How to Grow and Care for Pothos (2023)

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is a tropical vine native to the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, but you probably know it best seen trailing off of shelves and desks. Pothos is commonly grown as a houseplant, boasting pointed, heart-shaped green leaves that are sometimes variegated with white, yellow, or pale green striations.

Pothos plants can live for many years with basic care and are super adaptable, as various light, soil, and moisture conditions suit them. They're fast-growing plants even indoors, often adding between 12 to 18 inches of length in a month. Be aware that pothos plants are toxic to pets.

Common NamePothos, Golden Pothos, Devil's Vine, Devil's Ivy
Botanical NameEpipremnum aureum
Plant TypeVine
Mature Size20–40 ft. long, 3–6 ft. wide
Sun ExposureFull sun, partial shade
Soil TypeMoist but well-drained
Soil pHNeutral to slightly acidic
Bloom TimeRarely flowers
Flower ColorGold/Yellow, Purple/Lavender
Hardiness Zones10–12 (USDA)
Native AreasAsia
ToxicityToxic to dogs and cats


Watch Now: How to Easily Grow and Care for Pothos

Pothos Care

Caring for pothos is simple. This low-maintenance plant thrives in bright, indirect light, but it can also do well in low-light conditions. Pothos can thrive in standard houseplant potting mix or a chunky, well-draining aroid mix. Allow the soil to dry out completely between waterings. Feed the plant with balanced houseplant fertilizer each month during the spring and summer.

Because pothos can grow in low-light areas or those with only fluorescent lighting, it's an excellent houseplant for offices and dorm rooms.

How to Grow and Care for Pothos (1)

How to Grow and Care for Pothos (2)

How to Grow and Care for Pothos (3)


Pothos likes sun or shade, but you need to watch if it's in too much of either one. When grown indoors, pothos prefers bright but indirect light. Variegated plants sometimes lose their leaf pattern and revert to all-green foliage if they don't receive enough light. Moving them to brighter conditions usually restores the variegation. Suddenly pale-looking leaves mean the plant is receiving too much direct sun.


Pothos plants thrive in ordinary, well-draining potting soil that can be on the dry side or even rocky. Pothos thrives in a soil pH ranging from 6.1 to 6.8. It is tolerant of a range of conditions, from neutral to slightly acidic.


Let your pothos plant's soil dry out completely between waterings. If left in continually damp soil, the plant's roots will rot. Black spots on the leaves (or the sudden collapse of the plant) indicate that the soil has been kept too wet.

(Video) Pothos Care 101: Is This the Easiest Houseplant to Care For?

The plant will indicate when it needs water. When it starts to droop, it needs water to revive it. However, don’t wait until the leaves start to shrivel or the plant will lose some leaves. Dry, brown edges mean the plant was kept dry for too long.

Temperature and Humidity

Pothos should be kept in temperatures that are consistently above 50 degrees. These plants prefer temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees. Pothos plants grow best in high humidity, but they're also very tolerant of low-humidity conditions. If you like, you can increase humidity around the plant by keeping it in a typically humid area of the home, such as a bathroom, or grouping the plant with other tropical houseplants to create a more humid microclimate.


Pothos plants are not heavy feeders, but they can benefit from occasional fertilizing during the growing season. Feed pothos plants with a balanced houseplant fertilizer once per month during the spring and summer. Avoid fertilizing in winter when the plant goes dormant.


Pothos plants live for an average of five to 10 years, but with proper care, these hardy houseplants can live for much longer. Giving your plant the proper environmental conditions and basic maintenance can help increase its lifespan.

Types of Pothos

Pothos hybrids can have many different types of leaf variegation, with white, yellow, or light green patches interrupting the predominant deep green leaves. Some cultivars have solid light green leaves. Recommended pothos varieties include:

  • 'Marble Queen': A varietal with an exceptionally attractive white-and-green variegated pattern. It requires more light than most pothos to maintain its unique coloring.
  • 'Pearls and Jade': This varietal is an avid white and green climber, but instead of striping, the colors of gray, green, and white show boldly around the perimeter of the leaves.
  • 'Neon': A bright chartreuse variety, this pothos needs less light and is great for brightening up a dark area in your home.
  • 'Silver Satin': This varietal has thick gray-green leaves with silver splotches. It is very tolerant of drought and low-light conditions.

How to Grow and Care for Pothos (4)

How to Grow and Care for Pothos (5)

How to Grow and Care for Pothos (6)

How to Grow and Care for Pothos (7)

Potting and Repotting Pothos

Over time, your pothos will become pot-bound. When the leaves droop, no matter how much or how often you water them, drooping is a sure sign that roots have probably filled the pot and there is no room to grow. Look for roots growing out of the pot's drainage holes, or carefully lift the plant out of its pot to examine the roots.

