Scindapsus lucens (skin-DAP-sus loo-senz) is a rare member of the Araceae family that you might have seen but not known its real name.
The plant is commonly referred to as a shingling vine because its leaves tend to layer when the plant climbs.
But, it’s often mistaken for a pothos due to the latter being a more commonly cultivated epiphytic genus than Scindapsus.
This particular species originated in Malaysia but has spread to Indonesia, the Philippines, and Thailand.
Scindapsus Lucens Care
Size And Growth
Scindapsus plants don’t get very big, with a maximum height of around 10′ feet outdoors and about 3′ to 8′ feet indoors when adequately supported.
They’re also not fast growers, especially if not in ideal conditions. Yet they can handle some abuse and neglect.
The shingling vine is a true epiphyte, clinging onto surfaces using its aerial roots.
The heart-shaped leaves are on slender petioles. A light silvery-grey tinted green tone contrasts with darker green veins and margins.
Each leaf has a glossy, bullate texture that sets the plant apart from other species.
Flowering And Fragrance
As with most epiphytes, the shingling plant produces unremarkable flowers. Also, they rarely develop in domestic plants.
Light And Temperature
The coloration of this wonderful plant affects its ability to photosynthesize. Thus, it won’t fare as well in shade conditions as many solid-colored Scindapsus plants.
It’s also sensitive to too much direct sunlight and can easily scorch if left exposed to full afternoon sun.
Some good options are to place it on one side of a sunny window where the sun’s rays won’t strike it directly. Or leave it more exposed to a sunny window if you have a sheer curtain to filter the light.
East or West-facing windows are excellent if they provide full sun in the morning or evening with shade during the afternoon.
Humidity is another factor, and these plants prefer a range of 50% to 80% percent. Still, it will grow well in normal household humidity levels as low as 40% percent.
To make your plant happier, you can augment the humidity levels with a pebble tray or humidifier.
Brave growers in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 11 can plant their shingling plant outdoors. Yet, most will prefer to keep the plants potted to bring them inside if the weather turns clement.
An ideal temperature range is between 65° and 85° degrees Fahrenheit.
Warmer temperatures can hinder growth and cause the plant to dehydrate faster. However, temperatures below 55° degrees Fahrenheit can permanently damage the plant.
This plant doesn’t like sudden temperature shifts like those caused by sudden drafts, so keep it clear of vents and air conditioners.
Watering And Feeding
This epiphyte doesn’t need a lot of water and is sensitive to too much at once.
Use the soak-and-dry method of watering to ensure it always gets the right amount.
Here’s how to do it:
- Stick your finger in the soil and water if it feels dry 2″ to 3″ inches down.
- Use natural rainwater or distilled water at room temperature.
- Begin pouring slowly and evenly, ensuring you don’t get the leaves wet.
- Work your way around the container, stopping when moisture begins to seep from the drainage holes.
This plant doesn’t need a lot of food, as it gains many nutrients straight from the air.
As a rule of thumb, use a quality, balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer at half strength once per month in spring and summer.
Soil And Transplanting
This plant will do well in most soil types, but it prefers a loamy mix with good drainage and an acidic pH of 6.1 to 6.5.
An aroid mix with added perlite is perfect for those on a budget. Or make a soil-free mix yourself by combining equal parts of the following:
- Orchid or pine bark
- Peat moss
Use peat instead of sphagnum, as the latter has a more neutral pH.
As a general rule, you will need to repot this plant every two years to give it a fresh potting medium.
Graduate to one container size larger if you see roots poking out of the surface or drainage holes.
The best time for repotting is in spring to early summer. Give the plant time to recover from transplant shock and reduce the risk of chilling its roots.
Grooming And Maintenance
It’s scarce for this plant to need pruning or similar maintenance. But it is helpful to remove any damaged or diseased leaves occasionally.
Remember that the plant isn’t a fast grower, so replacing any lost foliage will take some time.
Also, wipe down the leaves occasionally. The coloration already reduces the shingling plant’s ability to photosynthesize.
How To Propagate Scindapsus Lucens?
The most common method of propagating this plant is through stem cuttings, which may root in soil or water.
More adventurous growers can try their hand at air-layering the plant. Or those lucky enough to get hold of seeds can take on the rewarding task of growing the plant from scratch.
Shingling Vine Pests Or Diseases
As is the case with most Scindapsus plants, the shingling plant is somewhat drought resistant and cold-intolerant.
Diseases are rare, although fungal infections may occur due to the leaves being too wet or an infestation’s side effect.
Root rot is the biggest concern and is usually the result of overwatering.
The three most common foes you’ll find are:
- Spider mites
These plants contain a high concentration of calcium oxalate crystals, considered toxic to both humans and pets if ingested.
While rarely fatal, potential side effects include irritation of the mouth and throat, indigestion, and vomiting.
Cats and small dogs are at the highest risk, while large dogs and small humans usually have more mild symptoms.
Scindapsus Lucens Uses
When allowed to grow up support, such as bamboo or a trellis, these plants are at their best.
However, they also look great when cascading down from a high shelf or hanging basket.
In outdoor settings, they can climb walls and fences in place of less-controllable ivy species.
Finally, these are clean air plants, meaning your shingling plant will help remove toxins such as formaldehyde from the air.