Philodendron Micans: Care Guide to Velvet Philodendron

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A Philodendron Micans plant with dark green older leaves and a young leaf with a red-gold color and yellow-green veins.

The Philodendron Micans, or velvet philodendron, is a popular houseplant these days, and it’s not hard to see why! Whether it trails down from a shelf or climbs up a trellis, this plant adds instant visual interest to any room.

Philodendron Micans is a tropical plant that’s best known for its soft, velvety leaves that grow to about 3 inches across. The foliage also boasts beautiful coloring, with the tops a deep emerald green and the undersides and stems a reddish or gold hue. The Micans plant reaches a max height of 8 inches and its longest vines reach up to 24 inches long.

In this post, you’ll learn more about the Philodendron Micans’ background and some good sources for finding a healthy plant. You’ll also learn what kind of care routine to expect, how to troubleshoot some issues (should they arise) and how you can propagate more of your very own Philodendron Micans right at home.

Let’s get started!

RELATED: Just can’t get enough of plants with velvety-textured leaves? We’ve got two more suggestions for you to check out: Philodendron Splendid and Anthurium Clarinervium!

Philodendron Micans Background

The velvet philodendron or Philodendron Micans (proper botanical name: Philodendron hederaceum var. hederaceum) is a type of heart-leaf philodendron. As houseplants, the heart-leaves are known for their trailing habit, glossy (but in this case, velvety) heart-shaped flowers and adaptability to living indoors.

The Philodendron Micans distinguishes itself from other heartleaf philodendrons primarily by leaf texture. The velvety surface doesn’t always show up well in photos, but here are my best attempts to capture it:

Two Philodendron Micans leaf have a sheen in the sunlight.
A Philodendron Micans dark green leaf has a sheen in the sunlight.

Newly-emerged leaves are bright yellow-green with pink edges that mature to deep emerald or green-purple. Here’s a new growth point on my Micans that shows the coloring:

A new growth point on a Philodendron Micans plant, with a yellow-green leaf bud and a young leaf with red-gold color.

With their long, trailing vines, the Micans is a perfect choice for hanging baskets, tall shelves or the edge of a desk.

Philodendrons as a group are native to a range of rainforests; the Micans plant in particular grows wild in the Caribbean, Central America, and Mexico. It is an epiphyte, a plant that begins its life cycle by sprouting from a seed tucked in the crook between a branch and a tree trunk. 

According to Britannica, epiphytes are plants that live attached to other plants, but without being a parasite. It’s all about support!

Before it produces roots, an epiphyte produces leaves that reach up for light. It uses small aerial roots to anchor itself to the tree trunk, like this photo shows:

A closeup of a section of epiphytic plants roots clinging to the surface of a tree.

Then, the Micans uses the sugar it produces by photosynthesis to send roots down to the forest floor far below. Eventually, the philodendron is attached to the ground by long roots while simultaneously forming vines around the tree trunk that sprout more and more leaves.

RELATED: Many philodendrons have this epiphytic (climbing) growth pattern, but a few are totally different. Stop by our article on the Philodendron Gloriosum, a rare terrestrial (creeping) philodendron that grows along the ground.

Philodendron Micans Care

Now that we know where the Philodendron Micans comes from and where you can find one, let’s talk about how to keep yours healthy and happy.

Correct Pot size and Type

All plants need to grow in a pot that drains well and is the appropriate size, your Philodendron Micans included.

As an epiphytic plant, the velvet philodendron is adapted to growing in conditions with excellent drainage. Look for a pot that has at least one drainage hole in the bottom to prevent constantly damp soil or standing water around your plant.

While shopping for a houseplant pot, you’ll probably find many that don’t have pre-made drainage holes. This is to keep accidental leaks from ruining your furniture or other indoor surfaces, but it can also lead to dangerous moisture retention.

So what to do? Use a plastic nursery pot that fits inside your decorative pot. Nursery pots always have plenty of drainage holes, like you can see in this product:

You can get nursery pots in a wide array of sizes, and they’re usually very inexpensive. When it’s time to water your Philodendron Micans, just remove the nursery pot, water as usual and replace it into your pretty pot.

You can determine the right size pot for any houseplant in two ways:

  1. Measure the plant’s height from the soil line to the top of its tallest leaf. Divide that number by 3, and the result, in inches, is a good estimate of the ideal pot diameter.
  2. Or, choose a pot that is only slightly bigger than the root ball. This helps prevent excess soil not occupied by roots from becoming waterlogged.

