Philodendron Micans

If you’re like me, you enjoy the subtle differences. And that’s what I love about eh Philodendron micans.

The Philodendron micans is also called the velvet leaf philodendron because its leaves have a velvety texture. This is the first thing that attracted me to it. This feature also distinguishes it from many other philodendrons out there.

The other thing I love is the color of the undersides of its leaves. if you flip them up, you’ll see they have a wonderful tint of green, red and brown mixed together.

Of course, there’s its versatility. You can grow it in a pot, stake it or let it climb up a moss pole or allow it to trail down from hanging basket. The plants long stems make it beautiful when allowed to grow.

Of course, like many philodendrons, it has heart shaped leaves. Although, a lot more subtle that many of the others. You can think of the leaves as hearts that have been stretched out vertically a bit. They are longer and the curves are not as distinct.

Below, I’ll go through in detail how I care for my Philodendron micans to keep it healthy and happy.

Philodendron Micans Plant Care

Light Requirements

The philodendron micans enjoys bright, indirect light. It has evolved as such because it lives below larger trees and plants in the forest.

This means that it is used to getting a lot of sunlight that’s dappled, since the leaves and branches block the sun’s rays.

Thus, I like to keep mine away from direct sunlight. You can also use grow lights although you want to be careful. I made this mistake when started out thinking that the plant needed tons more artificial light which ended up with a couple of leaves have small burn marks on the sides.

Another thing I’ve learned is that your philodendron micans can tolerate low light. But, it will have a hard time if you do this suddenly or abruptly. Instead, I’ve found that gradually acclimating it to low light will allow it to adapt over time.

Today, I keep my philodendron micans in an near a southeast facing window. But, away from direct sunlight. This works really well for me.

You can leave it the east as well since it does not seem to mind the morning sun. But, for west and south facing windows, you’ll want to use translucent curtains or something similar to filter out the afternoon sunlight.

 

Temperature

Since the plant is tropical is nature, it prefers moderate to warm conditions. This makes indoor spaces like your home or office perfect. As long as you feel comfortable (not cold or hot) in that area, it will be happy too.

When I first got my plant from the buyer, she told me to keep it between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the optimal temperature for your micans. Although it can tolerate much warmer conditions since it experiences that in its natural habitat.

The thing you want to avoid is the cold.

It won’t mind the temperature dropping down to 60 degrees. But, once it goes below 55 degrees it will start to stress.

This is one reason why it is often kept indoors as a houseplant, especially regions where you get snow in the winter.

 

Humidity

Your philodendron micans hails from Mexico and the Caribbean, As such, it is used to warm weather which is why it does well in household temperatures.

But, the one thing that’s different with these areas and most of the states is humidity. Tropical and subtropical countries experience high humidity.

And growing in those areas means that plant has gotten accustomed to that environment.

The good news is that the plant does not mind average household humidity. As long as you keep it at least 40% or above, it will be happy.

I live in Southern California which is known to be dry. To give you an idea, we don’t get a lot of rain here and drought is often a risk factor. But, the plant doe not have any problems indoors or outside.

That said, I have experimented a bit on it and noticed that if you up the humidity to between 50% to 80%, it will grow healthier (and produce bigger, more supple leaves). If you can keep it at 70% and up, you’ll really notice the difference.

Misting is a good way to do this. All you need is a spray bottle. You can mist between 3 to 4 times a week but be careful not to wet the leaves too much.

Another option is to put the plant on a water tray on top of rocks. As the water evaporates, it increases humidity around the plant.

 

How Often to Water Philodendron Micans

From my experience, watering is the #1 thing that will affect your plant’s leaves. Too little water and you’ll see a sad looking plant with leaves that look dry and droopy. Too much water and you’ll end up with yellow leaves.

That said, it is very forgiving. So, don’t beat yourself up if you overwater or underwater once or twice. I’ve found if you quickly make up for it, the plant won’t mind.

The bigger issues come out with consistent dryness or waterlogging. But, of the two, you want to stay on the drier end since the plant is able to bounce back fairly quickly from lack of water.

It is better to avoid overwatering altogether.

