If you are thinking of becoming a new plant parent, you have the option to start off by choosing some of the easiest plants to care for. Over the years, pothos has gained the reputation of being the perfect plant for new parents. Apart from being easy maintenance, growing in flexible conditions, be it in water or in soil, and under different light levels, pothos is also one of the fastest-growing houseplants. Pothos is also a great choice for adding some greenery to office spaces or dorms because of its ability to grow well under artificial lights.
Pothos belong to the genus Epipremnum, evergreen perennial vine plants that use their aerial roots to climb, bear simple or pinnately divided leaves, and rarely flower, if at all. Scientifically known as Epipremnum aureum, pothos is also known by several other common names due to its widespread popularity around the world. Pothos is a tough vine with slender stems that can grow at a fast rate and achieve great length, which has led it to be labeled as devil’s vine or devil’s ivy. Other names include golden pothos, hunter’s robe, silver vine, money plant, among others. There are several varieties of pothos that produce white, cream, or golden variegation on the normally, heart-shaped, pointed green leaves.
The showy, glossy foliage of pothos plants complements any house decor setting. When grown outdoors, pothos grows in a different manner altogether with larger leaves and reaching greater heights.
Pothos Plant Brief Summary:
Botanical Name: Epipremnum aureum
Soil Type: Chalk, clay, loam, sand
Moisture: Moist but well-drained
Soil pH: Neutral to acidic
Light: Full sun, partial shade
Plant Type: Houseplant, Vine
Height: 20 feet or more
Width: From 3 to 6 feet
Toxicity: Toxic to dogs and cats
What are the Different Varieties of Pothos Plant?
The classic pothos plant with shiny heart-shaped green leaves is a widely popular choice among pothos plant enthusiasts. However, there are different varieties and cultivars of this much-loved trailing vine that you can choose from. You can get a mix of colors with the different leaf variegation in white, cream, yellow, gold or light green along with the deep green color. Here’s a look at a few pothos varieties:
The golden pothos plant grows medium-sized leaves bearing golden streaks and is one of the most widely available pothos.
A mix of white or cream along with green variegated patterns on the leaves distinguishes the marble queen pothos. The color mix on the leaf is similar to patterns on marble tiles, which is where it gets its name from. In order to keep this unique coloring, marble pothos requires more light than other forms of pothos.
Pearls And Jade:
Pearls and jade variety of pothos grow smaller in comparison to other pothos. The variegation of white or gray and green on the leaves appear as random dots or splashes, instead of stripes or lines.
As the name suggests, neon pothos is bright green in color. Due to its striking fluorescent green color, the neon pothos plant is a great choice for growing pothos in darker spaces. It also needs less light to grow.
Another variety that is tolerant of low-light conditions is the silver satin pothos. The leaves of this pothos are gray-green in color, featuring splotches of silver.
How Fast Can Pothos Grow? A Comprehensive Care Guide to Successful Pothos Growth
The growth rate of pothos depends on several factors, ranging from where it is planted to the light exposure and soil type and others. In most settings, especially during its growing season, one can expect to see pothos vines grow anywhere between 12 – 18 inches in a month. This evergreen vine, in its natural conditions, can grow to around 60 feet tall with mature plants bearing leaves up to 40 inches in length, while the young leaves are usually under 8 inches long. When grown indoors or in a potted manner, each leaf of this trailing vine can ideally reach up to 4 inches in length. The best growth for your pothos plant depends on how much of an ideal growing condition you are able to provide. While pothos can grow well even in not-so-ideal settings and all throughout the year, in order to achieve its best possible growth, you need to fulfill certain basic needs of this otherwise easy-going houseplant.
How to Make Pothos Plants Grow Faster? Factors Influencing Pothos Fast Growth:
With its growing season starting around Spring and lasting up to the end of Fall, pothos is likely to gain a few feet in growth each year. Under the ideal conditions – a balanced mix of the right temperature, sunlight, water, and/or soil – the growth rate is bound to be exceptional, more so in some species of pothos plants than others.
Partial shade or bright and indirect light is best suited for the optimum growth of pothos. Watering must be done in intervals where the soil gets evenly moist but does not remain soggy. Although pothos vines grow pest-free most of the time, occasionally they can get infested with mealybugs which are easy to get rid of using insecticide or alcohol-soaked cotton swabs.
