The Ultimate Guide to Pothos Plant Care [+Free Care Pages!]

Pothos, or Epipremnum aureum, is a fantastic plant for anyone wanting a little more green in their home… It is one of the easiest tropical plants to grow and I recommend it to everyone. Especially to those who think that they can’t grow anything. Pothos is also listed as one of NASA’s top list of plants that clean the air! And if that isn’t enough, here are also some awesome tips to help you with your pothos plant care. Enjoy!

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Pothos Vine Care: Light Requirements

There are many different types of Pothos, or devil’s ivy, that are sold in garden centers today. The most common ones are:

  • Golden Pothos (green with a yellow pattern)
  • Marble Queen Pothos (green with a white pattern)
  • Jade Pothos (simply, but elegantly green)
  • N’Joy (a variegated white and green leaf)
  • Pearls and Jade (similar to N’Joy but usually has more white along the outside edges)
  • Neon Pothos (a fun, bright green variety)
  • Cebu blue (an Epipremnum pinnatum, with long, blue-green leaves)

As it goes, the brighter the leaf, the more bright indirect light it needs. The darker leaves can withstand lower light levels, but if you want larger leaves, then give it more light!

For example, Neon would like the brightest light, then Marble Queen, Golden, and finally Jade doesn’t do well in too bright light. However, all Pothos varieties can still grow and do well in low light conditions. They will just eventually lose their colors and all start to look like the normal Jade Pothos when in low light conditions. This is totally fine, but if you are absolutely devastated that the colors are leaving, then just move it to a brighter location.

One thing to remember with lighting, though, is that Pothos does not like to be in direct sunlight! This will cause the leaves to start looking dull and they may even turn a pale-yellow color. This is a sign of a “plant sunburn” from too much light. So adjust accordingly. If your pothos is losing its variegation and colors, then this is a sign of too little light. However, if your plant is turning a pale yellow, too much light. Simple, right?!

Pothos Vine Care: Water Requirements

As for watering, pothos plants can be easier than most indoor plants, but there are a few points to consider. This is because pothos can do well growing in a pot with soil, or can grow in straight water! But if your plant has been living in soil, you don’t want to put it in straight water and vice versa. These plants adapt very well so if it’s in soil, then only water when the top inch of soil has dried. Too much water and they will start to rot. But if it’s in water, then keep it in water and just make sure that the water is changed out every two weeks.

Pothos plants can adjust from water to soil, but they need to be well-watered during this transition.

If your leaves are a bright yellow color, then your plant is too dry. You can let the leaves get a little wilted before watering, but if they curl or turn yellow, then you’ve waited too long. On the flip side, if your plant’s new and older growth turns black, then this is a sign that it is either being over-watered, or that the air temperature is too low. (They don’t like being in air colder than about 50° F.)

Pothos Vine Care: Fertilizer & Pot Choice

Remember that Pothos in soil like to get a bit root-bound, so don’t re-pot it until the roots have filled out the container. They can also be fertilized once every two to three months during the summer. Only be careful because too much fertilizer (large amounts every week) can cause stunted growth. Personally, I feel that Pothos generally grows fast enough and doesn’t need any additional fertilizer, but it is really up to you. If you want a plant with huge, 2 foot leaves, then it’ll need fertilizer and plenty of light.

Also, make sure that your pot has at least one good drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. This is recommended for all houseplants as excess water can pool at the bottom of your pot, causing root rot, which is one of the few ways this plant could potentially die. If you tend to have problems with knowing when to water your pothos, I would recommend using a self-watering pot.

Quick story with this self-watering pot… One day last year I came home with two 3″ pothos (a golden and a marble queen). I placed them both in my office, and loved them so much! But a few weeks after purchasing, I received a few self-watering pots in the mail. So, my golden pothos ended up getting placed in a self-watering pot directly underneath my plant light, while my marble queen was left in her 6″ pot near the light, but not directly under it…

Fast forward about three months, and my golden pothos was DOUBLE the size of my marble queen!

