Small-sized houseplants like air plants or Baby Toes are cute and all. But, they don’t give off that foresty vibe that one would like. If you want a plant that adds that jungle-like character to your space, a vine plant like the Silver Pothos is your best bet.
In this article on plant care, we are going to talk about the Silver or Satin Pothos (Epipremnum pictus Argyraeus), which also goes by the name of Devil’s Ivy, Devil’s vine, Scindapsus Pictus, and Silver Vine.
If you are a first-time plant grower but are worried about not being able to commit, then the Silver pothos is the right choice for you. This is an evergreen plant that has heart-shaped variegated leaves in shades of green and silver.
It enjoys bright indirect light and warm temperatures ranging from 64 to 80-degree Fahrenheit (17 to 26 degrees Celsius). Plant it in a peat and perlite based mixture. When watering your Pothos, only do so if the top 2 inches (5 centimeters) of soil is dry.
The Silver Pothos first originated in South-east Asia. The Silver Pothos is not only eye-catching but also makes an amazing view when placed in hanging baskets or when placed around moss poles. People sometimes confuse it with Philodendron Silver.
The Pothos can grow up to 10 feet; however, if you grow the plant indoors, it will reach up to 3 feet.
Let’s read ahead about how to care for your Silver Pothos. We will also discuss tips that I have personally tried to keep my Silver Pothos thriving.
- 1 Plant Care Instructions for Silver Pothos (Scindapsus Pictus)
- 2 Common Problems for Silver Pothos
- 3 Tips for Growing
- 4 Silver Pothos Plant Profile
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions about Satin Pothos Care
- 6 Conclusion
Plant Care Instructions for Silver Pothos (Scindapsus Pictus)
The Silver Pothos enjoys bright indirect light and warm temperatures ranging from 64 to 80-degree Fahrenheit (17 to 26 degrees Celsius). Provide medium or bright indirect light. Plant it in a rich and well-draining potting mix. I suggest a peat and perlite based mixture. When watering your Pothos, only do so if the top 2 inches (5 centimeters) of soil is dry.
Silver Pothos thrive in rich soil, which drains well. The best potting mix is one that has organic matter. The organic matter holds the moisture and also lets water drain freely, preventing water clogging.
I prefer making my own potting medium, and I would recommend all my readers to do the same. My mix typically consists of 4 parts peat moss to 2 parts perlite to 1 part vermiculite to 1 part shredded bark.
If you are not able to find perlite, then you can use charcoal instead – it too drains water effectively. The peat moss is used to keep the roots healthy and nourished.
The shredded bark is an example of an organic compound, and it improves the substrate’s ability to retain water.
To check if my soil is light, I water it thoroughly. If the water starts to collect on the soil surface or is taking time to drain, then aerate the soil. Similarly, if the soil is draining too fast, then add sphagnum peat moss to the soil and water again to test it.
Remember that even though the Satin Pothos requires the best drainage, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be left dry. This is where the organic matter comes in to improve water retention capacity. You don’t have to use shredded bark. Any material that’s considered organic matter will do.
You should water your Silver Pothos depending on how fast the top of the soil dries. During summers, your Pothos will need more watering, such that you might have to do it twice a week. However, in winters, the Pothos requires less watering. Watering ensures that the roots are always slightly moist.
To make sure that your Pothos is being watered well, press the potting soil firmly and check for any moisture. If you feel any dampness, do not water until the top part of the soil dries. In some cases, you can also check the soil near the drainage hole. If it is damp, then you do not need to water your plant.
The amount of water required by the Silver Pothos depends on several factors:
- Silver Pothos do not require much watering during winter as they do not respire much in that season.
- If you place your Pothos in a terracotta pot, the soil will dry faster. Therefore, place your Silver Pothos in unglazed pots.
- If the soil is heavy, you will need to hold back from watering too much as the moisture retention will also be high.
I recommend checking the soil 2 inches deep (5 cm) to ensure complete dryness. By preventing over or under-watering, you prevent the plant from stressing out. This will further keep them away from pests and diseases.
I take a liking to plants that have exceptional colorations, which is why I was drawn to the Satin Pothos. As you’ll see later, the leaves of this plant are deep green with accents of silver; hence, the name Silver pothos.
Now, one factor that enables this plant to maintain these colors is lighting. This plant fares best in a setting with bright, indirect sunlight. A spot near an east-facing window is ideal.
Avoid exposing it to harsh and direct rays of the sun as these will scorch its leaves. On the other hand, very little light can also cause it to lose its variegation.
