Exotic plants add an accent to any home that cannot be replicated. Despite their beauty, many growers are scared off at the thought of caring for a non-native plant. The Silver Satin Pothos is a hearty plant that will also add the splash of the tropics you’re craving.
- Scientific name: Scindapsus pictus Silvery Satin
- Common names: Silver Pothos, Satin Pothos, Silver Vine
- Origin: The rainforests of Southeast Asia
- Indoor or Outdoor plant: Indoors
- Height and Structure: This vine-like plant’s stem will reach up to three feet long when potted, features thick bushy leaves that create a full appearance
- Flower Color: Non-flowering evergreen, climbing plant with dark green leaves accented by asymmetrical silver markings
- Temperature: 64°F (17°C) to 80°F (26°C)
- Humidity: Thrives in medium to high humidity, but can also survive in typical household conditions
The Silver Pothos must be potted and kept indoors. They can be placed outdoors if your area’s temperature never drops below 60°F without notice. They do well in hanging baskets or on the ground. Silver Pothos thrive in bright indirect light, need aerated soil with proper drainage and ample humidity to mimic their native Southeast Asia.
Pothos do best when planted in the early spring. They have a rapid growth rate. Planting as early in the growing season as possible gives them the best chance to establish strong roots and thrive.
These plants are native to the rainforest and therefore require plenty of bright light, but they’ve adapted to the forest floor, so the light needs to be indirect or filtered. Hanging them near an east or west-facing window gives them plenty of sun while preventing intense midday light. Brown leaves usually indicate too much sun.
The Satin Pothos will survive in lower light conditions because it is adapted to growing under a tree canopy, but its leaves may become sparse and lose their vibrant silver accents.
Planting your Pothos in a well-draining potting mixture is critical. Chose a mix with plenty of organic matter that is still airy enough to prevent moisture retention. The Pothos’ growth will stop if it becomes waterlogged.
If you prefer to make your own mix, use equal parts peat moss, soil and perlite. Make sure that when you water the plant, moisture flows freely through the soil without pooling at the stem.
This plant grows rapidly and steadily through the spring and summer. The stem can reach 10 feet long if it isn’t pruned and has a large enough pot. They will do well year-round provided you maintain their temperature and humidity needs. This is a tropical plant. Any dip below 60°F will damage the Pothos, possibly irreversibly.
Your Silver Pothos is a vine. It is a natural climber. In the wild, they often ascend trees using aerial roots. Using a moss pole in the pot will maximize the plant’s chances of expanding and growing to a full, lush volume.
Pothos only require watering once the upper layer of soil dries out. A good rule of thumb is to water once the top two inches are dry. Curling leaves indicate that the plant is underwatered. Your plants’ needs will change based on the time of year. During the summer growing season, you may need to water twice per week depending on the habitat.
In the winter, watering can be scaled back to weekly or less depending on absorption. The Pothos’ roots need to remain moist without being soaked.
Your Silver Pothos is a fast grower even under less than perfect conditions and, as such, does not require much fertilizer. Use a diluted houseplant fertilizer monthly from spring through fall during the growth season. Suspend fertilization during the winter.
Slow-release granules are an alternative to liquid fertilizer and only need to be applied every three months. Remember to check your potting soil if you purchased a pre-made mixture. Some of them contain fertilizer. Your Pothos will not tolerate excessive fertilization.
Your plant’s leaves can tell you about its nutrition. If the leaves lose their rich dark-green color, increase the frequency you fertilize the plant.
This tropical plant needs at least 40% humidity to grow properly. Pothos can generally survive in normal household humidity. Make sure you account for indoor temperature and airflow. Running heaters or radiators during the winter months can dry out the air and harm your plant.
Try to keep the conditions consistent because the plant is not adapted to wild swings in nature. It will also grow faster if you maintain higher humidity that mimics its jungle habitat.
Depending on your location, a portable humidifier may be necessary. Misting the plant with distilled water or using a pebble tray to collect drainage water and allow evaporation are also acceptable.
Pruning is generally unnecessary for the vine as dead growth will fall off on its own. Trimming of the stem ends on a healthy plant can promote denser leaf growth. If the vine becomes too long, you can cut it back without harming the plant.
Pruning for growth should be done in early spring before the plant enters its growth stage. This will ensure full foliage throughout the summer.
You should repot your Pothos every spring before its growth season begins. Fresh soil will promote maximum growth for this fast-developing plant. If the Pothos’ current pot drains slowly or roots escape out of the drainage holes, it is time to repot. Choose a pot that is 2 inches larger when transferring.
Carefully extract the plant from its current pot. Rinse excess dirt from the roots to cleanse it of the old soil. Prune any brown or excessively soft roots. Fill the new larger pot halfway with fresh potting mix, insert the Pothos at the same depth as the old pot, and fill in with the remaining soil. Water it immediately to ensure the plant still has proper drainage.
Silver Pothos propagates fairly easily. Stem cuttings typically are the most successful. Trim off the stem just below a node and place the cutting in a jar of clean water. The node is the point on the stem where the leaves grow from. The new plant’s roots will develop from the node. Your cutting must be at least 4 inches to ensure the new plant’s survival. Give it about one month for roots to develop and reach 1 inch.
Remove the new plant from the water and plant it in fresh nutrient-rich soil or your homemade mixture. The cutting will be able to survive in water for a few months, but will not last long once its roots develop beyond 1 inch.
They can also be propagated directly in soil. Select your new plant and cut below a node on the vine that already has a few healthy leaves. Plant the cutting directly into a small pot with moist potting mix. The roots will spring from the node, so it must be buried. Keep the leaves above the soil line.
A clear plastic bag that doesn’t infringe on the leaves can be placed over the plant to retain moisture and elevate humidity. Make sure you ventilate the plant every other day by removing the bag.
After one month, gently tug the stem if the plant’s color is good and it is not drooping. Resistance means roots have sprung from the node and established themselves. Discontinue using the plastic bag and tend to the plant like any other Pothos.
Pests are not usually an issue for Pothos. The most common invaders are scale and spider mites. They multiple quickly and feed on your plants. Isolate the Pothos from other houseplants if you suspect an infestation.
Scale are sap-suckers that typically feed on the plant’s stem and then become stuck. They are usually green, yellow or brown. Spider mites are also sap-suckers that will spin webs across the plant.
Take care of pests by covering the Pothos in an insecticidal soap or spray. Follow the directions on the bottle and rinse off as needed. Neem oil applied to the plant’s leaves may act as a deterrent, preventing infestations.
Silver Pothos are susceptible to root rot because they crave a slow steady stream of water, but cannot absorb large amounts. You must be cautious when watering and watch for proper drainage. A browning stem and black spots on the leaves indicate root rot. Unfortunately, it’s usually too late to salvage the plant once the condition is apparent
There are three closely related plants to Scindapsus pictus Silver Satin. They all have similar growth habits and require comparable care. The main difference lies in their appearance.
- Scindapsus pictus Argyraeus: These also have dark green leaves, but the silver marking are more uniform. The edges of the leaves are also silver, giving the plant a sharper appearance.
- Scindapsus pictus Exotica: This variety has larger yet narrower leaves. There is less silver, but the splashes of color are larger.
- Scindapsus pictus Silvery Ann: The leaves on this plant are lighter green and heart-shaped with silver dispersed throughout.
Silver Pothos are poisonous to household pets, including cats and dogs. The plant contains calcium oxalates which cause the mouth to swell. They also induce drooling, vomiting and difficulty swallowing. The plant is toxic to people as well. In rare instances, they cause skin irritation.