Scindapsus treubii dark form care is slightly more difficult than some other varieties of scindapsus, but it’s worth the extra effort! Learn all about this rare variety and why you should add it to your collection.
Scindapsus treubii dark form care…all about this rare variety!
Hey all! Today we’re talking about one of the plants in my collection I consider to be the most rare (for me at least). That’s the scindapsus treubii dark form plant!
You may recognize the name “treubii,” and you probably also recognize “scindapsus.” That’s because I’ve written about scindapsus before—and I’ve even written a scindapsus treubii “moonlight” care guide.
What is treubii dark form?
Scindapsus treubii dark form—sometimes referred to as “scindapsus treubii black” or “scindapsus treubii nearly black”—is a type of scindapsus treubii with very dark leaves.
The plant looks a lot like the more common “moonlight” variety, which is also sometimes referred to as “sterling silver.” It has a similar growth pattern, leaf shape and size, and of course genus.
However, the dark form’s leaves do not have the silver sheen that many scindapsus varieties have. Instead, the leaves are glossy with deep green—almost black—leaves.
I’ve noticed that the leaf color can vary from plant to plant. Especially if one plant is very young. Younger leaves seem to unfurl more of a green that eventually morphs into a deeper green. In the right light, a mature plant can look quite dark. Hence the name “dark form.”
What makes this plant so dark?
But what makes this plant black? Well, let’s dive into a little plant science lesson. Green leaves are from chlorophyll. The leaves have something called an organelle called chloroplast, which in turn is what soaks up light for the plant and enables growth.
Leaves can be different shades of green from light green to almost black. Darker leaves have high concentrations of chloroplasts; lighter parts have lower concentrations.
This is why juvenile leaves often emerge lighter in color. They do not yet have a fully developed cell wall. As this develops, the leaves may darken.
So it stands to reason that scindapsus treubii dark form has a very high concentration of chloroplasts. I am not a plant scientist, but I have to assume that a very high concentration of chloroplasts leads to more efficient light harvesting.
Is scindapsus treubii dark form rare?
Yes, I’d say it’s quite rare. My first plant came from a friend who obtained it by importing it from Southeast Asia. However, it seems slightly more common now. While I haven’t seen it in any local nurseries, you can easily order it online.
And it definitely seems that prices have come down a bit, too. And you can order from a U.S. seller, which wasn’t traditionally the case. (You can buy it from abroad for cheap, but you had to pay for a USDA photo-sanitary certificate and a buttload for shipping.)
I got my current plant from Etsy, and it came in lovely shape! It was a very reasonable price, too. Sadly I killed my first plant…more on that as I discuss what went wrong with my care routine.
How do you care for dark form treubii?
So let’s jump in to caring for dark form. I consider it to be a rare plant, and I am always a little more paranoid about caring for those. So I help my past failures will be helpful for you if you’re new to caring for this plant.
How much light does this plant need?
I have had great success keeping my scindapsus treubii dark form in bright, indirect light. This is not a medium or low-light plant, but it also doesn’t need to be swimming in light.
If you keep it on the windowsill or a reasonably sunny window, you’ll probably be fine. I currently have mine on the sill of a small basement window, but the window gets pretty good afternoon sun.
You may need to do a bit of trial and error before finding the best spot for your plant. Keep in mind that it is a very slow grower, so not seeing any new growth may not necessarily be a sign that the plant isn’t happy in its current light levels.
Below is a close-up shot of the mix I have my dark form planted in. It’s very chunky and well-draining. You definitely want to make sure your soil allows for efficient drainage of extra water from the pot’s drainage holes.
But a well-draining chunky mix also encourages aeration and oxygen flow to the plant’s roots. This is an essential part of this plant’s growth. As you can see below, I’ve thrown in a bit of extra perlite and coconut husks to help loosen up my mix.
However, the mix I used as my base was already pretty well-draining and likely would have been fine. Keep in mind that if your mix is super well-draining, you may notice it dries out faster and needs watered more often. Just depends on your environment!
How often should I water a scindapsus treubii dark form?
I think that a bad watering routine is probably why I killed my first treubii dark form. Isn’t it often the case that we just love our plants too much? It certainly was with this one 🙂
I generally wait until the top few inches—or about a third of the soil–has dried out before watering most of my scindapsus plants. At least! I often wait longer. And I definitely wait longer for treubii dark form. My goal is to let the soil dry out almost completely.
