Philodendron hederaceum ‘Micans’ is one of the many varieties of climbing philodendrons. What sets this one apart from the rest of its family? Its soft, velvety texture! This one-of-a-kind plant offers gorgeous foliage without a lot of effort on your part. Philodendrons aren’t fussy or fickle in general, so bringing one home isn’t a daunting task. Micans are easy-going, playful climbers with plenty of aesthetic appeal and a short list of requirements.
This philodendron hails from Mexico and the Caribbean, where it makes its home in lush tropical habitats. You can train it to grow up the structure of your choice or use it to create a stunning hanging basket. As long as this plant has room to stretch out and grow, it’s happy!
Philodendron hederaceum ‘Micans’ are toxic to humans and animals, so keep that in mind if you decide to bring one home! Find a place for it that’s out of reach for your pets and any small children. To stay on the safe side, it’s also best to do any pruning, repotting, or handling while wearing gloves, too! That small bit of extra effort and caution is worth it when you see this plant’s fascinating, downy leaves.
|Common Name||Philodendron Velvet Leaf, Philodendron Micans|
|Botanical Name||Philodendron hederaceum ‘Micans’|
|Native Areas||Mexico and the Caribbean|
|Sun/Light Requirements||Bright, indirect light, or medium light|
|Water||Moderate, drain excess|
|Soil||Well-draining, slightly acidic, nutrient-dense|
|Temperature||65°F to 80°F|
|Humidity||Minimum of 40% to 50%|
|Hardiness Zones||USDA zones 10 to 11|
Micans’ heart-shaped leaves steal the show when it comes to this plant. It’s sought-after for its fuzzy, velvety foliage. It’s no wonder that it earned the “velvet leaf” nickname. Its colors vary from deep, rich green to reddish and even bronze! No two plants are the same, so even if you bring home multiple Micans, you can count on them to look different.
These philodendrons don’t get quite as large as certain other varieties, but they’re still quite impressive. The leaves can grow up to four inches long and the plant itself can stretch up to two feet in length indoors. Philodendron hederaceum grow larger in their native environment, but natural conditions can’t always be perfectly replicated for houseplants.
Getting any philodendron to produce flowers requires a dedicated plant parent. They don’t self-pollinate. If you’re hoping to see the velvet leaf philodendron’s small green and white flowers, you’ll have to pollinate them by hand! That might not be a task for beginners, but it’s certainly possible to learn.
Micans are perennial, so you can look forward to them year after year. Considering how long philodendrons can live (around 20 years on average), that’s a lot of enjoyment!
Philodendrons are generally adaptable, versatile plants, and the velvet leaf philodendron continues the tradition. They don’t come with many demands and their ideal conditions aren’t hard to meet. In fact, your home is probably already equipped to be a great host – especially if you already have other tropical plants around.
For the most vibrant and robust plant possible, give your velvet leaf philodendron medium or bright indirect light. Many people mistakenly believe they can leave these plants in low-light conditions. While it’s true that they can tolerate that sort of environment, they won’t be their best selves.
Inadequate lighting slows growth and robs these gorgeous plants of their color. That’s one of the best “tells” to know if they need more light. If you start seeing more darker green leaves and your plant loses the red or bronze tones that give it such depth, it needs more light! Greener leaves than usual mean the plant is producing extra chlorophyll as it attempts to make and store energy. You’ll see leggy growth and spindly offshoots in inadequate lighting too.
The best rule of thumb is to give your velvet leaf philodendron around five hours of bright, indirect light per day. Consistent medium light works, too. Rotate them every few days so that each side of the plant gets equal lighting (and thus equal growth). Try an east-facing window for the best results or a south-facing window with a bit of distance between your plant and the glass.
There’s also a risk with too much light. If you notice brown tips or brown spots on the leaves, rethink its position! Leaf scorch can be a problem for Micans.
Micans love a good, deep drink. Let these plants go until their soil is nearly dry and then soak them, letting the roots absorb all the water they need. Drain any excess. These velvet-leaf plants will tell you when they need water, too. Watch their leaves for signs of curling or drooping. If you catch it happening, get your water ready!
