Propagating Pothos Plants: How to Propagate a Pothos Plant Effectively

Potted green pothos plant with heart-shaped leaves on a wooden table, sunlight filtering through the leaves.

Indoor hanging plants have become a popular trend in recent years, allowing homeowners to incorporate a touch of beauty into their living space. From Boston ferns to spider plants, it’s evident that hanging plants have become a staple of sophisticated, modern interior design. And what better hanging plant is there to elevate the allure of your home than a pothos plant?

One way to keep your space green is by propagating from your healthy house plants. Today, we’ll reveal how to properly care for these indoor beauties, covering water-based and soil-based methods of propagating pothos plants. 

Common NamePothos, Devil’s Ivy, Golden Pothos, Hunter’s Rove
Botanical Name Epipremnum aureum
FamilyAraceae
Plant TypeTropical vine 
Size20-40 ft. tall, 3-6 ft. wide
Sun ExposureIndirect
Soil TypeWell-drained
Soil pHAcidic, Neutral
Bloom TimeN/A
Flower ColorGreen
Hardiness Zones10-12 (USDA)
Native AreaMo’orea 
ToxicityToxic to people, toxic to pets 

What is a Pothos Plant?

Pothos, or Epipremnum aureum, is native to Mo’orea, an island in French Polynesia, and is commonly used as a hanging house plant. This evergreen plant boasts thick, waxy, heart-shaped leaves and a slender, twining and branching stem that can reach lengths of up to 65 feet.

Although beauty is an important feature for choosing indoor plants, the pothos plant’s aesthetic value isn’t its most compelling feature. It is fast-growing, easy to care for, and tolerant of many conditions, making it the perfect houseplant for both amateur and seasoned gardeners.

Here are some tips to help your pothos plants to thrive.

Indoor space with multiple plants hanging near a window, trailing plants adorn shelves and the sill, overlooking a snowy street outside.

1. Water Requirements

It’s no secret that pothos plants like to dry out quite a bit between waterings.

For this reason, we recommend watering your pothos plants every 1-2 weeks, ensuring that the soil has dried between waterings. If your plants are subject to brighter light, you may need to water more frequently. In contrast, water less frequently if your pothos plants don’t receive as much bright light.

You can use a few visual indicators of overwatering and underwatering to help you monitor your plants’ needs. Overwatering can result in yellowed leaves and black stems. Meanwhile, underwatering pothos plants can lead to wilting. Plus, your potting mix will dry out.

Tip: Make sure you drench your pothos plant thoroughly each time you water it, waiting until the water runs out of the drainage holes in your pot.

Pothos plant leaves, displaying a vibrant mix of green and yellow variegation.

2. Light Requirements

Pothos plants thrive in bright, indirect light, but as we mentioned earlier, they are tolerant of other conditions. Your pothos plants will still grow in medium to low indirect light and even under fluorescent light.

This is good news for gardeners who live in north-facing homes and those who live in areas with cooler climates and shorter days.

That said, without adequate exposure to light, your pothos plants can become leggy. Additionally, too much exposure to intense, direct sunlight can cause your pothos plants’ leaves to turn brown and burn.

Hanging green and white variegated pothos plant with trailing vines, set against a softly lit wooden background.

3. Humidity and Temperature Requirements

Pothos plants prefer high levels of humidity similar to their native habitat; however, thanks to their tolerant nature, they can still grow in average or dry air.

As for temperature requirements, we suggest maintaining temperatures of at least 50°F. Pothos plants thrive in temperatures that range between 60°F and 80°F.

Tip: Given the tropical/subtropical nature of the pothos plant, they tend to thrive between Plant Hardiness Zones 10 and 12.

Digital thermostat set to 63 degrees, mounted on a white wall, displaying a blue interface with the temperature in neon blue numbers.

4. Fertilizer Requirements

Pothos plants aren’t heavy feeders and, as such, don’t require frequent fertilizer to remain healthy. That being said, the occasional application of fertilizer will be beneficial.

We recommend distributing fertilizer during the pothos plant’s active growing season of spring and summer. You should only fertilize about once a month, as doing so more frequently can damage the plant.

A young man holding a potted pothos 
plant and a small shovel in a greenhouse.

What is Propagation?

Simply put, propagation is the process of creating new plants. There are two types of propagation: sexual propagation and asexual propagation.

Asexual propagation, also known as vegetable propagation, involves producing new plants using the vegetative parts of the existing plant. These vegetative parts typically include the parent plant’s roots, leaves, stems, bulbs, and tubers. 

Given that this process only involves one parent plant and no genetics have been exchanged, the new plants will be identical to the parent plant. This is the type that indoor gardeners use to produce new pothos.

How to Propagate Pothos Plants: Choosing the Right Time

You can try to propagate your pothos at any time, but there’s an optimal season. The ideal time to propagate your pothos plants falls into the spring and summer months when your plant grows the quickest.

If you try to propagate your pothos plant during the colder months, you may find it’s harder for the mother plant to recover from having its stems cut.

