How Much Soil Does Pothos Need: Ideal Amount for Growth

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Pothos plants are adaptable and can grow in a range of conditions, but getting the right amount of soil is crucial for their optimal growth and health. If you’re wondering how much soil your pothos plant needs, this article is for you. We’ll explore the ideal amount of soil for pothos growth and factors that can affect your plant’s soil needs.

Understanding Pothos

Plant Characteristics

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is a popular and hardy houseplant, known for its beautiful trailing vine leaves and its tolerance of a range of growing conditions. These plants are particularly appreciated for their air-purifying qualities, removing common household toxins from the air and improving indoor air quality.

One of the aspects that make pothos easy to grow is their adaptability to different soil types. Ideally, they prefer a well-draining potting mix with a pH range of 6.1 to 6.8 source. They can thrive in slightly acidic soil, although they are also tolerant to neutral or even slightly alkaline conditions.

Indoor vs Outdoor Growth

The main difference between growing pothos indoors and outdoors is the environmental conditions that the plant will face. Indoor pothos can grow well in lower light conditions, making them a great option for offices and spaces with limited natural sunlight.

Growing pothos outdoors brings more exposure to natural elements like wind, rainfall, and temperature fluctuations. If growing outdoors, it’s crucial that the soil drains well to prevent root rot, since excess water can be harmful to the plant source.

When creating a potting mix for pothos, it’s essential to consider the following factors:

  • Soil aeration: The mix should include plenty of air pockets, ensuring oxygen can reach the plant’s roots.
  • Drainage: The water should drain from the soil within seconds, avoiding excess moisture retention.
  • Nutrients: Optimal soil mix should provide the necessary nutrients, such as magnesium, iron, zinc, sulfur, and manganese source.

One potential pothos soil mix could include one part perlite, two parts peat moss, and one part pine bark fines, promoting a healthy pH level for the plant source.

Whether growing pothos indoors or outdoors, it is essential to find the right balance of light, water, and soil to ensure a healthy and thriving plant.

Determining the Right Soil Volume

Pot Size Selection

Selecting the right pot size is crucial for pothos plants, as it greatly influences the amount of soil needed. Pothos thrive in well-draining soil with a mix that balances water-holding capacity and drainage. A good soil mix consists of two parts peat moss, one part perlite, and one part pine bark fines. The soil pH should fall between 6.0 and 6.5. When choosing a pot, consider the plant’s size and growth rate. Factors to consider include:

  • Start small and gradually increase the pot size as the plant grows.
  • You may choose hanging pots with a shallow depth or deeper pots for more vertical growth.
  • Pothos adapts well to various pot sizes; however, excessively large pots may cause waterlogging and root rot issues.

Root System Considerations

Pay attention to the root system of your pothos plant when determining how much soil is needed. A healthy root system will provide better support, promote growth, and ensure optimal nutrient absorption. Keep the following in mind:

  • Pothos plants have a relatively shallow root system, which allows for good aeration in well-draining soil.
  • Avoid tightly packed soil, as it can lead to issues with houseplants, including pothos. Well-draining soil will provide the necessary aeration.
  • When repotting, examine the roots for any signs of root rot, pests, or diseases. Trim any damaged or unhealthy roots before adding the plant to fresh soil.

To calculate the soil volume needed for your pothos plant, take into account the pot dimensions (length, width, and height). For a rectangular or square pot, multiply these dimensions in feet and divide by 27 to determine the volume in cubic yards. If your measurement is in quarts, use the formula: Quart = Total Cubic Feet x 29.922078.

Soil Types and Composition for Pothos

Organic Matter

Pothos plants, also known as Epipremnum aureum or Devil’s Ivy, thrive in soil that is rich in organic matter. Adding a mix of peat moss, compost, or coco coir can be beneficial to create an environment that pothos plants will love. These organic materials help provide nutrients, retain moisture, and improve soil structure for healthier root development.

  • Peat moss: Improves water retention and aeration
  • Compost: Provides nutrients and promotes beneficial microorganisms
  • Coco coir: Aids in moisture retention and aeration

Drainage and Aeration

Proper drainage is essential for the health of pothos plants, as they are prone to root rot if left in soggy, waterlogged soil. The ideal soil for pothos should be coarse and well-drained. Using perlite or sand in the potting mix can help improve drainage and prevent excess water retention. It’s also a good practice to use a pot with drainage holes to avoid water stagnation.

When it comes to aeration, the delicate roots of pothos plants require access to oxygen. A well-aerated soil prevents root suffocation and allows for healthy root growth. Adding perlite, vermiculite, or other airy materials to the potting mix will enhance aeration and promote a healthier root system.

Soil pH Range for Pothos

In addition to organic matter, drainage, and aeration, the soil pH is another important factor for growing healthy pothos. Pothos plants prefer a slightly acidic soil, with a pH between 6.1 to 6.8. Many commercial potting mixes and indoor grow mixes fall within this range, ensuring the right conditions for proper nutrient uptake and growth. To check the pH of your soil, you can use a soil meter, which can also measure moisture and light levels.

