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 relative newbie in NZ but is slowly starting to appear for sale more often and the price is coming down. I give him a 2.5 out of 5 LTLC Rating. At the easy end of medium level care, with some simple considerations. If you can keep a heart leaf Philodendron or Philodendron Brasil healthy and happy, you'll find Philodendron Micans just the same to care for.
And that colour! New leaves come out a pinky-bronzey green with bright emerald green along the veins. They have gorgeous reddish-brown undersides too. Over time they darken to a bronzey-purpley-sagey-dark-green, sort-of a rusty-green (yes, its very 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 I find they tolerate lower temperatures at night in winter if the rest of the conditions are ideal. They like similar conditions to other Philodendron.
These guys aren't as forgiving of over-watering as some, so I keep the soil soil lightly, evenly moist. Avoid soggy soil or wet feet. They do handle drying out better than some between waterings, but you want to get in there before the leaves curl. I use a soil water meter to check soil moisture about half way down (depending on pot size) and water when the top quarter to half is dry. Best not to let them dry fully to the bottom of the pot. If you keep yours in a clear pot it makes it even easier to know when to water.
If in doubt, don't water. Wait a couple of days and check again. When you do water, completely soak the soil y top watering until the water pours out the bottom to flush out any excess minerals. 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 or fertiliser burn become much more likely.
Give them a relatively chunky free-draining mix. My go-to is the Bioleaf Aroid Mix. That's already mixed for you and is a mix of orchid bark, pumice, fern fibre, charcoal and worm castings. Or you can make your own using ingredients like indoor potting mix, perlite, pumice and fern fibre.
What you're after is about 50% potting mix, fern fibre or similar - and 50% free draining chunkyness like orchid bark, pumice and perlite. When potting-up, only go up about 2 pot sizes maximum (eg: from a 14cm to a 16cm) so the roots aren't suddenly exposed to a tonne of water. Repotting up too big too fast can cause root rot and also stop stem and leaf growth as the plant puts its energy into root growth to fill up the new area.
It's normal for the Micans to produce long, vining stems but if it's getting extra-leggy between leaves, 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)
I give the Philodendron Micans a 2.5 out of 5 LTLC Rating. Easy care overall, but a smidge fussier on the watering side than smooth-leaved Philodendron. In my totally made up rating system, a ZZ plant or Peace Lily would be a 1.