Why is Pothos Called Devil’s Ivy: Unraveling the Mystery

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Pothos is a popular houseplant that’s known for its attractive foliage and easy-to-care-for nature, but it’s also commonly referred to as Devil’s Ivy. This nickname can be puzzling for plant owners, and many wonder why Pothos is called Devil’s Ivy in the first place. In this article, we’ll explore the mystery behind this nickname and unravel the story behind why Pothos is called Devil’s Ivy.

Origins of the Name

Mythology and Folklore

The name “Devil’s Ivy” traces back to a popular legend about a powerful demon. Originating in the 1600s, the story tells of the Lord of the Flies, who cursed a small, leafy plant, leading to the enduring name “Devil’s Ivy”. This plant has since been known for its resilience, growing rapidly and staying green even in dark conditions.

Christianity and Devil Symbolism

Apart from its connection to the Lord of the Flies myth, the name “Devil’s Ivy” is also related to its near indestructibility. This hardy plant remains green when kept in the dark and is notoriously difficult to kill. In Christianity, the devil is often perceived as a persistent and resilient force, which may have contributed to the adoption of the name for this plant.

Pothos, also known as Epipremnum aureum, has other nicknames such as the money plant. Its round, flat leaves are said to resemble coins, and its rapid growth symbolizes prosperity. This contributes to the plant’s diverse range of names and cultural associations.

Plant Characteristics

Growing Habits

Pothos, a popular houseplant, is known for its robust growth habits and ability to adapt to various environments. It thrives both indoors and outdoors and is often grown as a hanging plant due to its climbing nature. In the wild, using aerial roots, pothos can climb trees and achieve remarkable heights.


The leaves of pothos are its most distinctive feature, boasting a thick, waxy texture. Their green, heart-shaped form is adorned with splashes of yellow, adding visual interest to the plant. Plus, the plant’s variegated leaves can have white or green color variations, contributing to its popularity for home decoration.


With vines that can grow up to 20 feet in length, pothos is often chosen as an indoor trailing or climbing plant. As a fast-growing plant, it can potentially add over a foot of length in a single month. Moreover, this hardy species is commonly referred to as “devil’s ivy” due to its ability to thrive even in less-than-ideal conditions and resistance to neglect.

Common Confusions

Pothos and Philodendron

Both pothos and philodendron are popular houseplants with heart-shaped leaves, which often causes confusion between the two. Pothos, also known as devil’s ivy or Epipremnum aureum, is native to the Solomon Islands and is known for its variegated leaves with shades of white, yellow, or green (source). On the other hand, philodendrons are a diverse group of plants, belonging to a different genus from pothos, but are often mistakenly thought to be the same due to their similar appearance.

Pothos plants are hardy, low-maintenance, and able to thrive in low-light conditions, contributing to their nickname “devil’s ivy” (source). While they are called ivy, they are not true ivy plants and belong to a separate family called Araceae.

Different Names and Varieties

Pothos has various nicknames, including devil’s ivy, money plant, and golden pothos. The nickname devil’s ivy comes from its hardiness and ability to grow in challenging conditions (source). Money plant, another common name for pothos, is believed to have originated due to the plant’s round, flat, and plump leaves resembling coins (source). The nickname “golden pothos” refers to the golden variegation found on some varieties of pothos leaves.

There are different varieties of pothos plants available, each displaying distinct leaf patterns and coloration. Some popular varieties include:

  • Golden Pothos: Features yellow and green variegation on the leaves.
  • Marble Queen Pothos: Boasts white and green marbled leaves.
  • Neon Pothos: Recognizable by its bright, lime-green leaves.
  • Jade Pothos: Displays solid green leaves without variegation.

Overall, it’s essential to be aware of these common confusions surrounding pothos and other plants to better understand and care for them. The variety of names and distinctive features can help identify and maintain these beautiful and resilient houseplants.

Caring for Devil’s Ivy

Watering Requirements

When it comes to watering Devil’s Ivy, also known as Pothos, these plants have moderate water requirements. It is essential to avoid over-watering, as this can cause root rot. Water the plant thoroughly, allowing the excess to drain out of the bottom of the pot, and then wait until the top inch of soil is dry before watering again. Make sure the container has drainage holes to prevent standing water.

Light and Temperature

Devil’s Ivy thrives in a range of light conditions, from low to bright, indirect light. However, it is essential to keep the plant out of direct sunlight, as this can scorch the leaves. If the plant receives too little light, its growth rate may slow, and the variegation in the leaves might fade. It is recommended to place the plant in a spot where it can receive medium to bright, indirect light for the best results.

When it comes to temperature, Devil’s Ivy prefers a warm environment, ideally at room temperature. It can tolerate temperatures between 60-85°F (15-29°C), but it’s important to ensure the plant is not exposed to sudden temperature changes or drafts, which can cause stress and leaf drop. Keep the plant away from air conditioning vents, heaters, and drafty windows to maintain a consistent temperature.

In summary, to care for Devil’s Ivy, pay attention to the watering, light, and temperature requirements for optimal growth. By providing the right conditions and care, this low-maintenance plant will thrive and continue to be a beautiful addition to your home or office space.

Benefits and Uses

Air Purification

Pothos, also known as Devil’s Ivy, is well-known for its air-purifying properties. It works efficiently to remove common indoor air pollutants, such as formaldehyde, benzene, and xylene, contributing to cleaner and fresher air in indoor spaces. This versatile houseplant also enhances oxygen levels by converting carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. Its resilience and low maintenance requirements make it an excellent choice for improving indoor air quality.

Decorative Plant

Devil’s Ivy is a popular choice as a decorative plant due to its attractive appearance and ability to thrive in various environments. The plant features large, heart-shaped leaves with variegated patterns of white, yellow, or green. As a climbing vine, it can reach up to 20 feet in length, allowing it to be trained on walls, trellises, or simply left to trail from hanging baskets. The versatile nature of Devil’s Ivy allows it to brighten up any space, whether it’s a home, office, or commercial interior.

In summary, Devil’s Ivy is renowned for its air-purifying abilities and its attractiveness as a decorative houseplant. Its adaptable nature and minimal maintenance requirements make it a popular choice for indoor spaces, where it brings natural beauty and environmental benefits.

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