Do Pothos Have Aerial Roots? Uncovering Plant Facts

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Pothos, also known as Devil’s Ivy, are a popular houseplant that are known for their ability to thrive in low light conditions. One of their distinctive features are their aerial roots, which can be seen growing out of the stems and leaves of the plant. In this article, we’ll explore the purpose of these roots and how to care for them.

What Are Aerial Roots

Aerial roots are a fascinating aspect of certain plants, such as pothos. Unlike typical roots that grow beneath the soil, aerial roots emerge from plant stems and shoots, remaining suspended in the air. These unique roots perform several roles in the growth and overall health of the plant.

Pothos, a popular vining plant, develops sturdy aerial roots that serve as anchors. These roots help the vines attach to structures like walls, rocks, trellises, and other plants, providing essential support for a climbing plant. Due to their surface exposure, aerial roots also function as “breathing roots,” aiding the plant in absorbing nutrients, gases, and moisture from their surrounding environment.

In their native habitats, pothos can be found climbing trees using their aerial roots to cling onto bark. While soil-based roots are responsible for extracting water and nutrients from the ground, the height and widespread growth of the pothos necessitate additional water and nutrient sources. Aerial roots supplement these needs by absorbing rainwater and humidity from the atmosphere.

Aerial root growth in pothos can also be prompted by various environmental factors, such as high humidity and excessive heat. Adapting to these conditions, the plant produces aerial roots to increase moisture absorption and support overall growth.

In summary, aerial roots play a critical role in the development and survival of pothos plants. They not only offer physical support for climbing but also contribute to their water and nutrient absorption capabilities.

Functions of Aerial Roots in Pothos

Nutrient Uptake

Aerial roots in pothos plants play a crucial role in absorbing nutrients from the surrounding environment. As the plant grows, these specialized roots grow from the stems, helping the pothos access moisture and nutrients from the air. This additional source of nourishment allows the plant to compensate for any lack of water or nutrients in the soil, ensuring a healthier growth process.

Support and Anchorage

Another important function of aerial roots in pothos is the provision of support and anchorage as the plant climbs with its vines. In their natural habitat, pothos use aerial roots to attach themselves to other plants or surfaces, allowing them to climb vertically. Likewise, when grown as houseplants or outdoors, these roots help them secure themselves to trellises, moss poles, or walls, preventing their growing roots from being pulled out of the soil.


Pothos aerial roots also serve as an invaluable tool for plant propagation. These roots, which are already well-developed and equipped to absorb nutrients, can be used to propagate new pothos plants effectively. By taking a cutting from the stem with healthy aerial roots and placing it in water or moist soil, a new pothos plant can be grown. This feature adds another advantage to the presence of aerial roots in the pothos plant, enhancing its adaptability and potential for growth.

Environmental Factors Affecting Aerial Roots


Pothos plants are naturally inclined to grow aerial roots, especially when exposed to high humidity. In their natural habitat, these plants thrive in humid conditions, and the aerial roots help them absorb more moisture from the air. As such, it is common to see pothos plants developing fleshy aerial roots when kept in areas with high humidity, such as bathrooms.

Light Conditions

Another factor influencing the growth of aerial roots in pothos plants is the availability of light. When grown under low light conditions, pothos plants may produce more aerial roots as an adaptive response. This behavior helps the plant climb higher, allowing it to potentially reach areas where more light is available. Lack of sufficient light can also lead to other symptoms, such as:

  • Leggy growth
  • Floppy or stretchy stem and leaves

By understanding the impact of humidity and light conditions on the development of aerial roots in pothos, you can better manage the growth and overall health of your plant.

Caring for Pothos with Aerial Roots


To properly care for your pothos plants with aerial roots, pruning is essential. Regularly trim back the plant’s vines to maintain its size and encourage denser growth. When pruning, ensure that you make clean cuts just above a leaf joint. This also helps to promote the growth of new aerial roots, which are crucial for maintaining the plant’s overall health.


Pothos plants are known for their ability to grow aerial roots that help absorb moisture and nutrients from the air. In order to provide adequate hydration for these aerial roots, it’s important to water your pothos plants correctly:

  • Ensure the soil stays consistently moist but avoid overwatering by allowing the top 1-2 inches of soil to dry out between waterings.
  • Provide additional moisture for the aerial roots by misting them regularly, especially if your pothos plant is grown indoors where humidity levels may be lower.
  • If your pothos plant is grown outdoors, the aerial roots will naturally absorb dew and rainwater, so ensure that they have access to these sources.


Fertilizing your pothos plants with aerial roots is essential to support their growth and overall health. Follow these guidelines for effective fertilization:

  • Use a well-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer for optimal results.
  • Fertilize your pothos plant every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer).
  • Reduce fertilization frequency during the dormant season (fall and winter) to once every 8-10 weeks.

By taking proper care of your pothos plant, trimming back the vines regularly, watering appropriately, and providing essential nutrients through fertilization, you can ensure that your pothos thrives with healthy aerial roots helping it absorb moisture and nutrients from the air.

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