Silver Pothos enjoy plenty of light. However, you should not place them directly under sunlight. Direct sunlight can scorch their leaves. The best place in your house is a hanging pot, which should be placed at the east or west-facing window. Here it will get some morning or evening sun.
Silver Pothos grow in low light conditions and can adapt to even dim-lit rooms. Thought the latter is not recommended as the plant’s vines can become leggy and sparse.
The silver variegation will be lost due to inadequate light. This is a good tip to keep in mind if you notice the leaves turning darker.
Outdoors the plant will receive ample light when placed under a shade.
If you grow your Pothos indoors, the best temperature range is between 65 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit (18 to 29 degrees Celsius). Maintaining a consistent room temperature in their tropical environment encourages growth and protection from sudden temperature fluctuations.
Even in winter, don’t allow the temperatures to drop below 60°F (16°C). Unfortunately, maintaining this temperature level in the cold season can be a tall order. Here are a few tricks I like to use to keep my plant warm in winter:
Here are a few tricks I like to use to keep my plant warm in winter:
- Bubble wrap – this element creates a layer of bubbles, which insulates the plant; thus, protecting it from colder snaps
- Bottom heat mat- this is a great option if you’re looking to provide a warm setting for a cutting. If you decide to place your cutting on a heat mat, keep tabs on the moisture levels as well. This is because the bottom heat can cause the soil to become dry faster than usual
I understand that getting the right temperature in summer or winter is not easy.
You should avoid growing plants close to radiators in winters, or else they dry out. Cold drafts from air conditioners during summers can cause the leaves to lose their green and silver color. Lack of fresh color means your Pothos has started to wilt and will eventually turn brown.
You can allow your Pothos to grow outside as long as the minimum temperature is close to 60-degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius).
Silver Pothos are tropical plants that need, at best medium to high range of humidity. I personally recommend growing Pothos at 40% of humidity as that helps them grow fast.
Misting: All you need to do is to pour some clean water into a spray bottle and mist your Pothos leaves every day.
DIY Pebble Tray:
- Place some water inside a tray or plate.
- Place the pebbles underneath and around the pot without disturbing the water.
Room Humidifier: A room humidifier keeps the room humidity at a fixed point, thereby preventing the plant from stressing out with fluctuations.
Room Location: Rooms like kitchens or bathrooms have higher humidity than other places in the house.
Silver Pothos doesn’t grow fast, therefore, not requiring a lot of fertilization as well. You can provide the nutrients to the plant once a month or at the time of the growing season.
Fertilization during the winter season is not recommended as the plant is usually in the resting phase. So, if the plant doesn’t utilize the content, the soil will have a mineral overflow, which can be poisonous.
The right amount of fertilizer ensures healthy foliage and vibrancy. If the leaf color of your Pothos starts to fade, start feeding your plant regularly once a month. Another alternative is a slow-release fertilizer. The granules of the slow-release fertilizer give a steady supply of nutrients.
Spring is a good season to repot your Pothos, specifically during the early parts of the season. The Silver Pothos grows faster in fertile potting mix. By transferring your Pothos, you are giving it more room to spread its roots, which keeps the plant healthy. Before repotting, I always check for poor drainage or poking roots.
You should find a container that is 2 inches (5 centimeters) larger than your old pot. Placing your Silver Pothos in the right pot ensures a reduction in overwatering and soggy soil.
Following are the steps to repot Silver Pothos:
- Take the plant carefully out of the pot to prevent stems and root damage.
- Carefully dust soil from the roots by washing them in water or using a damp cloth.
- Eye the roots for any signs of rotting. The Pothos roots should be white, not brown in color.
- Prune the decaying roots.
- Take your new container and place the appropriate potting mix until it’s halfway.
- Place the Pothos plant and ensure it reaches the same height as before.
- Fill the empty space with the soil as well.
- Press the soil gently and thoroughly water the plant. Give special attention to your plant in the coming days.
Silver Pothos plants seldom need to be pruned. However, by snipping off the ends of the stems, you can encourage bushier growth. Also, if they get too long, you should prune the trailing stems. Another purpose of trimming the plant is to collect stem cuttings for propagation.
Spring is the best time to prune Pothos as that’s the time it just about to grow more. Scan for dying or already dead leaves. Also, look for damaged items in the plant and prune as needed.
If you wish to propagate the plant right after pruning, snip off at least 4 inches (10 centimeters) portion of the stem that has two or three leaves on it.
Stem cuttings rooted in water are the perfect way for the propagation of Silver Pothos. Follow the step given below:
- Remove the stem just below the node and place the cut part in a jar of water.
- Wait a few weeks before 1inch (2.5 centimeters) roots appear—plant in an appropriate container with a fresh potting mixture.
