how to care for the scindapsus pictus - actual botanical

Scindapsus pictus Care Guide

How to care for your Scindapsus pictus

 

The Scindapsus pictus is also known as the "satin pothos," which is misleading, because it isn't a pothos (Epipremnum) at all! They have a lot in common though, in terms of care.

They are found throughout Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, climbing their way through the canopy in search of sunlight. One very cool thing about the Scindapsus is that it is a shingling plant- that is, they can alternate their new leaf growth (sort of like footsteps) as they climb on vertical surfaces. Only a small number of plants (mostly, aroids) grow like this.

Another interesting fact about the Scindapsus pictus is how it creates it's famous silvery spots: they're actually air pockets that form between the outer and inner leaf wall (the chlorophyll is only in the inner), which then reflect light in a beautiful shimmer.

The Scindapsus pictus 'Argyraeus' is the most common variety, featuring high-contrast speckling and silvery leaf margins. The 'Silver Satin' has more silvery speckling than it has green, and it's smaller leaves look like they got dipped in silver. The 'Silvery Ann' has a more subdued palette, with soft silvery mottling over the whole leaf surface.

 

There are other varieties of the Scindapsus pictus, like 'Exotica' and 'Jade,' but there are also other species! The Scindapsus treubii, for example, is a rare Scindapsus, with varieties such as the all-light 'Moonlight' and almost-black 'Dark Form.'

Light-

Bright, indirect light is best.

Water-

First, make sure the pot you are using has a drainage hole in the bottom. This will help drain excess water and prevent root rot.

If you're familiar with growing any other aroids such as the pothos or monstera, you might notice the Scindapsus pictus has thicker, almost-succulent-like leaves comparatively. Those thick leaves are better at storing water through drought!

Our Scindapsus pictus don't like to completely dry out (in fact, they can be very dramatic and curl every leaf up until you quench their thirst), but they don't like to stay wet either. We like to let them dry "half-way," or until the soil is dry to the touch down to about 2 inches. They also really enjoy a light misting, but be careful not to drench the leaves, even while watering, as standing water can be too much for their thick leaves to handle (the pools can breed bacteria and fungi).

Soil-

Just like most epiphytes, a light and airy, fast-draining medium is ideal. We mix in plenty of organic material like coco coir chunks and sphagnum moss to encourage a slightly acidic environment.

A trellis or moss pole will encourage larger leafs, and with a flat surface (like a board), you might be able to get it to shingle!

Humidity-

They like their humidity high, but they aren't very sensitive either. If you live in a dry climate or notice browning leaf tips, you might try lightly misting once or twice a day, or using a humidifier. Grouping plants together can raise humidity levels, too.

Temperature-

The Scindapsus pictus is a tropical plant from the rainforest, so it's not a fan of anything below 55 degrees or so, or anything above 90 degrees.

Common Health Issues-

While the Scindapsus pictus is a very easy-going houseplant, there are a few things to look out for: 

Overwatering:

Drooping, yellowing leaves are an indicator you might be drowning your roots. you might also notice fungus gnats (they look like tiny little fruit flies buzzing around your houseplants).

Root Rot:

Overwatering quickly leads to root rot, which is hard to come back from! remove any dead material, and you can try to flush the soil with a diluted hydrogen peroxide-water mixture.

A pot with proper drainage greatly reduces the risk of over watering!

Pests-

Fungus gnats, spider mites, mealy bugs and thrips are probably the most common pest you will encounter. They tend to attack when the plant gets weak or overly stressed out. common signs would be tiny holes, blotchy yellowing of the leaves, and/or fungus gnats flying around.

 

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