Can Pothos Live Outside? Unveiling the Secrets for Thriving Outdoor Growth

Are you a fan of the beautiful, trailing pothos plant but wonder, can pothos live outside in your outdoor garden? Then you’re in for a treat! Discover the secrets of growing pothos outdoors, and learn how to create a thriving, lush paradise for this popular tropical houseplant. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the outdoor potential of pothos, dive into its natural habitat, and uncover the essential factors for successful growth. Get ready to transform your outdoor space with the captivating charm of pothos.

Key Takeaways

  • Pothos can be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10-12, where temperatures as low as 50°F (10°C) are tolerated.

  • Optimal temperature, humidity and light exposures are essential for successful outdoor Pothos growth.

  • Taking proactive measures such as relocating the plant to a more sheltered location and using frost protection techniques is necessary to protect outdoor pothos from weather related concerns during winter season.

The Outdoor Potential of Pothos

Growing pothos outdoors is indeed possible, and it’s not as daunting as it might seem. With the right conditions, these hardy plants, including the popular devil’s ivy, can thrive outdoors, adding a unique touch to your garden. Pothos is an understory vine that can adapt to various environments. Its natural habitat is the South Pacific region, where it thrives in the understory of dense tropical forests.

Understanding the USDA hardiness zones suitable for pothos is vital to replicate these tropical conditions. Outdoor pothos growth is best within zones 10-12, which encompass subtropical and tropical regions. In these areas, pothos can tolerate temperatures as low as 50°F (10°C). So, if you live in a region with a similar climate, you can cultivate a thriving outdoor pothos garden.

Pothos Origin and Natural Habitat

Pothos, also known as golden pothos, is native to the South Pacific, where it grows in the understory of dense tropical canopies. In its natural environment, the pothos plant can be found climbing tree trunks and branches, using its aerial roots to anchor itself to various surfaces. This unique growth habit allows pothos plants to thrive in low light conditions, making it an ideal candidate for growing outdoors in shady areas where pothos thrive.

Mimicking the natural habitat of pothos as closely as possible is a key consideration when planting it outdoors. This means providing a suitable location that offers filtered light and shelter from direct sunlight. Direct sunlight can cause leaf burn and damage the plant’s foliage, so it’s crucial to choose a location that offers bright, indirect light. An understory vine, pothos is well-suited for planting at the base of established trees, beneath decorative shrubs, or near a patio where a trellis can support its upward growth.

USDA Hardiness Zones for Pothos

Determining the USDA hardiness zones for pothos is a crucial step in ensuring its successful outdoor growth. These zones are a system used to categorize plants according to their ability to endure varying climatic conditions. Pothos can be grown outdoors year-round in USDA zones 10-12, which include subtropical and tropical regions.

The temperature requirements for this tropical plant must be taken into account when planting pothos outside. Pothos thrives in temperatures between 50-90°F (10-32°C). Should temperatures drop below this range, consider bringing your pothos indoors or providing frost protection.

By ensuring your pothos, a hardy plant, is planted within its suitable hardiness zones, you can enjoy a lovely vine that adds charm and elegance to your outdoor space.

Essential Factors for Successful Outdoor Pothos Growth

Three key factors – temperature, humidity, and light exposure – must be considered for your outdoor pothos to flourish. Each of these elements plays a crucial role in the plant’s overall health and growth.

Let’s delve into these factors in more detail to ensure your pothos thrives in its new outdoor environment.

Temperature Requirements

Being a tropical plant, pothos thrives in warm temperatures. It grows optimally between 65-90°F (18-32°C), with a minimum temperature requirement of 50°F (10°C). Exposure to low temperatures can have detrimental effects on pothos growth, negatively impacting the plant’s vitality.

Monitoring temperature fluctuations and safeguarding the plant from cold snaps is vital to maintain the health and vibrancy of your outdoor pothos. If temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C) for a brief period, cover your pothos with a row cover or frost blanket to provide protection. However, if temperatures consistently remain low, it’s best to bring your pothos indoors to avoid potential damage.

Humidity Preferences

Pothos thrives in humidity levels between 50-70%, with variegated cultivars requiring higher humidity. While outdoor pothos can benefit from the natural humidity of its environment, it’s important to ensure it receives adequate moisture for proper growth.

