Scindapsus & Pothos May Look Similar, But They’re Not – Here Are The Differences Between Them

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Why is a silver satin Pothos called a Pothos, when it isn’t even a Pothos?

I’m not precious about plants. If you want to called a Scindapsus pictus a Satin Pothos, go for it. If nothing else, you’ll have saved yourself a bit of time.

It probably started because people who write about plants cannot be bothered to write Scinadpsus. It’s incredibly clunky to type.

Also, they look similar – Similar size, similar leaf shape.

Epipremnum used to be in the Scindapsus genus, but then it was discovered that they’re developmentally distinct. Also, it took a while to sort out where Scindapsus belonged, because whilst most of them come from Asia, one was found in South America in the 1800s, ruining everything for botanists everywhere.

To add even more confusion, what we call a Pothos belongs to the Epipremnum family BUT there’s also the genus ‘Pothos‘ which is totally different.

Epipremnums used to be in the Pothos genus too, but it turns out they’re different.

In the house plant world, we rarely talk about plants from the Pothos genus. In fact, I didn’t even know it existed until I saw someone being facetious in a Facebook group.

So when someone talks about a Pothos, I’m gonna assume they’re talking about Epipremnum Aureum, not, you know, actual Pothos, which I don’t think are commonly kept as house plants.

Similarities between Scindapsus and Pothos

There are a LOT. If you have a satin pothos and you treat it like a golden pothos, you’ll probably end up with a beautiful plant.

Care needs

As I said, treat it like a Pothos.

There are *slight* differences, but if you keep both together and treat the mthe exact same, you’ll be golden.

Scindapsus are a bit more tolerant of low light than Pothos and they have a tendency to curl up in a very obvious way when they’re thirsty.

Both like to dry out between waterings, like bright/indirect to medium light, and ambient humidity is fine. Scindapsus have thicker leaves so they can go longer with water and don’t need as high humidity. They’re also more likely to fade in direct light.

Scindapsus are pretty susceptible to edema, but because they have thick leaves it doesn’t faze them much. Epipremnum can end up with transparent leaves.

edema on scindapsus pictus

Growth Pattern

Both are climbing, vining plants, that will grow bushier and larger if they’ve grown up a pole and given more light.

Scindapsus and Pothos look great if grown as trailing plants but growth will get smaller over time.


Scindapsus and Pothos both propagate readily in water and soil, though I’ve found Scindapsus to be faster and easier to root in soil than Pothos, but that could be down to the conditions I’ve provided rather than the plant.

Leaf shape

Generally heart-shaped when juvenile, though Pothos develop large, fenestrated leaves over time, whereas Scindapsus don’t.

Differences between Scindapsus and Pothos

epipremnum aureum


Scindapsus is a genus, and there are various species within that genus, such as Pictus and Trebeuii moonlight.

(By the way, the word Scindapsus is the name of a tool used to train elephants. Little useless factoid for you there)

Pothos is a common name for a group of epipremnums, so the scientific name for Golden Pothos is Epipremnum Aureum.

Pothos types, such as marble queen and njoy, are all variations of Epipremnum aureum, just different colours. Hence why sometimes an N-joy will throw out a marble queen leaf.

marble queen pothos

So all Pothos are Epipremnums (except, of course, Satin Pothos), but not all epipremnums are Pothos.

There are 35 Scindasus species – there used to be 36 but Epipremnum Aureum turned out to be an epipremnum, and 15 species of Pothos.

Both have a species called ‘Carolinense’ which is exciting (though only if you’re called Caroline, I suppose).


Epipremnums only have one ovule in each ovary, whereas Scindapsus have a few, so Scindapsus can produce more seeds.

Interestingly (to me, anyway) Golden Pothos don’t flower (they’re missing the crucial hormone) – they could probably have done with a couple of extra ovules.

marble queen pothos

Light requirements

Pothos will THRIVE in bright light, and will grow big leaves. Scindapsus prefer bright, indirect light, but will do ok in medium light.

Leaf thickness

Scindapsus have much thicker, velvety leaves than Pothos, which have thicker leaves than heartleaf Philodendron.

Leaf, er, design

Some Scindapsus have incredible patterns on their leaves which glitter in the sun. Pothos, er, don’t, but then they can grow a lot bigger.

Caroline Cocker

Caroline is the founder and writer (and plant keeper) of Planet Houseplant

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