Answering Your Questions About Pothos Plants

We get questions about Pothos plants on a regular basis and have compiled those most frequently asked. The answers provided are based on my experience of growing and caring for this popular hanging indoor plant.

If you’re a newbie indoor gardener and are looking to bring home your 1st plant, a Pothos plant is a great place to start. It’s not a fussy plant, can live in a range of environments, and the beautiful trails look good in any home. The botanical name is Epipremnum aureum, just in case you’re interested.

Pothos are quite accessible as they’re sold in big box stores, grocery stores, online, and at local nurseries. There so are varieties on the market now in a variety of leaf variegations and leaf sizes that I’m sure you’ll find 1 to suit your fancy!

Our Q & A series is a monthly installment where we answer your most common questions on caring for specific plants. Our previous posts cover Christmas Cactus, Poinsettia, Pothos, String Of Pearls, LavenderStar Jasmine, Fertilizing & Feeding Roses, Aloe Vera, Bougainvillea, Snake Plants.



Does the Pothos plant need sunlight? Can Pothos handle direct sunlight? Which Pothos needs more light?

Pothos like to be growing in bright indirect light. If your pothos isn’t getting the light it needs, the leaves will lose variegation and become smaller.

If you have your pothos in a south or west window close to the glass, your plant can burn. A brief period of direct sunlight is fine, especially in the winter months when the sun isn’t as strong.

The pothos plants that have variegation in their leaves like Golden Pothos, Marble Queen Pothos, Neon Pothos, and Pothos ‘N Joy need more light.

Are you looking for more info on growing a pothos? Check out Pothos Plant Care & Neon Pothos Care.

nell foster in blue dress outdoors holding a pothos n joy leaves are variegated on this plant
My Pothos ‘N Joy has beautiful white & green leaves. If not receiving enough light, those leaves will lose some or most of the variegation.


Can Pothos live in a windowless room? Can Pothos be hung in a window? 

They can live for a period of time. However, they won’t grow and will start to get leggy stems and stunted growth.

If you’re wanting to hang your pothos in a window I suggest a north or east window. Depending on the pothos, a south or west window would be okay as long as it’s at least 5-8′ away from the glass. I live in the Arizona desert where the sun shines a lot and summer lasts a long time so I keep my Pothos plants at least 5′ away from hot windows.


How often should I water Pothos? What does an overwatered Pothos look like? Should I water my Pothos from the bottom? What type of water does Pothos like?

How often you water depends on the size of the pot, the composition of the soil, and the home’s environment. A general rule for watering a pothos in a 6″ pot is every 7-10 days in the warmer months. In winter, you’ll probably have to water less often.

Pothos will look limp and feel mushy (especially the stems) if overwatered. It’s good to let the soil go 3/4 of the way dry before watering again.

I don’t water my pothos plants from the bottom, I water them from the top.

Tap water is fine as long as it doesn’t contain too many salts and minerals. A high concentration of salts can burn the roots over time. I water all my houseplants with water filtered by a tankless R/O system with remineralization (of the good stuff!). Watering with room temperature water is best.

For related info check out this Guide To Watering Indoor Plants along with Winter Houseplant Care.


Do Pothos like to hang or climb? How do I train my Pothos to trail down? Which Pothos grows the fastest?

Pothos plants both climb and trail in nature. In the houseplant trade, they’re most commonly sold as hanging plants.

They will naturally trail down as they grow if not given a means of support to climb up like a moss pole, small trellis, or piece of wood. If yours isn’t trailing, then it may not be receiving enough light.

I have never done an experiment to know which pothos grows the fastest. Of the ones I have right now, the Golden Pothos followed by the Neon Pothos grow the fastest for me. I prune my Golden Pothos 3 times a year because it grows like crazy. The trails would be 15′ long if I didn’t!

This post was written by a newbie houseplant gardener who worked with me here at Joy Us garden. Find out the 11 Reasons Why Pothos Is The Plant For You.

Healthy Golden Pothos with lots of trails at Green Things Nursery here in Tucson.


When should I prune my Pothos? How much should I prune my Pothos? How do I make my Pothos bushy? Will Pothos grow back after cutting?

Spring, summer, and early fall are the best times to prune Pothos. I prune mine when they hit the ground, when the stems are getting bare, and when I want them to fill out on the top.

How much you prune depends on how it’s growing and the look you want. It may be a tip pruning of 1-2″ to encourage, 8″ to control the length, or a more extensive pruning for rejuvenation.