- Satin Pothos plants can grow in water for a couple of months. However, you will need to move them to an appropriate pot once they have grown to a certain height.
Following are some pointers that you should think about while propagating:
- Using sterile pruning equipment.
- Change the water weekly or repot into a moist, peat-based potting mixture.
- Roots should start to form on your cuttings in about four weeks.
- First, pick a healthy stem
- Starting from the stem’s tip/end, count back 3 leaves
- From this third leaf, make a ½ to 1-inch incision below it. Do your best to make the cut at a 45-degree angle
- Remove the third leaf by cutting it at a point close to the stem; ensure it’s a neat and clean cut. Maintain the top two leaves
With your cutting in hand, prepare your growing medium by adding medium-warm water to a container. Next, place your cutting inside the water so that it’s submerged about an inch above the node, that is, the point where you snipped the third leaf.
I prefer to propagate my Silver pothos in a soilless mix because it doesn’t contain any pathogens or bacteria that could, potentially, prevent rooting. My mixture typically consists of equal parts peat and perlite. If you don’t have perlite, you can use sand instead.
Once your potting mix is ready, all that’s left to do is to place your cutting and wait for it to root. After about a month or so, you should start seeing your cutting develop a few roots.
Tip: Although it’s not mandatory, you can dip your cutting in a rooting hormone before placing it in the potting soil. This offers two key benefits. One, it helps to seal the edge of the cutting where the incision was made. Two, it enhances the growth of the new plant.
The Silver Pothos has juvenile leaves that are heart-shaped. When the plant matures, it is pinnately lobed. Although the plant rarely blossoms when grown indoors, insignificant flowers form in the summer, followed by small berries.
Silver Pothos are native to the rainforests of Asia. This variegated plant has long stems that can grow up to 10 feet long with heart-shaped leaves. The leaves come in different shades of light and dark green with silver or white patches on them.
Expect the Satin pothos to grow to a height of 3 feet (0.9 m) indoors. Since it’s a climber, you can have it trail a moss stick or place it in a hanging basket. Alternatively, you can grow it outdoors where it grows up to 10 feet (3 m) tall.
With frequent pruning, Silver Pothos can make excellent potted plants with bushy foliage. Alternatively, you can also hang them from baskets.
Common Problems for Silver Pothos
While rarely threatened by pests, scale and spider mites will often pose a problem, and it’s best to handle the problem as soon as you notice them.
Also, if left unchecked, the scales and spider mites spread easily to other indoor plants. This leads to mass spread, creating an even bigger issue for you to deal with.
However, don’t worry, as both pests are easily recognized and can be handled easily. Stressors like root rotting also affect this plant.
As we mentioned earlier, Silver pothos is vulnerable to root rot. The biggest culprit for this entails overwatering.
If you’re not sure that your Satin’s roots are rotting, look for signs, such as:
- Soft, brown roots – any roots, which are healthy are slightly firm and have a whitish color.
- Yellowing of the leaves – coloration of leaves speaks volumes about a plant’s health. If you notice the leaves starting to turn yellow, there’s a possibility that its roots are rooting.
- Dampness in the soil – you might not know/see your Satin’s roots rotting underneath. But if you notice that the top layer of soil is always moist, this is an indication that its root system is rotting.
When root rot is a problem, even the stems of the plant can become black and mushy. The foliage, too, becomes black. If the problem is only raising its not-so-pretty head, you should cut back on irrigation and just irrigate when the top part of the soil gets dry.
Signs of root rot usually arise when significant damage to the root system is already occurring. You will note that the stems are brown, and the leaves have soft or black spots. Your only hope to revitalize a dying Pothos plant is repotting it in fresh, sterile soil.
The most popular way to detect spider mites is by observing the silk spider webs on your plant. Individually these bugs are hard to find because they’re very small.
However, when you start to notice the spider mites crawling with your naked eyes, this typically means that the infestation is high. When buying plants from a plant nursery, always look for signs of spider webs before buying them.
Use neem oil to get rid of the sap-sucking mites easily:
- Mix 1.5 teaspoon of Neem oil, one teaspoon Liquid soap with 33 oz (1 liter) of lukewarm water.
- Wash the leaves of your plant to get rid of most of the insects.
- Use neem oil spray every week to eradicate the pests.
It’s hard to see scales on indoor plants. Small insect pests like scales do not crawl, scurry, or fly. Instead, they may look like brown bumps on stems that seem like a minor growth. They’re usually brown-colored but can be any shade from white to reddish-brown.
Try some rubbing alcohol to get rid of scale bugs from houseplants. Using a cotton bud, add alcohol to the group of scales to kill them in one go. Check any plant crevice because the pests like to lurk in those corners. Also, remove any soil from around the stems to search for signs of scale insects.
