We recently were gifted a Silver Philodendron (scientific name: Scindapsus Pictus), and it is a beauty!
An edgier version of the usual vining houseplants like Pothos, the Silver Philodendron has distinctive silvery variegation but is just as easy to grow.
The Silver Philodendron needs similar conditions to a Pothos to thrive (though they are not Pothos!): average indoor temperatures and high humidity. They tolerate low light levels, and are pest-resistant.
The biggest issue with Silver Philodendrons is overwatering, and the fungal diseases that result from that. So watering practices and choosing a well-draining soil is important.
Let’s jump into the details!
Silver Pothos, Satin Pothos, Silver Satin Pothos?
But before we jump into our care guide, a quick note on the many names of the Silver Philodendron. This same plant has many nicknames, including: Silver Pothos, Jade Satin, Silver Vine, Satin Pothos, Silver Satin Pothos and Silver Philodendron.
It’s wild 🙂
However, the easiest way to avoid confusion is to refer to its scientific name, the Scindapsus Pictus.
Plus, the nicknames can be a bit misleading.
While the Scindapsus Pictus comes from the same Araceae family (aroids), it is from the Scindapsus genus. It its NOT a Philodendron NOR a Pothos.
Silver Philodendron Varieties
There are a few common varieties of the Scindapsus Pictus species, namely the Scindapsus Pictus ‘Exotica‘, Scindapsus Pictus ‘Argyraeus‘, and Scindapsus Pictus ‘Silvery Ann‘.
The Argyraeus won the Royal Horticultual Society’s Garden Merit Award, conferred to varieties that are robust, grows well, isn’t particularly susceptible to pests, of “outstanding excellence” for garden decoration.
While their leaves have different types and levels of variegation, all share the same care requirements.
This article applies to all varieties of the Scindapsus Pictus. 🙂
Caring for your Silver Philodendron
Your Silver Philodendron can live in low-light situations (Hooray for all of us who don’t have much natural light!).
Though, like most plants, bright indirect light is best. North or East-facing windows are ideal, otherwise, West-facing is okay but place it around 3m (90cm) away from the windowpane.
Smaller leaves are a sign of too little light. Higher light also brings out more silvery variegation.
They also grow well under artificial grow lights, so that’s an option too.
Watering your Scindapsus Pictus is easy. But, getting it right is critical, as Silver Philodendron are susceptible to overwatering.
Using your finger, use the usual method of checking that the top 2 inches of soil is dry before watering.
Then, water slowly and deeply near the soil line. We use a long-spouted watering can that helps us avoid wetting the leaves.
Make sure to empty the saucer so that your plant is never sitting in a pool of stagnant water.
That’s it 🙂
You will know the plant needs watering when the leaves curl inwards and develop brown, crispy tips. And they curl pretty dramatically so it is hard to miss!
That said, don’t wait until the leaves curl before watering. Nonetheless, it is a good sign when you forget.
On the other hand, curling leaves + yellowed leaves are a sign of overwatering.
When in doubt, err on the side of underwatering.
Average room humidity is fine for this hardy Silver Philodendron (we told you she is not fussy!). But when given ideal humidity of > 50%, the difference is mindblowing.
They grow a lot more quickly. Leaves are lush.
Using a pebble tray is a good way to boost humidity levels. But the easy and convenient solution is to purchase a humidifier. Choose one that allows you to adjust the exact %humidity settings.
This one is our personal favorite.
When it comes to temperatures, warm and stable temperatures are important. Keep your Silver Philodendron in temperatures from 65 – 75 degrees F (18 – 24 degrees C).
They are not cold-hardy, so for most part, average indoor temperatures are best.
Your Silver Philodendron can flower in the Summer. However, as with many foliage houseplants, your plant is not sought-after for its flowers, as these are insignificant.
Nevertheless, you may spot a boat-like spathe (modified leaf or bract) with a central spike called the spadix. Tiny flowers grow along the spadix.
If you wait – you might even spot berries!
In the wild, a young Silver Philodendron starts growing near the forest floor. Then, it starts climbing up a host tree, forming shingles (see photo below).
Shingle plants hug their hosts closely, almost like they are pasted onto its surface directly. 🙂
In fact, Scindapsus comes from the word, “skindapsos,” in Greek, meaning “upon tree trunks”. This honors the plant’s epiphytic (climbing) habit.
Growing in the wild, they often reach over 10 feet (3 meters) tall! However, when kept indoors, expect your plant to grow up to 35 inches (90cm) in length.
Their leaves stay relatively small, around 2 inches (5 cm), so don’t expect large leaves like a Monstera.
While placing in hanging baskets is a good option too, they trail down they tend to have smaller leaves.
However, if you use a trellis or moss pole, you’ll find that they grow more quickly and tend to develop bigger leaves. This is because you are encouraging its natural climbing habit!
Soil or Growing Medium
An airy and well-draining mix is great for your plant, especially when overwatering is the most common issue with this Silver Philodendron.
We like using:
- 3 parts high-quality indoor potting mix
- 1 part perlite
Alternatively, if you are open to hydroponics, try LECA. These plants do extremely well when grown in a LECA substrate!