When the plant has reached this stage, you can repot it into a container that is one or two sizes larger in diameter and depth. Use fresh potting soil and water well after repotting to help the plant recover. If possible, wait until the spring or summer months and repot when the plant is in active growth for best results.

Type of Pot to Use for Pothos

Pothos plants can grow well in several different types of pots, including plastic, ceramic, metal, and terra cotta, as long as the pot has good drainage holes in the bottom. The pot should be no more than two inches wider and deeper than the plant's root ball when repotting. Check drip trays, saucers, and cache pots after watering to make sure the plant isn't sitting in water. If your pothos plant lives in an area with low light, consider using a terra cotta pot, which helps wick away moisture, to avoid overwatering.

With its long, trailing vines, pothos is a natural plant for hanging baskets or macrame planters. You can even grow pothos in water as long as the vessel is nonporous and watertight.

Propagating Pothos

You can buy a mature pothos from a plant shop, but it's easy to propagate pothos yourself using stem cuttings. Pothos cuttings like to propagate in water at first. Here are the steps to take:

(Video) How I Grow Massive Pothos & Philodendron Vines: Tips You Need to Know!

  1. Using a sterile, sharp cutting tool, choose a healthy stem with at least three leaves, and cut it at an angle about a half-inch or inch below the lowest leaf.
  2. Remove the lowest leaf from the stem (you don't need to remove the other leaves).
  3. Place the stem in a vase or jar of water, but do not let the remaining leaves touch the water.
  4. Once the cutting has sprouted new roots that are several inches long, likely over the course of a few weeks, transplant it into a pot with potting soil as soon as possible so it can begin to develop a strong root system.
  5. Put the pot in a spot with bright indirect light and keep the soil moist but not wet.

How to Grow and Care for Pothos (8)

Common Pothos Problems

Even hardy, low-maintenance pothos can experience common houseplant problems, including pests, diseases, and other issues. Here are some signs to watch out for.

Leaves Turning Yellow

Yellow leaves on a pothos plant can be caused by several different factors. The occasional yellow leaf is nothing to worry about as long as the plant is putting out new growth, but sudden or widespread yellowing is cause for concern. Root rot due to overwatering or a bacterial or fungal disease may be the cause.

Browning Leaves

Brown leaves on pothos are unattractive and signal that something's wrong with the plant. Browning leaves can be caused by a range of issues, including too little light or overwatering. Brown leaves that are dry and crispy indicate underwatering or a lack of humidity.

Drooping Leaves

Pothos leaves drooping or wilting are a sign that the plant is stressed, often by lack of water. Give your plant a deep watering and monitor the soil moisture going forward to avoid letting the soil stay dry for too long. Droopy leaves can also be a symptom of the plant being pot-bound or affected by a plant disease.

Common Pests

Pothos is usually pest-free. However, the plant can occasionally become infested with mealybugs. Dab the insects away with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol. You can also use neem oil or insecticidal soap to control infestations.

How to Revive Pothos

If your pothos plant is looking droopy, wilted, or otherwise unhealthy, give it some basic care. Trim away any dead or damaged foliage. Check the soil moisture and water if needed. If you've been watering frequently and the soil is soggy, let the soil dry out completely. If it's been a few years since you gave the plant fresh soil, or if the plant is pot-bound, consider repotting in a slightly larger pot with fresh soil.

If you're concerned that the plant might not make it, take a few cuttings from its healthy growth to propagate into new plants. You can also add rooted pothos cuttings to your plant when repotting to help fill out its growth.

Are Pothos Poisonous?

Pothos plants are toxic to cats and dogs as well as humans, but the plant is not lethal if ingested. The roots, leaves, and stems of pothos contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which can irritate the skin, mouth, and digestive tract.


  • Is pothos easy to care for?

    Pothos plant care is very easy, and they're fairly tolerant of neglect and less-than-ideal growing environments. In fact, pothos is called devil's ivy because it's nearly impossible to kill.

  • How fast does pothos grow?

    Pothos is a quick-growing houseplant with the potential to add over a foot of length in one month.

    (Video) Pothos Plant Care | One of the Easiest Plants
  • What's the difference between pothos and philodendron plants?

    Pothos and philodendrons are two common houseplants that look very similar, but they are two separate and distinct plants. The easiest way to tell them apart is by their leaves. Pothos plants have subtle heart-shaped leaves that are large, thick, and textured, while waxy while philodendrons have more distinctive heart-shaped leaves that are thinner, softer, and smoother.

