How Often to Fertilize Pothos: Essential Care Guide

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.

Fertilizing is an important aspect of pothos plant care, as it provides essential nutrients that can help promote healthy growth and vibrant foliage. Pothos plants generally benefit from regular fertilization, with a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season (spring and summer). However, it is important to avoid over-fertilization, as this can lead to burned roots and damage to the plant. It is recommended to dilute fertilizer to half the strength recommended on the package and apply it to moist soil. During the dormant season (fall and winter), pothos plants require less frequent fertilization, with a feeding every 6-8 weeks. When fertilizing pothos plants, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and avoid getting fertilizer on the leaves, as this can cause damage. With proper fertilization and care, pothos plants can thrive and add natural beauty to any indoor space.

Understanding Pothos Plant

Pothos, also known as Epipremnum aureum, is a popular houseplant due to its easy-to-care-for nature and attractive trailing vines. To properly maintain a pothos plant, it is essential to understand its growth habits and light requirements.

Growth Habits

Pothos are relatively fast-growing plants that thrive during the warmer months, with their growing season primarily in the spring and summer. This vining plant has the ability to climb or cascade, making it an excellent choice for hanging baskets, shelves, or other elevated positions.

During the growing season, pothos requires regular fertilization to support its growth. However, it is important to avoid over-fertilizing, as this can lead to chemical burns on the roots and damage the plant. A balanced houseplant fertilizer applied once per month during the growing season should help provide the necessary nutrients for healthy growth source.

Light Requirements

When it comes to light requirements, pothos plants are quite adaptable. They can tolerate a variety of lighting conditions, ranging from low light to bright, indirect light. However, they prefer medium light for optimal growth. Placing the plant near a north-facing window or in a room with filtered light is generally ideal for encouraging healthy growth.

It is important to note that pothos plants should be protected from direct sunlight, as this can cause their leaves to scorch and become discolored.

Frequency of Fertilizing Pothos

Pothos plants are known for their fast growth and beautiful foliage, but in order to maintain their vigor, proper fertilization is essential. The frequency of fertilization depends on factors such as the age of the plant and its growth conditions.

Age of Plant

Younger pothos plants typically require more frequent fertilization than older ones. During their initial growth phase, it is important to provide them with adequate nutrients to build a strong root system and lush foliage. In general, providing a dose of water-soluble fertilizer every two to three weeks should suffice for young plants (Gardening Know How) . As the plant matures, you can gradually reduce the frequency of fertilization.

Growth Conditions

The growing conditions of your pothos plant also play a significant role in determining how often you should fertilize. During the active growing seasons of spring and summer, pothos plants benefit from regular fertilization. In these seasons, it is recommended to fertilize once every few weeks with either water-soluble or liquid fertilizer (Houseplant Resource Center). It is not advisable to fertilize in the colder months of fall and winter, as this can cause the plant to produce tender new growth when conditions are not suitable (Petal Republic).

For pothos grown in water, fertilization should occur approximately every two to four weeks (Necps). It is important to keep a consistent schedule for fertilizing, as both over- and under-fertilization can negatively impact the health and growth of the plant.

Ultimately, the proper frequency of fertilizing your pothos primarily depends on its age and growth conditions. By adhering to the suggested guidelines, you can help ensure the continued health and vitality of your plant.

Choosing the Right Fertilizer

When it comes to fertilizing pothos plants, selecting the appropriate fertilizer can significantly impact their health and growth. In this section, we’ll discuss different types of fertilizers and the optimal concentration for pothos plants.

Types of Fertilizers

There are two primary types of fertilizers you can choose from for your pothos plants: liquid fertilizer and slow-release fertilizer in the form of pellets. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, which we will outline below.

  • Liquid Fertilizer: This type of fertilizer is easy to mix and apply. It allows for precise control over the amount of nutrients provided to the plant. However, it must be applied more frequently than slow-release fertilizers, typically once per month during the growing season (source).
  • Slow-Release Fertilizer: These pellet-form fertilizers require less frequent application, but they may not provide the same level of control over nutrient distribution as liquid fertilizers (source).


Another important aspect of fertilizing pothos plants is ensuring you use the correct concentration of nutrients. A balanced fertilizer with an equal NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) ratio is ideal for general pothos plant health (source). Certain brands, such as Peters All Purpose 20-20-20 Fertilizer and Bonide 10-10-10 Liquid Plant Food, are recommended by experts because they provide balanced nutrition for your pothos (source).

