Unlock the Secrets of Pothos Plant Care: Your Ultimate Guide to Thriving Greenery!

Got a green thumb? Or is it more of a plant murder thumb? Either way, this guide to caring for pothos plants is for you. These viney beauties are a hit in indoor gardens, and this guide will turn you into a pothos pro in no time.

Ready to dive into the world of pothos plants? Don’t worry, it’s less prickly than a cactus!

Pothos Global Green

Key Takeaways

  • Pothos plants are beautiful, easy-to-care-for houseplants perfect for any level of gardener.

  • Select the right variety and create ideal growing conditions with light, temperature, and humidity levels for lush foliage.

  • With proper watering techniques, soil type, and fertilization practices your pothos plant will thrive!

Understanding Pothos Plants

Pothos N'Joy Pearls And Jades

Pothos plants, also known as Epipremnum aureum or Devil’s Ivy, are tropical vines that are indigenous to the French Polynesian islands in the South Pacific as well as to other regions such as Australia, Malaysia, and the Solomon Islands.

These charming plants are prized for their beautiful, heart-shaped leaves, which can be variegated with stunning green, white, or yellow stripes.

Pothos plants, including the popular Golden Pothos and Marble Queen varieties, exhibit impressive growth habits, with vines reaching 6-10 feet indoors and up to an astonishing 30-50 feet in their native habitat.

With their ability to thrive in low light conditions, pothos plants are perfect for indoor gardens. These versatile plants can be grown in hanging baskets or trained to climb a moss pole, and are easy to take care of.

So, whether you’re a seasoned plant enthusiast or a gardening novice, a pothos plant is an excellent choice for adding lush, vibrant foliage to your space.

Selecting the Right Pothos Variety

Global Green Pothos

There are several delightful varieties of pothos to choose from, each with its own unique characteristics. Some beloved varieties include:

  • Golden Pothos, known for its striking yellow variegation;

  • Marble Queen Pothos, with its mesmerizing green and white marbled leaves;

  • Jade Pothos, with solid green variety perfect for lower light conditions;

  • Neon Pothos, a showstopper with its bright, lime-green foliage that can instantly infuse your space with a vibrant tropical vibe;

  • Global Green Pothos, a variety with its lush, green-on-green variegated leaves that can also tolerate lower light conditions;

  • Pearl And Jade Pothos, a unique variety with its creamy white and green variegated leaves.

Neon Pothos

When choosing a pothos variety, consider the light conditions in your home as different varieties have unique light needs. For example, variegated types of pothos require more light to maintain their beautiful variegation.

Ideal Growing Conditions

Cultivating an optimal environment for your pothos plant is indispensable for its vitality. The right equilibrium of light, temperature, and humidity enables these tropical beauties to flourish.

Let’s delve into the specific needs related to these factors.

Light Requirements

Marble Queen Pothos

While pothos plants are known for their ability to tolerate low light conditions, they truly flourish in bright, indirect light.

Too much direct sunlight can cause the leaves to scorch and lose their vibrant color.

Too little light may cause stunted growth and reduced variegation.

For example, if you notice the variegation on your Golden Pothos fading, try moving it to a spot with a bright light source that provides indirect illumination to revive its stunning yellow hues.

On the other hand, Jade Pothos, with its solid green leaves, can adapt well to lower light conditions and still maintain its lush appearance.

If your pothos is located in a darker corner, consider using grow lights to supplement its light source; you can learn more about this in our detailed guide on using grow lights for pothos.

Temperature Preferences

Pothos prefers temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C).

Pothos prefers temperatures between 65-75°F (18-24°C), which makes them well-suited for most indoor environments.

However, these tropical plants are sensitive to cold drafts and heating vents, so it’s essential to keep them away from such temperature fluctuations.

Keep in mind that such drafts can be caused by frequently opened windows or doors leading to the outdoors.

Humidity Levels

Although pothos can tolerate low humidity levels, they truly thrive in environments with 50-70% humidity.

To provide your pothos with the moisture it craves, use a humidifier, or place the plant near a water source, such as a kitchen or bathroom.

Some other websites suggest misting but speaking from my personal experience, it is not the best idea. It leaves a mineral build-up on the leaves, making your poor pothos look like it’s been through a dust storm.

Pothos plant with pebble in the saucer

Instead, I’ve found a trick that works wonders. I put some gravel into the saucer where my plant stands and keep it wet.

Pothos plants with pebble in the external pots

I also nestle the pot with pothos in a larger decorative pot and hide the gravel inside the larger pot. It’s like a secret spa for your plant!

Another method I’ve tried is giving my plant a regular shower with lukewarm water. But remember, no singing in the shower – pothos plants don’t appreciate our vocal talents! Trust me, I’ve learned it the hard way.

If the plant is too big for a shower, I wipe its leaves with a wet cloth. Pothos plants love it when their leaves are wet.

