Are you looking for an easy houseplant to care for that offers a lot of value and beauty for very little work? If so, look no further than the pothos plant! These are delightful and very popular indoor houseplants. They’re stupidly easy to care for and can tolerate a lot of neglect while still maintaining their health and vibrant appearance.
How to Use Pothos Indoors
Pothos are actually one of the best plants one can have for small indoor spaces without a ton of natural sunlight or window access, such as studios or apartments. These plants require bright and indirect sunlight to grow quickly and thrive, but they are well-known for being able to withstand very low-light conditions. It’s worth noting that variegated plants require adequate sunlight in order to keep up their patterns and colors, but pothos in general can survive with just one poorly-lit window. Take a look at some more info on how to properly display your pothos plant at home here.
Are Pothos Poisonous?
Unfortunately, these plants are considered poisonous to people and pets. Every part of the plant contains calcium oxalates, which can cause gastrointestinal upset and vomiting. If you want to have one of these beauties in your home, ensure that it is placed where the curious mouths of children and pets cannot reach it. If you want to learn more about the toxicity of pothos plants, check out our guide on the subject.
Sizes and Growth Rates
The growth rate and mature size of pothos plants depend on a few different factors. For example, if a plant is kept indoors in a fairly restraining pot, it will not enter maturity. To put it simply, these plants will stay in their juvenile form when kept as indoor houseplants. As a result, they do not grow very large and will never flower when kept inside. In most cases, these plants will only grow to about 10 feet indoors, but this depends on the variety of the plant and the size of the pot it is kept in. This isn’t an exact science, either. One might find that their plant has grown way past 10 feet indoors because it has been given the perfect growing conditions.
Outdoor pothos are another story. When given the right temperature, humidity, soil, and room to spread their roots, outdoor plants can easily reach 20 feet or even longer. To learn more about how big pothos plants can grow, take a look at our in-depth guide.
The Benefits of Pothos
There are so many benefits to keeping a pothos plant (or two, or ten) in your home! Outside of being low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, low-light-tolerant, and generally just pretty to look at, these plants can actually purify indoor air. A famous NASA study noted that these plants do an excellent job at filtering formaldehyde and other harmful chemicals in indoor spaces.
Just as well, the care requirements for these plants result in higher indoor humidity, which can be beneficial for those who live in dry climates. Pothos are also considered lucky in Feng Shui practices. Discover more about the many benefits of pothos houseplants here.
As we mentioned earlier in this guide, indoor pothos plants stay in their juvenile form and thus do not produce flowers. This shouldn’t bring you down, though. These plants are beloved among plant collectors for their beautiful foliage, rather than their flowers.
That being said, these plants are technically flowering plants. In the wild or in landscaping projects, these plants can enter their mature phase and begin to flower. They produce several flower stalks per plant that have white spathes and purple flowers. If you want to learn more about the pothos plant’s flowering habits, take a look here.
How to Grow Pothos Indoors
Growing indoor pothos plants is a very easy and straightforward process. These plants tolerate a wide range of soil types, inconsistent watering, poor sunlight access, lack of fertilizer, and a wide range of different environmental factors. However, if you want to raise your plant to look their best and grow quickly, there are a few different things you’ll need to do. If the following guide is not sufficient, check out our in-depth article that outlines exactly how to grow indoor pothos here.
Pothos usually only need to be watered once a week. Before giving this plant filtered, dechlorinated water, it is advised to see if the top inch or two of the soil has dried out. Because of its thin root structure, this plant requires less irrigation overall. Just as well, watering should be done more sparingly throughout the winter. When the soil has been dry for a time, water the pot sparingly rather than soaking the soil every two weeks or so. Overwatering your plant in the winter could really harm it. Discover more about the water needs of pothos here.
Finding the Right Pot
Pothos plants are not picky about the pots they are kept in. The main thing to look for is drainage holes. Your plant’s pot must absolutely have drainage holes to keep the soil from staying soggy and potentially causing root rot. These plants do not like having wet roots! Just as well, the size of the pot you choose will depend on how large your current pot is. These plants don’t mind being a little rootbound, but that doesn’t mean that they should be kept in extremely small pots. Terra cotta is the recommended pot material, as it is porous and can reduce soil moisture. Discover more about the pot or container requirements for pothos here.
The pothos plant thrives in indirect yet bright sunlight, although it can also easily adapt to low-light and medium-light settings. In low-light circumstances, its growth rate will be delayed, but the plant should still grow to a fairly large size. It is a fantastic office plant and a unique trailing plant that can thrive in places without great window access. It can also survive in fluorescent lighting. As long as there is some form of light, these plants can tolerate practically any lighting situation. Read more about the lighting requirements for pothos here.
Soil and Fertilizer Requirements
Depending on the variety of pothos you have, fertilizer treatments may be required starting a few months after repotting even though some indoor potting mixes might include plant food. These plants typically thrive when fertilized every four to six weeks during their active growing season in the spring and summer. Throughout the late fall and winter, fertilizing can be decreased by half or stopped entirely.
The pH range for the soil that this plant enjoys is from about 6.0 to as high as 6.8. Thankfully, most indoor soil mixtures fit into that range. Yellowing or drooping leaves on a plant can be a sign that the soil is way too alkaline. Inexpensive pH testers can be used to test the soil. Peat moss can be spread on top of the soil to provide lower alkalinity to the soil if necessary. Check out some more info on the soil and fertilizer needs of pothos here.
Every year or so, pothos plants need to be replanted in order to give their roots more area to expand and remain healthy. Without repotting, the plant can get rootbound, which means the roots will encircle the interior of the pot and get twisted and compressed more and more as a result of not having enough space to spread out. This is harmful since it can hinder your plant’s ability to properly absorb nutrients and water, as well as inhibit its development.
