Philodendron Micans: A Complete Guide for Beginners

By Kee

Philodendron micans are some of the most popular plants of the year. Growing notoriety due to their exposure to social media networks and beautiful appearance, these plants are ideal for tight spaces – such as posh flats or bedrooms. They look great and they come with a bunch of benefits for your environment in the long run.

These plants are native to exotic places – Mexico and the Caribbean. Therefore, you are less likely to see them growing randomly. Their leaves are shaped like little hearts, which is what gave them so much popularity. They are also velvety. In terms of sizing, these leaves will never exceed three inches in width, hence the popularity of philodendron micans in tight spaces.

What is Philodendron Micans?

Depending on who you talk to – a gardener, a plant enthusiast or just a social media icon, philodendron micans come with a series of different names. Most commonly, you will see them gathered under one name – the velvet leaf philodendron. The scientific name is quite difficult, so most people simply rely on shortcuts.

Beautiful Philodendron Micans from Indonesian
Beautiful Philodendron Micans from Indonesian

The plant might seem popular due to the shape of its leaves and appearance. But then, its appearance does not necessarily add to its price. It is quite inexpensive to purchase and relatively simple to look after. It grows indoors and it does a much better job at clearing toxins in the air than other plants – larger and more popular plants.

Leaves curl a little when they grow. They may also adopt a series of different colors. The nuance and shade depend on the amount of natural light received. Some of them can be well green, while others may come up with chartreuse shades. Whether it is in a pot or hangs from a basket, the plant looks quite elegant. It will also grow upward if you give it enough support – such as a pole.

You might as well place philodendron micans on shelves or perhaps in pots on the floor. Just keep in mind that some of the trailing bits will simply get out of the pot and overgrow. All in all, caring for this plant is a piece of cake – no experience is required and despite its native profile, it does not have any major requirements. Here is everything you need to know.

How to Care For Philodendron Micans?

Philodendron micans are generally forgiving. Just like any other plant out there, they do have a few requirements in terms of soil, lighting and temperature. But then, even if this is the first plant you grow, chances are you will get along with it easily, without too much hassle. Follow its requirements and it will thrive.

Light

Philodendron micans do great with some bright light – more is better. Therefore, they need to be located in a well-lit area. However, as beneficial as it might seem, direct sunlight is not recommended. Keeping the plant in direct sunlight will cause the leaves to burn, so they will go yellow and brown, while the plant will die.

Should you place it by a window, it is not a good idea for the plant to get direct sunlight. Move it a bit further away. It should get light, but not direct sunlight. On the other hand, the plant can survive in low lighting conditions too. It will not thrive though. It will grow quite slowly and its growth will stagnate relatively soon.

Philodendron Micans Cuttings
Philodendron Micans Cuttings

Water

When it comes to the watering requirements, most gardeners recommend watering the plant from the top down. Basically, you will have to water the plant, then allow the top inch of soil to get dry. Once it is dry, start all over again. How do you test the soil? Simple. Stick your finger inside to your first knuckles. If it feels dry, it is time to start all over again.

Now, how much water do you have to put in? Pour it slowly and evenly – try to cover the whole surface of the pot. The plant likes water. In other words, you need to keep pouring lightly until the water starts running out through the holes in the pot. Figuring out the right amount of water is a bit difficult, so trial and error are necessary.

For example, if you notice the leaves are dropping a little and they seem tired, it means you have put too much water in the pot. Fix the watering schedule, reduce the amount and frequency and the leaves will be back to normal. Ideally, you should water the plant a bit more in the hot summertime, but also in the wintertime.

Soil

Philodendron micans are quite forgiving in general, so there is not too much to worry about when it comes to picking the right soil for it. Just like for any other plant out there, quality is quite important. From this point of view, you need to opt for high-quality soil. Do not settle for random soil from your garden if you are not sure about it.

As for the potting mix, it must drain relatively fast. Again, putting too much water will cause various problems, so ensure the water will not stagnate around. Some people use different mixes. For example, you can mix high-quality soil with peat moss or perhaps peat vermiculite. Such options work wonders in the long run.

Temperature

The plant is forgiving in terms of soil or water, but there are other aspects that require a bit of extra care. The plant is used to relatively high temperatures. Therefore, it will not thrive in cold climates. In fact, it may not even survive if you fail to provide the right growing conditions. Sure, small variations are acceptable, but this is pretty much it.

Now, philodendron micans excel when the temperature is maintained between 65 and 75 degrees F. It can take lower temperatures during the night, so you do not have to try too hard. At night, it can do with about 60 degrees F. Getting out of these ranges will not kill it, but you need to maintain them properly to thrive.

Humidity

Philodendron micans are native to Mexico and the Caribbean. These areas are relatively hot and tropical. They have high amounts of humidity. Simply put, your plant will grow beautifully if you manage to provide humid conditions. Requirements are not very high, but it does pay off to ensure the environment is not too dry.

There are more rules for care and maintenance. Should your area have a dry climate, part of the care implies misting leaves during these months. In the Caribbean, January represents the most humid month. There is plenty of humidity. On the other hand, March is the driest month. While not always a general rule, leaves seem to be aware of this cycle, so they grow accordingly.

To help you get an idea, the Dominican Republic has an average humidity of 82% throughout the year. Your plant does not necessarily require that much, as it could be a bit uncomfortable if you do not live in a hot climate. However, leaves need misting throughout the dry months then, only to ensure they do not curl or brown.

Fertilizing

Many household plants do not really require fertilizers or additional help to grow and thrive. Things are different for philodendron micans though, as fertilizing is part of proper care. Your plant will survive and grow without fertilizer as well, but you want the best for it – you want those leaves to thrive and look great, so fertilizing is mandatory then.