This just shows how much a plant light and a self-watering pot can do to make your plant LOVE YOU!!!

*Update: Since this experiment, I have switched my marble queen to a self-watering pot, and she is starting to grow like crazy too, even though it’s winter time (aka NOT the typical growing season!)*

Pothos Vine Care: Pruning Tips

A lot of people also have a hard time keeping their Pothos from becoming too long and thin. We want a bushy-looking, full trailing vine. This only comes with regular trimming. Simply cut off the ends of the vines every month or so. You can either re-pot them in a light potting mix, such as vermiculite, or simply grow them in a glass of water. This will not only make your plant look healthy and vibrant, but will also give you plenty more little Pothos plants to add into your home!

Pothos Vine Care: Propagation

Pothos vines are one of the easiest houseplants to propagate due to its aerial roots and fast growth rate. For information on how to propagate your pothos, (and how to get PERFECT stem cuttings…) check out my post on Pothos Propagation!

Be aware: This plant is toxic to pets and children who may ingest large quantities of plant material. It isn’t fatal, but it may cause irritation and vomiting. It may also cause a skin rash for some people who have very highly sensitive skin. Check out my list of plants that are toxic to pets, as well as my list of non-toxic houseplants!

Well there are my tips! I hope you decide to pick up one of these little guys, or root out your own cutting! They are seriously one of the easiest houseplants to grow, and are great for those who want a low-maintenance, low-light option!

Happy Digging!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do Pothos Plants Need a lot of Sunlight?

Yes and no. If you are okay with your leaves losing their yellow or white markings, then they will be just fine in low-light conditions. However, if you want your pothos to grow faster, and keep its beautiful colorings, then it will need enough light to keep it happy. This means lots of bright, indirect sunlight, as hot, direct sunlight can potentially burn your pothos vines.

How do you make Pothos Happy?

The easiest way to make a pothos happy is to stick it in a self-watering pot in an east- or west-facing window. They also love bright bathrooms where they can enjoy high humidity levels. (Just make sure there isn’t too much sun in the hot afternoons!)

Why are Pothos Leaves turning Yellow?

Yellow leaves are usually a sign of either too little water, or too little sunlight. This is the plant’s way of coping with an unfavorable environment. To fix this, simply increase your watering (to have moist soil that only slightly dries out between watering). You can also move it to a location with more light, or consider bringing in additional lighting, such as fluorescent lighting or LED lights that are made for indoor plants.

Do Pothos like to be Watered?

Yes, pothos like to be watered. But make sure that you have good drainage in your pot so that any excess water can flow out of your pot. Then let the soil lightly dry out in between watering. This means that you will naturally water less in the winter months and more in the summer months. If you aren’t sure about watering, grab a Soil Water Meter!

Should I mist my Pothos?

Misting a pothos is generally unnecessary. However, in the winter months, indoor air can be dry and your plant can become dusty. These dry, dusty conditions can attract spider mites. If you see these insects, then definitely start misting (as well as treating with an insecticidal soap). This is because spider mites DO NOT like to be wet!

How do you tell if Pothos is Overwatered?

First, your soil will be wet. If you can press the top of the soil, and water appears, then there is too much water! Next, your pothos will be wilted, and there can possibly be brown spots on the leaves or stems that feel mushy to the touch. Your plant will also feel somewhat fat because the leaves are filled with water. Make sure your pot has drainage holes, and that your soil feels slightly dry to the touch every 5 days or so.

How do you Train a Pothos to Climb?

Pothos vines have aerial roots that will only grow into moist, natural materials. This is something like a moss pole, or in nature, a tree trunk. To get a pothos to climb indoors, however, simply use plant ties, command hooks, or even pieces of string to train your pothos up any vertical support.

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70 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Pothos Plant Care [+Free Care Pages!]”

