How to Grow and Care For Pothos Plants
Pothos plants, native to the Solomon islands, are one of the most popular houseplants in America. This guide will cover everything you need to know about proper pothos plant care.
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What You Will Learn
Introduction | What are Pothos Plants? | Quick Care Guide | How to Care For Pothos Plants | 💧 Water | ☀️ Sunlight | 🌡️ Temperature and Humidity | 🌱 Best Soil for Pothos Plants | 🌻 Fertilizer | 😎 Pruning and Maintenance | ☢️ Toxicity | How to Propagate Pothos Plants From Stem Cuttings | How to Repot Pothos Plants | Common Pothos Plants Disease | Common Pothos Plants Pests | Pothos Plants Care Tips | Where to buy Pothos Plants?
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Pothos plants, native to Solomon islands, are one of the most popular houseplants in America. Their vining branches, decorative leaves, and affordability make them a standard addition to many houseplant collections.
Whether you’re interested in adding new hanging plants to your collection, or are just starting out on your plant parent journey, pothos are the perfect option.
Pothos houseplants love bright indirect light, high humidity, and water when they are mostly dry. They are easy to care for and their long vines can climb walls, trellises, or cascade from a pot. It is common to see vining branches that are 10’+ long.
It is also a very durable plant, which also lends to its popularity. If the plant begins to drop leaves or is neglected over time, you can easily propagate a new plant from stem cuttings.
Pothos can grow in nearly any medium including well-draining potting soil, LECA, and water. They look amazing in hanging baskets, on desks or shelves, or trained to vine across the ceiling to create a leafy canopy. This versatility for environment, attention, and maintenance makes this plant ideal for any space.
You can often see Pothos in office buildings thriving with only fluorescent light and no water.
In this guide, we will discuss pothos care no matter the variety, however, if you would like specific information about Pothos varieties, feel free to check out our variety specific guides.
What are Pothos Plants?
Pothos plants (Epipremnum Aureum and Epipremnum Pinnatum) are a species of vining plants with green leaves, though many of its cultivars have variegation of gold, yellow, cream, or even silver. Its common name is the Devil’s Ivy, though there is nothing evil about it.
Beginners love this plant as it is one of the easiest houseplants you can find. The heart-shaped leaves come in a variety of sizes and color variegation depending on the cultivar.
Within the Pothos species there are many Cultivars including: Golden Pothos with yellow variegation, Marble Queen with cream speckles, N’Joy Pothos with creams and shades of green, Jade Pothos with dark green leaves, Neon Pothos with chartreuse leaves, Manjula Pothos with rippled edges.
Pothos Plant CARE GUIDE
Window Locations (Ideal)
USDA Hardiness Zones
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How to Care For Pothos Plants
Image Source:Photo by Bhupinder Bagga on Getty ImagesEpipremnum aureum is a species of flowering plant that has a multitude of common names including golden pothos, Ceylon creeper, ivy arum, money plant and devil's ivy.
Because Pothos is one of the easiest houseplants to care for, it’s hard to mess it up. It will thrive in a variety of light conditions and can handle some neglect between watering sessions.
However, if you want the happiest Pothos in the world, you will want to give it bright indirect light, water when the soil is almost dry, and high humidity. Pothos thrive in locations like Florida, where these conditions are naturally occurring.
Do pothos do better hanging or climbing?
Pothos plants prefer to climb or trail. They will vine from hanging baskets and be just as healthy, but when given a surface to attach to, you will notice larger leaves and more consistent growth patterns.
How do you get big pothos leaves?
The size of the pothos leaves depends on the variety. The Hawaiian Pothos plant can have leaves up to 12” across, but on average, leaves will be tween 3-5 inches on most variety when grown indoors.
Where should I put my pothos plant?
You can put a pothos plant almost anywhere. They will grow best in bright indirect light like an east or north-facing window.
Is my pothos plant a philodendron?
