Complete Pothos Plant Guide

28 Nov 2021

The pothos is a stunning houseplant and it is basically fool-proof. This houseplant is very popular for numerous reasons, all of which we’re going to discuss later on.

This article will explore the necessary care requirements to grow a prosperous pothos and keep it healthy for many years to come.

Main Features

Much like the Boston fern, this houseplant doesn’t flower, however, the pothos does add a tropical vibe to your home. It is also adored by many houseplant enthusiasts for its durability and versatility. You can hang this vine in a basket or plant it in a pot, and it can be grown in your office or even your bathroom.

Epipremnum aureum is its botanical name and it is native to Southeast Asia and South Pacific. It also belongs to the Araceae family, just like the ZZ plant.

This unique houseplant comes in an array of colors, patterns, and variegation. The pothos is known by a large number of common names depending on their variation, however, the most common names are ‘devil’s ivy’ and ‘golden pothos’.

Fun Fact: Pothos is an amazing air purifier as it removes formaldehyde, benzene, and toluene from the air.

Pothos Varieties

There are many different types of this houseplant, however, we’re going to discuss the top 10 most popular pothos variations.

  • Golden pothos: The golden pothos is known by a variety of names such as ‘devil’s ivy’, ‘hunter’s robe’, ‘ivy arum’, ‘money plant’, ‘silver vine’, ‘Solomon Islands’, and the ‘Taro vine’. It has heart-shaped leaves with stunning yellow-gold variegation.
  • Silver pothos: It is also called the ‘silver splash pothos’, ‘pictus silver splash’, and ‘satin pothos’. Its jade green leaves have a splash of silver variegation, as suggested by its common names.
  • Marble queen pothos: This houseplant has light green leaves with cream and dark green variegation. It also goes by the following names; ‘devil’s ivy marble queen’, and ‘Scindapsus aureum marble queen’.
  • Neon pothos: This variation has extraordinary bright, vibrant light green foliage which is why it is known as the ‘neon pothos’. It is called the ‘goldilocks vine’ as well.
  • Cebu blue pothos: Its silverish-blue foliage has a shimmery effect resulting in it being known as the ‘blue pothos’, ‘European house plant’, ‘dragon tail’, and the ‘Philodendron Cebu blue’.
  • Pearls and Jade pothos: You may also know this houseplant as ‘N’ joy pothos’, and this climber’s foliage has a unique green and white pattern on it.
  • Snow queen pothos: Unlike the ‘marble queen’ this pothos foliage is majority white with splashes of green on it.
  • Manjula pothos: Also known as the ‘jewel pothos’ and ‘happy leaf pothos’, this variation has longer, heart-shaped leaves with green, cream, and white variegation.
  • Jessenia pothos: It is also referred to as ‘Ceylon creeper’, and its foliage is a lime-green color marked with chartreuse.
  • Hawaiian pothos: This type of pothos has huge leaves that are a dark emerald green color with specks of yellow variegation.

Fun Fact: There are a total of 47 different varieties of the pothos plant.

How Big Does It Get?

When optimally cared for, a healthy pothos can grow up to 10 feet (3m) long and 3 to 6 feet (0.9 – 1.8m) wide. If you are wanting to see maximum growth then you’ll need to ensure that your plant is cared for well.

How Fast Does It Grow?

During a typical growing season, a healthy pothos will grow around 12 inches (30.5cm) a month. The houseplant will need to be fed, watered, and pruned regularly to encourage growth.

How Long Does It Live?

If cared for well, a happy pothos can live in your home for up to 10 years.

Is It Toxic to Cats, Dogs, and Humans?

Unfortunately, epipremnum aureum is toxic to both pets and people. Due to the insoluble calcium oxalate crystals in its leaves and stem, this plant should not be ingested by either your cat, dog, or child.

Just like the dumb cane, the calcium oxalate in the pothos’ leaves and stem forms raphides which appear as needle-like structures that can cause irritation and pain when ingested.

Pet’s Symptoms

If your pet comes into contact with the sap it may cause an itchy or even painful red rash. Below, we have listed the symptoms that may crop up if your cat or dog eats a part of the plant.

