Epipremnum vs Pothos: Unraveling the Truth Behind the Names

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Epipremnum and Pothos are two names that are often used interchangeably to refer to the same plant. However, there is some confusion and debate over whether or not these two names actually refer to the same species. In this article, we’ll unravel the truth behind the names Epipremnum and Pothos, exploring their history, taxonomy, and relationship to each other. We’ll also provide some tips for identifying and caring for these popular houseplants.

Epipremnum and Pothos: Understanding the Difference

Taxonomy and Classification

Epipremnum and pothos plants are often confused due to their similarity in appearance and growth habits. However, it’s important to understand that Epipremnum is a genus with multiple species, while pothos typically refers to only one popular species: Epipremnum aureum, also known as golden pothos or devil’s ivy. So, in fact, pothos is a type of Epipremnum plant.

Both Epipremnum and pothos belong to the Araceae family of plants, which also includes philodendrons. Because of this close relationship, they share some common traits, but there are differences in their preferences for temperature, light, and propagation methods, as detailed in the following sections.

Common Names and Confusion

Epipremnum and its species, specifically Epipremnum aureum, are commonly known by various names like golden pothos, devil’s ivy, and money plant. The use of these common names interchangeably for different species has led to confusion. For instance, the common name “pothos” could refer to either Epipremnum aureum or the entire Epipremnum genus, depending on the context.

Additionally, Epipremnum plants may resemble other indoor plants like philodendrons, making it even more difficult to identify them correctly. However, there are differences in lighting and temperature preferences between the two. While both can tolerate low light, philodendrons do so more readily than pothos, and pothos prefer slightly higher temperatures than philodendrons, as mentioned in The Spruce.

Appearance and Foliage

Epipremnum

Epipremnum Pinnatum

The Epipremnum genus belongs to the family Araceae, which includes flowering plants found primarily in tropical regions, such as Southeast Asia and Australia. Epipremnum plants are characterized by their glossy appearance and variegated foliage, featuring an array of creamy stripes, spots, and speckles.

A popular variety of Epipremnum is the ‘Cebu Blue,’ which has shiny silvery-blue foliage with veined patterns that make it stand out among other types of pothos plants. Rather than having a rounded shape, its leaves are elongated and heart-shaped with a lanceolate form.

Pothos

Epipremnum Aureum
Ceylon creeper, hunter’s robe, ivy arum, money plan. Silver vine, Solomon Islands ivy, marble queen, devil’s vine Foliage. Epipremnum aureum green yellow leaves. Evergreen houseplant golden pothos.

Pothos, also sometimes referred to as devil’s ivy, golden pothos, or hunter’s rove, is one of the most popular houseplants in North America. Often confused with Epipremnum, pothos plants belong to the genus Scindapsus. They share a similar stem and foliage structure, as well as thrive under the same care regimen as Epipremnum.

Visually, there are a few differences that can help to distinguish pothos plants from the Epipremnum genus. Pothos plants tend to have a less glossy appearance, and their foliage features pointed, heart-shaped leaves that are sometimes variegated with white, yellow, or pale green striations.

Growth and Propagation

Epipremnum

Epipremnum plants are relatively easy to grow and care for, making them a great choice for beginners. They thrive best in filtered light, high humidity, and temperatures between 70 and 90°F. However, they do not tolerate much direct sunlight and should be kept out of drafts(source). The growing medium should be well-aerated for optimal growth.

To propagate Epipremnum, stem cuttings can be used. Place the cuttings in a container filled with water and wait for the roots to grow a few inches long. Transplant the rooted cuttings to a small pot filled with moistened potting mix, and ensure the pot has proper drainage holes(source). They can be trained to grow along a trellis or moss pole for an attractive display.

Pothos

Pothos plants, also known as Devil’s Ivy or Epipremnum aureum, are popular houseplants due to their low-maintenance nature and easy growth. They can grow well in various types of pots as long as they have good drainage holes(source). When repotting, choose a pot no more than two inches wider and deeper than the plant’s root ball to prevent root rot.

With Pothos, propagation is also quite simple. Similar to Epipremnum, stem cuttings can be used for propagating Pothos plants. Place the cuttings in water and let the roots grow to about a few inches long before transplanting them to a small pot with moistened potting mix(source). Like Epipremnum, Pothos plants can be trained to grow on a trellis or moss pole for an attractive display, making them a versatile addition to any indoor garden.

