Super White Marble Queen Care Guide
Marble Queen, Super White, Snow White, Snow Queen, Scindapsus, Pothos, Epipremnum... you'd be forgiven for getting confused. But they're all the same. Yes, even a Snow Queen or Super White is the same as the original more green speckled Marble Queen. Just with extra, extra, EXTRA white variegation. Meaning they do need extra care compared to their more green siblings, making them more high maintenance. We give Super Whites at least a 3 out of 5 LTLC Rating (the original green Marble Queen gets a 2, super white a 3, snow white a 3.5 to 4). Find out why below...
The Marble Queen name confusion
Firstly, all those names are 'right'. Pothos are commonly placed in the species Epipremnum aureum. In some countries they are known as Scindapsus aureus, Rhapidophora aurea, or Epipremnum pinnatum.
Then you get the common name, Marble Queen, which is widely used. More recently you'll read about Super White, Snow White or Snow Queen. Even those are all the same. They simply refer to the level of white variegation. The OG Marble Queen has the darker green with lighter green marbling - you can see him below top left (and is much easier care), compared to a Super White shown below bottom right.
Super White vs Snow Queen
Marble Queen's selected and grown for more white get called Super White - and the really white ones are sometimes called Snow Queen or Snow White - but all still the same plant at heart. In theory, any whiter Marble Queen could revert, however we own multiples of each, and haven't had it happen yet. With that extra variegation they do need more attention to their needs to maintain so much white. The very white Queens are definitely not for the faint of heart - you need to be on top of your plant care game for these babes. One for a collector with a bit of experience under their sleeves, not for a newbies first plant.
Vice versa, you could try and cultivate your original green Queen and propagate the whiter more variegated leaves, selecting for a whiter, more variegated plant over time. However that's likely to be a loooong process with a good measure of luck needed, helped by grow lights, humidity and controlled temperatures. We let the nurseries do the work.
Here's a couple of leaves from one of our whitest Queens below...
Light, humidity & temperature
Being so white - but still a greeny at heart - Super White's do need extra light to maintain that variegation - and stay alive! A common complaint if you've landed a really white Queen, is early leaf death, usually starting with brown patches that slowly take over the whole leaf. Those super white leaves are more prone to browning, then dying off, one sad leaf at a time. Giving your Queen plenty of bright, indirect light helps immensely. Avoid sunlight directly hitting those leaves though or sunburn is very likely.
These gorgeous girls thrive on high humidity (low humidity is another cause of browning, but usually the tips, not the edges or whole patches in the middle). They prefer a warmer temperature range, about 18 to 30 degrees. Our girls handle lower than that in winter, provided the rest of their conditions are good.
A free-draining mix is ideal. We go about 2/3rd's potting mix with 1/3rd perlite well mixed in, but a similar mix of something with decent water retention mixed with something free draining will do the job. We'd had these girls arrive in almost every soil type, so if yours is in denser soil, don't repot right away (a big no-no in our books unless there's root rot or something similarly dire going on). Instead, adjust your watering to match the soil.
These girls prefer it on the dry side. Lightly moist is ideal. Overwatering is a no-no. Wet feet or soggy bottoms are not okay (plus how very un-Queen like). A pot with a drainage hole is an absolute must for this babe, and don't leave her sitting in water for long. You can water in position, just set a reminder to tip out excess water from her saucer or cover pot about 15 minutes later. We water our Marble Queens every 2 to 3 weeks in winter, and about every fortnight in summer, but always judge it based on your own Queen's soil. We let ours dry out down to about 5cm before watering again.
Being slower growers than their greener family members, they don't need as much on the fertiliser front. We water with a half dose of Groconut throughout spring and summer but back off in winter and just stick to water. They still grow pretty fast compared to other white variegated plants, just slower than the green Marbles.
We avoid tap water for our super white girls as we've heard they're sensitive to some chemicals. Don't quote us on that one - we're not scientists or botanists - we just do everything possible to look after our Queens and if it could help, we'll do it. We use warm fish tank water from our tropical fish tank which is naturally higher in nitrates and has no chlorine. Yes, we know, our Queens get spoiled! You can also leave tap water to sit out overnight, to let the chlorine evaporate, or just boil your tap water uncovered for 10 minutes which does the same job (let it cool again before watering though, doh).
