Native to French Polynesia, Golden Pothos (pronounced POH-thows) are easy to care for and undemanding. A popular houseplant widely grown for its gold and green marbled foliage. Epipremnum aureum (ep-ih-PREM-num AW-re-um) is its Scientific name. Commonly referred to as Golden Pothos, Devil’s Ivy, Hunter’s robe, Taro vine, or Money Plant.
The Golden Pothos is a common plant in the hardy pothos family. A tropical aroid vine in the family Araceae (a-RAY-see-ee). They can grow in any type of light, even under a fluorescent light. This makes them perfect for home or office. I personally have them in my bedroom, kitchen, and family room. All pothos plants are considered to be air purifiers and are efficient at cleaning the air of harmful chemicals (formaldehyde, trichloroethene, toluene, xylene, and benzene).
Water every 1-2 weeks, allowing the soil to dry out between watering.
Thrives in medium to bright indirect light, but can tolerate low indirect light.
Prefers warmer temperatures between 65°F – 85°F (18.3°C-29.4°C).
Pothos prefer slightly damp soil. Soil should not stay saturated with water.
Liquid fertilizer diluted at half strength, once a month.
36-60 inches tall/ 22-26 inches wide
Epipremnum pinnatum cv. ‘Aureum’ or E. aureum
Golden Pothos, Devil’s Ivy, Solomon Islands Ivy, Hunter’s Robe, Taro Vine, Money Plant, Ceylon creeper, Ivy arum
Does not flower in cultivation. In the wild, flower stalks with a cream spathe marked with purple surround the spadix.
Toxic to humans and animals if ingested
Epipremnum aureum – How To Care For Golden Pothos
Golden pothos are arguably the most popular houseplant. Like other closely-related aroids, their leaves will change in shape with age (similar to a Monstera). The leaves can be found in the wild sprawled out along the ground as a ground cover and climbing up trees by aerial rootlets. In their natural habitat vines can reach up to 40 feet or more in length. With its long cascading vines, it makes a beautiful table or hanging plant. It can be trained to grow on a pole or trellis.
Pothos have the ability to spontaneously generate variegation, which has led to several cultivars of variegation and color – marble queen, classic jade, golden, and neon. All members of the pothos family have glossy, heart-shaped, leathery leaves but in different colors. The Golden pothos are yellow and green, Jade pothos are solid green, Neon pothos are lime green, and Marble Queen pothos are green and white. View more pothos varieties with pictures here.
Golden pothos prefer their soil to be kept on the dry side. They are somewhat tolerant of neglect. Water when the top several inches of soil has dried out. Typically this will be every 1-2 weeks depending on your climate. Increase the frequency with increased light. Be sure to allow the soil to dry out between waterings. If in doubt, be sure to use a moisture meter or wait for the leaves to become soft and droop a tad before you water.
Keep a close eye on the leaves. If you notice the edges getting brown and dry then you’re underwatering. Bright yellow leaves mean the plant has gotten a bit too dry before you watering. Black leaves or yellow leaves with soggy soil indicate overwatering. Variegation in the leaves is often lost in lower light levels. A plant in low light needs less water and fertilizer than the same plant in bright light.
Golden Pothos thrive in medium to bright indirect light, but can tolerate low indirect light. However, given their tropical nature they look better and grow faster in medium to bright indirect light. When the light is too low, the yellow variegation on the leaves can revert to green on the new growth. You will get better results with the variegation if you grow Golden Pothos in brighter light. Only the green parts of the leaves can make energy for the plant. Therefore, in low light the leaves will compensate for the lack of light by turning green.
Be sure to avoid direct sunlight as the leaves are subject to sunburn. Place your Golden pothos in a room that gets a medium amount of natural light. Or even in an office or bathroom that gets low light. Use a grow light if needed during times of very low light conditions. Rotate the plant occasionally to encourage even growth.
Golden pothos prefer warmer temperatures between 65°F – 85°F (18.3°C-29.4°C). Leaves may be damaged if the temperatures drop below 55°F (12.8°C). Therefore, cold temperatures should be avoided. It survives winters indoors at room temperature with no trouble. Outdoors in warm tropical climates, it is grown as ground cover. She will readily scrambles up a tree or a wall, growing several feet tall with dramatic large leaves.
Low temperatures or abrupt change from very high temperatures to moderate temperatures can cause scattered brown patches, usually located in the center of the leaf. Especially if your pothos are succulent and growing vigorously.
Golden Pothos will do well with basic indoor levels of humidity. 40% – 60% works well, but she prefers slightly higher humidity levels. When you grow Golden pothos indoors during colder months, watch out for brown leaf tips. This indicates air dryness.
Well-draining soil is essential for keeping Pothos happy. If your plant is left sitting in water, it’s susceptible to rot and fungal diseases. Add pumice or perlite to the soil to help increase extra drainage and be sure to pick a pot with a drainage hole. I also like adding coarse sand with perlite to commercial potting soil for 2:1:1 ratio.
Pothos need to be repotted every few years to avoid compacted soil. Repot during the summer when the soil is dry. Start by gently brushing the soil off the roots. Inspect the roots for rot or other problems that are usually underground. Place in fresh, well-draining soil, and hold off on watering for a few days. This will allow the roots to get comfortable and heal from any damage during transfer.
Feed monthly with a liquid fertilizer diluted at half strength. Remember that you fertilize only in growing months and completely cut back in winter. Blackening of the leaf margins or tips can be caused by overwatering, inadequate watering, or excess fertilizer. Over Fertilizing causes a buildup of salts in the soil. Under fertilizing is better than over fertilizing.
All pothos are generally toxic to humans and animals. Visit ASPCA for more detailed info or call ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.
