Scindapsus vs. Pothos: Plant Lovers, Choose Your Champion!

Scindapsus and Pothos are two lowed and often grown houseplants that belong to the Araceae family. Unfortunately, they have a similar appearance that often leads to confusion. In some cases, mistaking one for another might be fatal for your plant, but more often, it would lead to slow growth and a not-so-great sight. 

We will explore their unique characteristics, foliage, growth habits, and care requirements. As a result, you’ll be better equipped to differentiate between these beautiful plants.

Scindapsus vs. Pothos: Key Differences in Appearance & Growth Habits

Scindapsus and Pothos, both popular houseplants from the Araceae family, differ in their genera, foliage, growth habits, and aerial roots. Scindapsus plants boast velvety, heart-shaped leaves with silver patterns, compact growth, and delicate, thin aerial roots. Conversely, Pothos have glossy, heart-shaped leaves with yellow or white patterns, an aggressive growth pattern, and thicker, robust aerial roots.

Overview of Scindapsus

silver or satin pothos plant close up.

Scindapsus is a tropical vine, known as Scindapsus pictus or Silver Pothos, and originates from Southeast Asia. It is well-known for its velvety, heart-shaped leaves with striking silver variegation. 

The Scindapsus genus comprises many species. The most common are Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica,’ Scindapsus pictus ‘Silvery Ann,’ Scindapsus pictus ‘Argyraeus,’ Scindapsus pictus ‘Jade Satin’, and Scindapsus treubii ‘Moonlight’.

Overview of Pothos

golden pothos plant care for a thriving plant.
Photo Credit: DepositPhotos.

Pothos, also known as Epipremnum aureum or Devil’s Ivy, is native to the Solomon Islands. This plant boasts glossy, heart-shaped leaves with yellow or white variegation. 

Some popular Pothos varieties include Golden Pothos, Marble Queen Pothos, Manjula Pothos, Cebu Blue Pothos, Neon Pothos, and Jessenia Pothos.

Pothos and Scindapsus: Easily Mistaken Varieties

Sometimes, certain varieties of Scindapsus and Pothos plants can be mistaken for one another because of their similar appearance. Here are some types that are often confused:

Scindapsus pictus ‘Argyraeus’ and Cebu Blue Pothos

cebu blue pothos
Cebu blue pothos

Scindapsus pictus, ‘Argyraeus,’ Silver Philodendron, or Silver Satin Pothos (1), has velvety, heart-shaped leaves with silver markings. On the other hand, Pothos Cebu Blue features glossy, heart-shaped leaves with a bluish-silver hue. 

Both varieties have a silver appearance, which can lead to confusion. However, the key difference lies in the texture of the leaves – Scindapsus leaves are velvety, while Pothos leaves are glossy.

Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’ and Pothos ‘Marble Queen.’

holding up a marble queen pothos plant.
Marble Queen

Scindapsus pictus ‘Exotica’ has large, velvety leaves with irregular silver variegation. Pothos ‘Marble Queen’ has glossy leaves with white and green marbled variegation. 

Unfortunately, the variegation patterns on both plants can sometimes appear similar, making them easy to mix up. But remember, Scindapsus has a velvety texture, while Pothos has a glossy texture.

Scindapsus treubii ‘Moonlight’ and Pothos ‘Golden’

golden pothos plant under ideal lighting
Golden pothos

Scindapsus treubii ‘Moonlight’ features dark green, heart-shaped leaves with a subtle silver sheen. Pothos ‘Golden,’ or Golden Pothos, has glossy, heart-shaped leaves with yellow variegation. 

In low-light conditions, the yellow variegation on Golden Pothos might not be as pronounced, making it look similar to Scindapsus treubii ‘ Moonlight.’ But, again, the leaf texture is the main difference – Scindapsus has velvety leaves, while Pothos has glossy leaves.

Scindapsus vs. Pothos: Similarities

Foliage and Appearance

Scindapsus and Pothos plants have several similarities when it comes to their foliage, which can sometimes lead to confusion between the two. 

Both plants have heart-shaped leaves, making their overall appearance quite similar at first glance. Additionally, Scindapsus and Pothos display variegation on their leaves, consisting of patterns or patches of lighter colors against a darker green base.