If you have scales on your Silver Pothos, it’s a good idea to repot the infested one in a fresh potting mixture. Remember to sterilize the pot if you are going to reuse it.
Leaves Turning Brown
Silver Pothos leaves that turn brown are typically a symptom of three things:
- Low humidity: Mist your plants periodically to increase moisture and trim off the brown tips. Dry air also puts the plant at risk for spider mite infestation.
- Over-fertilization: The build-up of mineral salts may be a cause for the Silver Pothos leaves turning brown. Keep off the fertilization for a month and sprinkle the soil with plenty of water.
- Too much sunshine: Silver Pothos leaves turn brown if the plant is placed under direct sunlight.
Eliminate the above issues, and your plant will start growing the lush leaves again.
Overwatering is a cause of making the beautiful silver and green variegated leaves turn yellow. Always scan the soil for extra moisture before watering. Ensure that it is fully dry. The soil can remain damp or soggy even though you water it less.
The explanation for this is that the soil is taking longer to dry. You can need to replace your potting mix with a lighter and organic one. Otherwise, the plant could do with repotting because its roots have outgrown the old pot.
Loss of variegation
The silver variegation is one of the things that gives this plant such a distinct look.
Now, the Satin pothos is an excellent candidate for a partially-shaded growing spot. But as we mentioned earlier, very little light can result in a loss of variegation.
If you notice your plant losing color, then move it to a more brightly-lit spot to reverse the condition. Let it sit in the new spot long enough that it’s variegation appears.
Too much light can also be a problem for this plant. Usually, this causes the leaves to lose their gorgeous deep-green hue. This is because the intense light hinders it from making chlorophyll, which is the green pigmentation. In case this happens move your Satin to a more shaded area.
Tips for Growing
Following are some points you can keep in mind when taking care of your Silver Pothos:
- To allow the foliage to become fuller, trim it back.
- Plant a few smaller plants in a larger pot to produce an effect of a complete plant.
- Ensure that the potting mix has excellent drainage and just water when the plant is partially dry.
- Place your plant in an area with access to bright, indirect light
- Allow enough time for the soil’s top third to dry before watering again
- Add fertilizer to provide nutrients, which could be missing in the potting mixture
- Use insecticidal soap to keep spider mites and mealybugs at bay
- Watch out for any loss in variegation
- Repot as soon as your Satin Pothos becomes root-bound
Silver Pothos Plant Profile
Native to the tropical rainforests of Asia, Silver (Satin) pothos is an evergreen, vine plant that makes a superb addition to any home.
Its most striking feature has to be the foliage, which encompasses heart-shaped, deep-green leaves with silver accents. To add to that, these leaves have a matte-like texture and velvety feel, which is why the plant was named Satin.
There are two main varieties of this plant: Exotica and Argyraeus.
It’s not easy to note the difference between these two because of how similar they look. But, if you’re keen, you’ll notice Exotica has more prominent silver markings alongside a lighter green color. In contrast, Argyraeus has fairly shorter variegated leaves, which are also a little darker.
Frequently Asked Questions about Satin Pothos Care
Why are the leaves of my Silver Pothos curling?
Curling leaves are typically a symbol of underwatering Silver Pothos. Make sure the soil is dry around the drainage holes. If so, do deep watering to fully drain the soil.
How do you make Silver Pothos grow faster?
The best plan of action for your Pothos is to encourage good growth by establishing environmental conditions and feeding them regularly. Grow your Pothos in a rich, well-drained potting mixture, position in bright indirect light and water only if the upper layer of the soil is dry, and feed monthly with a half-strength water-soluble houseplant fertilizer.
Is Silver Pothos toxic for pets?
Silver Pothos contains calcium oxalate crystals. This makes all parts of the plant poisonous to humans, dogs, and cats.
Does Silver Pothos really have air-purifying qualities?
Yes, it does. According to a study conducted by NASA, this plant is very good at removing pollutants like toluene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, xylene, and benzene from the air.
Let’s hope you’ve got all the information you need to grow a beautifully safe Silver Pothos.
Have you been looking for a houseplant that is going to be a real show-stopper? If so, the Scindapsus pictus, or Satin pothos is a superb choice. The plant develops beautiful, silvery patches on its leaves, at times, completely silver foliage.
More than that, this plant is super easy to care for. Get the basics right, and this is a very simple and satisfying plant to grow indoors. All it needs is a partially-shaded spot, a rich and well-draining potting mixture with minimal watering and feeding every once or twice per month in the growing season.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.