Philodendron Micans Care & 6 Tips to Thrive

philodendron micans care

Commonly a wishlist plant among houseplant collectors, the Philodendron Hederaceum Micans is a beautiful aroid. This trailing or climbing Philodendron is known for its stunning deep green, velvety foliage with reddish backsides.

The Micans is a tropical plant in the Araceae family. It is native to Central America and the Caribbean, where it climbs tree trunks and grows prolifically. 

Philodendron Micans Overview

Scientific NamePhilodendron Hederaceum var. Micans
OriginCentral America, Caribbean 
Temperature59-80ºF (15ºC-27ºC)
HumidityGrows well in regular household humidity of 35-40% and grows faster in humidity above 50%
LightMedium to bright indirect light
WaterWhen the soil is 80% dry
FertilizationLight fertilization with a balanced all-purpose fertilizer throughout the growing season
RepottingInfrequent. Repot every 2-3 years when the plant becomes moderately rootbound and go up one pot size only.
Toxicity Toxic to humans and pets, contains calcium oxalate crystals
Avoid allowing small children and pets near this plant. Let it trail from a tall hanging planner, or use a hanging plant table to keep it out of reach.  
PestsSusceptible to attacks from common houseplant pests:  scale, aphids, fungus gnats, and mealybugs.
PropagationEasy to propagate. Cut from the node with 1-2 leaves and place in water, soil, or sphagnum moss. Cuttings are more susceptible to burn and should not be placed in direct light.

The Micans can also be propagated from a wet stick in a sphagnum prop box, but this usually takes longer to root than a regular cutting. 

1. Philodendron Micans does best in medium to bright indirect light. 

Like many other Philodendrons, this plant grows under the forest canopy in its native habitat, where it gets filtered bright light. You can mimic this lighting situation by putting your Micans in a bright spot in your home without direct sun.

The Micans thrives in bright indirect light, but this plant also does well in medium indirect light

In the northern hemisphere, the light from south-facing windows is usually too strong for your Micans to be placed directly in the window. Pull it back from a south-facing window.

North-facing windows often don’t provide quite enough light year-round. 

My Micans is doing well, located a few feet away from a west-facing window with a light-filtering curtain.

East windows are also a good option for this plant. 

Micans can tolerate direct sun for short periods if slowly acclimated. It may become sun-stressed and can eventually become sun-bleached with prolonged exposure.  

Sun-stressing in Micans results in the leaves having a slightly pinker tone, which is notably striking. Some houseplant enthusiasts aim for this look, but the plant can burn if not slowly acclimated to this direct sun exposure. 

Sun-bleaching appears as bold red spots on the leaves. This is considered mild cosmetic damage and is usually not the desired look. If your Micans are left in direct light after this point, the leaves may wilt and scorch

While the Micans can tolerate periodic direct light, it is less tolerant of prolonged direct light than some other philodendrons. This is due to the velvety texture of its leaves. If experimenting with higher light conditions, monitor your plant closely to prevent damage.

In low light, the Micans will slow its growth and produce noticeably smaller leaves. You may also notice larger spaces between the new growth points on its vines (leggy appearance). 

(Photo by author)

2. Water your Micans when it is 80% dry. 

Watering is the one area of care that many find somewhat tricky for the Micans.

If you’ve had different types of Philodendrons in your collection for a while, you have likely noticed they seem to vary a bit in their watering needs. Some varieties prefer to dry out completely, while others appreciate being watered prior to that. 

The Micans is one Philodendron that prefers to be watered before it dries out completely. 

Mine is always happiest when it gets watered at about 80% dryness.

This typically shows up at a 2 or 3 on a moisture meter in the deepest part of the soil. I can quickly tell when it is time to water it without using a moisture meter now, but it is beneficial to use one if you are new to Micans care.

Try to prevent plant stress from regular periods of drought. My Micans will notoriously get a mild droop in its leaves if I accidentally let it get bone-dry, which is best to avoid. Regular drought stress will impede its growth. 

Don’t overwater. It’s a balance! If you’ve overwatered, you’ll likely see yellow or soft leaves. As with any Philodendron, overwatering can easily lead to root rot. 

Tap water is usually fine for the Micans if it is not overly “hard water, which can build up deposits in the soil of all our houseplants. 

Due to the velvety texture of its leaves, they are also prone to hard water stains. These look like white spots on the leaves. Therefore, it’s best to avoid getting the leaves of your Micans wet regularly. 

If you notice consistent issues with your Micans leaves, switch to filtered, distilled, or rainwater.  

Avoid watering with cold water. Like most tropical plants, your Micans can get root damage with cold water. Use lukewarm or slightly cool water. Cold water can shock the roots of your plant. 

Watering at the right time will encourage consistent growth in your Micans. This can be tricky to figure out for Micans beginners, but it gets much easier with time. Once you have its watering right, they are easy to care for. 

Bonus Tip: Bottom-water your Micans. 

