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Pearls and Jade Pothos Care

Learn everything you need to know about pearls and jade pothos care! This variety of pothos has a gorgeous strong green and white variegation, with smaller leaves and a trailing habit. Learn how to care for a propagate this variety!

Pearls and jade pothos care guide

Hey all! I’m working my way slowly through posts about all of my pothos varieties so I can roll them up into one big ol’ pothos party post. Some recent ones I did were marble queen pothos care, global green pothos care, and cebu blue pothos care!

Today it’s all about pearls and jade pothos care. Pearls and jade pothos isn’t one of my pothos plants that I’ve had for a while. In fact, it wasn’t terrible appealing to me until I saw a giant highly variegated pearls and jade pothos plant last year.

So I decided to grab myself a little pot and see what it can do in my home! It isn’t an expensive variety of pothos, and it’s pretty easy to find. So I figured, why not? And I do love this little guy 🙂

trailing pearls and jade pothos plant

Pothos family background

I like to go over a bit of plant background before jumping into care instructions because a plant’s natural habitat really helps to inform its care, even indoors. I have talked a lot about pothos origins, so if you’re already well-versed on all that, you can skim on past this.

Pothos is the common name for plants in the epipremnum genus, aureum species. So the proper scientific name is epipremnum aureum. But you’ll most commonly hear it referred to as golden pothos (the variegated yellow and green variety), Jade pothos (the solid green variety), devil’s ivy (because it can be invasive in some parts of the world), and more.

You might be wondering–where did a common name like “pothos” even come from? Well, in 1880 when the plant was first formally classified, it was named “pothos aureus.” It has since been reclassified several times until its current classification, epipremnum aureum. 

But old habits die hard, and “pothos” has stuck around! Kind of like how sansevieria plants (snake plants) were reclassified to dracaena plants instead. And everyone just collectively decided to ignore it and still call them sansevieria plants 🙂 (See my snake plant care guide for more.)

Pothos plants in general are some of the most common houseplants there are. In fact, I’d say they might be the most common houseplant. Pothos are native to the French Polynesian islands, but they have been naturalized throughout Australia, South and Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands, and more.

But where did the pearls and jade pothos variety come from specifically? Well, you can thank the University of Florida! Researchers there induced mutations in four different common pothos varieties in order to develop new varieties.

And pearls and jade emerged! Pearls and jade is actually a mutation selection from a group of marble queen pothos plants. This stuff fascinates me. (You can read all of the fascinating details on that process here.)

closeup shot of a highly variegated pearls and jade pothos leaf

Pearls and jade appearance

Pearls and jade leaves have a blotchy variegation with some smatterings of green speckles as well. The colors can be white, ivory, green, and a muted green (almost gray) huge.

Generally pearls and jade is a smaller variety of pothos with leaves growing to only about 3 inches long and 2 inches wide at their peak. This is much smaller than the leaves on a marble queen, which they can be easily confused with.

Pearls and jade pothos vs. marble queen pothos

Since they are often confused with one another, I want to highlight a few differences between pearls and jade pothos and marble queen pothos. I mention that pearls and jade is generally much smaller than the marble queen pothos.

When trying to differentiate between the two plants, first look at the leaf size. Are the leaves smaller than you might expect to see on a potho plant? It might be a pearls and jade. Similarly, the variegation on a pearls and jade is more splotchy with accents of green speckles.

Marble queens have highly variegated leaves with striking splashes of green and ivory. Sometimes the leaves can be large and quite light with green stripes, smaller patches, and splashes. See the difference?

marble queen pothos plant
Marble queen pothos plant

Pearls and jade pothos vs. manjula pothos

Pearls and jade pothos plants are also often confused with manjula pothos plants. In fact, I had to look very closely to differentiate between pearls and jade and manjula in a recently mixed display at Wegmans!

