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How to Propagate Pothos

Wondering how to propagate pothos cuttings? Let me teach you how to propagate pothos in water, moss, and LECA so you never have to buy it again!

How to propagate pothos cuttings

As much of a plant lover as I am, I have to admit that I often opt for low-maintenance indoor plants. I first wrote this article when my daughter was a newborn, so I was up to my eyeballs in stress. And I was also coming off the heals of pregnancy, during which I was really sick and let a ton of stuff wither.

And I sold a bunch of plants on Facebook to lower my stress levels. Some of the bigger plants to make room for baby stuff, but also some of the harder-to-keep-alive varieties. And by harder to keep alive, I mean stuff you have to remember to water more than once every few weeks. I replaced pretty much everything with mostly cacti, snake plants, and pothos varieties for a while.

And let me tell you what. The pothos plant is the all star of managing to thrive when suffering from painful neglect. Here is a full article about how to care for pothos plants—but as long as they are in well-draining soil and you don’t overwater them, you’ll be rewarded with gorgeous growth!

Pothos plant large hanging basket in a bedroom

Pothos propagation overview

  • Pothos propagation is a simple process; my favorite ways to do it are in water, LECA, or sphagnum moss.
  • Taking a good cutting is required for successful propagation; I recommend a length of 4-6 inches to ensure plenty of growth points (nodes) are present for root development.
  • In water: Submerge cuttings in water, allowing roots to develop from the nodes; the process can take several weeks depending on conditions, after which you can transfer to soil.
  • Using LECA: Reusable and stable medium for rooting; place cuttings above a water reservoir, allowing the clay balls to wick moisture up to growth points, fostering stronger growth when transferred to soil.
  • In sphagnum moss and perlite: Nest cutting in a lightly damp moss and perlite mixture; keep humidity high and monitor root development.

Pothos growth examples

Below is an example of a pothos I’ve had for years. I took the first photo in 2016 when we first moved into our home. It’s a lovely mix of golden and jade pothos.

And then about 2 years later, it looked like the second picture! And that is WITH constantly taking cuttings from it to propagate. I love all the green up against the black wall…even if it is now pretty much covering up the gold. But that’s a good sign because it means it’s thriving.

beautiful pothos plant hanging against a black wall
beautiful pothos plant hanging against a black wall

By November 2022, I had clipped this plant more times than I can count. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say I’ve trimmed it roughly every month during the spring and summer.

I trimmed it to propagate for a while, sometimes adding the cuttings to the top of the plant to increase bushiness. Other times I planted them in their own new pots or just gave them away. Most of the time I had to cut it because it had reached the floor and was becoming a nuisance.

long trailing pothos plant hanging from the ceiling

Like this? Check out my article about 11 Pothos Varieties to Check Out!

How to take a good cutting for propagation

First let’s go over how to take a good cutting. Taking a good cutting is essential. If the cutting doesn’t have growth points on it, it will not root. I like to make my cuttings about 4-6 inches long. That way there will be plenty of plant left above the soil when you replant it. If the cutting is too long, it might struggle to root.

Make sure the cuttings have nodes (growth points) on them. Most areas you can cut from will have them. These growth points can be the little brown spots on the stems (see below). Or you can take a cutting and remove the bottom-most set of leaves to expose those growth points.

If you want a big, bushy plant, take several short cuttings. This will take longer to get a mature-looking plant, but it will be worth the wait! Don’t forget that pothos plants grow like weeds with just a little bit of care, so a small plant will becoming a large plant in no time.

Keep in mind that, after you trim your plant, it will continue to grow. It just won’t grow from exactly the point you cut it. Instead, it will grow from the closest node on the stem. It will branch out a bit. That’s why one way to help fix leggy pothos plants are by pruning and propagating the thin areas.

pothos plant nodes
global green pothos plant nodes

Method 1: Propagating pothos in water

Pothos plants are really easy to propagate in water. It’s a plant I actually favor water propagation for. You can even keep your pothos plant cuttings in water. They’ll grow slowly, but they’ll do just fine for quite a while.

Here’s all you need to propagate pothos in water:

  • Cuttings with growth points
  • Container (clear is great to help you monitor root development
  • Water

First, add the cuttings to the container

Stick the cut end of the pieces into a jar with water. They should be fully submerged. I like using a clear mason jar because I can easily tell when I need to add more water and see when roots sprout. The first photo below is right when I put the cuttings in.

