The pothos plant is a vining houseplant with lots of foliage and aerial roots that provide additional support to the vine as it grows. The pothos is one of the most cultivated houseplants out there. By far, the three most popular types are the Golden, Marble Queen, and Neon pothos, but there are plenty of pothos cultivars that make for great houseplants:
- Marble Queen
- Jade Pothos
- Cebu Blue
- Snow Queen
Indoor Size and Growth Habits: Fast-growing vine plant that can reach up to 10 feet long.
Light Requirements: 1-4
Water Frequency & Soil Moisture: 3-4
Potting Mix, Fertilizer & pH: Standard potting mix with a pH between 5.5-7.0. Likes but doesn’t require fertilizer.
Humidity & Temperature: 55-90 degrees
Toxicity Level: Mild to moderate
Placement: Light, Size, and Décor
The versatile pothos is great for a wide range of low-light and bright, indirect light conditions. Feel free to place this near an east- or north-facing window, any window with filtered light, or the interior of a room. The pothos may grow more slowly in low-light conditions, but it won’t get stretched or leggy trying to reach for more light. Likewise, the leaves can get scorched from lots of direct light, but it’s rarely fatal to the plant.
Part of the enjoyment of this houseplant is watching it grow without needing to tend to it all the time. In the right conditions, an indoor pothos plant can grow up to 10 feet long. Of course, if it starts to look unwieldy, you can always trim it back. Just don’t expect any bonus flowers as part of the foliage growth. It’s only outdoor plants that reach a length of more than 30 feet which sometimes produce white flowers.
Despite being easy-care houseplants, this fast growth may make it less popular among home stagers and realtors, especially in buyer’s markets where homes may sit on the market longer. The pothos plant is toxic enough to pets and people to cause vomiting but isn’t known to be fatal.
Care: Water, Potting, and Soil
This houseplant may not thrive on neglect like a drought-resistant succulent, but it’s still one of the most resilient houseplants overall. That’s because although it prefers consistently moist soil, you have to really let the soil dry out completely or aggressively overwater before serious damage is done.
A standard potting mix in a pot with good drainage should work well for pothos plant soil. Pothos plants prefer soil with slightly acidic to neutral soil. Aim for a pH of 6.0-6.5, but the plant has a good tolerance for mild deviations. The plant may simply drop its older leaves more quickly or show mild signs of discoloration.
Many pothos plants are almost like hair in how they grow: Occasional trimming will help the foliage stay healthy and eventually reach a terminal length. Known as being one of the most resilient and easy-care houseplants, the pothos is a great choice for the first-time houseplant owner.
Pests and Other Problems
As resilient as pothos plants are, they are not immune to pests, especially if the plant is already in a vulnerable state. Most common houseplant pests can become a problem including mealybugs, spider mites, scale, and thrips. You should remove any visible insects, thoroughly wash the plant, and treat with an insecticide as soon as possible.
If the pothos goes too long without water, the leaves will droop and eventually start turning brown. Conversely, the leaves will show discoloration or become translucent, and the vines will feel mushy if there’s root rot from excessive watering. To seriously damage a pothos, it either takes severe neglect or some type of 1-2 punch from, say, underwatering and a pest infestation.
Cost and Availability
Like other popular and easy to grow houseplants, you can usually find pothos plants for sale for as little as $5-$10. If you’re paying more than $25, then you’re likely buying a high-end pot or a collection of pothos plants. You can find small starter plants or long vines from mature plants.
Propagation and Repotting
Make sure you get a pot with good drainage. This will allow you to give the plant a generous amount of water without worrying about root rot. Despite being fast-growing, the pothos plant doesn’t need to be repotted until it becomes seriously pot-bound.
Pothos can be propagated with leaf cuttings or plant division. Once you’ve got the hang of pothos plant care, propagation is a great way to deal with the extra vines the plant will create. Before long, you’ll be the local supplier of pothos plants for your circle of friends and family.
Similar Types of Houseplants
Once you’ve mastered caring for a pothos plant, the heartleaf philodendron has similar plant care needs but doesn’t bounce back quite as easily when ignored for multiple weeks. It’s also important not to put a philodendron in very low-light conditions—or else the foliage will get leggy. Many other members of the Araceae plant family have similar growth habits. You might try a ZZ plant or peace lily if you like a lot of leafy foliage, but don’t want to deal with climbing or cascading vines.