To do so, make sure that the pot you use has drainage holes underneath. You can go with any kind of pot you want. I’ve tried both plastic and terracotta and the difference isn’t a lot when it comes to water loss. Currently, I have almost all my philodendrons in plastic pots, including my micans.

I also like to wait for the soil to dry before I water again. I check by sticking my finger down into the soil between the first and second knuckle (1-2 inches). Once the soil there is dry, it is time to water again.

You can also wait a little longer since the plant is fairly forgiving. You can let the soil dry up to halfway down before watering and not have any problems.

Since weather is fairly stable here in SoCal, I don’t need to adjust my watering schedule drastically between summer and winter. But, I’ve noticed that the soil dries up a bit faster in summer I water more often then.

 

Philodendron Micans Potting Soil

When it comes to potting soil for your philodendron micans, you want something that is loose and well-draining. This is very important since it works in tandem with your watering.

If you go with a heavy soil, even if you water properly, the plant will still sit in too much water since the soil retains that moisture.

You also want to use high quality soil, ideally one with a good amount of organic matter.

If you’re starting out, the easiest way I’ve found is to go with an aroid potting mix. Philodendrons are aroids, so this kind of soil is designed for it.

The problem is, not every store carries it, but do check with your local nursery. If you can’t find it, you can use this DIY aroid potting mix recipe:

  • 30% regular potting soil
  • 20% peat
  • 40% bark
  • 10% perlite

Then add a bit of horticultural charcoal.

This will make the potting soil lighter, allow for air circulation and drain excess moisture faster.

 

Fertilizer

Your philodendron micans is a fast growing plant. This makes fertilizer an important part of its regimen if you want it to sustain that growth.

I’ve noticed that it won’t mind if you don’t feed it. But, you’ll quickly see the effects as it won’t grow as quickly, as big or produce as much (and large enough) leaves.

All it needs is once a month feeding during the spring and summer. I like to use a balanced houseplant fertilizer and dilute it to 50% of the recommended strength.

With enough plant food, you should see leaves grow fairly quickly, if not, consider checking how much light it gets. I’ve noticed that light and fertilizer are the two things that affect its growth the most.

If it is not the lighting, then you may not be feeding the plant enough.

On the other hand, if you notice pale leaves, it means the plant is deficient in calcium and/or magnesium. Both should be included in a well-balanced fertilizer.

 

Pruning

How much you need to prune will depend on where and how you display the plant. If you keep it in a hanging basket, you’ll almost never need to prune it except for removing the dead or yellow leaves.

In a pot, very little pruning is likewise needed.

I like to let the plant grow up. But, I do prune it once in a while since it grows better after I give it a trim. So, if you want a fuller plant or let it get bushier, pruning will help.

The plant is a climber, so its grows faster and bigger when you give it something to cling onto and go upwards. You can use a stake or a moss pole.

While many people will keep their philodendron micans at around 12 inches or so, it can easily to grow to much bigger than that depending on whether you repot it for more space, how much light, water, humidity and feeding it gets.

 

How to Propagate Philodendron Micans

This is one plant I’ve found to be surprisingly easy to propagate. I’ve found that stem cuttings is the best way to go because it is the easiest. So, there’s really no reason to make things more complicated.

The best time to propagate your philodendron micans is during spring or early summer. This gives it time to grow before winter comes around.

With stem cuttings, all you need to do is pick a healthy stem with at least a few leaf nodes. Look for the small nubs or bumps on the stems. You’ll want a stem with a few of these since the nodes are where the root will grow from. Without them, your stem cutting won’t root.

You can go with one or more stem cuttings depending on how many new plants you want to grow. Keep in mind that not all cuttings will successfully grow into big plants, so if you’re starting out, try going with a few cuttings instead of just one. As you gain experience, you’ll be able to achieve good results with just one cutting.

Once you have the stem cutting, remove the bottom leaves. Then, dip the end of the cutting into water. you can use a small glass, test tube or something similar.

Another option is to plant the cutting into soil, although water seems to help the cutting root faster. Plus, keeping it in a glass of water lets you monitor the root growth on a daily basis.

