Satin Pothos (Silver Pothos) Plant Care: Growing Scindapsus Pictus

Satin Pothos

The Silver Pothos (Scindapsus Pictus) is a popular but hard to find houseplant that comes by many names. These include satin pothos, silver satin pothos and silver cloud pothos. In many cases, people also refer to it as the silver philodendron.

However, note that the silver pothos and silver philodendron are two different plants. And that the silver pothos doesn’t belong to the same genus as your other pothos varieties. Thus, its name is a bit misleading. You can quickly tell the difference because of its botanical name Scindapsus Pictus. In contrast, pothos go by genus Epipremnum.

The reason for this is that the silver pothos used to be classified under the genus Epipremnum along with the other pothos plants. But later on, it was changed. However, since most people where used to calling it as such, the “pothos” part of its common name stuck.

Originating from the rainforests of Asia, the silver pothos likes tropical conditions. Thus, it thrives inside homes and offices. Often you’ll see it in hanging baskets, above shelves or pots with training stems. These spots allow their long stems to cascade beautifully.

Speaking of which, its stems can grow to as long as 10 feet. Although when grown in pots indoors, the size is limited to between 3 to 6 feet, often on the lower end of the range. Regular pruning also allows you to control and manicure them as you desire.

Another allure to the silver pothos is that it is easy to grow. It doesn’t fuss much as long as you give it bright, indirect light and don’t over water it. Thus, its low maintenance makes it ideal for beginners.

Above all else, the biggest draw of the silver pothos is its majestic foliage. This houseplant comes with heart shaped leaves that have distinctive silver spots covering its dark green surface. Its unusually unique looks make it a wonderful addition to indoor spaces. However, lack of light or placing it in low light areas will cause its leaves to revert back to solid green color. So be sure to give it enough illumination.

In contrast to other pothos plants, the satin pothos is less vining. It also grows fuller. Thus, it’s a better option if you like less stems and more foliage.

Last but not least, you also get the benefit of its air purifying qualities. This houseplant is know for removing toxins like Benzene, Xylene and Formaldehyde from the air you breathe.

Silver Pothos Plant Care

Silver Pothos Light

As mentioned above, the Silver Pothos isn’t actually a pothos, at least not botanically speaking. But, because it used to be named as such it’s often grouped together with other pothos varieties. That said, it behaves very much like other pothos species.

One of the characteristics it shares is that it requires bright, indirect light. This makes it perfect for growing indoors in homes and offices. But, while the plant is relatively easy to care for, you’ll still need to balance the amount of light it receives. That’s because:

  • Too much light, specifically harsh, direct sunlight will cause its leaves to scorch.
  • Too little light will make it lose its variegation. Thus, making it look plain and bland. You’ll likewise see its leaves become darker while the stems become leggy.

Thus, it’s key to move your Silver Pothos as needed based on the symptoms it’s showing you.

That said, an east facing window is the best place to put the Satin Pothos. That’s because sun rises in the east and the morning sun is less harsh than that in the afternoon. You can likewise place it in a west facing window as long as you keep it away from direct sunlight.

The worst place to position it will be facing south where you get the most light. If that’s your only option make sure it gets some protection from drapes, or other kind of covering so it only received indirect light.

 

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Silver Pothos Temperature & Humidity

Another reason the Silver Pothos makes for a favorite houseplant choice is that it does well in home temperatures. As long as you keep the temp in your home between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, it will be happy.

More importantly, don’t leave it in locations where the temperature is below 60 degrees. Or, places where the temperature can suddenly drop when it rains, seasons change or during the evenings. Exposing them to lower than 60 degrees, even for short periods of time can be enough to damage its leaves. As a tropical plant, it doesn’t like the cold.

Speaking of tropical, its origin also makes the pothos prefer moderate to high humidity. Thus, it’s a good idea to humidity between 40% and 50% around the plant. If your home’s natural humidity isn’t between this level, you can get a humidifier or keep the plant on a basin of water on top of pebbles.

 

Silver Pothos Watering

As with most other houseplants, the goal of watering your Silver Pothos is to keep the soil moist without getting soggy. Silver or Satin Pothos become susceptible to diseases if kept in wet conditions. Thus, you’ll only want to water it when the top 1 to 2 inches get dry.

So, before adding more water, always stick your finger into the soil first. If the top 2 inches are dry, it’s a sign it’s time to water again. Otherwise, wait a little longer.

