Pothos Plant – Care, Growing, Watering, Requirements, Propagation

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Pothos Plant
Pothos Plant

The pothos plant is a houseplant that doesn’t require too much looking after, and yet, it’s a rewarding plant that can purify indoor air. Plus, it’s heart shaped lush green leaves with streaks of white yellow are easy on the eyes.

Now, it may not be a fancy plant, but it’s a resilient plant that withstands a hectic watering schedule.

Despite the plant’s love for bright indirect light, it will do well in lower light conditions as well. The pothos plant can be a wonderful addition to the decor of your home, but it will certainly brighten the mood even in an office.

Despite its low requirements, if you want your pothos plant to be exceptionally beautiful, I encourage you to read the plant care tips and FAQs below.

Pothos Plant Care Tips

If you do a little more than the bare minimum in caring for this plant, you can enjoy healthy-looking plants that sport luscious green leaves and offer increased purification capabilities.

In what follows, I’m going to discuss all the aspects of caring for the pothos plant that can increase the life expectancy of this plant and make it look healthy and beautiful.

Plant size

If offered the right care, pothos plants can grow remarkably large, achieving a height of 6 to 10 feet. Some pothos plants can grow even bigger (30-40 feet), but only if they’re seriously looked after.

Light Requirements

The plant is suitable for both indoors and outdoors cultivation. Direct light should be avoided both indoors and outdoors. When kept indoors, pothos plants prefer strong indirect light, outdoors, however, they will do best in shade to partial shade.

You can tell if your plant is getting too much or too little light by examining the leaves — patterned varieties will become fully green if they’re not getting enough light, while paler looking leaves usually mean the plant is getting too much light.

Knowing this, you can move the plant to a different location to see if things get better.

Watering

Good news for those who routinely forget to water their plants — this plant can go a bit without water, in fact, ideally, the soil should dry out a bit between watering.

Too much water and a constantly damp soil will cause the roots to rot and the leaves to develop black spots. Dry, brown edges, shriveled leaves are a sign that your plant gets too little water.

If you pay attention to your plant and these signs, you’ll be able to adjust its water requirements.

Temperature & Humidity

A pothos plant will do fine at room temperature that’s in the 65 to 75 F range. It’s usually tolerant of temperatures over 50 F, be it low or high humidity.

Soil type

This plant requires well-drained potting soil that has a pH of around 6.1 to 6.5.

Fertilizing

You don’t need to heavily feed your plant, but dosing with a balanced houseplant fertilizer once or twice a month will be required if you want it to stay lush and healthy.

Potting & Repotting

If the roots of the plant fill the pot, you’ll need to repot your pothos into a larger pot. The pot should be twice or three times the size of the original pot and it should be filled with fresh potting soil.

You’ll know that it’s time for a repotting when the leaves continue to droop despite your best efforts to keep the plant well-watered.

Repotting is ideal during active growth in spring. However, if your plant has outgrown its pot and is faring poorly, you should move it to another recipient sooner.

Pothos Plant Propagation

Pothos Plant Propagation
Pothos Plant Propagation

Want to enjoy a pothos plant elsewhere in your home? Or maybe you want one for your office? The plant is easily propagated through stem cuttings, which should be placed in water or soil to develop roots.

If you’re going for water rooting, after the roots develop move the plant to a pot so it gets nutrients as soon as possible.

Different Types of Pothos Plant

Golden Pothos
Golden Pothos

You may find the pothos plant under different names including devil’s ivy, golden pothos, silver vine, devil’s vine or taro vine. These all refer to the same plant.

Depending on leaf variegation, we can distinguish several varieties of pothos plants. Here are the most notable ones:

Marble Queen Pothos

Marble Queen Pothos
Marble Queen Pothos

This pothos variety requires abundant light, but it has beautifully white-and-green streaked leaves.

Pearls & Jade Pothos

Pearls & Jade Pothos
Pearls & Jade Pothos

As its name suggests, this white-and-green variegated pothos features small dots of green that do justice to its name.

Neon Pothos

Neon Pothos
Neon Pothos

If you can’t meet the bright light requirements of the Marble Queen or Pearls and Jade, the Neon might be the best choice since it does well even in darker spaces. Its leaves are a bright neon color.

Silver Satin Pothos

Silver Satin Pothos
Silver Satin Pothos

Another pothos variety that does well in low light conditions and it’s also resistant to drought, the Silver Satin pothos has thick gray-green leaves decorated with silver splotches.