Growth Habits and Support Requirements

Both Scindapsus and Pothos are vining plants. They have stems that can either climb or trail, depending on the support provided. In their natural habitat, they often grow on trees.

Plants use their aerial roots to attach themselves. You can support these plants in a home setting using a trellis, a planter with built-in support, or a moss pole.

Light and Temperature Requirements

Scindapsus and Pothos have similar light requirements. Both plants thrive in bright, indirect light but tolerate low-light conditions. 

This adaptability makes them suitable for various indoor environments. But, you should avoid direct sunlight, as it can scorch their delicate leaves.

Both plants prefer warm, consistent conditions that mimic their natural habitats.

Humidity

Scindapsus and Pothos can tolerate short periods of low humidity. If you want them to thrive, ensure they grow in high-humidity environments. You can increase humidity around your plants in various ways. 

Use a humidifier, place a water tray near them, or group them with other humidity-loving plants.

Watering and Fertilizing

Scindapsus and Pothos have similar watering needs. It would be best to water both plants when the top inch of soil feels dry, and they appreciate a well-draining potting mix. 

Overwatering can lead to root rot, so letting the soil dry out between waterings is essential. A mix containing perlite, vermiculite, and bark can help improve drainage and aeration.

During the growing season, both plants can benefit from regular fertilization. Use a balanced liquid fertilizer that is diluted to half-strength once a month to promote healthy growth and vibrant foliage. When the plants are dormant in the winter, you can reduce or stop fertilizing altogether.

Repotting and Pruning

Scindapsus and Pothos plants can become root-bound if left in the same container for too long. 

It is best to repot them every 2-3 years, depending on their growth rate. When repotting, choose a planter that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter than the current one. Ensure it has drainage holes to prevent root rot.

Pruning can help maintain the desired shape and size of your Scindapsus or Pothos plants. Trim long stems, remove dead or yellowing leaves, and pinch back the tips to encourage bushier growth. You can propagate the cuttings in water or the soil.

Managing Pests and Toxicity

Scindapsus and Pothos plants can be prone to common houseplant pests such as mealybugs, scale insects, and spider mites. Inspect your plants and treat any infestations to prevent the pests from spreading to other indoor plants.

Both plants contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can be toxic (2) to pets and humans if ingested. Therefore, keep your Scindapsus and Pothos plants out of reach of curious pets and young children to prevent accidental ingestion.

Differences Between Pothos and Scindapsus

satin, or silver pothos plant in a pastel colored pot.
Silver pothos

Foliage and Variegation

The most noticeable difference between Scindapsus and Pothos is their foliage and variegation patterns. Scindapsus plants have velvety, heart-shaped leaves with a silvery sheen. 

The silver variegation on Scindapsus leaves is more subtle. Some varieties display more pronounced markings than others.

Pothos plants have glossy, heart-shaped leaves with yellow or white variegation patterns. The leaf texture of Pothos is smoother and shinier than Scindapsus, and the variegation is generally more distinct and bold.

Flowers

Both Pothos and Scindapsus can bloom, but it is rare for these plants to produce flowers indoors as houseplants. Instead, they bloom in their natural habitats, where they can grow optimally.

When Pothos blooms, it produces a spathe and spadix, like other plants in the Araceae family. The spathe is a modified leaf surrounding the spadix, usually green or cream-colored. 

The spadix is a spike-like structure covered in tiny flowers. The flowers on Pothos are usually small, inconspicuous, and not particularly showy.

Scindapsus also produces flowers with a spathe and spadix structure. Yet, the flowers of Scindapsus tend to be even less showy than those of Pothos. They are generally small, greenish, and hidden among the foliage. As a result, they often go unnoticed.

Growth Habit

While both Scindapsus and Pothos are vining plants, their growth habits can differ. Scindapsus plants tend to have a more compact growth habit, with shorter internodes (the space between leaves on the stem) than Pothos. This results in a bushier appearance for Scindapsus.

Pothos plants have a more aggressive growth habit, with longer internodes and a faster growth rate. As a result, they can take over a space if not pruned and maintained.