As far as pot material goes, terra cotta and unglazed ceramic are unbeatable for drainage and aeration, thanks to their naturally porous nature. However, any pot material will work just fine as long as you ensure proper drainage.

Soil Needs

Philodendron Micans isn’t particularly picky when it comes to soil, as long as it’s light and drains well.

Any high-quality houseplant potting soil should work well, and be sure to mix in a handful or two of perlite or orchid bark as well. This will increase the porosity of the soil and let even more air reach the roots, just like Micans plants growing in the wild are used to.

This potting soil from DirtCo is a solid option. I’ve always had good luck with perlite from Perfect Plants, and if you’d prefer to use orchid bark, check out this blend from Sun Bulb.

Light Requirements

In its natural habitat, the Micans plant lives underneath the dense rainforest canopy that filters the harsh sunlight. Too little light will result in droopy, yellow leaves and stems. On the other hand, light that’s too strong will burn the leaf edges brown.

Place your plant in bright, indirect light, with an east-facing window being the most ideal.

A south or west facing window will also work, but make sure to position your plant so the light it receives isn’t too strong. Try bringing it back slightly from the window or placing it behind another houseplant whose leaves can filter the light.

If you don’t have a good source of natural light, a grow light can be a literal lifesaver. These devices provide balanced light wavelengths that are very similar to sunlight. This grow light from Juhefa is a good option since it’s small and can clip onto the edge of a table to shelf.

A Philodendron Micans from Etsy shop Plantimani.
Plantimani via Etsy

Watering Routine

Regular watering is key to the overall health of a Philodendron Micans. You don’t want the soil to become bone-dry, but you don’t want it to always be sopping wet, either.

Allow the top 1 inch of soil in the container to dry out between waterings. Depending on the dryness and temperature of your home, this might mean watering once a week or twice a week; less during the cool winter months. 

If in doubt about the dryness of your soil, press your finger down into the first couple of inches to manually check for moisture. Your plant is ready for a drink when the soil feels dry up to your first knuckle.

Ambient Temperature

Philodendron Micans grows naturally in warm climates at or near the equator. It will be comfortable in an indoor environment that’s on the upper end of room temperature, about 68 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

But keep in mind that even if the overall room temperature is within range, there could be chilly spots, like a drafty window in the winter or an air conditioning vent in the summer. So pay attention to the temperature in your plant’s immediate area and adjust for any seasonal changes.

Humidity

Your average household humidity levels should be adequate for the Philodendron Micans unless you live in an extremely dry climate.

However, this is a tropical plant, so it’s never a bad idea to try and give a bit more humidity. Here are a few simple ways to do that:

  • Keep it in the kitchen or bathroom, which have more running water and thus higher humidity than other rooms in the house.
  • Place a bowl or jar of water next to your Micans plant.
  • Avoid placing it near a heat or A/C register to keep it from getting hit by that dry air. 
  • Keep the plant on a tray lined with pebbles and filled halfway with water. Change the water regularly to keep gnats away.
  • Group it with other houseplants: As their leaves transpire the moisture from their roots through their leaves, they can create their own little pocket of humidity.
  • Run a humidifier in the room with your houseplants, especially during the winter. Don’t have a humidifier? Check out our buying guide for the best plant humidifiers

Caution: Do not try to humidify Philodendron Micans by misting. Its velvety leaves take longer to dry, and that dampness can breed bacteria or fungus.

Fertilizing

Fertilize your Philodendron Micans with a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month from spring to summer. In the fall/winter months, reduce that frequency to every 2 months or so. 

This liquid fertilizer from Espoma is a great option.

Pruning

Philodendron Micans is a vining plant, and these vines can either trail over the side of a pot, or you can easily train them to climb on a trellis.

Moss poles, like these from Cosyland, offer an easy way to provide support for a Micans plant. The aerial roots of the plant can easily attach themselves to the moss the same way they cling to tree trunks in the wild.

But if you’d prefer to keep your velvet philodendron more full and bushy, regular pruning will help you achieve the shape you’re after. This is especially true in spring and summer when it is actively growing.

Use a pair of sanitized scissors to cut long stems back to a bud or leaf node. Save the cuttings for easy propagation (more on that in just a little bit!).

Where to Buy Philodendron Micans

Philodendron Micans has been fairly rare and a bit hard to come by over the last several years. If you wanted one, you usually had to order from a specialty plant supplier, and they came with a pretty steep price tag.

But that trend seems to changing. There are now quite a few plant sellers offering this beauty, usually at reasonable prices.