During warm weather and the growing season, they need to be watered more frequently. Be careful not to overwater them, though, as root rot is quite dangerous for philodendrons. They’re highly susceptible to it and shouldn’t be left sitting in watery soil.
Philodendron hederaceum prefers airy soil that drains well and has plenty of organic matter. It should be slightly acidic. You can use regular potting soil for this plant, but make sure you add extra drainage material. Perlite, orchid bark, sand, or pumice are great for drainage. Peat moss or coco coir are great options, too.
Just remember that you don’t want to leave its roots in waterlogged soil. Whether you make your own soil mix or buy something readymade, it needs to drain well!
Household temperatures work well for velvet leafs. Anything from 65°F to 80°F is acceptable. They’re not very tolerant of cold, though. If your plant has been hanging around outside, bring it back inside once temperatures dip below the 55°F mark. If they’re out in cooler temperatures for too long, it will stunt their growth. They won’t survive freezing, either. Keep them away from drafty windows and make sure they stay warm!
Your plant will get by with 40% to 50% humidity, which is fairly standard in most homes. If you can raise humidity levels a bit higher, though, it stimulates growth and produces a healthier plant. Remember that these plants are native to the Caribbean, so humid conditions are closer to their natural environments.
Micans greatly prefer nutrient-rich soil, which meets a lot of their needs. They don’t require a lot of fertilizer but feeding them occasionally helps. That’s especially true during the growing season. Use a well-balanced fertilizer, dilute it to a quarter of strength, and feed the plant every couple of weeks during its active growth phase.
If you have access to organic compost, you can layer it on top of the soil in spring and let it do all the work for you. As it breaks down, it releases nutrients for most of the growing season.
Since these are climbing plants, they have a tendency to get leggy and put off extra tendrils and stems. Trim down any thin, spindly, or leggy growths. Of course, you should also remove any dead and decaying leaves or stems, too.
If you prune during the growing season, all those weak growths are soon replaced by new, healthier ones. It’s the perfect time to let your Micans fill in.
Sometimes, one plant just isn’t enough. Propagation means you get lots of new babies for free! All you need to build up your army of velvet leaf philodendrons is some healthy stem cuttings. Cut them a few inches long and make sure there are a few (at least two) healthy nodes at the end. Allow the remaining leaves to stay at the other end. Ideally, you’ll have about five leaves and two nodes per stem cutting, but don’t worry if it’s a little more or less than that.
Water propagation is a great option for these plants. Just dip the cut end of your stem cutting into a container of clean, room-temperature water and place the container in bright, indirect light. Medium-light works, too, if that’s all you have. Within a few weeks, you’ll see new roots develop and your cutting will be ready for soil!
Moisten your soil then plant the cut side and new root system. Keep the soil moist and continue to let the new plant sit in bright, indirect light. As a few more weeks go by, you can move into a more normal Micans care schedule.
Generally, you can go about two years before repotting your Micans. The exception is newly propagated stem cuttings. New plants undergo massive amounts of growth in their first year. They can get up to two feet larger! Suffice it to say, they’ll need more room than they start with.
Get a pot one size larger than the previous one and make sure it has plenty of drainage holes. Removing excess water is critical to the health of your velvet leaf philodendron.
Pests and Insects
Mealybugs and aphids are common pests for this philodendron. To clear away visible traces of pests, wipe down the leaves on your Micans. You can use neem oil or other plant-safe oils to keep them away!
If you happen to feel something stick when you touch your plant, it could be a sign of aphids. However, there is an alternative. This plant actually produces a sticky substance called extrafloral nectaries. It attracts pollinators and will show up as tiny droplets on its leaves. That’s totally normal and healthy behavior! Make sure you don’t confuse it for aphids (or vice versa).
The velvet leaf philodendron is a fun, easy-going plant to add to any collection. Whether you’re just getting into the astoundingly large world of houseplants or you’re an avid collector of philodendrons already – you’ll love this soft, heart-shaped beauty.