When you’re looking for an excellent alternative to pothos or philodendron, you don’t have to go outside of the Araceae family, as the genus Scindapsus is so similar to both that it’s often mistakenly labeled a pothos or philodendron by sellers.
Take, for example, the cultivar Scindapsus pictus (skin-DAP-sus PIK-tus) ‘Silver Lady’, which is most frequently mistaken for Scindapsus’ Silver Leaf’ (AKA “silver leaf philodendron”).
It’s also often confused with Scindapsus pictus ‘Argyraeus’, Scindapsus pictus’ Exotica,’ and Scindapsus’ Silver Satin.’
Descended from a Southeast Asian species, ‘Silver Lad’ is a beautifully speckled plant that requires basic care and can handle a bit of neglect.
Scindapsus Pictus ‘Silver Lady’ Care
Size And Growth
As an epiphyte, the potential height of this plant largely depends on whether you provide it with something to climb, such as a moss pole or trellis.
Outdoors, it will reach a maximum height of around 10′ feet tall, while indoors, it often doesn’t get much taller than 3′ feet without optimal lighting and support.
‘Silver Lady’ has minor green variegation on its leaves and splashes of silver, which resembles someone spackling the leaf with silver paint.
They have a shingling behavior, meaning they tend to lie flat against the surface the vine is climbing and will often change shape as they mature.
Some leaves may develop lobes or become heart-shaped, while others may grow longer and thinner.
Every leave on ‘Silver Lady’ becomes unique over time between the shape, variegation, and speckling.
Flowering And Fragrance
As with other epiphytes, it is extremely rare to see ‘Silver Lady’ bloom, and the inflorescence tends to be unremarkable in rare cases.
Light And Temperature
As an epiphyte, ‘Silver Lady’ is easily scorched by too much direct sunlight, so it prefers bright, indirect light.
This can involve placing it in a window that has direct morning or evening sun but shade during midday, a spot in a sunny room where the sun’s rays won’t directly hit it (such as beside the window), or in a sunny window that has a sheer curtain to diffuse the light.
Note that while the plant can handle light to partial shade, this will slow its growth and may cause the variegation to fade.
You can get away with this plant’s wide range of humidity levels.
Ideally, you’ll want a minimum of 40% to 50% percent humidity, considered normal household levels.
However, you can also place the plant in a terrarium with 80% percent humidity, and it will thrive.
You can technically grow ‘Silver Lady’ outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 11, although it will need to be sheltered from excess heat or cold.
As a result, most prefer to grow the plant indoors and only bring it out in ideal weather conditions.
It grows best in temperatures between 65 and 85° degrees Fahrenheit and should never be exposed to temperatures below 55° degrees Fahrenheit.
Likewise, avoid placing your ‘Silver Lady’ in a spot where it will be directly exposed to sudden drafts or temperature shifts, such as near a vent or AC unit.
Watering And Feeding
‘Silver Lady’ can handle the occasional missed watering but is s4ensitive to overwatering.
Thankfully, the soak-and-dry method works well for this plant.
Here are the following steps:
- Stick your finger in the soil and water if it feels dry 2″ to 3″ inches down.
- Always use room-temperature distilled water or natural rainwater.
- Pour slowly and evenly, working your way around the container until the medium no longer absorbs at the same rate you’re pouring or you see moisture beginning to seep from the drainage holes.
These plants need very little fertilizer, and it’s possible to avoid feeding them altogether if you don’t mind a smaller, slower-growing plant.
- Use a high-quality, balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer diluted to ½ strength to feed.
- Feed monthly in spring and summer, stopping for fall and winter when the plant is going dormant.
Soil And Transplanting
A loamy, well-draining potting mix is essential for a healthy ‘Silver Lady.’
These plants prefer an acidic soil pH of 6.1 to 6.5, and any commercial aroid potting mixes should be amended with perlite to help ensure better drainage.
A popular soil-free mix for this hybrid is equal parts orchid or pine bark, perlite, and peat moss.
Avoid sphagnum moss, as this has a more neutral pH than peat.
This cultivar isn’t an overly fast grower, and you’ll only need to repot it every 1 to 2 years, preferably in spring to early summer.
Keep an eye out for any roots poking out of the drainage holes or potting medium, which means the plant needs to graduate to larger container size.
Otherwise, use this time to replace the potting medium, so any built-up toxins are removed, and the plant has access to fresh nutrients.
Grooming And Maintenance
You will only need to prune your ‘Silver Lady’ to remove damaged or diseased leaves, as its slower growth rate and relatively compact size mean it will rarely show any signs of legginess.
How To Propagate ‘Silver Lady’?
While it’s possible to grow this plant from sees, you may have trouble obtaining any due to its rare flowering habit.
However, you can easily propagate stem cuttings in either soil or water to quickly get more of this plant, and adventurous growers may even find some success through air layering.
Scindapsus ‘Silver Lady’ Pests Or Diseases
‘Silver Lady’ is resistant to most pests and diseases, although you may run into the following:
- Spider mites
It’s somewhat drought-tolerant, and overwatering may lead to root rot and the risk of fungal disease if the leaves get wet too often.
It has calcium oxalate crystals, making this plant considered toxic to both humans and pets.
Scindapsus Pictus ‘Silver Lady’ Uses
These plants make beautiful climbers when provided with sufficient support.
However, many growers prefer to place the plant on a high shelf or in a hanging basket, causing it to cascade down instead of climbing.