Pothos is a popular houseplant that is known for its trailing vines and ease of care. While pothos is typically grown as an indoor plant, it can also be grown outdoors in certain climates. Pothos can tolerate a wide range of temperatures, but prefers warm, humid conditions. If you live in a warm, tropical climate, you can plant pothos outdoors in a shady spot with well-draining soil. However, it’s important to note that pothos is not frost-tolerant, so it may not be suitable for outdoor planting in colder regions. Additionally, outdoor-grown pothos may be more susceptible to pest infestations and disease, so it’s important to monitor the plant carefully and take steps to prevent and treat any issues. Understanding whether pothos can live outside can help gardeners choose the right growing conditions for this popular houseplant.
Can Pothos Live Outside?
Pothos, a popular indoor plant, can thrive outside under certain conditions. Native to tropical rainforests in Southeast Asia, these plants can adapt to outdoor environments that resemble their natural habitats. Key factors to consider for outdoor pothos growth include temperature, soil type, and sunlight.
For instance, pothos can grow year-round in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12, which cover parts of Florida, Texas, Arizona, southern California, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. In these regions, they serve as a beautiful ground cover, quickly spreading in the garden(source).
In cooler zones, pothos plants can still be grown outdoors during warmer months or in areas with temperatures ranging from 65°F to 85°F (source). Potted pothos provide an alternative in regions with colder temperatures, as long they’re moved indoors before the cold sets in (source).
Pothos plants are extremely adaptable when it comes to soil types, and they can thrive in outdoor conditions with high humidity and temperatures between 70 to 90°F (source). They can also climb trees or trellises or spread along the garden floor. Regular pruning can help manage their size (source).
Ideal Conditions for Outdoor Pothos
Pothos plants grow best in temperatures ranging from 65 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. They can tolerate short periods of temperatures down to 45-50°F, but prolonged exposure to cool temperatures may stunt or damage the plant(source). Outdoor pothos plants will thrive in areas with high humidity, such as in humidity levels between 50% and 70%(source).
When grown outdoors, pothos should be placed in an area with indirect sunlight. They can tolerate some direct sunlight but may experience stress and burnt leaves if exposed to too much direct sun. Generally, it’s best to provide your pothos plant with a mix of sunlight and shade for optimal growth(source).
Soil and Water Requirements
Pothos plants are highly adaptable and can grow in various soil types. However, they prefer well-draining soil to prevent root rot from occurring. It’s also wise to use soil that is rich in organic matter to provide your pothos plant with the necessary nutrients for healthy growth(source).
When it comes to watering, pothos plants should be watered when the top layer of soil starts to dry out. Be cautious not to over-water the plant, as this can lead to root rot. In general, it’s essential to find the right balance between too little and too much water to support the overall health of your pothos plant(source).
Potential Problems with Outdoor Pothos
Pothos can be grown outdoors, but there are some potential problems that gardeners should be aware of when placing the plant in an outdoor setting. In this section, we will explore the issues related to pests and diseases, as well as the invasiveness of the plant.
Pests and Diseases
While pothos is generally low maintenance, outdoor plants may be susceptible to certain pests or diseases. Common pests that can be found on pothos include mealybugs and scale insects. To treat an infestation, use a cotton ball dipped in alcohol, or apply a horticultural spray to eliminate the pests (Gardening Know How) .
Aside from pests, pothos plants grown outdoors may be more prone to fungal infections, such as root rot, especially in damp and humid conditions. To prevent these diseases, allow the soil to dry out between waterings, and avoid overwatering the plants.
One major issue with growing pothos outdoors is its potential to become invasive in certain regions. In warmer climates like those found in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12, the pothos plant can grow aggressively and may become difficult to control (Nature of Home). When left unchecked, outdoor pothos can outcompete native plant species and disrupt local ecosystems.
To minimize the risk of invasiveness, gardeners should consider planting pothos in containers or confining the plant within landscape borders. Regular trimming and maintenance can also help to prevent the pothos from becoming invasive and ensure that it remains an attractive and manageable addition to the garden.
Bringing Pothos Back Indoors
When the outdoor temperature starts to drop, it is essential to bring your pothos plant back inside to protect it from harsh weather conditions. Pothos plants cannot survive when temperatures drop below 50°F (PlantCarer). To ensure a smooth transition, follow these steps:
1. Gradually acclimate your pothos to the indoor environment. Begin by bringing the plant inside for a few hours a day, gradually increasing the time spent indoors until the plant is accustomed to the change in its surroundings.
2. Inspect your pothos for pests and diseases before bringing it indoors. Pests like aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites might hitch a ride indoors with your plant. To prevent infestations in your home, treat any visible pests with insecticidal soap or other appropriate treatments.
3. Choose an appropriate location for your indoor pothos. The plant should receive bright, indirect light for at least six hours a day (Plantials). Avoid direct sunlight as it can scorch the leaves, and maintain a temperature range of 65°F – 85°F (Houseplant Authority).
4. Adjust your watering and fertilizing routines. Indoor pothos generally requires less water and fertilizer than outdoor pothos. Be mindful of overwatering; allow the top two inches of soil to dry out between waterings to prevent root rot.
By following these steps to transition your pothos from outdoors to indoors, you will help maintain its health, growth, and overall wellbeing during the colder months.
Alternatives to Pothos for Outdoor Spaces
While pothos can be grown outdoors under certain conditions, there are many other plant options available for outdoor spaces. These alternatives offer a variety of features, such as stunning foliage, hardiness, and low maintenance needs. Here are some popular alternatives to consider for your outdoor space.
English Ivy (Hedera helix): A fast-growing and versatile climber, English ivy thrives in a variety of soil types and light conditions. It can cover walls or create ground covers, handling colder climates better than pothos. However, it can be invasive in some areas, so always check local regulations before planting.
Creeping Fig (Ficus pumila): This self-clinging evergreen vine is perfect for growing on walls, fences, or as a ground cover. It thrives in USDA hardiness zones 8-11, can tolerate full sun to partial shade, and features small, dark green leaves that create a dense, attractive covering.
Swedish Ivy (Plectranthus verticillatus): This trailing plant resembles regular ivy but is not a true ivy. Swedish ivy performs well in hanging baskets or as ground cover and can be grown outdoors in USDA hardiness zones 10-11. With attractive green, scalloped leaves and white flowers, it makes for a visually appealing option.
Virginia Creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia): A fast-growing, deciduous vine that is native to North America, Virginia creeper boasts spectacular fall foliage. It climbs using tendrils and adheres well to walls or fences. Preferring full sun to light shade, it can tolerate a variety of soils and is hardy in USDA zones 3-9.
Choosing the right plant for your outdoor space depends on factors such as climate, available space, and personal preferences. Evaluate these factors and research a plant’s specific care requirements before selecting the best alternative to pothos for your garden or yard.
My name is Daniel Elrod, and I have been houseplant love ever since I was 17. I love how much joy they bring to any room in the home. I’ve always been amazed at how a few pots of flowing leaves can turn a drab and sterile office into an inviting place where people love to work at.