I recommend bottom-watering your Micans instead of top-watering because this will ensure a thorough watering, and you’ll avoid getting the leaves wet.

Try to remove your Micans from its bowl of water when you notice that the soil has soaked from the bottom to the top layer of the soil.

Avoid leaving it in sitting water for the entire day, as this can result in unnecessary guttation (excess moisture being expelled through the leaves)

3. Fertilize conservatively. 

Philodendron Micans are considered “light feeders.”

They are susceptible to fertilizer burn without proper dilution of the fertilizer.

They do well with gentle, well-balanced fertilizer at half-strength monthly during the growing season and every other month during the winter. 

4. Repot your Micans when it becomes moderately rootbound.

Like many other aroids, the Micans does best in a snug pot. Avoiding extra layers of soil around this plant helps prevent root rot.

The Micans doesn’t mind being slightly rootbound and should only need repotting once every couple of years. 

Signs that it’s time to repot your Micans:

  • You notice excessive thirstiness when you haven’t changed the light conditions and you have to water it more often than usual. 
  • When you look at the root system, you notice a lack of soil around the outermost portions of the roots. Additionally, the roots appear crowded. 
  • Your Micans is starting to have slower growth and smaller leaves during what would normally be a growth season. Be sure to rule out other issues, and check for the previously mentioned signs of being rootbound before assuming it’s time to repot. 

Repotting rules of thumb:

  • Only go up one pot size. 
  • Make sure you select a pot with multiple drainage holes. 

I prefer to have them in nursery pots and use terracotta, ceramic pots, or baskets for aesthetics.  

5. Use a well-draining aerated soil mix with some moisture components. 

As part of the aroid group, these Philodendrons are susceptible to root rot if not placed in a well-draining substrate.

However, the Micans prefers more moisture than some other Philodendrons and should also have a balanced mixture with moisture components

Recipe for Micans soil mix:

  • ¼ Fine orchid bark or small coco chips (aeration)
  • ¼ Pumice or perlite (aeration)
  • ½ Organic potting mix (moisture) 

6. Allow your Micans to climb to achieve larger leaves

If you want to see those velvety leaves become larger, provide your Micans with something it can attach to and climb. 

For best results, this should be a structure that is also porous enough for your Micans to attach its aerial roots.

As with most tropical climbing plants, the leaves will become more mature when the plant can become well attached to a sturdy structure. This is the same way it would to a tree in its native habitat. 

Moss poles or unfinished cedar planks are best. 

With wooden planks, many Micans enthusiasts have agreed that the Micans is slow to attach to wood at first. It will eventually attach very well. You can use clear tape to adhere the vines to the plank until they’ve attached on their own. Once the plant attaches, you can expect to see larger leaves and thicker stems soon. 

With moss poles, the Micans will typically attach faster than with wood. This is the best method for achieving larger leaves as soon as possible. However, moss poles do require a bit more maintenance, such as keeping the moss moist. To each their own! 

You can also provide a trellis for your Micans to climb, but remember that a slick surface (plastic or metal) won’t allow the aerial roots to attach. With this type of structure, you’ll likely see accelerated growth as the plant climbs upward, but leaves won’t get much larger without root attachment.

Therefore, the structure you’ll want to provide depends on what goals you have for your Micans. 

Common Problems for Philodendron Micans

Below are common problems, causes & solutions.

Drooping leaves

  • Drought stress: Check the soil to see if your Micans is underwatered and give it a thorough watering.
  • Root trauma: Check the roots for damage from cold stress, overwatering, and root rot. Remove any dead portions of the roots, provide adequate light/warmth, and well-draining soil.
  • Pests: Check for any webbing, leaf damage, or other signs of pests and treat.

Yellow leaves

  • Inconsistent watering: Make sure you are not overwatering or underwatering.

White spots on leaves

  • Water stains: Avoid getting the leaves wet. If your tap water is hard, consider switching to filtered, distilled, or rainwater.
  • Pests: Check for any webbing, leaf damage, or other signs of pests and treat.

Long stems, leggy

  • Lack of adequate light: Provide more bright indirect sunlight or a grow light.

Bold red or pinkish spots on leaves

  • Sun-bleaching: Remove your Micans from harsh direct light to prevent damage. Sun-bleached leaves will usually survive but will have an altered cosmetic appearance of spots. New leaves will look normal if the plant is pulled back from the harsh light source.

Small leaves

  • Severe rootbound: Check to see if your Micans is severely rootbound. Being mildly rootbound won’t cause this, but if your plant is completely out of room in its pot, you may notice slowed growth and small leaves. Repot if needed.
  • Lack of adequate light: Provide more bright indirect sunlight or a grow light.


The Philodendron Micans is an excellent houseplant and beautiful addition to any plant collection. It prefers similar care to most Philodendrons but can be particular about watering and levels of direct light tolerance.

A common desire for this plant is to achieve larger leaves because they are stunning. You can achieve this by providing your Micans with something porous to climb. With proper care, this plant will thrive and easily become a favorite in your collection. 

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