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If you want a vining plant that is just as easy to grow as a pothos or heart leaf Philodendron but want something a bit showier and distinct, then Scindapsus pictus is the plant for you! It is a cinch to grow so let me talk about how to care for this gorgeous houseplant.
Before I get into the care of this plant, let me clarify the various names of this plant. There are so many common names for this plant. It’s out of control!
Among the common names are: Satin Pothos, Silver Pothos, and Silver Philodendron. To add to the confusion, this plant is neither a pothos nor a philodendron! Although they are somewhat related.
Common names are just confusing. The botanical name for this plant is Scindapsus pictus. There are a few variations of this plant, some with more variegation and some with less. I believe the one I have is Scindapsus pictus ‘Argyraeus.’
Another version of this plant is Scindapsus pictus ‘Silvery Ann’ which has even more variegation. The care is the same.
Scindapsus Pictus Care
All the photos in this post are photos from the plant that I have in my office at work in a meeting room. It sits maybe 4 feet or so from a Western window.
I noticed that when I first obtained the plant, it took a bit of time to adjust and grew a little slowly. After a while, the growth sped up and now is a few feet long.
Let’s go into the details now on what Scindapsus pictus likes.
These plants thrive in bright indirect light. A little bit of sun would work too, but in general, they don’t like a lot of direct sun. A bit of morning sun would work well though. Morning sun in gentler than afternoon sun.
For best growth and health, place these plants close to a bright window. Within 1-2 feet of a window that gets bright, indirect light. A large Northern window or Eastern window would be ideal.
Too little light would slow down the growth dramatically, as well as lose the beautiful variegation, whereas too much direct sun would scorch the leaves.
If you have very sunny Western or Southern windows, consider moving the plant just a bit back so it doesn’t receive too much sun, or diffuse the light with blinds or a sheer curtain.
In general, I recommend my usual approach to watering. Water throughly until water exits the drainage hole(s) and discard the excess water.
Don’t water again until the top inch or so of the potting mix dries out.
I have forgotten about my plant a few times and let it go too dry. It is pretty forgiving as long as you don’t completely forget about it!
One common symptom of the soil getting too dry is that you will see all the leaves start curling under. If you notice this, feel the soil. Chances are it is bone dry. Give it a good watering and it will recover.
Another issue that you may see if the soil goes completely dry for a while is that the lower leaves will turn yellow. Simply take the yellow leaf off and give the plant a good watering if the soil is really dry.
Again, when you notice anything unusual with plants in general, always feel the soil and observe. Is it completely dry? Is it soaking wet? Assuming that your plant is growing in appropriate light and comfortable indoor temperatures, your issue is probably watering related.
One interesting thing that I’ve noticed with this plant is I haven’t really noticed any issues with brown tips. If you have, I’ll refer you to my blog post on why your plants are getting brown tips. There are various reasons why plants get brown tips.
I also have a great blog post on why your plants are getting yellow leaves, and what you can do about it. Yellow leaves can be caused by a variety of issues, so be sure not to miss the blog post!
OTHER SCINDAPSUS CARE TIPS
For most houseplants, if you are comfortable in your indoor conditions (temperature and humidity), then your houseplants will be comfortable too.
Average indoor humidity of at least 45-50% is fine. If you find that your indoor air is too dry (especially in winter if you used forced air heat), it would be a great idea to get a good humidifier.
My indoor air during the winter is painfully dry, so I invested in a good humidifier.
I got tired of the cheap, junky humidifiers, so I some some research and found an amazing one.
My favorite humidifier and the one I use every winter is from Levoit. You can purchase it from Amazon and it is well worth the investment.
The Levoit Ultrasonic Humidifier can be used as cool mist, or warm mist, and has tons of features and is very customizable depending on your needs.
It is quiet, has a remote control, has an auto shut-off and is very well built.
You can even use essential oils in it if you’d like! You won’t regret it! My dry skin also thanks me, not to mention all my plants.
So if you’ve been frustrated with other humidifiers, give the Levoit Ultrasonic Humidifer a shot. You won’t be disappointed.
As far as fertilizing goes, my absolute favorite fertilizer is Dyna-Gro Grow. I buy it off of Amazon as well and it is a fantastic all-purpose fertilizer that i use for most of my houseplants. It is well worth getting a premium fertilizer like Dyn-Gro Grow!
I like to fertilize all year except during the winter. For most of my houseplants, I use 1/4″ teaspoon per gallon of water every time I water. It works well for all tropical foliage houseplants and I also use it for my orchids.
I really have noticed a difference with this fertilizer. Plants grow better, are more vigorous, and my flowering houseplants also produce more flowers.
PROPAGATING SCINDAPSUS PICTUS
It is super easy to propagate this plant. You can propagate this plant just like you would propagate Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) or Heart Leaf Philodendron.
Take a look at the photo below.
All you need to do is make cuttings that have at least one node (where the leaf meets the vine). Make sure each cutting has at least one leaf, or two. Don’t make your cuttings too long.
You can see in the photo above that there are two aerial roots already growing at the node (right above my forefinger and thumb). Just simply cut maybe half an inch below each node, and place the cuttings in water.
I like to place any leafy tropical plant cuttings in bright indirect light and try to avoid much direct sun.
Make sure that the node is under water because this is where the roots will grow from.
Once the cuttings have roots that are an inch or so long, you can pot them up in a small pot. That’s really all there is to it. If you leave the cuttings a bit longer in water, that’s ok too. Just don’t forget and wait forever.
As far as potting soil goes, a good general mix that I use all the time for my tropical foliage plants is the following:
- 3 Parts Miracle-Gro Potting Soil
- 1 Part Perlite
Mix it all up together really well, and this is a GREAT all-purpose potting mix for the majority of leafy tropicals!
That’s about it folks! Do you have a Scindapsus pictus? Comment below! I’d love to hear from you.
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