In areas with low humidity, consider raising the humidity around the plant by placing it on a tray filled with pea gravel and water, or by misting the plant with a spray bottle daily. By maintaining optimal humidity levels, you’ll encourage lush, healthy growth and prevent potential issues such as leaves becoming dry and brown around the edges.

Light Exposure

When it comes to light exposure, pothos prefers indirect light and bright shade, avoiding direct sunlight to prevent leaf damage. The plant’s overall health is contingent upon providing the right light conditions, as excessive sunlight can lead to dehydration and stress.

To ensure your outdoor pothos receives the appropriate amount of light, choose a location that offers bright, indirect light and shelter from direct sunlight. This will allow the plant to absorb enough light for photosynthesis while protecting it from potential harm.

Planting Pothos Outdoors: Step-by-Step Guide

Now that we’ve explored the essential factors for successful outdoor pothos growth, let’s dive into a step-by-step guide for planting pothos outdoors. By following this guide, you’ll be well on your way to creating a thriving outdoor pothos garden that will be the envy of your neighbors.

Choosing the Right Location

Choosing the right location is the first step to planting your outdoor pothos. Remember, pothos thrives in shady spots with filtered light, mimicking its natural understory habitat. Select a location that provides these conditions, such as the base of established trees, beneath decorative shrubs, or near a patio where a trellis can support the plant’s climbing growth.

By choosing a location that replicates pothos’ native habitat, you’ll ensure the plant receives the necessary light and shade to grow optimally. This will allow your outdoor pothos to flourish and add a touch of tropical charm to your garden.

Preparing the Soil

The next step is preparing the pothos soil for your outdoor pothos. The ideal soil mix for pothos should be:

  • rich

  • organic

  • slightly acidic

  • well-draining

To achieve this, you can amend your garden soil with peat moss, compost, or other organic materials. This will not only improve the soil structure but also provide the necessary nutrients for your pothos to grow and thrive.

In addition to enriching the soil, ensure that it offers excellent drainage to prevent root rot and other issues associated with overwatering. With the right soil conditions in place, your outdoor pothos will be well on its way to becoming a stunning addition to your garden.

Watering and Fertilizing

Your outdoor pothos requires proper watering and fertilization to thrive. It’s recommended to water your pothos every 1-2 weeks, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Be sure to adjust your watering frequency according to the moisture level of the soil and rainfall in your area.

As for fertilization, a monthly application of a balanced all-purpose fertilizer during the summer and spring seasons will provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth. Be cautious not to over-fertilize, as this can lead to mineral imbalances and damage to the plant’s roots.

By maintaining a proper balance of watering and fertilization, your outdoor pothos will flourish and provide a stunning display of lush foliage.

Caring for Potted Pothos Outdoors

Some special care is required to ensure that potted pothos thrives outdoors in its new environment. In this section, we’ll explore tips for transitioning pothos from indoors to outdoors and discuss container selection and maintenance.

Transitioning from Indoors to Outdoors

Gradually acclimating the plant to its new environment is crucial when moving your pothos from indoors to outdoors. Start by bringing the plant outside for a few hours a day, gradually increasing the time spent outdoors over a period of several weeks. Begin the transition in a shady spot and gradually move the plant to a location with more sunlight, avoiding direct sunlight initially to prevent sunburn or leaf damage.

Keep a close eye on your pothos for any signs of stress or sunburn, such as yellowing or wilting leaves. If you notice any issues, move the plant back to a shadier location and gradually reintroduce it to sunlight. Patience and proper acclimation are key to ensuring a smooth transition for your pothos to its outdoor home.

Container Selection and Maintenance

The health and growth of your outdoor potted pothos depend on choosing the right container. Select a container with drainage holes to prevent root rot and ensure proper drainage. Terracotta clay pots or ceramic pots are ideal choices, as they are porous and allow for excellent drainage.

When it comes to potting mix, opt for a well-draining mix that includes organic matter such as compost or manure. This will provide the necessary nutrients for your pothos while ensuring proper drainage and preventing overwatering.

With the right container and potting mix, your potted pothos will thrive outdoors and become a stunning addition to your garden.

