Pothos Fertilizer: How To Choose The Best Fertilizer For Pothos

So you want to know – “What is the Best Fertilizer for Pothos?”

Chances are you know at least as many Pothos plant enthusiasts as spider plant fans. They all have their secret recipe and advice on watering, care, and fertilizing.

Pothos fertilizer - PlantCareToday shares tips on proper fertilize for your pothos.Pin
Happy potted Pothos growing indoors – Orlando, Florida

The Pothos growers have varied care advice. The spider plant growers share the same general care info.

Pothos has a wide range of cultivars, and they tend to have different care requirements.

Several plants in the genus Scindapsus resemble pothos and even bear the name but have needs related to their genus.

All true varieties of pothos are cultivars of a single species, Epipremnum Aureum (ep-ih-PREM-num AW-re-um).

The original plant has several common names, including:

  • Devil’s ivy
  • Money plant

Popular cultivars include:

Two popular false pothos species are satin pothos (Scindapsus pictus) and its cultivar ‘Trebi.’

While all these pothos plants share appearances or species, they all have different minor requirements. It is always best to figure out which variety you have and cater to its own needs.

To keep all the beautiful traits your pothos offers (such as the pale green of neon pothos, dark green leaves of jade pothos, or the vibrance of variegated plants) requires a careful balance of:

  • Temperature range
  • Location – indoors or outdoors
  • Environmental conditions (heat, humidity)
  • Light conditions and light levels – Direct sun, indirect light, bright light
  • Regular watering schedule
  • The right fertilizer
  • Well-drained soil mix

What Pothos Plant Food Should I Use On My Pothos?

Since some pothos plants aren’t pothos, it’s essential to identify your plant before fertilizing.

Some basic treatment options are safe to use with all true and false pothos varieties.

Why Fertilizing Pothos Is Important

Pothos are not heavy feeders, but they are fairly fast-growing plants. When pothos doesn’t get enough essential nutrients, they lose vigor and are more vulnerable to pests and disease.

Some insect pests are attracted to sick plants, so your pothos may also become infected.

Moreover, fertilizing your Pothos help them grow strong stems, robust root systems, and healthy leaves.

They need three primary nutrients, which are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Your Pothos plant will also need macronutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. Essential micronutrients include boron, copper, iron, manganese, and zinc.

These nutrients will help sustain plant development and promote healthy growth. It will also aid in processes including water intake and photosynthesis.

Thankfully, pothos is good at telling you when something’s wrong. Yellow leaves are a sign – the soil may be lacking nutrients.

Other signs that your pothos is lacking the nutrients a fertilizer provides include:

  • Brown leaf margins
  • Fading of variegated leaves and yellowing Pothos leaves
  • Leggy vines or drooping leaves
  • Slow growth
  • Weak roots

General Guidelines for Choosing a Pothos Fertilizer

As mentioned, every cultivar has slightly different needs for optimum health. But, a few baseline methods will work for all pothos plants.

There are many decent fertilizers out on the market.

Use a basic balanced houseplant fertilizer to meet your plants’ nutritional requirements.

In the case of pothos, a balanced fertilizer (i.e., equal NPK ratio, such as 10/10/10) is adjusted to the proper dilution and frequency.

Fertilize as often as required by the type of fertilizer. Avoid using fertilizers during the winter months when pothos is dormant.

Do Not Over Fertilize. You know… a little bit is good, and a little more is better!

Comparing Fertilizer Types

There are five types of fertilizer:

  • Used coffee grounds
  • Compost
  • Granular
  • Liquid
  • Slow-release

Each fertilizer has its advantages and disadvantages, especially in regard to pothos plants.

Coffee Grounds

Not only is coffee an essential part of the day, but the grounds provide vital nutrients to your plants.

Coffee grounds are more acidic and have higher nitrogen than potassium and phosphorus. Use coffee combined with compost or liquid plant fertilizer to balance the ratio.

NOTE: Some pothos enthusiasts use a small amount of coffee grounds during the dormant stage (winter) to ensure the plant will be ready for spring. Only try this if you have a lot of Pothos plant experience.


Inorganic fertilizers are usually the most popular for those who aren’t keen on the smell of good compost. But, organic plant lovers may be reluctant to use them.

Compost is an example of natural fertilizer with an excellent source of nutrients for plants, but the nutrient release isn’t balanced.

It is OK to add a little compost as a supplement to indoor Pothos. But don’t rely on it in place of a balanced-release fertilizer option.

Other examples of natural fertilizers you can use include crushed eggshells, banana peels, Epsom salts, aquarium water, rice water, and granulated gelatin.

Granular Fertilizer

Granular fertilizers are often used with outdoor plants. These granular fertilizers are pellets you add directly to the soil.

They release their nutrients all at once, which can be disastrous for an indoor plant such as pothos.

It’s best to avoid using this type of fertilizer for plants in a hanging basket or small container.

If you are applying granular fertilizer, use slow-release formulas.

Liquid Fertilizer

Liquid is the most popular type of indoor plant food fertilizer for pothos. Liquid houseplant fertilizer is easy to dilute and add when watering.

Whether you buy it as a liquid or powder, dilute liquid fertilizers by ¼ to ½ the labeled directions for the right formula. 

Use a weak solution, especially if you have a higher concentration fertilizer. The full concentration can give indoor pothos chemical burns.

Regular Fertilization: How Often To Fertilize Pothos Plants?

Apply this type of fertilizer once per month to potted plants throughout the growing season. It is by far the most effective option for pothos.

A balanced liquid fertilizer is our recommendation as to the best fertilizer for pothos.

Slow-Release Fertilizer

This fertilizer is the indoor version of granulated fertilizer.

It has a special coating that releases a small amount of nutrients during each watering.

Fertilizer spikes are an excellent option if you’re using a slow-release fertilizer.

Feed a plant in early spring; it will continue getting nutrients each time you add water.

Unfortunately, it’s another poor choice for pothos. The ratio of NPK released isn’t balanced.

Bonus Tip: Treating an Over-Fertilized Pothos

If caught early enough, you can save a pothos that’s had too much fertilizer.

The first step is to keep an eye out for leaves that look burnt or damaged roots.

If you see leaves turning brown or what appears as burns, it’s time to take action.

  • Prune away any browned or burnt leaves so only healthy foliage remains.
  • Drench the potting mix to flush and remove any excess fertilizer from the soil.
  • Allow excess water to drain. More on How often you should water Pothos.
  • Repot if you’re worried the plant is seriously ill.
  • For plants still in good condition, remove the top inch of soil and replace it with fresh, unfertilized soil.
  • Finally, avoid using fertilizer for 6 to 8 weeks after treatment so the plant has time to recover.

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