Scindapsus pictus, better known as satin pothos, is a fast-growing vine that thrives in warm temperatures and low light, making it an ideal houseplant for offices and indoor homes. Growing satin pothos is easy with some general plant care knowledge, so keep reading to learn how to grow your satin pothos at home.
Satin pothos (Scindapsus pictus), sometimes called elephant ears or swords, are exotic plants and relatively easy to grow indoors and outdoors, provided you give them the proper care they need at every stage of their growth cycle. Growing satin pothos isn't tricky, but there are certain things you need to know about them if you want your plant to live long and prosper in your home.
Satin pothos is an evergreen vine plant native to tropical Asia. It's a common houseplant in the United States because of its low-maintenance needs and its stunning shade of emerald green. Here are some tips on caring for your satin pothos to ensure it continues to thrive beautifully.
What is Satin Pothos (Scindapsus Pictus)?
Satin pothos is a flowering plant commonly known as silver satin or silver pothos. It's a member of the Araceae family, including philodendrons, anthuriums, caladiums, and dieffenbachia. It's native to India, among other places, but has become popular in other tropical regions worldwide due to its low maintenance requirements and ability to thrive in humid environments.
It can tolerate humidity of up to 90% and grows best in bright indirect light but can tolerate some direct sunlight during its active growing season (March through September). It prefers indirect light or darkness during its dormant period (October through February). It should be watered thoroughly when the soil feels dry, but do not allow it to dry completely between waterings.
The Origin and Characteristics of Scindapsus Pictus
Scindapsus pictus is a beautiful and unique plant native to Bangladesh, India, and Sri Lanka. The plant's leaves are variegated with shades of green, yellow, and white, and they have a satin-like texture that gives them a distinctive appearance. This evergreen vine can grow up to 10 ft (3 meters) in length and is often used as a decorative plant in homes and offices.
The plant prefers warm temperatures and high humidity levels and should be kept out of direct sunlight. Scindapsus pictus is an easy plant to care for and makes an excellent addition to any indoor space.
Varieties of Satin Pothos (Scindapsus pictus)
Pothos silver splash is a cultivar that grows upright with arching branches, averaging 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 meters) in height. The leaves are thin and shiny with a narrow, pointed shape. When exposed to direct sunlight, they grow glossy silver.
There are three main varieties of satin pothos, all with distinctive features. The 'Argyraeus' variety has large, glossy leaves with silver markings. 'Exotica' variety has dark green leaves with striking white veins. And the 'Silvery Ann' type features small, silvery-green leaves.
Here are brief descriptions of each variety:
Scindapsus pictus 'Argyraeu'
This variety is known for its large, glossy leaves with silver markings that grow upright. It averages 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 meters) in height but can reach up to 5 ft (1.5 meters). This plant produces smaller leaves than other varieties of pothos, making it a good choice if you're looking for something more compact or want a potted plant that's easy to move around your home or office space.
Scindapsus pictus 'Exotica'
This variety of satin pothos has dark green leaves with striking white veins that grow upright. It averages 3-4 ft (0.9-1.2 meters) in height but can reach up to 6 ft (1.8 meters). It's known for its large leaves, which are darker than other varieties of pothos plants and have a glossy finish, giving them a distinctive look compared to other plants in your home or office space.
Scindapsus pictus 'Silvery Anne'
This variety has small, silvery-green leaves that grow upright. It averages 2-3 ft (0.6-0.9 meters) in height but can reach up to 5 ft (1.5 meters). The leaves are thicker than other varieties of pothos plants, making them more sturdy when handled or touched by children or pets – but remember to keep them out of reach.
Philodendron vs. Silver Satin Pothos
Most people think that all Philodendron and Silver Satin Pothos are the same. While they may look similar, there are some key differences between these two popular houseplants.
- First, Philodendrons are typically taller and have larger leaves than Silver Satin Pothos.
- Additionally, Philodendrons prefer brighter conditions than Silver Satin Pothos, which will scorch if exposed to direct sunlight for too long.
- Finally, Silver Satin Pothos are more tolerant of drought than Philodendrons and can go longer without being watered.
