Pothos plant also known as Epipremnum aureum previously known as Scindapsus aureus and Rahphidophora aurea. The botanical name comes from Greek epi meaning upon and premnon meaning a trunk. This refers to the plant growing on the trunks of trees as it often does in its native habitat. Aureum means golden. It is a vine that can be allowed to crawl across the ground, climb up support or trail down from a container. Its heart-shaped glossy leaves are green, solid gold, or variegated and generally 3-4 inches long.
This plant looks similar to but unlike heartleaf, philodendron pothos has thicker leaves and grooved stems. Indoors it typically grows 6 to 8 feet long but in its native habitat can reach 20 to 40 feet with much larger leaves. Hardy in Zones 10 to 12 it is grown outdoors as a groundcover, allowed to climb supports and trees, and grown in containers.
This low-maintenance houseplant is a great plant for both beginning and experienced gardeners. It is most often used in hanging baskets but gardeners often train them up, over, and around their windows. The aerial roots attach to supports allowing you to train it onto the support. It is also combined with other plants and often used as a ground cover in larger planters.
Varieties of Pothos Plant
- Golden Pothos – its name aptly describes the golden yellow variegated leaves.
- Marble Queen – is a popular variety with white streaks on the stems and its moss-green leaves.
- Snow Queen – is similar to marble queen but the variegation is whiter and more consistent.
- Neon – it has striking bright chartreuse leaves that darken with age.
- Variegated Neon – has light green leaves with chartreuse streaks.
- Lime – is similar to neon with bright yellow leaves.
- Pearls and Jade – have smaller leaves, and are slower growing and the creamy variegation occurs mostly along the leaf edges.
- N’Joy – has larger cream and green variegated leaves and is a bit faster grower than Pearl and Jade but not as fast as golden pothos.
- Glacier – has green leaves with white variegation and silvery streaks.
- Jade – has solid dark green leaves and is very tolerant of low light.
- Asaoka Second – also known as Global Green has dark and light green mottled leaves.
- Jessenia – is a highly variegated golden pothos.
- Manjula – has wider and rounder leaves than marble queen and more variegation of cream, white-green, silver and yellowish-green.
- Tricolor – has off-white stems and leaves with white variegation.
Facts about Pothos Plant
Here are some facts about the Pothos plant.
|Common Name||Pothos, Golden Pothos, Devil’s Ivy|
|Maximum Growth||Generally 6 to 8 feet indoors, up to 40 feet where hardy outdoors and in its natural habitat.|
|Foliage||Glossy heart-shaped leaves are typically 3 to 6” long and wide. Solid green, yellow, or variegated leaves depending on the variety.|
|Flower||This plant rarely flowers when grown indoors. Mature plants, especially those growing in their native habitat, produce flowers with a spadix (stout stem) that is shorter and surrounded by a boat-shaped spathe (leaf-like structure). The spathe may be gold, purple, or lavender.|
|Toxicity||This plant is toxic to cats and dogs.|
Pothos Plant Care
Even if Pothos plant is an easy-to-grow low-maintenance plant, you need to consider the things listed below to keep your plant healthy.
This plant prefers warm temperatures typically found in homes. Avoid cold drafts.
Grow in bright indirect light for best results but will tolerate lower light locations. Plants receiving insufficient light tend to lose their variegation and those exposed to excess light may develop bleached sunburned spots on the leaves.
Watering a houseplant is part of your responsibility. For this plant, water thoroughly when the top inch of the potting mix is dry. Pour off excess water that collects in the saucer to avoid root rot. Overwatering is the most common cause of death in this plant.
Grow in a quality potting mix that is well-drained soil. It can also be grown hydroponically.
Pothos likes to be pot-bound. Repot if new growth is stunted or roots become overcrowded and circle the inside of the pot. Gently loosen tightly bound roots before moving it to a slightly larger, one-inch diameter, container. Planting in oversized containers results in the potting mix staying wet for long periods increases the risk of root rot.
Fertilize with a dilute solution of any houseplant fertilizer when plants need a nutrient boost or you want to increase their growth. Limit fertilization to when plants are actively growing from March through November. Fertilizing your houseplant is important because it will help your plant grow healthy.
Display pothos with other plants to increase the humidity around the plant. As one plant loses moisture from the leaves, and transpires, neighboring plants benefit. Or set the pot on pebbles or stones in the saucer. Allow excess water to collect in the pebbles that elevate the pot above the water. As the water evaporates it increases the humidity around the plant.
It is easy to start new plants from 4” long leaf and stem cuttings that have at least one leaf . Root cuttings in vermiculite or a quality potting mix to allow for an easier transition to growing in potting mix. Many gardeners have success rooting cuttings in water. Plant several rooted cuttings in a pot for a fuller display.
Note: Older leaves tend to yellow and drop off the plant leaving leafless stems at the base of the plant. Regularly prune to encourage full growth. Plants can be cut back to 2” above the soil surface if necessary to promote new growth near the base of the plant. Add rooted cuttings, as space allows, to increase fullness to sparsely leafed plants.
Common Problems of Pothos Plant
When it comes to taking care of this plant, you need to keep in mind the things that can cause a problem with your plant.
It is the most common cause of death of this plant. Leaves turn yellow, limp, and eventually brown and fall off. Avoid this problem by allowing the soil to dry between watering and not letting plants sit in excess water that collects in the saucer.
It can also cause leaves to turn yellow. These plants need minimal fertilization. Allow plant growth to dictate fertilizing frequency.
Drastic Shift of Temperature
Cold temps or drastic shifts from warm to cold can cause scattered brown spots that mainly occur on the center of the leaf.
Low light for prolonged periods causes a loss of variegation.
Mealy bugs, scale, and spider mites are less common but the insects that may attack pothos. Physically remove scale and mealy bugs when found and use a strong blast of water to dislodge spider mites. Organic horticulture oil kills all stages of these insects. Read and follow label directions and repeat as needed.
Final Thoughts on Pothos Plant
Pothos plant are easy to take care for and is perfect for beginners. You will go well with this plant if you keep in mind the tips above. This plant is a climber so make sure you have the support like Coco coir pole to grow it vertically.
Elyssa Goins is a gardener, beekeeper, and a proud mom of four. She is a member of the American Horticultural Society, has been published in a Scientific Journal, and loves to talk about her love of plants. For the past twenty years, she’s been all about growing and caring for various fruits, veggies, herbs, livestock, kids, and houseplants. Managing a big garden to feed four growing kids and raising dairy goats has taught her so much about being an excellent plant parent and now is her time to share with you.