  1. So if I wanted a more bushy plant could I take a vine and circle it in the pot and it root? Does it work like that?

    • Hi Sarah! Yes. This would work! This is actually what a lot of people do for string of pearls plants too! If you aren’t cutting it, just make sure that the leaf nodes have good contact with the soil. Some people even pin their vines down with floral wire, bent paper clips, etc. Good luck with it!

  2. Hi, I bought a pothos plant and potted it, and it looked beautiful. I gave it a little water and set it up on top of my entertainment center in my living room. I have low light in my house, but I do have windows in my kitchen and a screen door on the other side of the entertainment center (north facing). Being a low light plant I figured it would get enough from the screen door. It’s started yellowing, and then browning. Less water, more water, nothing helped. It’s just now dead, on top of my entertainment center. I would like this plant in my house with the air cleaning abilities. Help!

    • Hi Jacki! I’m not sure what happened to your pothos but I think you’d have better luck putting some cuttings in water and growing it as a water plant! Then if you still want to grow in soil, get yourself a soil moisture meter. These are pretty cheap and will tell you exactly when your plant needs more or less water. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

    • Dont repot the plant when you bring it home. Leave it in its nursery container until it is either acclimated or root bound. You can always place the nursery pot inside of a pretty outer pot. Good luck

  3. Can I put pathos cuttings in the same pot with another plant? I have a Peace Lily that looks bare around the bottom and could use a little filler.

  4. Where can I find an appropriate post/trellis for an indoor post that is about 6” diameter to train upward growth? I remember something years ago that was about 2” square and not sure how long maybe 18 to 24 inches long(tall) for the vine to attach to and grow on. It sort of resembled coconut grass for lack of a better word.

  5. Hi,

    I have a beautiful Marble Queen Pothos.

    My issue is when drying out every time after watering, when it needs to be watered again only half the plant droops and needs to be watered and the other half is still stiff per say.

    I have had it for a while in the same nursery pot I bought it in. I replanted because it was very, very root bound..

    Either way it did the same thing in the nursery pot.

    I don’t want to lose this plant that I have had for a very long time

    I need help please!!

    What can I do??

  6. I have a question regarding a yellowing vine/stem. I tried clipping it and placing it in water to re-grow some roots, but it didn’t work. I then switched out the potting soil. I have a nice set of new leaves growing, but that vine is now yellowing again after I planted it in the new dirt. Any suggestions or tips?

    • Jae, usually the yellowing vine is a sign of stress. I would check the water levels and make sure that it isn’t getting too wet or too dry. If your watering is okay, then I would try adding some Indoor Plant fertilizer. If you want to get cuttings, make sure that the vine is a healthy green for it to have enough energy to root. I hope this helps. Let me know how it goes or if you have any further questions! Thank you for reaching out!

  7. I have a rehab Golden Pothos. I’ve been working on it for a while. It had a lot of bare vine. I trim here and there slowly. Will the bare vine ever regrow leaves if left alone. Or should I cut and propagate the bare stem in water to put back into the plant?

    • Hi Megan! From what I’ve heard from others, there might be a chance that your pothos will grow leaves again on the bare vine, but the chances are low. That being said, I think your best plan of action will be to propagate any cuttings that you do take and plant them back into the original pot. Over time this will give you a beautiful, lush top that can then be grown down to the length that you want. This will take time, but the final appearance of the plant will be worth it! 😉

  8. Is it ok to spray my wife’s pothos with a small spray water bottle occasionally? Or is it bad to spray mist on the plant?

    • It is totally fine to spray/mist your pothos plant on occasion. The one thing to be cautious about if you plan on misting, though, is to make sure that your plant’s soil is slightly drying out between watering. If your plant is too wet and then you mist it, this could cause additional problems with root rot. But as long as you’ve got the right watering down, then your plant would love being misted!

