Are you a new Pothos Plant parent looking for some guidance on how to care for your new green baby? If so, first – congratulations! Second, read on because in this post, how often should I water a pothos plant, I will share proper care for your new green family member along with tips on how much and how often you should water. We will also go over ideal lighting, tips for pruning, how to propagate and whether you need to fertilize your plant – and so much more!
About Pothos Plants
Let’s start with its proper (botanical) name, Epipremnum Aureum – yes that’s a mouthful! Most go by Pothos (or Devil’s Ivy) which is much easier to pronounce. These popular plants are low-maintenance perennial evergreen houseplants in the Araceae (arum) family and are known for their easy care. There are several varieties including your traditional green Pothos (Jade Pothos), Golden Pothos, Marble Queen Pothos, and Neon Pothos to name a few. They have glossy green, or variegated leaves on cascading stems and are very good at adapting to various light conditions. In other words, they are not fussy – making them a great option for new plant parents.
Why you Will Love Parenting a Pothos Plant
- Ease: At the top of the list is their easy carefree personality! These plants are very adaptable and while all plants love perfect growing conditions these hardy indoor plants are very forgiving even when care and lighting are less than perfect.
- They actually work for you: That’s right! Did you know Pothos are rated one of the best houseplants for removing indoor air toxins. Specifically, they remove two toxins – Chloroform and Benzene. They not only help in purifying the air, they relieve stress, boost your creative side, and much more.
- Availability: With Pothos being a popular houseplant they are fairly easy to get ahold of. Garden centers and home stores such as Lowes or Home Depot will carry them – they can also be found at Trader Joe’s and other grocery stores.
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How to Water a Pothos Plant
Now for the question at hand – how to water a Pothos Plant. It’s important to keep in mind that each home has its own unique environmental factors including humidity level, amount of sunlight, temperature, etc. Also, each plant pot is different as well, some with drainage holes some without, some are made of terracotta and some Pothos plants come in a plastic hanging basket. The point is with all this variability it’s challenging to pinpoint exactly when and how much water your pothos will need.
Having said that there are some guidelines that can be applied while you and your Pothos get to know one another and begin to cohabitate! With a few pointers, there’s no doubt in just a short period of time you and your new plant will be able to set a watering schedule.
4 Things to Consider when Planning your Pothos Plant Watering Schedule
- A good place to start: Plan on watering your plant with cool tap water every 1-2 weeks. In general, Pothos like to dry out a bit between watering. Many suggest watering when the leaves begin to droop. I water most of my plants by simply watching their moves ( and mood ) as most plants will let you know when it’s time. If you’re going to take a watch and see the approach be sure to pay attention and water when the leaves become a little droopy and not completely collapsed. I find the best way to water my plants is to simply bring them over to my kitchen sink and drench the soil with my sprayer. I let the plant sit in the sink allowing the water to drain through the drain holes, then I place the plant back in its original spot. If it is a hanging plant in a plastic pot I do the same but tilt the pot in the sink to allow the water to drain past the collection dish that sits below the drainage holes. You can also water your plants with a watering can.
- The Pot: Is your Pothos in a plastic pot or a clay pot? Does the pot have drainage holes? The answer to these questions may impact how often you need to water them. If your plant is potted in a terracotta pot or clay pot you may need to water a bit more frequently as terracotta is porous which allows excess moisture to evaporate. Terracotta helps keep plant roots from sitting in too much water which can cause root rot. Plants in terracotta pots may need more watering than say a plastic pot.
- Drainage Holes: Drainage holes are recommended for most plants including Pothos because sitting in water on the bottom of the pot is hardly ever a good thing! Drainage holes support…well drainage! When watering your plants you want to moisten the soil while allowing excess water to drain through. If your Pothos is in a pot without drainage holes you will have to water carefully while trying to determine the right amount of water for appropriate soil moisture but not too much that that water collects on the bottom of the pot. A little trial and error is warranted here – a moisture meter may come in handy. A good rule of thumb is to water your Pothos when to top layer of soil (approx 2″ down) is dry. You can easily determine this by doing a soil probe using your finger.
- Humidity: Humidity levels vary in each home depending on where you are located as well as where the plant is located in the home. Pothos are tropical plants and prefer humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent. You can check your humidity level with a hygrometer or you can look for signs that your humidity levels are not at the proper levels by looking for specific signs of distress like droopy leaves, yellow leaves or leaves with brown edges. If your humidity level is low consider moving your Pothos into a bathroom where folks shower. In areas with high humidity, your Pothos (devil’s ivy) may require less watering than in low humidity environments.
Using a Self-Watering System for Your Pothos
A Pothos plant will also thrive in a self-watering system. To create a self-watering system you will need a self-watering wick that is used to draw up water to the soil of a plant. The planter sits on another container that holds a reservoir of water, the wick essentially runs between the two. The wick puts the soil in contact with the water, self-watering planters work through capillary action, or wicking. As the plant roots absorb water the soil wicks up more, maintaining a constant level of moisture in the soil. A self-watering planter can help Pothos avoid root rot which happens from over-watering. Over-watering Pothos can lead to fungal infections and cause wilting of its leaves. I recently learned for Pothos planted in a self-watering pots it is a good idea to allow for a drying period for the soil mix before refilling the reservoir.