With proper care, you can have an impressive pothos plant. Here are a few factors you need to consider to boost the growth of your pothos plant:
Well-Draining Soil With Neutral To Acidic Soil pH:
Pothos plant needs moisture but only enough to get soaked, as soggy soil acts as an impediment to its growth. Choosing a well-draining and moisture-retentive soil is ideal for pothos vines. The perfect soil pH for growing the devil’s ivy is in a range between 6.1 to 6.5. But the ever adaptive vine grows in conditions from neutral to acidic.
Many people also grow pothos in jars of water only, making it a favorite for office-goers. However, the best growth from your pothos plant can be achieved when they are planted in soil. If you are planning to shift your pothos from water jars to potted in soil, ensure that you do not over-water.
Keep a track of the growth of your pothos plant so that you know when it needs to be repotted in fresh soil and a bigger pot to accommodate the growth. Choose a pot one or two sizes bigger and use soil with high nutritive value to boost and help your pothos vine adapt well.
Optimum Light with Partial Shade or Bright, Indirect Sunlight:
Moderation is the keyword when it comes to light requirements for the devil’s ivy. It needs bright but indirect light to it from getting scorched. Placement is crucial for the prosperous growth of your pothos plant. The most ideal location would be somewhere the plant can get a few hours of bright and indirect light every day. Perhaps, near a window, further enough away to avoid harsh direct light. You can also make use of translucent or sheer curtains to filter the light. Since the pothos vine will grow towards the light, in order to achieve even growth from all sides, it is advisable to rotate the pot frequently.
You can tell if your pothos plant is getting enough light or not. When there’s a lack of sufficient light, the leaves tend to have faded colors. In variegated pothos plants, the leaf patterns start to disappear. If your pothos plant has gold, white or yellow variegation, lack of light can force them to turn into a solid, pale green. If kept in dark places, your pothos plant not only loses its variegation but also health and growth. Less light can also cause pothos to become too leggy, with longer stems and fewer leaves. On the other hand, too much light can burn your pothos plant. Leaves that appear paler or turn from bright green to pale yellow are indications of too much light exposure.
While artificial lighting isn’t suited for most other plants, pothos can thrive even in such lighting conditions. Fluorescent tubes or bulbs, in cool white or full-spectrum, can provide ideal lighting for your pothos to grow suitably. Horticultural grow lights also work favorably. Just like pothos growing in natural light, pothos grown using artificial lights need a resting period at night, so remember to turn off the lights.
With these simple and easy steps providing a careful balance of light for your pothos plant, you can see it grow luxuriously.
Room Temperature Between 70°F and 90°F, High Humidity:
Pothos plant is native to the Solomon Islands and therefore prefers a temperature that is above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, ideally at room temperature ranging between 70°F and 90°F (21 – 32°C). Pothos is a tough houseplant and is able to grow fine even when the temperature is lower or higher. Too low or too high temperature will definitely lead to deteriorating plant conditions including black leaves and stunted growth. In order to achieve the best growth, it is best to place your pothos plant in a room that meets this temperature requirement. You also need to protect it from fluctuating temperature or frequent changes.
Best suited in tropical conditions, pothos not only need warm temperature but also high humidity for impressive growth. This can be achieved by simply keeping your pothos plant in usually humid areas of your home, like the bathroom or kitchen. Due to its tolerant nature, pothos can withstand low humidity and grow perfectly fine. Faster growth of pothos will result only in high humidity conditions. In case you need help to increase the humidity around your pothos plant, investing in an air humidifier is the easiest solution.
Water for Pothos – No Over-Watering or Under-Watering:
Pothos grows best when the soil is moist but not soggy or waterlogged. During the planting process itself, ensure that there is proper drainage for excess water to seep through. Creating a watering schedule can assist you in avoiding under or over-watering your houseplant.
Over-watering your pothos plant can result in the rotting of the roots. Waterlogged roots can cause black spots to appear on the leaves, which may also look limp and wilted. The color of the leaves may also change to yellow. Once the top layer of the soil appears to be dry, you can water your pothos plant again. Allowing proper draining of the excess water can help keep the soil free from getting waterlogged.
Waiting too long between watering can lead to the other extreme problem – under-watering. The leaves shriveling or curling with dry, brown edges are signs of dry soil. Too little water for your pothos plant can result in fallen leaves. The best way to know if your pothos vine needs water is by checking the dryness of the topsoil. If around two inches are dry, then it’s time to water.