So, suppose you're looking for a low-maintenance plant that can tolerate lower light levels. In that case, the Silver Satin Pothos is the better choice. However, if you don't mind giving your plant a little extra care, the Philodendron is a showier option with its large leaves and tall stature.
What Do I Need?
When caring for your pothos, you first need good, high-quality potting soil. You can find bags of specialty potting soil at any local garden center. If you're looking to save some money, try making your own by combining organic materials such as peat moss, coconut fiber, sphagnum moss, compost, and vermiculite before placing your pothos in their permanent home—whether in a greenhouse or a room with plenty of natural light—fill their pot with quality potting soil to become well-established.
Satin Pothos Care
Start Growing with a Healthy Plant
Check your local florist or home improvement store for scindapsus pictus varieties—they're usually sold as houseplants. If you want to grow one of your own, gather a few cuttings from friends who have at least a one-year-old plant. Ensure they aren't damaged because they can be temperamental in growing conditions. Leave them in water or set them in the soil where they will have indirect sunlight and average room temperatures.
Light Requirements for Satin Pothos
Satin pothos plants love sunshine. Thus, one crucial factor to consider when growing satin pothos is the amount of light that the plant needs. While this plant can tolerate low light levels, it will grow best in bright, indirect light. They require a minimum of six hours of sunlight every day, but they prefer eight or more. The best light is indirect sunlight filtered through a sheer curtain.
If you don't have good access to natural light, fluorescent lights work well—keep them 5 cm (2") away from your plant, at a height equal to your plant's size. If the leaves begin to fade or lose their variegation, this indicates that the plant is not getting enough light. However, too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, so it is vital to find a balance.
Soil Requirements for Satin Pothos
Many people make one major mistake in using soil that doesn't suit their plants. While satin pothos can live in different soil types, they are not very tolerant of overly rich soil. For example, suppose you live in an area with more alkaline than acidic soil, your satin pothos will grow best if it is planted in garden loam with some added peat moss or perlite.
If you use nutrient-rich potting soil, on the other hand, your plants will likely be too large for their pots within a few months. Satin pothos is also very sensitive to soil that is too dry. If you're growing them in containers, you must ensure that your pots are well-drained.
The best way to do so is by planting them in porous soil that doesn't retain much water, such as potting soil or mixing with some added sand or perlite. Use a container with drainage holes at the bottom; most hanging baskets do not have holes, so if you want a plant to hang off your porch or balcony, make sure it is planted in one of these special pots.
Satin Pothos Indoor Temperature Requirements
As a tropical plant, your satin pothos will want lots of sun. However, there's another important aspect to consider: temperature. Like most plants, your scindapsus pictus will be happiest if it lives in an environment neither too hot nor too cold. The best temperatures for growing your pothos are between 68 and 82° Fahrenheit (20-28° Celsius) during the warm months of spring through fall. When temperatures drop below 50° Fahrenheit (10° Celsius), it may be time to bring your plants inside until warmer weather returns.
Daily changes won't affect your satin pothos when the air temperature is around 50° Fahrenheit (10° Celsius) or higher in the winter months. Since the satin pothos grows better in warm weather than in cool, you should avoid putting it in a drafty window where temperatures are likely to drop too low. To help your plant feel at home, place it on a table with a consistent temperature.
How to Water Satin Pothos
When watering satin pothos, the key is to let the soil dry out between waterings. This plant does not like wet feet, so be sure to empty any drainage tray after watering. Satin pothos can tolerate some degree of neglect, but if the soil is allowed to become too dry, the leaves will begin to brown and drop off. To avoid this:
- Water your satin pothos every 7–10 days or when the top inch of soil is dry to the touch.
- Give the plant a thorough drink until water flows from the drainage holes when you water it.
- Discard any excess water in the saucer after 30 minutes.
The frequency of watering your scindapsus pictus depends on a few factors, including light exposure, temperature, humidity, etc. For example, suppose you live in a dry climate or keep your plants in low-light conditions. In that case, you'll need to water more frequently than someone who lives in a humid environment with plenty of sunlight. Satin pothos is unconcerned with soil type as long as it drains well. An excellent all-purpose potting mix will work just fine.
