You might have seen the glossy, green leaves of the common Heartleaf Philodendron at your local gardening center, but did you know that over 200 varieties of Philodendrons belong to the Araceae plant family?
Native to tropical regions of North, Central, and South America, Philodendron Micans is a unique variety of the heartleaf philodendron. The most noteworthy feature is the beautiful velvet finish and iridescent red, green, and bronze hues!
This philodendron variety doesn’t grow upright but in long, flowing vines instead. While somewhat harder to find than its glossy relative, Philodendron Micans (Philodendron Hederaceum) has become an extremely popular houseplant. It is simple to care for and makes a beautiful, lively addition to any home, small or large.
Here is a complete Philodendron Micans care guide containing tips on watering, soil, propagation, pests, toxicity, and more!
- Family: Araceae
- Botanical Name: Philodendron hederaceum var. hederaceum
- Common Name: Philodendron Micans, Velvet-leaf Philodendron, Heart-Leaf Philodendron
- Plant Type: Perennial
- Native Region: North America, South America, Central America
- USDA Hardiness Zones: 9-11
- Size: 8-10 inches tall, 24 inches wide
- Sunlight: Partial
- Soil Type: Airy, moist but well-drained
- Soil pH: Slightly acidic
- Bloom Time: Spring, summer (rarely flowers indoors)
- Flower Color: Green, white
Outdoor plants may produce flowers and seeds in the right environment, but it is rare for indoor Philodendron Micans to bloom and produce seeds. While you can certainly grow Philodendron Micans from seed, propagating cuttings is a faster and more popular method of growing this plant.
Like most Philodendrons, the Philodendron Micans have simple watering needs. They prefer slightly moist soil, and they are sensitive to overwatering and “wet feet”. If the soil is wet for too long, it helps encourage fungi that can lead to root rot, a difficult to treat plant condition.
For best results, water your Philodendron Micans when the soil is partially dry. You can test the dryness by sticking your index finger into the plant’s soil up to the first knuckle. If the top inch of the soil feels dry, water the plant and wait until it dries again before the next watering.
Droopy leaves may indicate that the plant is either receiving too much or too little water. Once you correct the watering schedule, the plant should recover quickly if the root system is still intact.
Like other Philodendrons, Micans enjoy bright, indirect light. They will accept less indirect light than other houseplants, but the leaves will be somewhat smaller. Too much direct sunlight, however, can burn its sensitive leaves and cause crispy, brown edges. If the plant is not receiving enough light, it may become leggier with more space between the leaves.
Light levels also affect the plant’s unique color and velvety appearance. A sufficient amount of light will keep the leaves closer to maroon and give the plant a more velvet, iridescent appearance. Less light can result in darker green leaves with less of a velvety appearance.
In their native environments, philodendrons grow in soil that is airy, moist, and rich in organic matter. They can technically survive indoors in standard potting soil, but most potting soil is prone to compaction and water retention, which encourages root rot for this particular plant.
A better option for your Philodendron Micans would be a well-draining mix of potting soil or peat moss and a draining substrate such as perlite. You can purchase ready-made soil for houseplants, or you can make your own by mixing 1 part potting soil with 1 part perlite and 1 part peat moss or coco coir.
The plant is not too picky about Ph, but it prefers soil with a slightly acidic to neutral Ph of 5.6-7.5.
The ideal temperature range for Philodendron Micans is between 65 –80°F in the daytime and 60°F at night. They will adapt well to most indoor temperatures year-round, but they are not frost-tolerant below 55°F.
Philodendron Micans are considered tropical plants, but standard household humidity of 40-%50 will keep them happy. More humidity, however, can help produce larger leaves. You can increase the humidity by misting the leaves with plain water, setting the plant container on a tray filled with pebbles and water, or using a humidifier in the room. When increasing humidity levels, be sure to provide adequate airflow to prevent issues like fungi and pests.
Hanging baskets or regular pots with drainage holes are great options for this variety. If the plant has outgrown its home, however, the root ball will become too compact, and you will need to transfer the plant to a larger container.