Manjula pothos and pearls and jade have really similar coloring, but the leaves on manjula pothos plants are larger. They are also distinctly wider with an almost heart-shaped appearance. In my experience, manjula can have more white/ivory areas and can be a slower grower.

manjula pothos leaf
manjula pothos leaf

Pearls and jade pothos vs. n’joy pothos

And the final variety of pothos that pearls and jade is often confused with–n’joy pothos! And for good reason, because you gotta peel open those peepers to tell the difference. Essentially, n’joy has the same blotchy discoloration but fewer speckles. There is a cleander transition from white/ivory to green. 

Also, n’joy’s leaves are a bit wider than pearls and jade leaves (kind of like manjulas). I don’t have any n’joy in my collection, but here is a link to a photo of some on Etsy.

How much light does a pearls and jade pothos plant need?

Proper lighting is an important part of pearls and jade pothos care, at least if you’re wanting to encourage optimal variegation. Like most pothos plants, you can keep pearls and jade in a variety of lighting conditions from low light to very bright indirect light.

Very bright indirect light is ideal; it will help encourage higher levels of variegation and better growth. In lower light, the plant will stay alive, but it won’t grow quickly. The variegation might also decrease a bit. I have my pearls and jade under a strip grow light in an Ikea glass cabinet.

full pearls and jade pothos plant

How often should I water pearls and jade pothos?

Pearls and jade pothos does fine with a bit of neglect as far as watering goes. Less is more. Overwatering will quickly kill your plant, but underwatering won’t necessarily kill it. It will look unhappy and wilted—maybe even slightly brown—but it should perk back up when you water it.

I like to water my pearls and jade pothos very thorough in the sink until water flows freely out of its drainage holes. I still have it in the plastic nursery pot with a bunch of holes, and I just set it in a ceramic pot.

Then I don’t water the plant again until the top few inches of soil are dry. This is generally weekly in the summer, every 2-3 weeks in the winter. It’s less about a hard schedule and more about how quickly the soil is drying out, which changes throughout the year.

closeup shot of a highly variegated pearls and jade pothos leaf

Why is my pearl and jade plant turning yellow?

If your pearls and jade wilts and the leaves appear thin, faded, and yellow, it’s likely a result of overwatering. Make sure your plant is in well-draining soil and that you aren’t watering it too frequently. 

If the plant’s leaves are turning yellow and have crispy brown spots on them, it’s possible you are underwatering it. Remember, although it tolerates a bit of neglect, it isn’t a succulent. 

At this point, it’s likely the soil is caked and shrinking away from the edges, too. Before watering the plant, use a fork to break up and aerate the top layer of soil. Fill in the gaps between the dirt and the pot. Then water thoroughly.

Whether you’ve underwatered or overwatered, I suggest trimming off the ugly foliage. It won’t rebound, even after you’ve adjusted care. 

trailing pearls and jade pothos plant

What is the best soil?

Generally, pothos plants do well in a variety of indoor houseplant soils that come premixed with additional coco coir or fine moss, perlite, and other additives like sand. (Check out my soil 101 post with everything you need to know about soil additives.)

These days, I plant most of my houseplants in a high-quality indoor potting mix and throw in an additional handful or two of coco coir and maybe even an additional handful of chunky perlite. This helps with drainage and aeration, keeping the plant’s roots nice and healthy.

trailing pearls and jade pothos plant

Pearls and jade pothos care: Temperature and humidity

Pothos plants grow quite well in a variety of normal household temperatures. They are absolutely not cold hardy or frost tolerant, though. 

Bring them indoors when the temperature is consistently under 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It will probably be fine outdoors in a cold snap or two, so just keep an eye on the temps.

Pearls and jade pothos also does quite well in normal household humidity levels. However, it really gets going in higher humidity! If the white/ivory parts of the leaves are turning brown and crispy, it’s probably a result of low humidity. 

If I’m being honest, I generally hate using humidifiers. But it would benefit from one (as would most houseplants). You can also mist the plant, but this only temporarily increases humidity levels.

I am considering putting mine in our second bathroom with a small window for the fall and winter so it can benefit from the hot showers and humidity. We’ll see—space is at a premium in that tiny bathroom window!

