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Pothos Care: The Easiest Trailing Houseplant

Do you want the easiest & toughest trailing houseplant out there? Well look no further because Pothos are 1 of the most popular & easy to grow houseplants. This is all about Pothos care & how to keep yours healthy.

close up of a small green & white en joy pothos the text reads pothos care the easiest trailing houseplant

Looking for a hanging houseplant which trails like crazy and is a snap to maintain? Your search ends right here. I started my horticultural career in the interior landscape trade where we literally put thousands of these plants into offices, lobbies, hotels, banks, airports, and malls. This is all about pothos care – the easiest and toughest trailing houseplant now and back then.

Pothos are 1 of the most popular houseplants. Besides being easy to maintain, they’re easy to find and will barely put a dent in your wallet. You can buy a beautiful pothos in a 6″ pot with long tails for under $10.00. And, if you want to add that lush tropical vibe to your home, this plant will do it.

Lucy, who used to work here at Joy Us garden, wrote this post (with a little help from me) about her experience with pothos care. This was the very 1st houseplant she ever bought and it thrived.  It gave her the confidence to move on to other houseplants. If you’re new to the indoor gardening, by all means give this plant a go and you’ll feel your thumbs getting greener!

Pothos Care and Growing Tips

How to Use Pothos

Pothos is a trailing plant & is great in hanging containers. I have 1 of mine in a ceramic pot (it’s still in the grow pot) which sits atop my armoire & trails down the side. In a large container with a floor plant, pothos look great & do well as an underplanting. Think of them as an alternative to moss! I’ve also seen them growing over hoops and on a tall piece of wood or bark as well as in dish gardens & in living walls.

a living wall full of different houseplants including pothos marble queen & dracaenas

Pothos “Marble Queen” planted in a lush living wall in a mall in La Jolla

Size

You can buy them in 4, 6, 8 & 10″ grow pots. The 6 – 10″ pots often have hangers which you can snap off if you wish to remove it. I bought mine in a 6″ pot & the trails were about a foot or so long.

Varieties

These are the ones that I’ve seen: Golden, Marble Queen, Jade, Neon, En Joy, Glacier, Jessenia, Blue, & Silver. The Silver Pothos is a different genus but is grouped in with the others.

Growers in different parts of the country, mainly Florida, California, Texas & Hawaii, grow different pothos so you may not be able to find all of these. Golden, Marble Queen & Jade are the pothos I’ve worked with & seen most often.

Growth Rate

Pothos are moderate to fast growers. If you have it in low light, the growth rate will be slower. In their native environments they climb up trees & they can reach 60′. That’s why they’re considered to be invasive, hard to get rid of & have earned another common name: Devil’s Ivy. Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about this in our homes!

a golden pothos with long trails in a ceramic pot sits on a purple wicker table

This is a Golden Pothos. It’s an old standby & trails like crazy.

Caring for a Pothos Houseplant

Exposure

Low+ to high. Moderate light is the sweet spot for Pothos. They’ll tolerate low light but won’t grow much at all. Just remember, low light is no light. In low light conditions, a Golden Pothos will lose its variegation & revert to solid green. That makes the Jade Pothos best for lower light. Their leaves also get smaller if they’re not getting enough light.

Pothos Neon (I love this 1 with its vibrant chartreuse color) does best in medium to high light. Just keep any pothos out of any hot, sunny windows. They’ll burn in no time. High light is fine but make sure it’s at least 10′ away from the window.

If your pothos is getting light from one side only, you’ll want to rotate it every now and then. Those leaves will really lean towards the light source.

a pothos neon in a hanging grow pot sits on a stand with a pothos neon growing over a hoop at the base

These Pothos Neons need moderate to high light to keep their foliage bright & jazzy.

Watering

I water mine thoroughly until the water drains out of the pot & let the soil go almost dry before watering again. Here in the desert (I live in Tucson) that’s once every 6-7 days in the warmer months. It’s less often in the winter; maybe every 9-10 days.

How often you water yours depends on how warm your home is, pot size, type of pot, etc. I’ve done a houseplant watering 101 post & video which might help you out. Pothos are subject to root rot so it’s better to keep them on the dry side rather than too wet. In the colder months, water less often.

Temperature

They tolerate a wide range of temps. If your house is comfortable for you, it’ll be for your pothos also. Just keep them away from cold drafts and heating or air conditioning vents.

Fertilizer

I don’t fertilize mine but that might change. I’ll let you know. Right now I give my houseplants a light application of worm compost with a light layer of compost over that every spring. Easy does it – 1/4 to 1/2″ of each. Read about my worm compost/compost feeding right here.