  • Oral irritation
  • Burning in the mouth
  • Swelling of the throat and lips
  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Decreased appetite

Make sure to contact your veterinarian as soon as you suspect that either of your pets has ingested any part of the plant.

People’s Symptoms

If you or your child comes into contact with the sap, a rash may appear. When the plant is ingested an individual may begin to feel a burning sensation in their mouth and experience difficulty when swallowing.

Furthermore, you may vomit, experience diarrhea and your lips, tongue, and throat may become swollen.

It is vital that you contact your doctor immediately if either you or your child ingest the plant.

Pothos - size, lifespan, toxicity, growth speed (infographics)


Pothos Plant Care

How Often to Water It

Ideally, you should water the houseplant every 7 to 10 days. Epipremnum aureum is highly sensitive to root rot so be wary not to overwater it. If in doubt then let the top half of the soil dry out completely before watering the houseplant again.

Please keep in mind that you may need to adjust your watering schedule depending on your region. If you reside in a fairly warm area then consider watering it once a week, whereas, if your plant is grown in a particularly cool place then it may only require to be watered once every two weeks.

Top Tip: Stick a thin wooden skewer/stick in the soil to test how moist/dry the potting mixture is before watering it.

Does It Need Drainage?

Devil’s ivy is susceptible to fungal infections caused by too much moisture, therefore, it is imperative that it has good drainage. There are a number of ways to enhance drainage through the potting soil and the type of pot.

Here’s a list of a few ingredients to add to your potting mixture to improve aeration and drainage:

  • Perlite
  • Vermiculite
  • Coarse sand
  • Coco peat
  • Peat moss

You can also improve the drainage by making sure that the pot used has at least one drainage hole, however, it is best to plant it in one with three to five holes.

How to Trim It

If you have noticed that your plant has become leggy, or its foliage is looking unhealthy, or maybe you just want to maintain its size then you need to prune it. Ideally, the plant should be pruned anytime between spring to early fall.

Always use a sterilized blade when trimming the vine and you should save the leaves/stems for propagation later on.

Follow the simple steps below:

  1. Use a sharp pair of scissors to cut the vine slightly above each leaf, where the node is.
  2. You can also pinch off smaller and newer growth with your fingertips if you prefer.
  3. Trim the vine back to about 2 inches (5cm) from the soil line, and water the plant well.
  4. Avoid leaving any vine without a leaf as it will damage the plant and may even cause the vine to die.


It is important that you keep an eye on your devil’s ivy as it doesn’t like to be pot-bound. This occurs when the plant and its root system have grown too large for its current container. You may notice that the roots begin to grow through the drainage holes or the plant becomes way too top-heavy.

When repotting the houseplant make sure to use fresh soil and don’t upsize your pot too much. It is best to increase the pot size by 1 or 2 inches (2.5 – 5cm). Additionally, repotting should only be carried out once a year during the springtime.

Follow the easy steps below:

  1. First, remove your plant by either gently sliding it out or tipping it over and grabbing the plant.
  2. Next, you want to prepare a new container by filling it one-third of the way with soil and placing the plant in the center.
  3. Cover its roots with additional soil and water it well.


How Much Light Does It Need?

Devil’s ivy flourishes in bright, indirect sunshine. Ideally, it should bask in indirect sunshine for around 12 to 14 hours a day. It can tolerate 3 to 4 hours of direct sunlight, however, this isn’t recommended for healthy growth.

Furthermore, you don’t want your plant’s leaves to become burnt due to spending too much time in direct/full sunlight.

Best Soil

Devil’s ivy thrives in soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. The potting mixture needs to be rich in nutrients, well-draining, and aerated. The soil needs to be light in order to allow for the roots to dry properly.

The potting mixture is vital when it comes to preventing a soggy, saturated environment.

Top Tip: Mix together 2 parts peat moss, 1 part perlite, and 1 part pine bark, for the perfect potting mixture.


