Silver Philodendron: Detailed (Scindapsus pictus) Care Guide

This plant has a number of rather confusing common names. It is often called Silver Philodendron or Silver Pothos, but strangely it is neither a Philodendron nor a Pothos! Its botanical name is Scindapsus pictus.

Silver Philodendron has beautifully variegated foliage. The silver-speckled green leaves are heart-shaped, typical of Aroid plants. It is a popular species of houseplant because it is very easy to care for and looks gorgeous in any room. In the right climate, it can also grow outside in the garden.

Because Silver Philodendron is so hardy and striking, it has become a common houseplant all over the world, available from most nurseries and garden centers as well as online. This article discusses the Silver Philodendron, what conditions it needs to grow, and how to care for it in your home or garden.

How To Identify A Silver Philodendron?

Identifying Scindapsus pictus can be tricky because it goes by many names and resembles a few other plant species quite closely.

Other common names for Silver Philodendron are:

  • Silver Pothos
  • Silvery Ann Pothos
  • Satin Pothos
  • Silver Satin Philodendron
  • Silver Spotted Philodendron
  • Satin Philodendron

Do not confuse Silver Philodendron with the following true species of Philodendron:

  • Philodendron ‘Silver-Streak’
  • Philodendron ‘Silver-Leaf’
  • Philodendron ‘Silver Queen’

The defining characteristics of Scindapsus pictus are:

  • The heart-shaped leaves grow 2 to 3 inches long and 1.5 inches wide.
  • Leaves have a silver outline and are variegated with silver speckles.
  • Some varieties have larger silver speckles, or a more irregular pattern.
  • The plant has a vining growth form, typically reaching 3 feet tall in a pot.

There are four different cultivars of Scindapsus pictus that you may find at a nursery or garden center – ‘Argyraeus’, ‘Exotica’, ‘Silver Satin’, and ‘Silvery Ann’.

Related: Philodendron vs Monstera: Important Similarities & Differences

Characteristics Of Silver Philodendrons

Silver Philodendrons belong to the Scindapsus genus, which is part of the Araceae family. This makes it closely related to real Philodendrons, true Pothos, Anthuriums, and Monstera. It is most closely related to the Epipremnum genus and resembles these plants closely.

Scindapsus originates from Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. They are tropical plants that are adapted to thrive in hot, humid climates.

Under the right conditions, they flower, but the blooms are rather insignificant and do not have a fragrance.

Growth Rate And Size

If grown in the ground, Silver Philodendron can get quite big. It can climb over 10 feet! In a pot, they generally reach around 3 feet tall.

Under the right conditions, these plants are fast-growing. However, overwatering, overfertilizing, and too much or too little sunlight can hamper its growth rate.

Silver Philodendron

How To Care For Silver Philodendron

Growing a healthy Silver Philodendron is relatively easy. They are low-maintenance and do not have any special care requirements.

These plants are suitable for first-time plant parents as they are very hardy and forgiving.

Follow these basic care guidelines for Silver Philodendrons.

Temperature Requirements

Scindapsus pictus is a tropical plant that needs warmth and humidity to grow its best. Ideally, you should keep your Silver Philodendron in a room with a temperature range of 65- to 75-degrees F (18 to 24 degrees C).

It does not tolerate cold or frost; therefore, you can only grow it outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 9 to 11. In other zones, it can be grown in a pot indoors or kept on a bright, shady patio during summer.

Bring it inside during the colder months. It suffers in temperatures below 59 degrees F (15 degrees C).

Humidity requirements

Although these plants thrive in very humid conditions, they can tolerate a wide range of humidity levels. Generally, they do not need a humidifier to grow healthily.

On particularly hot days when the air is feeling dry or when you are running an air conditioner, you can mist your Silver Philodendron’s leaves.

Watering Guide

Silver Philodendrons should be watered regularly, but how often you need to water depends on your climate and the plant’s growing conditions.

Generally, you can water it every 1 to 2 weeks. The most important thing to remember about watering is that the soil should almost dry out between watering sessions.

Like most houseplants, Silver Philodendrons require less water during winter. During the warmer months of the year, when they are growing most actively, they need more water.

These plants are very sensitive to overwatering. They do not like their roots being in soggy, saturated soil. As epiphytes, their roots need to breathe.

