Meet the houseplant: satin pothos

Scindapsus pictus

Satin pothos

Oh the satin pothos, what an incredibly useful beauty! It’s got all the hallmarks of a high maintenance plant — just look at those amazing velvety leaves with glorious silver variegation — but in fact it’s an absolute breeze. It’s super simple to care for, grows quickly, and looks especially impressive trailing over a shelf, or down from a hanging planter.

Light:

That houseplant classic: bright indirect light. A North or East facing window is ideal, or a few metres back from a brighter South or West facing window. But it’s pretty happy with most light conditions, except the two extremes of scorching sunlight or deep shade.  The silver leaf variegation will start to fade if it is grown in a spot that is too shaded, and the leaves will be more spaced out along its stems. I grow mine in a much shadier spot than is ideal just because the plant looks so nice there (on the far side of my mantelpiece, away from the window, and shaded by all the other plants / general paraphernalia in between) and it grows quite slowly, with longer spacing between leaves than would meet approval from my horticulture tutor, but other than that it looks perfectly happy.

Water:

Satin pothos is quite a forgiving plant when it comes to watering and it won’t sulk if you forget it for a while — the only thing it really doesn’t enjoy is sitting in water. During the growing season (roughly March – September), water regularly, approximately once a week, and allow it to fully drain afterwards.  Check that the top inch or so of compost has dried out before watering it again. You’ll know if you’re over watering as its leaves will start to turn yellow and fall off. Water less frequently and it should perk back up again. 

Reduce watering when the plant is dormant (generally September to March), but make sure the compost doesn’t dry out completely for too long over the winter months.

Humidity:

Not a plant with absolute requirements for high humidity, it would nonetheless appreciate a little boost from time to time, especially in the winter when central heating dries out the air inside homes. You can help increase humidity then by standing it on a gravel tray, topped up with some water, by positioning it close to other plants (this naturally increases humidity as they all transpire) or using my classic trick of wrapping the plastic pot in a sock, putting this inside a decorative pot, and keeping the sock constantly damp. The water evaporates from the sock, which increases humidity for the leaves, but the roots of the plant are never sitting in water.

Fertilising:

Feed about once a month in the growing season, using a diluted general houseplant feed. 

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