For our Silver Philodendron, we like using Dyna-gro Grow to give this plant a nutritional boost, especially as it is fast-growing.
Use 1/4 teaspoon per gallon water, and use this to water your plant, everytime you water.
This gives your plant a steady stream of nutrients. Do this in spring and summer, and hold off in fall and winter.
We’ve also been experimenting with using a high-quality fish and seaweed emulsion, which is a great alternative if you prefer not to use synthetic ingredients.
The Silver Philodendron has an extensive root system. They are also fast-growing. So its no surprise that repotting is a regular occurrence.
Repot your plant during Spring, always use fresh soil, and upsize your container 2 inches (5cm) larger than the previous.
Unfortunately, your Silver Philodendron is toxic to animals and humans. Place your plant away from pets and children!
It’s really easy to propagate a Silver Philodendron. Our only caution? They take a while to root, but once they do they grow pretty quickly.
Spring is the best time for propagation.
What you’ll need for Propagation via Stem Cuttings
- a glass jar half-filled with room temperature water;
- clean garden shears
In 4-6 weeks’ time, you’ll also need
- potting soil (3 parts indoor potting mix + 1 part perlite)
- a pot with drainage holes
- clean garden shears
How to Propagate your Silver Philodendron through Stem Cuttings:
- Identify a healthy portion of stem, around 3-4 inches (8-10 cm) long, that has at least 2 nodes and 2 leaves.
- Using clean garden shears, cut off this identified stem, just below the node.
- Remove any leaves from the lower half of the stem cutting (as this will be submerged in water).
- Place the stem cutting in the glass jar prepared with water, ensuring at least 1 node is under the water and no leaves are submerged.
- Place the stem cutting in a warm spot, with plenty of indirect light, but away from direct sunlight.
- Change out the water every few days.
- In about 2 weeks, you’ll see roots forming from the nodes and cut end.
- In 4-6 weeks, you’ll notice that the roots have grown to about an inch long. At this point, it’s ready to be repotted in its new home!
- Plant the stem cutting into a new pot with moist potting mix.
- Treat as you would any other Silver Philodendron.
As with many houseplants, its a good idea to trim off any damaged, wilted or yellowed leaves. Also cut off any leggy stems.
This helps your plant divert its energy to new growth.
Use sterilized garden shears to prune (we use 70% isopropyl solution) – don’t use your fingers directly, as they do have an irritating sap.
Common Pests and Diseases
In our experience, the Scindapsus Pictus is very pest-resistant. Of course, no plant is immune, with the usual spider mites and mealybugs always posing some small threat.
But the bigger issue for your plant comes from fungal diseases due to overwatering. (Steps to saving an overwatered plant here!)
Of course, prevention is better than cure. Make sure you’re watering your plant properly, and you’ll likely have a problem-free Silver Philodendron.
Check out our watering tips if you’d like more info.
Curling leaves typically signal improper watering – either too much water, or too little. Check the soil moisture to confirm.
Also ensure you are using an appropriate potting mix – airy and well-draining, but don’t go crazy on the perlite either. We like using 3 parts indoor potting mix to 1 part perlite.
The occasional old leaf that turns yellow is nothing to worry about. Your plant is just making way for new growth!
However, yellow leaves through the plant, alongside curling leaves often means your plant is overwatered. Check the soil moisture to confirm.
Brown and Crispy Leaves
This is usually due to underwatering, or too little humidity.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between the Silver Philodendron and the Satin Pothos?
They are the same plant! The Silver Philodendron and Satin Pothos refer to the same plant, the Scindapsus Pictus.
At one point, the Scindapsus Pictus was classified as a Pothos, before being re-classified as a Scindapsus. This explains its nickname.
Where is a good place to buy a Silver Philodendron?
The Scindapsus Pictus are quite a common plant, and should be readily available at local nurseries.
However, if you have your eye on a specific variety with heavy variegation, these may be harder to find. Etsy is a great spot to find a reputable seller.
The Silver Philodendron is an easy-going plant that has gorgeous silver variegated leaves. To keep your plant healthy,
- Give it bright but indirect light, though it can tolerate low light.
- Water it only when the topsoil is dry. Curling leaves are a sign of improper watering.
- Average indoor temperatures and >50% humidity is best.
- Fertilize lightly during the growing season.
- Use a well-draining potting soil, or try LECA.
If you love the Silver Philodendron, check out the Monstera Dubia next; we think they look a little similar with their silver variegation!
Similar Plants and Varieties
Here are some of our favorite Aroids, from the same family as the Scindapsus Pictus.
- Neon Pothos
- Pothos N’Joy
- Cebu Blue Pothos
- Marble Queen Pothos
- Philodendron Birkin
- Philodendron Tortum
- Philodendron Pastazanum
- Philodendron McDowell
- Monstera Siltepecana
- Monstera Peru
- Philodendron Rugosum (Pig Skin Philodendron)
- Philodendron Brasil
- Monstera Round Up – check out 13 Unique Monsteras (w/Photos!)
- Pothos Round Up – 11 types of Pothos we love.
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.