Ensuring Pothos Plant Health: Do I Need a Heat Pack With My Pothos?

Pothos plants, known for their trailing vines and heart-shaped leaves, are a favorite among indoor gardeners due to their low maintenance and adaptability to different light conditions. But like any plant, they have specific temperature needs. A key aspect of their care is protection from cold temperatures, especially during shipping or relocation. So, do you need a heat pack with your pothos?

In this post, we’ll discuss the temperature needs of pothos plants, signs of cold stress, and how to protect and ship them in cold weather using a heat pack if necessary. We’ll also cover how to care for pothos plants after cold exposure and provide tips on monitoring for new growth. Let’s dive in to keep your pothos plants healthy and happy!

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the optimal temperature range of 70°F (21°C) to 90°F (32°C) for pothos plants is essential for their health and growth.

  • When shipping pothos plants in cold weather, use a heat pack to protect from potential damage.

  • Taking preventive measures such as keeping indoors and covering with frost blanket at night can help protect against cold damage.

Understanding Pothos Temperature Needs

A temperature gauge showing the ideal temperature range for pothos plants

Pothos plants, also known as pothos aureus, have specific temperature requirements for optimal health and growth. These tropical plants thrive in a warm environment, with an ideal temperature range between 70°F (21°C) and 90°F (32°C). They are native to tropical climates, such as the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific, which influences their temperature preferences.

Cold temperatures can be detrimental to pothos plants, causing issues such as stunted growth, discoloration, and wilting of their leaves. Recognizing the signs of cold stress in your pothos plant can guide you in taking appropriate action for its recovery and growth.

The Ideal Pothos Climate

Understanding the ideal climate of your pothos plant is key to providing it with the best environment. Pothos plants, including the variegated types, prefer temperatures ranging from 65°F to 85°F (18°C to 29°C). They can tolerate a broader range of temperatures, but this range is considered optimal for their growth and wellbeing. High humidity levels (60-70%) are also preferred for these tropical plants, although they can survive in lower humidity environments. To ensure optimal growth, maintaining humidity pothos conditions is essential.

Different varieties of mature pothos, including variegated plants, may have slightly different preferred climates. To ensure the health and growth of your specific pothos variety, be sure to provide a stable and suitable climate that includes protection from direct sun, which can cause leaf burn.

Effects of Cold on Pothos Plants

Cold temperatures can cause various problems for your pothos plant. Exposure to cold can lead to damage to the leaves and stems, such as yellowing or browning, wilting, and drooping. In extreme cases, the plant may not survive the cold exposure. Pothos plants can tolerate frost conditions but may experience leaf damage as a result. However, they are typically able to bounce back and keep growing with proper care, such as planting in well-draining potting mix.

Protecting your pothos plant from cold temperatures is imperative to prevent damage. Maintaining the plant indoors when temperatures fall below 50°F (10°C) is recommended, as prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can lead to long-term effects like stunted growth and reduced vitality.

Recognizing Signs of Cold Stress

Recognizing the signs of cold stress in your pothos plant, also known as epipremnum aureum, is key to its preservation and recovery. Symptoms of cold stress include yellowing and browning of foliage, wilting or drooping leaves, and browning edges or tips of leaves.

Cold stress in pothos stems could also include:

  • Browning and discoloration of the leaves

  • Curling of the leaves

  • Wilting and drooping

  • Blackened leaves

  • Dry leaf edges

  • Leaf discoloration

The onset of cold stress can be rapid, and the initial sign is the curling of the leaves, followed by wilting, drooping, blackened leaves, dry leaf edges, and leaf discoloration.

Maintaining the health of your pothos plants requires protection from cold temperatures and avoidance of frost damage, ensuring you don’t end up with root rot or a damaged plant among the few plants in your collection, like the plant pictured.

Shipping Pothos in Cold Weather: Is a Heat Pack Necessary?

A heat pack next to a packaged pothos plant for shipping

Considering the need for a heat pack to protect the plant from possible damage is important when shipping pothos plants in cold weather. Cold weather can have a detrimental effect on the shipping process, as plants may freeze and die during transit if temperatures drop below freezing. To ensure the safety of the plants, it is advisable to monitor the local weather of the shipping destination and delay the shipment if extreme weather conditions are forecasted.

Including heat packs in shipments can help protect the plants from the cold. The recommended heat pack for shipping pothos plants is the Uniheat 72-hour heat pack. Heat packs are sufficient to ensure the plants remain warm during transit, and insulation is not necessary.

Assessing Your Shipping Conditions

Evaluating the conditions your pothos plant will be exposed to during transit is a critical step before shipping. Pothos plants require:

  • Moderate to bright light

  • Average room temperatures between 60° and 80° F for optimal shipping conditions

  • Direct sunlight should be avoided

  • The plants should be kept in a warm location

  • Temperature is a critical factor in the successful shipping of pothos plants, as they require warm temperatures between 65-85°F (18-29°C) to remain healthy.