18 Types of Pothos That Are Fun to Grow and Display

Originally written by

Marie Iannotti

How to Grow and Care for Pothos (9)

Marie Iannotti

Marie Iannotti is a life-long gardener and a veteran Master Gardener with nearly three decades of experience. She's also an author of three gardening books, a plant photographer, public speaker, and a former Cornell Cooperative Extension Horticulture Educator. Marie's garden writing has been featured in newspapers and magazines nationwide and she has been interviewed for Martha Stewart Radio, National Public Radio, and numerous articles.

Learn more about The Spruce'sEditorial Process

(Video) All you need to know about Epipremnum Aureum Pothos

Article Sources

The Spruce uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Golden Pothos. Animal Poison Control Center.


    (Video) How To Care for Your Pothos | Apartment Therapy

  3. Epipremnumaureum. Missouri Botanical Garden.

  4. Golden Pothos.

  5. Pothos as a Houseplant. PennState Extension.


How to Grow and Care for 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.

How do you take care of potted 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.

How can I make my pothos grow better? ›

How to Speed Up the Growth of your Pothos Plants
  1. Give it More Sunlight. Starting with the basics, Pothos craves for bright, indirect sunlight to stimulate its growth. ...
  2. Provide the Right Temperature Conditions. ...
  3. Give it the Right Nutrients. ...
  4. Dust & Mist Occasionally. ...
  5. Keep it Well-Watered. ...
  6. Prune your Pothos.
Sep 26, 2022

Where is the best place to put a pothos plant? ›

Place your golden pothos in an area with bright, indirect light or low light. North- and east-facing windows are best to encourage healthy growth. This plant's leaves can become sunburnt when placed in direct sunlight.

Do pothos need deep pots? ›

So, while pothos plants don't necessarily require deep pots, choosing a pot that's the right size for your plant is still essential. A pot that's too small can restrict the growth of the roots, while a pot that's too large can cause the soil to stay too moist for too long.

How long does a pothos live for? ›

Pothos plants live for an average of five to 10 years, but with proper care, these hardy houseplants can live for much longer. Giving your plant the proper environmental conditions and basic maintenance can help increase its lifespan.

How do you repot pothos without killing them? ›

Pour a layer of fresh, pre-moistened mix in the planter you're potting into, and pack it down.
  1. Remove the plant from the current pot. ...
  2. Loosen and prune the roots. ...
  3. Gently unbind any loose roots. ...
  4. Set plant in new planter. ...
  5. Add mix. ...
  6. Even it out. ...
  7. You're all set!
Apr 1, 2021

Should I let my pothos climb or hang? ›

All pothos varieties need to climb. Letting your plant trail or hang will inevitably lead to smaller leaves, wider internodes, and bare stems after a few years, regardless of your growing conditions. Climbing also allows pothos to enter their mature stage.

Do pothos like top or bottom water? ›

Pothos. Like jade plants, Pothos can also be prone to leaf spots from splashing water. Bottom watering prevents spots and ensures good soil hydration.

Do pothos like to be outside or inside? ›

Pothos Growing Requirements

Take note that you can only grow pothos outdoors year-round if you live in a climate that does not typically drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter. So, for the vast majority of the US, gardeners will need to bring this heat-loving plant indoors once the temps start to drop.

Do pothos like tall or wide pots? ›

The best pot for a Pothos should be large enough to give the roots room to grow. At the same time, it should be small enough that the soil doesn't massively outweigh the roots.

What happens if you don't repot pothos? ›

Without repotting, the plant can become root-wrapped, which means the roots will grow around the inside of the pot and become increasingly more tangled and compacted because they have no room to branch out!

Can you put pothos straight into soil? ›

If you want to skip the water step altogether, you can also propagate pothos directly in soil. This method is pretty reliable as well although slightly less common. For this method, it's best to use rooting hormone, and you will also need a pot and some well-draining soil mix.

How do you make pothos look fuller? ›

If you want to make your pothos fuller from the top, simply take your pruning shears and cut off the stems that are growing out and down so new leaf growth starts to branch out from the top of the plant. When pruning your pothos, cut just below a leaf node.

How do you keep pothos short and bushy? ›

To prune, use a sharp, clean pair of scissors or secateurs to make a cut just below a node. If your goal is to encourage bushy growth, prune close to the crown to create lots of shorter stems from which new leaves will emerge. If you want to shorten up a long vine, snip it off wherever you prefer.