  9. Wanted to try the beer thing but can’t get myself to share and one drunk in the house is plenty. Jokes apart I love my pothos they are four in same pot with two of them nearly 10 feet long and foot long leaves at the base, reading all these comments got me worried that I would lose these beauties(leaves), is this automatic or is there a way to prevent it since one comment mentioned 2 feet leaves and another says natural lost of leaves at bottom. Thanks

    • Haha! Good one Michel! As for leaves, the Pothos plant is naturally a vine that grows upward to reach for light. Then, once it gets a good patch, it will lose the leaves below in exchange for the good light it’s getting at the tip. This also works vice versa. So to prevent your vine from losing leaves along the length of the stem, I would suggest making sure they have good lighting from tip to base. Then, if your plant is still shedding mid-vine leaves, try cutting the ends (just the growing tip) to stimulate it into keeping as many leaves as it can instead of shedding them and growing more. Let me know if you have more questions! Happy Digging!

  10. I have one in a jar of water on my windowsill in my kitchen (no direct sunlight). I’ve had the plant for over 40 years! It was in the first apartment I rented, and the landlady allowed me to keep it when I moved out.

  11. I have a plant that I recieved at a bridal shower in 2006. I have been making cuttings from for 13 years. Many I gifted away but many I have kept. I have two large plants that have lived on my front porch for about 5 years in almost full shade. They did okay there but now I have them in partial shade with some direct sun. They are more of a light yellow now but have large leaves and very long vines and alot of new growth. I saw you say the lighter color means too much sun but I am curious why they are doing so well if they are getting too much light? Also how can a plant only be a house plant…didn’t it start outside at some point (serious question). The article is great and I appreciate your thoughts!

    • Laurel,

      Awesome questions! There are two different lighter colors. First, there is lighter colors that come from the new leaves having more variegation (either white, gold, or bright green from neon pothos). Higher variegation comes from an increase in light levels and is what your plants are doing. The other lighter color your leaves can turn is a pale yellow color that comes from sun scorch. This is where the leaves start looking crinkled and semi-transparent in worse cases. This means that your plant is getting too much sun. There is definitely a fine line between better light, and too much hot, direct sunlight. As long as you don’t put them in full sunlight all day long and keep it away from a hot, dry situation they sound to be doing just fine.

      As for your other question… yes, all plants started outdoors at some point. However, as explorers brought exotic plants back form distant lands, some of them could not take the new country’s climate. To protect them, they brought them indoors to a controlled environment. This is how we began to have “indoor” plants. Most of the plants that we consider ‘indoor’ are ones that are from tropical regions. These plants do not survive cold temperatures (and thus need to be kept indoors at least during the winter), as well as quite a few of them (like pothos) are originally an understory plant. This means that they are used to getting plenty of sunlight, but they are used to also being sheltered by the trees above, so they aren’t conditioned to survive hot, direct sunlight. There are also some plants that come from the rainforest or marshland that do well with humidity and these are usually the ones recommended for bathrooms! So all in all, the native habitat where the plant adapted is usually so different from our local environment that they can only survive indoors or with certain protections that mimic their natural environment.

      Sorry this comment is so long! I hope it answered your questions!

  12. I have alot if different house plants, but I can’t get pothos to work for me! Help because I love it. Everytime I get one, we are growing along fine and then it gets this white kind of mold stuff on it. Any thoughts?

    • Dawn, this sounds like powdery mildew. The biggest cause of powdery mildew is not letting your soil dry out enough. First make sure that you don’t buy any plants with even a light dusting of powder. Then make sure that you let the top 1 inch of soil dry out before you water next. Also try to not get the leaves wet when you water. If you still get powdery mildew, you can apply a fungicide to the leaves to kill all of the fungus that is attacking your plant. I hope this helps you to be able to keep one of these awesome plants!

  13. I am new to growing Pothos and want to try a little miracle grow on it but I know Pothos don’t use much water so the 1/2tsp of MG to one gallon of water it too much. What is a good ratio to do for a Pothos plant ?