If you see the leaves of your Silver Philodendron turning yellow and the soil is constantly damp, you may be overwatering your plant.

Light Guide

Scindapsus pictus thrives when it receives bright, indirect sunshine for most of the day. Too little light, and the leaves lose their variegated appearance. Too much, and the foliage can get scorched.

The ideal place for a Silver Philodendron is in an east-facing window. Shield your plant from harsh, direct sunlight, especially in the afternoon.

Soil And Potting Requirements

The key factor when it comes to the soil for Silver Philodendron is drainage. The potting mixture must be loose, aerated, and high in organic matter.

To make your own potting mix, combine:

  • 2 parts organic potting soil
  • 2 parts perlite
  • 1 part coco peat
  • A few handfuls of bark chips

You can also use a pre-made potting mix that is made specifically for house plants.

Silver Philodendron

Support

Because Silver Philodendron is a vining plant, give it a moss mole or trellis for support. This will keep the leaves growing as large as possible.

The other option is to grow it in a hanging basket and allow the long vines to hang down. This will result in smaller leaves but looks amazing overall.

Fertilizer Requirements

Silver Philodendrons are not particularly hungry plants. You do not have to fertilize them, but to boost their growth, you can feed them with a general-purpose organic liquid fertilizer.

Dilute the liquid fertilizer more than the instructions on the label say and apply the fertilizer once a month. This will prevent the risk of fertilizer burn.

Only feed it during the growing season (spring, summer, and fall). Stop feeding it during winter, as its growth slows over the colder months, and it does not need the nutrients.

Also Check: Philodendron Melanochrysum: Essential Care Guide

How To Maintain A Silver Philodendron

It is not difficult to keep a Silver Philodendron looking fabulous. These low-maintenance plants only require a bit of upkeep once in a while.

Here are some tips for maintaining your Silver Philodendron:

Pruning

To keep your plant tidy and growing in the shape you desire, prune off any unwanted stems and old growth. Minor pruning can be done all year but leave major pruning to spring. When plants are actively growing, they are better able to heal.

Use a sharp blade, knife or pair of scissors and sanitize it using 70% rubbing alcohol before pruning. This is to prevent the plant tissues from becoming infected.

Potting And Repotting

You will need to repot a Silver Philodendron every one or two years. Move it into a container that is slightly larger than the previous one and replace the potting mixture.

Repotting will invigorate the plant’s growth by giving the roots more room to grow.

Propagation

It is delightfully simple to propagate this magnificent plant! You can create loads more Silver Philodendrons by rooting stem cuttings or by dividing up mature plants.

For cuttings, choose sections of the stem with at least one leaf and a petiole. Cut right below a petiole as this is where it will root from. It is critical to use a clean, sharp implement for taking cuttings.

Place cuttings in water or plant them in a moist, well-aerated potting mixture to root. Silver Philodendron cuttings take 4 to 6 weeks to develop roots.

Once the cuttings have been rooted, plant them into small pots using an appropriate potting mixture. Keep the baby plants watered regularly and watch their growth take off!

Silver Philodendron

Pests And Diseases Affecting Silver Philodendron

Generally, Silver Philodendrons are problem-free plants if they are taken care of correctly and not overwatered. The one pest that does affect them is mealybugs.

Mealybugs are little sap-sucking insects that can damage plants badly if an infestation is not taken care of. Luckily, they are easy to deal with and do not require any chemical pesticides.

Wipe down the plant’s leaves, removing all visible mealybugs, using a soft sponge and mild dish soap and water. It is a good idea to wipe plants’ leaves regularly. This will prevent pests from infesting your plant and remove dust that settles on the leaves.

Conclusion

Identifying a Silver Philodendron may be confusing, but there is nothing difficult about caring for one of these houseplants. They are tough and tolerant of a wide range of conditions – just keep them away from cold and frost!

As long as you take care not to overwater it, you should have few troubles with growing a Silver Philodendron. This gorgeous plant will brighten up your home and bring you so much joy.

References:

https://www.plantandflowerinfo.com/philodendron-silver/philodendron_silver

https://gardeningbrain.com/silver-philodendron/

https://www.fieldnotesbystudioplants.com/houseplants/satin-pothos-philodendron-silver-difference

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