Though they are a popular houseplant, Pothos often get mixed up with other plant species, such as Philodendrons and Scindapsus Pictus. Pothos plants are different from Philodendrons. The distinction is noted in how the leaves sprout from the vine. Pothos leaves develop as an extension of the current leaf. Whereas, Philodendron vines grow from the stem in a sheath called a cataphyll. Many plants on the market are labeled as Pothos when they are not actually Pothos because it is a name that many households recognize as an easy plant. For example, Scindapsus Pictus plants are often called Pothos (such as Satin Pothos), even though they are technically a different species.
Most pothos plants can be very forgiving about watering inconsistency. However, for best results, water thoroughly when the soil is almost dry. This may be 1-2x/week in the summer months and 1-2x/month in the winter months.
During the winter, there is less light and the plant will go through its water supply more slowly. So if you do not reduce watering frequency, you run the risk of overwatering and causing root rot.
It is important to have your plant in well-draining soil in a pot with a drainage hole to remove excess water.
How often do you water pothos plants?
Once or twice a week in the summer and once or twice a month in the winter months.
Pothos plants grow under the shade of trees in the rainforest. Therefore, they prefer bright indirect light for at least 4-6 hours each day. They can tolerate less light and low-light conditions, however, they will not grow as fast in those environments.
If growing indoors, we recommend finding the best window placement for your pothos. A few feet away from South-facing windows, or near west- or east-facing windows will work well.
Low light will also result in slower absorption of water from the soil, which increases risk of overwatering.
They do not like direct sunlight as they are susceptible to sunburn.
🌡️ Temperature and Humidity
This is a tropical plant, so it thrives in a warm climate with high humidity. It prefers temperatures above 65℉ and humidity above 50%.
In the winter, when the air indoors is often drier than normal, you may want to give your Pothos plants a spray mist or a small humidifier to reduce risk of your leaves turning brown and crispy.
🌱 Best Soil for Pothos Plants
The best soil mix for Pothos plants is potting soil with some extra perlite, vermiculite to increase drainage. Most common houseplant potting mixes will do for your pothos since they contain a combination of coco coir, peat moss, and perlite.
Well-draining soils will reduce the risk of root rot from water sitting in the pot. Let the soil dry out between watering.
Winter Dormancy for Pothos Plants
Pothos do not go dormant during the winter months, though they do slow in their growth. This is due to reduced sunlight. You can encourage your pothos to grow strong year-round with use of grow lights.
Pothos benefit from well balanced houseplant fertilizer 3-4x per year. Dilute the fertilizer in water and feed the plant during a watering session. We recommend you fertilize primarily during pothos’ active growing season in spring and summer. Stop fertilizing during the dormant, winter months.
Be wary of overfertilizing your pothos which can lead to root burn. You may start to see your pothos leaves turn yellow and fall off.
Be sure that the plant is in well-draining soil and the pot has a drainage hole so that excess water and fertilizer are not sitting on the roots, which can damage the plant.
😎 Pruning and Maintenance
Pothos have a vining growth habit and do not require pruning. However, you may want to prune vines to keep within a desired space, or off the floor if they are hanging.
You should also remove any yellow or dying leaves, and cut back balding vines to promote new growth.
You can use any stem cuttings to propagate a new plant.
Pothos are toxic to pets and humans. Consuming the leaves or stem may result in a burning sensation in the mouth.
How to Propagate Pothos Plants From Stem Cuttings
Propagating your Pothos from cuttings is probably the easiest way to make a new plant. Here is a step-by-step guide to propagating by cutting:
Step 1: Collect a stem cutting.
Use a clean cutting utensil to cut the stem between two leaves. This plant is very tolerant of cutting, so you can make the piece you cut off as long or as short as you want as long as there is a leaf left on the original stem.
Step 2: Allow cutting(s) to callous.
Allow the end of the cutting to callous for a few hours to a few days by laying it down and letting it dry. This will not hurt the plant.
Step 3: Pick your propagation method.
From here you can choose from 2 different methods to root the cutting:
- Rooting in water - Remove 1-2 leaves from the stem closest to the cut end. You will see brown bumps near where the leaves sprouted (these are called nodes), place the stem in water so that at least one node is covered in water and place it in bright indirect sunlight. Over the next few weeks, you will notice new roots grow from the node.
