Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is a tropical vine native to the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, but you probably know it best seen trailing off of shelves and desks. Pothos is commonly grown as a houseplant, boasting pointed, heart-shaped green leaves that are sometimes variegated with white, yellow, or pale green striations.
Pothos plants can live for many years with basic care and are super adaptable, as various light, soil, and moisture conditions suit them. They're fast-growing plants even indoors, often adding between 12 to 18 inches of length in a month. Be aware that pothos plants are toxic to pets.
|Common Name||Pothos, Golden Pothos, Devil's Vine, Devil's Ivy|
|Botanical Name||Epipremnum aureum|
|Mature Size||20–40 ft. long, 3–6 ft. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun, partial shade|
|Soil Type||Moist but well-drained|
|Soil pH||Neutral to slightly acidic|
|Bloom Time||Rarely flowers|
|Flower Color||Gold/Yellow, Purple/Lavender|
|Hardiness Zones||10–12 (USDA)|
|Toxicity||Toxic to dogs and cats|
Watch Now: How to Easily Grow and Care for Pothos
Caring for pothos is simple. This low-maintenance plant thrives in bright, indirect light, but it can also do well in low-light conditions. Pothos can thrive in standard houseplant potting mix or a chunky, well-draining aroid mix. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. Feed the plant with balanced houseplant fertilizer each month during the spring and summer.
Because pothos can grow in low-light areas or those with only fluorescent lighting, it's an excellent houseplant for offices and dorm rooms.
Pothos likes sun or shade, but you need to watch if it's in too much of either one. When grown indoors, pothos prefers bright but indirect light. Variegated plants sometimes lose their leaf pattern and revert to all-green foliage if they don't receive enough light. Moving them to brighter conditions usually restores the variegation. Suddenly pale-looking leaves mean the plant is receiving too much direct sun.
Pothos plants thrive in ordinary, well-draining potting soil that can be on the dry side or even rocky. Pothos thrives in a soil pH ranging from 6.1 to 6.8. It is tolerant of a range of conditions, from neutral to slightly acidic.
Let your pothos plant's soil dry out completely between waterings. If left in continually damp soil, the plant's roots will rot. Black spots on the leaves (or the sudden collapse of the plant) indicate that the soil has been kept too wet.
The plant will indicate when it needs water. When it starts to droop, it needs water to revive it. However, don’t wait until the leaves start to shrivel or the plant will lose some leaves. Dry, brown edges mean the plant was kept dry for too long.
Temperature and Humidity
Pothos should be kept in temperatures that are consistently above 50 degrees. These plants prefer temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees. Pothos plants grow best in high humidity, but they're also very tolerant of low-humidity conditions. If you like, you can increase humidity around the plant by keeping it in a typically humid area of the home, such as a bathroom, or grouping the plant with other tropical houseplants to create a more humid microclimate.
Pothos plants are not heavy feeders, but they can benefit from occasional fertilizing during the growing season. Feed pothos plants with a balanced houseplant fertilizer once per month during the spring and summer. Avoid fertilizing in winter when the plant goes dormant.
Pothos plants live for an average of five to 10 years, but with proper care, these hardy houseplants can live for much longer. Giving your plant the proper environmental conditions and basic maintenance can help increase its lifespan.
Types of Pothos
Pothos hybrids can have many different types of leaf variegation, with white, yellow, or light green patches interrupting the predominant deep green leaves. Some cultivars have solid light green leaves. Recommended pothos varieties include:
- 'Marble Queen': A varietal with an exceptionally attractive white-and-green variegated pattern. It requires more light than most pothos to maintain its unique coloring.
- 'Pearls and Jade': This varietal is an avid white and green climber, but instead of striping, the colors of gray, green, and white show boldly around the perimeter of the leaves.
- 'Neon': A bright chartreuse variety, this pothos needs less light and is great for brightening up a dark area in your home.
- 'Silver Satin': This varietal has thick gray-green leaves with silver splotches. It is very tolerant of drought and low-light conditions.
Potting and Repotting Pothos
Over time, your pothos will become pot-bound. When the leaves droop, no matter how much or how often you water them, drooping is a sure sign that roots have probably filled the pot and there is no room to grow. Look for roots growing out of the pot's drainage holes, or carefully lift the plant out of its pot to examine the roots.
When the plant has reached this stage, you can repot it into a container that is one or two sizes larger in diameter and depth. Use fresh potting soil and water well after repotting to help the plant recover. If possible, wait until the spring or summer months and repot when the plant is in active growth for best results.
Type of Pot to Use for Pothos
Pothos plants can grow well in several different types of pots, including plastic, ceramic, metal, and terra cotta, as long as the pot has good drainage holes in the bottom. The pot should be no more than two inches wider and deeper than the plant's root ball when repotting. Check drip trays, saucers, and cache pots after watering to make sure the plant isn't sitting in water. If your pothos plant lives in an area with low light, consider using a terra cotta pot, which helps wick away moisture, to avoid overwatering.
With its long, trailing vines, pothos is a natural plant for hanging baskets or macrame planters. You can even grow pothos in water as long as the vessel is nonporous and watertight.
