Tips and Information Guide On Caring For Pothos Plants

Pothos aka Epipremnum aureum (ep-ih-PREM-num AW-ree-um) is a genus of plants in the arum or Araceae family of plants. It consists of approximately 15 easy going plant species hailing from various locations in the Western Pacific, Southeast Asia, and the jungles of the Solomon Islands.

All of these climbing perennial evergreen Pothos varieties display marked differences between their juvenile foliage and their mature foliage.

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These plants grow wild in direct sunlight in their native tropical settings and make nice year-round houseplants.

Pothos vines are called by a wide variety of common names including:

  • Hunter’s Rope
  • Money Plant
  • Devil’s Vine
  • Devil’s Ivy
  • Taro Vine
  • Ivy Arum
  • Ceylon creeper

Pothos Plant Care Guide

Versatility is one of the reasons Pothos has become so popular especially as an indoor plant. It tolerates a wide range of conditions. The green variety known as Jade handles drought and low-light conditions very well. The popular Golden and Marble Queen varieties do best in brighter conditions.  

Size & Growth

In its natural environment, the aerial root system of Pothos ramble over the landscape and up trees in full direct sunlight. In these settings, its leaves grow incredibly large. There is really almost no limit to the length and height to which the vigorous vines can extend.

Growing in an outdoor setting, climbing vines reach a height of 40′ feet. Pothos grows outdoors, year-round, in USDA hardiness zones 10 through 11. Outside of these settings, the plant must be grown as indoor plants.

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Mature Pothos plants growing up palm trees in Florida.
Notice the thick stems and larger leaves with different shapes and forms. | PlantCareToday.com

As a houseplant, individual plant vines may grow to be 6′ to 8′ feet long. Growth and shape are controlled with pruning.

There are many different types of Pothos, with many different leaf patterns. Generally speaking, the leaves are glossy, heart-shaped, and varying shades of green. 

Popular Pothos Cultivars include:

  • Njoy Pothos a newer introduction with green and white variegation.
  • Marble Queen Pothos has deep green mossy -colored leaves with white streaks.
  • Golden Pothos, which has yellowish green, golden variegated leaves.
  • Jade Pothos has very deep green leaves.
  • Manjula Pothos patented variety developed by the University of Florida, green and white variegation. The leaf edges are slightly wavy.

Does Pothos Flower?

When kept as a houseplant, Pothos rarely flowers. In the wild, it does not flower until it becomes a mature plant.

In this case, it will produce groupings of erect flower stalks with distinct cream-colored spathes with purple markings around the spadix. 

What Is The Best Lighting and Temperature For Pothos?

All types of Pothos do fairly well in a variety of natural light conditions, but bright, indirect light year-round will produce the best results. Pothos varieties with lots of white variegation do tolerate low light well. Keep them in brighter light locations.

Low-Light Conditions

If you are using Pothos in a low light setting, it’s a good idea to have two plants and rotate them from low light to bright indirect sunlight periodically to keep both healthy.

Over time plants become spindly from the lack of light. The stems of new growth get smaller, thin, and weak. The new leaves “shrink” in size.

Generally speaking, if your Pothos’ leaves are pale overall, you may be giving it too much sun. On the other hand, if you have a variegated Pothos that loses its leaf variegation, you may be giving it too little natural light.

NOTE: Pothos plants grow well under fluorescent light. Under grow lights keep plants under lights for 12-14 hours per day.

Moderate Temperatures

These tropical plants like a high humid environment and warm temperatures. Pothos do best in a common room temperature of 60° – 80° degrees Fahrenheit found in most homes.

In homes with low humidity consider adding a space humidifier to raise the humidity levels.

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Watering & Feeding

How much water Pothos and how often depend on many factors:

  • Light – how intense and for how long
  • Humidity
  • Pot size
  • Root system – how good is it?
  • Temperature
  • Potting Soil – The make up and quality of a potting soil mix

Use the soak and dry method of watering for Pothos. Water thoroughly and then allow the soil to become almost dry before watering thoroughly again. 

If you notice that the plant is drooping, withering, or turning yellow, it may be telling you that it needs a drink.

Underwatered plants often develop brown edges on the leaves. 

Avoid excessive watering. or allowing Pothos to stand in water as this will lead to rot.

These plants are light feeders and do not need much in the way of fertilizer.  Use a diluted solution of a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer early in the springtime.

More details in our Guides:

Soil Potting Mix & Transplanting

Pothos do quite well in any sort of well-draining potting soil.

If your Pothos becomes root bound, repot the plant to a new container one size larger than the container the plant is already in. Be sure to use all new fresh potting soil and a pot with a drainage hole.

You can divide a root bound Pothos into two or more plants when repotting. 

Grooming & Maintenance

These tropical plants like a humid setting. In dry, low humidity setting mist the leaves on a regular basis. Wipe the leaves down regularly with a clean, damp cloth to prevent dust buildup, which could interfere with photosynthesis.

Prune as desired to shape and train the plant and encourage bushier growth. 

Related: Tips on Making Pothos Plants Grow Faster and How To Prune Pothos Plants

Tips On Propagating Pothos

These plants are easily propagated from cuttings taken from a mother plant. Simply take healthy stem cuttings, with a minimum of one node each, and pop them into a vase of water. Change the water daily to prevent rot. 

You will soon see new roots begin to form. When roots have formed, you can plant your cuttings into moist soil, or you can keep your Pothos in water for quite some time. Many people grow Pothos in water for years.

Related: How To Prune Pothos Plants | How To Propagate Pothos

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Variegated leaves of the golden pothos

Pothos Plant Pests and Diseases

With the right amount of water, right amount of light and consistent warmth, Pothos is virtually disease-free. Too much water and/or excessively cold temperatures will cause root rot.

Cold temperatures or sudden temperature changes may cause brown spots to appear on the leaves. Protect your plant from draft.

Overwatered plants are subject to infestation by common houseplant pests such as mealybugs, spider mites, and scale.

Spray with Neem Oil or insecticidal soap to control pests.

Learn more on controlling Mealybugs on Pothos

Is Pothos Toxic or Poisonous to People, Kids, Pets?

All parts of all Pothos are quite poisonous to people, pets and livestock. Pothos contains calcium oxalate, so if it is ingested in large quantities it can cause a great deal of gastric distress and stomach irritation.

Fortunately, consuming in large quantities is unlikely because contact with the sap can cause a burning sensation in the lips and mouth. 

Contact with the sap may also cause contact dermatitis, so be careful when handling your Pothos. Wear gloves and wash up after pruning or repotting the plant.

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Pothos marble queen

Is Pothos Considered invasive?

In tropical settings, Pothos are indeed quite invasive. If you are growing it outdoors in areas such as Hawaii, Florida, or Australia, take great care to keep it contained. If it gets away from you it will displace native plants and may even kill trees. 

Suggested Pothos Uses

The best use for Pothos is as a houseplant. These plants are easy to grow and can be used as:

  • Single stand-alone potted plant on a desk, credenza or even as a good bathroom plant
  • Planted in mass as a ground cover
  • Grown-up a totem pole as an upright plant
  • Hanging basket with long runners trailing down
  • Planted with other plants in small gardens
  • Covering on large trees or palm trunks outdoors
  • Underplanting “garnish” for large potted plants or trees
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Neon Pothos with Chartreuse leaves

Your potted Pothos can spend the spring and summer outdoors on a sheltered porch or patio. In a large planter, give the plant a trellis or a sphagnum totem pole to climb.

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