Scindapsus pictus Care

Scindapsus pictus care

Scindapsus pictus is a mouthful of a name, but this lovely plant boasts stunning silver variegated foliage that cascades on vining stems. This vining plant grows in tropical rainforests throughout Bangladesh, Borneo, India, Java, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra, Sulawesi, and the Philippines. Scindapsus is easy to maintain, but it’s also a slow grower that goes by the nicknames Silver Vine or Silk Pothos, although it is not a true Pothos. Here’s what you need to know about Scindapsus pictus care if you’ve had your eye on one of these beauties or want to help yours thrive.

Types of Scindapsus pictus

Matte green foliage with silvery gray variegated patches is the hallmark of the Scindapsus pictus. Lopsided heart-shaped leaves have a more pronounced curve on one side, creating an almost cartoonish shape. Plants in nature grow vines that reach about 10 feet long, while houseplants tend to max out around 3 feet. In nature, Scindapsus pictus also flowers, but the conditions in most homes do not encourage blooms. The flowers are rather insignificant, so you’re not missing out. Some of the more common varieties include:

  • Scindapsus pictus argyraeus
  • Scindapsus pictus exotica
  • Scindapsus pictus jade stain
  • Scindapsus pictus silver hero
  • Scindapsus pictus silver lady
  • Scindapsus pictus silver splash
  • Scindapsus pictus silver satin
  • Scindapsus pictus silvery Anne
  • Scindapsus treubii dark form
  • Scindapsus treubii moonlight

Family Matters

Sometimes Scindapsus are labeled or referred to as Pothos. Scindapsus, Pothos, and Philodendron are all part of the Araceae family, but they belong to different genera, so they look somewhat similar but not quite the same. These are all lovely plants with similar care needs, but they are, in fact, different plants. 

Scindapsus pictus Light Needs

Give Scindapsus pictus medium to bright indirect sunlight. Light is essential for all houseplants, but there’s more on the line with variegated plants. Plants in low light will lose their silvery gray coloring and revert to green, while plants in direct sunlight will burn. Up your Scindapsus pictus care by periodically rotating the plant. Give it a quarter turn each time you water or once each month to ensure each side receives even sunlight.

How Often to Water Scindapsus pictus

Feel the soil and water the Scindapsus pictus when the top couple of inches of soil are dry. Leaves will turn yellow and fall off when the plant is over- or underwatered, so wait until it’s time to water. Saturate the soil when watering until water drains through the container. Empty the saucer or cache pot of standing water. Plants need more water when growing but less water during the fall and winter when growth is slowed.

Best Soil for Scindapsus pictus

Rich, well-drained soil is best for Scindapsus pictus care. Most ready-made houseplant potting mixes work well. Excellent drainage is vital because this leafy plant does not like standing water or overly wet conditions. Soil with a 6.1 to 6.5 pH will provide ideal care.

Temperature for Scindapsus pictus

The best temperatures for Scindapsus pictus care are 65° to 85° F. As a tropical plant, Scindapsus pictus likes to be warm, and most homes are a comfortable temperature. Cold temperatures are a hard no, so keep the plant clear or vents and only move the plant to an outside porch or patio space when the temperature is consistently above 60° F.

Scindapsus pictus Humidity

Average humidity provides excellent Scindapsus pictus care. Anything around 50% is preferred, and plants can live comfortably in 40% humidity. Above-average humidity is fine, although increased dampness will impact how often the plant needs water, so coordinate accordingly. 

Low humidity is a problem. Brown, dead growth along the edges of the leaves indicates the air is too dry for the Scindapsus pictus. Use a pebble tray or humidifier to increase the moisture in the air.

satin pothos

Scindapsus pictus Fertilizer

These are slow-growing plants, so up your Scindapsus pictus care with fertilizer. Feed the plants using balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Fertilizer monthly during the spring and summer. Take a break from fertilizing during the fall and winter when the plant is dormant.

Pruning Scindapsus pictus

Pruning is not a major part of Scindapsus pictus care, but it can help your plant thrive. Remove the occasional dead leaf to keep the plant looking good. Vines do not always grow at the same pace. If you’re fine with a lopsided look, leave the plant be, but if you want a consistent look, trim the vines to even them up. Cuttings can be propagated to create new plants.

Trimming the plant will encourage new growth, so grab your pruning shears if you want a thick curtain of greenery. Try to time pruning to the spring when the plant starts to grow actively.

When to Repot Scindapsus pictus

Scindapsus pictus are fine being slightly rootbound, so don’t be in a hurry to repot. However, a new, appropriately sized container will provide excellent Scindapsus pictus care. Repot two years or when the roots poke through the drainage holes. Repotting is best done at the start of the growing season so the plant has time to settle into its new container. Give the plant fresh potting mix and upgrade it to a container with drainage that is one to two inches larger.

Scindapsus pictus propagation

Scindapsus pictus Propagation

The only thing better than one Scindapsus pictus plant is two Scindapsus pictus plants. Propagate your Scindapsus pictus via cuttings. Cut sections of the stem that are several inches long and have growth nodes or aerial roots. Place the cut ends in water or soil so the nodes are covered. Roots should form in a couple of weeks. 

Water-propagated Scindapsus pictus can be moved to soil when the roots are a few inches long. Keep the soil consistently damp for the first few weeks, then slowly scale back to water when the top few inches of soil are dry.

Soil-propagated Scindapsus pictus need damp conditions for the first few weeks to help set new roots. Give the cutting a gentle tug after several weeks, and if you feel resistance, then you know the plant has roots, and you can get the new plant on a regular watering routine. New growth is another sign that the plant has roots, so you can start watering the new plant like an established one.

Is Scindapsus pictus Pet Friendly?

Scindapsus pictus are not pet friendly. This plant contains calcium oxalate crystals, which are harmful to cats or dogs. Eating any part of the plant can cause a reaction. In mild cases, a pet will experience drooling, discomfort, and tongue and mouth swelling. In extreme cases, animals can experience kidney failure and death. Be careful if your pets share a home with a Scindapsus pictus.

Scindapsus pictus care

Styling Tips

Sometimes it’s clear whether you should place a vining plant up high and let the stems cascade or give the plant support and let it climb. The Scindapsus pictus can go either way, allowing for flexible plant styling opportunities. Scindapsus pictus are skilled climbers that can latch onto nearby supports using their aerial roots, although they may need help getting started. If you do not provide a trellis or moss pole, the plant may grab onto nearby furniture or a wall to do what it does.

Scindapsus pictus Care Tips

This leafy beauty boasts some of the prettiest foliage and long, draping vines that create a lush curtain of greenery. Scindapsus pictus care is easy, and learning what your plant needs will help it look amazing, so you’ll have more stunning leaves to admire.