Plants

Guide to Pothos Plant: How to Grow & Care for “Devils Ivy”

Read our complete guide to Pothos for everything you will ever need to know! Tips for planting & caring for "Devil’s Ivy"
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Epipremnum Aureum, commonly known as golden pothos, marble queen, hunter’s robe, Ceylon creeper, or devil’s ivy, is a species of flowering plant in the Araceae family. This plant is an evergreen vine originated in Moorea, a high island in French Polynesia.

This species was first described in 1880 as Pothos Aureus, which is why these versatile plants are still referred to as “Pothos”. Later, in 1962, it was renamed Raphidophora Aurea after its flowers were noticed. It’s safe to say that Devil’s Ivy has had a hard time finding its suitable genus.

They are very popular ornamental houseplants in temperate regions, with various cultivars having light green, yellow, or white variegations. Due to their easy-to-care-for nature, Pothos vines are often seen in public locations such as offices and shopping centers. Also, they can be grown in parks and gardens, especially in tropical regions.

About Pothos

  • Pothos vines can be found in the Western Pacific Islands and many countries in Southeast Asia such as India, Thailand, China, Japan, Singapore, and Bangladesh.
  • Epipremnum Aureum plants grow in tropical forests under the trees’ protection from sunlight. They prefer bright and indirect light, but they can also do well in places with partial to full shade.
  • They can be grown as houseplants, in water, or well-draining potting soil. They are pretty tolerant of drought and irregular watering. Make sure you always check the soil’s moisture before the next watering.
  • Pothos plants are more than happy if they receive proper light conditions.
  • They can also benefit from being fed a balanced organic fertilizer for houseplants once every month.
  • Place your devil’s ivy in a spot that allows their leaves to overflow and hang. A lot of growers prefer to plant them in hanging containers, as these can encourage growth.
  • In optimal conditions, Pothos vines can grow between 6 and 10 feet (1.8-3 m) tall.
  • To maintain the fresh and glossy appearance of the leaves, you can wipe the dust off with a damp cotton ball or cloth every few weeks.
  • These vines contain insoluble raphides, making them very toxic to cats and dogs. They can also be mildly toxic to humans because of the calcium oxalate within their leaves. They can also cause skin irritation, so handle them with caution.
  • Devil’s Ivy pairs well with Glechoma Hederacea, Philodendron Cordatum, Plectranthus, Cissus Rhombifolia, and Syngonium plants, as they have similar light and water requirements.
Golden Pothos or "Devils Ivy"
Golden Pothos or “Devils Ivy”

 Pothos Features: An Overview

  • Devil’s ivy is an evergreen vine that can reach up to 66 feet (20 m) in height. It produces stems of a maximum of 2 inches (4 cm) in diameter which climb up trees.
  • Depending on the variety, these vines can have a slow to fast growth rate. They tend to grow slower if they have more variegation in the leaves.
  • When plants are young, their leaves grow alternately, heart-shaped, and up to 8 inches (20 cm) long. However, when they reach maturity, the leaves can grow up to 39 inches (100 cm) long and 18 inches (45 cm) broad, with an irregular pinnate.
  • The “Devil’s Ivy” or “Devil’s Vine” references come from these plants’ ability to survive in any environmental conditions. Their foliage remains green even when they are growing in full darkness.
  • To brighten a dark spot in their home, most houseplants lovers prefer the neon Pothos plants, as they have vibrant green, chartreuse-like leaves.
  • Although they are considered flowering plants, their last recorded spontaneous blooming took place in 1964. In most cases, Pothos plants can be encouraged to produce flowers with the help of artificial hormones.
  • Mature Pothos plants will exhibit small, white bloomings in their native habitat. They will not bloom when grown indoors.
  • Devil’s ivy can remove formaldehyde, benzene fumes, and carbon monoxide from their surroundings, making it a great air purifier.
Pothos works well in baskets
Pothos works well in baskets

Growing Pothos

Devil’s ivy can be grown indoors as long as you provide them with similar environmental conditions to their native habitat. If you want to grow them outdoors, make sure you plant them in a shady spot.

They prefer bright, but no direct sunlight. You can place them near a window or in a dark corner, as they can tolerate even the lowest light conditions. If you notice that your Devil’s Ivy has burnt, yellow, or brown leaves, it might be a signal that it is being exposed to too much light. If the foliage becomes pale, your plant needs more light than it’s currently getting.

