Also commonly known as satin pothos, Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’ is an evergreen climbing plant in the family Araceae that is a popular houseplant. This stunning plant is characterized by large, heart-shaped green leaves that are splashed with shimmery silver variegation. It is sometimes confused with its close relative the Scindapsus pictus ‘Argyraeus’, but can be differentiated by its foliage which is considerably larger and thicker.
Although it is commonly referred to as satin pothos, silver pothos, and even silver Philodendron — this tropical plant is not a pothos or a Philodendron. Instead, it is a part of the Scindapsus genus, which is distinct from the Epipremnum (pothos) and Philodendron genera. That being said, its growth habit, care, and appearance are similar to many of the popular pothos and vining Philodendron species, which explains the confusion. Also similar to pothos and Philodendron, plants in the Scindapsus genus are considered toxic to cats, dogs, and horses so exercise caution with this houseplant if you have furry friends at home.
|Botanical Name||Scindapsus pictus 'Exotica'|
|Common Name||Satin pothos, silver pothos, silver splash pothos, silver philodendron, silver vine|
|Mature Size||10 ft. long|
|Soil Type||Moist but well-drained|
|Bloom Time||Spring, summer|
|Flower Color||Green, white|
|Hardiness Zones||10-12, USA|
|Toxicity||Toxic to pets|
Scindapsus Pictus ‘Exotica’ Care
Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’ is a slow-growing plant that is known for being fairly low-maintenance and easy to grow. While it is a flowering plant, it is extremely uncommon for the ‘Exotica’ to produce blooms when grown indoors, so don’t fret if you don’t see any flowers on your indoor plant.
In its natural habitat the Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’ is a forest understory plant so a location that receives several hours of bright, indirect light is best. However, it can also tolerate medium to low light fairly well, although it will put out very minimal growth in low light conditions. Avoid direct sunlight as it will burn the leaves of this tropical plant.
This plant is sensitive to root rot so should be planted in a loose, well-draining potting mix that retains water without being soggy. At the same time, the Exotica does best in soil that is fertile and rich with organic materials. A combination of equal parts orchid bark, coco peat, potting soil, and perlite makes an excellent soil mixture for these plants that is airy, fertile, and moist but well-draining.
The Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’ should be watered once the top 2 to 3 inches of soil is dry. Never allow the plant to dry out completely as this can quickly shrivel the roots, but it also should not be kept consistently wet as this can lead to root rot. In the summer when it is actively growing you may need to water your plant every week, whereas in the winter you can cut back on watering significantly.
Temperature and Humidity
While it is native to the tropical rainforests of Southeast Asia, the ‘Exotica’ does surprisingly well in standard household temperature and humidity levels. That being said, it does appreciate some added humidity if it's available. Ensure that you don’t expose your plant to temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius), and keep it away from drafty windows or air vents when possible. Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’ is most commonly grown as a houseplant due to its strict temperature requirements, but can also be grown outdoors year-round in USDA zones 10 through 12 if desired. Otherwise, you can move your plant outdoors for the summer—just be sure to bring it back indoors before temperatures drop again.
In addition to a fertile potting mixture, Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’ appreciates regular fertilizing during the spring and summer months when it is actively growing. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer once a month during watering to encourage healthy growth, and stop fertilizing in the fall when the plant begins to enter dormancy.
Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’ has a vining growth habit, so you may wish to prune your plant occasionally to control its growth and appearance. That being said, the ‘Exotica’ is a slow grower and pruning is certainly not necessary. If you choose to prune your plant, pruning in the spring and summer months is best. Use a pair of sharp, clean pruning shears or scissors and prune any stems you wish to shorten. Over time, pruning can encourage a bushier growth habit and a fuller appearance. As an added bonus, any stem cuttings taken during pruning can be repurposed to propagate new plants.
Propagating Scindapsus Pictus ‘Exotica’
Similar to its cousin the Scindapsus pictus ‘Argyraeus’ the ‘Exotica’ can be propagated by stem cuttings fairly easily. Since it is a slow grower the process does take a bit longer but with a little patience you will be growing new plants in no time. To propagate this vine by stem cuttings, follow these steps:
- Using a pair of sharp, clean pruning shears or scissors, take stem cuttings from the mother plant that have between 3 to 5 nodes. The nodes are the small bumps along the stem where the leaves and aerial roots grow from - this is also where new roots will grow.