Whatever route you choose, don’t get too bent out of shape about it. It’s a pothos. It’s flexible. If it puts out some small or ugly growth over the winter, just prune it off in the spring. As a bonus, this will encourage bushier growth!

full pearls and jade pothos plant

Are pearls and jade pothos slow growing?

Speaking of growth—yes, they are slow growers. They can grow many, many feet long or tall, but it takes a while. I personally like the cute and compact look of pearls and jade. I don’t think it looks as lush when it gets super long.

If you notice that your plant is getting long and scraggly looking, you can snip off the long stems. You can cut wherever you want: all the way down to the soil, or anywhere along the stem. 

Keep in mind that the plant will sprout new growth from just above the point you cut, so that will encourage a bushier plant. You can also encourage full growth by propagating the pieces you cut and sticking them right back into the soil!

trailing pearls and jade pothos plant

Propagating pearls and jade pothos plant cuttings

Since I just brought up propagating, let’s jump right into that! When you prune pieces of your pearls and jade pothos plant off, you can easily propagate them. Then you can pop them right back into the soil or plant them in their own pot to create a new plant.

Propagating a cutting in water

I’ve generally been moving away from water propagation, but pothos plants do quite well with water propagation. Simply take a cutting from the plant, ensuring you have 2-3 nodes. (A node is the spot where the leaf meets the plant, and pothos also have little nubs on the stems that are great too.)

Put the cutting in water and change the water out every week or so. The plant will begin sprouting roots. Once the roots are a few inches long, you can plant the cutting in well-draining soil. Keep it damp for a week or so.

You don’t want to overwater it, but damp soil will help the roots become acclimated to soil. After a week or two, you can back off watering and treat the plant as normal. Once you see any hints of new leaf growth, you’ll be good to go!

water roots on a pothos propagation

Propagating a cutting in soil

You can also skip the water rooting step and pop the cutting directly in soil. In this case, I’d recommend keep the soil moist for several weeks to encourage root growth. Higher humidity is also helpful—you can use a plastic bag to create a humidity dome.

Other propagation options

I have also really enjoyed propagating pothos cuttings in sphagnum moss and perlite, as well as LECA. For moss and perlite, keep the moss mixture damp and the humidity high (with a plastic bag or a DIY plant propagation box).

Once the roots are a few inches long, you can transplant to soil. Roots grown in moss and perlite will suffer less than water roots when transitioning to soil. Yay!

plant cutting rooting in moss and perlite

To propagate a cutting in LECA, check out my guide linked there. But here’s the skinny—wet some LECA and put some in a clear jar. Add the cutting and fill in around it with LECA. Add enough water to reach just under the bottom of the cutting.

The humidity will encourage amazing root growth! I’ve loved rooting plants in LECA lately. I have some cebu blue pothos rooting in LECA right now, and the roots are looking really amazing.

cebu blue pothos rooting in LECA
cebu blue pothos rooting in LECA

Pearls and jade fertilizer needs

I will be honest—I do not really fertilize my plants that much. At least as of writing this. I have burned some plants in the past from over-fertilizing, so last year in 2020 I decided to start working organic worm castings in to my routine for additional nutrients.

When I pot up a new plant or repot a plant, I simply throw a scoop or two of worm castings in from a big bag I got from a local nursery. It has lasted me sooo long! If I’m not repotting, I just work the castings into the top inch or two of soil with a fork.

If you do want to use fertilizer on your pearls and jade, this plant is not a heavy feeder. Use a diluted houseplant fertilizer every month or so during the spring and summer. Don’t fertilize your plants in the fall or winter when they aren’t really growing that much.

closeup shot of a highly variegated pearls and jade pothos leaf

Are pearls and jade pothos safe for pets?

Pothos plants in general are mildly toxic to pets. Ingesting them can lead to nausea, drooling, GI issues, vomiting, etc. Luckily this plant looks lovely high up on a shelf or hanging from the ceiling!

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Brittany Goldwyn
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