The Right Humidity for Growing Satin Pothos Houseplants
The proper humidity is key to successfully growing satin pothos. The leaves will brown and curl if the air is too dry. The leaves will turn yellow and drop off if the air is too humid. The ideal humidity level for a satin pothos houseplant is 50–60%. By misting your plant or placing it on a pebble tray, you can increase the humidity around it.
Misting is especially important if your home is heated during the winter, as dry indoor air can quickly drain moisture from your plants. Paying attention to the humidity levels in your home can keep your satin pothos healthy and thriving.
How to Fertilize Scindapsus Pictus
Indoor plants are usually easygoing, but now and then, they need a little extra attention. You may want to consider fertilizing it during its summer dormancy, especially if you've recently repotted your plant. An annual boost in nutrients will help ensure that your pothos has sufficient energy reserves when the time to resume growth comes.
The standard balanced fertilizing schedule is to give your pothos 1/4–1/2 cup of water-soluble fertilizer when it's actively growing during spring, summer, and fall. Before your pothos grows again in late August or early September, apply a 10-10-10 fertilizer at half strength at 3/4 cup per gallon of water once a week for four weeks. Be sure to stir thoroughly after each application.
Assume you live in a climate where your plants are dormant or semi-dormant during the winter, and temperatures rarely rise above 40° Fahrenheit (4.5° Celsius). In that case, you can hold off on feeding until spring. Feeding during winter, use one-half as much fertilizer because nutrients don't readily dissolve in cold water. Be sure not to let any fertilizer touch your plant's leaves.
Satin Pothos Pruning Techniques
A critical aspect of satin pothos care is proper pruning. When done correctly, pruning can encourage new growth, remove damaged or diseased leaves, and improve the plant's overall appearance. Here are a few tips on how to prune your satin pothos:
- First, always use clean, sharp pruning shears. This will help to prevent infection and disease.
- Second, prune above a leaf node, as this is where new growth will emerge.
- Third, cut at a 45-degree angle just above the leaf node. This will help rainwater drain away from the cut area and prevent rotting.
- Finally, don't be afraid to prune heavily. Satin pothos is a tough plant and can take much abuse. Go ahead and trim away any unhealthy or unsightly leaves.
With a little care, your satin pothos will thrive for years.
How to Propagate New Satin Pothos Plants
If you're looking to propagate new pothos plants, it's super easy. Simply cut off a part of a leaf, dip it in rooting hormone, place it in potting soil and keep it moist until you see green growing out of that leaf. Your pothos will sprout from that leaf section in about six weeks.
You can also use stem sections from mature plants. Cut sections at least 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8") long. The longer the section is, the longer it will take to start growing roots. It may take up to several months before new growth appears.
Planting Suggestions for Scindapsus Pictus
S. pictus plants are usually slow-growing but can proliferate if you use a larger container. However, they love humidity, even that of your bathroom, where they will thrive on bright light. You may have seen pictures of pothos silver satin leaves covered in dust.
This dust causes spider-like mites to appear on your plant. These spider-like mites do not harm your plant; they are a simple cosmetic problem you can fix with some washing-up liquid. Just wash them off your plant's leaves once or twice a week when you notice their appearance has worsened since their last cleaning.
As with most houseplants, over-watering your pothos is a quick way to kill them. Avoid doing so as much as possible by allowing your plant's soil to dry out almost completely between waterings. Letting your pot rest in a saucer of water can help keep its soil moist if you forget about it for a couple of days—water your plant regularly, every two weeks or so.
Repotting Your Satin Pothos Plant
Thanks to its hardy nature, the satin pothos plant is one of the most popular houseplants. Unlike many other houseplants with specific watering needs, which often die due to over-watering or poor soil drainage, pothos plants can be watered almost any way you like and survive. However, sometimes your pothos plant will outgrow its pot; here's how you should repot your satin pothos plant. You should repot your satin pothos every two years, ideally during growing season.
How Do I Repot My Satin Pothos Plant?