The ideal temperatures for Pothos plants are between 60°F and 80°F (15-26°C). It’s best to keep the room temperatures above 50 °F, as they cannot tolerate cold temperatures or frost. If your Pothos plant has blackened leaves and shows little to no growth, you should consider moving your plant to a warmer spot. If the temperatures are too low, Pothos vines tend to stop growing.

The Pothos plant
The Pothos plant

They will benefit from a potting container filled with high-quality, slightly acidic, and well-draining soil mix. The container should have adequate drainage holes and should be 1-2 inches (2-5 cm) wider than the plant’s root ball.

When repotting your Pothos plant, choose a container that is one size larger than the current one. You should do this only if the roots tend to outgrow the plant. Fill the new container with fresh potting soil and bury the plant’s roots. After repotting, take care of your devil’s ivy as usual.

You can control the plant’s overall shape and length by pruning it regularly. Cut the long runners with a sharp knife or simply trim off the empty stems to ensure the growth of new branches. If you want to maintain the natural vining behavior, you should skip the pruning.

Do not let your plant sit in moist soil for too long, as it can get damaged by fungus diseases. The most common pests for these vines are scale insects and mealybugs. You can remove them using an insecticidal soap or simply wipe their leaves with 70% rubbing alcohol using a cotton cloth.

Watering Pothos

As mentioned above, Pothos plants are quite susceptible to root rot, so you should be very careful when it comes to watering them. They are drought-tolerant plants and appreciate waterings only when their potting soil has dried out. That being said, make sure you always check the soil in-between waterings, allowing the first one or two inches (2-5 cm) layer to dry completely. After watering the plant, always get rid of the excess water from the tray.

If you notice that the older leaves are turning yellow to brown but the younger ones look healthy, your plant might not receive enough water. Also, your plant may be under-watered when its leaves look shriveled and yellow, have brown edges, or they tend to wither. Cut the affected leaves at the base of their stems, as this will ensure new growth and increase the frequency of watering.

Watering Pothos
Watering Pothos

Usually, the common indicators of an over-watered Pothos plant or root rot are the blackened leaves or stems. Trim off the affected parts and allow the potting soil to dry out thoroughly. Unfortunately, plants that are affected by root rot will rarely recover, so you might want to take some cuttings and start anew.

These plants love high levels of humidity as in their native habitat. Although they can be forgiving to average room humidity or to dry air, you can maintain the ideal levels using a room humidifier or by misting their leaves regularly.

Propagating Pothos

Devil’s ivy can be easily propagated by taking stem cuttings and through divisions. Trim a 4-6 inches (10-15 cm) long stem just below a leaf node. You should look for stems that have at least four leaves and a minimum of two growth nodes.

The cuttings can be placed in water or soil. Pothos vines have a difficult time readjusting to a new environment. Therefore, you should choose from the very beginning the environment that you want to keep your new baby plant in. If you want to grow your Pothos plant in the soil, choose a nice container with drainage holes, and plant the cutting in fresh potting mix.

Pothos plant care
Pothos plant care

Propagating a devil’s ivy cutting in water is a similar process. After a month or two, you will notice tiny roots developing. If you choose this propagation technique, make sure you change the water every two or three weeks.

To propagate Pothos vines through divisions, you need to take them out of their container. Remove the excess soil around the root ball and carefully cut it into segments. Fill the container with fresh potting soil and plant the cuttings, leaving a space of 1-2 inches (2-5 cm) around the roots. Water and care for them as usual.

In Conclusion

Pothos plants are highly spread in tropical and temperate regions due to their low-maintenance and easy-going nature. They are perfect for a beginner gardener or a busy one and can thrive both indoors and outdoors.

These evergreen vines will benefit from an environment that can simulate their native habitat conditions such as bright, indirect light, warm temperatures, high humidity levels, suitable potting soil, and occasional watering. Also, they can fill any place with their graceful waves of leaves and they will show their gratitude by purifying the air.

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Miruna Secuianu

Miruna is an experienced content writer with a passion for gardening. She is the proud owner of an outdoor rose garden and an indoor collection of tiny succulents. She bought her first succulent 10 years ago - an adorable Echeveria Setosa. Now she owns more than 100 succulents and cacti of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Miruna is a versatile writer and, as you might have guessed, her favorite topic is gardening. Contact miruna@gardenbeast.com

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