Pothos is a popular houseplant known for its hardiness and ease of care. However, when it comes to temperature, pothos has its limits. In this article, we’ll explore just how cold pothos can tolerate and what you can do to keep your plant happy and healthy.
How Cold Can Pothos Tolerate
Pothos plants, native to Southeastern Asia, do well in temperatures ranging between 70°F and 90°F. These tropical plants have a difficult time tolerating cold climates and grow best in USDA hardiness zones 10 through 12 when planted outside (The Practical Planter). Despite their preference for warmer environments, pothos can still withstand temperatures down to around 50°F, although growth may slow down (Bloom and Bumble).
In indoor environments, maintaining a temperature between 70°F and 90°F, along with a humidity level of at least 50%, is optimal for pothos to thrive (Garden for Indoor). Although they can survive in temperatures as high as 100°F, sufficient watering and increased humidity become crucial for their well-being in such conditions.
During the winter months, pothos plants may face challenges because of lower temperatures, frost, and cold drafts. It is important to take measures to ensure their survival, such as moving them to a warmer spot indoors or insulating the outdoor area they are planted in to shield them from extreme cold (The Garden Prepper).
Understanding Pothos Plants
Pothos plants, also known as Epipremnum aureum, are popular and easy-to-care-for indoor plants. They are known for their low maintenance and ability to grow in various light conditions. In this section, we will discuss the origins, natural habitat, and common varieties of pothos plants.
Origins and Natural Habitat
Pothos plants are native to Southeastern Asia, where they thrive in warm and humid environments. In their natural habitat, they grow as climbing vines, wrapping around trees and other plants(source). These plants prefer temperatures between 70°F and 90°F (21°C to 32°C) (source) and humidity levels of at least 50% (source).
When growing outdoors, pothos plants are best suited for USDA hardiness zones 10 through 12 (source). In colder climates, they can be maintained as indoor plants, where they can tolerate temperatures as low as 50°F (10°C), although growth may slow at these temperatures (source).
Common Pothos Varieties
There are several popular varieties of pothos plants, each with distinct leaf patterns and colors. Some of the more common types include:
- Golden Pothos: Known for its heart-shaped leaves with yellow and green variegation.
- Marble Queen Pothos: This variety has leaves with white and green marbled patterns, making it a visually striking plant.
- Jade Pothos: Featuring solid green leaves, the Jade pothos is a classic choice for many indoor gardeners.
- Neon Pothos: The Neon pothos is known for its bright, lime-green foliage which adds a punch of color to any space.
Regardless of the variety, all pothos plants share similar care requirements, making them an excellent choice for bringing greenery and life to indoor spaces.
Signs of Cold Stress in Pothos
Pothos plants are sensitive to cold temperatures and can exhibit various signs of stress when exposed to low temperatures. This section will discuss some common symptoms of cold stress, such as wilting and discoloration, stunted growth, and leaf drop.
Wilting and Discoloration
One of the first signs of cold stress in pothos plants is the curling of their leaves, which may indicate that the temperature is too high for the plant. This symptom can be seen when the long edges of the leaves curl towards each other, making the leaves appear wilted and droopy (source). Additionally, leaf discoloration may occur, with healthy green leaves developing dark markings, such as black or dark brown spots, severely contrasting the emerald green color of healthy leaves (source).
Another sign of cold stress in pothos plants is stunted growth. When pothos plants are thriving, they grow at a decent rate, producing new leaves regularly and maintaining any variegation (source). However, when exposed to cold temperatures, the growth rate of the plant may significantly decrease, with new leaves not developing as frequently as they should.
Lastly, leaf drop is a common symptom of cold stress in pothos plants. This occurs when the plant is unable to cope with the cold temperatures and begins to shed its leaves in an attempt to conserve energy. Frost, in particular, can be detrimental to pothos plants, as they are not frost-resistant and are more suited to high-humidity, tropical rainforest conditions (source).
Monitoring your pothos plant for these signs and taking the necessary precautions to protect it from cold temperatures will help ensure that your plant remains healthy and continues to thrive.
Tips for Protecting Pothos from Cold
Pothos plants, being tropical, require a warm and stable environment to thrive. Here are some tips on how to protect your pothos from cold temperatures during winter.
Use Adequate Insulation
Ensure that your pothos plants have proper insulation to keep them warm during winter. This can be done by placing them in a well-insulated room or using protective coverings, such as frost cloth, around the plants. The ideal temperature range for pothos is between 70°F and 90°F (21°C to 32°C), so ensure that the insulation allows them to stay within this range.
Proper Indoor Placement
During winter, it’s crucial to keep your pothos plants indoors or in a greenhouse to protect them from cold temperatures. When choosing an indoor location, opt for a spot with consistent warmth and indirect light. Avoid placing them beside windows, as these areas can get colder than other parts of the room. Ensure that the room provides adequate humidity, as pothos prefers humidity levels of at least 50%.
Avoid Drafty Areas
Sudden temperature fluctuations and drafts can be harmful to your pothos plants, as they prefer a stable environment. Make sure to place them away from drafty windows, doors, or vents to prevent exposure to cold drafts. If needed, use draft blockers or weatherstripping to seal any gaps that may let cold air in, helping to maintain a stable temperature for your plants.
Recovering Pothos from Cold Damage
Pothos plants are known for their resilience, but they can still suffer from cold damage if exposed to temperatures below their ideal range. In order to help a pothos plant recover from this type of stress, there are specific steps you can take, including trimming affected areas and providing proper care.
Trimming Affected Areas
First and foremost, it’s essential to inspect your pothos plant and identify any damaged or wilted leaves and stems. This can be a result of exposure to temperatures below 50°F (bloomandbumble.com). Carefully remove these damaged areas using clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to prevent the plant from wasting energy on trying to heal itself.
When trimming, make sure to cut at an angle, just above a healthy leaf node, to encourage new growth. Removing the damaged parts allows the plant to redirect its energy toward healthier growth and gives it a better chance at recovering from the cold damage.
Providing Proper Care
After trimming the affected areas, it’s crucial to provide your pothos plant with the right care and environment to facilitate its recovery. Ensure that the plant receives adequate bright, indirect light, as this will help promote new, healthy growth.
Additionally, maintain the ideal temperature for your pothos, which should be between 70-90°F (21-32°C) (thepracticalplanter.com). Keep it away from drafts, vents, and cold windows that could lead to further cold exposure.
- Check the soil moisture regularly, and water your pothos when the top 1 to 2 inches of soil feel dry to the touch. Over-watering could hinder the plant’s recovery, so it’s important to find the right balance.
- Consider using a well-balanced, water-soluble fertilizer to provide extra nutrients that can support the plant’s recovery process. Be careful not to over-fertilize, as this could lead to more harm than good.
- Limited stress is essential for the recovery process. Avoid repotting or propagating the pothos during this period to give it a chance to regain its strength.
By taking these steps to trim the affected areas and provide proper care, your pothos plant will have a better chance of recovering from cold damage and eventually thriving once again.
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.