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How to Grow Pothos — Epipremnum

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Epipremnum–commonly called Pothos–is a vining plant with heart-shaped bright green leaves often splashed with yellow or white markings. Epipremnum is sometimes confused with a philodendron.

Epipremnum usually has multiple stems that grow to 6 feet (2m) in length; stems may be climbing or trailing. Leaves are oval to heart-shaped, 3 to 8 inches long, olive green or medium green with yellow, cream, or white markings, and may be glossy or matte.

Epipremnum has aerial roots along the stems that will attach readily to a moist moss stick or slap or tree bark.

Epipremnum is a genus of 8 species of evergreen, root-clinging climbers native to Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific.

Get to know Epipremnum

  • Plant type: Tropical perennial vine
  • Growing Zones and range: Zones 13-15
  • Hardiness: Tender
  • Optimal growing temperature: day 70°F (21°C), night 62° to 68°F (17-20°C)
  • Height and width: Easily grows to 6 feet (1.8m) long indoors, to 40 feet long if left unpruned in tropical climate
  • Foliage: Heart-shaped leaves to 4 inches (10cm) long are shiny green with creamy or yellow variegation; stems can climb supports with clinging aerial roots
  • Uses: Houseplant, tropical garden
  • Common name: Pothos, devil’s ivy
  • Botanical name: Epipremum aureum
  • Family: Araceae
  • Origin: Forests of Southeast Asia and Western Pacific

Where to plant Epipremnum

  • Light outdoors: Grow Epipremnum outdoors in full sun or partial shade.
  • Light indoors: Grow Epipremnum in high, indirect light.
  • Soil outdoors: Grow in fertile humus-rich, moist, but wellpdrained soil.
  • Soil indoors: Grow Epipremnum in a soil-based potting mix.
Pothos, Epipremnum aureum
Pothos, Epipremnum aureum

How to water and feed Epipremnum

  • Allow soil to dry slightly between waterings especially for plants growing in low light.
  • Fertilize Epipremnum one to three times in summer

Epipremnum care

  • Rinse plant off or wipe off leaves with a damp cloth once a month.
  • Cut Epipremnum stems back if they get leggy.
  • Wash leaves occasionally to keep the plant clean.
  • If leaf Epipremnum markings are fading, move the plant to a brighter spot.

Growing Epipremnum as a houseplant

  • Epipremnum needs bright light, medium humidity, and average room temperature.
  • It can be grown under fluorescent light.
  • The soil should be kept on the dry side.
  • Epipremnum needs to be fertilized only two or three times during spring and summer.

Pothos propagation

  • Propagate Epipremnum by rooting cuttings in a glass of water set on a sunny windowsill.

Epipremnum varieties to grow

  • Epipremnum aureum, golden pothos. Strong-growing climber; grows 3 to 10 feet long; ovate, glossly, bright green leaves 4 to 12 inchs long, heart-shape at the base; cultivars include: ‘Exotica’ has matte dark green leaves, mottled with silver; ‘Marble Queen’ has ivory-and-white variegated leaves and stems; ‘Orange Moon’ has apricot markings.
  • E. pictum ‘Argyraeum’. Grows 3 to 6 feet long; heart-shaped leaves; satin-textured and deep green above with silver spot and pale underneath.

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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