How To Propagate Pothos Plants

So you want to know how to propagate Pothos. Of the fifteen pothos species, often called devil’s ivy, they all have in common low maintenance and tremendous ease of propagation.

Some varieties, like golden Pothos, marble queen, and satin pothos propagate easier than other varieties. Neon pothos and NJoy are a little more difficult. But all are some of the easiest plant types to propagate.

vining pothos plant ready to propagate, rooting hormone helps cutting root faster.Pin
Vining Pothos plant in front home entry | Image: PlantCareToday.com

As long as you have healthy cuttings with root nodes, you can start Pothos in water, soil, vermiculite, or sand. You should see new root growth in under a month using any method. This article provides easy steps to answer frequently asked questions about how to propagate Pothos.

Plant Care Tips And Supplies Needed For Successful Propagation Of Pothos Vines

Gather all the following supplies before you take stem cuttings from the mother plant:

  • A pair of pruning shears or a fine, sharp knife. 
  • Clean the shears or knife with rubbing alcohol before using it. 
  • If you don’t have rubbing alcohol, make a bleach solution by mixing 1 part bleach in 9 parts water.
  • Jars or vase – if you are going to root cuttings in water
  • Rooting hormone – if directly planting the cuttings in a pothos potting soil mix.
  • Small pots or containers
  • Potting mix

How To Cut A Pothos Vine For Propagation

Select a stem cutting with a healthy root node when taking cuttings for Pothos propagation. These are the little bumps that appear at the joints in the stem. You will find a root node at the point where a leaf stem or leaf node grows off the main stem.

How Long Should a Pothos Cuttings Be?

A healthy stem cutting should be between four and six inches long with a minimum of four leaves but not more than six. You will remove the lower leaves and keep the top two to four.

What Do You Need To Propagate Pothos Successfully?

While pothos plants are one of the easiest plants to propagate and care for, here are a few things you need to follow to avoid any potential issues:

  • Always use very sharp, sterile scissors or cutting implements to take cuttings.
  • Take cuttings from healthy stems and cut just below a node.
  • When rooting in water, have the container of water ready to pop the stem cuttings in as you go.
  • Plants can suffer from transplant shock and have difficulty recovering from it.
  • Make sure the pots have proper drainage holes.
  • Once the cuttings have developed roots and have been transplanted into pots, feed them with an all-purpose liquid fertilizer specifically meant for indoor plants, once a month.
  • Keep the pothos plants away from direct sunlight. 
  • Too much sunlight is most often the reason behind yellow leaves on pothos

Where To Cut Pothos When Propagating

Generally speaking, when pruning your mother plant for health and appearance, you will have many good pothos vine cuttings you can use. Take the cuttings in a way that leaves the parent pothos plant looking attractive!

Trimming vines of a pothos plantPin
Notice the root node just above the scissor blades

If you have very long, trailing pothos stems you want to remove from your plant, you can cut quite close to the leaf node of the plant or the soil surface. You can then cut the long, trailing stem into sections (each containing a couple of nodes and several leaves) to make multiple cuttings.

For shorter stems, ensure you have several root nodes and leaves on each cutting. Make your cut on an area of the plant that is not glaringly visible. If you take your cutting just above the point where a leaf grows from the stem, your pruning will appear seamless.

Doing this will leave a little extra stem below the lowest root node on your cutting. Trim this additional section of stem off.

If you are taking cuttings from a mature Pothos that has been negatively affected by disease, pests, or exposure to harsh elements, look for the healthiest portions of the plant. Be sure not to use damaged, diseased, or infested plant portions as cuttings.

Can You Propagate Plants From A Single Pothos Leaf?

No, it is necessary to have a root node to start Pothos. You cannot root a new plant from a leaf or a stem that does not bear a root node.

Water Propagation Method: Pothos Plant Propagation In Water

How To Root Pothos Cuttings in Water?

You can start your Pothos cuttings in any clear glass container. Vases, bottles, mason jars, and drinking glasses all work fine. Clear glass is best because light exposure encourages good root growth.

