet leaf philodendron and you’ll be fine. That means watering it again when the top inch or so of soil dries 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. 🙂 When the plant is not actively growing in the winter, you can water it less—about month a month.
While velvet leaf philodendron is very patient with all types of indoor humidity levels, you’ll find that the leaves are bigger and healthier when humidity levels are a bit higher. I have mine in a small bathroom winter that gets afternoon sun and all of the nice humidity that comes with showers! It’s the perfect spot for it.
A few ways to up the humidity around any plant are to mist the leaves with plain water in a spray bottle, set the plant pot on a tray filled with pebbles and water (make sure the pot isn’t submerged in the water), or use a good ol’ fashioned humidifier. It’s also very tolerant of a normal range of household temps.
Soil and fertilizer for philodendron micans
Any well-draining indoor potting soil is a safe bet. I don’t typically use anything fancy for my plants. Occasionally I’ll use a regular soil and lighten it up myself using some peat moss and perlite, which are both excellent supplies to have on hand for any house plant hobbyist.
I also feel my philodendron micans the same regular house plant fertilizer I give the whole gang. It’s a concentrated liquid fertilizer I add to the watering can every other watering or so. Keep in mind that you might not need additional fertilizer if your soil is fresh and has fertilizer additives in it (the package will make it clear). And don’t fertilize in the winter.
Growth rate and repotting
With proper philodendron micans care habits, it will be a fast grower, quickly trailing or climbing many feet. Mine is a younger plant, so it isn’t that long, but it has already developed some decent length! 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.
When repotting your philodendron micans, size up only about 2 inches. 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!
A pot with a drainage hole really is best for the micans, too—it will help you avoid overwatering. If you’re hanging the plant in a hanging basket without a drainage hole, follow my tips on how to add drainage into a hanging planter!
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.
Propagating philodendron micans
Pruning your velvet leaf philo is the perfect time to try your hand at propagation, too. Propagating philodendron micans is surprisingly easy—the process is a lot like propagating pothos plants from cuttings. 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.
You also want to make sure there are nodes on the branch you cut. Those are just basically little nubs along the stems. It’s where roots grow. Remove a few of the bottom leaves to stimulate more root growth and add the cutting in a glass of water.
You can also plant the cutting in moist soil, but I generally find water propagation to be easier. Using a clear class container lets you monitor root development, and you don’t have to worry about keeping the soil moist to encourage new root growth.
Philodendron micans care: Common problems
1. Pest infestations
Philodendron micans plants are vulnerable to the normal array of houseplant pests: mealybugs and aphids, often caused by overwatering, and scale (a common issue for umbrella plants). A sure sign of scale is a sticky residue on and around the plant.
These plants are also prone to spider mite infestations, which are THE WORST. Two of my elephant ear plants have also fallen victim to spider mites indoors. Spider mites thrive on warm, dry air indoors—both infestations happened during the winter. Here is a picture:
Misting your plant with cool water can help keep spider mites at bay. An insecticidal soap or neem oil will help get rid of an infestation; see my full post on getting rid of spider mites on houseplants.
2. Yellowing or limp leaves
Too much direct light can burn the leaves, leading to a yellowing effect. Too little light can also lead to yellowing leaves, confusingly enough. Limp leaves can be a sign of too much or too little water. 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 quickly 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 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? It’s probably too dry. 🙂
Browning can also be from too much direct light—a burn. Adjust light accordingly. And speaking of burning, over-fertilizing can also lead to a burning effect on the leaves. Remember that more fertilizer doesn’t necessarily mean a healthier plant; always fertilize as prescribed on the bottle. If you think your plant has a buildup of fertilizer in its soil, flush the soil out thorough with just plain water.