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Perhaps the most popular houseplant found in homes worldwide is the Pothos. By far one of my favorite plants to recommend as one of the first plants for beginners. This is mainly because the Pothos is such a forgiving, plant!


Originally found in the jungles of Malaysia, China, Australia, and islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the Pothos adapted to life in the tropics. Since the light at the floor of a dense, tropical jungle is often not very bright, pothos plants used the aerial roots on their long vines to cling to the trunks of trees and grow upwards towards the sunlight, sometimes 40-50 feet up in the air.


The leaves of the hardy Pothos plant come in many colors and leaf patterns. A Golden Pothos plant has yellow and green leaves. A Marble Queen Pothos has white and green leaves. A Jade Pothos has solid green leaves. Newer pothos varieties include the Neon Pothos with bright green neon-colored leaves and the n’joy Pothos that has green leaves with patterns in cream and yellow. When growing outdoors, the leaves of a pothos plant can be as large as 10”-12”. Indoors, Pothos plant leaves are much smaller usually ranging in size from 4”-6”.


Pothos plants make a great addition to your bathroom or office because they can tolerate low light. While pothos likes a wide variety of light conditions, they do not do well in direct sunlight. If your pothos is highly variegated — particularly variegated with white — they may either not grow as well in low light or may lose their variegation if the light is too low. Only the green parts of the leaves can make energy for the plant, so it must be able to get enough light for energy or its growth will slow or the leaves will compensate for the lack of light by becoming more green.


Light - There is a pothos plant variety for almost any light situation. A Green Jade Pothos that has solid green leaves, does well in low light. The Golden Pothos plant that has yellow and green patterned leaves, likes medium light. The Marble Queen pothos that has green and white variegated leaves grows best in medium to bright indirect light. The lighter the colors in the leaves of a pothos plant, the more light the plant requires.

Temperature - A pothos plant does well in temperatures between 55°F - 80°F. If temperatures drop below 45°F, a pothos plant stops growing and the leaves turn black.

Water  - How you water a Pothos plant is very important. Water well and then allow the top 50% of the soil to dry out before watering your pothos plant again. Over-watering is the main reason a pothos plant dies. Bright yellow leaves indicate that the soil has dried out a bit too much before you watered it. Leaves turn pale yellow and get black marks when a pothos plant is over- watered. Over watering a pothos plant also causes new growth to turn black.

Humidity - Basic household humidity is all a pothos plant requires.

Soil - A pothos plant grows well in a well-aerated, quick-draining potting soil that dries out quickly. Using this type of soil prevents the roots from staying wet too long and eventually dying. I like to use a 75% potting soil, 25% sand mix for my Pothos.

Fertilizer - Fertilize a pothos plant every two weeks in the spring and summer when the plant is actively growing and monthly in the fall and winter. Use a well-balanced plant food diluted to ½ the recommended strength when feeding a pothos plant.

Re-pot - A Pothos plant likes to be root-bound in a small pot. Do not rush to move a pothos plant to a larger pot until the roots of the plant have filled the existing container. The new pot should be just one size larger and have drip holes in the bottom.

Maintenance - Aggressively prune the long vines of a pothos to keep the plant looking bushy and full. The pruned section can be used to start a new plant.

Pests - One of the great things about a pothos plant is that if it is properly cared for, it is rarely bothered by plant pests. However, if the soil is not allowed to partially dry out, Fungus Gnats can be a problem. Mealy Bugs are another pest that may be a problem.


Over-watering a pothos plant causes plant diseases such as crown, leaf, and root rot. Once the roots of a pothos plant are damaged, it is difficult to save the plant.

Propagation - By far one of the easiest plants to propagate, the Pothos will reward you with lots of new plants.


Pothos is very popular due to the fact that it can be grown in water or in dry soil. Cuttings can be taken from a mother plant and rooted in water and kept in water as a houseplant. This is convenient for placing a pothos plant in hard to reach areas in a jug of water where it can remain untouched as long as water remains in the jug.


On the opposite end, pothos can also be started in soil and will tolerate moderate periods of dry soil with little effect to the plant. When starting in soil, make sure to bury one of the leaf nodes to ensure the best success.

Oddly enough, cuttings started in one growing medium have a hard time switching to the other. So, a pothos plant started in soil has a hard time thriving if moved to water, and a pothos cutting started in water will not do very well in soil, especially if it has spent a long period of time growing in water.

Special Notes - While pothos plants are an easy to care for houseplant, you do need to be aware that they are poisonous. Though rarely fatal, the plant can cause irritation and vomiting if ingested due to the fact that it contains calcium oxalates. Even the sap from the plant may cause highly sensitive people to break out in a rash. It is considered toxic to cats, dogs, and children, but as mentioned, it normally will make them very sick but will not kill them.