Place your cuttings in an area that stays consistently warm and receives bright, indirect sunlight, no direct sun. Change the water with distilled water every day or two.

The Pothos with a Natural Light in the Morning Summer DayPin
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When starting your cuttings in water, you can put several cuttings into one jar or vase of water. Don’t crowd them, but you can make an attractive arrangement.

New roots should appear within a month. When the roots have attained a length of two or three inches, you can transfer the cuttings to a pot of standard, high-quality potting mix.

Here are the step by step directions for rooting pothos stem cuttings in water:

  • Snip off about 6” inch long pieces from healthy stems by cutting just below a leaf node (the tiny brown bumps or nubs on stems). 
  • Use pruning shears, scissors or a sharp, clean knife to take the cuttings.
  • Make sure each cutting has at least two nodes and four leaves.
  • Remove the bottom-most leaf from all the cuttings.
  • Fill a glass, jar, or vase with water and place cuttings in it.
  • Place the jar in a window sill or anywhere where it receives bright but indirect light. 
  • The new roots will start emerging from the root node within a few days.
  • Either continue to grow cuttings in the water or transfer them to the soil.

Transferring Rooted Pothos Cuttings from Water to Soil

When transferring cuttings rooted in water, take care not to damage the roots. Put a layer of soil in the bottom of the planting container and then fill in lightly with soil surrounding the cuttings. Tamp it down enough to hold the cuttings in place and make good root-to-soil contact, but don’t crush the roots.

When you transfer Pothos cuttings from water to soil, water deeply and then keep the soil moist (not soggy) until you see new growth appear. Then reduce watering and implement a soak and dry schedule.

How To Grow Pothos In Water

You can also continue to grow rooted pothos cuttings in water. But, you will need to change the water frequently (fresh water every day or two) on a regular, ongoing basis. Otherwise, you’ll have problems with stagnant water and mold.

When growing Pothos in water long-term, feed diluted high-quality liquid fertilizer about once a month. Be advised that if you have grown Pothos in water for a significant time, it may not do well if transferred later to a container of soil.

Soil Propagation: How To Propagate Pothos In Soil, Vermiculite, Perlite, Peat and/or Sand

If you want to start cuttings in potting soil, you can speed up root production by dipping the cuttings in rooting hormone powder. But this is not necessary. As long as you:

  • Use a potting soil with good drainage
  • Provide consistent warmth and light
  • Your cuttings should set roots and promptly produce new foliage.
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You can start Pothos cuttings in the pot where you intend to grow them. To do this:

  • Use a standard potting mix and arrange the cuttings attractively in the container.
  • Keep the potting medium evenly moist until you start to see new growth.
  • At that time, reduce watering and begin a soak and dry watering regimen.

Start cuttings in vermiculite, sand alone, or a 50/50 combination of peat and/or sand or vermiculite. Just as with soil, provide warmth, light, and even moisture until you see new growth.

When propagating Pothos in soil, allow your cuttings to air before submerging them into damp soil. This will help prevent fungal growth. Another option is to lay the stems on moist sphagnum moss.

Steps For Propagating Pothos Cuttings in Soil

If you wish to avoid the extra step of transferring cuttings from water to soil or just want to grow pothos in water for any reason, root the cuttings in the soil as well. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start with taking about 6” inch long pothos cuttings from mature and healthy stems using pruning shears or a sharp and clean knife. 
  • Cut just below a node and make sure the cuttings have at least four nodes and stems.
  • Remove the leaf closest to the bottom from each cutting.
  • Dip the cut ends of the stems in a rooting hormone, ensuring they get a light coating of it up to the first set of root nodes.
  • Now plant the cuttings in pots filled with a moist potting mix made with equal parts of peat and perlite or sand (remember to water the potting mix before inserting cuttings). 
  • When planting the cuttings of Pothos plants, make sure to place them a little deeper so the first root node at the end of the stem is in the soil. 
  • For rooting purposes, place three to four cuttings in one pot.
  • Place the pots at a place where they get plenty of bright, indirect light.
  • Water the cuttings regularly, but only enough to keep the soil moist. 
  • Do not overwater the cuttings or they will get damaged.
  • Let the cuttings grow new roots in their initial pots for about 8 to 12 weeks, then transplant them to bigger pots filled with the standard (all-purpose) potting mix.
  • Keep an eye on the transplanted cuttings until the roots get established. 
  • New growth is the sign of established new roots.