    • What I do is I clean out a gallon milk or water jug, then I fill it with water and the 1/2 tsp fertilizer. Then I water as much as my pothos wants, then I store it under my sink. Then every 2 weeks or so I pull it out and water with my fertilizer water. This way you don’t have to mix it every time!

  14. Hello – I have an awesome Pothos at work – it’s become a “Landmark” it has 3 very long vines (3-5 ft long) that have been creating a “jungle” feel through the cubicles and also new, bunchy growth at the pot producing new vines. Everyone loves the long vines, I would like to keep them going. However the leaves at the base of the longer vines turn yellow and fall off, so now there are at least a foot of bare vines at the base but thriving new leave at the ends. Is this natural fall off? I’m certain it’s not overwatered and I just now replanted into a larger pot with good drainage. There is a dimmed skylight on top, and normal office lighting, but the yellow is only affecting the longer vines starting from the bottom up. How can I save them? Thank you so much!

    • This is the natural growth habit. As the vines get longer they will lose their leaves creating bare patches. I suggest you take a cutting or two off of each long vine. Then root the cutting (you can find directions on my propagating pothos vine post) and pot it back in with the originals. Hopefully by taking the cuttings it will stimulate the vine enough to keep its lower leaves but it isn’t always avoidable. But continuallt propagating the ends of what you do have will eventually give you more and more greenery for your office. I hope this helps!

  15. I have 2 indoor plants and the vines (with no leaves) are growing very long. Is that something I can just clip and put in water to grow roots? Currently the long strands look sort of ugly and don’t have leaves. if I cut them and put in water to root, will they grow leaves? Thank you

    • Irmee, propagating stem cuttings has a lower success rate, but it might still work. Just try to leaves several nodes on the stem and make the cuttings longer (about 12 inches long if possible.) Also, when you trim your pothos, it will automatically trigger it to produce new leaves near the cut. So this will help it to look better! Good luck with it all!

  16. Hi! Im glad i came across this article.. pothos lover here. How long will my clippings stay in water before putting them in dirt?

    • Great question Glaiza! The time it takes to root will depend on the health of your clippings, but it will take several weeks to begin rooting and will take a couple of months for it to form a complex root system. Once the roots have a few side roots on them you can plant them in dirt. I hope this helps!

  17. So glad I came across this article! I had been sticking my pothos on the window ledge in my sun room, and noticed it starting to look miserable. Also, I never thought of creating new plants from my own long strings–even though that’s how I got my plant to begin with. Sheesh! Thank you.

  18. Will pothos leaves grow large–and stem thicker/bigger around–if one lets the vine/stem grow up a porous wood stake?

    • Gary,

      Giving it a wood stake to climb will help it to grow larger. Keep it mind that it will need to be tied to the stake to begin with, but then it will grow to support itself. Also, make sure to provide lots of bright, indirect light and proper fertilizer. These will also help it to grow larger!

    • Hi there,

      Ive seen pothos being planted bare without soil or water in a glass jar (watered once a week), it looks absolutely beautiful!! How to i go about with that? Ive got a pothos plant thats in soil at the moment, can i wash the soil off and simply place it in a jar? Or is it better to propagate it all over again?

    • Jade,

      I would try it with a cutting first and get the hang of how much water it needs before you try it with your entire plant. Also, when you switch over your entire plant, make sure that you wash off all of the soil before you place it in water. Any soil left in the roots can cause root rot. But once again, try a cutting first until you feel confident that you can keep your plant alive. Good luck with it!

  19. I have had lots of these plants and at first they did so well very long and full then all of the sudden, happened multiple times, the middle part of the vine would die (turned hard and dark brown) anyone else have this problem or know why?

    • Did this happen with multiple plants at around the same time, or multiple times with different plants? Without knowing that, I’d say it is either a disease that is causing it, or a natural separation of the stem. If the vine has been left to grow too long, the plant will naturally try to root in a different location. Then it will separate the end of one stem from the rest of the plant. This is how it naturally spreads. Does this help?