By considering these factors and using the right soil composition, you can successfully create a thriving environment for your pothos plants to grow and flourish.

Repotting and Soil Replacement

Signs of Outgrown Soil

Pothos plants are known for their vigorous growth and may require repotting every 1 to 2 years. It’s essential to keep an eye out for signs that the plant has outgrown its current pot. Some indicators include roots growing through the drainage holes, roots circling the bottom of the pot, or wilting leaves. Monitoring the plant’s growth and condition will help ensure timely repotting.

Repotting Process

When repotting a pothos plant, choose a new pot that’s about 2 inches larger than the current one. This will provide ample space for the roots to grow and avoid overcrowding. The best time to repot is during the spring, when the plant can benefit from the growing season. Follow these steps for a successful repotting process:

  1. Preparation: Gather your pothos plant, a new pot, and soil mix. Remove the plant gently from its current pot, taking care not to damage the roots.
  2. Soil Preparation: Use a soil mix that matches the one in the original pot, ensuring that it provides good drainage and aeration. This will help the plant adapt better to its new environment.
  3. Planting: Create a hole in the center of the soil, slightly larger than the root ball of the pothos plant. Place the plant in the hole, making sure the roots are not exposed and the vines are not covered in soil.
  4. Filling and Firming: Fill in the spaces around the root ball with the soil mix, pressing it firmly to eliminate air pockets. This step will help the roots establish themselves in the new pot quickly.
  5. Aftercare: Water the newly repotted plant thoroughly. Place it in a location with indirect sunlight to minimize stress and allow for proper acclimation. Monitor the plant for signs of growth, and adjust care as needed.

To ensure your pothos plant stays healthy and vibrant, remember to repot when necessary and use an appropriate soil mix. Proper repotting and soil replacement will promote a strong and thriving pothos plant.

Factors Affecting Soil Quantity

Water Requirements

Pothos plants require careful watering, as they do not tolerate soggy soil. You should let the plant’s soil dry out completely between waterings. When watering your plant, ensure that the water drains within a few seconds, and the top half of the soil feels dry in a week. A chunky, well-aerated soil with plenty of air pockets is ideal for pothos plants, as it helps prevent root rot and promotes healthy growth.

Light Conditions

Pothos plants are highly adaptable to different light conditions, ranging from bright indirect light to low light spaces. However, their soil requirements may vary depending on the light conditions the plant is exposed to. In low light areas, the plant’s soil will dry out more slowly, which means it will require less soil mix to hold the essential moisture. On the other hand, pothos plants located in brighter light may need more soil mix to help retain moisture and avoid drying out too quickly.

Fertilization Schedule

Pothos thrives in slightly acidic soil, with a pH ranging between 6.0 and 6.5. Providing the right soil mixture will lessen the need for supplemental fertilization, but to ensure healthy growth, it is good to fertilize pothos plants occasionally. A well-balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength can be applied once every two months during the growing season (spring and summer) and less frequently during the dormant season (fall and winter).

A suitable soil mix for pothos plants consists of:

This mix will help maintain the appropriate soil pH levels necessary for the plant’s growth while providing adequate drainage and water retention.

Remember, the quantity of soil needed for pothos will depend on various factors such as water requirements, light conditions, and fertilization schedule. By understanding these factors, you can adjust the soil quantity and mix according to the specific needs of your pothos plant.

Common Pothos Soil Issues


One of the most prevalent issues pothos owners encounter is overwatering. Pothos plants require their soil to dry out between waterings to avoid root rot. When a pothos plant is overwatered, its leaves may turn yellow, indicating that the roots are beginning to suffer. To fix this problem, ensure the soil drains well and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.


Just as overwatering can be a problem, underwatering can also have negative effects on a pothos plant. In this case, the plant may experience wilting, dry leaves, or slow growth. To prevent underwatering, monitor the moisture in the soil and establish a consistent watering schedule. Pothos will typically need more frequent watering during the warmer months, as the heat can dry out the soil more rapidly.

Poor Drainage

Another common soil issue for pothos plants is poor drainage. Pothos prefer a well-draining soil mix that balances water-holding capacity and drainage, with a pH between 6.0-6.5. A good mix consists of two parts peat moss, one part perlite, and one part pine bark fines. This combination ensures the proper pH and appropriate drainage.

To improve drainage in your pothos plant’s container, ensure that there are drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Additionally, you can place a layer of pebbles or small rocks at the bottom of the pot, which will help to improve drainage and prevent the roots from sitting in standing water.

Remember to closely observe your pothos plant and its soil to identify any potential issues. By addressing these common soil problems, you’ll be able to provide the best possible environment for your pothos to thrive.

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