Generally, once a week watering works. But, during the summer, depending on where you live, you may need to water as much as twice a week. In contrast, you’ll want to scale back on watering come wintertime.

In general, lack of water is less of a worry than too much water as your satin pothos is able to tolerate the former. But, once you see the leaf tips start turning brown, it’s a sign of lack of water. On the other hand, overwatering will result in yellow leaves.

When watering, you want to water thoroughly until you see the liquid drip from bottom holes of the pot. Also use room temperature water so as not to shock the plant.

 

Soil

Silver pothos like rich soil as long as it drain well. The latter being more important than the former. That’s because lack of nutrients can be remedied by fertilizer. And, it the soil isn’t as rich, it just slows growth and causes your plant’s foliage to be less bright.

But, poor draining soil causes water retention. Which, if not corrected, causes diseases and other problems. Ultimately, too much water can kill your satin pothos.

Using a combination of perlite and peat moss is a great way to improve both moisture and water drainage. Peat moss helps keep soil moist as it retains water well. Perlite on the other hand improves drainage. You can likewise use coco coir in place of perlite if that’s more available to you.

A good way to test this is to water the soil thoroughly. If it drains through the bottom of the pot quickly, then you need to add more peat moss to slow the water drainage. On the other hand, if the water fills the top of the soil or floods it, then your soil isn’t draining enough.

 

Fertilizing

When it comes to feeding, your Silver Pothos doesn’t need a lot of food. But, providing it with fertilizer during its growing season helps it grow faster. All you need to do is feed it monthly during the growing season and it will be happy. Once winter comes around, stop giving it fertilizer until the next growing season arrives.

One of the reasons Silver pothos work well as home or office plants is because they’re not fast growers. This, of course, is in addition to them being well-adapted to indoor conditions.

 

Pruning Silver Pothos

Because it’s a slow grower, the Silver pothos doesn’t need to be pruned much. Often, you’ll be trimming the dead, damaged or discolored foliage and stems. Similarly, you’ll want to cut off any diseased parts should they happen.

To do so, make use of sharp sterilized scissors. Then, cut the stems just above a leaf node. While pruning isn’t needed to control its size, trimming the satin pothos once in a while helps encourage new growth. As a result, this helps the plant become bushier and fuller.

The best time to prune your silver pothos is just before spring when its growing season happens. This allows it to grow faster right after you prune it.

 

Silver Pothos Propagation

Following the pruning steps above is also how you’ll be able to propagate your silver pothos. But, instead of just discarding the stems, you’ll put them to good use.

To propagate your satin pothos,

  • Take a 4 icnhe long cutting. Ideally, you want to do so during spring or early in the summer during its growth stage.
  • Next, place the cutting in water. Then wait.
  • Once the a 1 to 1.5 inche root starts to appear, it’s time to move them into a container with fresh potting mix.

satin pothos

source: wikimedia commons

 

Silver Pothos Transplanting & Repotting

As with pruning, the slower growth of silver pothos means that you don’t have to repot it as often as other plants. But, once you see the plant starting to outgrow its pot, the roots coming out of the drain holes and its overall growth slowing down, it’s time to move to a bigger container.

The best time to do so is during early spring when it is about to start growing faster. When you do so, make sure to use fresh potting mix to help it along.

  • Choose a container that’s 2 inches bigger than the current one.
  • Then carefully take the root ball out
  • Brush off the excess soil and dirt while untangling some of the roots
  • Fill the new container with fresh potting soil.
  • Insert the plant into the new pot and fill the rest of the soil. Your goal here is to let the plant stick out of the soil as high as it used to in the old pot.
  • Then pat down the rest of the soil to slightly pack it.
  • Finally water thoroughly

 

Toxicity

Keep your silver pothos away from both young kids and pets because it is toxic. Thus, consuming the leaves or stems can result is mouth swelling, vomiting, and swallowing problems.

 

Pests

Scale and spider mites are two pests that can infest your silver pothos. When this happens make sure to separate it from other plants because they can easy contaminate the others. Also check the others for any pest infestation. Often, if they’re present in one, you’ll likely see them in others unless you catch it early.

 

Diseases

Overwatering is the most common cause of disease with Silver pothos. That’s because too much water increases its risk of root rot. Similarly, too much water can result in fungal disease. Either way, both pose a risk to the health of your plant.

Unfortunately, because the soil prevents you from seeing what’s happening to the roots, by the time your see the symptoms (spots on the leaves, brown stems and others), there has been considerable damage already to the plant.

Thus, your option here it to repot it to help revive the dying plant.

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