Pothos Plant FAQ

Next, I’m going to address some of the most commonly asked questions about pothos plants:

Is the Philodendron the Same as Pothos Plant?

Sometimes Philodendron is mistaken for Pothos, and vice versa. While they do look similar and they have the same keeping requirements, the Philodendron has larger leaves with a waxy appearance.

Is the Pothos Toxic for Pets?

Yes, the pothos is a poisonous plant, so if your pet or toddler, or anyone else in your family ingested or chewed on the plant, you must seek medical care immediately.

The toxicity of the plant is caused by the high concentration of calcium oxalates that will irritate the mucous membranes.

Do Pothos Plants Clean Air?

Pothos is one of the plants that aid in the purification of indoor air, especially when it comes to chemicals such as formaldehyde, xylene, benzene and more.

Can You Keep Pothos Plant in Your Bedroom?

Yes, it’s ok to keep pothos plant in your bedroom as it can aid in the purification of the air. Given its toxicity, however, do keep it away from pets and children.

What is the Lifespan of Pothos Plant?

Pothos plants live 5-10 years on average. Their lifespan is influenced by factors such as fungi, bacteria or insects that may shorten their life.

Does Pothos Plant Require Trimming?

Trimming of pothos plants is desirable, especially if you want them to be more compact and branch out. You can cut back stems to get the desirable shape. If you want it to branch out, pinch the stems back to the topmost leaf.

Does Pothos Plant Flower?

Grown indoors, pothos plant does not flower. Even if kept outside, it will only flower if it ever reaches 35-40 feet in height.

Why are Pothos Plant Leaves Turning Yellow?

Yellow leaves on your pothos means that your plant is getting too much sunlight. If kept outside, try to move the plant to a shady place. Indoors, avoid keeping the plant exposed to direct sunlight.

Why are Pothos Plant Leaves Curling?

Curled leaves can be caused by a number of reasons including underwatering, overwatering, high temperatures, low temperatures, too little or too much sun. In short, extremes can cause your plant’s leaves to shrivel. Try examining the potential cause and make adjustments.

Pothos Plant Diseases

Like humans and animals, plants can also get diseases, usually caused by fungi, bacteria, exposure to chemicals and lack of proper care.

Here are some of the diseases affecting pothos plants:

Phytophthora

Caused by Phytophthora nicotianae, a mold spread through contaminated water, this disease causes the roots to rot and the leaves to darken. To get rid of phytophthora, fungicide treatment is needed. If the disease has spread too far, you may need to discard the plant.

Bacterial wilt

Caused by the bacteria Ralstonia solanacearum, this disease can be observed in commercial cultivation of the plant. In a plant affected by bacterial wilt disease, leaves, stems and veins all turn black.

Rhizoctonia Root Rot

Caused by a fungus called Rhizoctonia solani, the plants can get this disease from contaminated potting soil mixed. The fungus causes irregular, dark, necrotic spots on pothos leaves and leaves mat together. Treatment involves the use of fungicide.

Southern Blight

Typical of warm southern climates, the Southern blight is caused by a fungus. The first indication of the diseases is white fungal masses that appear on the soil surface and the stem of the plant. Fungicide is needed to treat the disease.

Manganese Toxicity

Yellow spots that appear on the leaves of the plant, darkened veins and leaves falling down are indicative of manganese toxicity. It can be caused by excess use of fertilizers that contain manganese.

Conclusion

Pothos plants are resilient plants that can tolerate even low light conditions and aren’t fussy when it comes to watering or soil.

Whether you’ll grow them for their marbled leaves or for their air purifying abilities, they’re certainly a good plant to have around if you’re too busy to dedicate a lot of time to plant care and maintenance.

I hope I covered the most important aspects of caring for pothos plant and you’re now encouraged to get one for your office or living room.

Updated: December 11, 2019

Questions & Answers

  1. HI, You wrote about too much manganese as one of the problems a potho can get. But what I do not know is how to get rid of manganese issues. A few edges of my NJoy potho is black. So far, just a very thin line.

    A second question is my NJoy potho has pretty white and green leaves. The leaf texture is a little bumpy. In fact all of these exact plants I see in stores all have a textured leaf. Is this normal?

    1. avatar

      Hey Dani! You should avoid feeding your pothos plant fertilizer that is high min manganese. Check the label on the fertilizer to see what it contains.
      Regarding bumpy leaf texture on NJoy pothos is absolutely normal. While the leaves of other pothos plant are smooth, these types of pothos have curly / bumpy leaves.

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