Pothos is a very popular, versatile, climbing house plant with shiny leaves, which can be found native in China, Australia, India and the Pacific areas so its watering needs are similar to plants from those areas.
Pothos is used to growing in damp jungles, where it enjoys jungle humidity. However it also likes keeping its roots dry, so watering this plant is fairly simple if you follow these rules. You really only need to water Pothos when the soil is very dry to the touch.
Pothos adores the humidity and damp conditions in bathrooms and kitchens, but in other situations you can mist the leaves occasionally to keep it looking good.
How do I know when my Pothos needs water?
Remember the appearance of your plant when it first arrived. The leaves were shiny and healthy.
Your Pothos plant will usually tell you visually, if you need to water it because the leaves will start to turn at the edge. The plant looks distressed if the leaves are curling right around, as they are desperately trying to conserve any moisture remaining in their leaves.
If left unwatered, these leaves will wilt completely. Before things get this desperate, gently touch the soil using your finger, and check at least an inch down in the soil. If it’s really dry, keep digging down to make sure it sin not damper further down. If it feels crumbly and dry, then water sparingly.
Caring for Pothos in a self-watering pot
The main reason for self-watering pots is to ensure that the plant is watered sufficiently and also that root rot does not occur. This is because a layer inserted between the water and the soil which allows moisture to travel across but slowly, as the soil above it dries out.
First, fill the soil in the top part of your pot gently around the roots of your Pothos plant, then fill the section for water and leave the Pothos to thrive.
You can see when there is no water so check weekly how empty the water section is, and top up as necessary!
How do you care for a Pothos indoors?
Indoors you can control both temperature and humidity so caring for this trailing plant is super easy. Gardeners think this is the plant to give to anybody, as they need little attention and it rewards you with regular growth and long, shiny, heart-shaped leaves.
Location is important as Pothos does not enjoy full direct sunlight. Remember the shade in the jungle!
For beginners, a good site to place the Pothos is the bathroom (or the kitchen) where the moisture level is high so watering can be less frequent. Water only when the soil is dry and check the soil at least once a week.
Pothos will also grow well in low light situations, even in fluorescent lighting and this is why you often see these plants in office situations.
If the tips of the leaves start to go brown, the air is probably too dry but this shouldn’t happen in a bathroom!
When should I water my Pothos moisture meter?
Some moisture meters have a traffic light warning system. Red equals danger and green means everything is OK.
Placing a moisture meter is perfect for a Pothos plant because it ensures you will not overwater. Remember Pothos likes to let the soil dry out almost completely so when your meter turns red, this is the time to start adding water.
Green indicates there is sufficient moisture for the plant to grow so you do not need to add any. Wait a few days and check more frequently in hot weather.
Be warned that there are also moisture meters that use numbers – lower numbers usually showing the need to water. So check the instructions of your meter carefully to make sure you do not add too much water or your Pothos may never forgive you!
How to check over-watered Pothos
Check the leaves of your plant carefully. Normally in a healthy Pothos, they are shiny and green or variegated. If you notice a combination of both brown and yellow on the leaves, this is probably due to being too generous in your watering.
Next, check the soil, digging down gently with your finger. If it feels damp then your diagnosis is confirmed. Snip off these damaged leaves and discard them because they will never recover. It may be wise to re-pot this Pothos with new, dry soil and learn from your mistakes.
If the plant fails to recover, hopefully you have used my propagation tips and can start again with a new plant.
Pothos is so easy to propagate! Cut a few short stems (5-6 inches, 12-15 cm) with a secateurs or sharp scissors and carefully remove the lowest growing leaves. Then place these stems in water in a glass or recycled glass container and watch for a few days, until you notice a white root growing.
If you want to leave these stems to grow in water, it will be difficult to move them to soil later but they make stunning plants in a transparent vase, with the roots showing.
If you do want to transplant them to soil later, then move them at the first sign of roots and place them in a pot with soil, checking moisture frequently at first. After they settle, water like any other Pothos.
It is a really good idea to propagate on a regular basis, so that you always have new plants available if any become diseased or unhealthy. Older plants can grow 12 inches a month and need regular trimming unless you want to live in the jungle they favor, so you can use these cuttings to make new plants.
Interesting facts about Pothos
- Pothos is called many different names around the world, which show you its climbing ability: Creeping Ceylon, Devil’s Ivy, Devil’s Vine and Rapunzel, whose long hair falling out of a tower to let the Prince climb up shows you just how tall it can climb.
- Did you know that Pothos can grow happily not only in soil but also in water? Children are fascinated by their white, waving roots if you place them in a glass jar.
- Golden Pothos is known for absorbing toxins from the air, so you will enjoy fresh air in the room where your Golden Pothos grows.
- These plants come in many varieties. Some are dark green, some varieties are bright yellow, some have variegated leaves and they grow long, delicate leaves which are often described as heart-shaped which vary slightly depending on the type.
- In the jungle, Pothos plants can climb up trees, winding around their trunks, to well over 40 feet tall and 3 feet wide! If your plant tries to grow too tall, you can always give it a haircut and use the snippings for propagation. Pothos are really easy to propagate in water or soil – see below to learn how to do this.
- Like all ivy plants, Pothos is poisonous if consumed, and harmful both to children and pets, so keep your plant on a high shelf. Pets like to nibble as much as children so ensure the trailing leaves do not get into their mouths by positioning it suitably. If a child or pet eats Pothos, it may cause vomiting, diarrhea, mouth irritation and other symptoms so it is really important to seek prompt medical attention.
- One way to provide extra fertilizer for your Pothos is also a good use for leftover coffee grounds. They provide excellent nutrition for Pothos, so you can mix in some leftover grounds every now and then, to help your Pothos thrive. Commercial fertilizer is also available but use sparingly, no more than once a month.