How to Care for Pothos: Essential Tips for Thriving Plants

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Pothos is a popular houseplant that is known for its trailing vines and low-maintenance nature. Proper care is important for ensuring that pothos plants remain healthy and vibrant. To care for pothos, it’s important to provide the right growing conditions, including bright, indirect light and well-draining soil. Pothos also requires regular watering, but it’s important to avoid overwatering, which can lead to root rot. Fertilizing pothos with a balanced houseplant fertilizer every two to four weeks can also help promote healthy growth. Additionally, pothos plants can benefit from occasional pruning to control their size and shape. With proper care and attention, pothos plants can thrive and provide a beautiful addition to any indoor space.

Types of Pothos

Pothos, also known as Epipremnum aureum, is a popular and versatile houseplant with various types and cultivars. Some common varieties include Golden Pothos, Variegated Pothos, and Jessenia Pothos. Each type has its unique characteristics, making them fun to grow and display in your home.

Golden Pothos, one of the most common varieties, has heart-shaped leaves with yellow and green variegation. It is known for its easy care and ability to thrive in various lighting conditions. Variegated Pothos, on the other hand, has leaves with a mix of green and white or cream, giving them a unique and attractive appearance.

Jessenia Pothos has medium green leaves with yellow-green variegation, making it an eye-catching addition to your indoor plant collection. To support its variegation, it is best to provide Jessenia Pothos with medium to bright, indirect light, although it can survive in low-light conditions as well if necessary (The Spruce).

When selecting a type of Pothos to grow, choose one that aligns with your aesthetic preferences and the lighting conditions in your space. All varieties of Pothos are generally low-maintenance, making them a perfect choice for both seasoned and beginner gardeners alike.

Ideal Environment

Light Requirements

Pothos plants are quite adaptable when it comes to lighting conditions. They can thrive in bright, indirect light as well as low light environments. However, it’s important to avoid placing them in complete darkness or exposing them to direct sunlight

Rooms with filtered light, such as bedrooms, hallways, and bathrooms, make excellent locations for these plants. Ensuring that pothos receive the proper amount of light will contribute to their overall health and growth.

Temperature and Humidity

The ideal temperature range for pothos plants is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s important to maintain a consistent temperature above 50 degrees, as these plants are sensitive to colder environments.

Regarding humidity, pothos grow best in high humidity conditions. However, they are also quite tolerant of low-humidity environments, making them an excellent choice for indoor spaces with varying moisture levels.

In summary, providing your pothos plant with sufficient light, the right temperature, and a suitable humidity level will create the ideal environment for it to prosper.

Soil and Potting

Pothos plants thrive in well-draining soil mixtures that provide adequate aeration and moisture retention. A suitable potting mix consists of a combination of organic materials like compost, peat moss, or coconut coir that contributes to soil fertility and enhances water retention. Adding perlite or pumice to the mixture improves drainage and aeration, promoting healthy root growth and preventing root rot.

The ideal soil pH for pothos lies in the slightly acidic range of 6.0 to 6.5. Maintaining the appropriate pH level is crucial for the plant’s nutrient uptake and overall health. If necessary, test the soil’s pH before potting and make adjustments by adding sulfur or lime based on the results.

Using a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of 15-15-15 can also improve the soil quality and provide essential nutrients to the plant, contributing to healthier growth (source). When potting or repotting your pothos, choose a container with drainage holes to prevent excess water from accumulating at the bottom, which can lead to root rot.

In addition to the soil mixture, regular monitoring of the soil’s moisture is essential. Pothos plants prefer their soil to be damp but not soaked. Touch the soil with your finger to check if it’s time to water; if there is dirt clinging to your finger without any water, it’s time to water the plant. If your finger is wet or there is no clinging dirt, hold off until the soil becomes slightly dry (source).

Watering Techniques

Caring for a pothos plant involves using appropriate watering techniques to keep the plant healthy and thriving. In this section, we will discuss the frequency of watering, signs of overwatering, and signs of underwatering.


Pothos plants generally require watering every 1-2 weeks, depending on factors such as temperature and the season. To ensure proper watering, check the soil and make sure it feels dry to the touch before watering. Then, water the plant until the water starts to drain from the bottom(Houseplant Resource Center). It is important to remove any excess water from the drainage tray to prevent the plant from sitting in water.

Signs of Overwatering

Overwatering your pothos plant can lead to a range of issues, such as root rot and decay. Signs of overwatering in a pothos plant include:

  • Yellowing leaves
  • Wilting despite moist soil
  • Roots turning black or mushy
  • Mold or fungus growth on the soil surface

If you notice these signs, allow the soil to dry out and only resume watering when the top two to three inches of soil feel dry to the touch. You may also need to aerate the soil using a soil probe and prune decaying foliage to rescue an overwatered pothos (Petal Republic).

Signs of Underwatering

Underwatering a pothos plant can also lead to problems. Indications that your pothos may not be receiving adequate water include:

  • Wilted leaves
  • Brown leaf tips or edges
  • Leaves falling off prematurely

If you notice these symptoms, adjust your watering routine to ensure that the soil remains consistently moist, but not overly wet. Regularly checking the soil moisture and adjusting your watering frequency is key to keeping your pothos plant in optimal condition (The Family Handyman).


Pothos plants require regular fertilization, particularly during their growing season in spring and summer. Providing the right nutrients helps these resilient plants grow faster and stay healthy. There are two main types of fertilizers suitable for pothos plants: liquid fertilizer and slow-release pellet fertilizer, each with its pros and cons.