After a few weeks, you’ll see new roots sprouting from the cut part of the pieces. Those roots are what prevents the plant from dying when you transplant it into new soil.

The photos below are the cuttings after about a week in the water. See the little whiteish roots sprouting from the stems? That’s the start of the new roots. I like to let the roots get a few inches long before transplanting.

rooting pothos in water
rooting pothos in water

It can take longer to root if you are propagating in the fall or winter, too. So keep that in mind. Have patience and monitor for signs of rot. If you notice signs of rot, clip it off and start over. Refresh the water roughly weekly.

Once the roots are several inches long, it’s time to transplant them in soil. Or you can be like me and let the cuttings chill for upwards of a year! I just let them do their thing sometimes. They still look pretty while they are rooting.

And I know I said to take shorter cuttings, but I have an example below where I rooted very long cuttings. I had these in this jar for over a year. They were in my office when the world shut down, and they still did fine until I could go in to get them (someone in security must have been adding water!).

rooting pothos in water
pothos roots growing in water
beautiful pothos plant growing in water

Next, transfer the cuttings to soil

When the roots are long enough (or when you feel like it), you can transfer the cuttings to fresh, well-draining soil. Make sure you bury the cuttings deep enough to keep them stable—but they might be a bit flopping until the roots make themselves at home.

The roots are very fragile, so be very gentle. If the new roots break off, the piece will probably have a higher chance of wilting and dying when you transplant it into the soil.

I recommend keeping the soil moist for a few weeks while the water roots convert to soil roots. Once the plant begins pushing out new growth, back off the watering and treat the plant as you would any normal pothos plant.

white water roots growing from pothos stem cuttings
beautiful tropical-looking plants on a deck

Water propagation FAQs

Although the plant is easy to propagate in water, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here are a few pothos plant propagation tips and issues you might encounter.

Why does my plant look droopy after planting the cuttings?

One of the things to keep in mind is that these are water roots. Water roots are different from soil roots. That’s why pothos can root and grow in water, but an overwatered pothos in soil will die from root rot. Water roots are white and fuzzy, while soil roots take in water differently.

The water roots might take in a bit too much moisture when you first transplant the rooted cuttings to soil. So give it a few days to adjust after you transplant it. If it looks a bit weepy for a few days, don’t panic.

Sometimes plants need some time to rebound after being repotted. Make sure you don’t water it too much thinking that the droopiness means it is thirsty. This is a fast way to kill your new plant! Only water it against once the top few inches of soil dry out.

How long does it take for pothos to root in water?

It takes about 2 weeks for pothos cuttings to begin rooting in water. However, if it’s cooler—like during the fall or winter—your propagations will likely take longer. The spring and summer are always the best time to propagate plants, but I have propagated pothos all year. Just have patience.

beautiful pothos plant growing in water
Pothos cuttings rooting in water for a long period of time—and in a room with NO windows

Why are my pothos cuttings rotting?

If your pothos cuttings appear to be rotting (yellowing, browning, drooping), it’s likely too cold. Pothos plants live happily in warm, humid temperatures. They do not do well in cold temps.

If you still have the cuttings in water and the rot seems to be around the growth point, try trimming it and rooting from another growth point instead. (If there is one, that is.) Let the cut end callus over for 24 hours before putting it back in water.

cluster bud vase with pothos cuttings in it

Method #2: Propagating pothos in LECA

Another way to propagate pothos cuttings is in LECA. LECA balls are clay balls that hold moisture. You nest the cuttings in them, and roots sprout. I love rooting plants in LECA for a bunch of reasons:

  • It’s reusable forever because you can sanitize it after using it.
  • It provides a more stable base when compared to water.
  • It helps you grow stronger roots that respond better when you transfer the cuttings to soil.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cuttings with growth points
  • Clear container
  • LECA
  • Water
LECA clay balls

First, add a bottom layer of LECA to the container

LECA propagation uses water as well, but the process is a bit different. You create a reservoir of water in the bottom of your container. Then, you nest the cutting just above that reservoir.

The cutting shouldn’t touch the water. Instead, the LECA balls will soak up the moisture from the reservoir. The cutting will respond by sprouting new roots from its growth points. These roots grow throughout the LECA.

