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Scindapsus vs Pothos (What’s the Difference?)

Scindapsus and pothos are ideal for those with a brown thumb. Both are tough-to-kill trailing vines that are members of the Arum family Araceae. However, they differ slightly in terms of features and growing requirements.

The main difference between Scindapsus and pothos is the variegation of the foliage. Scindapsus foliage is variegated in silvery gray and has a glittering sheen. The majority of pothos cultivars have yellow, pale green, or white striations. Additionally, the leaves of Scindapsus are more textured and slightly thicker than those of pothos.

Stiff confused? I’m here to help show you why they are often mistaken for one another. Look ahead for ways to tell pothos and Scindapsus apart.

What Is The Difference Between Scindapsus and Pothos?

Pothos and Scindapsus are nearly indistinguishable in appearance. That’s why I’ve created a table highlighting the fundamental differences:

ParametersScindapsus Pothos
Scientific NameScindapsus pictusEpipremnum aureum
Common NamesSilver satin, silver pothos, satin pothosDevil’s ivy, Arum ivy, or devil’s vine
Mature SizeSmaller (4-10 ft.)Taller (up to 65 ft.)
Leaf Color and TextureMatte textured green leavesGlossy, smooth, or leathery green leaves
VariegationSilvery grayMostly yellow or white
FlowerBlooms tiny inflorescences (spadix) in summerRarely blooms. If it does, it spathes golden yellow or lavender spadix.
Stem ColorMainly greenGreen stems variegated with gold/yellow or white 
ToxicityToxic to cats, dogs, horsesToxic to both humans and animals (horses, cats, and dogs)
(Sources: University of Wisconsin)
Scindapsus vs Pothos
Scindapsus vs Pothos

Main Differences to Identify Them Correctly

[1] Leaves Differences

Shape: The leaves of Scindapsus pictus are almost always heart-shaped. Depending on the cultivar, pothos foliage can be heart-shaped, elliptic, or oval-shaped. Pothos leaves are typically large, measuring 3 to 4 inches in length and width.

Texture: Scindapsus leaves are typically matte-toned and textured, with a silvery sheen to the surface of the leaves. They are not glossy in any way. When the sun shines on the leaves, they appear to be glittering or shimmering, giving the impression that they are. Because of this, Scindapsus are highly prized for their ornamental glaze.

A typical Pothos leaf is glossy, leathery, and smooth in appearance. The petioles of pothos are grooved as well.

Color: The leaves of the Scindapsus tree are a distinctive dark green in color. On the other hand, the color of the leaves of pothos can range from dark green to neon green to bright green depending on the variety grown. They are a vibrant dark green in the case of Jade pothos, for example,

Variegation: Both plants have beautifully variegated foliage. Scandipsus leaves usually feature iridescent gray blotches or marbling. They are mostly seen towards the edges, leaving the midrib to look pretty green. 

Pothos foliage can be variegated in yellow, white, pale green, or a combination of the three. For instance, the household sweetheart Jade pothos has dark glossy green leaves speckled with pale green variegation. The waxy bright green leaves of a Marble Queen pothos are often variegated in white.

Thickness: Scindapsus pictus leaves have a thicker and more fleshy feel than those on pothos.

[2] Height and Structure

In the wild, Scindapsus pictus grows an epiphyte. It uses aerial roots, and vining stems to climb trunks of larger rainforest trees. Indoors can grow in hanging baskets, with vines reaching 4-10 ft. long when mature.

Pothos plants are scrambler climbers. Under the right growing conditions, they can reach a spread of 13-40 ft wide. Their height is, of course, limited by the support. On their own, they can rise 6-8 inches in height when mature.

[3] Growth Rate

The growth rate of pothos is much faster compared to Scindapsus. During spring and summer, pothos can increase by 12-18 inches a month. High growth is especially seen in cultivars with less variegation, like Jade pothos.

Darker leaves in Jade pothos indicate plenty of chlorophyll. That’s the pigment plants need to produce food and energy for growth. Pothos is also well adapted to diverse light conditions.

Meanwhile, Scindapsus is slightly slow in its expansion. While its leaves are generally dark green, they do have more non-fading variegations. That indicates lower chlorophyll concentration.

So, if you’re looking for a faster grower, you’d prefer pothos over Scindapsus. 

[4] Stem

Scindapsus plants have green stem vines. They are slightly thicker and can grow up to 10 ft. (3 m) long.

Vining stems on pothos are green with white or yellow variegation. Unlike those of Scindapsus, they tend to be slender and produce more aerial roots.

[5] Flowers

Scindapsus pictus spathes tiny (nearly invisible) green inflorescences (spadix). They often appear in late spring or early summer.

Pothos rarely bloom indoors. When they do, they produce whitish-yellow or golden flowers. In some cultivars, they can be green, lavender, or purple.

[6] Growing Requirements

Pothos are typically more tolerant of low light than Scindapsus. They also appreciate it if a few inches of the potting mix dry out between watering. It will develop black spots on leaves and root rot if the soil stays damp.

On its end, Scindapsus is very fussy about overwatering. It will respond by wilting vines and yellowing leaves.

As for the growing mixture, pothos prefers neutral to slightly acidic soil. Meanwhile, Scindapsus thrives when soil pH is in the 6.1 to 6.5 range.

It would help if you fertilized Scindapsus pictus once every month. On the other hand, pothos can do with bi-monthly feeding.

[7] Price

Scindapsus is more expensive than pothos – and with good reason. The average price of a potted Scindapsus pictus plant ranges from $24 to $50. By comparison, the average cost of golden pothos (check the latest price on Amazon here) hovers around $15 to $29.

I love the glittering appeal of Scindapsus. And many other plant owners do. They’re also thicker and maintain their beautiful variegation for longer. 

Similarities between Scindapsus and Pothos

[1] Flowering Season

As plants in the Arum family, both Scindapsus and pothos produce small flowers during summer. However, pothos flowers are rarely produced indoors.

[2] Watering Requirements

Both Scindapsus and pothos are evergreen plants. They thrive in evenly moist soil and aren’t finicky about missing one or two irrigations. However, they both detest standing on “wet feet.”

In each case, water when two inches of the growing mixture has slightly dried out.

[3] Light Requirements

Both plants appreciate sitting in bright, indirect light. They will lose variegation if you expose them to too much direct sunlight.

[4] Humidity

Both pothos and Scindapsus do best in high humidity areas like bathrooms and kitchens. Still, they are pretty tolerant of low humidity. Use a humidifier or pebble water tray to maintain humidity above 80 percent.

[5] Temperature

Both pothos and Scindapsus love ideal warmer temperatures of between 65-85°F (18-29°C). They will not tolerate cold, especially when temperatures dip below 50°F (10°C). 

[6] Soil

Scindapsus and pothos thrive in commercially available potting mix with good drainage and nutrient-rich. It would be best if it has vermiculite, perlite, and peat moss. They both appreciate slightly acidic soil pH.

Why Do People Get Confused?

Scindapsus and pothos are both evergreen tropicals. Their leaves are generally heart-shaped, and both come from rainforest environments in Southeast Asia. Both are also hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 10 to 12.

Apart from sharing the Arum family, these two plants appear to be a variation of the same plant. As if that isn’t confusing enough, their common names sound almost similar.

Scindapsus pictus is sometimes called satin pothos. And, for a long time, pothos was referred to as Scindapsus aureus. So much for proper naming!

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