Scindapsus Pictus: Satin Pothos Plant Care

The Satin Pothos, the botanical name of Scindapsus pictus, is sure to draw attention wherever it is placed in your house.

This popular evergreen house plant originated in the rainforests of southeast Asia and will more than happily grow indoors.

The Satin Pothos has distinctive heart-shaped leaves, detailed with striking silvery markings or silvery spots and splashes against its dark green foliage.

The variegation of silver spots and blotches on the matte green leaf is why the plant was given the name “Pictus” which means “painted” in Latin.

Don’t expect flowers though; like many house plants, the Satin Pothos rarely flowers indoors.

The Satin Pothos can be pruned regularly, to create bushy foliage, or you can let them grow out.

The stems can grow up to 10 feet in length and when planted in pots or in a hanging basket where they can trail out to 3 feet.

The satin pothos looks remarkably similar to the Philodendron silver plant, but they are separate species. Both plants feature trailing vines, heart-shaped leaves, and silver variegation.

Mix-ups arise because the common names for these plants are occasionally used interchangeably.

The mistake came about because the Satin Pothos plants were once classified into the Epipremnum genus.

After scientific research, botanists discovered that the Satin Pothos is neither a Philodendron nor an Epipremnum (the botanical name for Pothos plants).

However, the popular term “Pothos” stuck is now still known as a Satin Pothos. or Silver Satin Pothos.

Satin Pothos is a resilient and low-maintenance plant when properly cared for. In this post, we will go over what you’ll need to do to take care of a satin pothos maintenance plant. 

How to Care for Satin Pothos Plants

Light requirements

The Satin pothos is one of the really hardy indoor plants. It can tolerate a variety of light conditions, from low light to bright indirect light.

However, it does not like strong, direct sunlight. If the location you’ve placed your plant in is too bright, you’ll notice the leaves starting to burn or turn brown.

On the other hand, if the location is too dim the leaf patterns will begin to fade.

Try moving your plant to a location with better light, the pattern will become more distinct again. 

Don’t be afraid to test different areas within the house to find the light conditions that give optimal growth and leaf pattern.  

Temperature and Climate

Light-For-Satin-Pothos-Plants

As the Satin Pothos originated in the rainforests of southeast Asia, it’s no surprise that this plant prefers warm, humid conditions.

Ideal growing temperatures range from 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit (18-29 degrees Celsius). It will begin to visibly struggle when indoor temperatures drop to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius).

If your bathroom has suitable light conditions, the bathroom can be a brilliant location due to the warmth and humidity levels. 

Watering

Here’s where you might come unstuck. The Satin pothos is pretty hardy and easy to care for, but watering rates are really important for this plant.

Yes, it’s a rainforest species that loves humidity, but it does not like soggy soil.

Too much water or soggy soil and you will begin to notice yellow leaves. In the warmer summer months, the soil will dry out faster, and your Satin pothos is actively growing.

As a result, you might need to water your Silver Satin Pothos more frequently to compensate.

In the cooler winter months, it will grow slowly and therefore won’t be as thirsty.

Curling leaves are an indication that your Satin Pothos is water-stressed and drying out too much. You can also combat this by increasing humidity levels.

One method to increase humidity is to give your Satin pothos a mist with room temperature water from a spray bottle. 

As a general rule – if the top inch of soil is dry, then it’s time to water. 

Soil

Soil-For-Satin-Pothos-Plants

As with watering rates, soil mixture is really important. If the soil mix is too heavy and holding water the roots are likely to rot.

If the mix is too light, the water will drain away quickly and your pothos will become water-stressed.

You can purchase an indoor plant potting mix, or simply make your own.

To make your own pothos potting mix, take equal parts of soil mix to perlite and peat moss or coir coco chips.

A quick water test will tell you if the soil mix is free-draining enough. You can also add a pebble tray to the pot to ensure the very tip of the roots does not sit in water.

Another item you may want to consider is a moss pole. Since these plants trail and climb, you can help them grow upwards with a pole to attach themselves to.

If you’re looking for a moss pole, we like this particular moss pole. It’s worked with all our trailing and climbing plants. Don’t have anything bad to say about these moss poles. Plus, they’re made out of coco coir, so you know it’s organic.

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Fertilizing

The Satin pothos is quite hardy and generally doesn’t need too much fertilizer.