Aerial Roots

Both plants produce aerial roots to attach themselves to supports, but the structure of these roots can differ. For example, Scindapsus aerial roots are thinner and more delicate, while Pothos aerial roots are thicker and more robust.

Support needs

Scindapsus plants are usually more adaptable to various supports, such as trellises and moss poles. You can even allow them to trail from a hanging planter.

Due to their more aggressive growth, Pothos plants may need sturdier supports, like wooden or metal trellises.

Tolerance of Environmental Conditions

Scindapsus and Pothos prefer bright, indirect light and can tolerate low-light conditions. However, scindapsus plants are generally more sensitive to direct sunlight. It can scorch their delicate leaves. 

Pothos plants can handle brief periods of direct sunlight but may experience leaf burn if exposed for extended periods.

Scindapsus plants prefer higher humidity levels than Pothos, which can adapt to a broader range of humidity levels. Therefore, Scindapsus may need measures to increase humidity in particularly dry environments, such as regular misting or using a humidifier.

Propagation Techniques

You can propagate both pothos plants through stem cuttings. Yet, Scindapsus cuttings may take longer to root compared to Pothos cuttings. When propagating Scindapsus, including at least one leaf node in the cutting is essential, as this is where new roots will develop. 

Pothos cuttings are more forgiving and can root, even if the cutting is not perfect.

Availability and Price

Scindapsus and Pothos plants are widely available and popular among houseplant enthusiasts due to their beautiful foliage and relatively easy care requirements. 

These plants are common at local nurseries, garden centers, and online plant retailers. Their prices vary based on plant size, variety, and overall health.

Pothos plants are generally more common and widely available, which may result in lower prices than Scindapsus. In addition, some popular Pothos varieties, like Golden Pothos and Marble Queen, can often be found at affordable prices, making them an attractive option for those new to houseplants or on a budget.

On the other hand, Scindapsus plants can be slightly more challenging to find and may have a higher price tag due to their unique appearance and somewhat rarer status. In addition, some Scindapsus varieties, like Scindapsus pictus exotica or Scindapsus treubii moonlight, are harder to find and can command higher prices.

Final Thoughts

To summarize, Scindapsus and Pothos are two distinct houseplant species. They share some similarities but also have several key differences. Both are vining plants with heart-shaped leaves and variegation patterns. You can separate them by their unique foliage characteristics. They include growth habits, aerial roots, environmental preferences, and propagation techniques.

Scindapsus plants have velvety leaves with silver variegation and a more compact growth habit. Pothos plants have glossy leaves with yellow or white variegation and a more aggressive growth pattern. Scindapsus also has thinner and more delicate aerial roots, whereas Pothos aerial roots are more robust.

Regarding environmental preferences, Scindapsus is more sensitive to direct sunlight and prefers higher humidity than Pothos. Finally, Scindapsus cuttings may take longer to root during propagation, while Pothos is easier to propagate.

FAQ

Are Scindapsus and Pothos the same plant? 

Scindapsus and Pothos are not the same plants but share some similarities. They are different species belonging to separate genera within the Araceae family. 

Can I grow Scindapsus and Pothos plants together in the same pot?

Although Scindapsus and Pothos have similar care requirements, growing them together in the same pot is generally not recommended. Mixing different species in the same container can lead to water, nutrients, and space competition. 

Since Pothos has a more aggressive growth habit, it may outcompete the Scindapsus for these resources, leading to an imbalance in growth and potentially harming the Scindapsus plant. Instead, grow them in separate pots to ensure adequate space and access to the necessary resources to thrive.

Which one is the most rare Scidapsus variety?

The rarest Scindapsus variety is the Scindapsus treubii ‘Dark Form.’ This unique plant has dark green leaves with an almost black appearance. Its beautiful, velvety leaves and intriguing coloration makes it rare and desirable among houseplant enthusiasts.

References

1: Scindapsus pictus (Satin Potho, Satin Pothos, Silk Pothos) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. (n.d.). Scindapsus Pictus (Satin Potho, Satin Pothos, Silk Pothos) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox. https://plants.ces.ncsu.edu/plants/scindapsus-pictus/

2. Satin Pothos. (n.d.). ASPCA. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/satin-pothos

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.