Golden Pothos care requires regular pruning to prevent the vines from getting leggy. Trim long vines every few months to keep your plant full and bushy. Remove any discolored leaves and stems with pruning shears or sharp garden scissors for a clean look. You can use the stem clippings to easily start new plants. This is the easiest way to propagate your pothos plant. Grow your pothos collection for free!
These are some of the easiest plants to propagate. I prefer my potho plants to be full and bushy. To do so, I trim longer vines just before the growing season. Use stem cuttings to start new plants in the same pot. You can also twist back long vines into the pot. Use floral pins to hold the vines in place. Pinned stems will eventually root. Later, you can remove the pins.
Stem Cuttings are a very simple way to propagate Golden pothos and other pothos varieties. To remove stem cuttings be sure to have sharp pruning shears or garden scissors. Choose a strong healthy vine from the Golden Pothos mother plant. Cut the stem with 2-4 nodes and a terminal.
Remove leaves at the bottom to expose the nodes leaving only the leaves at the terminal. Plant cuttings back in the mother pot or in a new pot. If planting in soil, be sure it is well -draining. Golden Pothos cuttings are prone to rotting before rooting.
Rooting hormone is not needed, but it will speed up root growth. Place stem with at least one node well under the soil. Gently press down the soil for support. Keep the pot in a bright spot. But, away from direct sun. Water well and keep the soil moist until the cutting is established. This should take approximately 1 – 2 weeks depending on your climate.
You can also propagate Golden Pothos in water. Follow the steps above for cutting removal. Instead of placing it in soil, place it in a container with water. I like to use glass jars or antique milk bottles. Select a jar that is deep enough, so that the bottom two nodes of the cutting are under water. But, the terminal leaves are out of water. Place your cutting in the jar filled with clean water.
An option I like is to add a few pieces of activated charcoal or activated carbon to the bottle. This helps with the algae that may build up on the bottom of your bottle. Change the water every one to two weeks. New roots should sprout from the nodes submerged in water after 1 – 2 weeks. Water propagation is one of my favorite methods and you can read more tips on water propagation here.
Transfer the cutting to soil once the roots are about an inch or two long. Or, you can let it grow in water. If you decide to keep the Golden pothos cutting in water, use a balanced liquid fertilizer (diluted at half strength) to feed your plant. Finally, fertilize your plant once every month.
Pothos do not flower in cultivation. Typically, houseplants only grow in the juvenile phase. Alternatively, flowering occurs only in the mature phase. In the wild, pothos plants produce a number of erect flower stalks. Together, each with a cream spathe marked with purple surrounding the spadix.
Be wary of overwatering your Pothos, which is the number one killer of houseplants. Overwatering kills plants much faster than underwatering. Symptoms of overwatering include yellow, mushy leaves that easily fall off. Blackening of the leaf margins or tips can be caused by overwatering. Remedy this issue by removing the plant from the overwatered soil. Then, place it in fresh well-draining soil. Hold off on watering for a week or so. If you still aren’t sure of when to water, a moisture meter will take out the guesswork.
Underwatering is harmful to pothos, but much easier to fix. Give your plant a good drink and it will usually perk up. When underwatered, the leaves will wilt. They can also send out air roots. Read more about air roots here.
Etiolation is a common, but easily preventable problem with plants. When the plant isn’t getting enough sunlight, it stretches toward the sun. Therefore, if you don’t keep your Golden pothos in a bright location, it will grow stretched. And less attractive than its typical compact form.
Once stretched out, it will not return to its original look. However, you can propagate the stem as mentioned above to give it a second chance. This can also help increase your collection size. Yay for free plants!
Pothos are often mistaken for philodendron and vice versa. Probably because they both belong to the arum family or aroids. There’s also scindapsus pictus varieties that the houseplant community considers as pothos. This is likely because in the early 1900s, pothos were classified as Scindapsus Aurea. However, the current classification of Pothos is Epiprenum Aureum.
Pothos have a collection of names, just like any other plant. One of them, Devil’s Ivy, was given for how quickly it can grow without being killed. In fact, it is so resilient that it will stay green even when deprived of light.
All pothos plants do not require a lot of maintenance. Mealybugs or thrips may be the biggest pest threat to your pothos. Additionally, scale or spider mites can also be a problem. Although, pothos are generally free of pests. Inspect your plants regularly.
If signs of mealybugs appear in the form of a white cottony web or disfigured leaves, be sure to eradicate them immediately. Frequently in the leaf axils, on the lower surfaces of leaves, and even on the roots. These small scale insects drink the sap out of plants and secrete honeydew that attracts ants.
Scale looks like bark-colored bumps on the stems and leaves and are sometimes difficult to distinguish from the plant material on which they are feeding. Mealybugs and Scale produce large amounts of honeydew. Leaves and nearby surfaces may be sticky. This can also cause sooty mold to develop. Infested plant’s growth may become stunted. With severe infestations, plant parts begin to die.
A Q-tip dipped in alcohol or a spray from an organic pest killing soap should do the trick. Read my complete post on mealybug and pest eradication here.
Spider mites occasionally infest pothos. They can easily be controlled with thorough cleaning and frequent applications of insecticidal soap.
Bacterial Leaf Spot Disease causes dark spots with yellow halos. Keeping the leaves dry helps prevent bacterial diseases. Root rot and stem rot fungal diseases cause stems and roots to become mushy and die. These problems need to be treated with a commercial Fungicide and correcting how you are watering the plant.
Brown spots may appear on your pothos. These are most likely from sunburn. Move your plant out of direct heat to prevent further damage. Learn how to save your sunburned plants here.
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