Philodendron Micans Care Guide
The Philodendron Micans or Velvet Leaf Philodendron is a very aptly named chap with his big, velvety-soft, heart-shaped leaves. His proper name is Philodendron hederaceum var. hederaceum (yes, really, he's all that). He's a bit of a newbie in NZ but is slowly starting to appear in stores without selling out the same day. We give him a 3 out of 5 LTLC Rating. Easy to medium level care with some simple considerations.
And that colour! New leaves come out bronze with bright emerald green along the veins. They have gorgeous reddish-brown undersides too. Over time they darken to a bronzey-purpley-sage, sort-of rusty-green (yes, its hard to describe, and even harder to photograph due to that super soft velvety fuzz on the leaves). You really need to see them in real life to appreciate them. Just try not to constantly pat those soft leaves! Keep reading for the full care guide...
Temperature & Light
Medium to bright indirect light is ideal. Lower light can be tolerated by the Micans but don't expect much growth so not ideal for long. Tolerate and thrive are not the same thing. Around 18 to 24 degrees is a nice comfortable range for the Micans during the day and down to around 12 degrees at night, but we find they tolerate lower temperatures at night in winter if the rest of the conditions are ideal.
These guys aren't forgiving of over-watering, so we'd suggest keeping the soil lightly but evenly moist and avoiding soggy soil or wet feet. We let our Micans dry out more than our other Philodendrons between waterings. Almost completely dry is better than watering when still wet. Obviously don't let them stay totally dry for ages though. If in doubt, don't water. Wait a couple of days and check again. When you do water, completely soak the soil and let every drop drain out before returning your Micans to their cover pot or saucer. Only plant your Micans pots with drainage holes or root rot is very likely.
Pro-tip: If you accidentally over-water, do something about it. We recommend putting a bunch of paper towels under the pot and changing the towels again and again as they get soaked, until they stop absorbing water.
Give them a relatively free-draining mix. About 50/50 potting mix and something lighter like orchid bark and perlite for the rest is a good balance. When potting-up, only go up about an inch / 2 to 3cms in pot size so those precious roots aren't suddenly exposed to a tonne of water.
Philodendron Micans pro tips & problem solving
A common sign of too much light or not enough water.
Pro tip: In a rush? Can't leave tap water to sit overnight before you water? Boil the water, let it cool, and water right away (boiling water is the fastest way to remove chlorine, 5 to 10 minutes boiling is plenty to treat right up to 40 litres).
Browning leaves in your Micans is another common sign of too much light or not enough water.
A common sign of over-watering (unless it's just an old leaf that's ready to drop). When you have any issues, always check for bugs too, like the dreaded spider mites which we hear Micans are more prone to than some (luckily not in our experience, touch wood).
It's normal for the Micans to produce long, vining stems but if it's getting extra-leggy that can be a sign of not enough light.
Is the Philodendron Micans pet safe?
Unfortunately not. Like all Philodendron, the Micans can cause irritation if chewed or eaten, and in severe cases, swelling and breathing issues, so keep this chap out of reach of pets and kids (yes, they're toxic to humans too).
LTLC Rating (Love That Leaf Care Rating)
We give the Philodendron Micans a 3 out of 5 LTLC Rating. Yes, he's easy care overall, but does need a light touch when watering, so not as easy care as other Philodendron (in our experience). Don't be put off, just know his ideal conditions and you - and he - will be fine.
In our totally-made-up-based-on-our-own-experience LTLC Rating scale, we give a Boston Fern or String of Pearls a 5 (such a love hate relationship with SOP), a ZZ Plant and a Peace Lily would get a 1.