Where to Cut Pothos: Expert Tips for Healthy Growth

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Pothos Plant Overview

The pothos plant, also known as Epipremnum aureum, is a popular and easy-to-grow houseplant that is cherished for its attractive foliage and low maintenance requirements. It is native to Southeast Asia and thrives in both indoor and outdoor environments, making it a versatile choice for various settings.

One of the key features that makes pothos a beloved plant is its long vining stems that feature heart-shaped leaves. The leaves come in various shades of green, with some possessing yellow or white variegations, adding an appealing touch to any space. As an adaptable species, pothos plants can tolerate various light conditions, making them suitable for different areas of a home or office.

Another key aspect of pothos plants is their ability to purify the air by removing pollutants such as formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene. This benefit, combined with their aesthetic appeal and easy care, contributes to their popularity among plant enthusiasts.

Pothos plants are especially known for their ease of propagation. The process involves taking cuttings from the plant and allowing them to develop roots, which can then be potted and grown into new plants. This method allows for the expansion of one’s pothos collection or to share the beauty of the plant with others.

Where to Cut Pothos

Pothos plants are easy to maintain and propagate. Knowing where to cut them is crucial for their growth and health.

Identifying Nodes

Nodes are the key to proper pothos cutting. These are the points on the stem where leaves attach, and they are responsible for new growth. Look for the bumps or slight swellings on the vine where the leaf connects to the main vine. These are the nodes, and they contain the plant’s growth hormones, which will help develop new roots and shoots when cut correctly (Ohio Tropics).

Selecting Stems

Choose healthy stems with at least one or two leaves for cutting. Healthy stems are firm, green, and free of any damage or discoloration. Use sterilized sharp scissors or pruning shears for a clean cut, ensuring you do not crush or damage the stem, which can hinder growth (Nature of Home).

When cutting, make a cut above a leaf and its node on the vine about 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) from the node, and make another cut below the same leaf and node. This will result in a single node cutting that can be propagated, ensuring the node’s growth potential is fully utilized (Houseplant Authority).

Avoiding Damage

  • Always use clean, sharp tools for cutting. This helps to prevent infections and promotes faster healing in the plant (Nature of Home).
  • Be gentle when handling the cutting, taking care not to damage the node, which is crucial for new growth.
  • Only cut healthy stems as damaged or unhealthy stems may not propagate well or may introduce disease into the propagated plant.

By following these guidelines on where to cut pothos, you can help ensure successful propagation and a healthy, thriving plant.

Tools for Cutting Pothos

When cutting pothos for propagation, it is essential to use the right tools and techniques to ensure a healthy plant. Using proper tools can make a significant difference in the success of the propagation process.

One important tool to have on hand is a pair of sharp, clean scissors or pruning shears. They will provide a clean, precise cut and minimize damage to the plant tissue. The Spruce recommends using sterilized shears or scissors to maintain the plant’s health and prevent the spread of disease.

Another useful tool for pothos propagation is a container to hold the cuttings as they begin to root. It can be as simple as a clear glass jar, a vase, or a specialized propagation station. The container should be clean and filled with fresh water to promote root growth.

When cutting pothos, it is crucial to identify the nodes on the stems. These small bumps on the stem are where the leaves and aerial roots grow, as mentioned by The Spruce. Make sure to cut the stem near the nodes to increase the likelihood of successful root development.

  • Sharp, clean scissors or pruning shears
  • Container for holding cuttings (glass jar, vase, or propagation station)
  • Fresh water

Remember, properly cutting pothos and using the right tools can significantly improve the propagation process, leading to a healthy, thriving plant.

Pothos Cutting Techniques


Propagating pothos plants involves taking stem cuttings and rooting them to produce new plants. To begin, select healthy stem segments that are 4 to 6 inches long, each with at least four leaves.

Take single node cuttings by using sharp scissors and cutting just below a leaf joint or node, as shown in this picture. Remove the leaf closest to the cut end to expose the node, which will become the rooting site.

  • Rooting in water: Place the cutting in a jar with water, ensuring that the node is submerged. Change the water every few days and wait for roots to emerge.
  • Rooting in soil: Dip the cut end in rooting hormone powder and plant it in a small pot with moistened soil, ensuring the node is below the soil surface. Keep the soil moist by misting regularly.

When the roots have developed, transplant the cutting into a new pot with drainage holes or add it to an existing pothos plant to encourage fuller growth.


Pruning pothos plants helps maintain their size, shape, and health. Regular trimming encourages bushier growth, while removing dead or yellowing leaves improves the plant’s overall appearance and health.

Always use clean, sharp scissors or pruning shears to make your cuts.

To prune, cut the vines into smaller sections, removing any unwanted length. Be sure to leave one to two leaves on each cutting as well as keeping the node exposed. These cuttings can then be propagated as mentioned earlier in the Propagation subsection. Removing long, leggy vines not only keeps the mother plant compact, but also provides an opportunity to grow additional pothos plants.

Aftercare and Growth

Once you have successfully cut and propagated your pothos, it’s crucial to provide proper aftercare and create an environment that encourages growth. The first step is to select a suitable location for your new pothos cuttings. Ensure they are close to a window, preferably placed in bright indirect sunlight, as this will promote healthy growth (Ohio Tropics).

Maintaining an optimal temperature is crucial for the development of the cuttings. Aim for a warm environment, as cooler temperatures may slow down the propagation process. Observing proper watering practices is essential for maintaining healthy roots. Transfer the cuttings from water to a pot containing well-draining potting soil as soon as roots start to form (HGTV).

Regular monitoring and appropriate maintenance practices will help your pothos thrive. Here are some tips to consider:

  • Keep an eye on the moisture level in the soil, ensuring it is consistently damp but not overly saturated.
  • Rotate the pot occasionally to ensure all sides of the plant receive equal sunlight exposure.
  • Fertilize the plant every four to six weeks during the growing season using a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer.

As your pothos grows, regular pruning will help maintain a fuller, more aesthetically pleasing shape. Remove any yellow or damaged leaves as they appear, and trim back overly long vines to encourage bushier growth. If you decide to propagate more cuttings in the future, you can use these pruned stems (Plantophiles).

Potential Problems


When propagating pothos, it’s essential to be mindful of overcutting. Overcutting can lead to the original plant’s vitality being compromised, resulting in stunted growth or even death. To avoid overcutting, ensure you carefully select healthy, well-spaced sections to cut.

When pruning, leave enough foliage on the parent plant to maintain its ability to photosynthesize and grow new leaves. Make your cuts at least one node above the desired cutting length to avoid undue stress on the parent plant. This practice allows room for new growth without causing harm to the overall plant structure.

Disease Transmission

Another potential issue when propagating pothos is the transmission of diseases. Diseases like Southern Blight or Bacterial Wilt may cause parts of the leaves to turn brown and die off. To prevent the spread of diseases during the cutting process, always use clean and disinfected pruning shears or scissors.

Maintaining plant health is crucial to minimize the risk of disease transmission. If you notice any signs of illness on your pothos, such as discolored or wilting leaves, immediately remove the affected parts. Prune off all the diseased leaves and stems to avoid the problem spreading to the remaining healthy plant parts or to the new cuttings you’re propagating.

Additionally, keeping your pothos plants in optimal growing conditions, such as proper lighting, watering schedule, and temperature, is important to lessen disease occurrence and increase their chances of successful propagation.

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