The Golden Pothos plant might win the award for the most popular houseplant. You’ll see it in indoor buildings, offices, and most greenhouses.
The scientific name for the Golden Pothos is Epipremnum Aureum. It is also commonly known as Devil’s Ivy and it’s a vining foliage plant. It comes from the Araceae plant family.
Epipremnums come in lots of shapes and sizes! The Golden Pothos loves to wrap around objects and climb whatever it can attach to. The leaves are a heart-like shape and it’s lovely to look at. It is so popular due to its easy care.
I find this plant thrives even when I forget about it. If you don’t have one already, it is a wonderful addition to your plant family. In this post, I am going to share some tips on keeping your Golden Pothos alive and well!
First, when you get a plant, purchase one that looks healthy. Signs of a healthy plant will be upright leaves (no drooping) full of new growth and no yellow or brown leaves.
Once you’ve found your new plant, it’s time to find a pot. I love terra cotta or earthenware pots. Make sure the pot has a drainage hole so the water has a way of escaping or your plant will be prone to root rot (more on that later in the post).
You will want a pot that is one size up from the pot that it came in, which is about 2 inches bigger. Sometimes I find a beautiful decorative pot without a hole. If I don’t want to drill a hole at the bottom (using a drill bit), then I like to put my plant in a terra cotta pot.
Then, I place that pot inside of the decorative pot. I take it out of the decorative pot to water and let all the water drain out before putting it back in.
The Pothos enjoy a standard indoor potting mix. I like Miracle Gro indoor potting mix. Depending on the size of the pot, I will add a scoop of Perlite and a scoop of orchid bark for added aeration. This way, the soil isn’t as compact.
Adding these will let water drain and not sit in the plant for too long. As your pothos grows, it will need repotting so it is not root-bound. Spring is the best time to repot your plant to a bigger pot.
When repotting, go up one pot size (as stated above) to give your plant room to grow.
Now that your plant is potted, where should you place it? The Golden Pothos is VERY forgiving when it comes to lighting and can tolerate diverse lighting situations.
If you have it in brighter light, it will grow faster; if you have low light, then it might be a slow grower. The best lighting situation for your Golden Pothos is bright, indirect light. It cannot tolerate direct sunlight because it will likely burn.
In its native environment, the pothos sits lower in the forest, under the trees. It doesn’t see a lot of direct sun because the light is filtered by the trees of the forest. I like to think of this when I’m placing it in my home.
I like my pothos to be near, or in a room with a window. I have minimal window treatments on my windows so the maximum amount of sunlight can pour in. This helps to create a bright and healthy environment for my plants.
If you do not have a room with a window, this plant will still do well. I have one pothos in a bathroom without a window. The pothos loves the humidity from the shower. Even though there is no window, the plant is doing great!
If your Golden Pothos leaves begin to lose their variegation, then the plant isn’t getting enough light. Simply place it closer to a window or in brighter light to sustain the variegation.
One thing to note about the Golden Pothos and its placement is that it is toxic to humans and pets. Do not let a pet or child chew the leaves on accident.
The inside of the plant contains calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals have a very harmful effect on humans and pets if they enter the mouth. Please be careful and place your plant away from pets or kids.
The Golden Pothos doesn’t like to sit in water or be wet for too long. Figuring out your plants water schedule (and dry out time) will aid you tremendously.
This plant loves consistency. You will likely have this plant for years to come if you can figure out a consistent care schedule.
I like to water my Pothos when the plant is pretty much dried out. It might be holding a little moisture but the top 2/3 of the plant are dried out. Once it is dry and ready for a drink, I give it a generous watering.
I let the water flow out and immediately discard any water that is left pooling in the saucer. The plant loves lukewarm water (around 60 degrees Fahrenheit). If you have city water, then pour your water the day before in an open container and let the chemicals evaporate.
You don’t have to do this, but it is just a little extra step that will help your plant in the long run. Collected rainwater and well water are excellent water sources as well.
Water your pothos well in the growing season (spring and summer months) and in the winter, don’t water as thoroughly but just keep the soil moist.
I like to remember that if my Golden Pothos is in brighter sun, it will dry out faster and need more watering. If the pothos is in a darker room, it will take longer to dry out and need less watering.
If the leaves turn yellow, this is likely due to overwatering, so back off watering and let your Pothos dry out more.
