The philodendron micans is commonly known as the velvet leaf philodendron. You can likewise call it by its botanical name Philodendron hederaceum var. hederaceum. But somehow, it really think you’d prefer using one of the two former ones instead.
In any case, this is a beautiful, compact houseplant that’s perfect for living rooms, bedrooms and offices because of its size. It grows only up to a foot tall maximum. In many cases, it will not reach that and stop between 8 to 10 inches tall.
Do note that it does grow sideways a bit more, up to 2 feet. However, you can prune it to shape and size it as you wish.
What makes the plant attractive are its lovely heart shaped leaves. From afar, they are dark green in color. But if you look closely, you’ll notice that their undersides are a different color, that of a light red and brown.
In addition to its stunning leaves, the other thing that makes it unique to look at is its vining nature. This makes it perfect for hanging baskets or containers as well as sitting on desks, windowsills or porches. If you like you can also give then a structure to climb up on.
Philodendron Micans Plant Care
Philodendron Micans Light
The philodendron micans needs bright, indirect light in order to grow at its best. More importantly, it should be kept away from direct sunlight. That’s because it cannot tolerate being under the sun’s rays for long periods of time. If you leave it there, its foliage will sustain leaf burn damage.
Similarly, low lighting conditions aren’t the best place for this plant. While it will survive, its growth will slow down.
This makes an east facing window the best place to grow your velvet leaf philodendron. The morning sun gives it a lot of bright, gentle natural light to support optimal growth.
If you do choose a west or south facing window, you need to make sure that it is kept away from direct sunlight. Both the west and south experience a lot of natural light. However, they get brunt of it during the afternoon when the sun is most intense. Thus, it is important to keep your plant farther from the window. Otherwise, you’ll want to add some kind of fabric or layering to filter the light coming into your home. Either method will keep your philodendron micans safe from leaf burn.
Last but not least, it is likewise worth noting that this trailing plant’s leaf colors change depending on how much light it receives. Thus, its leaf colors can vary from dark green all the way to a lighter yellow green.
- Philodendron Plant Care – Learn to Grow Philodendron Plants
- Philodendron Brasil (Philodendron Hederaceum) Care Guide
- Philodendron Cordatum Plant Care – Growing Heart Leaf Philodendron
- Philodendron Florida Ghost Care – How to Grow Philodendron Pedatum
- Philodendron Gloriosum Complete Guide
- Pink Princess Philodendron (Philodendron Erubescens) Plant Care
Philodendron Micans Temperature & Humidity
Because the philodendron micans is native to the Caribbean and Mexico, it is used to warm, tropical conditions. Also, these areas experience sun all year round.
As far as temperature goes, its sweet spot is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it perfect for indoor growing because most homes and offices keep thermostats within this range.
You also want to keep is somewhere nighttime temperatures don’t drop below 55 degrees. Often, beginners can overlook nighttime temperatures and just base climate during the day. Unfortunately, this can leave your plant out in the cold because the mercury can drop significantly during the night and early mornings depending on where you live and what time of the year it is.
If you want to grow it outdoors, the best locations to do so is in USDA zones 9 to 11. This gives it the proper conditions to thrive all year round. It also keeps the plant away from cold weather, which the micans cannot stand. So, if you live in parts of California, the lower parts of Texas and Florida, you’ll be happy to know it is well-suited for your locale’s climate.
However, if you live elsewhere, you can still let it go out during summertime. Just make sure to bring it back inside once the temperature starts dropping in the fall.
In addition to temperature, the plant also likes humidity. The good new is, home humidity works well for the plant. But, you do need to monitor your area’s humidity especially during the colder months where the air gets dry during wintertime.
View this post on Instagram
Philodendron Micans Watering
Your velvet leaft philodendron generally likes drier conditions. And, it is more susceptible to overwater. Thus, it is okay to let the plant go dry a bit without any consequences to its health or growth. This makes it perfect for plant owners who are very busy and tend to forget to water their plants.
As such, when watering your philodendron micans, allow the soil to dry before watering again. The best way to do so it allow about 25% to 30% of the soil (from the top) to dry out before watering again. you can stick your finger into the soil to see if it is still moist. If you feel moisture or wetness, then wait a few more days before testing the soil again.
If you water from above, make sure to water thoroughly. This means watering until the plant starts leaking moisture at the bottom of the pot’s holes. When this happens, you can stop water. Then, allow the excess moisture to drain completely.
The last step is crucial as it ensures that your philodendron micans doesn’t get wet feet, which will put it at risk of root rot.
Similarly, you can likewise water from the bottom which doesn’t pose the same risk because the soil will stop absorbing water once they are saturated with moisture.
Because the plant is susceptible to too much water, you’ll want to watch for tell-tale signs. One is droopy leaves, which will happen when it is experiencing overwatering. When this happens, it is your plant telling you to scale back.
From its watering habits, you can already surmise that the philodendron micans likes light, well-draining soil. This allows the soil to be loose and airy so that water and air can easily get through. This feature also ensures that it doesn’t hold on to too much moisture.
The easiest way to achieve this is to use a well-draining succulent mix. You can likewise choose a cactus mix, which will do the job.