Do pothos multiply? ›

Propagating pothos is a great way to multiply one plant into many new ones. With either soil, water, or by division, even beginners can enjoy new devil's ivy plants without much effort.

Can pothos live in shower? ›

The Pothos

The pothos is a great indoor plant for the bathroom. They're small enough that they won't get in your way as you step out of the shower. But, they stand out enough to make a statement. The golden pothos is ideal for the bathroom because they're very hardy and forgiving.

Do pothos outgrow their pots? ›

Pothos will naturally outgrow their pots over time. The roots will become cramped and rootbound if you do not repot your plant into a larger container as it grows. Repot your pothos plant into a larger pot every one to two years.

Should you remove old soil when repotting? ›

Remove about one-third or more of the old potting mix surrounding the plant's roots. As it grew, your plant removed some or all of the nutrients in the current mix, so you'll want to give it fresh potting mix or soil. Pour a layer of fresh potting soil into the empty planter and pack it down, removing any air pockets.

What is the best soil for pothos? ›

In summary, the best soil for pothos plants should be well-draining and rich in nutrients. By using a mixture of peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, and compost, you can provide your pothos with the perfect growing environment.

Should I trim roots when repotting pothos? ›

Roots packed tightly in a pot don't take up nutrients efficiently. To promote good nutrient absorption, trim the roots and loosen up the root ball before replanting. Use a sharp knife or pruning shears for this job, removing as much as the bottom third of the root ball if necessary.

How do I know if my pothos is happy? ›

As with any plant, watch leaves for signs of the plant's well-being: if the leaves are glossy, green, and perky, the plant is happy; if they're wilting or turning brown, you're not watering enough.

What is the best support for pothos? ›

Training Your Pothos to Climb
  • Bamboo canes.
  • Metal poles or industrial pipe.
  • Totem poles.
  • Moss poles.
  • Wooden trellises.
  • Wire shelving.
  • 3M command hooks.
  • Picture frame hooks.
Mar 5, 2022

Do pothos like to sit in water? ›

While pothos leaves can survive submerged in water for short periods of time, they do best when they are grown above water so that they can receive the air circulation that they need.

What does an overwatered pothos look like? ›

Most often yellowing occurs due to over or underwatering. If you see a combination of yellow and brown on the same leaf, it is likely due to overwatering. If you're noticing yellow leaves, along with some brown crispy spots on additional leaves, then the cause could be underwatering.

How long do I soak my pothos in water? ›

Here's how to soak-water your Pothos:

Place your plant in your sink or tub without the saucer. Fill your basin up with about 3-4″ of water. Make sure the water isn't hot! Allow your plant to soak up water through the drainage hole in the bottom of the pot for at least 45 min.

What do you water pothos with? ›

Give your Pothos a drink only when the top 2 inches of soil are dry to the touch. Adding water when the potting mix is already wet will smother the roots and may cause rot. It's best to water a Pothos thoroughly, soaking the entire soil mass with room-temperature water.

Can pothos live in a room without sunlight? ›

Pothos plants prefer medium indoor light, but can live in low light. Too much direct light can turn their leaves yellow, while a lack of light will make their beautiful leaves turn pale.

Can I keep pothos in bedroom? ›

The Pothos plant, with its green, heart-shaped leaves, is ideal for the bedroom because it purifies the air from harmful toxins, especially formaldehyde.

How cold is too cold for pothos outside? ›

What temperature is too cold for plants outside? The answer to this question differs across plant types. Sanseveria, for instance, is a pretty tough plant species, able to withstand temperatures as low as 40°F. Conversely, a Pothos plant does not do well with temperatures under 65°F.

How do I know when my pothos needs repotting? ›

On average, most pothos plants should be repotted every 1 to 2 years. Roots growing from the pot's drainage holes and circling the bottom of the pot are signs that your pothos is ready for repotting.

Why is my pothos getting huge? ›

It has been observed that pothos, when expanded on any kind of support like rope or pole, bears large-sized leaves. Due to the fact that in their native environment, these plants climb up over the neighboring trees, obtaining enough sunshine and air flow that causes big growth.

What potting medium for pothos? ›

All types of Pothos plants, or Epipremnum aureum, do best in well-drained soil. Compacted soil or mixtures without enough air pockets keep the plant's roots too wet, leading to root rot on many indoor plants. Soil and soil-free mixtures with peat moss, vermiculite, or perlite are best.

Is a moss pole better than a trellis for pothos? ›

Moss poles vs trellis

It does work, to some extent, to grow a pothos on a trellis. However, the primary benefit of the moss pole is that it gives climbing plants something to dig their roots into. A moss pole is, of course, also similar to the bark and moss it would encounter in nature.

