Want an easy hanging houseplant? Learn all about Pothos plant care (Devil’s Ivy) and how to keep yours growing and healthy.
Are you looking for a hanging houseplant that 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 popular plants into offices, lobbies, hotels, banks, airports, and malls. This is all about Pothos plant care – one of the easiest houseplants today and way back when.
Pothos are one of the most popular houseplants. Besides being easy to maintain, they’re easy to find, and buying one will barely put a dent in your wallet. You can buy a beautiful trailing Pothos in a 6″ pot with long stems for under $10.00. If you want to add a lush tropical vibe to your home, Pothos vines will do just that.
Lucy, who used to work here, wrote this post on why pothos are a great houseplant (with a little help from me) about her experience with Pothos plant 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 world of indoor plants, by all means give this one a go and you’ll feel your thumbs getting greener!
- Botanic name: Epipremnum aureum
- Other common name: Devil’s Ivy
Other Guides on Pothos Plant Care
- Neon Pothos Care
- 5 Things To Love About Pothos
- Pothos Repotting Guide
- Answering Your Questions About Pothos Care
This guide was first published on July 10, 2018…We updated this guide on August 18, 2021 with more info.
Here are a few details on Pothos Plants to help you determine if they’re the right plants for you.
How to Use Pothos
Pothos are trailing plants and great to use in hanging containers. I have my Golden Pothos in a ceramic pot (it’s still in the grow pot) that sits atop my bookcase and it trails down two sides all the way to the floor.
Used at the base of a floor plant in a large container, Pothos look good and do well as under plantings. They disguise a grow pot beautifully so think of them as an alternative to moss!
I’ve also seen them growing upright over hoops, on a tall piece of wood or bark, on trellis’, and moss poles as well as in dish gardens and in living walls.
White & green variegated Pothos “Marble Queen” planted in a lush living wall in a mall in La Jolla, CA. Close up of a Marble Queen on the bottom. This is 1 of the Pothos that needs bright natural light to keep the variegation.
You can buy them in 4, 6, 8 and 10″ grow pots. The 6 – 10″ pots often have hangers which you can snap off if you wish to remove it. I bought my Marble Queen in a 6″ pot and the trails were about a foot or so long.
These are the ones that I’ve seen: Golden Pothos, Marble Queen Pothos, Jade Pothos, Neon Pothos, N’Joy Pothos, Glacier Pothos, Jessenia Pothos, Blue Pothos, and Silver or Satin Pothos. The Silver Pothos is a different genus but is commonly grouped in with the others because Pothos is in the common name.
Growers in different parts of the country, mainly in Florida, California, Texas and Hawaii, grow different Pothos plants so you may not be able to find all of these. Golden Pothos, Marble Queen Pothos and Jade Pothos (this one is solid green) are the ones I’ve worked with and seen most often.
Note: This post on Pothos care applies to all the varieties. Just know that some will do better in more light. More on that under “Exposure”.
Pothos are moderate to fast growers indoors. If you have one in low light, the growth rate will be slower.
In their native environments they climb up trees and they can reach 60′. That’s why they’re considered to be invasive, hard to get rid of and have earned another common name: Devil’s Ivy. Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about this in our homes!
This is a Golden Pothos. It’s an old standby & trails like crazy.
Some Of Our General Houseplant Guides For Your Reference:
- Guide To Watering Indoor Plants
- Beginner’s Guide To Repotting Plants
- 3 Ways To Successfully Fertilize Indoor Plants
- How to Clean Houseplants
- Winter Houseplant Care Guide
- Plant Humidity: How I Increase Humidity For Houseplants
- Buying Houseplants: 14 Tips For Indoor Gardening Newbies
- 11 Pet-Friendly Houseplants
Pothos Plant Care And Growing Tips
Low+ to high. Moderate light (bright natural light) is the sweet spot for Pothos.
They’ll tolerate low light conditions but won’t grow much at all. Just remember, low light isn’t no light.
In low light conditions, a Golden Pothos (as well as the other variegated ones) will lose its variegation and revert to solid green. That makes the Jade Pothos best for lower light. The leaves of any Pothos plant get smaller if not in enough light.
Pothos Neon (this is my favorite because of its vibrant chartreuse color) does best in medium to high light. Just keep any Pothos out of hot, sunny windows. They’ll burn in no time especially if up against hot glass.
High light is fine for a Pothos but make sure it’s at least 8-10′ away from a west or south facing window. Indirect sunlight is fine.
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.
Pothos winter care includes watering less often, holding off on fertilizing and pruning, and possibly moving to a spot with more light. More on winter houseplant care here.
A Neon Pothos needs moderate to high light to keep the foliage bright & jazzy.
I water my 4 Pothos plants thoroughly until the water runs out of the drainage holes on the bottom of the pot. I let the soil go almost dry before watering again.
Here in the desert (I live in Tucson, AZ) that’s once every 6-7 days in the warmer months. It’s less often in the winter; maybe every 9-14 days.
How often to water Pothos depends on how warm or cool your home is, pot size, type of pot, etc. I’ve done a guide to watering indoor plants that 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.