For optimal growth and development, try to repot your Philodendron Micans near the early spring before the next growth spurt. The day before transplanting, water the plant to make the transfer easier and reduce plant stress. When repotting, only go up about 2-3 inches bigger. An oversized pot can encourage overwatering, making the plant more prone to root rot.
With proper care, Philodendron Micans are fast growers that can easily climb many feet! Staking the plant encourages upward growth and better leaf development.
Most philodendrons have aerial roots, so they need a damp, rough surface that the plant can grasp easier. Instead of an ordinary trellis on its own, opt for moss-stuffed poles known as totems. You can purchase totems, make them yourself, or use pieces of tree bark similar to what the plant climbs on in its natural habitat.
For best results, try to stake the plant while it is still young because you can stress the plant if you drive takes through the healthy roots of a more mature plant. If you desire, you can later add additional support such as an ordinary trellis to encourage further upright growth and leaf development.
Philodendron Micans don’t require much pruning, but occasional pruning will encourage stems to branch, resulting in a fuller, less leggy look.
The active growth phases of the spring and summer are the best times to prune your Philodendron Micans. If you think that any of the stems are growing too long, use a pair of sterilized shears to prune off about 6 inches from each of the longest plant stems.
It is easy to propagate cuttings of your Philodendron Micans in water or soil! As with repotting and pruning, it is best to propagate your plant during the new growth spurt of spring and summer.
Propagating by water is the simplest method. First, choose a stem with 4-5 leaf nodes, and then remove all but the top 2 or 3 leaves. Next, submerge the bare plant stem into a glass of lukewarm water. Place the glass in bright, indirect light, and replace the water once a week or so. New roots should develop in about 2-3 weeks.
When the new roots reach 2-3 inches long, transfer the cutting from water to potting mix. After transplanting, keep the soil moist for the first few weeks before switching back to the regular watering schedule.
To propagate by soil, place a cutting into the pre-moistened potting mix and then place the pot in bright, indirect light. Keep the soil moist, and new roots should form in a few weeks. You can tug on the cutting for resistance to check for new root development.
If you plant your Philodendron Micans in a medium that contains nutrients, it should not require heavy fertilization. Pale new leaves and stunted plant growth, however, can indicate that the plant is deficient in calcium and magnesium, two vital nutrients for philodendrons.
In the spring and summer, Philodendron Micans will benefit from all-purpose fertilizer at half the recommended strength. During the slower growth periods of fall and winter, space the fertilizer schedule to one feeding at half strength every 6-8 weeks.
Philodendrons look great on their own, but you can create variety in your houseplant displays by growing the plant next to other indoor plants. Philodendron, Pothos, and Spider Plant make a simple, attractive combination. All three of these plants prefer their soil on the drier side, which means you can use the same watering schedule.
Philodendron Micans are generally resistant to most diseases and pests, but they can be affected by common houseplant ailments such as mealy bugs, aphids, and spider mites and scale. If you keep your plant healthy, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about these pests.
Monitor the plant’s water and light conditions to keep the plant in good shape. Overwatering can attract fungus gnats, while an environment that is too dark and dry can attract spider mites.
Early detection is one of the best ways to stop pests and diseases from spreading. One main sign of potential infestation and disease is a sticky residue on and around the plant. You can protect and treat your Philodendron Micans by misting them with cool water or insecticide sprays containing soaps and horticultural oils, such as neem.
Philodendron Micans are a beautiful addition to your home, but they are considered toxic to humans and pets due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals. Potential negative interactions can affect the skin, mouth, and digestive system. If ingested, contact an emergency physician or veterinarian immediately!
As you can see, Philodendron Micans plant is a relatively stress-free plant, and it doesn’t have too many complex needs. Most of the issues that arise with this plant are almost always related to improper watering or lighting.
Just be mindful of the plant’s needs and toxicity, and you will continuously be amazed by its unique velvety appearance and gorgeous hues for years to come!