Liquid kelp or fish emulsion would work fine too as well as a balanced liquid houseplant fertilizer (5-5-5 or lower) if you have that. Dilute any of these to half strength & apply in spring. If for some reason you think your pothos needs another application, do it again in summer.

You don’t want to fertilize houseplants in late fall or winter because that’s their time for rest. Don’t over fertilize your pothos because salts build up & can burn the roots of the plant. Don’t fertilize a houseplant which is stressed, ie. bone dry or soaking wet.

a green & white pothos glacier sits on a wooden box which is on the floor

   Pothos Glacier is one of the newer varieties with smaller leaves & white/green variegation.

Soil

Any good organic potting soil that drains well is good.  Just make sure it says it’s formulated for houseplants on the bag. This is the one I’m using & am very happy with.

Repotting/Transplanting

It’s not at all hard to do.  If your pothos has long trails you might have to gently tie them up to keep them out of the way while you’re doing the repotting.  I usually go up a size – from 4″ to 6″ pot as an example. If your 6″ pothos is large & extremely pot bound, then you can jump to a 10″ pot.

Spring & summer are the best times to repot your pothos. I plan on repotting my Pothos En Joy next spring so I’ll do a post & video on that for you.

Pruning

You can prune your pothos to control the length. Doing this will stimulate new growth at the top too. Pinching or pruning off the tips of the trails (1-2 nodes back) will also do this.

I’ve seen pothos stems with a bit of growth at the top, no growth in the middle & a bit of growth at the ends. Cut those ends (along with the bare middle), propagate them & plant back in the pot. This will rejuvenate your plant.

a finger points to a root node on a stem of a golden pothos

This little brown bump I’m pointing at is a root emerging. 

Propagation

Propagating a pothos is so easy. I always propagate mine in water with great success. Roots form off the nodes of the stems so they’re already on their way for you.

Remove enough leaves off the stems so you can get them in water. It’s best to keep the leaves out of the water. Fill your glass or jar with enough water to cover 2 nodes or so. Keep the water at this level & change it out every now & then. More roots will be appearing in no time!

The longest I’ve kept my pothos stems in water was 8 months & they looked just fine. I’ve heard that they can be in the water for a long time & actually grow.

Pests

When I lived in Santa Barbara my pothos got mealybugs. I spotted them early on & took action. On commercial accounts, I also saw pothos with spider mites & scale. I’ve done posts on mealybugs, spider mites & scale so you can identify & treat.

Pests can travel from houseplant to houseplant fast so make you get them under control as soon as you see them.

Pet Safety

Pothos are considered to be toxic to pets. I consult the ASPCA website for my info on this subject & see in what way the plant is toxic. Here’s more info on this for you. Most houseplants are toxic to pets in some way & I want to share my thoughts with you regarding this topic.

a pothos silver splash in a white plastic pot sits on a shelf with other pothos

  This one’s called Pothos Silver Splash. It’s in the genus Scindapsus whereas the other ones mentioned here have a different genus; Epipremnum. All are in the same family though.

Good To Know Regarding Pothos Care

Pothos are subject to root rot so overwatering will lead to its downfall.

Yellow leaves on a pothos can mean too much water (the leaves usually brown a bit towards the center 1st), too dry, too much sun, or too much fertilizer.

Limp leaves can mean too little water.

Small brown tips are just a reaction to the dry air in our homes.

The type of pot a pothos is a plant in doesn’t matter. I’ve grown them in plastic pots & also directly planted in terra cotta. Fiberglass, resin or ceramic would be just fine too. Make sure the pot has a drain hole(s).

I once had a viewer ask this so I want to include it: “can you make the spacing of the leaves on pothos stems closer?” The answer is no. If your pothos loses any leaves up & down the stems, new ones won’t appear where the old ones were. The smaller leafed varieties (like En Joy which you see in the lead photo) grow quite tight with the leaves closer together on the stems.

You can find this plant, more houseplants and lots of info in our simple and easy to digest houseplant care guide: Keep Your Houseplants Alive.

I know there’s a lot of info here but this plant is really easy to maintain and has been very long lived for me. The 2 best things you can do to grow a pothos: give it bright, natural light and don’t over water it. It’s a keeper!

Happy gardening,

Nell-Foster-Joy-Us-Garden

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One comment:

  1. Hi Nell!

    Thanks for sharing this awesome post, very informative:)
    Have a great day!

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