Generally speaking, philodendron micans tend to grow relatively fast. Therefore, they require constant feeding and this is when fertilizing kicks in. According to most gardeners, fertilizing is a must in the summertime and springtime – do it monthly. When it comes to the fall and winter, you should fertilize the plant every couple of months.

Feeding the plant is relatively simple. A balanced houseplant feeder is more than enough. Pay attention to the fertilizer you choose and try to get something organic, as it is healthier for your plant. As for the contents, there should be plenty of macro ingredients in its composition. How much fertilizer to use is also a matter of trial and error, as it depends on the age of the plant and other conditions.

If you notice the plant grows slowly or its leaves are too small, chances are it requires more fertilizer. As for the ingredients to look for, make sure the fertilizer has calcium and magnesium. Without these ingredients in its diet, the plant is likely to get pale leaves. It is not dying, but pale leaves will certainly affect its appearance.

Height and Growth Rate

The height and growth rate of philodendron micans depend solely on the living conditions. Without proper care, the plant will not reach its maximum potential, especially if you fail to meet the growing requirements. On the other hand, with proper care, it will thrive, grow incredibly fast and also promote a beautiful appearance.

With proper care, the plant can reach anywhere between eight and 12 inches in height. It tends to gain more in width than in height. When mature, the plant can easily reach 24 inches in width. As for the growth rate, philodendron micans are considered to be fast-growing plants. Care for your plant accordingly and it may reach the maximum size within a year or two only.

How to Propagate Philodendron Micans?

Propagating philodendron micans is fairly simple and does not require too much experience. The process is similar to propagating most plants from cuttings. You will need to rely on stem cuttings. What does it mean? Simple – just cut off the end of a stem. Make sure the stem is not very young – there should be a few leaves on it.

Cutting Philodendron Micans for Water Propagation
Cutting Philodendron Micans for Water Propagation

There is another important requirement when propagating philodendron micans. As you take the cutting, ensure there are a few nodes on it. This aspect will help with further growth. Nodes are some small nubs growing along with the stick. This is where roots come from. To help, get rid of a few leaves on the bottom, as the process stimulates the root growth.

Put the cutting in a glass of water and let the roots grow. The plant can also go directly into the soil. However, this process is a bit slower. Propagating in water is much faster and more efficient. Stick to a glass or a clear container, so you can keep an eye on the root growth, as well as the water levels. If you do choose to plant the cutting in soil, you do not have to worry too much about keeping the soil moist.

Philodendron Micans Repotting

Potting and repotting philodendron micans will not give you too much hassle. Make sure you give your plant a high-quality pot, as well as fast-draining soil. When it comes to the environment, opt for ceramic or perhaps a hanging basket. The perfect time to repot the plant is when roots end up wrapped in a ball. The plant needs more care then and repotting in a bigger pot is probably the best option.

When you need to repot the plant due to growing too much, get a pot that is only three inches larger than the root ball. Too much room will not help, as the roots go wildly around. Therefore, you may have to repot the plant a few times throughout its life. Also, it is wiser to repot the plant during the wintertime, before fresh leaves kick in.

How to Prune Philodendron Micans?

The philodendron micans have relatively low pruning requirements, yet trimming the stems every now and then will keep things more organized and it will give your plant a full appearance later on. Cutting these ends promotes further growth. If you do not prune it, strands will keep growing, but there will be no new branches.

Is Philodendron Micans Poisonous?

Just like other philodendron plants, philodendron micans are rich in calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals are considered poisonous for pets and kids. Whether you have dogs or cats, they should keep away from the plant. If you grow it in a hanging basket, this would not necessarily be a problem anyway, as they are less likely to touch the leaves.

On the other hand, philodendron micans are also rated as toxic. If you are extremely sensitive or allergic, you may experience allergic reactions when in touch with it. If you have never had issues with plants, you should be alright. But if you are the sensitive type, you might want to handle the plant with protective gloves.

Pests and Diseases

Proper care will prevent pests. They may still appear, but they will be easy to get rid of. Most common pets for philodendron micans include mealybugs, scale, aphids and spider mites. To ensure excellent results, you should try to keep the plant pest-free in a natural manner – lots of options out there, so stay away from harsh chemicals.

Many gardeners rely on horticultural oil, for example. A mix of water and organic insecticidal soap will also work and keep pests away. If you do end up with mealybugs, there is a very simple way to get rid of them. Get some rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball. Soak it and clean the plant with it – simple as that. Mealybugs will be instantly gone.

Is Philodendron Micans Rare?

Generally speaking, philodendron micans are not rare. The plant can be easily found all around Mexico and the Caribbean. However, the past couple of years brought in increasing popularity for the plant. Therefore, it might be a bit difficult to find at times in occidental countries. The good news is it does not cost a fortune, despite being unavailable at times.

Common Problems

As you care for this plant, trial and error will teach you everything you need to know. The plant will basically help you understand its needs with time. Here are some of its most common problems.

Leaves turning red

Too much sun exposure, a phosphorus deficiency or pigmentation can cause the leaves to turn red. Lack of light has a similar effect, not to mention underwatering.

Leaves turning yellow

Leaves turning yellow means the plant has too little or too much light. It requires a sunny area, but no direct sunlight.

Leaves turning brown

If leaves are brown, chances are the plant does not get enough light. If only the tips turn brown, it means the plant does not get enough water or there is some direct sunlight damage.

Small leaves

Failing to provide the right living conditions can cause the plant to stay small – leaves will not grow too much either. If you do have the right conditions, the plant probably requires fertilizer.

Final Words

Bottom line, philodendron micans have become quite popular lately because they are beautiful, exotic and easy to look after. Just like other plants out there, they do require a bit of care and some specific conditions, but they are usually easy to meet.

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