LECA clay balls in a jar
propagating cebu blue pothos in LECA
propagating cebu blue pothos in LECA

Next, transfer the cuttings to soil

Monitor the water levels to make sure it doesn’t evaporate completely. I don’t flush our the LECA while I am rooting cuttings; instead, I wait until it is almost gone and just pour some more in the top.

When the cuttings have some nice long roots, you can transplant these to soil. No need to keep these as moist as you would with water-rooted cuttings. The roots are stronger since they aren’t technically grown in water.

cebu blue pothos cuttings with new roots

LECA propagation FAQs

LECA propagation has the additional step of procuring LECA, but it’s often worth it! Here are some questions you might have about the process. (See my full LECA propagation guide for more.)

Where can I find LECA?

I bought a large bag of LECA clay balls from Ikea years ago. I haven’t had to buy anymore because it is reusable. However, if you can’t find it at your Ikea or aren’t close to an Ikea, check your local nurseries. If all else fails, you can buy a small bag online. Remember that you don’t need much since it is reusable.

How do I clean LECA?

After using LECA to root your pothos cuttings, simply boil it on the stove to sanitize it. After boiling it, lay it out on a towel to dry before storing it in a bag.

big bushy pothos plant hanging outside

Method #3: Propagating pothos in sphagnum moss

Finally I want to cover how to propagate pothos in sphagnum moss and perlite. Moss is my favorite way to root cuttings of many plants, including varieties of hoya and many philodendrons. It’s often overkill for pothos plants since they root so easily.

However, it’s what I use when I want to pretty much guarantee my propagation will be a success. Rooting plants in moss creates very strong roots, so they experience very little shock when moving to soil. Here’s what you need.

  • Cuttings with growth points
  • Small container
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Perlite
  • Clear baggie
  • Water

First, dampen the moss and mix in perlite

For your cuttings to root successfully, you’ll want to dampen the moss. I like to soak it in a bowl and then wring out every bit of water I can. Mix with some perlite and put it in a small container.

I like to use small cups and sometimes even use a DIY plastic propagation box if I want to root multiple cuttings at once. Add the cutting into whatever contain you’re using, making sure the growth points are buried.

Then put a clear plastic baggie over the cutting and container. This will help keep humidity high and prevent the moss from drying out too quickly. You’ll notice roots sprouting pretty quickly. Make sure the moss stays damp.

bowl of damp moss
plastic cup with moss and perlite
rooting a pothos plant in sphagnum moss
cebu blue propagation

Next, plant the cutting in soil

When the roots are several inches long, take the cutting out of the moss and gently pick off the pieces of moss from the roots. It can be hard to tell if things are roots or moss, so take it slow.

Then plant the cutting in fresh, well-draining soil. Water the plant and treat it as you would any other pothos plant. You should notice minimal drooping with your strong new roots.

small cebu blue plant

Moss propagation FAQs

Moss propagation is fairly straightforward, but here are a few questions I often get about it. See my tutorial for a detailed sphagnum moss and perlite propagation guide.

How do I keep the humidity high?

You can use a clear plastic baggie to keep the humidity high. I also use a DIY plastic propagation box if I am rooting multiple cuttings at once. You can use any sort of clear box…I have used an old lunch meat container, too.

Why are my cuttings rotting?

If you notice that the cuttings are rotting, your moss might be too wet. Make sure it is damp, not wet. Squeeze out all of the water. You also want to give the cuttings some fresh air, occasionally taking the bag or box’s lid off to air things out.

woman holding a large pothos plant

In conclusion…

This guide aims to walk you through my favorite ways to propagate pothos. Pothos propagation is a straightforward and rewarding process, whether you choose a method I’ve outlined in this article or another way.

Remember, success in propagation comes down to the basics: proper cutting techniques, patience, and the right environment for your plants to thrive. I’d love to hear about your propagation experiences or any questions you might have. Feel free to drop a comment below. Happy planting!

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collage of plants that says how do you propagate pothos plants

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  1. Jenn Meyers says:

    You are so talented haha, just trying to keep my Boston Fern’s alive has been a slow, declining struggle. Trying to propogate anything would definitely result in disaster for me. I love the pops of color these bring to your house!

    • Brittany Goldwyn says:

      Hey Jenn! Thanks! You should try it with these…I promise it’s so easy. Only low-maintenance plants for me now.

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