You can buy a mature pothos from a plant shop, but it's easy to propagate pothos yourself using stem cuttings. Pothos cuttings like to propagate in water at first. Here are the steps to take:
- Using a sterile, sharp cutting tool, choose a healthy stem with at least three leaves, and cut it at an angle about a half-inch or inch below the lowest leaf.
- Remove the lowest leaf from the stem (you don't need to remove the other leaves).
- Place the stem in a vase or jar of water, but do not let the remaining leaves touch the water.
- Once the cutting has sprouted new roots that are several inches long, likely over the course of a few weeks, transplant it into a pot with potting soil as soon as possible so it can begin to develop a strong root system.
- Put the pot in a spot with bright indirect light and keep the soil moist but not wet.
Common Pothos Problems
Even hardy, low-maintenance pothos can experience common houseplant problems, including pests, diseases, and other issues. Here are some signs to watch out for.
Leaves Turning Yellow
Yellow leaves on a pothos plant can be caused by several different factors. The occasional yellow leaf is nothing to worry about as long as the plant is putting out new growth, but sudden or widespread yellowing is cause for concern. Root rot due to overwatering or a bacterial or fungal disease may be the cause.
Brown leaves on pothos are unattractive and signal that something's wrong with the plant. Browning leaves can be caused by a range of issues, including too little light or overwatering. Brown leaves that are dry and crispy indicate underwatering or a lack of humidity.
Pothos leaves drooping or wilting are a sign that the plant is stressed, often by lack of water. Give your plant a deep watering and monitor the soil moisture going forward to avoid letting the soil stay dry for too long. Droopy leaves can also be a symptom of the plant being pot-bound or affected by a plant disease.
Pothos is usually pest-free. However, the plant can occasionally become infested with mealybugs. Dab the insects away with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol. You can also use neem oil or insecticidal soap to control infestations.
How to Revive Pothos
If your pothos plant is looking droopy, wilted, or otherwise unhealthy, give it some basic care. Trim away any dead or damaged foliage. Check the soil moisture and water if needed. If you've been watering frequently and the soil is soggy, let the soil dry out completely. If it's been a few years since you gave the plant fresh soil, or if the plant is pot-bound, consider repotting in a slightly larger pot with fresh soil.
If you're concerned that the plant might not make it, take a few cuttings from its healthy growth to propagate into new plants. You can also add rooted pothos cuttings to your plant when repotting to help fill out its growth.
Are Pothos Poisonous?
Pothos plants are toxic to cats and dogs as well as humans, but the plant is not lethal if ingested. The roots, leaves, and stems of pothos contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which can irritate the skin, mouth, and digestive tract.
Is pothos easy to care for?
Pothos plant care is very easy, and they're fairly tolerant of neglect and less-than-ideal growing environments. In fact, pothos is called devil's ivy because it's nearly impossible to kill.
How fast does pothos grow?
Pothos is a quick-growing houseplant with the potential to add over a foot of length in one month.(Video) Water vs Soil Propagation: 7 Week Comparison with Pothos | Should I propagate in water or soil?
What's the difference between pothos and philodendron plants?
Pothos and philodendrons are two common houseplants that look very similar, but they are two separate and distinct plants. The easiest way to tell them apart is by their leaves. Pothos plants have subtle heart-shaped leaves that are large, thick, and textured, while waxy while philodendrons have more distinctive heart-shaped leaves that are thinner, softer, and smoother.
18 Types of Pothos That Are Fun to Grow and Display
Originally written by
Marie Iannotti is a life-long gardener and a veteran Master Gardener with nearly three decades of experience. She's also an author of three gardening books, a plant photographer, public speaker, and a former Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator. Marie's garden writing has been featured in newspapers and magazines nationwide and she has been interviewed for Martha Stewart Radio, National Public Radio, and numerous articles.
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Golden Pothos. Animal Poison Control Center.
POTHOS (EPIPREMNUM AUREUM) DISEASES: IDENTIFICATION AND CONTROL IN COMMERCIAL GREENHOUSE PRODUCTION. University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.(Video) How To Care for Your Pothos | Apartment Therapy
Epipremnumaureum. Missouri Botanical Garden.
Golden Pothos. ASPCA.org.
Pothos as a Houseplant. PennState Extension.
How to Grow and Care for Pothos? ›
Water your Pothos every 1-2 weeks, allowing soil to dry out between waterings. Expect to water more often in brighter light and less often in lower light. Some signs of overwatering include yellowing leaves and black stems, while underwatered plants will wilt and their potting mix will dry out.How can I make my pothos grow better? ›
- Give it More Sunlight. Starting with the basics, Pothos craves for bright, indirect sunlight to stimulate its growth. ...
- Provide the Right Temperature Conditions. ...
- Give it the Right Nutrients. ...
- Dust & Mist Occasionally. ...
- Keep it Well-Watered. ...
- Prune your Pothos.
Place your golden pothos in an area with bright, indirect light or low light. North- and east-facing windows are best to encourage healthy growth. This plant's leaves can become sunburnt when placed in direct sunlight.Do pothos need deep pots? ›
So, while pothos plants don't necessarily require deep pots, choosing a pot that's the right size for your plant is still essential. A pot that's too small can restrict the growth of the roots, while a pot that's too large can cause the soil to stay too moist for too long.