How to care for Pothos

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Pothos are very popular because they are very low light friendly and they meet a lot of requirements that make them a very low maintenance easy care plant. Pothos are fantastic for beginners and today we are going to go over the basic care for them.

Origin

To really learn how to take care of a plant we always want to know where the plant came from. You have to know the origin of the plant. Epipremnum(Pothos) was originally discovered in the Polynesian islands and has since been taken from there and redistributed all across the world. It is now known as an invasive plant in multiple countries. A number of places actually require you to chop it down when you find it growing in your native environment because it’s not native there. It will actually choke out a lot of other native plants and damage local ecosystems. This is bad news for the outside plants but great news for houseplants. This means that it is going to grow prolifically in our homes, under a variety of conditions, and survive pretty much anything that we can do to it. A very hardy plant.

Lighting

Pothos are actually really well known for being able to handle low light. They do not need a lot of light and if you give them too much light (especially if they have some type of white variegation) it is going to burn. So give them lower light and then if you want to give them medium light you can work them up to it. Epipremnum can handle a variety of conditions but generally low light is going to work out really well for them.

Watering

When you are watering your Pothos just make sure that you wait until everything has dried out and then give it water. Do not constantly be giving it water. They can either live in a soil mixture or they can live in a water mixture. They are highly adaptable plants but connecting those 2 together constantly is two separate growing conditions. Either way, the plant’s roots will need oxygen, and not providing that is a recipe for root rot.

 Generally speaking, if they are in the soil you want to let them dry out. Then give them water and let them soak all that up. Then let them dry out again.

Soil Mix

We recommend a well-draining mix for Pothos.   They really like to have a lot of air around their roots and when they grow they want to try to attach to things. They are aroids so a fifty percent soil and fifty percent perlite mix works well. You can also add in bark and sphagnum moss for aeration. Pothos basically absorb the nutrients from the air with their roots and they’re foliage so they don’t need the mix to be really thick and really heavy.

Fertilization

This brings us to fertilization. These plants grow prolifically but they do it by sucking a lot of the nutrients out of the air. They do not need a lot of heavy fertilization done to their soil mix. You can give them a slow-release fertilizer on a low schedule. Another option is to water them and then when you’re giving them fertilizer have it be a low dose fertilizer every couple of weeks or whenever you’re watering them. It does not have to be anything too high. They are not heavy feeders. They definitely survive on very little and grow prolifically with that regularly.

Growth pattern

Epipremnum is a vining plant. They want to climb up things. They normally climb up trees and in nature, they have been known to choke out trees with their prolific growth. In our homes, we generally have them vining or trailing all over. They do love boards and moss poles. When you allow them to climb they will get larger foliage and fenestrations as they mature.

The foliage will get smaller if they trail or hang. They look pretty amazing if you want to let them climb but it’s not necessarily something that you absolutely have to do. They will be healthy either way.

Propagation

If your plant does grow too prolifically you can chop off parts of it and grow all new plants. Generally, as long as there is a leaf attached to this stem, there will be a node there. Sometimes there may even be a little nub that is an aerial root. This is fantastic because you can grow a whole new plant from that very easily. You can chop pieces of this plant when it gets too big or too long and then you can grow more of this plant. You can learn more about this here because we have a whole other post for this process.

Pests and Disease

Pothos commonly get spider mites and mealy bugs. These are 2 very common pests that are pretty easy to deal with for the most part. You can use rubbing alcohol and a q tip for the mealy bugs.

 For spider mites, you can spray the foliage down every few days for a couple of months with insecticidal soap and that will get rid of those spider mites for you.

The other common issue for Pothos to get is root rot. If they are sitting in water for too long or you let them dry out too much and then douse them with a lot of water at one time they can be more susceptible to root rot. If they are constantly sitting in wet, soggy, soil and their roots never get a chance to breathe then Pothos get diseases that are going to rot their root systems. We categorically call it root rot but it’s actually a whole bunch of different kinds of diseases that Pothos can get. They all lead to the same consequence though, which is root rot.

Variegation and Varieties

 There are several kinds of variegation and many varieties of Pothos. Each one has a slightly different care because of this and things to keep an eye out for.

Manjula Pothos has a white and green variegation. There is also  Marble Queen, Njoy, Pearl’s, and Jade with green and white variegation.

The original Epipremnum Aureum is a yellow and green variegation with occasionally white splotches in higher light.  The majority of the other Pothos varieties have come from the Epipremnum Aureum.

Then last but not least you can get green on green variegation with a global green Pothos.

The varieties with the white variegation are going to be a little bit more difficult to care for. They generally need more water and more light to keep that variegation but if you give them too much light then they will burn. They are very beautiful plants and still very easy to care for but not the easiest Pothos. If you are a beginner plant parent try a Global Green Pothos or Golden Pothos first.

Epipremnum( Pothos) can survive in a variety of conditions. They are not too finicky at all. The only tricky bit is the watering. Definitely just let them dry out. These are amazing, easy-care, beginner-friendly plants! They are absolutely awesome for pretty much anybody! They grow prolifically.  If you are just trying to learn how to propagate plants then this is definitely one for you as well!

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