Epipremnum aureum prefers a well-balanced water-soluble fertilizer such as 20-20-20. During the active growing seasons, you can fertilize it once a month. During the winter and autumn months, it only needs to be fed once every three months.

Fertilizing the plant regularly is important as it needs minerals like nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and sulfur to encourage growth.

Pot Size and Type

The pot’s diameter should never be 2 inches (5cm) wider than the rootball’s width. If it is too big then this may lead to root rot.

A plastic pot will be great for this houseplant as it allows adequate drainage, just make sure that it has plenty of drainage holes.

Top Tip: You can also plant your pothos in a hanging basket to allow the stunning vines to cascade over the edge.

Temperature Range

Devil’s ivy thrives in an environment ranging between 70 to 90°F (21 – 32°C). It can tolerate temperatures lower than 70°F (21°C), however, it will die if the temperature drops below 50°F (10°C). Additionally, it cannot withstand a temperature above 90°F (32°C).

Humidity Level

Epipremnum aureum is pretty forgiving when it comes to humidity. It can tolerate low humidity levels, however, this tropical plant prospers in humidity levels ranging between 50 to 60%.

If you’re concerned that your household may have a low level of humidity then mist the plant with lukewarm water once a week, this also keeps the foliage looking healthy. Additionally, you could position it in your steamy bathroom.

Can It Live Outside?

You can grow a thriving devil’s ivy outdoors if you reside in USDA hardiness zones 10 through 12. Please note that growing the houseplant indoors is most preferable as you have more control over its environment.

There are a few things to keep in mind when growing a pothos outdoors:

  • It must be planted in partial shade to avoid its leaves becoming scorched.
  • The plant will require more water and a higher level of humidity.
  • The soil must still be well-draining.

Pothos - care, water, light, soil, pot, temperature, fertilizer (infographics)

Does it Flower?

As mentioned earlier, the pothos does not flower indoors, however, in the wild, the golden pothos will flower small blooms.

How to Grow It

You can grow a pothos by propagating it in either water or soil, and you can grow a pothos from seed. Regardless of the method chosen, they must be conducted during the warm spring or summer months.

How to Propagate Pothos

When propagating the houseplant, make sure that the tools, pruners, and blades are all clean and sterilized with a diluted bleach solution or even some surgical spirits.

Propagating in Soil

When you propagate the pothos in soil, you need to ensure that the potting mixture is nutrient-rich, aerated, and well-draining.

Propagation from Cuttings

You can snip a stem cutting and plant it in the soil to grow your own pothos. The best part is that it’s super easy. We’re going to divide the steps into different sections; how to cut the stem and how to plant it.

Where and How to Cut It for Propagation

First, we’ll need to cut the actual stem that needs to be planted. Always sterilize your blade before use. Follow the steps below.

  1. Find a clean pair of pruners or scissors and snip a 4 to 6 inch (10 – 15cm) long vine with 3 leaves.
  2. Cut about half an inch (12.7mm) below the lowest leaf and dip this cut area in rooting hormone.
How to Plant Cuttings

When planting the cuttings, all you have to do is plant them in some peat moss or seedling starter mix. We’ll explain exactly how deep to plant your cutting.

  1. Take out a small container and fill it with some peaty soil to encourage growth.
  2. Plant the stem cutting 2 inches (5cm) deep.
  3. Water the cutting well and find a sunny home for the stem.

Once, you have planted the cutting, it should root in 1 to 2 months. Then you may care for it as you would a mature plant.

From Leaflets

You can use just one little leaf to grow an entirely new pothos. Amazing, right? Follow the simple steps below.

  1. Pinch a healthy-looking leaf off of the pothos vine, and dip the cut area in rooting hormone.
  2. Fill a small pot with well-draining potting soil and plant the cut end in the soil.
  3. Spritz the leaflet to maintain a moist potting mixture. Furthermore, it must be kept out of direct sunlight.
  4. In 2 to 3 months you may notice new growth. Once the leaflet is large enough and has sprouted a few more leaves, you can repot it in a larger container.
By Division

Dividing the pothos is a relatively reliable and easy method of propagation. It involves slicing the rootball into separate chunks and planting each to form a new plant.

