Leaf Detectives: Spot the Differences Between Lemon Lime & Neon Pothos

Ah, the botanical wonders of lemon lime philodendron vs neon pothos! These tropical plants are the indoor gardening world’s dynamic duo, with their vibrant foliage, unique growth habits, and air-purifying prowess.

Are you ready for a botanical showdown of epic proportions? Prepare to dive deep into the world of these captivating houseplants as we explore their differences, similarities, and how to keep them thriving in your urban jungle.

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Key Takeaways

  • Five major differences to tell them apart: Cataphyll presence, variations in leaf shape and texture, color of emerging leaves, the coloration of the underside of mature leaves, and unique stem characteristics.

  • Flex your green thumb with watering, lighting & soil needs for each plant.

  • Fertilizing is foolproof!

Distinct Features: Lemon Lime Philodendron and Neon Pothos

At first glance, Lemon Lime Philodendron and Neon Pothos may seem like botanical twins, but don’t be fooled! These sassy siblings have their own distinct features that set them apart in the world of indoor foliage. Prepare to delve into the unique qualities of these two titans of the houseplant world.

From the sleek stem of the Lemon Lime Philodendron with a 0.35-inch circumference to the smooth philodendron petiole and the curveball petiole of the Neon Pothos, these tropical plants have a flair for the dramatic. And we haven’t even gotten to their stunning leaves yet! Ready for the leafy showdown? It’s time to examine closely their growth habits, leaf shapes, and sizes.

Growth Pattern: Cataphyll

Cataphyll visible on the Lemon Lime Philodendron and not present on Neon Pothos

In my opinion, the most effective way to differentiate between these two plants is by observing their growth patterns.

The Lemon Lime Philodendron showcases an intriguing growth habit, extending its leaves on a bit of vine encased in a cataphyll – a thin, waxy, opaque sheath that’s essentially a small, modified leaf. This cataphyll continues to photosynthesize until it turns brown and papery and eventually falls off on its own. This unique characteristic is a distinct attribute of philodendrons, making it a handy feature to look for when distinguishing between other leafy contenders.

As the philodendron grows, it reveals new leaves with a distinctive pink or brownish tint, which gradually darkens to its true color as the leaf matures. This jungle-like atmosphere it creates when fully grown is perfect for all you Tarzan and Jane wannabes out there.

On the other hand, the Neon Pothos, also known as Epipremnum, exhibits a different kind of growth pattern. This plant prefers to extend and unfurl its leaves from an existing leaf, usually appearing in a lighter shade than the rest of the plant. Its growth slows down during the colder months, resulting in a more controlled and orderly growth compared to the wild growth of the Lemon Lime Philodendron. So, whether you’re a fan of the wild and untamed or the sleek and orderly, there’s a plant to suit your style.

Leaf Shape and Texture

 Lemon Lime Philodendron mature leaf vs Neon Pothos mature leaf

Leaf shape and texture are where these two plants also show their individuality.

The Lemon Lime Philodendron sports heart-shaped leaves softer and thinner than most, giving it a romantic, swoon-worthy appearance. Be still, my beating heart! Running your finger against the leaf of the Lemon Lime Philodendron, you’ll experience its smooth a bit glossy texture.

On the other hand, Neon Pothos comes in swinging with larger, waxy leaves and a curved-in petiole, creating a bold and striking look. If you run your finger against the leaf surface, you’ll notice it has a textured, bumpy feel.

But wait, there’s more! When it comes to curling leaves, the Lemon Lime Philodendron is a sensitive soul. Overwater this plant, and it’ll start curling up its leaves like it’s hiding from the sun. (Psst! Don’t overwater, or root rot will come knocking.) So, whether your taste is soft and tender or bold and striking, these plants have got you covered.

Color of New Leaves

 Lemon Lime Philodendron new leaf vs Neon Pothos new leaf

When it comes to new leaf color, both the Lemon Lime Philodendron and Neon Pothos have their unique charm.

The Lemon Lime Philodendron unveils new leaves with a pink or brownish tint, which gradually changes to its true color as the leaf matures.

On the flip side, the Neon Pothos prefers to extend and unfurl its leaves from an existing leaf, usually appearing in a slightly lighter shade than the rest of the plant.