When choosing the right fertilizer, you should also consider your personal preferences and your plant’s specific needs. Selecting between organic or artificial fertilizers and choosing a liquid formula or granule formula will impact the frequency and method of application (source).

How to Apply Fertilizer

Applying fertilizer to your pothos plant helps it grow healthy and strong. Two common types of fertilizers for pothos are liquid and slow-release fertilizers. Each type has its own advantages and method of application, as detailed in the following subsections.

Liquid Fertilizer

Liquid fertilizers are a popular option for pothos plants, as they typically offer a 3-1-2 NPK ratio (“Houseplant Resource Center“). This ratio gives your plant the right balance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to promote healthy growth. To use a liquid fertilizer:

  • Follow the dilution instructions provided on the fertilizer bottle.
  • Water your pothos plant thoroughly before applying the fertilizer to avoid root burn.
  • Apply the diluted fertilizer evenly around the base of the plant.
  • Repeat the process every 4 to 6 weeks during the growing season (“Nature of Home“).

Slow-Release Fertilizer

Slow-release fertilizers provide a steady supply of nutrients to your pothos plant over an extended period of time. One option for slow-release fertilization is using fertilizer spikes or pods (“The Yard and Garden“). To apply slow-release fertilizer:

  • Select the appropriate number of spikes or pods based on the plant’s size (1-2 for small, 2-4 for medium, and 4-8 for large plants).
  • Push the fertilizer into the soil near the plant’s base until it’s completely covered.”
  • Replace the fertilizer every 3 weeks during the growing season.”
  • Water your pothos plant regularly to help release the nutrients from the fertilizer.

Whether you choose liquid or slow-release fertilizers, applying them correctly will ensure your pothos plant gets the nutrients it needs to thrive.

Signs of Over-Fertilization

Over-fertilizing your pothos plants can cause numerous issues that negatively impact their health. There are a few key indicators to look out for, which are highlighted below:

Root Damage

One of the main signs of over-fertilization in pothos is root damage. When too much fertilizer is applied, the plants may become overwhelmed by the concentration of nutrients, leading to damaged roots. This may cause a decrease in the plant’s ability to absorb water and essential nutrients, which in turn can lead to overall poor health and potential death of the plant.

Yellowing Leaves

Another common sign of over-fertilization in pothos plants is the yellowing of leaves. This can manifest initially as yellow spots, which could then develop into more extensive yellowing and eventually, browning of the leaf edges. If left unchecked, this issue may progress, leading to a decline in the plant’s overall health and vitality.

Furthermore, over-fertilization may cause the leaves to develop brown tips, and you might observe a buildup of fertilizer on the topsoil (source). The effects of over-fertilization are not immediate, taking 2-3 days before the plant starts showing these signs.

To mitigate the effects of over-fertilization, it is important to apply the appropriate type and amount of fertilizer for your pothos plant. Monitoring your plant regularly and adjusting your fertilization routine as needed can help ensure the long-term health of your pothos.

Additional Care Tips

In addition to fertilizing your pothos plants, there are other essential care tips you should follow to keep them healthy and thriving. Two important aspects of pothos care are watering and drainage, and pruning.

Watering and Drainage

Maintaining the right level of water and ensuring proper drainage are crucial for the health of your pothos plants. It is essential to water them thoroughly but avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot. To achieve the right balance, allow the top inch of the soil to dry between waterings. A well-draining potting mix and a container with drainage holes can help prevent excess water from accumulating, promoting proper aeration and moisture balance in the soil.

It is also beneficial to adjust the watering frequency according to the seasons. During the warmer months, you may need to water more frequently, while in winter, reduce the watering frequency as the plant enters dormancy.


Regular pruning is an essential aspect of maintaining the health and appearance of your pothos. By trimming back long vines and removing dead, yellow, or damaged leaves, you not only improve the plant’s appearance but also promote bushier growth and better air circulation. To prune your pothos, use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears and cut just above a leaf node. This will encourage new growth at the node, leading to a fuller, more attractive plant.

Additionally, the cuttings removed during pruning can be easily propagated to create new pothos plants. Simply place the cut end of the vine into a container with fresh water, and roots will begin to grow within a couple of weeks. Once a healthy root system has developed, you can transfer the cutting to a pot with soil, where it will continue to grow and thrive.

Helpful Video