When you notice your satin pothos plant is growing out of its pot, it's time to repot it.
First, get a new pot at least 7.5–12.5 cm (3–5") larger than your current one; otherwise, you may have difficulty fitting all of your pothos plants in. When repotting a satin pothos, the biggest mistake is using potting soil that's too heavy; stick with coir pots or other lightweight but aerated material, so you don't damage your roots.
Place a layer of sphagnum moss on top of your new pot before placing it in some old soil from your current container. Then, gently remove your pothos plant from its old pot by holding onto a branch as close to the base. Gently tease any tangled roots and then place them in your new pot.
After planting, water thoroughly until water drains through the holes in the bottom of the pot. Then place it back into an area where it can receive indirect sunlight until completely dry-about 1-2 hours, depending on how much light it received.
Should I Use Different Soil When Repotting My Satin Pothos?
While you can use regular potting soil, most pothos plants prefer a soil mix with more air pockets. Using lightweight soil also helps reduce over-watering since pots with heavy soil hold more water than ones with lighter ones. For example, coir pots are made from coconut husks that have been compressed into bricks. They're lightweight, porous, and open up as they absorb water, making them great for potted plants that require less moisture.
Should I Fertilize My Satin Pothos Plant After Repotting?
If your satin pothos plant looks pale or yellowed, it could be due to fertilizer burn, when plants take in too much fertilizer. If you recently repotted your satin pothos plant, it's best to wait a few weeks before fertilizing again; otherwise, dilute your fertilizer with water by half and then pour it around your plant's base instead of directly on top of its leaves. When watering again after applying fertilizer, do so sparingly so that it doesn't wash away all of your hard work.
Pest and Diseases of Satin Pothos
Satin pothos is generally easy to care for but can have some pests and diseases that can affect them if not treated properly.
Scindapsus Pictus Disease Problems
Though scindapsus pictus may be used in hanging baskets or houseplants, it can become infected with some diseases. Phytophthora root rot, Pythium wilt, Fusarium wilt, Southern blight, Botrytis leaf spot, Rhizoctonia canker, and Armillaria root rot are just some of the ailments that can hit your plnt. These problems can usually be avoided with proper care and plant control measures.
The first three diseases listed above can damage the plant if they are not kept under control early on. Take care when watering so that water does not stand on leaves or stems after watering. Keep plants away from areas where the disease is present such as trash or soil piles located around buildings that have been improperly cleaned up after construction work has taken place near them.
Pest Problems of Scindapsus Pictus
These plants, like most houseplants, don't typically have pest problems. However, one problem that may be an issue is mealybugs. In some cases, you may see a white powdery coating on plant leaves and stems; these are signs of mealybugs. The best way to get rid of these pests is by taking a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol and dabbing it onto their bodies or on top of where they are hiding.
This will kill them off as long as you keep up with it. You should also make sure there aren't any cracks or crevices in your potting soil. They could hide out during periods when you can't treat them with alcohol, including around drainage holes.
Tips for Growing in an Apartment
To care for your satin pothos in an apartment, you'll need a few items:
- A bright, indirect light source and a simple watering schedule
- Low humidity
- Minimal temperature swings
- Fertilizing during the spring and summer, once a month
When caring for these plants, the most common problem is under-watering—or over-watering— so if you're not sure whether or not you should water your plant, wait one day longer than usual before giving it more water. If in doubt, always err on the side of caution. Satin pothos is a resilient plant that loves consistency so long as its basic needs are met.
When Not To Worry About Too Much Light
Sometimes you'll find someone with a scindapsus pictus that's grown so big that it has made its way over their porch, out of their balcony garden, or even into another room. If your plant seems healthy otherwise, it's not necessarily time to worry. Give your plant some space if possible.
Otherwise, do what you can by training it back up a trellis or other support structure; satin pothos varieties are also available, which have been bred specifically for a shorter growth habit than typical pothos plants. Regardless of type, though, with sufficient care, your plant should grow back into its old form—eventually.