Propagating And Rooting Pothos In Soil Without Rooting Hormone

Pothos is a very enthusiastic grower, and you don’t need rooting hormone to get it to set roots. If you follow the instructions and provide consistent care, your cuttings will develop roots and grow new foliage.

Pothos Cutting Not Growing New Leaves

It may not be warm enough if your cutting maintains the status quo (neither decaying nor growing). Be sure to keep your Pothos cuttings at a temperature of 68° degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Provide bright, indirect lighting.

How Deep To Plant Pothos Cuttings

If you start your cuttings in water, the root nodes should be underwater. If you start them in a potting medium, the lower node(s) should be well below the soil’s surface.

Keep an eye on them because they may become exposed when watering if the nodes are not buried deeply enough. If this happens, add more soil and tamp it down lightly. If the nodes are buried deeply in the soil, your cutting can still uptake water and grow roots.

If you are potting rooted Pothos from water to soil, be sure the roots and the part of the submerged stem are buried under the soil. If you need to plant the stem a little deeper for stability, try not to bury any part of the leaves.

How Many Pothos Cuttings Per Pot

The number of cuttings you place in a pot depends upon your purpose. For example, if you want to make many small, individual plants to share with other gardeners, you would naturally use smaller containers and only put one or two cuttings in a pot.

Suppose you want to create a lush-looking new pothos plant that will quickly grow into an attractive hanging plant, arrange a half dozen cuttings to create the illusion of one healthy plant. Then, when the cuttings grow, prune them judiciously to encourage bushier growth.

TIP: To create a thick, full-potted Pothos, when you prune your plant, stick cuttings (with root nodes) into the soil around the parent plant, where they are likely to set down roots and start growing.

Little Pearls and Jade Pothos potted plantPin
| rebekahhelton-Adobe

What Size Pot For Pothos Cuttings?

The size of the pot you choose will depend upon your purpose. For example, for sharing or gifting, you may use small nursery pots or disposable containers, such as small paper cups with a few drainage holes poked in the bottom.

You can just as easily use slightly larger pots to set on your windowsill and full-size hanging baskets to hang in the window or on a sheltered porch. You can create a pretty trellised Pothos display in a large indoor planter.

The main thing to remember when choosing pots for Pothos cuttings is to give the cuttings a few inches of space in any permanent container. You must also be sure the container has plenty of drainage holes. Like most plants, Pothos planted in soil do not like to stand in water. Poor drainage will cause root rot on Pothos.

How Long To Propagate Pothos Before Transferring

As mentioned, it is possible to start your cuttings in the pot or container of water you plan to keep. If you are starting them in very small pots, give your cuttings two or three months to set down roots, start growing foliage, and become established before transplanting them into larger, more permanent pots.

Plant Care: Should You Fertilize A Pothos Plant Cutting?

Whether you start your cuttings in water or potting medium, you should not fertilize until the plants mature and grow. However, as mentioned, once roots have grown, you should provide Pothos grown in water with a light feeding of liquid houseplant fertilizer about once a month.

Pothos grown in a good quality potting mix will do well with a diluted liquid fertilizer or a slow-release granulated houseplant food applied once in early spring and again in mid-summer.

Whether you fertilize with liquid or granular food, Pothos should have a 3-1-2 NPK ratio.

When Can You Pot or Repot Propagated Pothos?

Springtime is generally the best time for potting and repotting most indoor plants, which is true of Pothos. Even so, this plant is such a rugged, enthusiastic grower that you will probably do fine potting it up any time of the year. Just be sure to provide consistent warmth, light, and moisture.

More On Growing Pothos

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