  1. You can either loosen the soil by sliding a blunt knife along the pot’s perimeter and gently sliding the plant out, or you can tip the pot over and carefully shake the houseplant free.
  2. Once the plant is removed, you can dust off the excess soil clinging to the rootball.
  3. Inspect the rootball to locate separate clumps and potential areas of division.
  4. Use a sharp blade to slice in between the rootball and separate the clumps. Then untangle the roots gently.
  5. Prepare a new container with some potting soil and plant each division in the pot, making sure that the roots are covered.
  6. Water the plants well and place them on a bright, sunny windowsill.
  7. It will likely take around 3 to 4 weeks until the divisions have rooted.

Propagating in Water

You can propagate a stem cutting in water too. When propagating the stem cutting make sure to replace the water every 3 days.

  1. Use a sharp pair of scissors to cut a 4 to 6 inch (10 – 15cm) long healthy stem with 3 to 5 leaves still attached.
  2. Then cut the stem at an angle just half an inch (12.7mm) below the lowest leaf.
  3. Dip the cut end of the stem in some rooting hormone.
  4. Fill a clean jar with cool water and place the stem in the glass. You may need to remove the leaves that will become submerged in the water.
  5. Keep an eye on the stem and once 5 inches (12.7cm) of new root growth has sprouted, you can then transplant the cutting in some soil.
How Long Does it Take Pothos to Root in Water?

Luckily, the pothos doesn’t take long at all to develop roots in the water. In fact, it only takes approximately 7 to 14 days.

Can It Live in Water Forever?

This houseplant can live in water for many years as long as you care for it optimally. We’ve listed a few key requirements below.

  • Replace the water once a week to ensure that it grows in fresh, oxygenated water.
  • Use liquid fertilizer to ensure that it’s getting all the minerals it needs.
  • Grow the houseplant in a glass jar as algae readily builds up in a plastic pot and it’s easier to see the roots in a glass jar.

Can One Grow It from Seeds?

Just like with the Kalanchoe, the devil’s ivy can be grown from seeds. Follow the simple steps below and watch your very own pothos grow.

  1. Use either a tray or medium-sized container and fill it with moist potting soil.
  2. Evenly scatter the seeds across the surface and lightly cover them with some extra soil.
  3. Mist the seeds and find a sunny home for the tray. Make sure to keep the potting mixture moist at all times.
  4. In 2 to 3 weeks you may notice new seedling growth. You only need to transplant the seedlings when they are large enough and require their own pot.

How to Revive It

Although the devil’s ivy is pretty tough and durable, it may still need to be revived if not cared for adequately. We’re going to guide you through the potential troubles and health issues that your pothos may face and what to do when they occur.

Brown Spots and Tips

Epipremnum aureum’s foliage may begin to develop brown tips, brown spots or completely turn brown for a few reasons; overwatering, underwatering, and too much sunlight.

Overwatering requires one to refrain from watering the plant immediately and only watering it again once the soil has dried out. If the soil is dry to touch then you need to deeply water the houseplant.

In the case where watering is not an issue then your poor plant may be receiving way too much sunshine causing its leaves to burn. Simply find a new home for the plant where it will bask in indirect sunshine.

Why Is It Turning Yellow?

The yellowing of foliage is also caused by improper watering and too much sunshine. You will need to adjust your watering schedule as well as relocate the plant to a suitable area.

Root Rot

Root rot is caused by the excessive overwatering of a houseplant. You may notice that the vines have become mushy, the roots are black or brown, and completely saturated.

Immediately remove the plant from its container and cut back any damaged root tissue. Transplant it in some dry, fresh soil and care for it as described under the ‘care’ heading previously mentioned.

Concluding Comments

The pothos is an incredible houseplant as it is highly disease resistant, easy to grow and you can pick the perfect type of plant for you.

Although it is pretty durable and hardy, you still need to show it some love and care for it to thrive and survive for a good length of time in your home.


  1. JimLealo says:

    Really interesting post!

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