Velvet leaf plant: care and propagation

Velvet leaf

Know in one minute about the velvet leaf plant

  • The velvet leaf plant has heart-shaped velvety leaves and golden-toned stems.
  • It removes indoor air pollutants and purifies the air.
  • Grows in well-draining peat-based organic-rich potting mix.
  • Needs bright indirect light and water when the top few inches of soil are dry.
  • Requires high humidity with temperatures 65°F – 80°F (19°C-27°C).
  • Fertilize the plant with balanced liquid fertilizer to obtain the best growth.
  • Easy to propagate by stem cuttings in water or soil.
  • Toxic to pets.

Introduction

The velvet leaf plant (Philodendron hederaceum ‘Micans’ or Philodendron Micans) is a popular houseplant belonging to the Araceae family. They have heart-shaped, velvety leaves, long trailing vines, and golden-toned stems. It grows naturally in the humidity-rich forest and non-parasitically on other plants. This plant also grew up on a moss pole or in a hanging basket as an ornamental plant at home.

It is one of the best houseplants that clean the indoor air by removing harmful chemicals like formaldehyde and improving mental health (1). The leaves absorb formaldehyde in water-based paint, glues in fitted carpets, or even laminated wooden floors. This pollutant may irritate the nose, throat, skin, eyes, and lungs (2).

Common name

This plant is also known as Heart-leaf philodendron, Sweetheart plant, Rare velvet leaf bronze micans vine, Heart-Leaf, Velvet Leaf Philodendron, Vilevine.

The geographical distribution

It is native to Central America, and Caribbean islands and is now grown in many places, like the UK, Bangladesh, and Seychelles.

Botanical description

1. Height

It is an evergreen fast grown climber that can reach up to 6 meters (20 feet) in height in the wild.  The plant can climb from 1.2 m to 1.8 m (4 to 6 feet) at home given ideal growing conditions.

2. Leaves

The leaves are deep green on the upper side and reddish-purple or burgundy on the back side with pink edges. They have a velvety feel, when the light shines they appear like shades of bronze to rusty orange. Mature leaves that grow to about 3 inches across and are green in color.

3. Stems

It has a round, smooth, medium green stem with a reddish or golden hue.

4. Flowers

Mature plants may produce green and white flowers any time of the year but mainly in summer. However, it is hard for them to have flowers indoors.

Care of Velvet leaf plant

The velvet leaf plant is easy to care for and maintain. It doesn’t need significant attention to grow indoors as a houseplant.

1. Sunlight

These plants require bright to moderate indirect light or morning sunlight for at least 4-6 hours.

Direct sunlight may cause browning, burn, discoloration, crispy edges, and curl or dropping of the leaves.

On the other hand, too low light may slow growth, be leggy (more space between the leaves), and produce paler or yellow smaller leaves. 

Adequate light may stay the leaves red/purple, while lower light will cause deeper green color in the leaves.

2. Water

Water thoroughly the plant when the top or 2 inches of soil is dry and allow drying out between the watering.

Avoid overwatering because it may cause lower leaves to turn yellow, wilting, a moldy potting mix, and a mushy stem base.

It also causes brown splotches on leaves and root rotting.

Be careful because underwatering may result in crispy brown edges, curling leaves, and stunted growth.

Reduce watering about once a month during the fall and winter months.

3. Soil

This plant grows best in a well-draining airy and organic-rich potting mix.

The blend of garden soil, coco coir or peat moss, perlite, and bark chips is an ideal potting mix.

It holds moisture increasing aeration and drainage in the soil.

4. Temperature 

It grows well in warm temperatures 65°F- 80°F (19°C-27°C) temperatures but doesn’t remain in good health at lower than 55°F (13°C). 

Furthermore, it handles a slight dip in nighttime temperatures but avoids sudden temperature drops because it damages leaves. 

5. Humidity

This plant likes humidity and thrives well when provided with high levels (50% or more) of humidity.

Also, tolerate low humidity but high humidity boosts their growth.

Low humidity may cause brown tips, drooping, curling, yellowing the leaves, and stunted growth.

Humidity can also be increased by placing the pot on a pebble tray, misting the leaves, or by a humidifier. 

6. Fertilizer

Fertilize the plant with balanced liquid fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer. Suspend the fertilizer in the fall or winter.

