The Philodendron Micans (Velvet Leaf Philodendron) is a rapidly growing vine with small heart-shaped leaves. Its scientific name is Philodendron hederaceum var. Hederaceum – a mouthful!
We have a little pot growing in our living room, and we must say that we love the color and long vines! They have green leaves that have reddish-maroon undersides. You’ll notice a reddish, almost bronze hue when the light catches it. 🙂
Thankfully, they are also very low-maintenance and very easy to grow, with only basic care requirements:
- Bright, indirect light.
- Airy, well-draining potting mix.
- Water only when the topsoil is dry. Watering is the trickiest part of care.
- Use climbing support or let them trail from hanging baskets.
Read on for the details. We’ll show you all the tips you need to know to have this little vine thrive!
Caring for your Philodendron Micans
Your Philodendron Micans can tolerate different light conditions.
As usual, bright but indirect light is best, so an East or West-facing window is perfect.
The color of your Philodendron Micans’ leaves depends on the amount of light.
Bright indirect light encourages the leaves to have that reddish hue. On the other hand, lower light levels lead to a darker green color.
The hardest part of Philodendron Micans care is getting the watering right.
It’s not difficult, but it does require you to check before you water your plant, rather than blindly following a watering schedule (X times a week).
The tendency is to overwater, which your plant dislikes. At the same time, they don’t take well to drying out entirely through the pot either.
So what should you do?
When and How to water
- Water when your plant’s top 2 inches of soil is dry.
- Get into the habit of checking with your fingers. Poke down into the soil until your first knuckle to see if the soil is damp or dry.
- You need to check this regularly, every few days, until you get the hang of it. This is so that you can respond quickly to when your plant needs a drink.
- Water deeply until excess water escapes from the drainage hole. Then, let dry again.
It’s far better to water deeply less often than to water shallowly often.
The former pushes air to the roots, encourages your plant to grow deeper roots, and better nourishes your plant!
The latter can lead to soil becoming compacted over time, making it hard for the roots to breathe.
Temperature and Humidity
Being native to tropical environments, your Philodendron Micans loves warmth and humidity. Average room temperatures are fine, as is average room humidity.
- Keep temperatures between 68-78 degrees F (20-26 degrees C).
- Temperatures below this range will lead to slower growth and smaller leaves.
- Temperatures below 54 degrees F (12 degrees C) will damage your plant.
- Though average room humidity is okay, humidity >50% is ideal!
If you live in a dry climate, consider purchasing a humidifier. It really makes a difference and is something that all your houseplants can benefit from!
We like this one – it has easy-to-use %humidity settings.
Our Philodendron Micans grows exceptionally quickly.
We estimate this little guy grows about 3 inches (8 cm) a week, frequently growing longer vines and cataphylls (a sheath covering a young leaf, protecting it from damage).
When kept indoors, they can grow up to 8 inches (20 cm) tall and 24 inches (60 cm) long. Leaves are 2 – 4 inches (5-10 cm) in size.
New leaves emerge from pinkish cataphylls before unfurling. Young leaves are They have reddish-maroon undersides that darken over time.
While they do produce flowers when growing in their natural habitat, when kept indoors, it’s extremely unlikely to spot a bloom. In any case, their flowers are considered insignificant.
Should I use a Climbing Support?
You can definitely use a climbing support. In the wild, your Philodendron Micans is an epiphyte, using its aerial roots to climb up on host trees.
They do this to reach higher in the canopy for more sunlight.
You can support this natural growth habit by giving your plant a moss pole or a trellis to climb on. Moss poles actually make your plant grow more rapidly and support lusher leaves.
But all the same, you can also grow the Micans as a hanging plant, allowing its vines to trail down. It’s up to you 🙂
Soil or Growing Medium
Your Philodendron Micans loves a potting mix that is organically rich (for nutrients), well-draining, but still retains some moisture.
While it can survive in a standard potting mix, we find that adding other “ingredients” to improve aeration and drainage really makes a difference.
This mix has helped our Micans thrive!
We’ve started adding liquid fertilizer to our plants whenever we water them. This gives them a steady stream of nutrients.
If you want to use this method,
- Dilute 1/4 teaspoon of nitrogen-heavy liquid fertilizer with 1 gallon of water (4.5 liters).
- Use this solution to water your plant every time you water!
Using a nutritionally complete fertilizer is important. We like using one with a high nitrogen content, as this mineral supports healthy foliage growth.
Philodendron Micans should be repotted when it shows signs of becoming severely root-bound. For example, if you see roots peeking out of the drainage hole.
Typically this is once every two years or so, but depends on the pot size. Schedule your repotting in early spring, the start of the growing season.
- Water your Philodendron Micans the day before repotting, which reduces transplant shock and helps you more easily remove the plant from its pot.
- Use fresh soil, as nutrients deplete over time.
- Use a new pot that is about 2 inches bigger than the original.
Don’t upsize beyond this, as there will be more “unused soil” that will tend to hold too much water for your plant. This leads to overwatering.
Philodendron Micans is toxic when consumed by animals and humans.
The culprit is insoluble calcium oxalates – these sharp crystals are contained in your plant’s stems and leaves. When ingested, they can cause stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting, and skin burns.
