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What is Scindapsus?

Kay Blynn
Kay Blynn

Scindapsus is a member of the Araceae family of plants. It contains approximately 40 species of tropical plants. Scindapsus originated in the forests of Southeast Asia and is considered endemic to that country. Scindapsus plants are climbing vines, with stems reaching 10 to 40 feet (about three to 12 m), depending on the variety. Many varieties of Scindapsus have become popular houseplants because they are so easy to grow, but caution is advised as they are considered poisonous.

Scindapsus is considered endemic to Southeast Asia, meaning it typically only grows wild in very limited areas of that country. Scindapsus cannot tolerate direct sunlight or temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius). As such, outside of Southeast Asia, it is grown almost exclusively as a houseplant.

Scindapsus plants are climbing vines that thrive in tropical forests, with stems reaching 10 to 40 feet.
Scindapsus plants are climbing vines that thrive in tropical forests, with stems reaching 10 to 40 feet.

The leaves are generally heart shaped or oval and variegated, i.e., a mix of colors. The leaves have a thick, leathery feel to them and can be several shades of green, containing white, silver, or yellow colorations. The plant's attractive multicolored and stiff leaves have become popular additions to floral arrangements.

Scindapsus prefer low to bright indirect light and can tolerate a wide variety of soil types. Scindapsus also prefer to dry out between watering and can recover quickly from neglect. To propagate Scindapsus, simply snip off a piece of the stem, preferably at an angle, and place it in water. Scindapsus will quickly grow roots and can be transplanted in a container of potting soil. Some varieties of Scindapsus, namely the Golden Pothos, will grow for years in water alone.

Scindapsus is very popular as a houseplant and is found in many homes and offices around the world. Because of its popularity, the plant has many common names. Golden Pothos, Devil’s Ivy, Taro Vine, and Ivy Arum are just a few. Scindapsus is not an ivy, by definition, but many people refer to it as such because of its climbing and trailing nature. Scindapsus can be encouraged to climb walls and other structures or grown in hanging baskets.

Like most of the plants in the Araceae family, Scindapsus is a poisonous plant. The sap, i.e., the fluid substance inside the leaves, contains a chemical known as calcium oxalate crystals. When the leaves of a Scindapsus are cut or broken, the sap can cause minor irritation to the skin. When chewed, the sap can cause irritation to the lips, tongue, and throat. Some varieties of Scindapsus can be deadly if ingested in large quantities by small children or pets.

Discussion Comments


A scindapsus is one of the easiest plants I have ever propagated. All it takes is one small cut anywhere on the plant, a glass of water, and you have the start of a whole new plant.

Once I wanted to see how long it would grow in just a glass of water sitting on my kitchen shelf. I enjoyed watching the roots grow in the clear glass, but the whole plant grew and got longer and longer.

Finally I decided to pot it and place it in a hanging basket along side the scindapsus I took the cutting from.

I took some more cuttings and shared them with some friends who wanted to grow one too. This is one plant that you just can't go wrong with, whether you have a green thumb or not.


Trailing vines and plants have always been a favorite of mine. I have never had a lot of house plants, because I can't seem to keep them alive very long.

I was told that this Devil's Ivy was very easy to grow and would grow quickly. I decided to give it a try and found out they were telling me the truth. This plant has been in my house for almost four years and that is the longest I have ever been able to keep a plant alive.

This is planted in a decorative container and grew so long that I moved it from a table to the top of my fireplace mantle. I didn't know how well it would do there because it doesn't get very much sun, but it continues to grow and get bigger all the time.


Scindapsus vines will grow like crazy if you let them. I have one in a pot hanging from a hook in my ceiling, and I had to move it to a corner because I kept walking into it. After I had it for just a few months, it hung down nearly six feet from the pot!

I like having something so wild growing in my house. I keep it in the corner so that I can let it hang down almost to the floor. I do have to trim it when it grows so long that it starts to creep across the ground, though.


My scindapsus recovers quickly when I forget to water it for a few weeks. It will start to look a little droopy, and some of the leaves will turn yellow. When I see this, I remember to water it, and it recovers within a day, returning to its perky green state.

I keep the plant on my desk at work, and some of my coworkers will lecture me if they see that it needs water. This helps me stay motivated to keep the scindapsus healthy. In a small office, everyone sort of adopts each other’s plants as their own.


I like keeping plants inside my house in the winter when everything outside is dead. I got a scindapsus, because it can live year-round indoors, and it is so easy to maintain. I’ve kept the same soil in the pot for three years, and all I have to do is water it.

I keep it in a pot with drainage holes in the bottom set on top of a tray with raised edges containing seashells. If I water it too much, the water can seep out the bottom, flow onto the seashells, and drain into the tray. The shells keep the pot lifted up out of the water to avoid mold.


I have a scindapsus plant that I keep at my desk. I read that it would help rid the air of pollution, and my office building is full of hazardous fumes. The ink we use on the press creates a smell similar to gasoline, and it travels throughout the entire building.

This plant is ideal for my desk, since I have no window. It responds well to the fluorescent overhead light and weekly watering. I feel like I have been able to breathe a bit easier since I put the scindapsus there, and even if it’s all in my head, it works for me.

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    • Scindapsus plants are climbing vines that thrive in tropical forests, with stems reaching 10 to 40 feet.
      Scindapsus plants are climbing vines that thrive in tropical forests, with stems reaching 10 to 40 feet.