  20. What is the difference between pothos and philodendron? Also didn’t see your answer to where to cut when starting a new stem.

    • That’s a great question! Many people get the two confused, though they are from different plant families (Epipremnum vs Philodendron). A couple of things to look for is the Pothos leaf is more of a spade shape, while Philodendron has more of a heart-shaped leaf since the stem cuts more into the leaf. This is the other thing to notice. The Pothos stem curves more into the leaf. Philodendron stems, however, attach at more of a 90 degree angle. I hope this answers your question. And feel free to trim the plant just behind any leaf. There is always a new growing point where the leaf stem attaches to the main stem. Let me know if you have any more questions! Cheers!

    • I have Pothos planted outside in my Florida flower bed, the plant is.huge and was there when we bought the house. It is fairly low to the ground and is spread side to side about 4 ft as well as 4 ft front to back. It is a lovely plant and I want to keep it healthy. My question is should I be thinning this plant out and if so what time of year would be best?

    • With it growing outdoors, the plant will naturally root wherever a leaf node is in contact with the soil! So simply enjoy this amazing plant! And remove any dead matter to keep it disease-free 🙂

    • Hi Miki! You can trim your Pothos as much as you would like (some people like to leave it as a hanging vine, while others like to trim it more to keep it bushier). As to where, make sure that you trim it right after a leaf. This is where any new growth will come from. But trust me, it would be very difficult to mess this up. Pothos are very forgiving plants! 😉

    • You can trim your Pothos wherever you want, but make sure to trim it right after a leaf. This will ensure that your plant has a growing point at the end! I hope this explains your question! Feel free to respond if you have any further questions! 🙂

  21. Someone mentioned growing them out of their fish tank. I add some salt to my tank for my Beta, could I still put a pathos in there?

    • I would be a bit wary of putting it in anything with salt added. Most plants can get damaged from too much salts. But if you only add a small amount of salt, that might be fine. If you want to try it, go ahead, but if your plant is starting to turn brown on the edges, I would take it out. Good luck!

  22. I had no idea that these plants could grow in water. Thanx for letting me know. I have 2 on my wall unit which are trailing up against the wall. They are the easiest plants to grtow. I water mine about once a week.

  23. I tried taking a cutting & putting it in soil without good results. Then I tried rooting it in water & it is doing great. My plan was to then transfer it to soil. Are you saying this won’t work?

    • Janet, it will work, just as long as it hasn’t been growing in water for say 6 months. If the pothos has already developed an amazing root system in water, then it will have a hard time in soil. But if it’s just rooting out your cutting, then transferring to soil, it works great! I do it all the time 🙂

  24. I have recently purchased this plant and transferred it to my pot but Some of the leaves have become slagish I don’t know why and it’s over a week now and the ends are becoming yellow and black . Any advice

    • Nicola, from this limited information, I’d say it’s either watering problems or frostbite. Make sure that it is in a warm location away from any drafts and make sure that the soil is dry between watering. If you just purchased the plant and had to bring it out into cold temperatures to bring it home, it could still be getting over the shock. And if the leaves continue to do this, take some cuttings and put them in water, just in case 😉

    • This most likely means that it is healthy and well and loving a humid environment! Just make sure that it isn’t sticky sap that’s dripping, or else you could have an insect problem. But if it is just water, then I’m sure your plant is simply loving the humidity!

    • Are the leaves turning yellow or brown before they fall off? Yellow leaves is a sign of too much water (when it’s in soil) but brown leaves are a sign of too little water. If the stems start looking bare, try propagating some of the vines. I hope this helps!

  25. I have a few vines with their roots in my fish tank, and the plants do great. I think it also helps the tank water stay cleaner.

  26. I give mine a good watering with beer once a month. They love it and grow like crszy. I have even rescued nearly dead plants with this beer tonic treatments and seen them florish.

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