Easy to care for and beautifully decorative leaves – the satin pothos is a universally popular houseplant.
With its silvery patterned leaves which differ depending on the variety, the satin pothos (Scindapsus pictus) makes a stunning addition to any houseplant collection. Discover some of the most popular Scindapsus pictus varieties and how to care for this beginner-friendly houseplant.
Satin pothos: origin and characteristics
Satin pothos (Scindapsus pictus), also known as silver satin pothos or silver pothos, belongs to the arum family, Araceae, like pothos (Epipremnum). It originates from Southeast Asia and is nowadays also found in Northern Australia. This plant’s ornamental climbing foliage also makes it a popular addition to many indoor plant collections. Satin pothos can be grown on moss poles, in hanging baskets, or even manually wrapped around climbing aids. The leaves grow on vines that can reach three metres in length. These unique, heart-shaped leaves are green with silvery spots or patterns. They have a shiny, silky surface and, with the exception of the pattern and feel, are quite similar to pothos. The shoots also have small aerial roots that the plant uses to attach itself to climbing aids such as coconut fibre rods or moss poles. Satin pothos has typical arum flowers that are enclosed in a spatha. However, the plant generally only flowers in the wild and very rarely as a houseplant.
The most beautiful Scindapsus pictus varieties
There are several varieties of satin pothos that differ predominantly in their leaf pattern. In some cases, a Scindapsus pictus variety may seem almost completely silver, and barely green at all.
- Scindapsus pictus ‘Argyraeus’: Scindapsus variety with somewhat smaller leaves with rather small, silvery spots.
- Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’: This variety appears almost completely silver due to the large patterning.
- Scindapsus pictus ‘Trebie’: The leaves of this variety have large, silvery spots and a green central stripe.
- Scindapsus pictus ‘Silvery Ann‘: Irregular, large silver spots.
- Scindapsus pictus ‘Silver Splash’: Exhibits delicate, light green spots on the leaves.
Growing satin pothos: where and how
As an indoor plant, Scindapsus pictus prefers a location that is bright and warm. While it is also possible to grow them in a darker location, this will result in a less pronounced silvery leaf pattern and the plant will not grow as fast. The ideal temperature for satin pothos lies around 20 °C, but these plants will also tolerate cooler or warmer temperature fluctuations, as long as it is no colder than 15 °C. Before planting satin pothos, we recommend creating a drainage layer at the bottom of the pot using coarse material as this will help prevent waterlogging. Aside from excessively low temperatures and overexposure to direct sunlight, waterlogged soil is a major maintenance mistake for the plant. When planting, use a high-quality potting soil, such as our Plantura Organic All Purpose Compost. This compost retains its loose structure over a long period of time and holds water well.
- Perfect for all your house, garden & balcony plants
- For strong & healthy plants as well as an active soil life
- Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition
Tip: Because of the long, leafy shoots, Scindapsus pictus looks particularly decorative in a hanging pot.
Satin pothos care
As a low maintenance plant, the satin pothos has become a popular choice for both home and office environments. However, it still needs a little attention now and then. Follow these tips to ensure your plant stays happy and healthy.
Watering and fertilising
Satin pothos require a moderate amount of water. Always allow the top layer of soil to dry slightly between waterings. Pour off excess water about 15 minutes after watering to prevent root rot. Soft, lime-free rainwater is best for watering Scindapsus.
To imitate the humid environment of its tropical home region, occasionally mist your plant with water. You can also place a bowl of water nearby to up the humidity.
When it comes to fertilising, it is best to use a liquid fertiliser, such as our Plantura Liquid Houseplant Food. Simply dilute this into the water you use for watering. During the growing season, apply fertiliser about every two to four weeks. It is not necessary to fertilise in winter.
If your satin pothos grows too much or the long shoots get in the way, you can always prune it. However, it is best to wait until spring to do this. This way, you can use the shoots you cut off to propagate your houseplant.
Spring is also the ideal time for repotting satin pothos. Every two to three years, or at the latest when the roots grow out of the pot, it is time for a larger pot and fresh soil. To do this, gently lift the plant out of its pot and carefully remove the soil from the roots. Then plant it in a new pot, preferably with a drainage layer at the bottom.
Why does my satin pothos have yellow leaves?
Satin pothos’ leaves can turn yellow for various reasons. This is usually due to the wrong location or incorrect care. Here are a few possible causes and how to remedy them:
- Waterlogging: Satin pothos plants do not tolerate waterlogging at all. If the soil is very moist and smells unpleasant, repot the plant. When doing this, cut off any rotten roots. Water less in the future and always allow excess water to drain out of the pot.
- Cold and draught: This can also be responsible for discolouration and leaf drop. Move your plant to a sheltered location without draughts – somewhere with the appropriate temperature and high humidity is ideal.
- Direct sun: Direct sunlight can cause burnt spots on the leaves. To prevent such burns, refrain from placing the plant in an unprotected south-facing window or other places with intense sunlight.
- Drought: If your satin pothos’ leaves are curling (possibly with some discoloration), this is probably due to a lack of water. If this is the case, immerse the entire pot in lukewarm water until no more bubbles rise and water more regularly in future.
Satin pothos propagation
The easiest way to propagate satin pothos is by taking cuttings. It is best to do this in spring when the growing season begins. This way, both the cuttings and the mother plant will sprout again quickly. Before you begin propagating, you will first need to fill one or more small pots with a growing medium, such as our Plantura Organic Herb & Seeding Compost. Our soil is peat-free and well-draining and as it contains fewer nutrients than all-purpose compost, it encourages young plants to grow more and stronger roots. Now proceed as follows:
- Cut off one or more shoots from the mother plant, ensuring these have at least one node and leaf.
Tip: Nodes appear as slight thickenings on the shoot from which leaves and new roots will sprout. As a result, you can cut a shoot into several pieces and use each of them as a cutting as long as each section has some leaf nodes and leaves present.
- Place the Scindapsus cuttings, cut side down, into the soil and moisten the soil.
- Finally, to increase humidity, cover the plants with a plastic bag. To prevent mould from growing, make sure to air it out once a day.
- Place in a warm, bright place at around 20 to 25 °C. Once some roots and leaves have grown, repot the cuttings into a more nutrient-rich soil.
Is Scindapsus pictus poisonous?
Satin pothos contains calcium oxalate crystals, which are toxic to both humans and pets. Skin irritation, diarrhoea, and vomiting may occur if consumed. As a result, we recommend wearing gloves when repotting, pruning, or propagating Scindapsus pictus.
Another climbing plant that looks similar to satin pothos is Philodendron scandens, also called the sweetheart plant. Read our article for tips on how to grow your own sweetheart as a houseplant.