Frequently Asked Questions
Pothos are rockstars when it comes to adapting to the amount of light they have access to. They prefer bright but indirect sunlight but will adapt to low light conditions. Golden and variegated varieties may revert to green in very low light conditions. Jade pothos are the best option for low light situations. Direct sunlight will burn leaves quickly so avoid long exposure to direct light. A south facing window is best!
Look for a healthy plant with bright, shiny, perky leaves. Avoid plants with leaves that have brown edges or are yellow. New growth is a sign of a healthy plant.
Fertilizing is not required however a liquid fertilizer may give your Pothos a boost. Additionally, Pothos like coffee so you may consider making a coffee grounds “tea” or add used coffee grounds to the potting soil.
Pothos Plant Maintenance
Congratulations! You’re a successful Pothos Plant parent! Your baby is thriving, you have your watering routine down and are now on a set schedule and your plant has decided it likes its new home. You did it! With proper care your plant now has new leaves, new growth, a solid root system and pothos vines are sprawling everywhere. Below are some helpful maintenance tips to make sure your green baby will continue to thrive! With all that work with air toxin removal she deserves the best care!
- Propagating: If there was ever a plant that was made for propagating, Pothos is it and boy is it fun! Propagating is the process of creating new plants from the mother plant. Did you know that you can actually propagate Pothos in either soil or water. Pretty cool! Pothos plants regrow new roots from their nodes, tiny brown bumps that grow on their stems. Leaving 1-3 leaves cut the stem at a 45-degree angle so that your cutting contains at least one of those nodes. Place the snipped stem including the node in a glass jar in fresh tap water. In 10-14 days you should see new roots begin to grow. After new roots have grown you can transfer them into a pot with soil.
- Repotting: As your Pothos continues to grow it may become pot bound. This is when the plant’s root system has outgrown the pot it has been growing in. When a pot bound plant is lifted out of the pot you will see a large number of roots and often less soil than is required to provide the plant with the nutrients it needs to thrive. It is best to re-pot the plant in a new pot that is one size up. Be sure to use a good potting mix with organic matter and consider adding some used coffee grounds for an extra boost.
- Pruning: Sometimes as the Pothos vines grow they can become “leggy” meaning the vines get long and the foliage on the strands becomes sparse. The vines may also be hanging too low for your space covering up items you want to see…Um hello, I cant see the TV! Don’t be afraid to take scissors or pruning shears and prune the vines back. Once cut you can either toss the “straggely” legs out or consider propagating them!
What to do When Your Pothos is Not Happy (Troubleshooting)
Don’t panic! With a little troubleshooting, you can get your Pothos back on track. First, check to make sure you are following the recommendations above. Are you following proper watering techniques? Not too much, not too little, allowing soil to dry out a bit between watering and allowing for proper drainage? How about lighting? Is the plant receiving good indirect light in a sunny spot? If you answered yes to these questions or you are unsure simply look to your plant for signs of trouble.
Black spots: This is a sign of over-watering and possible root rot. It can also be a sign that your plant is nearer a drafty window. Consider pulling back on watering and/or moving the plant.
Yellow leaves: This is the most common symptom and unfortunately there are a number of possible issues. A little detective work is required. If it is a larger older leaf that turned yellow it could just mean the plant is done with that leaf. Are you seeing several of your older leaves yellowing at once? It could be that you are underwatering your plant. If the soil is dry that could be the case. When you see both older leaves and new leaves are yellowing then it could be overwatering or a drainage problem. On the other hand, insufficient lighting could also cause leaves to turn yellow. This one will take some good investigating to get to the bottom of it!
Brown around the edges of your leaves: Browning leaves can also have many causes. Like yellow leaves, brown spots can be caused by both overwatering AND underwatering. If the spots are light and crisp then underwatering is usually the problem, be sure to check the soil to confirm this is the case. If the spots are dark and soft then overwatering is more likely the issue. This is especially true if the stems are also browning, the soil is damp, or if lighting or drainage is poor. Harsh direct sunlight can also be the culprit for brown spots.
Droopy leaves: Droopy leaves are almost always caused by a lack of water. Give the plant a good drink and they should perk right up.
Loss of color and vibrance: A healthy plant is bright green or if it’s a variegated plant like a Golden Pothos or a Marble Queen Pothos it should have good variegation. If the leaves become dull or the variegated leaves lose their luster and color it is possible that low light is to blame. Consider moving your plant to a sunnier spot!
For more indoor plant ideas be sure to visit:
- Glass Open Terrarium With DIY Stand (Including Care And A List Of Tiny Plants For Terrariums)
- How To Make A Pretty Indoor DIY Self-Watering Planter
- DIY Ivy And Rosemary Topiary Using A Grapevine Wreath
- Which Indoor Plants Like Coffee Grounds
- How to Make my Aloe Plant Grow Bigger
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