- Take the cuttings and remove the bottom 2 to 3 leaves from the stem to by gently pulling or twisting them off. This will expose the bottom nodes along the stem.
- Prepare a container with fresh, room temperature water and place the cuttings in the container ensuring that the bottom of the cuttings with the exposed nodes are fully submerged in water while the remaining leaves at the top of the cutting sit above the surface of the water.
- Place the container in a location that receives several hours of bright, indirect light, and ensure you change the water once a week to keep it fresh. After a few weeks, you should begin to notice small roots growing from the nodes along the stems.
- Once the roots are at least 2 to 3 inches long you can transplant the cuttings from water to soil. Prepare a potting container with a well-draining potting mixture and plant the rooted cuttings in the soil.
- Water the freshly planted cuttings thoroughly and place them back in a bright location. Ensure that the soil stays evenly moist for the first 1 to 2 weeks to help the new roots acclimate to the soil and then resume a regular watering schedule.
Potting and Repotting Scindapsus Pictus ‘Exotica’
This Scindapsus does well in the same pot for a couple of years at a time and does not require frequent repotting. When you do repot your plant, it is best to do so during the spring or summer. Choose a pot that is 1 to 2 inches larger than the previous container, and ensure it has drainage holes. Plastic or terracotta are both fine for the Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’, just keep in mind that if you choose terracotta you will likely need to water the plant more often as terracotta encourages drier conditions by absorbing excess moisture in the soil.
Remove the plant from its previous pot and carefully remove any excess soil from its roots. Prepare the new pot with a well-draining potting mixture and move the plant to its new pot, patting the soil down firmly around the plant’s roots. Water the plant well and return it to its original location.
Common Pests & Plant Diseases
This Scindapsus is not particularly prone to any pests or diseases but you should keep an eye out for some common houseplant pests like spider mites, scale, mealy bugs, thrips, and fungus gnats. Regularly inspecting your plant for signs of pests is a great way to catch potential outbreaks early and prevent full-blown infestations. Also, be sure not to overwater your ‘Exotica’ as wet conditions provide the ideal environment for harmful fungi to thrive in the soil which can result in root rot.
Common Problems With Scindapsus Pictus ‘Exotica’
Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’ is known for being easy to grow and is generally problem-free. That being said, the following common issues can arise when the plant’s growing environment is not quite right.
Yellow leaves can be the result of a few different issues with your plant, but most commonly they are an indication that your plant is overwatered or experiencing root rot. Be careful to not overwater your plant and allow the top couple inches of soil to dry between waterings. If your plant is not overwatered but is still developing yellow leaves, it could mean that your plant is underwatered or not receiving enough light.
Lack of Variegation
If this variegated plant does not get enough light it will begin to lose its striking silver variegation. Ensure that your Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’ receives several hours of bright, indirect light if you want its variegation remain plentiful.
This plant is known for being a slow-grower, so don’t panic if you aren’t noticing a ton of growth every year. However, if you aren’t noticing any growth this can be a sign that something is wrong. Usually it means that your Scindapsus is not receiving enough light, but it can also be a result of underwatering.
If your Scindapsus has curled leaves this means that your plant is underwatered. These tropical vines enjoy drying slightly between waterings but should not dry out all the way.
Do Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’ like to climb?
While it’s not required, these houseplants do well when provided with a support to climb like a moss pole or trellis.
How can I make my Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’ grow faster?
This Scindapsus is known for being slow-growing compared to other Scindapsus varieties, but ensuring it has the proper indoor growing conditions can encourage faster growth. This means providing it with plenty of bright, indirect light; regular watering; warm temperatures and some humidity; and regular fertilizing during the spring and summer.
Is the Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’ rare?
This tropical plant is a common houseplant and is generally not considered to be rare. It is widely available at many greenhouses and plant shops thanks to its ease of care, stunning appearance, and the fact that it propagates readily.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “Scindapsus Pictus.” Aspca.org. N.p., n.d. Web.