Also known as the satin pothos or silver pothos, the Scindapsus pictus is a popular vine plant most commonly found in hanging baskets or draping over a shelf in a bedroom, living room, or office.
These tropical plants have an eye-catching appearance with their silver-green colouring and unique variegation.
Aside from their appearance, the reason why Scindapsus pictus is such a popular houseplant is for the plant’s easy maintenance requirements. These low-maintenance plants are ideal for beginner houseplant owners and make for a lovely addition of green to any room.
Whether you’re looking to expand your houseplant collection or enhance your knowledge of houseplants, here is everything you need to know about Scindapsus pictus!
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What Is Scindapsus pictus?
Scindapsus pictus is also known as the satin pothos, the silver pothos, or the silver vine – but it is also incorrectly called the philodendron silver, which is an entirely different species.
These plants are native to tropical rainforests across Asia, including India, Bangladesh, Java, Borneo, Thailand, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
The Scindapsus pictus is an evergreen climber known to grow up to 3 meters tall/long. They consist of trailing vines featuring medium-sized heart-shaped matte green leaves with distinctive silver variegation.
This variegation appears in blotches and spots, hence part of the scientific name “pictus”, which means “painted”.
Scindapsus pictus is considered a toxic plant for pets to consume.
Scindapsus pictus Care Guide
Scindapsus pictus has fairly easy soil requirements, following the average requirements among most houseplant species. These plants like to grow in well-drained soils that are rich in nutrients.
Well-drained soils are vital for tropical plants like the satin pothos because they allow water to drain freely. Without this, water will pool at the bottom, resulting in a lack of oxygenation and eventual root rot, which can be detrimental to the plant’s health.
To achieve the right nutritional value in soil for Scindapsus pictus, we recommend making your own potting mix consisting of equal parts peat moss, perlite, and potting soil.
The peat moss works to keep the soil moist without being waterlogged.
You can also replace perlite for crushed charcoal, as this works to remove toxins from the soil and plant. Charcoal is a product of burning trees, which is often found in the soil of the plant’s natural environment.
Scindapsus pictus can be planted in virtually any type of vertical pot, as they will naturally begin to grow in a climbing fashion.
As with most houseplants, the satin pothos needs to be in a pot with a good drainage system, achieved by several holes at the bottom of the pot. This is to allow water to drain through the soil to prevent root rot.
To enjoy the benefits of the climbing vine, the Scindapsus pictus looks particularly good in a hanging basket, though they can also be placed on a windowsill or shelf.
Plus as these houseplants are toxic to pets (like cats and dogs), they’re safer for a household when planted in a hanging basket.
Scindapsus pictus has fairly basic watering requirements. They only need to be watered when the soil is dry. To check when they need watering, stick your finger an inch down into the soil.
The top layer of soil is an unreliable indicator of whether the plant requires water because this layer dries the fastest.
If the soil below the top layer is dry, you can water your plant. To do this, place the plant in a sink, bathtub, or garden. Pour water all over the soil for even coverage until it starts to drain out of the holes.
Leave your plant in the same position for a couple of hours, or until the water has completely drained.
Depending on the plant and other factors, you’ll probably need to water your Scindapsus pictus once a week. It’ll need more frequent watering in summer and less frequent watering in winter.
Scindapsus pictus likes to grow in bright, indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight can dry out the soil and burn the leaves, so keep these plants away from direct sunlight such as windows.
If you want the plant to be in a hanging basket, place it near an east-facing or west-facing window to receive morning or evening sunlight.
While these plants can grow in shade and low-light conditions, this will result in duller leaves.
Temperature & Humidity
Scindapsus pictus can grow in average room temperatures of around 65-85 °F during the day and between 60-70 °F at night. They typically prefer a constant temperature as sudden changes can be stressful for the plant, resulting in discolouration and limpness.
You’ll also want to keep this plant away from artificial heating and cooling such as radiators and air conditioners.
As for humidity, Scindapsus pictus can grow in moderate to high humidity with an average humidity of 40%.
The best way to achieve these levels of humidity is to either invest in a humidifier or regularly mist the plant, which also helps to keep the leaves bright and colourful.
You can also keep the plant in a bathroom or kitchen where the humidity levels tend to be higher than in other rooms.
Scindapsus pothos benefits from monthly fertilization during the growing season between spring and fall. They like to be fertilized with a standard houseplant fertilizer in their watering routine.
These houseplants don’t need pruning too often, but the occasional pruning session helps to promote growth. You can pluck off deadened leaves, or snip the ends of stems with sterilized scissors.
The best time to prune your Scindapsus pothos is at the start of spring, as this will encourage growth after coming out of the dormancy period.
Common Problems With Scindapsus pictus
Scindapsus pictus isn’t generally prone to any diseases or pests, but they can develop root rot or pests like spider mites and mealybugs. These can be easily avoided by sticking to the plant’s maintenance requirements, especially by avoiding overwatering.
Scindapsus pictus (or satin pothos) is an easy plant to grow and care for, making this species a stunning addition to any home – especially for beginner houseplant owners.