On the other hand, you can likewise make your own potting mix. This way, you don’t have to rely on the commercial ones above. And, it gives you the ability to customize the proportions of each component. But, you want to know what you’re doing here. Otherwise, you can do more damage to your plant just to save a few bucks.
When making your own media, you can go with a mixture of peat and perlite. You can likewise use peat and vermiculite as well. Both work very well.
The Velvet Leaf Philodendron is a fast growing trailing plant which grows during the spring and summer. Then, it takes a “rest” during the fall and winter.
As such, you want to support it with the proper nutrients during its active growing season. In fact, if you want to let your philodendron micans grow, fertilizer plays a very important role. This isn’t always the case for many houseplants which can do with little fertilizer.
Ideally, feed your micans with a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to 50% strength. You want to do so once every month during the spring and summer. Come fall and winter, scale it back a bit to once every other month.
Lack of fertilizing will show in your plant, especially its leaves. In addition to be slow growing, the leaves will be smaller than they normally are. Similarly, if the plant experiences deficiencies in certain elements like magnesium and calcium, you’ll likewise see its leaves become pale in color.
Philodendron Micans Pruning
Pruning is something you’ll need to do regularly because of its growth rate. Trimming back its vines will allow you to keep it neat looking. It will also prevent them from getting too long and out of control.
In most cases, the plant will reach about 10 to 12 inches in height. Additionally, it will spread out covering up to 2 feet in breadth. So, pruning it on a regular basis will let you shape and keep it looking good.
Similarly, pruning also makes your plant look bushier. This fullness makes it healthier and keep a more compact form compared to being leggy.
As always, make sure to use cutting tools that have been sterilized using alcohol. This prevents any bacteria from infecting the “wounds” of the plant caused when you cut.
Philodendron Micans Propagation
The best time to propagate your Velvet Leaf Philodendron is during the spring. This allows the new plant to grow quickly right off the bat.
Similarly, a good time to do so is when you’re pruning the plant. That’s because the easiest way to propagate your philodendron micans is via stem cuttings, whose initial steps are essentially the same process as pruning.
Here’s how to propagate philodendron micans from stem cuttings.
Choose a stem that contains a few leaves. Ideally, you want about 2-3 leaves that are not too low in the stem. This allows them to stay above the water or soil, depending on which propagation method you want to use.
Keep in mind that both stems and leaves have different functions.
- A plant’s leaves are for photosynthesis. This allows them to use the sun to produce food and energy for themselves.
- Stems transport water and nutrients. This lets the all parts of the plant receive these resources. Additionally, stems use water to keep the plant standing upright. This is why when dehydrated or left to dry, your plant will wilt.
In addition to have both of these, you want to pick a stem that’s healthy. It has good color, no blemished or marks of damage.
Once you’ve selected the stem, make the cut. Then allow the stem to dry. The end that you cut will be ”wounded” and you’ll see it ooze. You want to let this “wound” callous and dry.
Once the stem end has calloused, you have two choices.
- Root the stem cutting it in water. This is an extra step because you’ll still have to move it into a pot with soil later on after it roots. But, many home gardeners do this because propagating in water increases propagation success rate. Additionally, it allows the cutting to root faster. You also get to see the roots grow through the glass jar.
- Root the stem cutting in soil. Here, you plant the stem cutting directly into potting soil in a container. This skips going through water, which the water method will eventually have to do after the roots appear. So, the biggest benefit here is you save the extra effort. The downside is, it takes longer for the plant to root. And, success rate is lower than water. But, plants that root in soil have stronger root systems because their “initial foundation” is stronger as the roots had the struggle to get through the soil (in comparison to less resistance in water).
If you start in water, you’ll see the roots establish themselves and get strong within one to two months. At this time, you can move them into a pot with soil
Philodendron Micans Transplanting & Repotting
Once your philodendron micans’ roots start showing outside the holes of your pot, it is time to move it up one size. This is likewise the case if it becomes rootbound.
That said, you only want to move up one size 2 inches. At most 4 inches. That’s because, while the plant is fast growing, it is also susceptible to too much water.
Large pots mean a lot of soil. More soil means more wetness when you water. As a result, your plant will sit in water for longer periods of time. This can become a problem even if you have fast draining soil due to the sheer volume of the soil relative to the size of the plant.
In addition to well-draining soil and proper pot sizing, you want to pick the right pot. This means one that has holes in the bottom for water drainage. Additionally, ceramic and terracotta are porous materials that let water seep out. Hanging baskets are likewise good options because they allow excess moisture to easily get out.
You do not want young kids and pet playing around your philodendron micans because they are toxic to both humans and animals. These plants contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause irritation in the mouth, throat and digestive tract. So, you don’t want anyone or anything chewing or ingesting its leaves or stem.
Pests and Diseases
Philodendron micans are susceptible to pests and diseases. The most common pests include mealybugs, spider mites, aphids and scale. All of which you want to avoid because they can spread to your other plants.
Thus, it is important to regularly inspect your plant including the undersides of the leaves where a lot of these pests hide. If you do find them, you water and insecticidal soap are your best friends. They will remedy most of the problems. However, with mealybugs, you want to use alcohol and on cotton to rub them off the leaves.
When it comes to disease, root rot is your plant’s biggest enemy. And, you can easily prevent it by not overwatering.