- Rooting in soil - You can also lay the cutting directly on top of the soil and secure it with a bobby pin so that a node is touching the soil. After a few weeks, you will notice new roots growing from the node.
Step 4: Follow proper care and transplant to a new container.
Once rooted, you can either place the cutting in its own pot or add it to the original pot to give the mother plant a fuller look.
How to Repot Pothos Plants
Here is a guide to repot your Pothos plants:
- Step 1: Grab as much of the base of the plant as possible and tilt the pot on its side.
- Step 2: Gently pull the plant and its soil from the pot.
- Step 3: Prep a pot that is approximately 2 inches larger than the previous container by filling the bottom with well-draining potting mix.
- Step 4: Break up the root ball so that the edges are loosened and will expand into the new soil of the net pot.
- Step 5: Place the plant and the root ball into the new container.
- Step 6: Gently fill the edges with potting soil. Be careful not to compress the soil.
- Step 7: Water gently. The soil may compress and you can add more if necessary. Do not water again until the soil is completely dry to avoid root rot.
Common Pothos Plants Disease
Root rot is a common issue with most houseplants including Pothos. It’s usually caused by moist or waterlogged soil for prolonged periods of time. Symptoms can include rapidly yellowing leaves, stunted growth, and a rotten brown base. If you’re seeing these symptoms, here’s how to treat root rot.
- Remove the plant from the pot and gently remove the soil so you can see the root system.
- If the roots are brown and mushy, you must take action immediately.
- Clean off the roots with sterile water.
- Take sterilized scissors and trim any mushy roots.
- You can use a diluted hydrogen peroxide solution to disinfect the roots.
- Once cleaned up, repot your plant in fresh houseplant soil mix.
Common Pothos Plants Pests
Mealybugs can damage the Pothos by eating the nutrients from the stem and leaves. They appear as white, cotton-looking bugs and can be removed with rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth and wiped away. This process will need to be repeated daily until the infestation is gone.
How to spot a mealybug infestation on my pothos plants?
These bugs look like fuzzy, white, colonies. They eat the sap of the plant and can damage the plant as it grows.
A light infestation is easy to treat, but a severe infestation may require you to toss your plant.
Symptoms of mealybugs include stunted growth, bud drop, yellow leaves, and leaf drop. Mealybugs also produce secretions known as honeydew which can encourage development of sooty mold and other fungal infections.
Fungus gnats are tiny fruit-fly sized insects that infest moist soil, potting mix and other mediums. They are gray to black-gray in appearance and their long legs and antennae can give them a mosquito like appearance. Because Pothos love humid environments and moist soil, they can be particularly susceptible to fungus gnat infestations. Although harmless to humans, fungus gnats love to feed on the plants’ thin roots.
How to spot fungus gnat infestation on my Pothos?
You’ll find them primarily on the surface of your potted soil.In an early infestation, fungus gnats are unlikely to do much damage. But because fungus gnats reproduce rapidly, laying up to hundreds of eggs on the soil surface, what was once a small infestation can turn into a severe infestation fairly quickly. Symptoms of a fungus gnat infestation include stunted growth, yellow, or dropping leaves. The best way to rid of fungus gnats is to use sticky card traps, cider-vinegar traps, or flypaper. These are similar methods to contain fruit flies.
Pothos Plants Care Tips
- Placing in brighter light will result in faster growth, however, the plant will still thrive in low light conditions.
- If you notice the leaf edges turning brown and crispy, the plant is asking for more humidity. You can mist it with a spray bottle or add a small humidifier nearby.
- You can train a Pothos to climb any surface by lightly attaching it with plant hooks or string.
- Avoid overwatering by waiting for the soil to be almost dry before watering again. You may notice that the leaves lay down when the plant is ready for another drink. The leaves will quickly perk back up after you give it water.
Where to buy Pothos Plants?
Pothos are a fantastic beginner plant and come with many different variations so that you are never bored. At Enter Neverland, we partner with high-quality vendors to bring you the best plants.
Visit Neverland blog today for more tips and useful resources. Plants bring a lot of joy, so we strive to help you have the best plant growing experience possible!
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