Silver Pothos (Scindapsus pictus), also known as Satin Pothos, is a beginner-friendly tropical houseplant with dark green leaves dappled with silvery streaks and splashes. Versatile and incredibly adaptable, this is the kind of plant you can bring into your house and leave it to its own devices.
Now, you’re probably wondering: ‘I already have enough pothos varieties at home; what’s so special about this one?’. For starters, its shimmering, silver-variegated foliage is entirely different from what you’ll find on an Epipremnum cultivar. And once it starts climbing, you’ll notice that this plant behaves unlike any of the other pothos you have in your collection.
Curious to learn more? Then read on to find out what will make this your new favorite plant.
Plant Origin & Fascinating Growth Habit
A tropical vine native to the rainforests of India and Southeast Asia. It was first identified by botanists in 1842, who classified it as a species of pothos and called it Pothos argyraea or Pothos argenteus.
Scientists later reclassified it under the genus Scindapsus and gave it the botanical name Scindapsus pictus.
Today, this gorgeous aroid is known under several common names, including Satin Pothos, Silk Pothos, and Silvery Vine. Its name comes from the smooth, velvety texture of the leaves and the spots and splashes of silvery markings.
The Scindapsus plant has a fascinating growth habit that’s not found in other pothos cultivars, such as Devil’s Ivy. This species is an epiphyte, which means it uses its aerial roots to climb trees. If it doesn’t find anything to climb on, it will simply live on the jungle forest floor as a ground cover.
But when the roots find a tree to attach to, the variegated leaves will start ‘shingling’ or laying flat against the surface they’re growing on.
As the plant climbs, the leaves will get larger and slowly start losing their variegation. You can notice this growth pattern indoors if you give your Scindapsus pictus a flat surface to climb on, such as a sphagnum moss pole or even a piece of untreated wood.
Scindapsus pictus is available in many pothos varieties. Argyraeus, Silvery Ann, Exotica, Silver Splash, and Silver Lady are the best-known.
There are a few subtle differences between them, but they all have several things in common: heart-shaped green leaves with a mint-green underside and silver variegation.
If you’re lucky, you may also find the rare Scindapsus Jade Satin, which has non-variegated, dark green leaves.
3 Best-Known Scindapsus pictus Pothos Variations
1.) Scindapsus Pictus ‘Argyraeus’
Scindapsus pictus ‘Argyraeus’ is the most common Satin Pothos cultivar. It has small, heart-shaped leaves with silver splashes of variegation. The name “Argyraeus” derives from Greek, meaning “silvery.”
This cultivar is fast-growing and unpretentious but can develop increasingly smaller leaves if left trailing for more than two years.
Leaf color: Dark to medium green with silvery variegation.
Light requirements: Bright indirect.
Growth rate: Fast, but will grow slower in low light conditions.
2.) Scindapsus Pictus ’Silvery Ann’
Silvery Ann is the “big sister” of the Scindapsus pictus ‘Argyraeus’ cultivar. The two varieties may look similar, but there are some subtle differences. Silvery Ann has larger leaves with a lighter, almost silvery green color.
In addition, it has thicker clusters of variegation, most noticeably around the leaf edges. Silvery Ann is also rarer than the Argyraeus, and a bit more expensive.
Leaf color: Light, silvery green with silvery variegation, especially around the edges.
Light requirements: Bright indirect.
Growth rate: Medium.
3.) Scindapsus Pictus ‘Exotica’
The Scindapsus Pictus ‘Exotica’ cultivar is the largest of the trio. Unlike Argyraeus and Silvery Ann, it has large, oval-shaped leaves, thicker stems, and large splashes of variegation.
The leaf is usually more green in the middle, with highly variegated edges. To maintain variegation and leaf size, always keep it in bright indirect light.
Leaf color: Jade or mint green with large silver splashes and speckles.
Light requirements: Bright indirect.
Growth rate: Medium.
Silver Pothos Houseplant Care Tips & Growing Guide
This pothos species is one of the most adaptable and easy-to-grow indoor plants. It even prefers a bit of neglect.
But there’s a catch.
It’s essential to get its growing conditions right from the very beginning. This plant may seem fussy initially, but it’s not asking much.
The main things you need to pay attention to are water, temperature, and potting mix. Once you give satin pothos plants what they need, you can leave them alone, and the plant will look after itself. The following growing guide explains this plant’s care needs further.
One thing that makes Satin pothos great is moderate to low light requirements. As a result, you can keep it anywhere in your home if you avoid direct sunlight exposure, which will scorch the leaves.
This adaptable plant will have no problems growing in low-light conditions. However, more light means healthier growth. If you can, keep it in a room where it can get bright indirect light. This will result in bigger leaves and more compact growth, with shorter leaf internodes.
The ideal potting soil for this plant should have excellent drainage. Satin Pothos is deathly sensitive to root rot and won’t tolerate sitting in damp, soggy soil.
Plant your pothos in a mix of 60% coco coir, 20% perlite, and 20% orchid bark to keep the roots healthy. You can use peat moss if you can’t get your hands on coco coir.
Water your plant when the soil is 75% dry. Unlike the classic pothos (Epipremnum aureum), Scindapsus species have a thinner and smaller root system and like to completely dry out between waterings. So, avoid too much water.
The best way to tell that your plant is thirsty is by checking the leaves. When they start to curl, push your finger deep into the soil. If it feels bone dry to the touch, give the plant a deep, thorough watering using the soak-and-drain method.
Satin pothos is very sensitive to overwatering and prone to root rot without good drainage. If you’re unsure whether the plant needs more water, it’s better to wait another 2 – 3 days, giving the soil more time to dry out.
