PRO TIP: Pothos is a Category II invasive exotic in Florida and should not be planted in outdoor landscapes.
Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), also known as Devil's Ivy, is a lovely trailing houseplant with hardy oblong green leaves. This plant can be found on many favorite houseplants lists because it is easy to care for, can be trained to grow as you wish, and can tolerate lower light conditions.
Pothos thrives in bright but indirect light, however this plant will also comfortably adapt to low and medium light spaces. Growth will be slower in these conditions but the plant should remain healthy. It can even adapt to fluorescent lights, making it a fabulous office plant and a rare trailing plant that can survive in low light.
These plants are amenable to almost any lighting conditions provided there is some sort of light present, but if you're curious about the lighting conditions in your home of office, we have a guide for how to measure light in your space.
Pothos vines have been measured reaching 70 feet in the wild, but they can also be trained to climb up surfaces instead of trail! Frequent misting helps the vines attach to a stake or trellis by promoting aerial root growth and the increased humidity also keeps the foliage looking its best.
PRO TIP: The genus name comes from the Greek epi, meaning upon, and premnon meaning a trunk, in reference to its growing on tree trunks.
Always be sure to assess your plant’s watering needs upon receiving it. Before giving your plant a drink, it is best to check the moisture level in the soil first to ensure it isn’t moist right beneath the surface. Also, consider aerating the soil of your plant before the initial watering. We compact the soil to avoid shifting during transit, so aerating can help the soil breathe and allow moisture to be released.
In bright light, Pothos appreciates a watering when the soil has dried half way through the pot. In low and medium light spaces, it is best to allow the soil to dry almost all the way through the pot, but do not let the plant sit dry for extended periods. A good indication of your plant needing water is when the foliage begins to wilt. It is best to water just as it begins to wilt (not after it has collapsed), and always be sure to feel the soil in addition to visually monitoring the plant.
Rotate your plant periodically to ensure even growth on all sides and dust the leaves often so the plant can photosynthesize efficiently. When dusting the leaves, also take the opportunity to inspect the undersides and keep an eye out for pests.
Frequently Asked Questions
Help! My Pothos is turning yellow!
- Most often yellowing occurs due to over or underwatering. If you see a combination of yellow and brown on the same leaf, it is likely due to overwatering. If you're noticing yellow leaves, along with some brown crispy spots on additional leaves, then the cause could be underwatering. Check in with the soil to determine if it matches your diagnosis.
There are leafless brown growths coming off of my Pothos. Is that normal?
- Yes! These are called aerial roots and they are totally normal. In nature, this is what helps give support to the plant and also allows it to climb and reach more light. The roots will not damage walls or surfaces, and you can always prune them if they get unruly.
How can I train my Pothos to climb up a stake or trellis?
- Gently wrap and weave the plant up the stake or trellis, attaching the vines if necessary with string — but be cautious not to tie too tightly. Continue caring for the plant as usual, but introduce misting to the foliage of the plant. Added humidity in the air increases the production of roots along the vine that will will attach the plant to the stake or trellis. Eventually the plant will grow upwards on its own and you can remove the string if desired.
My Pothos has gotten way too long. What can I do?
- Prune it back! These guys are very hardy and can handle a good trim. You can also propoate your plant by placing the cuttings in water. You can either leave them in water, or when a substantial amount of roots grow you can transfer the cuttings to soil.
How do I know if my pothos has root rot?
- Root rot can be caused by overwatering conditions when roots die back due to lack of oxygen. Root rot can also be caused by fungus living in the soil that may suddenly flourish due to overwatering. One obvious sign your pothos has root rot is its leaves will slowly begin to wilt and yellow even though the soil is moist, or, if you check the roots, they may feel soggy and look brown or black. If you suspect your plant has root rot, DO NOT OVERWATER.
How do I deal with root rot?
- This may sound harsh, but the most effective method to deal with root rot is to throw out the plant. If you decide to keep it, you must reduce soil moisture! Only provide enough to fulfill the plants water needs without causing stressful drought conditions nor overwatering.
What can I use to treat root rot?
- Once the soil has completely dried out, water the plant with hydrogen peroxide (1 cup H2O2 for every 1 gallon of H2O). Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) has one more oxygen than a water molecule and causes oxidation. Some bacteria and fungus cannot survive in oxidized (aerobic) environments and prefer anaerobic conditions.
How often should I fertilize my plant?
- In general, house plants will thrive when they are fertilized spring through fall. Fertilize once a month with an organic houseplant fertilizer, following the package instructions for dilution and administration. Greenery NYC uses an organic potting mix with a slow release fertilizer in the soil, so your plant will not need fertilizer within the first 6 months of receiving it.
Will pothos flower?
Pothos doesn't flower indoors, since it's not able to grow out of its juvenile phase inside. Pothos will only grow into their adult phase outdoors in full sunlight. Once this happens, they'll begin to produce a number of flower stalks with a cream spathe marked with purple surrounding the spadix, very similar in appearance to an Anthurium flower.
How often does my plant need to be repotted?