Once the roots get to about half an inch to an inch, you can move the cutting into potting mix and take care of it like you would the parent plant.

 

How to Repot or Transplant Philodendron Micans

Since the plant is a fast grower, you’ll need to repot it every so often. This can be anywhere between 1 to 3 years. The range is quite big because how fast your plant grows will depend on its living conditions.

The higher the humidity, the happier it will be. Other factors that affect it include lighting, watering, fertilizer, temperature and a few more.

This makes every household different.

I like to wait until the plant is rootbound. I prefer not to let it get too compact or wait until the roots start wrapping themselves all around. This adds to the work of taking out the plant from the container and separating some of the roots.

Choose a pot that is one size larger (2 inches more than the current one). This gives the plant enough space to grow without too much excess space. Also, pick a container with drainage holes at the bottom.

 

Is It Toxic/Poisonous to Humans, Cats & Dogs

Unfortunately, yes. Like other philodendrons, the micans container calcium oxalates which are toxic to people and animals if ingested. This means it is a good idea to keep it out of reach of small kids and pets.

 

Problems & Troubleshooting

Below, I’ll go through some of the common issues that I’ve come across when caring for my philodendron micans. Some  I’ve gained via research, the others I’ve had to painstakingly do trial and error to fix.

 

Growing Problems

In most cases, growth is affected by how much light the plant gets and the amount of fertilizer you feed it. But, the size of the pot, whether you’re growing it indoors or outdoors, temperature and humidity all play an important role.

On the other hand, when it comes to problems, the first thing you want to look at are its leaves. These will tell you the heath status of your plant.

 

Small Leaves

If you notice the plant’s leaves being smaller than they should be, the first thing to check is the lighting. I’ve noticed that keeping in in lower light causes smaller than normal leaves.

Should this happen, you have two choices.

Move it to somewhere there’s more light

Add supplemental lighting. You can use a grow light for this. This will let you keep the plant in the bathroom, office or the middle or larger rooms that don’t get a lot of sunlight.

 

Brown Leaves and Tips

Brown leaves is a common sign of lack of water. But, it can also be sunburn.

So, first check if the plant it in the path of the sun at any time of the day. Usually, burnt leaves is caused by harsh afternoon or summer sun.

If not, check the soil. if the soil is hard and dry, the brown leaves are likely from lack of water. Thus, add moisture immediately.

The plant should bounce back fairly quickly from lack of water. And don’t worry, as long as this does not happen regularly, it isn’t a problem. I have forgotten to water some of my plants including the philodendron micans a few times (this happens when life is busy).

Suspect number 3 is low humidity. I use a digital humidifier to keep track of room humidity. This  lets me easily check the humidity in case something starts happening to my plants.

If it isn’t direct sunlight, dry soil or lack of humidity, then check your feeding. Too much fertilizer also results in browning of the leaves. if this is the case, you’ll likely see leaf tips curling as well.

 

Yellow Leaves

Yellow leaves are usually a result of overwatering. But, it is not the only cause.

Older leaves will turn yellow. But they only do so one at a time. So if there are many leaves turning yellow at the same time, it means something else.

The first thing to check is sunlight. Too much or too little light will cause yellowing of leaves.

If the plant is positioned somewhere dark or with low light, move it somewhere brighter. If it received direct sunlight, move it away from where the sun’s rays hit.

 

Pests

In addition to leaf problems, your philodendron micans is also susceptible to pests. Mealybugs, aphids, scale, spider mites and fungus gnats are all potential issues.

Thus, it is important to regularly inspect your plant for this insects since they’ll damage the plant and grow in number if not treated immediately.

 

Diseases

With diseases, the one thing you want to avoid is root rot. This is hard to fix if you don’t catch it early. Unfortunately, it happens in the soil so you can’t see it.

As such, by the time you see the symptoms in the stems and leaves, it is going through its course.

Root rot is caused by overwatering. Consistently letting the roots site in water and not letting them get enough oxygen will cause them to rot.

So instead of the firm, white colored roots, you get smelly, mushy, black/brown roots.

If you spot this early, prune the rotted roots and repot the plant in new soil. This will allow it to stay in drier conditions to try and recover.

 

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