- TEMPERATURE: 60 – 80 degrees F (16 – 27 degrees C)
- LIGHT: Moderate to bright, indirect
- HUMIDITY: Low
- SAFETY: Toxic to people, dogs and cats
- DIFFICULTY: Easy
Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), also known as Devil’s Ivy or Golden Pothos, is one of the best houseplants for beginners. It was one of the first plants I ever owned and successfully kept alive. Tolerance of a wide range of lighting and humidity is one reason for its popularity.
This beautiful foliage plant produces trailing or climbing vines and large, heart-shaped leaves that create a tropical effect. It’s equally lovely in a hanging basket or with the stems trained to trail down furniture or around the room.
Pothos vines reach up to 8 feet (2.4 m) in length and individual leaves reach up to 6 inches (15 cm). The leaves start out green but develop irregular yellow variegation as they grow. Some varieties have white markings instead of yellow.
Over-watering is one of the only big mistakes you can make with Pothos. It can’t stand water-logged soil, and it always tolerates dryness better than too much water.
Allow soil to dry within 1 inch (2.5 cm) of the surface between waterings. I insert my finger into the soil to the first knuckle. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to water. If it still feels moist, I wait another day and test the soil again.
Pothos tolerates normal household humidity levels well, and has no special requirements in this category. There’s no need to place it near a humidifier, mist it, or place on a humidity tray.
However, you can keep your Pothos near other plants with higher humidity requirements and it will be fine. It can even tolerate a daily misting or being near a humidifier. It’s not a fussy plant, which makes it easy to grow in most situations.
Feed your Pothos plant once every two weeks in spring through fall with a balanced houseplant fertilizer. In winter, reduce feeding to once a month.
My favorite houseplant fertilizer is Jack’s All-Purpose, but any all-purpose food will work. (Read my review of Jack’s Fertilizer to see why I love it so much.) I use it on all my houseplants, except those that need special nutrients like cacti and succulents.
In my experience, Pothos can tolerate low light situations – but growth will be much slower and the beautiful variegated leaf pattern will not appear. For the best results, place in bright, indirect light for most of the day to encourage fast growth.
My Pothos sits in an east-facing windowsill where it gets a few hours of direct sun in the morning and bright, indirect light the rest of the day. It thrives in this location. Before I moved it here, it struggled to grow in a window under an awning that only provided low light.
Warning: Too much direct sun will burn the leaves, so be careful! Bright, indirect light for six to eight hours a day is best.
Pothos thrives in average indoor room temperatures of 60 – 80 degrees F (16 – 27 degrees C). Never allow the temperature to drop below 60 degrees F (16 degrees C) at night.
Repot your Pothos plants once a year in spring, as needed. Move to a slightly larger pot each time (no larger than 2 inches/5 cm larger than the previous pot). Always choose a pot that’s close to the size of the root ball to prevent over-watering the plant.
To control the size of larger plants, do not repot. Prune them back instead (see Maintenance section below).
Use a well-draining potting mix formulated for houseplants. I like this one by Happy Frog but any good-quality potting mix will work. Allow the soil to dry completely before watering again after repotting Pothos. This plant prefers dry conditions as it recovers from the move.
The easiest way to propagate Pothos is to use severed stem tips as cuttings. A great time to do this is during your annual pruning. Root the stem cuttings in a small pot of soil, or place them in water to root and then pot.
Prune your Pothos plant once or twice a year to keep it bushy and full. Cut back some of the vines to within about 2 inches (5 cm) of the soil, and shorten others by cutting them back to any point (up to a third of the stem’s length).
Clean your plant’s leaves occasionally to keep them free of dust, hair, and other debris. Never use leaf shine products on Pothos (or any other houseplant for that matter). See my post on how to clean your houseplant’s leaves for more information.
Here are some common problems indoor gardeners often have with Pothos and solutions:
- Pothos Leaves Stay Green – If your Pothos leaves are not displaying the variegated yellow or white pattern as they grow, the plant is not getting enough bright light. Move it to a location that receives more light or place under artificial light for part of the day.
- Leggy Growth – If your pothos is getting leggy, you can encourage it to be more bushy by pruning back the stems up to a third of their length. Leggy growth may also be a sign of the plant getting too little sunlight or a nutrient deficiency. Make sure its getting enough bright light and that you’re feeding regularly.
- Small Leaves – It’s normal for new leaves to be smaller after unfurling, but they should grow as they mature. If leaves remain small, this is due to inadequate sunlight, low humidity, or nutrient deficiency. Move to a brighter location, mist daily to increase humidity, and feed your plant using the guidelines above.
Where to Buy Pothos
Because it’s so easy to grow, Pothos is an extremely popular houseplant. You can almost always find it available at local nurseries and big box stores with a garden section like Walmart.
If for some reason you cannot find it locally (of if you want a specific variety like “Neon” or “Marble Queen”), I recommend checking on Etsy. I love buying my houseplants from Etsy because I like supporting small growers instead of large corporate nurseries.
Plus, the quality of the plants I’ve purchased on Etsy have always been top notch. Sellers have a reputation to protect, so they are committed to quality. Click here to see the current listings for Pothos on Etsy. Happy plant shopping!