Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum) are wonder plants: low-mainteinance and hard to kill, they are ideal for indoor gardening beginners.
If you are just starting out and want a group of easy houseplants, pothos come in several beautiful varieties. Best of all, the hardy pothos can live in low to medium-low light environments. Although the Pothos is technically a flowering plant, don't expect any blossoms: they only flower under ideal conditions in the wild once they grow to around 40 feet.
Scroll to the bottom for the choicest Pothos cultivars
Pothos look great in hanging baskets and on high shelves because its long, trailing stems make for a showy effect. The stems can be left to hang but they are supple enough to be trained around poles and trellises for vertical structure. Under the right conditions, some Pothos can grow stems more than 10 feet long so you can train them across walls in a fanning effect.
As well as normal roots, the Pothos can produce aerial roots depending on environmental conditions. Aerial roots are roots that grow above ground and allow the plant to cling from high places as well as to absorb air moisture. Drier soil conditions, high air humidity, and providing a vertical structure like a moss pole may encourage aerial root growth on your Pothos.
Although the pothos is very forgiving, providing ideal conditions will reward you with a much more vigorous plant. Here are some tips on pothos care.
A good potting mixture for Pothos is two parts indoor plant soil mixture to one part perlite and one part coarse sand. This will give the plant the correct balance between drainage and moisture retention.
The Pothos does best in slightly acidic soil. There's a simple home test for soil pH - all you need is baking powder.
Get a small sample of the soil. Add in half a cup of water and mix thoroughly. Add half a cup of baking powder and mix. If you see bubbles or fizzing in the soil then the soil is acid. The more bubbles, the more acidic the soil.
You can increase the acidity of soil by mixing in peat moss or leaf mold. Adjust the soil mix until it fizzes slightly in the baking powder test.
You don't need to worry too much about getting the temperature right. Most indoor environments are warm enough for the pothos.
Green pothos without any cream or white streaks will tolerate north-facing, low-light situations. However, they will do better next to a west or east-facing window that lets in filtered light through a net curtain or the leaves of an outside tree. Direct sunlight will scorch the leaves.
White streaked varieties will need more light than green varieties. Place these next to a west or east facing window with filtered light. Without enough light, they will lose their beautiful color contrast and eventually die.
Like most houseplants, the pothos will do best in high humidity - between 40-60 % and even 70 % for the neon pothos.
Unlike fussier species, however, they won't wilt at the first sign of dryness in the air. Pothos will be fine with a regular water bottle spray.
These plants definitely don't need frequent watering. Stick your finger half way into the pot and if you feel that the soil is completely dry to this point, you should water.
Water by holding the soil under a running tap until water is running through the drainage holes. Leave the pot to sit on a dry surface to let any excess moisture leave the soil.
Pothos are not easy to kill but one surefire way of doing so is to over-water. Pothos soil should not be soggy or completely moist all the time.
Use all-purpose balanced fertilizer every four to six weeks to maintain bright leaves and healthy growth. Your pothos does not need a lot of nutrients so be very sparing with your fertilizer application.
Only apply the fertilizer during the spring and summer months.
Popular pothos varieties
Pothos come in different varieties - all have slightly different leaf shapes, colors, and sizes. They have similar care needs but just remember to give the variegated types a bit more light.
This is the most common type of pothos. It is known as devil's ivy, perhaps for its invasive tendencies in some regions. The foliage is a deep green with yellow streaks. It is known as one of the easiest houseplants to keep alive. Even under low light it will retain its green and yellow variegation and is drought tolerant.
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This cream-streaked pothos is slightly more difficult to care for than the others. The variegated leaves mean that it needs more light because the cream sections do not contain chlorophyll, the molecule that allows plants to photosynthesize. Without enough sunlight, the plant will lose its striking color contrast.
Still, because it's a pothos, even this variety can tolerate lower levels of light than many other houseplants. It will wilt if exposed to direct sunlight.
A genetic mutation of the Marble Queen. Its leaves are smaller than other Porthos and they are slightly crinkled. This variety is slower growing and more compact too, making it suited for small spaces.
Neon Pothos is a fast-growing vibrant lime green plant that will pop in your plant collection. Place near an east or west-facing window to make sure the color stays strong. This variety has a particular liking for high humidity and temperature.