In the wild, these plants will grow quite large and they will actually flower. Indoors though, the plant will likely not flower, but there is a small chance! If you like the vine look of the pothos, just let it grow!
You can place it on top of a shelf or a pedestal and it will eventually trail down. You can place the vines over objects or even clip them onto objects to promote the vines to attach to objects. If you prefer the “bushy” look for your pothos, then pinch off new growth.
If there is a vine that is getting too long, then you can prune the vine. To do this, use a freshly cleaned pair of scissors or shears. Cleaning your tools will keep your plant from being introduced to any bacteria when you cut it.
Cut the vine 1/4-/1/2 above a leaf. You can propagate your freshly cut vine or give it to a friend!
The Golden Pothos is very easy to propagate. In fact, it is one of the easiest plants to propagate. In other countries (and in some parts of America), this plant is known as an invasive weed. So, this “invasive weed” will multiply and propagate quickly!
Let’s go over some propagation methods. The two methods are water and soil. I find water to be the most satisfying method. Simply cut (like stated above) a healthy vine.
I like my vines to be between 6-12 inches. Depending on the glass vessel I am placing it in, I will remove all leaves on the bottom of my cutting so there are no leaves in the water.
Make sure all foliage is above the water line. Let your plant sit in a sunny spot and you will see little roots begin to appear. Change water anytime it gets cloudy or dirty and give the vessel a rinse.
Once roots start to grow, you can leave your plant in the water (roots will get nice and long) or transfer it to soil.
If you’d like to place your fresh cutting directly in soil then use a pencil or chopstick and place your cutting in a small pot of soil. Keep the dirt moist and check on it every few days. If it is dry then give it a light drink. Roots will form and your cutting will grow on its own!
The Golden Pothos love to be fed in the spring and summer months (also known as the growing season) using a balanced fertilizer. Not sure what a balanced fertilizer is?
The fertilizer will have 3 letters on the package: NPK. The “N” stands for Nitrogen. Nitrogen helps with chlorophyll production, which leads to photosynthesis, which leads to a bigger, healthier plant and more foliage! The “P” stands for Phosphorus.
Phosphorus helps with keeping the roots of your plant healthy and promotes root growth. The last letter “K” stands for Potassium. Potassium helps your plant distribute nutrients. It also helps your plant fight off disease.
Think of it as an immunity booster for your plant! A standard fertilizer for houseplants will work great for your pothos. Make sure to read the label of your fertilizer and follow the instructions. I like using half of the recommended fertilizer amount with the pothos.
Using too much fertilizer can cause your plant to burn. Burning means that too many nutrients have been stored in the root system and they cannot accept/absorb water anymore.
If there is a chance that your plant has had too much fertilizer then give it a good watering to flush the roots. Don’t fertilize the next time so that your plant has time to recover and rest.
I use liquid fertilizer for my plants. Knowing my fertilizer is a liquid gives me the peace of mind that the fertilizer is evenly distributed throughout the water (unlike granules or a powder mix). I do not fertilize the pothos in the winter time, but give it a rest period.
Another wonderful aspect of the Golden Pothos is that it can tell you what it needs! The leaves show when they are in need of something or if they are getting too much of something.
The most common thing your pothos will do is have droopy leaves. If this happens, your plant is thirsty and needs a good watering. After a few hours of being watered, the leaves will slowly perk up and become more firm. It is amazing to see the difference!
If your leaves are turning yellow, this is a sign of overwatering. The yellowing of the leaves is called Chlorosis. Chlorosis means that chlorophyll is not forming in your plant. If your leaf is turning yellow, it is likely a call for help.
Back off watering and make sure your plant is drying out between watering so that it doesn’t get waterlogged. If it continues to happen, then pop your plant out of the pot and check for root rot.
The quickest way to tell if your plant has succumbed to root rot is finding mushy, black or dark roots. If you see this, sometimes your plant can be saved but there is a chance the roots are done and the plant won’t make it.
If you can, snip the dead roots out of the root system and place the plant in a pot of fresh soil (not the waterlogged soil from the previous pot). Give your plant some time and hopefully it will come back to life!
There are different varieties of the Pothos and their care is very similar. In the image above, this variegated Pothos on the left is called Marble Queen.
I love the stark variegation! I hope you keep an eye out for the Golden Pothos and take one home if you don’t have one already! -Janae