You can tip prune your Pothos to keep it bushy on top. That’s what I do with my Pothos ‘N Joy. If yours getting really straggly then you will want to cut off more.

Yes, unless you have taken off most of the growth (which I’ve never done by the way), it’ll come back.

This covers more on Pothos Pruning and includes a video too.


How do you propagate a Pothos? How long does it take for Pothos to root in water? Can you put Pothos cuttings directly in soil? When are Pothos cuttings ready to plant?

The easiest way to propagate a Pothos is via stem cuttings in water or soil. Another way to propagate one is by division but that can be tricky business if the stems are entangled at the root ball. Seed is another method that is one I haven’t tried and don’t plan to!

It happens fast. You’ll see Pothos roots appear from the nodes anywhere from the 10-14 day mark.

Yes, you can put the cuttings in soil as long as it’s a light mix so the roots can easier emerge.

They’re usually ready to plant after 4 weeks or when the roots reach 3″ long or so. If planting back in with the mother plant with an established root system, I wait until the roots are 4-5″.

What more info? Check out this post and video on Pothos Propagation.

golden pothos sits atop a wooden bookshelf trails are shown hanging all the way down to the floor
My Golden Pothos trails down a bookcase. I have to prune it a few times a year when it hits the floor. That’s my wild & crazy
Monstera adansonii growing next to it.


What kind of soil do Pothos like? When should you repot a Pothos? Do Pothos need big pots?

Pothos are not fussy when it comes to soil. Good potting soil formulated for houseplants would be fine. I always add some things to make it richer like compost and worm compost and throw in wood chips and pumice to lighten and aerate.

In terms of the time of year, spring summer, and early fall is the best time for repotting. If you see significant root action coming out the bottom of the pot, then it’s time to repot. If your plant has been in the pot for over 5 years, it would appreciate fresh potting mix and a bigger pot if needed.

In terms of size, I generally go up 1 when repotting. For instance, if the Pothos is in a 6″ grow pot, the next size up is an 8″ pot.

Here are more details on Pothos Repotting for you.


Do Pothos need fertilizer? What is the best fertilizer for Pothos?

All indoor plants appreciate 2-3 feedings during the growing season which is early spring through summer. I live in Tucson, AZ which has a long growing season so I feed my indoor plants 5-6 times using the fertilizers below.

A balanced all-purpose fertilizer is fine. There are many of them formulated for houseplants on the market so you have plenty to choose from. I personally alternate between Fox Farm Grow Big (6-4-4) and Maxsea (16-16-16).

Here are some of our houseplant guides you may find helpful: Guide To Watering Indoor PlantsBeginner’s Guide To Repotting Plants3 Ways To Successfully Fertilize Indoor PlantsHow to Clean HouseplantsWinter Houseplant Care GuideHow to Increase Humidity for Houseplants

close up of marble queen pothos leaves in a white pot
Close-up of the uber variegated foliage of my Pothos Marble Queen.

Pothos In Water

Do Pothos do better in soil or water? Can Pothos live in just water? How do you care for Pothos in water?

For the long haul, I’ve found that Pothos grow more and do better in soil.

The longest I have had Pothos growing in water is 10 months. The roots were quite extensive! A friend had hers in water for well over 2 years.

Just like a Pothos plant, it would do best in a bright spot with natural light and no direct, hot sun hitting it. You want to keep the water level up slightly above 1-2 nodes from the bottom. Change the water every 7-10 days to keep it fresh.


Should you mist a Pothos?

Yes, it’s fine. Pothos are tropical vining plants, so they would appreciate misting every now and then.

nell pothos standing outdoors in blue shirt holding a neon pothos in a gold pot
This is my Neon Pothos soon after I bought it. The trails are about 8′ long now. Such a vibrant color!

Toxic To Pets

Are Pothos toxic to cats? Is Pothos pet friendly?

They’re in the Araceae family as are many other popular houseplants. All are toxic to pets in some way. I refer to the ASPCA for this info and to tell me in what way the plant is toxic and what effects it has.

If your pet leaves them alone, then they’re pet friendly. If your pet chews on or eats plants, then you can always hang the Pothos out of their reach.


Is Pothos a good indoor plant?

Yes, Pothos is a great indoor plant. It’s one of the easiest and most durable indoor plants you can find.

Pothos is a great plant for beginners and you’ll have a green thumb in no time caring for these low-maintenance plants.

Growing Pothos Video Guide

Hopefully, I’ve answered your questions about Pothos plants. This, along with all our posts, will make you a more confident indoor gardener!

Happy gardening,

Signed by Nell Foster

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