Pothos Propagation: Materials You’ll Need

There are multiple ways you can propagate your pothos plants. You can choose between either water-based or soil-based propagation. We’ll explore both methods to ensure successful pothos propagation.

Water-Based Pothos Propagation: Equipment and Materials

  • Pruning shears or scissors, if you prefer.
  • A glass, plastic container, or vase.
  • A pot.
  • Water.
  • Well-draining soil.

Soil-Based Pothos Propagation: Equipment and Materials

  • A rooting hormone.
  • Pruning shears or scissors.
  • A pot.
  • Well-draining soil.

Propagating Pothos in Soil Mix

Using the appropriate tools, here’s how to start propagating with stem cuttings.

1. Starting with the Stem Cuttings

Using your pruning shears (or scissors), you can take stem cuttings from your mother plant. Ideally, cut the stem below a root node. Doing so ensures that the cutting has adequate energy from the mother plant.

Remember to ensure each cutting has at least three or four root nodes. This will increase the chances of successful propagation, as root nodes are where the new roots will grow from.

Tip: Root nodes are the small bumps along the stem where the leaves and aerial roots grow.

 2. Applying the Root Hormone

Next, remove the bottom leaves from each cutting. Ideally, leave at least 1-2 leaves at the top of the pothos cuttings.

Then, take the end of each stem cutting and carefully dip it into the rooting hormone powder.

3. Planting the Cuttings in Potting Soil

The next step involves planting the cuttings in potting soil; make sure you use a small pot with drainage holes. Start by adding a well-draining potting mix to your planting pot. For optimal growth, consider using a mycro soil kit for your potting needs.

Once added,  make a small hole in the soil with your finger. When inserting your stem cuttings into the soil, you want to ensure that the nodes along the stem are submerged.  The top leaves of the cuttings should be above the surface of the soil.

To keep your cuttings secure,  pat the soil down gently to help your stem cuttings stay in place.

4. Keeping the Soil Moist

As you know, pothos plants thrive in bright but indirect light, so it’s a good idea to place your pot in an area where your plants can get the correct exposure.

Additionally, keep the soil evenly moist while the cuttings grow their roots.

Tip: Remember not to soak your cuttings!

Glass bottles filled with water holding fresh green pothos plant cuttings, showcasing their roots and leaves against a textured white wall background.

Propagating Pothos in Water

When it comes to propagating pothos in water, there are a few differences in the method.

1. Collecting Stem Cuttings and Removing the Bottom Leaves

Just as you would prepare for soil-based propagation, start by cutting the stem cuttings in the same way (ensuring you cut below the root nodes and making sure there are 3/4 root nodes per cutting).

Remove the bottom leaves from your stem cuttings, but keep half of the leaves on the top of your cuttings.

2. Placing the Cuttings in Water

Fill up your plastic container, vase, or glass with fresh water.

From here, place the stem cuttings in the water, ensuring the leaves are above the water’s surface and the nodes below it.

3. Changing the Water

We recommend changing the water once a week, which is especially beneficial to the development of the cuttings.

You should only need to do this for a couple of weeks – after that, you should start to see roots growing from the nodes.

4. Planting the Rooted Cuttings

When you see that the rooted cuttings  are at least two to three inches long, you can move the cuttings from the water and plant them into the soil.

Remember to use a well-draining soil mix and a small pot with drainage holes.

Once your rooted cuttings are in soil, give them a fresh watering and position them so they receive bright, indirect light.

Finally, keep the soil evenly moist for approximately one to two weeks. Doing so will help your pothos roots adjust to the soil.

Propagating Pothos Plants: Final Thoughts

Including pothos plants in your interior design is the perfect way to connect the natural environment and your home.

With that in mind, learning how to propagate a pothos plant can help you add even more plants to your home. Following the advice in our guide for propagating pothos plants will ensure you have many years to enjoy the beauty of healthy houseplants.

For more plant care and gardening tips, check out our blog!

Frequently Asked Questions

Our most frequently asked questions relating to pothos plants and pothos plant propagation.

1. Can I propagate pothos in soil without a rooting hormone?

Although you can still propagate your pothos plant without a rooting hormone, we wouldn’t always recommend doing so. Without a rooting hormone, it may take longer for your pothos plant to root.

2. Is it better to propagate a pothos plant in water or soil? 

You can effectively propagate pothos plants in either water or soil. However, it’s difficult to switch once you’ve selected your preferred method of propagation.

For this reason, we recommend that you use soil when propagating your pothos plants, as propagating pothos plants in the soil can help establish a stronger root system. 

 3. What is a pothos plant’s lifespan?

Many factors will impact how long your pothos plant lives, including its habitat and maintenance. Generally, if you care for your pothos plant, it will live between five and ten years.

4. Can I use tap water for my pothos plants?

If your tap water contains high levels of chlorine or fluoride, we suggest using filtered or distilled water. Additionally, you should ensure that you use room-temperature water to hydrate your pothos plants; using cold water can shock your plants’ roots. 

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