Can pothos get overcrowded? ›

When a pothos suffers from slowed growth or has a greatly increased water requirement and has grown in the same container for several months or years, it could potentially be overcrowded or root-bound. Take advantage of the pot bound plant and practice some pothos propagation.

Should I water pothos before repotting? ›

Pothos roots are much easier to work with (and less prone to breakage) when the roots are hydrated and flexible. Water the pothos Plant before transplanting it into a new pot. You can water it a day or two before, or even 15-60 minutes before.

Can you put pothos with roots in water? ›

New roots will sprout from the nodes submerged in water after 7-14 days or so. You can place the cutting in soil once your plant roots are an inch or two long, or you can grow pothos in water only. If you decide to let it grow in water, pick a good quality liquid fertilizer to feed your plant.

Can you root pothos in water? ›

Pothos plant propagation can be done in water or soil, but once it begins, the plant has difficult switching to the other growing medium. If you place the cutting in water, the plant should remain in water once it grows larger. The same goes for a cutting propagated in the soil.

Why is my pothos so leggy? ›

It's Not Getting Enough Light. The main reason your pothos is getting leggy is insufficient light. Pothos needs bright indirect sunlight to thrive. If it's growing in a shaded location, the plant will start sending out long vines in search of a better light source.

Do pothos need direct sunlight? ›

Pothos will tolerate low to high light, although golden and variegated varieties will revert to green in very low light conditions, so jade pothos are best for true low light situations. Direct sunlight will burn leaves quickly.

Should pothos be in soil or in water? ›

Pothos plants don't actually have to be planted in soil; they do very well just placed in a container with water. If you do decide to plant them in soil, any potting mix is fine. Be aware that a plant that's gotten used to being in just water may not do too well if transferred to soil.

Do pothos plants need to hang? ›

To keep your pothos from falling over, you will need to tie it to its trellis or stake. Velcro plant ties are ideal for the job because they're easy to put up or remove, and because they're wider, they won't cut into the stems.

Do pothos like coffee grounds? ›

Using nutrient-rich coffee grounds can significantly improve Pothos plant growth by enhancing soil acidity and providing essential nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.

Why are pothos so easy to grow? ›

They do well in bright, indirect light as well as low light and can be grown in dry soil or in vases of water. They will thrive in nutrient rich soil, but do almost as well in nutrient poor soil. Pothos plants make a great addition to your bathroom or office because they can tolerate low light.

Can pothos survive in bathroom? ›

The Pothos

The golden pothos is ideal for the bathroom because they're very hardy and forgiving. They don't need much attention to survive. So they're the perfect plant for those who can be a little forgetful. Not only are these plants lovely to look at and easy to care for, but they also have air purifying powers.

What does a pothos look like when it needs to be watered? ›

Pothos plants also tend to droop slightly when they're thirsty, which is a great reminder if you sometimes forget to water!

Is it better to overwater or underwater pothos? ›

Underwatering makes foliage dry, crispy, and brittle. Overwatered leaves feel soft and limp. We'll get into more detail about these indicators below, along with a few other important diagnostic factors. And we'll explain how you can treat your plant's issues and get it healthy once again.

Do pothos like showers? ›

Pothos can handle a variety of lighting conditions and temperature fluctuations, so you can enjoy its beauty without stressing over its care. Plus, it feels perfect in high-humidity environments, making it one of the best plants for the shower.

What are the benefits of pothos indoors? ›

Pothos. Pothos plants are arguably one of the easiest plants to grow and actually thrive on low light and neglect. These plants serve to purify the air of formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide while also helping eliminate odors. Pothos can also help alleviate eye irritation after long days of staring at screens.

How often do you fertilize pothos? ›

It's best to fertilize your Pothos every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. A half-strength dose is often enough, especially for plants growing in low light. We recommend a liquid fertilizer with a 3:1:2 NPK ratio, but natural sources of nutrition like compost also work well.

Do pothos like big pots or small pots? ›

The best pot for a Pothos should be large enough to give the roots room to grow. At the same time, it should be small enough that the soil doesn't massively outweigh the roots. The more potting mix is in the container, the longer it takes to dry out.

What should pothos be potted in? ›

Plant pothos in a general well-draining potting mix (or a soilless mix). If you have it on hand, feel free to mix in a few handfuls of perlite or coco coir to increase the drainage capacity of your potting mix. Pothos does well in a hanging basket to show off the vines, or in a regular pot placed on a plant stand.


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