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Pothos Plant Care and Propagation

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TacTac enjoys hiking outdoors and is especially fond of caring for houseplants.

This guide will break down what you need to know to care for and propagate pothos plant, also known as devil's ivy.

This guide will break down what you need to know to care for and propagate pothos plant, also known as devil's ivy.

Enter the World of Pothos Plants

Pothos plant care is very simple, making it an excellent plant for novice home gardeners. It is also remarkably simple to propagate, making it an attractive plant to share with other gardeners. Add to this the fact that a pothos plant can be grown in both bright and low light and you have yourself a real fan favorite.

The only skill needed to propagate this plant is the ability to use scissors and pour a glass of water. It doesn't even need rooting hormone. This a very easy plant to take care of and will thrive with the proper care.

Pothos plant (Devils Ivy) in sunlight

Pothos plant (Devils Ivy) in sunlight

Caring for the Pothos Plant

  • Light requirements: Moderate to bright. Filtered bright light is recommended for this plant, but it reacts poorly to direct, intense sun. Pothos plants absolutely seem to love artificial light. They can tolerate low light conditions but won't thrive.
  • Moisture requirements (spring and summer): Let the top 2–3 inches of soil dry. Water thoroughly, stopping when it begins leaking out of the bottom of the pot. Let the pot stand in any water for about 20 minutes, then discard the remaining standing water to prevent rot and mildew.
  • Moisture requirements (winter and fall): Essentially the same as spring and summer requirements, but keep in mind that your watering habits may need to be altered depending on how dry your home gets during the cooler months.
  • Soil requirements: A neutral pH has been recommended for these plants, around a 7.0 on the pH scale. The soil should be able to retain some moisture. Regular potting soil seems to work perfectly for this very hardy and resourceful plant.
  • Fertilizer requirements: Fertilize every four to six weeks in spring and summer. Follow directions that came with your fertilizer, and the pothos will love you. During fall and winter, the plant's growth will slow, and it won't require any fertilization.
  • Temperature requirements: Keep it around 65–70°F at night and 75–90°F during the day. These are just optimal growing temperature ranges, and the plant will thrive even under more realistic home temperatures. They don't like cold drafts or warm, dry air though, so keep them clear of forced air heat vents, if possible.
  • Repotting: Do this in the springtime, when necessary. You'll be able to tell when the pothos is ready for a new pot when roots begin to crawl out of the openings at the bottom of the pot.

Quick Facts

  • Country of origin: Native to the Society Islands.
  • Latin pronunciation: ep-ih-PREM-num pin-NAY-tum
  • Lifespan: Perennial
Pothos leaf freshly rinsed

Pothos leaf freshly rinsed

Pothos Plant Propagation

The pothos plant quite possibly is the easiest plant anywhere to propagate. At times it seems the plant is doing all the work for you, and indeed it pretty much is. The tools and time required to propagate this beautiful houseplant are minimal, so read on for more info.

What You'll Need

  • Sharp knife
  • Cup, vase or bottle
  • Pot
  • Suitable soil
  • Parent plant (the plant you will take the cutting from)
  • An area where you can work
  • Some paper towels or something to help clean up and place cuttings on
Tie your cuttings for easy management

Tie your cuttings for easy management

How to Start Propagating

If you are using plain tap water, it's best to allow it to sit in an uncovered container for at least 24 hours before using. This allows chemicals such as chlorine to dissipate and prevent your new cutting from getting burned by chemicals.

Select the shoot or shoots you wish to use to make your cuttings. Some people take several cuttings and plant them all in the same container. This gives the plant a more full look right from the start.

Make the cut with your sharp, sterile knife at a node. A node is a junction in the stem from which leaves and other stems or branches grow. Experts recommend making a diagonal cut that is clean and does not crush the shoot. This allows a bigger undamaged surface area to soak up moisture while the cutting develops new roots.

Fresh cuttings in water.

Fresh cuttings in water.

Place the cutting directly into water in a cup, jar or whatever you have and leave it to root. The cutting needs only moderate light at this stage as most of its energy will be spent on root formation.

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Leave the cutting undisturbed for a while and new roots will form. It usually takes a couple weeks to see them start to form.

At this stage, you can prep your pot and soil as you will be planting when you see about an inch of root. Fill the container about 3/4 full, moisten and pack the soil down.

Lay the cutting on the packed soil, being careful not to damage the root or roots. They are a little fragile at this stage, so take your time. Cover the cutting with potting soil. Gently pack it around the roots and water thoroughly.

Roots after several weeks in water.

Roots after several weeks in water.

Transpiration is your main concern with these cuttings. Transpiration is when a leaf loses moisture from its surface pores. Placing a sandwich bag over the top of your pot or using elastic bands to keep the leaves rolled up will prevent this.

Keep the soil damp but not wet, and try to prevent any leaves from touching the moist soil as this can contribute to rot. After about two or three weeks, you should see new growth starting.

When you see new growth, remove the plastic bag or elastic bands and enjoy your new houseplant.

Pothos Plant Tips and Trivia

  • Pothos plants are one of the few plants that make a good choice for poorly lit bathrooms.
  • The pothos is poisonous. Though rarely lethal, they can make pets and children quite sick.
  • The pothos plant is susceptible to cold drafts and will experience leaf drop as a result.
  • Overly dry soil causes leaf yellowing and drop in pothos.
  • Under the right conditions, this plant will grow rapidly and may require constant pruning, which means lots of cuttings for friends and family.
  • Pothos plant clippings arranged in clusters and potted make excellent gifts.
  • Fertilizing may be required often when the plant gets large as it will absorb most of the nutrients from the soil.
Pothos plant leaf

Pothos plant leaf

How Did You Do?

Feel free to leave your mark and let me know how I did. I would love to hear your tips and tricks for caring for a pothos plant. Until next time. Happy gardening.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Laura Hofman from Naperville, IL on March 28, 2013:

Pothos are easy to care for and lovely to look at. Plus they help clean our indoor air!

esvoytko lm on February 27, 2012:

Special place in my heart for pothos. They take a lot of flak for looking like "office plants," but I think they're beautiful. And they're impossible to kill!

Virginia Allain from Central Florida on June 15, 2010:

I love how easy these are to take care of, both as a houseplant and in Florida as an outdoor plant. Mine go crazy during the Florida summer, running all over the lanai.

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