There’s a reason why pothos are ever-popular houseplants. The genus—which has many different species, all with their own variations—is generally easy to grow, resulting in plants that grow long, dangling vines of lush leaves that look great trailing down a planter or windowsill. The satin pothos—sometimes called silver philodendron—offers the same easy-to-grow maintenance, along with a unique, patterned leaf design.
“It’s a bit different from many of the pothos that people recognize,” says Joyce Mast, Bloomscape’s Plant Mom. Its leaves are characterized by their splotches of silvery sage green, which become more pronounced when they get more sun. Plus the plant is extra-hearty compared to other pothos when it comes to holding up against root rot. Simply put: It’s the perfect plant for a beginner looking for something that stands out in the crowd. Here, Mast explains everything you need to know about taking care of the satin pothos.
How much light does it need?
Like most indoor plants, the satin pothos does best when it’s not in direct sunlight, which can scorch its leaves, but rather bright, indirect light that will help it grow and thrive. It can tolerate shadier spots, too, “But the markings on those leaves won’t be as pronounced and it will grow quite slowly,” says Mast.
How much water does it need?
“This is a plant that likes to be kept a little bit moist,” says Mast. She waters hers when it’s about 50 to 75 percent dry, by testing the soil with her finger. She makes sure to water it thoroughly, letting the water fully drain out of the holes at the bottom of the pot. Regular misting is also welcome—since it’s a tropical plant, it appreciates any extra humidity it can get.
If the plant starts to dry out, it very helpfully gives off visual cues to let you know that it needs a good drink—its leaves will start to curl a bit before they fully turn brown and crispy. Conversely, if it’s overwatered, the leaves will turn very limp and yellow. “When your plant is in that condition, I suggest taking it out of the pot and examining its roots,” says Mast. If they’re brown and mushy, the plant has likely succumbed to root rot or some other disease. If they’re still white or cream-colored and seem relatively firm, then repot the plant in fresh soil and let it dry 60 to 70 percent before returning to watering it normally.
How can you propagate it?
The satin pothos is very easy to propagate—it just takes a little more patience than other pothos varieties. Find a node (the raised fault on the stem just opposite a leaf) and cut along it using a sharp, disinfected knife or pair of scissors. Put the cutting in a vase or jar of water and place in a bright, warm spot out of direct sunlight. Every week refresh the water in the jar. After six weeks or so, the roots will have sprouted about 3 inches and will be ready to be planted in some fresh potting soil. Voilà—you have a brand-new plant!