Pothos is arguably one of the easiest houseplants to grow, even if you're someone who forgets to water your plants often enough. This trailing vine, native to the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, boasts pointed, heart-shaped green leaves that are sometimes variegated with white, yellow, or pale green striations.
Pothos can be planted or tended to indoors throughout the entire year and will grow quickly, often adding between 12 and 18 inches of length a month. While pothos likes bright, indirect like, it can also thrive in areas that don't get a lot of sunlight or only have fluorescent lighting, making it an excellent option for locations such as offices and dorm rooms.
|Botanical Name||Epipremnum aureum|
|Common Name||Pothos, golden pothos, devil's vine, devil's ivy|
|Mature Size||20–40 ft. long, 3–6 ft. wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun, partial shade|
|Soil Type||Moist but well-drained|
|Soil pH||Neutral to acidic|
|Bloom Time||Does not flower|
|Flower Color||Does not flower|
|Hardiness Zones||10–12 (USDA)|
|Native Areas||South Pacific|
|Toxicity||Toxic to dogs and cats|
Pothos vines do not cling to trellises and supports on their own (like ivy might), but they can be trained onto supports to give the appearance of twining. As indoor plants, pothos specimens up to 30 feet long are common, though most are kept at a much shorter length. If you choose to let your pothos grow into a long vine, it can be secured on hooks along walls and over window frames. Vines left to grow on their own can get very tangled, so shake them loose every now and then to keep them from becoming a mess.
Caring for a pothos plant is very easy and they're pretty tolerant of neglect and growing environments that are not totally ideal. In addition, pothos is usually pest-free. However, they can occasionally get infested with mealybugs—insecticidal soap works against them, but the easiest method is to simply dab the insects with an alcohol-soaked cotton swab.
Watch Now: How to Easily Grow and Care for Pothos
When grown indoors, pothos prefers bright but indirect light. Variegated plants sometimes lose their leaf pattern and revert to all-green plants if they don't get enough light—moving them to brighter conditions usually restores the variegation. Suddenly paler-looking leaves mean the plant is getting too much sun.
Pothos plants thrive in ordinary, well-draining potting soil. Soil pH is also not of consequence to the plant, and it can thrive in a range of conditions, from neutral to acidic.
Pothos like to have their soil dry out completely between waterings. If left in continually damp soil, the plant's roots will rot. Black spots on the leaves (or the sudden collapse of the plant) indicate that the soil has been kept too wet. Let the plant tell you when to water—when it starts to droop, it needs a good drink. However, don’t wait until the leaves start to shrivel or you will lose some leaves. Dry, brown edges mean the plant was kept dry too long.
Temperature and Humidity
Pothos should be kept in temperatures that are consistently above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, though they most appreciate a common room temperature that hovers between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Additionally, pothos plants like high humidity, so you can increase the moisture in the air around the plant by housing it in a typically-humid area of the home, such as a kitchen or bathroom. Still, the plant is very tolerant and can thrive even where there is low humidity, so there's no need to invest in a space humidifier or go to extreme measures.
Pothos plants aren’t heavy feeders, but since there are typically no nutrients in most potting soils, you can feed monthly to bi-monthly with any balanced houseplant fertilizer to increase their nutrition.
Is Pothos Toxic?
Though a beautiful indoor plant, pothos is toxic to pets like cats and dogs if ingested, so consider keeping the plants out of reach of your animals or opting for a different varietal if you have especially curious critters.
Still poisoning from pothos is rarely fatal and typically only results in mild oral irritation. The issue lies in the insoluble calcium oxalate crystals that, when they come in contact with moisture from the mouth, can cause an issue. If you notice your pet exhibiting any of the below symptoms, contact your vet immediately.
Symptoms of Poisoning
- Eye irritation
- Mouth irritation
- Tongue swelling or irritation
- Foaming at the mouth
- Trouble swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Pawing at face, mouth, or eyes
Many varieties of pothos have been developed with different types of leaf variegation, with white, yellow, or light green patches interrupting the predominant deep green. There are also cultivars with leaves that are solid light green. Some recommended pothos cultivars include:
- "Marble Queen": A varietal with an exceptionally attractive white-and-green variegated pattern. It will need more light than most pothos in order to maintain its unique coloring.
- "Pearls and Jade": This varietal is also white and green, but instead of striping, the colors show up in the form of small dots.
- "Neon": A bright chartreuse variety, this pothos need less light and is great for darker spaces.
- "Silver Satin": This varietal has thick gray-green leaves with silver splotches. It is very tolerant of drought and low-light conditions.
Potting and Repotting Pothos
Eventually, your pothos will become pot-bound. When the leaves droop, no matter how much or often you water them, that's a sure sign that the roots have probably filled the pot. Carefully lift the plant and check to see if this is the problem. When the plant has reached this stage, you can re-pot it in a container one or two sizes larger, filled with fresh potting soil.
Pothos is easily propagated simply by taking stem cuttings and rooting them in water or in potting soil. Once cuttings in water have sprouted new roots, move them into soil as soon as possible so they can begin getting nutrients.