In this post, I’ll share my secrets on how to make pothos fuller, healthier, and bushier! And the best part is it’s a lot easier than you think.
Do you have a scraggly, leggy pothos plant?
I had the same problem with my pothos. It was growing a couple long vines, but it wasn’t become bushy and full like the beautiful pictures I’d seen of the plant. After a lot of trial and error, I finally figured out the problem (and how to fix it).
The best way to make pothos fuller is to prune it twice a year in spring and fall. Pruning stimulates new growth and removes the longer vines that make your plant appear leggy and less full.
Clip some of the vines back to within 2 inches (5 cm) of the soil. Shorten other vines by cutting them off at random points. I try to clip them off where they appear most scraggly or the leaves are the smallest.
Use a sharp pair of gardening shears to prune your pothos. (I use this small pair for my houseplants and it works great for jobs like this.) And make sure you always sterilize your shears before working with another plant – just in case. You don’t want to spread any pests or disease.
Never remove more than 1/3 of the plant when pruning. I usually just clip off the very long and scraggly vines and remove any damaged leaves. Then I’ll choose one or two of the worst vines to clip back to within 2 inches (5 cm) of the soil.
Repeat this process in spring and fall, and you’ll have a fuller pothos in no time!
Combining Plants or Cuttings
Another thing you can do to make pothos fuller instantly is to combine two or more plants. If you have a few cuttings or smaller plants, simply plant two or three in a single pot.
I know. This isn’t really helpful if you only have a single plant with a leggy vine or two. But you can make it work if you take a cutting from your current plant. Here’s what to do:
- Clip off a 4 – 6 inch (10 – 15 cm) portion of a healthy stem with at least four leaves on it.
- Remove the leaf that’s closest to the end you just cut off.
- Place the cut end into a jar of water. I use an old Mason jar, but any old jar or glass will work fine.
- Put the jar in a windowsill or somewhere that gets a lot of bright, indirect light. But avoid direct sunlight.
- After a few weeks, roots should sprout from the stem. Now you can plant the cutting in your pot with your other pothos plant to increase the fullness.
After your cutting roots, treat it as you would any other houseplant. Pothos is one of the easiest plants to propagate from cuttings, and this method is almost foolproof. You can root two or three cuttings at once if you really want to bulk up your pot.
Although pruning is the best thing you can do to make your plant bushy, it may also grow scraggly or leggy with improper care. Are you certain you’re caring for your plant properly?
The following chart shows best practices for a thriving pothos plant.
|Light||Bright, indirect light. Place in a sunny east- or west-facing window or under artificial lights if you can’t provide enough natural light.|
|Temperature||Average room temperatures of 60 – 80 degrees F (15 – 26 degrees C) are best. Never allow temperatures to drop below 60 degrees F (15 degrees F).|
|Humidity||Pothos tolerates normal household humidity levels well. I sometimes mist mine when I’m misting other nearby plants, but this is not required for optimal growth.|
|Water||Allow soil to dry within 1 inch (2.5 cm) of the surface between waterings. Over-watering will kill this plant quickly. It tolerates dryness better than too much water.|
|Fertilizer||Feed once every two weeks in spring through fall with a balanced houseplant fertilizer. In winter, reduce feeding to once a month.|
See my Indoor Pothos Plant Care Guide for more information on proper care.
In my experience, the most common care-related reason for the plant growing leggy is not providing enough light. Although it can tolerate lower light, pothos really needs moderate bright light to thrive and become fuller.
If you think your plant’s scraggly growth is due to inadequate light, consider using artificial plant lights. Pothos does very well under flourescent light for six to eight hours a day.
Stake or Trellis
As I explained in this article about pothos leaves, another way to make pothos fuller is to train the plant to climb up a stake or trellis. Pothos leaves grow larger when the vines climb upward instead of cascading down.
And larger leaves = a fuller looking plant.
Simply place a stake or houseplant trellis in the center of the pot. Be careful not to damage any leaves or steams. Then gently wind the wines around the stake or through the trellis. As the plant grows, it will begin to climb up.
As you can see in the pictures above, when the vines climb up the stake, more stems can grow from the bottom of the plant. This takes a while, but you’ll eventually get a fuller looking plant. You might consider using a trellis AND planting a few cuttings around the bottom.
How to Make Pothos Fuller
Pruning your plant twice a year using the proper technique is the best way to make pothos fuller. Training it to climb up a stake or trellis may also improve its appearance, but proper care is probably more important than that.
And you can always combine plants or take cuttings and plant them in with your current plants. This might be the fastest solution, but you still need to provide proper care and pruning for the cuttings after you plant them.
Pothos is an easy plant to grow, and with some care and attention you can get the bushy, full plant you want. Sometimes we just have to troubleshoot if our plant isn’t doing as well as we’d like. But don’t give up! If I can do it, so can you!