In saying that, if you notice growth has slowed down, particularly in the growing season or the leaves are losing a bit of luster.

Then it’s time to give it a little fertilizer boost, but only fertilize during the peak growing season, which is typically from late spring to early summer onwards.

Use a fertilizer suitable for indoor houseplants and follow the label directions. If in doubt, dilute more than recommended. Strong fertilizer will shock your plant.

Instead of guessing when and how much fertilizer to use, we suggest this slow-release fertilizer. It’s super simple to use as once you set it in the soil, you don’t have to do anything else.

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Pruning

In terms of pruning, the Satin pothos does not technically need pruning. However, it’s nice to prune back any damaged or dead leaves.

Pruning will also encourage bushier growth and will alter the growing shape of the vine.

If you’re looking for a pair of pruning shears, we highly suggest these pruning garden shears. They are super sharp and are very easy on the hands.

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Propagation

Propagation-Satin-Pothos-Plants

Propagating the Satin Pothos is as easy as it comes. Simply cut a stem just below a growth node on the mother plant, and place it in a jar of water.

Once you have about 3cm of root growth on the propagule you can replant it in a pot with a fresh soil mix.

Repotting

A good indication the pothos needs repotting, is when you begin to see roots growing through drain holes. 

Also remember, when grown indoors, Satin Pothos plants can become vining plants that sprout out aerial roots.

When repotting silver pothos, you should inspect the root system for signs of rot and prune any unhealthy-looking roots.

Now you can repot in fresh soil and a larger nursery pot if you choose. Just ensure to get a container that has drainage holes to rid any excess water.

Pests and diseases

The Satin pothos is not too badly affected by pests and diseases. The main thing to look for are signs of root rot, from too much water and poorly draining soil.

It’s sometimes prone to scale and spider mite attacks.

For a natural solution to scale and spider mites, try gently wiping the foliage of the plant with a cotton ball soaked in isopropyl or rubbing alcohol.

Toxicity

Satin pothos is listed as poisonous when ingested. This may be something to consider when selecting where to place this plant in the home. So keep this plant away from kids and pets.

FAQ

How many different varieties of Scindapsus are there on the market? 

Within the same genus of Scindapsus, there are at least four different varieties of Scindapsus grown. The most common is Scindapsus pictus ‘Argyraeus’ which has a more even mix of green and variegation. Closely followed by Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’, which has slightly larger leaves and distinctly more variegation.

How do I know if I’m overwatering a Satin Pothos?

If you’re watering a Satin Pothos too much, you will start to see the leaves start turning yellow or brown. In contrast, if you see yellow leaves as well as brown crispy areas on other leaves, the culprit might be underwatering. Only water when the top inch of soil feels dry. 

Why is my Satin pothos developing brown leaf tips?

Crispy dry, burnt appearing leaves can be a sign your pothos is suffering from too much intense sunlight or it could mean that you are underwatering. Try changing its location in the house to somewhere with lower light or indirect light or give it more water if you notice the top of the soil dried out.

Conclusion

The Satin Pothos plant is a great choice for a first-time houseplant owner. Satin Pothos is a low-maintenance plant, but there are still some things that need to be done.

The first and one of the most important aspects is to make sure that they get enough light, which should be indirect and not intense. A good way to do this is by placing them near a window or outdoors during the day.

It looks great in a hanging basket and does best in a location with high humidity. It is also prone to root rot, so make sure not to overwater the plant. Propagating it is very easy.

If you are looking for a lush, green plant that doesn’t need much maintenance, the pothos plant is perfect for you!

Other pothos plants to Consider

Though the Satin Pothos is technically not a pothos plant, it is a fantastic indoor vining plant to grow.

However, if you are looking for other types of pothos plants, read further for our post on:

References

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  • Missouri Botanical Garden. (n.d.). Scindapsus pictus ‘Argyraeus’. Plant Finder, Missouri Botanical Garden website. URL: https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=297512&isprofile=0&
  • Singapore National Agency. (n.d.). Scindapsus pictus Hassk. Government of Singapore, National Parks Flora & Fauna Web. URL: https://www.nparks.gov.sg/florafaunaweb/flora/6/0/6027
  • About/mentions: Satin Pothos, Pothos, houseplants

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