Golden Hunter's Robe Plant Scindapsus


Plants of the genus Scindapsus (devil's ivy) are climbers that are closely related to philodendrons. The familiar indoor species S. aureus has recently been classified as belonging to another genus (Epipremnum), but the plant is still so widely known as a scindapsus that the earlier name is being retained here.

In the wild these plants climb high up the trunks and along the limbs of trees by attaching fleshy aerial roots to the rough bark. Indoors, they grow 4-6 feet tall. Their leathery, usually shiny-surfaced, heart-shaped leaves are arranged alternately on 2- to 3-inch-long leafstalks. Flowers are not produced indoors. All forms of scin­dapsus can be trained to grow upright on stakes, wires, or strings. They can also be encouraged to use their aerial roots to support themselves on slabs of rough tree bark as long as the bark is kept constantly moist. Or they can trail down from either pots or hanging baskets.

RECOMMENDED SCINDAPSUSES S. aureus (now correctly called Epi­premnum aureum; commonly known as golden hunter's robe, pothos vine, or SolomonIsland's ivy) has angular, yellowish green stems and bright green leaves irregularly marked with yellow. On young plants leaves are 4-6 inches long and wide, but they can be twice as big on older plants growing in large pots. One form, S.a. 'Golden Queen,' has stems and leaves almost completely golden yellow. Another, S.a. 'Marble Queen,' has stems and leafstalks that are white marked with green, and leaves that are white to cream-colored flecked with green and gray-green markings. A third form, S.a. "Wilcoxii,' has green and yellow leaves in which colored areas are sharply defined. S. pictus 'Argyraeus'(formerly Pothos argyraeus) is the only form of this species grown in the home. Its rounded stems are olive green. The 2-to 3-inch-long, luster less leaves are dark olive green with gray-green spots on the upper surface. Leaf under­sides are pale green without markings.


Light Bright filtered light through­out the year is best for these plants. At low light levels the leaves lose much of their color contrast.

Temperature Normal room tem­peratures are suitable during the active growth period. Give scindapsuses a winter rest around 6o°F, if possible. They can tolerate a minimum of 500. For increased humidity in warm rooms stand pots on trays of damp pebbles, and suspend saucers of water under hanging baskets.

Watering During the active growth period water moderately, allowing the top half-inch of the potting mix­ture to dry out before watering again. During the winter rest period give just enough to prevent the potting mix­ture from drying out completely.

Feeding Apply standard liquid ferti­lizer every two weeks during the active growth period.

Potting and repotting Use a soil-based potting mixture. Move plants into pots one size larger every spring until maximum con­venient size (probably 8 inches) has been reached. Thereafter, topdress every spring. If planting in a hanging basket, place five or six rooted cuttings around the rim of the basket. These will have enough space for only two or three years. After that replace them with newly rooted cut­tings in fresh mixture.

Propagation Propagate in spring from tip cuttings 3-4 inches long. Take each cutting immediately below a node, remove the bottom leaf, and dip the cut end in hormone rooting powder. Plant three or four cuttings together around the rim of a 3-inch pot containing a moistened equal-parts mixture of peat moss and coarse sand or perlite. Enclose the whole in a plastic bag or propagating case, and stand it in bright filtered light. After rooting occurs (in four to six weeks), uncover the cut­tings, water them moderately, and apply standard liquid fertilizer once a month. About three months after the start of propagation move each plant singly into a 3- or 4-inch pot (or several into a hanging basket) of soil-based mixture and treat them as mature specimens.

Special points Prevent a scindapsus from growing too big by cutting back stems of larger plants every spring to a point just in front of a healthy leaf.

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