Pothos, also called Devil’s Ivy, Golden Pothos, or Epipremnum Aureum were the first plants I learned to care for in my college days. They’re a fast growing, laid back plant that doesn’t require much in the way of fertilizer, watering, or soil. In fact, they can grow in a vase of water – they don’t even need soil! There are dozens of different varieties of pothos, some are rare and can cost hundreds of dollars for a single cutting, and others are as common as any other plant sold in stores. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener and total houseplant enthusiast, or you’re just starting to dip your toes into the verdant world of houseplants, this pothos care guide will help you have a large, lush pothos plant (or multiple!) in no time.
Read my Boston Fern Care Guide
Identifying Pothos Varieties
As I mentioned, some varieties of pothos are very rare and can only be found in their native Asia, and other varieties are commonly sold in greenhouses and grocery stores across the country. This handy video guide will help you identify the variety of pothos you have on your hands.
How Much & How Often to Water a Pothos
Once a month in the fall and winter and twice a month in the spring and summer when the plant grows faster, I fill my sink with pure, room temperature water and submerge the base of my pothos (still in its plastic container with holes in the bottom) in about 3-4″ of water, and leave it over night. In the morning, my pothos plant is always standing straight up, and new leaves pop up all over it within a week. This bottom watering technique helps the plant pull in plenty of water to help it grow and stay healthy.
Between these monthly waterings, I water my pothos with about a 1.5 cups of water once a week in the spring and summer when it’s more humid, and twice a week in the fall and winter when it’s drier. I’ve never heard of anyone over watering a pothos as can be easily done to cacti, so this is a great plant for those who enjoy the act of watering plants and interacting with them, because they can’t drown.
A good rule of thumb is that if your pothos begins to brown at the tips (as shown below on this pothos I just brought home from the greenhouse where they didn’t water it often enough), or if the plant starts to droop, its time to water it.
Light Needs of a Pothos
I keep my pothos near windows in bright, indirect light. They can do very well even in very low-light situations, although they won’t be able to photosynthesize as much in lower light conditions and therefor won’t grow as much. Don’t set your pothos directly out in the sunshine without first helping it to acclimate to the bright light by leaving it next to a bright window for about a week first, or it could burn.
Keep in mind that this plant is a type of vine, so if you place a moss pole in the plant’s pot, or place it near something like a bookcase, it will climb those things. Outside, they like to climb trees, trellises, fences, and even other plants, however unlike varieties of ivy, pothos will not destroy walls or furniture that they climb, as they wrap around things rather than anchor to them.
Pothos, like many plants, will grow towards the nearest sunlight source, and you may find overtime that its vines creep towards your window’s light. Rotate your plant once each month by about 90 degrees to keep the plant from growing too much on one side and become stunted on the other.
By rotating your plant often, it will grow bushier and more evenly. Regular waterings will help it stay perky, and in no time you’ll have a large, beautiful pothos plant with 360 degrees of trailing vines.
Some people fertilize their pothos every 3 months, but I have never once fertilized my pothos and I find they grow just as quickly as pothos that are fertilized regularly. If you find that your pothos starts to look sad, or stops growing as quickly, fertilizing it may help it perk back up.