If you’re going to have one houseplant in your home, you might as well make it a pothos. These plants can stay looking lush through months of sporadic watering and keep their green color even if they’re grown in less than ideal environments. With that said, we know you’re a proud plant parent. And that means that you may want to give your pothos the care it needs to not just survive but thrive.
We’re going to cover how to care for these trailing plants so you can grow a showstopping pothos that will have your plant-loving friends doing double takes.
Pothos refers to a vining plant with the scientific name Epipremnum aureum. It’s native to islands in the South Pacific, but it has become a popular houseplant and is grown throughout the world.
There are many different varieties of pothos with distinct leaf colors and patterns. Despite their different appearances, all of these varieties thrive with similar environments and care.
How to Care for Pothos Plants
Properly caring for a pothos involves supplying the plant with the proper environment. Fortunately, this isn’t too difficult! We’ll go over this plant’s preferred temperatures, humidity, light, and more.
Temperature and Humidity
Since they’re native to tropical regions, it probably isn’t surprising that pothos plants like warm and humid conditions. While they aren’t as picky about the temperature and humidity as some other houseplants, keeping these factors in their preferred ranges will lead to happy and healthy plants.
As far as temperature goes, normal indoor temperatures are typically fine. That’s because pothos plants prefer that the air remains between 65–80°F. However, these plants can tolerate temperatures a bit outside this range as long as they don’t experience any drastic swings.
When it comes to humidity, pothos prefer moderate to high humidity. That said, they can tolerate low humidity as well. If you want to boost the humidity in your home, a humidifier is the best way to do so.
In the wild, pothos often grow underneath the larger plants, which leads to dappled light. Providing bright yet indirect light is the best way to keep these plants happy. Try tucking them in the interior of a brightly-lit room or in front of a north-facing window.
While direct light and shade won’t necessarily kill your plant, it may hurt them. If plants don’t receive enough light, they may grow at a slower rate and eventually develop dull colors. Variegated varieties can also lose their white color if they don’t receive enough light.
If your plants receive too much direct light (or are suddenly placed in direct light), their leaves may become damaged and become pale or off-white. If this happens, move the plants out of direct light and allow them to recover.
The goal of watering a pothos plant is to prevent the soil from drying out completely but also make sure it doesn’t stay wet. In other words, you want to keep the soil slightly moist at all times.
Factors including temperature, humidity, light, and soil type can all impact how often you’ll need to water your pothos. However, a good rule of thumb is to water your plant about once a week.
If you’re not sure whether or not to water, you can stick a finger into the top two inches of soil. Dry means go ahead and water while wet means that you should wait.
Pothos plants aren’t particularly heavy feeders, so they don’t require a big dose of fertilizer. However, they can benefit from small yet regular doses of nutrients. It’s important to choose a fertilizer that’s low in nutrients in order to avoid fertilizer burn. A product with an NPK (that’s nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) ratio of 1-1-1 or 2-2-2 is a good option.
Dilute the product following package instructions and then apply once in the early spring and again in the early summer. There’s no need to fertilize your pothos during the fall or winter.
Managing Pests and Diseases
Fortunately, pothos plants are typically free from major pest and disease issues. However, they are susceptible to common houseplant pests like spider mites, thrips, and aphids.
The best way to manage these pests is by preventing them from entering your home in the first place. Check all new plants for signs of pests and leave them outside if they show signs of pests.
If you do notice any of these critters on your pothos plant, you can wipe them off with a soapy rag. And if you’re dealing with a big infestation, you can spray the pests with insecticidal soap or neem oil.
Growing Pothos in Containers
Unless you live in a tropical area, your best bet is to grow pothos in pots. Planting these green guys in pots allows you to easily grow them in homes, offices, and wherever else you please. However, before you just stick your pothos in any pot and call it good, you should learn a lil’ bit about this plant’s preferred type of container and soil.
Selecting a Pot for Your Pothos
Remember how pothos are pretty easy to care for? Well, the same holds true when it comes to selecting a pot. These plants are happy in all types of containers from terracotta to plastic to glazed ceramic.
No matter what type of material you choose, it’s essential that you choose a container with drainage holes. A lack of holes can lead to waterlogged soil which can then lead to rotten roots.
Choosing a Proper Soil Mix
While outdoor plants can grow great in native soils, potted pothos plants prefer a soilless potting mix. Look for a mix that can hold a fair bit of moisture but also allow excess water to escape. White that may sound a bit contradictory, there are potting mixes that have both of these attributes.
Peat moss or coco coir will hold water so the mix remains a bit moist in between waterings. And materials like perlite, pine bark fines, and pumice all increase drainage and aeration. While compost will add a boost of nutrients, it isn’t essential as long as you fertilize your pothos.
One of the fun things about growing pothos is that you can choose from a seemingly endless number of varieties. Whether you want neon green leaves to light up a drab space or foliage with a subdued blend of white and emerald, you can find a pothos variety for you.
It’s important to note that many plants look like pothos, but not all of them are true pothos. Some plants that people commonly mistake as pothos include heartleaf philodendron (Philodendron hederaceum), satin pothos (Scindapsus pictus), and monstera Peru (Monstera karstenianum). With that said, here are some of the most popular pothos varieties.
This is the disco queen of the pothos. It has bright lime leaves that practically scream boldness and cheer.
A more sophisticated pothos, Marble Queen has kelly green leaves with cream splashes and dashes.
If you’re after a collector’s item, keep an eye out for N’Joy. This variety has leaves that contain large splotches of green, cream, and white.
Enjoy Your Pothos
With this information in hand, you’re ready to help your pothos thrive for years to come. No pothos? No problem! We offer a wide selection of plants for delivery, including pothos.Shop All