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
All of our Standard Planters include a removable drainage plug to give our customers the option of drainage. While no drainage is sometimes preferred for its aesthetic simplicity, we don't recommend this option for beginners as watering mistakes can be hard to rectify.
Whether you choose to use drainage or not, we always recommend using a layer of drainage (such as our Aeration Stones) at the base of the planter. A drainage layer allows the plant's roots access to oxygen in the pockets between the drainage medium, and a lack of drainage can cause anaerobic damage to your plant.
If you decide to utilize the drainage hole for your pot, make sure to include a Plant Saucer beneath your pot to collect excess water. For most plants in standard planters, we recommend watering about once a week. Water the soil mass until water begins pooling in your Plant Saucer.
With no drainage hole, you will need to be more precise in your watering. While we would love to give you a specific measurement of water to provide for your plant, the reality is that a plant's water requirements vary wildly depending on factors such as light exposure and the overall health of the plant. You will need to learn to tell when the plant is thirsty based on how its foliage looks. Droopy foliage is usually the first sign: when your plant looks a little slumped over that's usually a visual indicator that it's thirsty.
The best solution for checking your plant's moisture level, drainage hole of not, is to use a Soil Probe to determine the moisture content of the soil at the bottom of the planter.
Self Watering Planter Instructions
The Self-Watering Planters require a deep and thorough watering of the topsoil after they are first planted. This is important because the roots of the plants first need to grow into the reservoir in order to drink from it. Water your plant from the top for two to four weeks before using the reservoir. During the dormant seasons, or for plants that have slower growing habits, consider top watering for longer.
TEST: After the initial top water period, fill the bottom water reservoir. If the water in the reservoir is absorbed into the planter, 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 plant has started drinking from the reservoir.
RESERVOIR SERVICING: Once the reservoir empties on its own, do not refill the reservoir right away. Similar to how humans need a breath of air between gulps of water, most plants require a drying out period. Allow for the reservoir to empty all the way between watering. All plants are different in their needs so the amount of time the reservoir sits empty will need to be determined, but know that for most plants this period is between 1-3 days.
From here on out, you should rarely topwater the plant while using the reservoir system. Watering from below allows the plant to drink at its own pace, and can help combat certain issues like fungus gnats by allowing the top layer of soil to dry out more. Please note that if your plant's soil dries out too much, it can impair the wicking ability of the Aeration Stones in your planter. If your soil becomes too dry, we recommend giving it a thorough watering.
For more information on our Self Watering Planters include planting instructions, visit our blog post on How to Use Our Self-Watering Pots.
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.
Stainless Steel Pruners
Salts and moisture from potting soil wreaks havoc on cheaper metals. Stainless steel is one of the most durable metals available on a consumer scale, and these heavy duty pruners are built to take a beating. Great for pruning jobs large and small.
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.