Pothos are a good family of species to learn how to care for foliage plants, if you’re getting started out, and I often gift them to friends and family for that reason.
They can also be trained up moss poles, which will form bigger leaves at the top – or can be trailed across walls using temporary Command hooks, or left to cascade out of their pots.
Often they develop variegation, depending on how much light they receive. The varieties that I have are below:
Probably the most common, green with yellow variegation in bright light. Grows quickly and easily, and will tolerate shadier spots
A striking lime green variant, which occasionally has slight variegation with darker patches
Marble queen pothos
A lovely cream and green leaf, the variegation for which responds to light levels
Another cream and green splashed pothos, which is pretty resilient
Also sometimes known as ’happy leaf’ pothos, this seems to be a thinner leaved and slightly more sensitive type – the leaves can be scorched in too bright light!
Light for pothos
Ideally bright, indirect light, though some varieties will tolerate a range of lighting conditions. Golden pothos is one that will accept limited light, but will grow more slowly.
Ours are never much more than a metre from a nearby window, which generally encourages good healthy growth.
Epipremnum enjoy moderate watering – usually around once a week, a little more in summer and less in winter, and more in direct sunlight and less in shadier spots.
Neon pothos seems to be a little more thirsty than it’s fellow epipremnums, though that could just be due to where it is in our house!
As with most foliage plants, they can tolerate drier spells, but overwatering will lead to root rot and permanent damage to the plant – look out for a series of yellowing leaves on the stem. If in doubt, water less rather than more.
Soil and potting pothos
Rich but free draining soil is ideal – I use regular houseplant soil, with a handful of perlite thrown in. Once established, they’ll quickly fill an inner pot with roots, so keep an eye out for the plant getting potbound.
Like many plants, they don’t mind being snug, but when the rootball becomes too compact, it’s time to size up a pot and give it fresh nutrients and more space.
Humidity for pothos
Epipremnums are generally easygoing about humidity (but like most foliage plants will be happier in more humid conditions).
How to propagate pothos
Grab a clean pair of scissors or a knife and take a cutting with one or two nodes (nobbly bits where the leaves meet the stem).
Strip the leaves off the nodes that will be submerged in water leave somewhere out of direct sunlight for a few weeks. Change the water once a week, or when it starts to get a bit green/murky, and you’ll see new roots appear.
Once the roots are at least two inches long, it’s time to plant the cuttings in soil – either in a new pot to create a new plant, or they can be added to the original one to create a fuller or bushier mother plant.
Trimming the ends of pothos vines, will also encourage growth further up the stem, creating a bushier plant
Propagation in moss
Alternatively you can use damp sphagnum moss wrapped around the nodes to encourage new roots – dip the nodes in rooting hormone, wrap damp moss around them, and again leave for a few weeks with the occasional check/re-dampening. This can be a good method if you’re struggling to root some cuttings in water.
Common issues with pothos
Losing leaves at the base of the plant – the occasional loss of an old leaf from a plant is pretty normal, especially during dormancy in winter or times of stress (being moved, repotted, flowering etc).
However trailing plants can start to get straggly over time, and lose some of the original leaves at the base of the stem. If nothing else is wrong with the plant, it might be time for a haircut to encourage fresh growth (see propagation above).
Leaves dripping – my pothos, more than other plants, often have droplets forming when I check on them in the morning. This is fairly normal and harmless – but is a sign that they have excess water that they’re releasing through transpiration – you can probably ease back on your watering regime slightly if this is the case.
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