Establish the Roots
We all know that plants need water and sunlight to grow. Many of us don't realize how very much they need these things. The roots, in particular, must always be kept well-watered because if you don't—well, it's not going to end well. The satin pothos takes a little more work than other indoor plants.
Ideally, you want it potted in something with drainage holes so that if you over-water (it happens), you won't have a soggy mess on your hands. Make sure that its location has bright indirect light; direct sunlight will scorch its leaves.
Is Satin Pothos Toxic?
Yes - the plant's sap is toxic to both animals and humans, though pets will be affected more severely than people.
Satin Pothos Care FAQs
There are many common questions asked when it comes to caring for a pothos plant. Here are some answers that you may find helpful.
How to Make Satin Pothos Grow Faster?
Many plants have an inherent growth rate that cannot be significantly altered without causing long-term damage. However, there are specific steps you can take to help satin pothos grow faster in the short term. The first step is to ensure that the plant is getting enough light. Pothos thrive in bright, indirect sunlight, so they will likely grow slowly if your plant is not receiving enough light.
Another critical factor is water. Satin pothos prefers to be kept on the drier side, so water only when the top inch of soil is dry. Finally, fertilize regularly with a balanced liquid fertilizer to provide the nutrients needed for growth.
Why are My Satin Pothos Leaves Turning Brown?
One of the most common questions we get asked about satin pothos is, "Why are my leaves turning brown?" While there are some possible reasons for this, the most likely explanation is that the plant is not getting enough water. Satin pothos is a tropical plant that requires consistency in watering and humidity levels. If the leaves start to turn brown and crispy, it is a sign that the plant is stressed and needs more moisture.
Another possible reason for brown leaves in direct sunlight. Satin pothos does best in bright, indirect light, and too much direct sun can cause the leaves to scorch. Try moving it to a shadier spot if you think your satin pothos might be getting too much sun. Lastly, brown leaves can also be a sign of root rot. This is usually caused by overwatering, leading to fungal growth in the roots.
If you think your satin pothos has root rot, it's vital to take action immediately. After removing the affected roots, repot the plant in a fresh, well-draining potting mix. With proper care, your satin pothos should recover and continue to grow healthy new leaves.
Why are My Satin Pothos Leaves Curling?
When the leaves of your satin pothos begin to curl, it is usually a sign that something is wrong with the plant. While there are several possible reasons for this problem, the most common cause is underwatering. Satin pothos plants prefer to be kept evenly moist; if the soil becomes too dry, the leaves will start curl to conserve water. Another possible reason for curled leaves is excessive heat or direct sunlight.
If the leaves are exposed to too much heat, they will begin to turn yellow and eventually brown and dry out. If you suspect that your satin pothos is suffering from underwatering or excessive heat, try moving the plant to a cold location with indirect sunlight and watering more frequently. With a bit of extra care, your plant should soon recover.
Why is My Satin Pothos Leaves Turning Yellow?
Suppose the leaves of your satin pothos turn yellow. It could be due to factors like too much sun, insufficient water, or a nutrient deficiency. The leaves may turn yellow and develop brown spots if the plant is in direct sunlight. This is called sunburn and is a common problem with satin pothos plants. The leaves will turn yellow if the plant does not receive enough water. Make sure to keep the soil moist but not soggy.
Overwatering can also cause yellowing leaves. Lastly, a nutrient deficiency can cause the leaves to turn yellow. The most common nutrients needed by plants are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These can be found in commercial fertilizer or compost. If you suspect your plant suffers from a nutrient deficiency, have your soil tested and follow the recommended action. Your satin pothos should soon return to its beautiful green self with proper care.
Plants are more than decorations; they're part of your living space. Take time to choose one that suits your personality, tastes, and needs, and you'll be rewarded with a long-lasting addition that keeps your air clean. If you need help choosing or caring for your pothos, just look it up in an encyclopedia or call a gardening expert.
There are plenty of options out there. Don't forget to choose hardy plants suited to your environment and keep them well cared for. A Scindapsus pictus that gets too much sun can suffer severe leaf burn. Too little light will stunt its growth—and that's not a pretty sight. With proper care, though, you'll soon have a lush green centerpiece indoors or out.