- For smaller desktop plants, we suggest repotting once every 12-18 months. Typically you want to choose a potting vessel 1”- 2” larger in diameter to allow for growth. Don’t choose a pot much larger than the previous as this could drown the plant's roots. If you prefer to maintain the current size of your plant, repot into the same vessel, providing new soil and trimming away some roots and foliage. Spring or summer is the ideal time to repot as the plant is at its strongest.
- For larger floor plants, we suggest repotting every 18-24 months. Typically you want to choose a potting vessel 2”- 4” larger in diameter to allow for growth. Don’t choose a pot much larger than the previous as this could drown the plants roots. If you prefer to maintain the current size of your plant, repot into the same vessel, providing new soil and trimming away some roots and foliage. Spring or summer is the ideal time to repot as the plant is at its strongest.
The reality of pothos is they do well in almost any container, drainage hole or not. They're very thirsty plants, which can sometimes lead to overwatering and, consequently, root rot. Our self watering planters take the guesswork out of watering, and allow you to see how much water the pothos is taking in by simply lifting up the top container and checking the reservoir. Self watering containers are great for people who sometimes forget to water as they provide for a reserve water source.
Standard Planter Instructions
There are two types of standard planters offered by Greenery Unlimited—those with drainage holes, and those without. Within these two categories are an array of sizes and styles to choose from. The presence of drainage holes and the size of the planted vessel both play a role in the quantity and frequency of water given to your plant.
Plants purchased in pots without a drainage hole have been set up with a built-in drainage system. A layer of Aeration Stones (porous, absorbent material made of recycled clay) has been placed beneath the soil to act as a reservoir for any excess water that flows through the soil. You will need to be slightly more cautious not to pour too much water into these containers as there is no way for the excess water to escape. We suggest slowly pouring small amounts of water in bit by bit, until you have reached the desired moisture level in the soil.
For plants potted with drainage, water until the excess begins to come out the bottom of the pot and into the catch tray.
Self Watering Container Instructions
The self-watering containers require a deep and thorough watering of the topsoil after they are first placed. This is important because the roots of the plants first need to grow into the reservoir in order to drink from it. Follow the standard planter instructions for at least four weeks, before testing the reservoir. During the dormant seasons, or for plants that have slower growing habits, consider top watering for up to ten weeks.
TEST: After the initial top water period, fill the water reservoir until the red indicator reaches half way between the MAX and MIN line. If the indicator goes down over the first few days, it means the plant is ready for regular reservoir servicing. If not, be sure to continue top watering for a few more weeks, until the red indicator goes down, meaning the plant has started drinking from the reservoir.
RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the indicator goes down, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, almost all plants require a drying out period. Always allow for the reservoir to empty all the way, and after a drying out period of a few days, be sure to refill it until the indicator reaches the MAX line.
From here on out, you should NEVER topwater the plant while using the reservoir system. If you water from the top, it can drown the plant. In the Self Watering Container, the top layer of soil will eventually become extremely dry and hard, and may even pull away from the edges of the pot. This is not a cause for concern, but simply because the plant is drinking directly from its roots in the water reservoir. You may opt for adding fresh soil into the gaps between the soil and planter, so as to give the plant a nutrient boost. You may annually, or bi annually, top water the plant to flush the foot system. Only do so when the reservoir is empty and the plant is ready for more water.
Step 1: Top water for four to ten weeks. The indicator will look empty, like the picture above.
Step 2: Fill the reservoir until the red indicator reaches the MAX line.
Step 3: Watch the indicator over the next day or two. If it goes down on its own, it means the roots of the plant have grown into the reservoir. From here on out, ONLY water into the reservoir.
Aeration Stones promote healthy root growth by creating air pockets in the soil and absorbing excess water in the basin of your planter. These porous clay stones are a natural, efficient and invaluable material to set your plant up for success. We always suggest using these when working with a planter without drainage holes.
We've tried countless pruners over the years, and none surpass the ARS. Our team uses these pruners daily for all manor of indoor and outdoor plant work and we'll never go back to another brand.
Neem Oil is an all purpose insecticide, miticide, and fungicide used for organic gardening. It's systemic, which means the plant will absorb the neem oil into its circulatory system and poison pests from within. Be careful not to overuse, as this can weaken plants and cause discoloration.
Plants do poorly without air to the roots. Overwatering causes the air to be pushed out of the soil, compacting the soil around the waterlogged roots of the plant. Using the Soil Probe aerates the soil as it checks for moisture.
Watering cans come in all shapes and sizes, and the perfect one for your home is the one you're happiest living with. Look for long spouts and a container volume that's appropriate for your plant collection.
Fox Farm Ocean Forest contains all the features we look for when aiming to ensure the long term health of a plant: excellent water retention, breathability, texture, and is made from organic materials.
10-4-3 fertilizer is a great, gentle choice for indoor foliage. Simply mix this in to your watering can using the supplied directions every other week. Ensure that your plant is receiving a good amount of light, otherwise it won't have the energy to process the nutrients and burnt tips may occur on the foliage.