One of the easiest houseplants to grow, pothos is a tough vining plant that grows in most conditions, including water or dry soil, as well as low light levels. Its slender, flexible stems can grow very long, producing shiny, heart-shape, green leaves all along them. Several varieties offer cream or golden variegation.
With its showy foliage in glossy shades of green, gold, and white, pothos complements any home setting. While it seldom blossoms when planted in a container, this vining houseplant is grown for its heart-shape foliage. In most settings, each leaf can reach up to 4 inches long. When grown outdoors in a tropical environment, pothos transforms into a plant that hardly seems like the indoor version. Once mature, the leaves are often erratically lobed and can reach several feet long and wide.
Pothos Care Must-Knows
Start with a good, moisture-retentive potting mix. While a pothos can tolerate just about any amount of water, it doesn't do as well when water conditions to fluctuate. Ideally, a pothos likes evenly moist soil that dries out slightly between watering. Try to avoid overwatering or allowing the soil to remain soggy. Give your pothos a low dose of fertilizer in spring and summer for a little boost while it is doing its most active growing, but skip the extra nutrients during the winter months.
Most pothos varieties prefer to grow in part shade or bright, indirect light. This yields the lushest plants and prevents them from looking scraggly. However, pothos can tolerate extremely low light; just plan on needing to occasionally trim back the stems when they become long and sparse. In direct, full sun, the leaves are likely to burn and bleach out.
As a pothos continues to grow over the years, it tends to have poor branching and, more often than not, becomes a single, long vine. To get a compact plant, pinch the longer stems to encourage branching from the base. If you have a very long stem already and no new growth from the roots, you can easily start a new plant from a cutting. Simply cut off a piece with at least two leaf nodes and remove the bottom leaf. After three or four weeks, you will see a root beginning to grow just below the leaf. This little bump can be stuck straight into a pot of moist soil or a glass of water, and in a few weeks you will see a new shoot. Pinch this new shoot early to help encourage branching from the base of your plant.
More Varieties of Pothos
Epipremnum aureum is the most widely available form. Its medium green leaves are streaked with gold. Variegation may be less intense in low light.
This variety of Epipremnum aureum has heart-shape leaves heavily variegated with creamy white. It is slightly less vigorous than golden pothos.