Plan on repotting your plants every year or two to allow your roots more opportunity to expand. It’s time to upgrade to a larger pot if it’s been a while since you last repotted, if roots are poking through the top or bottom of the pot, or if you see the soil peeling away from the pot’s sides. Learn more about how to repot a pothos plant properly here.
How to Grow Pothos Outdoors
Believe it or not, you can actually plant pothos outside in your garden if you live in the right USDA hardiness zone. Generally, most species and varieties can be grown in zones 10 through 12. Much of the care requirements for indoor plants can be applied to outdoor plants. To learn more about how to plant and maintain pothos plants outdoors, read up on our guide here.
Caring for the Roots
The roots are the heart of the pothos plant. They need some serious TLC in order to thrive and keep the plant alive for many years. One mistake many beginner plant-owners make is not providing their plant’s roots with enough space to grow. As mentioned earlier in this guide, it is very important for these beauties to have a container or pot that can accommodate their size. While they don’t mind being a little rootbound, a serious case of being rootbound can hinder the plant’s ability to grow. Discover more about the root system of the pothos plant here.
How to Propagate Pothos
Pothos plants are very easy to propagate. In fact, it is easier to propagate these tropical plants via cuttings over seeds. Cuttings can be propagated in either water, soil, or moss. The water method is typically the easiest, but many horticulturists prefer the soil method. Learn more about how to propagate your pothos plant here.
Troubleshooting Problems and Diseases
Pothos are generally trouble-free, but they can suffer from a few different problems. Browning leaves can be caused by a severe lack of humidity or water. Learn more about troubleshooting brown pothos leaves here.
Likewise, yellowing leaves can be caused by overwatering or excess soil moisture or drainage. Learn more about troubleshooting yellow pothos leaves here.
Species, Varieties, and Types
There are many different varieties and species of pothos or devil’s ivy out there. The most common species is Epipremnum aureum, but the species Epipremnum pinnatum and Scindapsus pictus are considered other types of pothos, or at the very least referred to as pothos. In each of those species, there are many different varieties or cultivars of pothos with varying appearances and growth characteristics. Pothos can come in white varieties, variegated (a.k.a. patterned) varieties, rare varieties, and many more. Discover more about the many varieties and cultivars of pothos here.
The golden pothos or Epipremnum aureum is considered the “base” variety of pothos. It has golden-green leaves and is the most common pothos variety found at nurseries. Learn more about the neon pothos here.
Global Green Pothos
The global green pothos is a variety of golden pothos. It is fairly new and hard to find and boasts beautiful deep-green leaves. Learn more about the global green pothos here.
The jade pothos is a natural variety of pothos that is well-known for growing very large in its natural habitat and having very showy, deep-green leaves like the global green pothos. Learn more about the jade pothos here.
The neon pothos is well-known for its unique coloration, which is almost neon green. Learn more about the neon pothos here.
The N’joy pothos is known for its somewhat cheesy name as well as its beautiful off-white variegation on its foliage. Learn more about the N’joy pothos here.
The Brazil pothos is technically a philodendron and not a pothos at all. It is a variety of Philodendron hederaceum and has foliage that resembles the Brazilian flag. Learn more about the Brazil or Brasil pothos here.
Baltic Blue Pothos
The Baltic blue pothos is a variety of Epipremnum pinnatum and has blue-green, muted tones to its long leaves. Learn more about the Baltic blue pothos here.
Cebu Blue Pothos
This plant is another variety of Epipremnum pinnatum that has blue-green, deep-hued leaves. Learn more about the Cebu blue pothos here.
This stunning Epipremnum aureum cultivar was developed in India and has become a very popular pothos variety among collectors. Learn more about the Manjula pothos here.
The Jessenia pothos is a variegated pothos that is a cultivar of the popular marble queen pothos. Learn more about the Jessenia pothos here.
Marble Queen Pothos
The marble queen pothos is a variegated pothos with marbled, off-white variegation. It is one of the oldest and most popular variegated pothos cultivars in the plant market today. Learn more about the marble queen pothos here.
Snow Queen Pothos
The snow queen pothos, like its marble queen parent plant, has very dense white variegation. Learn more about the snow queen pothos here.
The glacier pothos is a somewhat rare variety of pothos that has large white chunks of variegation on its foliage, though not quite as much as the snow queen pothos. Learn more about the glacier pothos here.
Pearls and Jade Pothos
This unique cultivar is visually beautiful, but its origins are even more interesting than its looks. It was genetically developed by scientists at the University of Florida. Learn more about the pearls and jade pothos here.
This rare variegated pothos has lime-green variegation, rather than the typical gold or white-colored variegation of similar cultivars. Learn more about the emerald pothos here.
This has to be the rarest pothos variety out there! The harlequin pothos is known for being almost completely white. Learn more about the harlequin pothos here.
The satin pothos is the base variant of Scindapsus pictus. It’s a beautifully-patterned plant that is a little more muted than its golden pothos cousins. Learn more about the satin pothos or silver satin pothos here.
Dragon’s Tail Pothos
The dragon’s tail pothos is the base variant of Epipremnum pinnatum. It is known for its long, scale-shaped leaves that lack the tell-tale heart shape of traditional pothos plants. Learn more about the dragon’s tail pothos here.
What’s the Difference Between Pothos and Philodendrons?
Pothos and philodendrons share the same plant family, but they are members of entirely different genera and species. The heartleaf philodendron is often confused for pothos, but it is a philodendron and thus a completely different species. Check out some more information about the differences between pothos and philodendrons here.
What’s the Difference Between Pothos and Monstera?
The monstera plant is neither a pothos nor a philodendron. It is part of the same broad plant family as pothos, but it is a very different plant and is considered a distant cousin. Discover more about the key differences between pothos plants and monstera plants here.
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