The Underside of Mature Leaves

Underside of mature leaves of Lemon Lime Philodendron and Neon Pothos

Observing the underside of mature leaves offers another fascinating insight into the distinct characteristics of both the Lemon Lime Philodendron and Neon Pothos.

The Lemon Lime Philodendron’s leaf underside is a lighter shade of green, which beautifully complements its bright topside and adds an extra layer of depth to its overall look.

On the other hand, the Neon Pothos displays a consistent coloration throughout, with the leaf underside matching the vibrant green of its topside. This uniformity in color contributes to the plant’s striking appearance, making it a standout feature in any indoor setting. Whether you’re drawn to the contrasting shades of the Lemon Lime Philodendron or the bold, consistent color of the Neon Pothos, these plants offer unique aesthetic appeal.

Stem Characteristics

Comparing stems of  Lemon Lime Philodendron and Neon Pothos

A subtle but crucial aspect of distinguishing between Lemon Lime Philodendron Neon Pothos lies in the unique traits of their stems.

The stems of the Philodendron, with their unique elegance and finesse, mirror the overall sophistication of the plant. When viewed in cross-section, these stems are round and exhibit a darker, somewhat reddish shade, contrasting beautifully with the bright green leaves..

Contrarily, Pothos plants typically boast robust, substantial stems that display a nearly polyhedral (multi-sided) shape when viewed in cross-section. These stems also tend to exhibit a lighter green hue than their philodendron counterparts.

Care Requirements: Lemon Lime Philodendron vs Neon Pothos

While these two plants may have distinct features, they share some similarities when it comes to care requirements. But fear not, intrepid plant enthusiasts! There are still some differences between their watering, lighting, soil, and fertilization needs that will keep you on your botanical toes.

Prepare to delve into the engaging world of plant care.

Watering Needs

Both plants require a consistent supply of moisture for optimum hydration. However, Neon Pothos is more drought-tolerant than Lemon Lime Philodendron and can go longer without a drink. This makes Neon Pothos the perfect plant for those of us who may, on occasion, forget to water our leafy friends. (No judgment here!)

Lemon Lime Philodendron, on the other hand, requires consistent watering, especially during the growing season. In spring and summer, it may need a weekly sip, while in winter, a monthly tipple will suffice. Just be careful not to overwater, or you’ll have a very unhappy, curled-up plant on your hands.

Light Conditions

Both Lemon Lime Philodendron and Neon Pothos flourish in conditions of bright, indirect light.

However, Neon Pothos needs more light to maintain its vibrant color and keep looking fabulous. So, if you want your Neon Pothos to remain the life of the party, be sure to give it the spotlight it deserves.

Lemon Lime Philodendron, on the other hand, is a bit more flexible when it comes to lighting conditions. It can tolerate lower light conditions but prefers medium to bright indirect sunlight.

Soil Preferences

Soil suitable for both Lemon Lime Philodendron and Neon Pothos

Both plants favor well-draining soil, enriched with peat moss and perlite. But, like a botanical odd couple, they have slightly different pH preferences. Lemon Lime Philodendron is an acid-lover, preferring slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.0-6.5.

Neon Pothos, also known as the neon pothos plant, leans more towards the alkaline side, preferring slightly alkaline soil with a pH of 6.5-7.0. So, be sure to keep their different pH preferences in mind when potting these leafy companions, especially when dealing with neon pothos plants.

Fertilization Practices

In terms of fertilization, both Lemon Lime Philodendron and Neon Pothos are relatively unpretentious. Both plants appreciate a little bit of all-purpose liquid fertilizer during the growing season. However, they don’t require a constant stream of nutrients to keep them happy.

I use Schultz Liquid Plant Food and my pothos and philodendron love it!

Fertilizer suitable for both Lemon Lime Philodendron and Neon Pothos


In conclusion, Lemon Lime Philodendron and Neon Pothos are both stunning houseplants with unique features, easy care requirements, and air-purifying abilities. Whether you’re a seasoned indoor gardener or a newbie looking to add some greenery to your space, these plants offer a versatile and aesthetically pleasing choice. So, why not invite these leafy wonders into your home and let them work their botanical magic?


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