Here you can see how Pothos look when trained to grow upwards on a stake or moss pole. These photos were taken at Berridge Nursery in Phoenix.
This isn’t a big deal when it comes to Pothos care. They tolerate a wide range of temps. If your house is comfortable for you, it’ll be so for your Pothos also.
Just keep them away from cold drafts and heating or air conditioning vents.
This is how I feed indoor plants, including my Pothos. We have a long growing season here in sunny, warm Tucson and houseplants appreciate the nutrients these plant foods provide.
Once or twice a year might do it for your plant. It’s best to feed your plants in spring and summer, maybe into early fall if you’re in a warm climate.
Whatever you use, don’t fertilize your houseplants in late fall or winter because it’s the time for them to be left alone. Don’t over-fertilize (use more than the recommended ratio or do it too often) your plants because salts build up and can burn the roots. This shows up as brown spots on the leaves.
Avoid fertilizing a houseplant that is stressed, ie. bone dry or soaking wet.
Pothos Glacier is one of the newer varieties with smaller leaves & white/green variegation.
Pothos aren’t fussy at all when it comes to the mix they’re planted in. I always use a good quality organic potting soil which is peat based, well nourished and drains well.
Potting soil doesn’t actually contain soil. Garden soil is way too heavy for houseplants. Make sure whatever mix you buy says it’s formulated for houseplants somewhere on the bag.
These are the potting soils I alternate between using: Ocean Forest and Happy Frog. I add in a few amendments which you can read about in the link on repotting below.
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 and extremely pot bound, then you can jump to a 10″ pot.
Spring and summer are the best times to repot your Pothos. Early fall is fine if you’re in a warmer climate like me.
I repotted my 2 Pothos a couple of years ago and the post has lots of details you’ll find useful (learn more about pothos repotting).
You can prune your Pothos to control the length. Doing this will stimulate new growth at the top. Pinching or pruning off the tips of the trails (1-2 nodes back) will also do this. I’ve done both to my golden Pothos and it’s filled out beautifully on top.
I’ve seen Pothos stems with a bit of growth at the top, no growth in the middle, and a bit of growth at the ends. Cut those ends (along with the bare middle), propagate them and plant them back in the pot. This will rejuvenate your plant.
This little brown bump I’m pointing at is a root emerging off node of the stem.
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 to rooting for you.
Remove enough leaves off the stems (usually 1-4 depending on how long your cuttings are) 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 and change it out every now and then. More roots will be appearing in no time!
The longest I’ve kept my Pothos stem cuttings in water was 8 months and they looked just fine. I’ve heard that they can be in water for a long time and actually grow.
This post and video on Pothos propagation will give you more details and make it clear.
When I lived in Santa Barbara my Pothos got mealybugs. I spotted them early on and took action.
On commercial accounts, I saw Pothos infested with spider mites and scale. I’ve done posts on mealybugs, spider mites and scale so you can identify these pests and treat to get rid of them.
Pests can travel from houseplant to houseplant fast and multiply like crazy so make you get them under control as soon as you see them.
Pothos are considered to be toxic to pets. I consult the ASPCA website for my info on this subject and 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 and I want to share my thoughts with you regarding this topic. Here’s a list of 11 pet-friendly houseplants for your reference.
Pothos Plant Care: A Few Things Good To Know
These plants are subject to root rot so Pothos watering too often will be their 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.
Tiny brown tips on the ends of the leaves 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 grow pots and also directly planted in terra cotta. Fiberglass, resin or ceramic would be just fine too. Make sure the pot has a drainage 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.
I know there’s a lot of info here but this plant is one of the easiest houseplants 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 overwater. It’s a keeper!
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Pothos Plants Are Rockstars – They’re Included in These 4 Posts:
- Easy Care Houseplants for Low Light
- Easy to Grow Houseplants in it for the Long Haul
- Low Maintenance Office Plants For Your Desk
- Easy Tabletop and Hanging Plants
I’m a life-long gardener who still to this day gets giddy at the thought of a trip to one of the local nurseries. Yes, I actually studied landscape and environmental horticulture and the practical experience I have garnered through the years has served me well. Childhood memories of chicken manure “tea” still float through my olfactory senses to this day. I have always been an organic gardener and always will be. From the Earth … To the Earth. I was born and raised in rural, bucolic Litchfield County, Connecticut and now joyfully live a few blocks from the ocean in beautiful Santa Barbara, California.
Thanks for sharing this awesome post, very informative:)
Have a great day!
So glad I found your site. Gained a great deal of information.
Nell Foster says
I’m glad you found it too Patricia! Nell
Michelle van den Berg says
Hey! I was hoping you could advise – I repotted a while back and the soil mixture wasn’t right – it’s causing my pothos to stress out. I don’t want to repot as it’s getting cold – is it a good idea to take it out of it’s soil and put it into water instead? I have had massive success propogating her in the past.
Nell Foster says
Michelle – Pothos root readily in water so go right ahead. I’ve never grown 1 for the long haul in water – only 6 months. Nell