This tropical houseplant prefers an indoor temperature ranging between 64°F and 82°F (18°C to 28°C).
Avoid exposure to cold temperatures at all costs. Satin Pothos leaves will shrivel and turn brown if the plant is exposed to temperatures below 50°F (10°C) for more than a day.
The roots can suffer permanent damage in severe cases, making it impossible to save your plant.
Pay close attention to hot and cold drafts. In the winter, the hot, dry drafts from a heating vent can be especially harmful to this plant.
Satin pothos is not too pretentious when it comes to humidity. Like all tropical plants, it prefers a humidity level of around 60%, but it won’t mind if the air in your home is a bit dry.
If your indoor humidity is below 40%, make sure you water your plant regularly. Keeping the pot on a pebble tray half-filled with water will also help boost the air moisture levels.
This plant is not a heavy feeder. You will only need to fertilize satin pothos once a month during the growing season in spring and summer. Use a nitrogen-rich fertilizer diluted to half-strength.
You can go for an N-P-K nutrient ratio of 20-10-10 if you’re using a synthetic fertilizer or a 2-1-1 ratio for an organic one.
You can grow your pothos on a pole or trellis, but you can also let it hang or trail. This plant is an epiphyte, which means that it prefers climbing. But that doesn’t stop it from adapting to a trailing or even crawling growth habit.
This Scindapsus has very strong aerial roots that will attach to any surface they come into contact with. This could be a moss pole, a wood plank, or even your wall.
To prevent any damage, always keep it away from your walls, or ‘distract’ it by giving it a trellis or moss pole to climb on instead.
Pruning & Maintenance
Prune your pothos in spring or early summer when the plant is actively growing.
It’s important to clean the leaves of your Satin Pothos at least once a month.
The porous, velvety texture of the foliage can accumulate dust, which can be difficult to remove once it starts building up. Dust and other particles can also clog the stomata in the leaves, preventing photosynthesis.
Give your plant a monthly shower, or use a damp microfiber cloth to clean the leaves.
Although it has a fast growth rate, scindapsus pictus doesn’t need to be repotted too often. Its roots take a long time to grow and fill up the pot so that you can keep it in the same container for many years.
Also, the plant doesn’t like having its roots disturbed, especially when young.
For proper plant care and to keep it happy, repot your pothos once every three years or when you see the roots come out of the drainage holes.
Use a container 2” wider or one size bigger, and make sure that the new pot provides sufficient drainage.
It’s important to note that, unlike most houseplants, this pothos variety doesn’t need repotting after you buy it.
The plant can live in its nursery pot for another 6 to 12 months. You should only repot after buying if you notice that the plant has visibly outgrown its container or if you suspect it has root rot.
Propagating Satin Pothos Plants
You can propagate Satin Pothos from stem cuttings. Use this propagation method in spring and summer.
For best results, root the cuttings in water rather than soil. This will make monitoring root development easier and reduce the risk of stem rot.
Take a sharp, sterilized blade, and cut the vine ¼ of an inch above and below the growth node. Single-node cuttings work best, but you can also use cuttings with two leaves.
The cuttings can take 3 to 4 weeks to start growing roots. Then, when the roots are at least 2” long, you can transplant them into the soil.
Try to plant four or five cuttings in one pot to make the plant look fuller. The roots will take a long time to fill the container, so don’t worry about overcrowded plants.
5 Common Silver Satin Pothos Pests & Problems
This plant rarely suffers from pest infestations, such as spider mites, as long as you follow the above Satin pothos care guidelines. Most of the problems you’ll encounter when growing it indoors are caused by watering issues, low temperatures, and using an incorrect soil mix.
Here are some common signs that your pothos is struggling.
1.) Yellowing Leaves
Yellow leaves can also be a symptom of hot or cold drafts, a nutrient deficiency, and even transplant shock.
2.) Brown Leaf Spots
Leaves with brown spots are also a sign of overwatering. With this species, you may notice that the leaves develop brown spots first, then turn yellow.
However, if the leaves have black or brown spots with bright yellow edges, that’s a symptom of root rot.
Unfortunately, this is the most common disease for scindapsus pictus and the most likely to kill your plant. The only way to save it is by acting quickly.
3.) Curling Leaves
The leaves of your pothos will start curling when the plant is thirsty or when it’s exposed to hot, dry drafts. The plant is trying to preserve moisture, and rolling its leaves prevents water loss when living in dry conditions.
Water your pothos regularly, and remember to keep it away from heating vents and air conditioning units.
4.) Sudden Wilting
If you wake up one day and your Scindapsus pictus has suddenly wilted, the most likely cause is low temperatures. This plant will not tolerate cold, and its health will deteriorate as soon as the temperature drops below 59°F (15°C).
Move your pothos to a warmer room and monitor it closely for the next 2 – 3 days. If you see no sign of improvement, the only thing left to do is trim any healthy vines and use them to propagate a new plant.
5.) Small Leaves
Pothos leaves will inevitably get smaller if you keep it as a hanging or trailing plant for several years. The only way to prevent that is by giving it something to climb on. Even a simple trellis will do.
Also, try moving your plant to a location with bright indirect light. This will encourage it to grow bigger leaves and fix other low-light issues like bare, leggy stems.
FAQ About Satin Pothos Care
Is Silver Pothos Toxic?
Is Satin Pothos Actually a Pothos?
Despite the name, Satin Pothos is not a species of pothos. Instead, it belongs to the genus Scindapsus.
Funnily enough, other plants we call pothos, such as Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum) or Dragon Tail (Epipremnum pinnatum), aren’t real pothos either.
The true pothos plants belong to a very obscure genus, and although they’re common in the wild, it’s unlikely you’ll find them in nurseries, garden centers, or big box stores.