Pothos Guide: How to Take Care of a Pothos Plant

Pothos Guide: How to Care for a Devil’s Ivy Plant

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A plant nicknamed the “Devil’s Ivy” may not seem like a fun one to have around the house, but trust me: with heart-shaped leaves, gorgeous trailing vines, and a resilience that makes it one of the easiest house plants to grow indoors, you will absolutely love your pothos. We’ve pulled together all the best info for this complete guide, which details the simple care requirements, easy propagation, low-effort pest control, and other helpful pothos-growing information so you never have to wonder what the devil is up with your houseplant.

Pothos Details

Epipremnum spp.

AKA Pothos, Golden Pothos, Devil’s Ivy
Light: Bright, indirect light
Water: Let soil dry between waterings
Temperature: 65 – 75 F
Height: >10 feet long
Pests: Mealybugs, scale
Disease: Root rot
Toxicity: Toxic to pets and humans

pothos growing over railing indoors trailing houseplantBenefits

The most obvious benefit of pothos is their beauty, providing your indoor space with a cascade of gorgeous greenery that immediately brightens it up. That beauty doesn’t just benefit you aesthetically though, having plants indoors makes you feel happier. Caring for a house plant can release happy chemicals like serotonin in your brain and give you a sense of fulfillment.

Pothos can benefit you physically by purifying the air inside your house. According to NASA’s clean air study, pothos plants are one of the most effective air-purifiers, removing harmful toxins like toluene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and xylene from the air. They take these toxins in through their leaves and roots, filter them out, and then release oxygen.

Having more oxygen in the air enables bodily functions like sleep and benefits people with respiratory issues. Pothos plants also help people with respiratory issues by increasing the humidity in your home. Plants increase indoor humidity because they release the majority of the water you feed them into the air.

Pothos Care

Unless you live in USDA Plant Hardiness Zones 10 – 11, you will have to grow your pothos indoors. Even if you do live in those zones you may want to grow your pothos inside, not only because you’ll miss out on its incredible indoor health benefits if you don’t, but also because this harmless house plant can become aggressive and invasive when grown in gardens.

Below are instructions for growing your pothos indoors.

Light

Pothos plants love bright, indirect light. Pothos plants can tolerate low light but will grow much slower. If your plant isn’t getting enough light it will tell you through losing its leaf patterns. On the other hand, if your pothos plant’s leaves become suddenly paler that means it’s getting too much light.

Soil and Container

Fill your pothos container with a well-draining potting mix.

Your pothos container should have adequate drainage holes and be at least a couple of inches larger than the plant’s root ball.

Keep in mind that not every container was created equal. Plastic containers tend to retain more water while terracotta ones tend to absorb it. Factor your container type into your watering plan.

Water

Allow your pothos plant’s soil to dry out completely before re-watering.

Pothos plants despise being in consistently damp soil and it can lead to problems like root rot, black spots on leaves, and plant collapses.

When your plant wants water it will begin to droop. However, if its leaves start to shrivel or develop brown edges that means it needs immediate rehabilitation through hydration.

pothos devil's ivy on coffeetable in white planter

Humidity and Temperature

The best temperature range for pothos plants is 65 – 75 F, but it can tolerate temperatures as low as 50 F. Lucky for you, your house probably is already sitting in the 65 – 75 F zone because that’s the temperature range that humans like too.

Pothos plants love humidity but due to their resilience can thrive without it. If you want to ensure that your pothos plant flourishes then mist it on a weekly basis, sit it on a humidity tray, or even consider leaving it in your bathroom after you shower.

Fertilizer

Fertilization isn’t required but is beneficial for pothos plants. Feed your pothos once a month with diluted, liquid house plant fertilizer during the growing season. Do not fertilize it in the fall and winter.

indoor houseplant golden pothos devils ivy closeup variegated leaves

Controlling Your Pothos

Pothos can be hard plants to control, with long trailing vines that can reach up to 30 feet long. Don’t let this invasive plant get the better of you! Below are some tips on controlling, shaping, and displaying your pothos.

