Do Pothos Cuttings Need to Callus? Essential Care Steps

Disclosure: As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Please note that while we always strive to provide 100% up to date and accurate information, there is always the small possibility of error. Therefore, we advise conducting further research and due diligence before consuming any plants or exposing pets to anything mentioned on this site. Kindly refer to the full disclaimer for more details here.

If you’re new to propagating pothos, you might be wondering whether you need to let your cuttings callus before planting them. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the process of propagating pothos and explore whether or not callusing is necessary for success.

What is Callus Formation

Callus formation is a natural process that occurs in plants when they experience damage or stress, such as when cuttings are taken for propagation. During callus formation, the plant releases growth hormones to heal its wounds and stimulate the growth of new cells. These hormones include auxin, which promotes root growth, and cytokinin, which encourages shoot development.

The callus consists of undifferentiated cells that can eventually differentiate into various cell types, such as roots or shoots. Typically, callus formation is essential for successful vegetative propagation in many plant species.

In the case of pothos cuttings, callus formation is not necessary for successful propagation. This is because pothos plants are hardy and can recover quickly from the damage caused by cutting. Instead of requiring callused ends, pothos merely need healthy nodes for rooting when placed in water or soil.

Ensure that the pothos cuttings have at least a single node, and preferably, several leaves for optimal growth. Proper rooting can be promoted by using disinfected clippings and a well-draining potting mix.

Importance of Callus for Pothos Cuttings

A callus plays a crucial role in increasing the success rate of propagating pothos cuttings. When a cutting is taken from the mother plant, the wound needs time to heal and form a protective layer called a callus. This layer helps to prevent infection and allows the cutting to better absorb water and nutrients for successful rooting. Callusing typically takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the plant.

For pothos plants, callusing is not a requirement. They are known for their hardiness and can recover easily from cuts. However, allowing a callus to form can still improve the propagation success rate and reduce the time it takes for roots to form. Rooting hormones are sometimes used to induce the growth of new roots and callus, but these are not always necessary.

When propagating pothos cuttings, it is important to emphasize cleanliness and proper care. Make sure to use disinfected clippings and a well-draining potting mix. Pothos cuttings should have at least one node and preferably several leaves to encourage growth. To propagate the cutting, it can be simply placed in a jar of water or buried in soil, ensuring that the node is kept under the surface.

In summary, callus formation can be beneficial for pothos cuttings by promoting the survival and successful propagation of the plant. Although it is not required, allowing a callus to form may increase the chances of successful root development and overall plant health.

How to Encourage Callus Formation

Air Drying Method

One way to encourage callus formation in pothos cuttings is by using the air drying method. To do this, simply take the cutting and place it in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. The exposure to air will help the cut end form a protective callus layer, which can prevent infection and rot. Ensure the cutting receives bright, indirect light to support its growth during this process.

Moisture Method

An alternative method to stimulate callus formation is by maintaining a moist environment for the pothos cutting. Start by wrapping the cut end of the stem in damp (not soaking) newspaper or paper towel. This ensures that the cut remains moist and promotes callus formation. Place the wrapped cutting in a plastic bag or container, without sealing it completely, to retain humidity while still allowing for air circulation.

Remember to keep an eye on the cutting, checking the moisture level of the newspaper or paper towel to ensure it doesn’t dry out completely, as this might hinder the callus formation process. Also, avoid over-wetting the paper towel or newspaper to prevent potential rot and fungal problems.

Both the air drying method and the moisture method can be effective in encouraging callus formation on pothos cuttings. Choose the method that suits your growing environment and personal preference.

Propagating Pothos Cuttings

Pothos plants are popular indoor plants that can be propagated through cuttings. There are two common methods for propagating pothos cuttings: in water and in soil. Whether to callus the cuttings before propagating is a question many gardeners ask.

In Water

Propagating pothos cuttings in water is a straightforward process. Simply place the freshly cut stem in a container of clean water, being sure to remove any leaves that may be submerged. Changing the water every few days will help prevent bacteria growth and keep the cutting healthy. Some sources suggest that callusing the cutting before placing it in water is optional and may improve the success rate of propagation. To callus the cutting, you can allow it to air-dry for a few hours or overnight before placing it in water.

In Soil

When propagating pothos cuttings in soil, start by filling a pot with moistened potting mix. Take a 4 to 6-inch section of stem from a healthy pothos plant using a sharp knife or gardening shears, and then remove the bottom leaves from the cutting. Make a cut at the base of the stem about a quarter inch deep, and insert the cutting into the potting mix. Some gardeners choose to let the cuttings callus before planting in soil, but this step is not required.

In summary, to propagate pothos cuttings, gardeners have the option of either placing the cuttings directly into water or soil, or allowing them to callus first. Callusing the cuttings may improve the success rate of propagation, but it is not essential.

Signs of Successful Callus and Root Development

Callus development is an important factor for successful rooting of some plant cuttings; however, pothos cuttings do not require callusing. Nevertheless, recognizing the signs of successful callus and root development can still be useful for monitoring the progress of the propagation process.

With pothos, a successful propagation requires a healthy cutting with a leaf node. Leaf nodes are the small brownish bumps on the stem, which will sprout new roots during propagation. The good news is that pothos is a hardy plant, and cuttings can often root without needing callusing (

When propagating pothos in water, there are some visible signs indicating successful root development:

  • Tiny root bumps will appear at the leaf nodes after a few days to a week.
  • White, thin roots will grow from the bumps, typically within a week or two.
  • Root length and thickness increase, indicating that the cutting is ready for planting in soil. The optimal length is approximately 2 to 3 inches (The Spruce).

In case you decide to propagate directly in soil, it’s essential to provide sufficient moisture for stem and leaf hydration. Regular misting and keeping the cutting in a sunny, humid area can encourage root growth. Transferring the propagated plant to well-draining soil with drainage holes can further improve its growth prospects (

In summary, although callusing is not necessary for pothos cuttings, understanding the signs of successful root development can help ensure a thriving pothos plant.

Potential Problems and Solutions

Rotting Cuttings

One issue that can arise when propagating pothos cuttings is the rotting of the cuttings. This can be due to various reasons, such as overwatering or the presence of bacteria and fungi in the soil. To prevent this issue, it is important to avoid overwatering the cuttings and to maintain a clean environment for the plants. Moreover, some people believe that allowing cuttings to callus can help avoid rot, as the sealed wound makes it more difficult for bacteria and fungi to invade the plant tissue (Plant Graded).

Lack of Root Growth

Another problem that might occur during pothos propagation is the lack of root growth. This can be frustrating when waiting for the cuttings to establish themselves in the soil. To encourage root growth, consider dipping the cut end of the cutting in rooting hormone before planting (Gardening Know How). Additionally, use a potting mixture with good drainage properties, such as a blend of half peat moss and half perlite or sand. Keep the soil moist, but not overly saturated, and place the cuttings out of direct sunlight to encourage their growth.

Overall, to increase the chances of successful pothos propagation, it is essential to create an optimal growing environment, pay attention to plant care, and consider the possible benefits of letting the cuttings callus before planting.

Helpful Video