I was surprised and pleased to find my Micans at one of my local greenhouses. So of course I snapped it up! Also, I recently saw a social media post from another local greenhouse that they had received some Micans in their most recent houseplant shipment. These are the first times I’ve seen them available in any place other than the internet.

So this is a great time to be searching for a Micans! Check with your local garden centers, and you may be able to find one (besides, it’s just fun to look at the other plants, too!).

And if you can’t find one locally, turn to online sellers. Here are some Etsy shops that had Micans in stock at the time of publishing this post:

An exception to this recent decrease in price is the variegated Philodendron Micans, which have a narrow, cream-colored band around the leaf edges. These plants are extremely rare, and they can easily sell for over $1,000 apiece!

Repotting Philodendron Micans

Typically, you’ll need to repot an established velvet philodendron every year or two in the spring. Repotting replaces old soil with new, nutrient-rich soil, cuts down on potential bacteria in the soil and allows you to check up on root health.

Your philodendron is ripe for repotting if:

  • Your plant produces very little new growth in spring and summer
  • Roots begin poking out of the drainage holes
  • Your plant is always thirsty for water despite regular waterings
  • White salt deposits are forming on the surface of the soil

We’ve put together a detailed breakdown of the repotting process, complete with photos of every step. I used a golden pothos as my photo subject, but the process for repotting a Philodendron Micans is exactly the same.

Potential Problems with Philodendron Micans

We’ve all been there: Our houseplants are looking great one day, and the next they’re looking like they need critical care.

While Micans is relatively problem-free, you may run into some of these issues:

Over-Watering

Prolonged overwatering could be deadly to any houseplant, but it’s especially dangerous to plants that are naturally adapted to drier soil, like the Philodendron Micans.

The symptoms of over-watering are easy to see:

  • Limp yellow leaves
  • Brown, black or yellow stems
  • A pot that seemingly weighs a ton when you lift it (waterlogged soil is very heavy!)
  • The presence of fungus gnats
  • New leaves appear yellow and sickly-looking

If you think your plant might be overwatered, simply stop watering it for several days. Remove the most discolored leaves or stems, and keep an eye on the small new leaves to see if they revert to the plant’s normal green color. 

If the plant is severely overwatered, you may need to take it out of its pot, dump out the saturated soil and replace it with dry soil.

Going forward, use your finger to test the soil and make sure the first one or two inches are dry before watering again, and make sure not to water as frequently or heavily as before.

Underwatering

While too much water is the greater danger here, under-watering can also harm your plant, particularly if it’s a prolonged problem.

Symptoms of under-watering are:

  • Dry, cracked leaves
  • Brown leaf edges
  • Little to no new growth
  • Soil that’s so dry that it contracts and pulls away from the side of the pot
  • The pot feels feather-light

Rehydrate an under-watered Philodendron Micans by placing the pot in a bowl of water. The bowl should be deep enough that the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot are completely submerged. This is called bottom-watering, and it rescues plants in this state by getting water to the root ball as quickly as possible. 

To keep your velvet philodendron from ending up high and dry, make sure you have a consistent watering schedule in the future. This could be in the form of a written record, or as a series of notes on your phone.

Pest Infestations

Like many other houseplants, the major pests that bother the Micans plant are aphids, mealybugs, scale insects and spider mites. 

Aphids congregating on a plant
Aphids

Aphids secrete honeydew, a substance that makes the leaves and any surface around the plant sticky to the touch. New growth will have yellow specks and look rumpled. To get rid of them, rinse the plant well, using your fingers to swipe clean the underside of each leaf. Then spray each leaf with insecticidal soap, like this formula from Natria.

A group of mealybugs on a plant stem
Mealybugs
Scale insects attached to a tree trunk
Scale Insects

Mealybugs create cottony white deposits on the leaves or stems; scale insects create flat shield-shaped domes on the woodiest parts of the stem. Pick these off with tweezers or with a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol. Check back in the next few days and repeat if necessary.

A plant infested with spider mites and wispy webs
Spider Mites

Spider mites typically appear on underwatered plants as they love dry conditions. Physically remove the spider mites by gently but thoroughly washing the plant down, and keep it well watered to prevent their recurrence.

Propagating Philodendron Micans

One of the best things about plants is that once you have one, you almost always have the ability to end with an army of new plants! And it’s all through the process of propagation, using one of two methods:

  1. Rooting stem cuttings in water or substrate
  2. Air layering

Both methods are quite reliable and simple. For the quickest results, it’s best to take cuttings in mid-spring after the plant has begun actively growing after its winter dormancy.

For either method, you’ll need to identify a node. Nodes are the bumps on a stem where the leaves branch off, and they’re also points where new roots can form.

