Pothos plant care guide (short version)

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Other names: Devil’s ivy
Botanical name: Epipremnum aureum (formerly known as Pothos aureus)
Origin: Solomon islands

Pothos has a well-deserved reputation as the easiest house-plant to grow. Long, vining stems trail over the sides of the pot, often reaching 8 ft/2.4 m or more unless they are trimmed back. The glossy, heart-shaped leaves unfurl constantly, usually emerging green and becoming more variegated as they age. Bright light increases the growth rate of this vigorous plant. Once or twice a year, prune pothos to keep it bushy and full. Clip back some vines to within 2 in/5 cm of the soil, and shorten others by cutting them off at any point. Overwatering is the only serious mistake you might make with this forgiving plant because pothos cannot stand waterlogged soil. Be especially careful with freshly repotted plants, which appreciate somewhat dry conditions as they recover from the change. Vigorous, fast-growing pothos plants are ideal low-maintenance plants for offices or new houses, where formaldehyde from carpet, plywood, or other materials may be a contaminant. Cats who play with the dangling vines quickly learn to avoid pothos because the poisonous (but nonlethal) sap causes a burning sensation in the mouth.

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)
Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Pothos plant care and specifications

Light: Moderate to bright light or fluorescent light.

Temperature: Average room temperature (60–80°F/16–27°C).

Fertilizer:From spring through fall, feed every 2 weeks with a balanced houseplant food. In winter, feed monthly.

Water: Allow soil to dry to within 1 in/2.5 cm of the surface between waterings. Tolerates dryness better than overwatering. Soil:Any good potting soil that drains well.

Repotting: Repot annually in spring, shifting plant to a slightly larger pot. Control the size of very large plants by clipping off up to a third of the vines along with some of the roots, and do not increase container size.

Longevity: 10 years or more; indefinitely when propagated from rooted stem tip cuttings.

Propagation: Cut back a long stem near the soil, and wait for a new shoot to emerge from the base of the plant. When the new shoot is 4 in/10 cm long, root it as described in How to propagate pothos plant for free from cuttings in water. Stem tips also may be rooted, though they are slower to develop roots.

Selections: Inexpensive plants with leaves marbled with yellow or white are widely available. ‘Neon’ has nearly chartreuse leaves, while ‘Marble Queen’ is so heavily variegated with white that green is the secondary leaf color. Plants may be labeled with obsolete botanical names, including Pothos aureus or Scindapus aureus.

Display tips: Make the most of the way pothos stems drape downward by displaying the plant atop a tall piece of furniture or file cabinet.

Troubleshooting

Pothos leaves are mostly green and lose variegation.

CAUSE: Too little light; weakly variegated variety.
REMEDY: Move the plant to a brighter location. Also be patient, as new leaves often emerge green and develop variegation as they age.

Pothos leaves turn yellow and fall.

CAUSE: Too much water; transplant trauma.
REMEDY: A few weeks after repotting, pothos plants often shed a few leaves. Continued yellowing of leaves is usually due to too much water or inadequate pruning. Stems allowed to grow more than 4 ft/1.2 m long often shed most of their leaves. Check drainage holes to make sure they are free of debris, and water plants less frequently.

Brown spots on pothos leave surrounded by yellow halos.

CAUSE: Bacterial leaf spot.
REMEDY: Clip off affected leaves, or entire branches that hold many spotted leaves. Keep leaves dry when watering the plant.

Pothos has yellow or wilted leaves; soft mushy stems.

CAUSE: Root rot, caused by several types of soil-borne fungi.
REMEDY: Propagate a few stem tip cuttings if possible, then dispose of the plant and soil. Thoroughly clean container before using it to grow another houseplant.

Pothos plant has White, cottony masses on stems or leaf undersides.

CAUSE: Mealybugs.
REMEDY: This pest only occasionally infests pothos, which is normally a remarkably pest-free plant. Remove mealybugs with a cotton swab dipped in alcohol. If necessary, repeat after 1 week.

Notes: For longer and more comprehensive version. Read here


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