Plants 101

How to Care for a Pothos Plant

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) may be one of the easiest plants to grow, but if you’re taking this variety or one of its cultivars into your home, you’ll still want to have a few plant-care tips and tricks up your sleeve. Read our guide for recommendations on watering, lighting, and more.

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The Pothos, or Epipremnum aureum, has the reputation of being one of the easiest houseplants to take care of. Its common name comes from the genus it was once classified under—Pothos aureus—and, in addition to the classic jade green Pothos, there are a few different cultivars you can look out for. These include the Golden Pothos, which is known for its heart-shaped green leaves with yellow variegation; the lime-green Pothos Neon; and the Pothos Marble Queen, featuring deeper green and white variegation.

The Pothos is particularly fitting for indoor settings because it is able to filter gaseous toxins like formaldehyde from the air. Plus, it is a climber: In its native Southeast Asia, due to its aerial root system, it is known to overgrow forest floors and tree trunks. You can help it grow vertically in the home by using a coco coir pole and in good indoor conditions, it can trail up to 10 feet long and grow leaves that are four to eight inches.

How much sunlight does a Pothos need?

Pothos plants thrive in bright, indirect light, but they can tolerate medium to low indirect light, for instance, in north-facing homes or during cooler seasons with shorter days. This plant is not suited for intense, direct sun, which will burn and brown its leaves.

How often should you water a Pothos?

Water your Pothos every 1-2 weeks, allowing soil to dry out between waterings. Expect to water more often in brighter light and less often in lower light. Some signs of overwatering include yellowing leaves and black stems, while underwatered plants will wilt and their potting mix will dry out.

Do Pothos need humidity?

Pothos can get by with normal or even dry air, but if you want to make them feel truly at home, you can increase humidity levels: aim for the 50-70% they would receive in their native Tropics.

What temperature does a Pothos prefer?

Most houseplants prefer temperatures in the 65°F-85°F range (18°C-30°C). If you choose to keep your home cooler than that, try not to let it get below 60°F (15°C).

How big does a Pothos get?

In the wild, Pothos plants can grow up to 60 feet (18 meters) while climbing up trees; in non-tropical outdoor climates, they can grow up to 20 feet (6 meters); and indoors, they generally vine six to 10 feet (1.8 to 3 meters). Their leaves, which can grow 3 feet (one meter) long or more in the wild, indoors will typically grow four to eight inches (10-20 centimeters).

Can you propagate a Pothos?

Along with other aroids, Pothos plants can be easily propagated in water.

Are Pothos easy to care for?

Yes! The Pothos is an easygoing plant great for beginners. There is not much else you will need to think about aside from optimizing the lighting and watering conditions as recommended above. If you happen to encounter houseplant pests, treat them as soon as they appear with weekly sprays of a natural pesticide like neem oil and regular wipe-downs of the plant. You can additionally incorporate a well-draining potting mix, adding ingredients such as perlite or lava rocks to increase aeration.

Are Pothos safe for pets?

Pothos can be irritating to cats, dogs, and humans if foliage is consumed. We advise keeping houseplants out of reach of small children and pets.


Words By The Sill

Empowering all people to be plant people—a collection of articles from The Sill’s team of plant experts across a variety of plant care topics to inspire confidence in the next generation of plant parents. Welcome to Plant Parenthood™.

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