When you’re just starting to test out your green thumb, something that tends to be dramatic—like the fiddle leaf fig, which drops leaves if you even look at it wrong—is the last plant you want to go with. Instead, opting for a beginner-friendly plant is key. One of the easiest plants to learn how to care for is the pothos, a sturdy green beauty you won’t be able to kill.
The pothos—also known as devil’s ivy—is an incredibly popular plant because it’s affordable, fast-growing, and so easy to care for care. Like, you have to put in a great deal of effort in order to kill one. Here’s everything you need to know about helping your pothos thrive.
The different types of pothos
The cool thing about pothos is that there are so many different varietals. Most of them have the signature heart-shaped leaves, but they differ in color and pattern. There’s the popular golden pothos with creamy-gold hues; the marble queen pothos that has a stunning variegation; the pearls and jade pothos that has silvery-gray hues; the neon pothos with its bright golden yellow color; and the hard-to-find cebu blue pothos that has blue-green arrow-shaped leaves.
How much light your pothos needs
One of the reasons why pothos are so easy to care for is that they can grow under most lighting conditions. “Pothos are very tolerant of low light. That’s why they make really good office plants, because they can thrive under that fluorescent light,” said Keisha Adinkra, a plant expert and holistic wellness blogger, in a YouTube video. “But they’re best suited for moderate indirect light. If you have a space like that, it’ll really take off.”
How to water your pothos correctly
Pothos also don’t get too angry with you if you forget to water them. “Pothos can go without watering for quite a long time. The plant shows signs of distress when it is thirsty—the leaves will droop or wilt—so you know when it’s in desperate need of water,” said Ann, the plant expert behind Geeks of Green, in a YouTube video. “I usually don’t wait for the plant to tell me when it needs water—I wait for the soil to tell me that.”
Stick your finger a few inches into the soil to find out whether it’s ready to be watered or not. If it’s dry, grab your watering can. It there’s still moisture, wait a while longer. Typically, you’ll be watering every 1 to 2 weeks. “With this plant, it’s always better to underwater than overwater,” she says. Adinkra says it’s always better to underwater than overwater a pothos, and so she says you can always try the bottom watering technique at first to play it safe. Simply fill a large container with water (or use your bathtub) and set the plant in it. It’ll suck up the amount of water it needs through the drainage holes.
The right temperature for your pothos
When it comes to learning how to care for a pothos, you don’t need to worry too much about the temperature in your home. “Pothos are tropical plants, so of course they’re going to enjoy that warm, humid environment a lot more. But they’re tolerant of dry conditions and cooler temperatures,” says Adinkra. “My general rule of thumb for temperature and plants is if I’m comfortable, my plants should be comfortable.”
How to propagate your pothos
Propagating a pothos is super easy. All you need to do is cut directly below the node, making sure there’s at least one leaf on the cutting. Then, place your cutting in standing water, soaking the node, says Ann. Soon enough, it will develop a bunch of roots and you can put it in a pot with soil and watch it take off.
Where to buy a pothos plant
Grab a golden pothos with stunning variegated green and white leaves for your home—plus a really cute ceramic planter to display it in.
Shop now: The Sill Golden Pothos in Ceramic Planter, $51
This leafy pothos is perfect for your shelf. Before you know it, its vines will be trailing down the sides.
Shop now: Lowe’s Spring Hill Nurseries Variegated Pothos, $24
How stunning are the leaves of this silver pothos? It comes complete with a planter, and would look great in the corner of your room in a macrame plant hanger.
This plant’s leaves are truly stunning. It comes in a planter, and would look pretty chilling in a macrame plant hanger in the corner of a room.
Shop now: Bloomscape Silver Pothos in Planter, $35
Now that you know how to care for a pothos, meet some other pretty houseplants:
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