Training Vines

You can easily train pothos vines to wind around trellises, supports, and indoor fixtures. They can’t cling to them on their own, but with your help, and a little twine tying them loosely to the structure, they can get the hang of it. For indoor growth, consider securing hooks into your wall and draping your pothos plant’s vines over them.

Pruning Pothos

Pothos pruning is fairly straightforward. If any stems or leaves become dead, rotten, or spotted, then prune them off.

Try to keep pothos stems trimmed short so foliage stays full along them. Trim them back just above leaves to keep your plant bushy.

If any vines become bare of leaves then trim them all the way back to the soil. Don’t worry, in no time a new stem will sprout.

hanging pothos vines indoors leaves curling needs waterHanging Pothos

A great way to grow pothos indoors is by hanging them.

Before doing so inspect your plant, pruning and untangling it.

Then, plant it in your hanging plant stand of choice. The basket should have sturdy chains, rope, or cable so your prized plant never comes tumbling to the floor.

Space out the vines so they evenly cascade out of the basket from all sides. This will keep them organized, avoiding them forming a clump with future growth, and just looks way better than a mass of vines spilling out of one side.

When you hang your hanging planter make sure to water the plant immediately so you can test out if it really can handle the weight of the plant, its soil, pot, and water. If it can, you’re all set.

Repotting Pothos

If you have had your pothos for a while and its leaves start to inexplicably droop then it might be potbound. Lift your plant to check its roots. If they have grown so big that they are blocking your container’s drainage holes, it’s time to repot.

Pick out a container that is either 1 or 2 sizes larger than the previous one. Fill the container with a new potting mix and plant your pothos in it.

Pothos thrive in small containers so repotting isn’t a process you will have to do frequently.

Propagating Pothos

Pothos is extremely easy to propagate from cuttings.

Using a pair of sharp, clean pruners, take stem cuttings that are at least 4 inches in length with a few leaves on them. It should be a healthy vine that you take a cutting from with no wilted leaves.

Place the cuttings in water or potting soil.

It should take 2-4 weeks for roots to grow.

When they are established you can move the cutting to a bigger container.

Enjoy your free, new pothos plant!

propagating pothos plants in water to grow new roots

Pothos Varieties

Marble queen and golden pothos may be the most common pothos varieties, but there are lots of other incredible options to choose from. Below are the best and most popular pothos varieties you can grow at home.

Golden Pothos

This variety is the most popular type of pothos, and it’s clear why. It has beautiful golden-yellow speckled leaves that can grow to be as wide as 12 inches. This plant thrives in low light conditions growing aggressively when exposed to warm temperatures and lots of humidity.

    Costa Farms Golden Pothos in Decorative Planter

Buy Costa Farms Golden Pothos at Amazon
    Golden Pothos is one of the easiest houseplants to grow; it’s a low maintenance vining plant and drought tolerant. Height at shipping is approximately 10 inches tall, measured from the bottom of the pot to the top of the plant. Ships in a lightweight, 6-inch diameter decor planter; made from a 100% recyclable #5 material. To avoid water spillage, this container does not have holes

Marble Queen

Unlike golden pothos, marble queen is a very slow grower, which isn’t a bad thing considering most house plants need to fit in compact spaces. This elegant variety has unique foliage with an intricate white and green pattern. It’s the most high maintenance pothos variety however if you are willing to put in the effort this gorgeous, graceful plant is totally worth it.

    Pothos Marble Queen in Custom Planter

Buy Pothos at TheSill.com
    Give your home office an upgrade! The Pothos Marble and its quick growing vines full of variegated green and white leaves will make any space look more lush. It is a great low maintenance choice for beginners.

Neon Pothos

Neon pothos doesn’t have the trademark variegation of other pothos plants but it’s far from boring. Its leaves are an electric greenish-yellow that is simultaneously fun and eye-catching. The color is so bright that its leaves even appear to emit a faint glow.