Utilizing a low-concentration balanced fertilizer is ideal for pothos plants. It’s essential to fertilize them during the warmer months and stop during the colder months when growth slows down. Carefully reading the instructions on the chosen fertilizer is crucial to avoid root burn and potential damage to the plant.

When it comes to choosing between liquid and slow-release pellet fertilizers, consider the following:

  • Liquid fertilizers offer more precise control over the amount of nutrients supplied and can be applied directly during the watering process. However, they must be used more frequently, typically monthly.
  • Slow-release pellet fertilizers provide nutrients gradually, requiring less frequent applications. Still, it can be challenging to control the exact nutrient amount the plant receives.

Regardless of the fertilizer type, it’s essential to follow the label for proper dosage and application guidelines. This ensures that your pothos plant gets the nutrients it needs without overdosing and negatively impacting its growth.

Pruning and Trimming

Proper pruning and trimming are essential for maintaining a healthy pothos plant. These houseplants can grow quite long, with trailing vines that may reach several feet in length. Regular pruning helps promote branching and keeps the growth in check, ensuring a well-shaped and attractive plant.

When it comes to pruning pothos, there are two main objectives. The first is to encourage branching by snipping the vine next to a node. This will stimulate the plant to send out new growth, usually in the form of multiple branches (Gardener’s Path). The second is to remove excessive length, particularly if the plant becomes unruly or starts to crowd its surroundings (Gardening Know How).

Follow the steps below for a successful pruning session:

  • Sterilize your pruning tools: Use a sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears, and sterilize them with 70-100% isopropyl alcohol (Nature of Home).
  • Choose a node: Look for areas along the vine where leaves grow from, and make sure there is at least one leaf remaining above the cut.
  • Make the cut: Snip the vine close to the chosen node, ensuring a clean, precise cut.
  • Remove excess length: Disentangle the vines and trim back any excessively long or tangled growth.
  • Monitor and adjust: After pruning, watch how the plant responds, and make any additional trims to achieve the desired shape and size.

It is best to prune your pothos during its active growing season for optimal results (Plantophiles). By practicing proper pruning and trimming techniques, you’ll maintain a healthy, attractive pothos plant that brings beauty to your indoor space.

Pest Control

Pothos plants are typically low-maintenance and not prone to many pest issues. However, they can occasionally encounter problems with certain pests, such as mealybugs. In this section, we will discuss effective methods to maintain a pest-free environment for your pothos plants.

The initial step in addressing pest issues is to regularly inspect the plant for any signs of infestation, which include small bugs, white or powdery substances, or sticky residues. Early detection is key in preventing severe damage to your pothos.

When dealing with mealybugs, you can start by dabbing these insects away with a cotton swab soaked in rubbing alcohol, as recommended by The Spruce. Another effective solution is using neem oil or insecticidal soap, which can be directly applied to the affected areas to control and eliminate infestations.

In addition to these treatments, here are some other preventive measures to consider for keeping your pothos plant healthy and pest-free:

  • Regularly clean the plant’s leaves with a damp cloth to keep them free from dust and grime, which can attract pests.
  • Ensure your plant is receiving proper care, such as adequate water, light, and nutrients, as a stressed plant is more susceptible to pests.
  • Be cautious when introducing new plants to your home, as they may unknowingly harbor pests that can spread to your existing plants.

By vigilantly monitoring and maintaining proper care for your pothos plants, it is possible to effectively control pests and keep them at bay, ensuring the longevity and beauty of your plant.


Pothos plants can be easily propagated through the cutting method, allowing you to multiply the number of plants from a single mother plant. There are two main methods for rooting a pothos cutting: in water and in soil.

Cutting Method

To propagate a pothos plant using the cutting method, first, choose a healthy parent plant. Carefully take a 4-6 inch cutting just below a leaf node, ensuring that there are at least two leaves on the cutting. Remove the leaf closest to the cut end to expose the first set of nodes, where the roots will grow from.

It is crucial to disinfect your tools before taking a cutting to prevent the spread of diseases to the new plant or the mother plant. Use a clean, sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears to make a clean cut below a leaf node, which is the point where the leaf meets the stem.

Rooting in Water

The water rooting method involves placing the cut end of the pothos cutting in a container filled with water, ensuring that the exposed nodes are submerged. Place the container in a location with bright, indirect sunlight, and make sure to change the water every few days to prevent the growth of algae or bacteria.

Once roots have grown to a length of two to three inches, the cutting can be transferred to soil. Plant the rooted cutting in a small pot filled with well-draining soil and continue to care for it as you would a mature pothos plant.

Common Issues

While Pothos plants are generally easy to care for, they can still encounter some common issues that may affect their overall health. Addressing these problems promptly is crucial for maintaining a thriving plant.

One of the most common issues for Pothos plants is yellowing leaves. This can be caused by overwatering, incorrect light levels, or pest infestations. In order to fix this issue, identify the cause of the yellowing leaves and address it accordingly, such as adjusting the watering schedule or moving the plant to a more appropriate location (Blooming Backyard).

Another issue Pothos plants can face is drooping or wilting. If your plant is not looking healthy, ensure its basic needs are met. Trim away any dead or damaged foliage, check the soil moisture, and water the plant if necessary. If the soil appears to be soggy due to overwatering, let it dry out completely before watering again (The Spruce).

Leaves turning brown can be a sign of more severe damage caused by a variety of environmental factors. Overwatering or direct light exposure are two of the leading causes for brown leaves. Determine and address the specific issue in order to help your Pothos recover (

Keeping an eye out for these common issues and addressing any problems that arise can help ensure a healthy and vibrant Pothos plant. Remember to regularly check your plant and provide it with the care it needs to thrive.

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