Super White Marble Queen pro tips & problem solving
Brown edges or patches on leaves
Brown patches or edges which slowly take over the entire leaf are a common complaint for the really white girls. Not as bad if your super white still has a decent amount of green marbling. Usually just those extra white leaves suffer from this. Personally we recommend chopping off the entire leaf as soon as it starts to brown so the plant can focus her energy on the good leaves. The extra white Queens also grow slower than their usually speedy growing greener siblings so we don't want to waste what she can give. Note that brown edges and patches is not the same as brown tips (below). We don't cut those ones off as we find that's reversible.
Brown tips on leaves
A lot of NZ locations are nice and humid so it's not such a major here as you'll see mentioned in care articles overseas, however brown tips can still happen. Easy fix for this one. Humidity. The most common reason is your Queen's air is a bit dry. We run a humidifier for our Queens (ours are the Crane humidifiers that we get from Mighty Ape), but we do have one of those DVS systems which make the air drier. You could get away with a regular mist or pebble tray. Try those first before investing in a humidifier.
Leaves more lemony, lime or creamy white, not pure white
That's normal for the Super Whites. Their new leaves normally start out a lemony creamy white, and as they age, get lighter and whiter. The level of whiteness does change plant to plant, and leaf to leaf. One of our girls routinely puts out really white leaves right from the start, but our others all start off a pale creamy yellow with a lime tinge. Others keep that lemony or limey tinge even as the leaves age. The variety in every plant and leaf is the beauty of any Marble Queen in our eyes.
Leggy stems or smaller leaves
Normally a sign of not enough light, causing your Marble Queen to reach for the light. This normally combines with smaller leaves. If it's growing season (spring and summer), consider adding a fertiliser like Groconut to your weekly water to give her a boost. If she's been living in the same soil a while, try something like Plant Runner to replenish what she's taken from her soil.
Drooping or wilting leaves
Not quite as scary as it seems. Droopy or wilted leaves are relatively normal for the Pothos fam. Usually it's rather dramatic, one day fine, the next day droops-ville. Typically due to extremely dry soil.
If you've left it way too long and the soil's completely dried out, give her a bath from the bottom-up. About a 30 minute soak should do it, sitting in room temperature water that's about 1/3rd of the way up her pot. After half an hour, let her drain. Test her soil to see how far up the water reached. If the water didn't reach at least 5cm below the top of the soil, give her a little more water from the top. Let her fully drain then return to her usual position. She should recover the same day.
If it's not due to dry soil, another reason can be overwatering. That's less common but more serious. We use the paper towel method - which is simply paper towels top and bottom until there's no more they can absorb - to get rid of excess water. Not enough humidity can cause her to get her droop on too, but check the soil first as that's the more common cause.
Leaves turning yellow
Most leaves will yellow as they get old before they die, so if it's an older leaf and just the one it's likely nothing to worry about. Just remove the leaf so your girl's energy goes in to the healthy leaves. If it's yellowing on one side of the plant only - and that's the source of bright light - then it's typically due to too much light and she needs a new spot.
If most of the plant's going yellow that's more serious, as it's a sign of over-watering. Let her dry out and only water again when about the top 1/4 of the soil is dry. Another cause of yellowing leaves is not enough light, or too much direct light. Yes, we know that's a lot of possible reasons for yellow leaves, but when it's your plant, you'll normally know the one most likely cause.
Sadly no, the Super White Marble Queen is not pet safe. Safe to touch, just toxic to nibble on. The foliage can irritate the lips, mouth and throat if chewed, and cause digestive upsets if swallowed. There's even the risk of swelling. Best kept up safe out of reach of curious pets & kids.
LTLC Rating (Love That Leaf Care Rating)
A Super White Marble Queen can be a high maintenance babe. We'd give the original Marble Queen an easy 2 out of 5 for tolerating down to low light levels and not minding a bit of neglect. However her super white sisters need more care as that whiteness increases, so we give the super whites between a 3 and 4 out of 5 on the thoroughly unscientific Love That Leaf Care scale. The more moderate super whites get a 3, but those extra white snow queens get a rare 4 from us, a 3 if you get her conditions right. In comparison, a Peace Lily gets an easy 1, a Boston Fern or String of Pearls a good 4 or 5 (we're a bit love hate with those two).