If you prefer a vining plant that is pet and child-friendly, check out the Peperomia Hope.
They are also easy to grow!
Propagation through Stem Cuttings
Propagating the Philodendron Micans through stem cuttings is easy.
It also has a high success rate!
- Identify a healthy stem that is around 3-4 inches long. It should contain at least two nodes.
- Using clean garden shears, cut the identified stem just below the node.
- Remove any leaves from the bottom half of the cutting.
- Prepare a glass jar, and fill this with room temperature water.
- Place the cutting into the glass jar, ensuring that at least one node is submerged (but no leaves are!)
- Find a warm spot with plenty of indirect light for your stem cutting.
- Change out the water every few days.
- In about two weeks, you should see little roots starting to grow.
- Once the roots are around 1 inch (3 cm) long, plant your stem cutting in lightly moist potting mix in a pot with drainage holes.
- Treat as you would any other Philodendron Micans!
Pruning is a great way to keep your vining plant tidy. You may choose to trim off any leggy stems, yellowed leaves, and dead or wilted parts.
Remember to cut just above the node! Pruning in this way can keep your plant looking bushy.
Spring and summer is the best time for pruning.
Common Pests and Diseases
Root rot is a common issue that is caused by overwatering your Philodendron Micans. Brown or black, mushy stems, waterlogged soils, and a foul smell are signs of root rot.
To determine if your plant is overwatered or if root rot has taken hold, check out our step-by-step guide.
Mealybugs are a common houseplant pest.
They are small sucking insects, that feed on plant sap and deprive your plant of nutrients. They tend to cluster together.
To spot them, look out for white, oval insects with clearly segmented bodies. From afar, they often look like bits of cotton wool.
They like to hide in hard-to-reach corners. For this reason, it’s so important to regularly inspect your plants for pests. We cannot emphasize this enough – quick reproduction means early detection is critical!
Once you identify that your plant is infected,
- Check all your houseplants for infestation.
- Quarantine affected plants.
- Apply an Insecticidal Soap spray. Bonide is very effective.
- Apply neem oil to all other plants as a preventative measure. Neem oil works to disrupt the feeding, growth, and reproduction of mealybugs.
If you are keen to make a neem oil solution at home, here’s how.
Other Pests: Spider Mites, Fungus Gnats, Scale
Other common pests include spider mites, fungus gnats, and scale. You can use the same steps to kill them as stated above.
Thankfully, Insecticide Soap and neem oil are broad-based pesticides that work against all these common pests!
Yellow leaves are a sign of stress, so there are several problems it could point to. However, by far the most common is overwatering.
Check your plant’s soil moisture to confirm.
Leggy Stems and Small leaves
If you see more space between leaves, and the leaves themselves are growing smaller, your plant needs more light.
Try a grow light to supplement natural light, especially in the winter months.
Curling leaves indicate insufficient moisture from underwatering or too dry air.
Check your soil’s moisture with your fingers to confirm which it is. Adjust your watering practices, or invest in a humidifier.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Philodendron Micans Purify the Air?
According to a NASA study conducted in 1989, Philodendron Micans naturally remove levels of benzene and formaldehyde from the air.
However, do note that you’d need to have many, many of these plants for a noticeable improvement to your home’s air quality.
I guess that means that you need to buy more plants 🙂
Some other air-purying plants mentioned in the study are:
Where Can I Buy a Philodendron Micans Plant?
While you can buy them at local nurseries, you can also get them online, which is sometimes more convenient.
Etsy is a great place to look for reputable sellers.
Are Philodendron Micans rare?
No, they are commonly available at local gardening centers.
Should I mist my Philodendron?
We don’t recommend it. Lightly misting your Philodendron in the morning can boost humidity levels temporarily. But the effect is small and momentary.
And, if you overdo it, wet leaves can encourage bacteria to grow and breed.
So we much prefer using a humidifier. It’s more convenient, lasts longer, with none of the downsides!
Similar Plants and Varieties
Other Philodendrons we love are:
- Philodendron Atabapoense – an unusual pick; elongated, sword-shaped leaves for a tropical feel.
- Philodendron Camposportoanum – a small Phildodendron that starts out looking like a Philodendron Micans but…. COMPLETELY TRANSFORMS as it grows!
- Philodendron Florida Ghost – ghost-shaped leaves! we are not kidding.
- Philodendron Tortum – palm-like fronds on twisted stems give a tropical vibe 🙂
- Philodendron Brasil – vining plant with heart-shaped leaves the colors of the Brazil flag!
If you’re looking for a fuss-free houseplant, the Philodendron Micans is a great choice. They have lovely long-vines indispersed with heart-shaped, velvety leaves.
Being compact, they are suitable for small indoor spaces!
- Bright, indirect light is best; while low-light can be tolerated. Use a East or West-facing window;
- Be careful of overwatering. Always check the soil moisture, and water only when the topsoil is dry.
- Water deeply, then empty the saucer.
- Warm and humid environments are best. Keep indoors.
- Fertilize lightly using a nitrogen-heavy liquid fertilizer.
- Let hang from a hanging basket, or climb up a moss pole.
- Prune to maintain a bushy look.
Check out the Philodendron Mamei next!
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.