Potential Outdoor Pothos Problems and Solutions

Despite proper care, outdoor pothos may face certain issues like pests, diseases, and weather-related concerns. In this section, we’ll explore potential problems and provide solutions to keep your outdoor pothos healthy and thriving.

Pests and Diseases

Your outdoor pothos can be threatened by pests and diseases. Common pests affecting pothos include:

  • Spider mites

  • Mealybugs

  • Thrips

  • Whitefly

  • Fungus gnats

Regularly inspect your plant for any signs of infestation, and treat affected areas with appropriate methods, such as insecticidal soap or neem oil.

Diseases that may affect outdoor pothos include root rot, leaf spot, and bacterial leaf spot. To treat these diseases, apply a fungicide drench containing pentachloronitrobenze (PCNB) or flutolanil as needed. Providing proper care and nutrition is crucial for preventing and managing these issues, ensuring that your outdoor pothos remains healthy and vigorous.

Weather-Related Concerns

Your outdoor pothos can also be impacted by weather-related concerns. Some common issues include:

  • Strong winds, which can cause damage to the foliage, including shredding leaves and breaking stems

  • Heavy rain, which can lead to waterlogging and stress the plant

  • Temperature fluctuations, which can affect the overall health of the plant

It’s important to monitor your outdoor pothos and take appropriate measures to protect it from extreme weather conditions.

To protect your pothos from these weather-related issues, you can take proactive measures such as:

  • Relocating the plant to a more sheltered location

  • Using barriers like mulch or straw to insulate the plant

  • Moving the plant indoors during severe weather events

By taking these precautions, you’ll help ensure your outdoor pothos remains healthy and resilient even in challenging weather conditions.

Winter Care for Outdoor Pothos

With the approach of winter, consideration for the care and protection of your outdoor pothos during the colder months becomes important. In this section, we’ll explore cold tolerance and frost protection measures to help your pothos survive and thrive throughout the winter season.

Cold Tolerance and Frost Protection

As pothos is not frost-hardy, it requires protection from freezing temperatures. Its cold tolerance level is above 50°F (10°C), so it’s essential to take action when temperatures drop below this threshold. Frost protection methods for pothos include:

  • Using frost cloth to cover the plant

  • Creating a circle of wire netting filled with bracken or leaves around the plant

  • Bringing the plants indoors during cold weather

These methods can help shield your pothos from the cold and ensure its survival.

By understanding the cold tolerance of pothos and employing frost protection techniques, you can safeguard your outdoor pothos from harsh winter conditions and ensure its survival throughout the colder months.

Bringing Pothos Indoors for Winter

If you live in regions where temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C), bringing your outdoor pothos indoors for the winter is important. Before doing so, thoroughly inspect the plant for pests and diseases, and acclimate it to indoor conditions by gradually exposing it to the new environment.

Following the winter season, reverse the acclimation process by gradually reintroducing your pothos to outdoor conditions, as described earlier in this guide. With proper winter care, your pothos will continue to thrive and provide a stunning display year-round.


Growing pothos outdoors can be a rewarding experience, transforming your outdoor space into a lush, tropical oasis. By understanding the plant’s natural habitat, temperature and humidity preferences, and light exposure requirements, you can create the perfect environment for your outdoor pothos to thrive. With proper care and maintenance, including planting, watering, fertilizing, and winter protection, your outdoor pothos will flourish and captivate all who lay eyes on its enchanting beauty.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I leave my pothos outside?

For most of the US, pothos cannot tolerate cold temperatures and must be brought indoors in winter. If you live in a subtropical growing zone (10-12) with a well-insulated greenhouse, it may be possible to grow pothos outdoors.

Can pothos take full sun?

Pothos plants do not thrive in intense, direct sun and should be placed in bright, indirect light instead.

How cold can pothos be outside?

Pothos plants are not able to survive temperatures below 65°F, though some sources suggest it can tolerate temperatures as low as 25°F.

How often should I water my outdoor pothos?

Water your outdoor pothos every 1-2 weeks, making sure to let the top inch of soil dry out between waterings.

What type of soil should I use for planting pothos outdoors?

For planting pothos outdoors, use a rich, organic soil with a slightly acidic pH level and good drainage.


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