Can You Put Pothos Cuttings Directly Into Soil? An Expert Guide

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Pothos plants are one of the easiest plants to propagate, making them a popular choice for indoor gardeners. While there are several methods of propagation, one common question is whether or not you can put pothos cuttings directly into soil. In this article, we’ll explore the various ways to propagate pothos and whether or not rooting cuttings directly in soil is a viable option.

Understanding Pothos Cuttings

Types of Cuttings

Pothos plants are some of the easiest houseplants to propagate, and their cuttings can be placed directly into soil. It’s crucial to understand the two main types of cuttings when working with pothos: stem cuttings and leaf cuttings. Stem cuttings are the most commonly used method for propagating pothos, as they include both a leaf and a small section of the stem. This allows the cutting to develop roots more easily and quickly than leaf cuttings, which consist solely of a leaf and a short petiole.

Ideal Conditions for Cuttings

To ensure successful root development, it’s essential to create the right conditions for your pothos cuttings. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Soil: Choose a well-draining potting mix. A mix of peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite is ideal for encouraging root growth.
  • Moisture: Pothos cuttings need a moist environment to develop roots. Keep the soil consistently damp, but not waterlogged. You can achieve this with regular misting and plenty of indirect sunlight for humidity.
  • Light: Indirect sunlight is perfect for pothos cuttings. Direct sunlight can cause the leaves to burn and the cuttings to dry out.
  • Temperature: Pothos cuttings thrive in temperatures between 70°F and 90°F. It’s important to avoid placing the cuttings near drafts or vents that may result in temperature fluctuations.
  • Tools: Before taking cuttings, ensure that you have a clean, disinfected pair of pruning shears or scissors. This helps prevent the spread of diseases or bacteria to the new cuttings and the parent plant.

By understanding the types of pothos cuttings and providing the ideal conditions for their growth, you’ll be well on your way to successfully propagating these popular houseplants.

Methods to Propagate Pothos

Pothos plants are popular for their easy propagation methods. Two common methods are water propagation and soil propagation.

Water Propagation

Water propagation provides a simple and successful way to grow pothos cuttings. To start, cut a stem from a healthy pothos plant, just below a leaf node. Remove most of the lower leaves and place the stem in a jar of room-temperature water with the leaf nodes submerged. Place the jar in bright, indirect sunlight and maintain a consistent water level. In a short period, roots will develop, and once they are strong enough, you can transfer the cutting to a planter with prepared soil. Keep in mind that it may take some time for the water-started roots to adapt to living in soil, so be patient during the transition period [(source)].

Soil Propagation

Soil propagation is another effective method, although it might be slightly less common than water propagation. Firstly, choose a stem cutting with at least 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 centimeters) in length and make a clean cut just below a leaf node. Remove most of the lower leaves and ensure the cutting has enough moisture and humidity.

For better results, it’s recommended to use a rooting hormone before planting the cutting directly in soil. Prepare a pot with well-draining soil mix and insert the stem cutting into the soil, ensuring that the leaf node is slightly buried. Keep the soil consistently moist and provide bright, indirect sunlight for the cutting to grow. In a few weeks, the cutting will begin developing roots and start growing into a new pothos plant.

In conclusion, both water and soil propagation methods are effective for creating new pothos plants. Choose the method that best suits your requirements and enjoy this beautiful and easy-to-grow houseplant.

Directly Planting Pothos Cuttings in Soil

Preparing the Cuttings

To successfully propagate pothos cuttings in soil, start by selecting a healthy and strong parent plant. Choose a stem with several leaves and nodes, and make a clean cut just below a node. Optionally, you can dip the cut end of the stem into a dry powder rooting hormone for better chances of rooting.

Choosing the Right Soil

It’s essential to pick an appropriate soil mixture for your pothos cuttings. A homemade houseplant potting mix is highly recommended, one that includes components like:

  • Potting soil
  • Coconut coir
  • Perlite

This combination will improve drainage and provide essential nutrients for your cuttings to thrive.

Planting Process

Follow these steps to plant your pothos cuttings directly in soil:

  1. Fill a pot with the prepared potting mix, ensuring the pot has drainage holes.
  2. Make a small hole in the soil using your finger or a pencil.
  3. If you’ve dipped the cutting in rooting hormone, place it into the hole.
  4. Gently cover the cutting with soil and press lightly for stability.
  5. Keep the soil consistently moist, but not soggy, as your pothos cuttings root in as little as two weeks.

Remember to place the potted cuttings in an environment with indirect light to create a thriving environment that promotes growth. By directly planting pothos cuttings in soil, you make their transition to a full-grown plant much smoother.

Caring for Pothos Cuttings in Soil

Watering Requirements

When caring for pothos cuttings in soil, it’s important to keep the soil consistently moist. This can be achieved by misting the soil every couple of days to provide the right amount of moisture for the cutting to establish roots. Be careful not to overwater, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot.

Light and Temperature Conditions

Pothos cuttings thrive in a well-lit area but avoid direct sunlight, which can scorch their leaves. Indirect or filtered sunlight, such as near a window with a sheer curtain, is recommended. As for temperature, pothos cuttings grow best in a room with temperatures between 65°F and 75°F (18°C-24°C). Keep your cuttings away from drafts, air conditioning vents, or heating sources, as fluctuating temperatures can cause stress to the plant.


Once your pothos cuttings are rooted and growing, consider applying a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. This will provide your plants with essential nutrients, promoting healthy growth and foliage. During the dormant months, it is best to reduce or avoid fertilization, as the plant’s growth slows down.


Pruning is essential to maintain the health and appearance of your pothos plant. Trim away any yellowing or damaged leaves, as well as unruly stems. This encourages new growth and leads to a fuller, bushier appearance. Don’t be afraid to be generous with your pruning, as pothos plants are resilient and grow back quickly.

In conclusion, always follow these care tips to help your pothos cuttings thrive in soil. By providing optimal watering, light, temperature, fertilization, and pruning practices, you’ll achieve healthy, beautiful pothos plants.

Common Issues and Troubleshooting

In this section, we will discuss some common problems that may arise when putting pothos cuttings directly into the soil, followed by their respective solutions.

Yellowing Leaves

One issue that you might encounter is the yellowing of leaves. This can be caused by overwatering or under-watering, incorrect light levels, or nutritional imbalances. To address this issue:

  • Check the soil’s moisture level; it should be damp but not soggy.
  • Make sure the pothos is placed in a bright, indirect light location.
  • Apply a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once a month.

Root Rot

Root rot is another common problem, typically caused by excessive moisture or poor drainage in the soil. To combat root rot:

  • Ensure proper drainage by using a well-draining soil mix.
  • Water the plant only when the top inch or so of the soil feels dry to the touch.
  • If root rot is advanced, you may need to trim away affected roots and repot the plant in fresh soil.

Slow Growth

Slow growth can be a frustration when propagating pothos cuttings in soil. Some factors that can contribute to slow growth include inadequate light, inconsistent temperature, and insufficient nutrients. To promote faster growth:

  • Position your pothos in a spot with bright, indirect light.
  • Maintain a consistent room temperature of around 65-75°F (18-24°C).
  • Apply a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer once a month to provide essential nutrients.

By addressing these common issues, you can successfully propagate pothos cuttings directly in soil and enjoy healthy, thriving plants.

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