For smaller pothos plants, I find it more convenient to clean their leaves by wiping them instead of showering them. Check out this video where I demonstrate this method:


Proper Watering Techniques

Watering is a crucial aspect of pothos plant care, and finding the right balance between overwatering and underwatering is key to maintaining a healthy, vibrant plant.

Pothos does not like overwatering. It can lead to root rot and yellow and black spots on the leaves. It can also make the soil around pothos moldy.

Underwatering may cause the leaves to wilt and turn first yellow and then brown.

So, how can you ensure you’re providing the perfect amount of water for your pothos plant? A simple rule of thumb is to:

  1. Water your pothos plant when the top inch of soil is dry.

  2. Use a well-draining pot with drainage holes to allow any excess water to flow out.

  3. Gently discard the extra water from the saucer underneath the pot.

A practical tool to use for this is a soil moisture meter, which can accurately gauge soil moisture levels and help prevent overwatering. I love it and it has helped me to solve watering issues many times.

my soil moisture meter

Here are some other insights from my personal experience:

  • Adjust the watering schedule according to the season. During late spring, summer, and early fall, your pothos plant requires more water due to increased light exposure.

  • Conversely, reduce watering during fall, winter, and early spring when there is less light.

  • The same logic applies if you change the location of your pothos. More light means more water, and less light means less water!

  • If your pothos is in a small pot, be extra cautious to avoid overwatering. I made this mistake one summer, and my pothos suffered from root rot.

My pothos with root rot

By following these steps, you can ensure that your pothos plant receives the right amount of water for optimal growth.

Soil and Fertilization

The growth and health of your pothos plant heavily depends on the correct soil and fertilization. A well-draining, slightly acidic soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.5 is ideal for pothos houseplants.

In addition to the right soil, a balanced fertilizer will ensure your plant receives the necessary nutrients to thrive.

Soil Types

The ideal soil for pothos should drain well and provide the necessary nutrients for optimal growth. A well-draining fresh potting soil mix containing equal parts of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite will create the perfect environment for your pothos plant to thrive.

While it’s completely possible to create your own soil mix, I personally find it easier and more convenient to purchase a pre-prepared mix. Pothos plants are so widely grown that there are plenty of ready-made soil mixes available that are perfectly suited to their needs!

Here’s the mix I typically use:

Ready-to-use soil for pothos I use

This ready-to-use soil for pothos has a noticeably more sandy texture in comparison to other soil mixes I have used. It’s mentioned on the back of the bag that it’s well-suited for pothos plants:

Ready-to-use soil for pothos I use

Fertilization Practices

To support your pothos plant’s growth and health, follow these fertilizing guidelines:

  • Fertilize it with a balanced houseplant fertilizer every two weeks during the growing season.

  • Fertilize it once a month during the winter.

  • Dilute the fertilizer to half strength before applying it to the soil to avoid overfertilizing, which can lead to yellowing leaves and other issues.

Here’s the fertilizer I use:

pothos fertilizer I use

On the flip side, it’s mentioned that this fertilizer is suitable for pothos:

pothos fertilizer I use

The only hitch I have with this fertilizer is that I forget to shake it! It’s like a stubborn ketchup bottle at a BBQ, it needs a good shake before it’s ready to serve its purpose. I had to write in big letters on the box: SHAKE IT! Now, it’s the most obedient bottle in my house!

Repotting Your Pothos Plant

pothos plant with overgrown roots

As your pothos plant grows, it may outgrow its current pot and require repotting to continue its healthy development. Repotting not only provides your plant with fresh soil and nutrients but also allows its roots to expand and develop.

Here are the steps to follow to repot your pothos plant effectively:

  1. Choose a new pot that is 1-2 inches larger in diameter than your plant’s current pot, ensuring it has drainage holes in the bottom.

  2. Gently remove your pothos plant from its existing pot, taking care not to damage the roots.

  3. Place the plant in the new pot filled with fresh, well-draining potting soil.

Water the plant thoroughly to help it settle into its new home, and continue to monitor its growth and health.

Young pothos plants should be repotted annually, while mature plants can go a few years between reporting.

One clear sign that your pothos is ready for a new pot is if you see roots poking out of the pot’s bottom – that’s your cue to repot! But try not to let it get to the point where your pothos looks like the one in the photo above. Pothos does not like to be root-bounded.

Pruning and Maintenance

well-maintained Pothos Lemon Meringue

Regular pruning and maintenance can greatly enhance the appearance and health of your pothos plant. Pruning helps to control the length of the vines, encourage new growth, and ensure a fuller, bushier appearance.

Try not to let your pothos reach this state of neglect:

neglected golden pothos

What are the best practices for effectively pruning and maintaining your pothos plant? Here are some tips:

  1. Trim back long runners to keep your plant full and bushy.

  2. Cut back any bare stems to soil level to promote new branch growth.

  3. If you notice any yellow or damaged leaves, remove them to keep your plant looking its best.

And don’t worry, your pothos plant will grow back after cutting.