But you’ll need to keep an eye on it because this isn’t a succulent or a cactus. It isn’t storing massive reserves of water in its leaves, so under watering can be just as dangerous as overwatering.
While overwatering will suffocate the roots and cause the leaves to yellow and die, underwatering is problematic as well. I have generally found that dark form will not curl its leaves when it is thirsty. My other scindapsus plants will do this and will rebound 100% when given a big drink.
Instead, scindapsus treubii dark form leaves tend to wrinkle and wilt, becoming paper-thin and limp. Unfortunately, once this occurs, the plant probably won’t rebound with water. (This is only in my experience, btw.)
Instead, I try to get on a good schedule and adjust it as the seasons change and watering needs change. This usually means weekly water in the spring and summer. Much less in the winter when the days are shorter and the temperatures are lower in my home.
Potting & repotting
I chose a small terracotta pot for mine because the terracotta is super absorbant and helps with moisture regulation. It essentially sucks moisture away from the soil (and therefore the roots) if there is too much.
It also has a drainage hole that allows all of the excess water to flow freely from the soil. However, I think this plant would be fine in any pot with sufficient drainage and chunky, well-draining soil.
Dark form is a super slow grower. I would not recommend repotting this plant until the roots are either circling the bottom of the pot (you can often lift it out to check) or growing out of the pot’s drainage holes.
I’ve yet to have to repot mine. And even under the most ideal growing conditions, I don’t expect I’ll need to repot it for several years.
Temperature & humidity
Normal household temperature and humidity levels are fine for this plant. Scindapsus is not cold hardy, though. So if you have it outdoors, it needs to come in for the fall and winter.
Scindapsus in general hails from high-humidity environments, too—so extra humidity won’t hurt. You can add a humidifier or put the plant in a glass greenhouse cabinet if you’d like. I’m riding it out with normal home humidity levels, though.
Scindapsus plants can grow as either trailers or climbers. I have all of my scindapsus plants currently growing as trailers. However, these plants produce aerial roots and love climbing.
Therefore, I’m planning on adding a small moss pole and tying my dark form up when it grows a bit more. I am hoping it helps keep this plant happy and that it throws out some larger new growth while climbing!
Is scindapsus treubii dark form toxic?
Yes. According to the ASPCA, scindapsus plants contain calcium oxalate crystals. It’s best to keep them away from pets who nibble plants, as well as kids. Ingesting this plant may lead to oral irritation; pain and swelling of mouth, tongue and lips; drooling; vomiting; and difficulty swallowing.
How to propagate scindapsus treubii dark form cuttings
Scindapsus dark form cuttings are kind of a drag to propagate only because they grow sooo slowly. And that means rooting them also takes 1,000,000 years. But it can be done! And it’s not that hard as long as you have patience.
I have a whole post about propagating scindapsus treubii moonlight and dark form cuttings. It has a lot of info and a bunch of pictures. But I’ll include an overview here.
I prefer rooting scindapsus cuttings in sphagnum moss or in LECA (see my LECA 101 guide here). You must make sure the cutting has a node on it. Have a look at the pictures below. They show a great spot to take a cutting—and then there is another pic of a cutting with multiple nodes.
Pop the cutting in some damp sphagnum moss and perlite. Make sure the moss stays damp but not wet and does not ever dry out completely. A spray bottle is a great option for this.
You can also keep your cutting in a DIY plant propagation box or pop a plastic bag over it to help encourage higher humidity, which helps rooting. Oh—and since this is such a slow grower, consider using a rooting hormone or a cloning gel.
Once the plant’s roots are at least several inches long, you can transfer it to fresh well-draining soil in a small pot. Keep the soil moist for a few weeks to help the roots transition to soil. Then back off watering and treat the plant as normal.
Scindapsus treubii dark form care summary
I hope this post is helpful for you and that it helps you take great care of your dark form. Here’s a quick care recap:
- Bright, indirect light; not a low-light plant, may tolerate medium light levels depending on the environment; too much direct sun will burn the leaves
- Use a chunky, well-draining soil to encourage good drainage and oxygen flow to the roots
- Water when the soil has almost dried out; don’t wait until it dries out completely or the leaves may suffer irreversible damage
- Not a cold-weather plant but does fine in all normal household temperatures; appreciates extra humidity but does fine in average household humidity
- Contains calcium oxalate crystals; not safe to ingest for humans or animals