7. Repotting

This plant is slightly pot-bound and does not need to be repotting that frequently. Repotting should be done every 2-3 years and during the growing months.

Replace the old soil with fresh soil and go one size up to the current pot to prevent root rot from sitting in excess moisture.

When to repot the plant?

    • Leggy plants
    • Drooping
    • Wilting
    • Leaves turning yellow
    • Stunted growth
    • Roots growing from drainage holes
  • Roots heavily coiled around the outside of the soil 

Staking or support

Stacking is necessary to get the plant to hang on by its aerial roots. Moss-covered polls, trellis, and stakes set into the middle of the pot will provide extra support for climbing.

Pruning

Pruning is necessary to control the length of the vines and remove damaged, dead or diseased leaves. It also encourages branching, promotes fuller growth, and keeps it looking attractive. The best time for pruning is spring and summer.

Propagation of velvet leaf plant

Propagation of velvet leaf plants can be done at the time of pruning or in winter or early spring

This plant can be propagated using stem cuttings with at least some leaves and nodes in water or soil. 

  • Propagation in water

Place the stem is cut into water, in a warm location with at least one node under the surface. Make sure that any leaves should not remain under the water’s surface because it obstructs root growth. 

  • Propagation in the soil

This plant can also be propagated faster in moist potting mix soil because it gets nutrients present in the soil. Moreover, the plants will suffer less transplant shock but it did not give a chance to see roots growing.

 In both methods, keep the cutting under bright, indirect light to hustle free sprouting of nodes within a few weeks. Moreover, this plant also produces aerial roots at the nodes which can easily be cut and planted to produce a new plant. 

Diseases or problems

1. Pest

Velvet leaf plants can be affected by insects like fungus grants, spider mites, scale, sap-sucking aphids, and mealy bugs. 

2. Overwatering

This plant doesn’t require a lot of watering because it can promote fungal growth. Overwatering may kill the plant by root rotting, mushy stems, wilting, yellowing, leaves falling off, and stunted growth.

3. Brown, crispy leaf tips

Crispy brown edges, curling leaves, and stunted growth may occur due to underwatering or low humidity. These brown tips and edges are also caused by fertilizer burns, sunburns, transplant shock, and heat stress.

4. Falling off leaves

Too little watering may rapidly drop off the leaves. Thus, water thoroughly the plant but don’t let the soil dry too much between watering.

5. Leaf spot disease

Black and brown spot on leaves is due to the pest, cold damage, improper watering, and water quality.

6. Small and high-spaced leaves

Low light may cause the plant to grow long, and generate small and more space between the leaves. Thus, this plant needs brighter, indirect light for growth.

7. Insufficient drainage

Improper draining may cause swelling in the stem (mushy stems) and root rot. Thus, make sure that the plant container has proper holes and do not let the soil saggy. Moreover, cover the bottom of the pot with pebbles to keep the plant above the drainage water. 

Pets friendly or not?

The velvet leaf plant contains oxalate that is toxic to pets when accidentally ingested in large quantities. After intake, it is absorbed into the blood, combined with calcium, and forms sharp, needle crystals of calcium oxalate.

These crystals may cause oral irritation of the mouth, lips, tongue, and swallowing difficulty. It may also cause skin irritation, drooling, diarrhea, and vomiting

Q&A

1. What is velvet leaf?

The velvety leaves plant is one of the fast-growing indoor air purifier plants. This climber plant is easy to care for and beautifies the home as a tabletop or hanging basket.

2. What does a velvet leaf look like?

The velvet leaf plant has heart-shaped leaves, colors from bronze to light, and dark green and reddish brown or burgundy undersides. They have a velvety feel with pink and purple highlights on the new growth.

3. How to care for the velvet leaf plant?

This plant performs well in bright, indirect light with high humidity and . maintains temperatures between 65 and 80℉. Use a well-draining potting mix and water when the top few inches of soil are dry. Fertilize once a month during the growing season and repot it every 2-3 years.

4. How to get rid of velvet leaves?

Generally, the velvet leaf plant has no serious insect or disease problems. It is affected by improper watering, drainage, or lighting.

5. How to water velvet leaf bronze micans vine care?

The velvet leaf plant requires water in moderate amounts and allows the soil to dry out between watering.

Do not overwater the plant may cause root rot, but do not allow the soil to dry out totally. In the fall and winter, keep the soil drier before watering

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*