Propagation Methods

propagating pothos

Pothos is incredibly easy to propagate, allowing you to create new plants from your existing one. There are two popular methods for propagating this houseplant: water propagation and soil propagation.

For a detailed guide on pothos propagation, you can visit my dedicated blog post.

Pothos Plant Pest Control


Despite their generally low-maintenance nature, pothos can occasionally fall prey to common pests like mealybugs and fungus gnats. Regularly monitoring your plant for signs of infestation and taking preventative and remedial actions are vital to maintain your pothos plant’s health and vibrancy.

To control mealybugs on your pothos plant, simply dab away the insects with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol. For more severe infestations, neem oil or insecticidal soap can be used to effectively treat and prevent future outbreaks.

Another eco-friendly method I’ve discovered to ward off these irritating pests is exposure to UV rays. Last spring, I was dealing with a persistent infestation of mealybugs that just wouldn’t go away. It got me thinking about how outdoor plants don’t seem to have this problem… so I decided to move my plants outdoors too. I didn’t place the pothos in direct sunlight, instead, I kept it in the shade. The bounced-back UV rays from the sky proved to be a potent weapon against the mealybugs, effectively eliminating them.

If you notice fungus gnats, allowing the soil to dry out completely can help to get rid of these pesky insects. In the case of heavy infestation, I’d recommend changing the soil completely.

Pet Safety and Toxicity

My cat with one of my pothos plants

While pothos plants beautify indoor spaces, they can be mildly toxic to pets. If ingested, they may cause irritation. To ensure pet safety, hang the plant out of their reach. This way, you can enjoy your plant without risking pet health.

It is also toxic to humans. Remember pothos is not edible!

Fortunately, my cats do not show interest in my pothos. Their preference leans towards Cyperus papyrus.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Pothos typically require minimal care, but they may occasionally encounter problems like yellowing leaves, drooping, or leaf browning.

Let’s explore each of these common problems and learn how to resolve them.

Yellowing Leaves

my pothos with yellow spots on the leaves

Yellow leaves on your pothos plant can be caused by a variety of factors, including too much direct sunlight, overfertilization, and improper watering.

To address this issue, first determine the cause and adjust accordingly.

If your plant is receiving too much direct sunlight, move it to a spot with bright, indirect light.

If overfertilization is the culprit, reduce the amount of fertilizer you’re using and flush the soil with water to remove any excess.

Finally, if underwatering or overwatering is the cause, adjust your watering schedule to ensure the soil remains moist but not soggy. I’ve found that using a soil moisture meter has been a real leaf savior in maintaining the optimal moisture levels for my pothos.

my pothos with a soil moisture meter

Drooping or Wilting

Drooping or wilting pothos plants may be a sign of underwatering, overwatering, or too much direct sunlight.

To revive your plant, check the soil moisture and give it a deep watering if the soil is too dry, or restrain from watering if the soil is already wet.

If your plant is receiving too much direct sunlight, move it to a spot with bright, indirect light to prevent further wilting.

Leaf Browning

pothos with abrown leaf

Browning leaves on your pothos plant can result from a lack of light or overwatering.

If your plant is not receiving enough light, move it to a spot with bright, indirect light to encourage healthy growth.

If overwatering is the issue, adjust your watering schedule to ensure the soil remains moist but not soggy.

Other Names for Pothos

The pothos plant is known by many names around the world. Here are some of them:

  • “Pothos”: This is the most commonly used name for this plant.

  • “Devil’s Ivy”: This name comes from the plant’s hardy nature and ability to survive even in dark environments.

  • “Silver Vine”: This name refers to the plant’s silver variegated leaves.

  • “Taro Vine”: This name is used due to the similarity of the plant’s leaves to those of the taro plant.

  • “Solomon Islands Ivy”: This name is derived from one of the plant’s native habitats.

  • “Telephone Plant”: This name is due to its ability to trail and climb, much like telephone wires.

  • “Scindapsus Aureus”: This is actually a misnomer. Scindapsus Aureus was the plant’s former scientific name, but it was later reclassified and renamed Epipremnum Aureum. Despite this, many people still refer to the plant as Scindapsus Aureus. Meanwhile, Scindapsus is a different plant.

  • “Pathos”: This is a common misspelling of the plant’s common name, pothos.

  • “Potis”: This is another common misspelling of the plant’s common name, pothos.

  • “Potos”: This is yet another common misspelling of the plant’s common name, pothos.


To sum up, pothos plants are a lovely choice for indoor gardening. With proper care and understanding of their needs, they can thrive beautifully. They’re suitable for both experienced gardeners and beginners, adding a tropical touch to your indoor space.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.