Pothos plants have always been a popular houseplant. It doesn’t take a lot to figure out why. They are gorgeous plants! Add to that the pothos care is really easy, and you know why they are topping the wish lists of many.
There are quite a few varieties of them as well, so you can collect them and enjoy the differences in the leaf’s color, shape, and variegation. One of the many reasons these plants are so popular is that you can grow them both in soil and water.
Pothos does come with a bit of confusion, though. As this plant is popular all around the world, it goes by many names.
You might see it labeled as Epipremnum plant or as Scindapsus plant. Now Scindapsus were once a part of the Epipremnum, and plants from that group got nicknamed Pothos. Pothos is just that, a nickname – so both of those plants are still called pothos.
But there is more! There are many varieties of pothos, the leaves being slightly different and the variegation being different too. Some varieties have similar variegation, and the variegation can revert, so these are commonly mislabelled in stores.
How To Care For Pothos Plant
- Bringing the plant home
- Light conditions
- Humidity and temperature
- Toxicity Information
- Pests and other common issues
Quick Pothos Care Summary
All the relevant pothos care information summarised. Read the whole article for more detailed care and important tips.
Plant name: Pothos, Devil’s ivy, taro vine, ivy arum…
Scientific name: not one specific plant genus and different classification around the globe: epipremnum aureus, epipremnum pinnatum, scindapsus aureus
Light: prefers bright indirect light, tolerates lower light
Care: water when top layer of soil dries out. It prefers higher air humidity but tolerates low humidity as well. Average room temperature is OK, it doesn’t tolerate cold.
Common Problems: root rot, yellowing leaves, mealy bugs
Toxicity: Mildly toxic
- Gold Pothos – one you are most likely seeing in your local plant shoop. Green leaves with slight beige/yellow varigation.
- Marble Queen – another very common variation, often sold in plant stores. Simmilar to gold pothos but with heavier and lighter variegation
- Neon – vibrant neon green leaf colors, not as commonly sold in regular plant stores but easy to come by.
- N’Joy – gorgeous variegation, large sections of milky white and green with dark green blotches
- Silver – darker green leaves with silvery parts
When it comes to different varieties there isn’t a lot of difference in pothos care, some will need more light than others.
This wonderful plant does best with in bright indirect light but can do well in an area with lower light too. A perfect plant to fill up all those slightly darker places your other plants might dislike.
While they do tolerate low light, the variegated plants can loose the intensity of variegation if there isn’t enough light, or even loose it completely.
Highly variegated varieties in general require more light than non-variegated. The whiter the leaves the more light the plant requires, as the green part of the leaf is the one that is keeping the plant alive. The white part is pretty, but it is useless.
If you notice the variegation on your plant fading, move the plant to a brighter area. If you notice the colors on the leaves fading, your plant might be getting too much light so move it to a slightly darker spot.
Pothos does not like direct sunlight.
A plant that forigives you if you forget to water it occasionally. What’s not to love? They are drought tolerant to some extent, so will do OK if the soil is dry for a while. In fact it’s better to let them dry out than to water them too frequently. If the soil is constantly wet at the root level it will damage the roots.
Good watering routine will keep them healthy and thriving though.
Your plant will be the happiest if you give it a good soak after the top layer of the soil dries up (inch or so). Water until the water starts running out of drainage holes. Allow for all excess water to run out before you place the pot back into a decorative pot.
Make sure you are not overwatering your plant, it’s better to be on the “dry side” than to water the plant too frequently.
Pothos are happy with a variety of soil mixes. If you have a couple of pothos plants, the frequency of watering can vary greatly between them – even if they are the same type. If the soil retains water well you will need to water less often compared to soil that isn’t mixed to retain moisture.
Don’t want to deal with sticking your finger in solid to check if it’s dry enough? You can also grow your pothos in water. You will still need to change water every once and a while.
Humidity and Temperature
If you got good light and you are watering your plant as it should be watered, your pothos won’t be fussy about air humidity.
They do prefer high humidity though, so if you want to make them supper happy make sure the humidity is always above 50%.
As far as temepratures go, pothos enjoy average warm room temperatures. Don’t let the temperature fall under 50 degrees Fahrenheit / 10 degrees Celsius.
How to clean Pothos Leaves?
As these plants have dense foliage and if happy, a ton of leaves, manually wiping leaves to remove dust is a hassle. You can use damp cloth (water) or use a cleaning solution – a drop of dish soap in a large quantity of water (test it out on one leaf first as not all dish soaps are made the same).
Carefully washing (rinsing) the plant occasionally is also OK.
Misting the leaves might help you keep them dust free.
While we feel pothos look beautiful just as they are, some people opt to shine their leaves. Wiping the leaves with milk mixed with water (50/50) is pretty popular and beneficial (use full-fat milk) as the fats in milk give the leaves shine. Dip a cloth in and gently wipe the leaves.
Commercial leaf shiners are also available, if you opt for this, we do suggest you go with something organic as it’s least harsh on the plant.
Prune any dead or struggling leaf. With proper pothos care you shouldn’t see those very often.
Pothos plants don’t require frequent fertilizer. You can feed them general houseplant fertilizer at half the recommended frequency.
Just another reason why pothos care is so hassle free.
When to Repot a Pothos
Most of the time they require repotting every 2 to 3 years.
If your pothos is loving their home and is growing really fast you might need to repot more often as it will need more room to grow.
On the other hand if yours is a slow grower you are looking at repoting it less often.
When you notice the roots poping out (not just a tiny root here and there) out of drainage holes you can be certain it’s time to repot. If your pothos is severely rootbound it might even deform the pot a little.
Another sign your pothos may be in need of repotting is stunted growth and your plant just not seeming to get perky after watering.
It’s best to repot your plant during the growing season (spring-summer). Move the plant to a pot that is one or two sizes bigger than the current one.
Soil (or water)
Pothos aren’t fussy when it comes to soil. They will thrive in any well draining soil, but will grow OK in denser soil as well.
The soil acidity doesn’t bother them either (within houseplant reason), you can use a soil that is more acidic (like soil for African violets) or neutral.
Any general houseplant potting soil will work well.
You can also opt to grow it in water, pothos care is the same. You will need to change water every couple of weeks. Make sure you let the water sit in the room for a day or so before so it gets to room temperature.
One of the fun things with owning pothos is propagating them. They are insanely easy to propagate, you can propagate them in water or in soil by taking a stem cutting.
If propagating in water, move the plant to soil as soon as it has a decent amount of roots. The longer it will be in water the likelier it is it will struggle once you move it to soil. You can just keep it growing in water as well.
This popular plant is sadly considered mildly toxic for cats, dogs and humans. All parts of the plants are considered toxic. The plant contains calcium oxalate crystals, if these are ingested they can cause a variety of issues. The symptoms can be mild, or severe. They shouldn’t be fatal but so aren’t peanuts – each animal and person can have a unique reaction to the plant. So if you have small children at home or a dog practice extreme caution. Even more so with cats as they can reach even the “unreachable places”.
If ingested pothos will generally cause irritation of the mouth or stomach. In more serious cases extensive drooling can occur, vomiting, difficulty breathing and even neurological issues.
If you suspect your pet or child has ingested pothos and are seeing any symptoms a visit to the doctors / veterinarian should be your next step.
Pothos care is generally pest free and they are pretty healthy plants as well. When it comes to pests, they can still get them though, mealy bugs being most common.
Spider mites and scale are also common.
Most commonly due to overwatering.
Brown Dry Tips
Brown Tips and Spots
Curled Leaves that are Limp
Temperatures too low.