Here’s a photo of two nodes on a Micans, marked with arrows:

Two nodes on a Philodedron Micans plant marked with arrows.

Propagate Philodendron Micans From Stem Cuttings

Step 1: Clean off a pair of sharp scissors or pruners with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol to prevent exposing your plants to harmful microbes.

Step 2: Cut your Micans stem about 1 inch below a node. For successful propagation, you need a cutting with at least one node and one leaf. Depending on how long your plant’s stems are, you may be able to get several good cuttings from one stem.

Here’s where I made my cut on my Micans, and the cutting I ended up with:

Cutting about 1 inch below a Philodendron Micans leaf node to take a cutting for propagation.
A Philodendron Micans cutting with the lower leaf taken off for propagation.

Step 3: After taking your cutting, remove and lower leaves, leaving just the top one or two. Then, place it either in water or another substrate, like sphagnum moss or perlite. Whichever method you choose, be sure to keep the leaf or leaves above the water line or substrate surface. Only the node should be below this.

Here’s my cutting in a glass of water:

A Philodendron Micans cutting in water for propagation.

Step 4: If you’re using water propagation, replace the water every week or so to keep it clean. If you’re using a substrate, give just enough water to keep the substrate damp without having standing water.

Step 5: Now the hard part: Wait. It will take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months for your cutting to send out roots. Here’s where water propagation has an advantage- you can keep an eye on your cutting’s root progress much more easily.

Step 6: Once the cutting has a few inches of roots, pot it up. The new plant is used to having very moist roots, so water it lightly every day for 7 days. Then water every other day for another week, and finally move to a regular watering routine of once or twice per week.

This awesome video from Techplant gives you additional details on using substrates (sphagnum moss, perlite and clay pebbles) for propagation. Be sure to give it a watch!

Propagate Philodendron Micans With Air Layering

The second way to propagate Philodendron Micans is through air layering.

Air layering is a fantastic propagation method to use on any plant that produces aerial roots, which Philodendron Micans does abundantly. This photo shows where aerial roots are emerging from the stem. I’ve marked them with arrows:

Two Philodendron Micans nodes with aerial roots growing out.

This method allows you to stimulate fresh root growth on stems that are still attached to your plant, giving you the chance to ensure healthy root development before making any cuts to your parent plant.

Step 1. Locate a node on your plant’s stem.

Step 2: Wrap a strip of damp horticultural moss around your chosen node and secure with twine or wire. Look for moss in sheet form, which is easier to handle than loose moss strands. Super Moss makes a great option, and it’s available on Amazon.

Step 3: In short order, the aerial roots should quickly begin to grow through the moss. Once they have visibly multiplied, cut away the stem below the moss and plant the cutting in a new pot.

Step 4: Keep the soil in the pot moist for the first week or so. After that, you can resume a regular watering schedule.

A graphic showing the main care points for a Philodendron Micans

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Frequently Asked Questions about Philodendron Micans

Yes, all philodendrons are toxics to animals and children due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals that can cause upset stomach and swelling of the mucus membranes.

The good news is that poisonings from ingesting Micans are rare, according to ABC News. Also, the leaves taste terribly bitter and most people/animals spit them out right away.

But given it toxicity and vining growth habit, keeping this plant in a hanging basket or on a higher shelf is a great idea!

It’s quite rare for an indoor Micans plant to produce a flower. But it will happen on occasion, and it’s most common with plants that spend part of the year outside.

The flower itself is a spadix surrounded by a spathe. The spadix is a narrow, cream-colored stalk that contains many tiny individual flowers, the spathe looks much like a regular leaf that hasn’t fully unfurled.

The leaves of a Philodendron Micans usually reach a maximum of 3 inches long and about 2 inches wide. However, many leaves on the plant are in the 1.5 to 2-inch range.

They are relatively rare, but they’re becoming more plentiful as suppliers start to catch up with increased demand. In the past, Micans has usually only been available through specialty plant dealers, but now they’re showing up in more places on the internet and in greenhouses.

Not really. Although you may be able to find a variegated Micans once in a blue moon, those plants primarily arise from spontaneous mutations in the standard Micans. Since they’re so rare, variegated Philodendron Micans usually come with a steep price tag.

Final Thoughts

With its small size, easy care, and phenomenal texture and color, Philodendron Micans is just an all-around fantastic houseplant. It’s especially great if you have a small space to work with or you’re looking for a unique addition to your plant collection. Its vibrant color and intriguing texture are easy to love!

Do you have a velvet philodendron? Share your tips and tricks in the comment section below!

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