Balanced Fertilizer Every 2-3 Months:
Most potting soil lacks proper nutrients for your pothos plant. Using a balanced fertilizer, every 2-3 months to replenish the soil provides the right nutrients for the plant. This in turn will aid in faster growth and development of the pothos plant. There are also soil testing kits available in shops to help you check whether the soil needs fertilizer or not. The use of fertilizers helps to adequately fulfill the nutrient requirements of your pothos plant.
Getting Rid of Pests Infestation In Pothos:
Pothos is a sturdy plant and does not usually get pests. In rare cases, it can get infested with mites, mealybugs, among others. Fighting off the pests quickly is essential to the safety and health of your pothos plant. To do so, you can simply wipe the plant using a weak solution of water and alcohol, or spray the entire plant using the solution in a spray bottle. Using insecticides is also a valid way to get rid of any pests.
Can Pothos Grow In Water Only?
Yes, it definitely can. One of the main reasons for the popularity of pothos among houseplant owners is that it doesn’t need much to grow successfully. The fact that it can grow quite well even in water only, makes it a popular choice among new plant owners or those who have gained the reputation of being “plant-killers”.
How To Grow Pothos Grow in Water?
To grow pothos in water, start with a clear glass container and fill it with water. While any type of water is fine, if it’s too chlorinated, make sure to let it sit out for a day or two. Take the cutting of the pothos vine having few nodes, removing the leaves on the part that gets submerged in water. Add the required amount of liquid fertilizer to the water, as per instruction on the package. Leave it in an area with bright, indirect light and see it grow beautifully in the coming weeks.
There are a few things you need to do for uninterrupted proper growth. Replacing the water in the container either every 2-3 weeks or when you see the water turning brackish. Don’t forget to scrub off the inside of the glass container to remove any algae growth. And remember to add fertilizer to the water every 4-6 weeks.
Why is the Pothos Plant Not Growing Fast or Not Growing at all?
A happy pothos plant is quite visibly obvious. The colors are bright and shiny on the leaves and the plant is healthier and fuller in appearance. If that’s not how your pothos plant is looking, then you may have a problem or few.
Stunted growth in your pothos can be due to several reasons that have to do with the lighting, watering, fertilization, or placement of the plant, among others. Oftentimes, it is the tiniest of details that can be easily solved with a few adjustments to your caregiving routine.
1. Over-Watering Or Under-Watering:
When you over-water or water too little, the signs of an unhappy pothos plant becomes evident. The leaves shrivel up, wilt, and fall in case of under-watering and there is root rot due to excessive watering.
2. Too Much Or Too Little Light:
Your pothos plant needs bright light. But it has to be indirect light. If the leaves are turning pale and yellow, there is too much light exposure. Less light can lead to loss of color and variegation.
3. Lack Of Proper Nutrients:
Lack of proper nutrients can cause growth problems for your pothos. Adding proper fertilizer, as instructed on the package, can help. A build-up of fertilizer in the soil is another issue that can happen, especially when fertilizers are added too frequently.
4. Temperature Fluctuation:
Fluctuating temperature conditions are not ideal for pothos plants. Temperature preference for your pothos is upwards of 50°F and below 90°F. If it is either too low or too high, your pothos plant won’t prosper.
5. Pest Infestation:
Rarely you will find your pothos plant invaded by pests like mealybugs, which resemble small cotton balls, and scale, appearing as dark bumps on the plant. A weekly check of your pothos plant can reveal if there are pests or not. Weak alcohol solution on the infested area can easily rid of the pests. If it’s heavily infested, use insecticides.
Taking care of a few little things can be the difference between achieving glorious pothos growth or ending up with stunted, or worse, dead pothos plants. Take into account the basic requirements your pothos plant needs and judiciously follow through. You will soon be rewarded with a happy, lush, and shiny pothos plant in your home.
Sources: Pothos water need study, Study of Pest in Pothos, Effects of Different Pot Mixtures on Pothos
Ranjan Singh Moirangthem is a media professional based in India, currently working as a freelance copywriter. Growing up in a hill station and now living in a concrete jungle, he finds solace in the green corners of the city, be it parks or his housing society garden. He’s even passionate about plants and gardening and shares his experience by writing in-depth and well-researched articles for our readers.