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Plant of the week: Scindapsus pictus, also known as the Silver Satin

If you ever set foot into a plant shop, the chances of you seeing a Scindapsus pictus are pretty high. These plants are prevalent among plant lovers, and it’s easy to see why. Even so, if you’re new to the plant community or if you’re new to these vining plants, you might be wondering how to care for your new plant baby properly. Here is everything you need to know to help your Scindapsus pictus plant grow and thrive in your home.

hand holding Scindapsus pictus leaf

What is the Scindapsus pictus?

The Scindapsus pictus is native to Southeast Asia and is considered one of the easiest houseplants to keep alive. This makes them perfect for beginner houseplant parents and ideal gifts to those who tend to neglect their plants. Its heart-shaped leaves have a matte-like look to them and are a darker green with splashes of iridescent gray or silver which is where the plant gets its nickname, the silver satin.

Depending on the conditions, this plant can grow vines as long as 10 feet, and it’s a fast-growing plant, so you can purchase a smaller plant knowing that it will fill out rather quickly if cared for properly. In the wild, these plants grow up the trunks of trees using their aerial roots to attach themselves to the bark. This means these plants can easily transition from hanging or draping plants to climbing a moss pole or up a trellis. Their versatile growing methods make them ideal as home decor pieces since you can arrange them or grow them in whichever way suits your space best.

It’s important to note that this plant is sometimes called a satin pothos, but this is not a pothos plant. It’s actually a cousin species that looks, grows, and behaves very similarly, but they are not the same.

Scindapsus pictus next to green chair

Care tips for a Scindapsus pictus

Even though these plants are considered neglect-proof, it’s still good to educate yourself on what the plant needs. This way, you’ll have a luscious and vibrant member of your plant family rather than a plant that’s simply surviving.

Water

The Scindapsus pictus likes to dry out between waterings. To ensure you’re not overwatering your plants, you might want to consider purchasing a moisture meter. These are great tools for testing the soil to see how damp it is. In addition, it prevents plant lovers from over-loving their plants and killing them due to overwatering.

Without a moisture meter, you can test the soil by sticking your finger in as far as it can go. Test the soil of your silver satin, and if it’s dry as far as you can reach your finger, it’s time for a deep watering. Remove the plant from its tray, water the plant until water comes out of the drainage hole, then once it’s done dripping, return it to its tray.

You’ll also want to shower this plant every month or so to wash off the dust and debris that collects on the leaves.

Light

This plant loves medium to bright indirect light, but it can tolerate low light — it just won’t grow as fast or as big.

Food

A monthly feeding with a balanced fertilizer during the spring, summer, and fall will help keep this plant happy and healthy. However, don’t stress too much if you miss a month; this plant is hardy enough to survive a little neglect.

Temperature

True to their reputation, the Scindapsus pictus is an easy plant to care for and doesn’t overreact to temperature changes. The average home is between 65 and 75 degrees, which is perfectly fine for this vining plant.

Humidity

These plants aren’t picky about their humidity and will do just fine in the average home’s humidity.

Toxicity

The Scindapsus pictus is slightly toxic and can cause minor irritation to the skin, mouth, and throat if ingested, so it’s best to keep it out of the reach of cats, dogs, and children. But rest assured that these symptoms are minor and don’t lead to anything worse than a few days of being uncomfortable.

Additional care

If your Scindapsus pictus is getting a big leggy and you’re looking for a fuller-looking plant, you can easily encourage this by pruning the plant regularly. Snip off the ends of the vines as they get too long, which will enable the plant to grow bushier rather than longer. You could also take those snipped ends, pop them in a small glass container of water, and propagate them. Once the baby roots are two inches long, you can then transplant them into the pot with the mother plant, giving your plant a bushier appearance.

Although rare plants are beautiful and fun to collect, there’s something so beautiful in the simplicity of a Scindapsus pictus. While you might see it everywhere, it’s still a stunning plant that can add a dramatic waterfall of green down your wall or give your room a jungle feel as you train the vines. Use these care tips to encourage your silver satin to grow and live its best life.

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