Epipremnum aureum (ep-ih-PREM-num AW-re-um) is also known as:
- Variegated Philodendron
- Golden Pothos
- Pothos Vine
- Devil’s Ivy
This perennial tropical member of the Araceae family hails from the Solomon Islands, Southeast Asia, and the South Pacific.
Previously known as Scindapsus aureus, the plants’ current botanical name is derived from the Greek words Epipremnum, which means “upon the tree stump,” and aureum, which means “golden flower.”
It is so-called because of the golden markings on the leaves.
The plant was formerly classified under the genus, Pothos aureus. Hence the common name, Pothos. [source]
Golden Pothos Care
Size & Growth
Young Golden Pothos start out as small plants standing about six inches high. This is a temporary state of affairs.
Pothos of all sorts grow very rapidly and (without trimming, grooming, and training) can quickly spread or climb to a length or height of about ten feet.
Pothos (Golden) has heart-shaped, yellow, and green variegated leaves that look similar to philodendron leaves. Hence the common name Variegated Philodendron.
The difference is that the yellow/white markings of the Golden Pothos are so prominent that the leaves may appear to be entirely golden or white.
Flowering & Fragrance
When kept as a houseplant, the Pothos vine does not bloom. Mature plants in the wild produce multiple erect flower stalks. Each one has a cream-colored spathe surrounded by a purple spadix.
Light & Temperature
Golden Pothos can handle a wide range of lighting from low light, partial shade to full direct sunlight.
Devil’s Ivy can survive in low light conditions, but it will not thrive. For the best growth and most attractive coloration, keep your plant in a setting with ample bright, indirect light.
Indoors avoid allowing direct sunlight to come in contact with the plants’ leaves because this can cause scorching.
One reason this plant is such an excellent houseplant is that it is comfortable at standard household temperatures. If you can keep your house between 65° and 75° degrees Fahrenheit, your Pothos will be happy.
Watering & Houseplant Fertilizer
During the growing period (springtime through autumn), keep your Pothos’ soil moderately moist. Let the top couple of inches of soil dry out between waterings. Water thoroughly, and then allow the soil to dry again.
The frequency of watering will vary depending upon the amount of light your plant receives, its size, and the humidity and temperature of the environment.
Take care not to overwater your Pothos Vine because sitting in water will cause death, yellowed leaves, and root rot.
Remember that this is a jungle plant, so it likes higher humidity levels. If you notice your plants’ leaves turning brown, it may be a sign that you need to use a pebble tray, mist your plants, or set up a humidifier.
Pothos plants do well with minimal fertilizing. From spring to autumn, fertilize Pothos a weak solution of an all-purpose liquid fertilizer once every couple of months.
Soil & Transplanting
Golden Pothos is not a fussy plant. It can do well in a standard potting mix, in a mixture of potting soil and sand, or even in a soilless potting mix. In the wild, these plants grow as epiphytes, so a coarse substrate with few nutrients suits them just fine.
The best time to repot is springtime. When you do so, just move up to the next size pot. A pot that is too large will promote excessive root growth and diminished leaf production. Always use a pot that has ample drainage holes.
Grooming & Maintenance
- Occasionally, give your plants a shower to clean the leaves and provide deep watering.
- Trim back dangling, long shoots to promote bushier growth.
- Trim dead and rotted stems and leaves as needed.
- Mist and wipe the leaves from time to time.
When pruning, always use a very sharp, sterile cutting implement. Cut just above leaf nodes to encourage new growth. More on: How To Prune Pothos Vines
How To Propagate Golden Pothos
It’s extremely easy to propagate Golden Pothos in water or in soil.
To root Pothos in water, take a cutting about six inches long that has a minimum of two nodes and four healthy leaves. Remove lower leaves on the stem.
Place the cutting in a container of water (e.g., jar, glass, or vase) and set it in a warm area that receives bright, indirect sunlight.
You will soon see roots emerge. When the cutting has several strong, healthy-looking roots, transfer it to a pot of moist potting soil.
Alternately, you can keep Pothos cuttings in decorative containers of water indefinitely. Just remember to change the water every couple of days to prevent rot.
To root Pothos in soil, collect cuttings as you would for water propagation. Dip the ends of the cuttings in a rooting hormone and place them into a substrate consisting of half-and-half perlite or sand and peat.
Place your cuttings in a warm setting that receives bright, indirect sunlight. Keep the substrate moist. Within a couple of months, you should see new growth. At this point, you can transfer the cuttings to larger pots of all-purpose potting soil.
Related: Propagating Pothos Plants
Golden Pothos Pest or Disease Problems
Devil’s Ivy is subject to typical houseplant pests, especially if the plant is overwatered, does not receive enough light, or is kept in an area with poor air circulation or very low humidity levels.
Mealybugs are especially problematic. If you catch them early, you can eliminate them by giving your plant a shower with a strong spray of water. Keep watching the plant closely, and when you see individual mealy bugs, use a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol to kill them off.
Related: Mealybugs on Pothos Plants
If they persist, mix up a mild solution of Insecticidal Soap or Neem oil insecticide and water to give your plants a good spraying.
You may also notice leaf abnormalities from time to time. If your plant has wilted leaves, it may not be getting enough water. If the leaves turn yellow and/or the stems turn black, your plant is overwatered. Correct your care regimen accordingly.
Is Pothos Considered Toxic or Poisonous?
All Pothos contain calcium oxalates in the sap that can be irritating to the skin. If ingested, it can cause irritation to the mouth, tongue, and throat. If a great deal is ingested, upset stomach and vomiting may occur.
Always wash your hands after handling your Pothos. Keep these plants out of the reach of children, pets, and livestock.
Related: Is The Pothos Plant Poisonous?
Is the plant considered invasive?
Golden Pothos is most often kept as a houseplant, but it can grow outdoors year-round in semi-tropical climates. If you are growing any sort of Pothos outdoors, be careful to keep it contained.
In its native setting, Pothos rambles up tree trunks and covers forest floors with wild abandon. If allowed to naturalize, it could very easily become invasive.
Pothos is considered a Category II Invasive Exotic in the state of Florida. [source]
Suggested Golden Pothos Uses
It’s easy to grow Golden Pothos as an indoor plant in most home or office settings. It does well in a hanging basket or placed on a pedestal to tumble and trail. If kept pruned, it makes a nice tabletop or desktop plant.
Having a Pothos Vine on your desk can give you a nice focal point when you need to rest your eyes from working at the computer. Pothos was also one of several plants included in the NASA air purification study.