Ideal Growing Conditions

Epipremnum

Epipremnum, a popular indoor plant, prospers in environments where temperature and humidity are controlled. They thrive in warm temperatures between 65-85°F (18-29°C) and can withstand cooler climates, although this may slow their growth and cause damage. Winter temperatures for Epipremnum should be above 50°F (10°C) for optimal growth, with ideal conditions ranging between 59°F – 77°F (15°C – 25°C) – keep in mind that cold drafts should be avoided.

Although Epipremnum is not particularly demanding when it comes to humidity levels, maintaining a comfortable indoor environment benefits its growth. These plants can be an excellent choice for beginner gardeners due to their adaptability and easy care requirements.

Pothos

Pothos plants, sometimes referred to as devil’s ivy or golden pothos, can flourish in a variety of home settings. They prefer well-draining potting soil that can be on the dry side or even rocky, and tolerate soil pH levels ranging from 6.1 to 6.8 – neutral to slightly acidic conditions are best for pothos. To support ideal growth, keep the temperature within similar ranges as Epipremnum, between 65-85°F (18-29°C). Cooler climates may negatively impact their growth or even cause damage.

Regarding watering, it is crucial to let the pothos plant’s soil dry out completely between waterings. This practice helps to maintain a healthy, thriving plant with minimal risk of over-watering or root rot. Like the Epipremnum, pothos plants do not have specific demands for humidity levels, contributing to their reputation as an easy care plant.

Common Problems and Solutions

Epipremnum

Epipremnum plants are relatively easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for beginner gardeners. However, like any other plant, they can occasionally face some issues. In general, it is essential to maintain consistent temperature, humidity, and watering conditions for these plants to thrive. Outdoors, they can be grown in warmer climates, while indoors, conditions should be kept under control.

One of the most common problems encountered with epipremnum plants is overwatering and root rot. Ensure that the potting medium is well-drained and allow it to dry out between waterings. Another issue may involve insufficient light, which can lead to weak growth and pale leaves. To avoid this, place your epipremnum plant in a well-lit area, but not under direct sunlight.

Pothos

Similar to epipremnum, pothos plants can experience a few common problems. Maintaining proper light levels, avoiding overwatering, and misting the leaves to keep humidity levels up are crucial for healthy pothos growth. One issue to look out for is yellowing leaves, which could be due to several factors such as overwatering, insufficient light, or nutrient deficiency.

To address the problem of yellow leaves, determine the potential cause and adjust your care routine accordingly. For instance, if overwatering is the problem, let the soil dry out between watering, while if the plant is deficient in nutrients, provide a balanced fertilizer every other month. Another common issue is leaf drooping due to underwatering, which can be resolved by watering the plant and allowing it to recover.

In summary, both epipremnum and pothos plants require proper care and attention to prevent common problems. By monitoring light, water, and humidity levels, these plants should grow healthy and strong.

Benefits and Applications

Indoor Air Quality

Epipremnum and pothos plants are known for their ability to improve indoor air quality. Both of these plants can effectively remove common indoor air pollutants, such as formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene. This makes them a popular choice for homes and offices, where air quality is an essential factor in maintaining a healthy environment.

Home Decor and Aesthetics

These versatile plants can be used in various ways to enhance a space’s aesthetics. With their aggressive aerial roots, epipremnum and pothos can be trained to climb and vine around surfaces, creating impressive leafy features in any room.

Epipremnum stems can be trained around shelves or moss poles, while pothos can be grown in hanging baskets, allowing them to cascade elegantly. Their ability to thrive in different light conditions makes them adaptable to various home and office environments.

Easy to Grow and Care for

Both epipremnum and pothos plants are easy to grow and care for, making them an excellent choice for beginner gardeners. They prefer medium light, but are also able to tolerate low light conditions. To keep them healthy, mist the leaves regularly and let the well-drained potting medium dry out between waterings.

Fertilize every other month, except when the plant is dormant in the winter. These low-maintenance plants can survive a wide range of temperatures and humidity, making them suitable for all types of environments.

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