    California Tropicals 4-Inch Neon Pothos

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    Pothos like to have their soil dry out completely between waterings. If left continually in damp soil, the roots will rot. This plant comes fully rooted in a 4 pot, ready to grow in your beautiful home or office!

Jade Pothos

This tropical plant has heart-shaped dark green leaves that look elegant and romantic cascading out of a hanging basket. It’s easy to care for and a moderate grower when placed in the right conditions.

Hawaiian Pothos

Hawaiian pothos is a golden pothos with striation that differs a bit from the variegation pattern of its closest cousin. Rather than marbled surfaces and splotches of yellow, Hawaiian pothos has streaks and large areas of yellow coloration on a grass-green ground. The leaves can grow quite large—ten to 12 inches in width—and it climbs prodigiously in warmer climates.

    Pothos Collection

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    A collection of three small potted pothos—jade, Hawaiian, and 'N'Joy—in custom planters. Start your pothos collection on the right foot with these healthy, well-rooted live plants. Comes complete with Ecopot recycled planters and full care instructions.

Pothos ‘N’Joy

One of the newest and most variegated cultivars of pothos is the ‘N’Joy, a cream, pale green, and emerald variegated variety that has smaller leaves with a thinner, softer texture that tends to ripple and curl around the edges of the colored areas.

Common Questions

Still worried about having problems with your pothos plant? Fret not, below are answers to the most common pothos growing questions.

What is the Growth Rate of Pothos?

Pothos tend to be moderate to fast growers. Typically how fast they grow depends on how well you are treating them. Plants will typically grow to be 6 – 10 feet long but it’s not unheard of for them to grow to be as long as 30 feet.

What are Common Pothos Pests and Diseases?

For the most part, pothos plants are disease resistant, however, like all other house plants if you overwater them they can contract root rot. To avoid root rot make sure your soil is well-draining, that your container has adequate drainage holes, and that you are letting the plant’s soil dry out between waterings.

Pothos also tend to be pest-resistant, but rarely do attract scale and mealybugs. Mealybugs are little cotton-white demons that suck the life out of your plants. If you notice them on your pothos dip a cotton swab in alcohol and push them off your plant. If the infestation is serious enough you may have to spray your whole plant with insecticides.

pothos houseplants sometimes become home to harmless spiders

A large pothos, especially one that hasn’t been moved in several months and lives in a darker corner, may become home to a spider. This is not dangerous to the plant—usually, in fact, it keeps bothersome pests at bay—but if the spider is a venomous one or you can’t stand the idea of one living in your houseplant, the best route to removal is to catch the spider in a container and release it, or to use a paper towel or tissue to pick it from the plant, then flush it.

Are Pothos Plants Toxic?

All parts of the pothos plant are poisonous to humans and pets because they contain calcium oxalate crystals. If you, your pets, or someone else ingests pothos contact your doctor or a poison control center immediately.

Really want a pothos but you have a pet?

You definitely should not place your pothos anywhere close to the ground, but lucky for you, these plants look incredible hanging.

small pothos cutting rooting in water in glass jarWhat is the Difference Between Pothos and Philodendron?

It’s extremely hard to tell the difference between pothos and philodendron, to the point that even plant stores frequently get them mixed up.

There are small differences between them, like pothos plants have bigger leaves than philodendrons, and pothos leaves tend to be waxy.

Luckily, their care requirements are very similar, so the misidentification hasn’t lead to many plant tragedies.

Conclusion

Pothos plants are indisputably one of the best indoor plants. They have gorgeous, colorful leaves that look amazing sprawled out on shelves or cascading from a hanging basket.

Now you know everything you could possibly need to know to grow one at home. Good luck, and enjoy this fabulous plant.

I hope you enjoyed this guide! If you did, be sure to share it and comment below with any pothos growing questions!

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