Learn how to care for pothos plants. Golden pothos plant care is easy, and pothos plants are some of the easiest houseplants to keep alive.
How to care for Pothos
Last year I wrote a post about how to propagate pothos plants from cuttings, and it’s one of my most popular posts. I thought I’d follow it up with a post I should have done to begin with: general pothos plant care.
You might hear it called golden pothos, silver vine, taro vine, devil’s vine, devil’s ivy, and more. Although it looks like some varieties of philodendron, it is actually from the genus Epipremnum. Much like the snake plant, pothos is super easy to grow and care for.
(By the way, I have a whole post for the easy DIY for the hanging stainless steel bowl planter pictured above! And if you like plants that are easy to care for, check out my tips for how to take care of snake plants and prickly pear cactus and how to care for cape ivy. And if you’re bringing them in from outside, learn how to debug your plants the right way.)
It is a wonderful houseplant if you’re looking to get your feet wet with houseplants but don’t want something that is difficult to keep alive. Pothos is a stunning tropical plant with shiny heart-shaped leaves and trailing vines in a variety of different colors and patterns.
You can easily incorporate it into your decor by training the leaves, hanging the plants, or just putting it on a shelf. Oh, and it’s also an air purifier. Bonus!
Pothos Light Requirements
Pothos plants can thrive in a variety of different lighting conditions from abundant sunlight to florescent lighting in a cubical. However, it will thrive in higher light conditions. My pothos plants by windows do the best.
Pothos varieties with patterns on the leaves (referred to as variegated plants) can lose their patterns and become all green if they don’t get enough light. Leaves become pale when the plant is getting too much sun.
The pothos plant can also be grown outdoors in shade and partial shade. It does not tolerate frost and will die off or start looking ratty if it gets too cold. However, since it’s a great houseplant, you can just bring it inside for the winter.
Temperature and Humidity for Pothos Plants
Pothos will be happiest above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and they generally prefer a room temperature between 60 and 80 degrees. But they are adaptable. They aren’t going to die if your AC breaks and your house gets to 90 degrees.
Pothos plants love high humidity and will flourish in it, but they also do just fine in low humidity. We run a humidifier in Ramona’s room through the winter, and the pothos right above her crib did AMAZING this winter! As did the pothos in the second bathroom. This used to be tiny cuttings (hanging planter from Ikea):
How Often Should I Water My Pothos?
Pothos plants aren’t picky. I like to let mine tell me when they need water; they’ll start drooping when they need a good drink, and I water immediately. They perk back up within a day. If you don’t want to wait until they start drooping, let the soil dry out between waterings. It will forgive you.
Don’t over-water. Pothos plants are prone to root rot from continuously damp soil. Leaves with black spots could indicate over-watering, but I’ve never had that happen. When I over-water, a couple of the leaves usually turn yellow. I pluck them off, apologize to the plant, and let it dry out before watering again!
Pest Infestations in Pothos Plants
Pothos plants are vulnerable to the common houseplant pests: mealybugs and fungus gnats, mostly. I have never had any problems with pests in my pothos. If you have problems, try backing off the watering, cleaning out the plant and surrounding soil with a water and dish soap mixture, and repotting in fresh, well-draining soil.
What kind of soil and drainage does pothos need?
Well-draining soil is the best choice because pothos plants are prone to root rot. I like to add a bit of perlite to my regular houseplant soil just to encourage a bit more drainage.
Ideally, a planter with a drainage hole and saucer is best. However, almost all of my pothos plants are in hanging baskets or sitting high on shelves so they can trail down. So they don’t have drainage holes. To add drainage on planters without holes, I simply add a layer of perlite or rocks to the bottom. This way, the roots are never sitting in water (root rot!). See a full post about how to plant in pots without drainage holes—a lot of my DIY planters don’t have holes and the plants are still thriving!
Should I fertilize my pothos plants?
It’s not necessary so ever fertilize a pothos. They’ll do just fine without it. But they’ll thrive if you occasionally give them some fertilizer meant specifically for houseplants. I give mine a little extra houseplant fertilizer boost every few months when I remember to.
When should I prune or repot pothos?
Pothos plants don’t like to be pot bound (when the roots fill the pot). If your plant is droopy even after watering, or if some of the leaves are curling and turning yellow (see pics below), it probably needs a bit more room to grow. Repot it in a bigger planter with fresh soil, and it will flourish.
I don’t prune my pothos plants a ton. I like to let them grow long and trail the vines along things in the house. The vines can grow 25+ feet long! However, much like long hair, it’s only pretty if it’s healthy. If the vines look long and scraggly (you’ll hear them referred to as “leggy”), I cut them off. Here’s a hanging pothos was was getting really leggy and potbound. It needed trimmed (including the roots) and repotted.
What are the different varieties of pothos?
Different pothos plants have deep green, light green, yellow, and white patchy coloring. Some are even solid green. Marble Queen is probably the most common variety; it’s also my favorite. The stunning leaves have a beautiful white and green pattern, and I think they’re a bit shinier.
All varieties are poisonous if ingested because of the calcium crystals. That’s why I keep most of mine hanging from the ceiling or high up on shelving where the kitties can’t get to them.
How to grow golden pothos from cuttings
It’s so easy to grow golden pothos from cuttings. Here’s a shot of a few cuttings I had left over from a pruning session. They are rooting in a jar of water. See a detailed post about propagating pothos plants in water here!