If the temperature during shipping falls below 50°F (10°C) or exceeds 90°F (32°C), it can cause stress to the plant, resulting in damage or even death. Consequently, careful regulation of temperature during shipping is necessary to preserve the health of pothos plants.

Packaging Tips for Pothos Plants

When shipping your pothos plant, proper packaging is necessary to secure its protection during transit. It’s recommended to use the following materials for packaging a pothos plant:

  • Lightweight plastic pots

  • Sterilized potting soil

  • Wrapping paper or newspaper

  • Plastic wrap or bag

  • Newspaper or packing paper

  • Rubber band

  • Corrugated cardboard box

  • Packing tape

Additionally, it’s important to wrap the plant in water-soaked paper to slowly release moisture during transit and use bubble wrap for added protection.

When packaging pothos plants for shipment in cold weather, take precautions such as:

  • Verifying the local weather conditions to assess if shipping the plant is feasible

  • Ensuring all moisture is eliminated from the plant before packing, as moisture can intensify cold temperatures

  • Considering using a heat pack to provide some warmth during transit, particularly if temperatures are freezing

When to Include a Heat Pack

Depending on the weather conditions during transit, it might be necessary to include a heat pack when shipping your pothos plant. If the temperatures are forecasted to drop below the plant’s tolerance level, a heat pack may be included to provide insulation and safeguard against potential damage. It’s important to weigh the potential risks and costs associated with shipping without a heat pack, such as the possibility of plant damage and unsatisfactory customer reviews.

The intent of using a heat pack in plant shipping is to ensure warmth and protect the plants from any potential damage or stress caused by cold temperatures during transit. If the plant is being shipped to a location with a significantly cooler climate than its current location, a heat pack may be required to guarantee the plant’s wellbeing.

Caring for Pothos After Cold Exposure

Proper care is necessary to aid the recovery and thriving of your pothos plant after exposure to cold temperatures. The initial steps to care for a pothos plant that has been exposed to cold temperatures include:

  • Abstaining from fertilizer until the plant is fully recovered

  • Placing the plant in a warm area with bright, indirect light

  • Watering the plant only when the soil feels dry

By closely monitoring the plant’s recovery and providing the appropriate care, you can help your pothos regain its health and vitality.

The subsequent discussions will cover how to revive a chilled pothos, prevent future cold damage, and monitor for new growth after cold exposure. These tips will help you ensure the health and happiness of your pothos plant even after it has faced cold temperatures.

Reviving a Chilled Pothos

Taking steps to aid the recovery of your pothos plant is crucial if it has been exposed to cold temperatures. The initial steps to revive a chilled pothos plant include:

  1. Removing the plant from the pot and washing off all the soil from the roots to prevent the spread of fungus.

  2. Identifying the cause of the problem (such as overwatering or exposure to cold temperatures).

  3. Allowing the plant time to recover before applying fertilizer or attempting any other treatments.

  4. Trimming off any dead or dying roots and foliage.

  5. Repotting the plant in fresh soil.

Another key step in reviving a chilled pothos is to water the plant immediately. Give the plant a small amount of water and allow it to drain out of the container. Providing a balanced houseplant fertilizer to the pothos plant once a month during the spring and summer can aid in its revival following cold exposure.

Lastly, proper pruning is essential for recovery, which involves trimming the trailing vines above a node while leaving it on the stem and making a straight cut just below the node to stimulate new growth and promote faster recovery.

Preventing Future Cold Damage

Keeping your pothos plant indoors when temperatures fall below 50°F (10°C) is vital to protect it from future cold damage. Prolonged cold temperatures should be avoided, as they can cause irreparable damage to the leaves. Moreover, fertilization of the plant should be avoided until it has completely recovered from any cold damage.

Covering your pothos plants with a frost blanket or sheet at night is another effective way to protect them from cold damage. Cardboard can also be used as an effective form of insulation to keep the plants warm. By taking these preventive measures, you can help ensure the health and growth of your pothos plant even in colder conditions.

Monitoring for New Growth

Confirming the recovery and healthy state of your pothos plant from cold exposure requires monitoring for new growth. Indications of new growth in a pothos plant may include the emergence of new heart shaped green leaves, green stems, and leaves that are held upright without drooping. Furthermore, a healthy plant should not have any yellow or brown leaves.

It’s estimated that a pothos plant will take 12 to 24 hours of exposure to cold temperatures to exhibit new growth after cold stress. By closely observing your pothos plant for new growth and providing the proper care, you can help your plant recover and thrive after cold exposure.


In conclusion, understanding the temperature needs of pothos plants and protecting them from cold weather is crucial for their health and growth. By recognizing the signs of cold stress, providing proper packaging and shipping conditions, and caring for your pothos plant after cold exposure, you can ensure its wellbeing and prevent future damage.

We hope this blog post has provided you with valuable insights and tips on how to care for your pothos plant in cold weather. By taking these precautions and providing proper care, you can enjoy the beauty and benefits of your pothos plant for years to come.


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