A few questions about golden pothos

cheesekingMay 4, 2010

At least I think what I just bought is a golden pothos. Here's a pic:


It was labeled as "Assorted Houseplants" at Wal-Mart, but it looked just like a larger plant labeled as a golden pothos. I wanted the smaller one so that maybe I can learn to prune it properly and add some life to my basement/bedroom. Now, on to the questions.

1) What should I water it with? Tap water, or tap water filtered through my Brita pitcher? Or does it matter? I believe I read somewhere to water it when the soil feels dry to the touch and to dump the water out of the saucer an hour after you water it because they don't like their roots to stay wet.

2) Will it ever outgrow the pot I have it in? If it does, I guess I'll just keep re-potting it in bigger pots, but eventually I'm afraid it'll get so big that the pot won't fit in the windowsill. Are my fears unwarranted?

3) Will a basement window provide enough light for it? It said "No direct sun" on the tags of the bigger pothos. A large maple tree outside my window filters the light and the window rarely, if ever, gets direct sun.

4) When and how do you prune it? I thought I read somewhere that you prune them when they get too viney and to trim right after the node a couple inches from the soil, but that may be wrong.

5) How often should I fertilize it? I bought some "Osmocote" outdoor and indoor plant food. It looks like little brown balls. Hope I got the right thing. It says to give a houseplant in an 8-inch pot 1 tsp of it, but my pothos is in a 6-inch pot. I guess I'll just give it a little less than a tsp. It also says to re-fertilize every 4 months. Is that right?

I'm sorry for all the long-winded questions, but this is my first houseplant and I'm afraid I'll end up killing the poor thing. Thank you all for listening to the rambling of a newbie. And thanks in advance for your answers.

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That is indeed a Pothos. Looks pretty nice for a Wal-Mart plant.

1) I use regular tap water, but I let it sit for 24 hours to reach room temperature. Cold water shocks the roots and hot water kills roots. I let mine dry out between waterings. Leave it dry too long and leaves with brown and die. Too much water and they'll yellow and eventually your plant will rot to death.

2)Yes it will. Every plant eventually does, as they grow...that's just what plants do. What you can do is either pot it up in a slightly (1-2inches larger than the last pot) larger pot or you can trim the roots and foliage and repot it in the same size pot.

3)Pothos can tolerate low light levels but definitely keep it away from direct light. What way does your window face?

4)You can prune whenever you want but Spring time is best as this is when active growth begins and it's easier for the plant to recover. I believe you can trim it as much or as little as you want.

5) I don't know what the Osmocote is but I use liquid fertilizer (Shultz brand) as it's much easier to control the dilution ratios. Sorry I can't advise you on the Osmocote.

Best of luck to you and happy growing.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 8:45PM
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Thanks, I think I bought it as soon as they unloaded it off the truck so they didn't have time to neglect it.

1) Alrighty.

2) Would trimming the roots not kill the plant?

3) My window faces the east. Every now and then the sun finds a way to pierce the leaves of that maple tree for about 15 minutes or so.

4) OK. Spring it is.

5) Here's a link for the Osmocote: http://www.scotts.com/smg/catalog/productTemplate.jsp?proId=prod70362&itemId=cat50116

Looks like it's made by Scott's, the people who make Miracle Grow. Hopefully it'll work alright.

Thanks for the answers Bunnygurl!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 8:56PM
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linda_schreiber(z5/6 MI)

You fell in love with one of the easiest, most tolerant and forgiving houseplants possible. Good choice!

Take a deep breath.....

You can water with tap water. As long as there are drainage holes in the bottom of the pot where excess water can escape, you're good. Easiest is to put the pot in the sink, water until the water drips out the bottom, let it stop dripping much, and put it back in its place. Once a week is more than enough. If you forget, and it gets to be two weeks, and the leaves look really wilted and droopy, water it, and it should be fine.

Your light level should be fine. If it was in a bright southfacing window in full light, it might burn. But it will be fine in pretty much other light regime.

Osmacote is a good choice for you. Put a little on the soil surface, and then put the jar of fertilizer under the sink.... Because it is the peak growing season, a little will be good. But do not overdo. Scatter a dozen or so of the pellets, and then stop..... No more til at least July.

Left to itself, this plant will try to vine. You can put up hooks or wires and help it vine around your basement window. Or when part of it gets too long, you can cut off a vine, and stick the cut off piece into water (removing any leaves that will be under water in the process). It will live and do well and root, just in water. Or you can plant it in soil and have another one once it roots.

If it is in a 6-inch pot, I wouldn't even worry about it for at least a year, most probably two. It's in a low light area, and they don't mind having tightish feet. By then, you and the plant will be more comfortable with each other.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 9:00PM
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Thank you Linda! That info makes me feel a little less nervous.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 9:09PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

Hi CK,

I can't look at your pic, but if it's a Pothos, pls. take a deep breath & try to relax. These are plants that do well w/ neglect, seriously. Not to be fussed over, pls. just do some basic reading on Pothos & soils.

Worrying about every aspect all at once in the beginning is not going to help. Pls. take a moment to try one thing at a time. Learn about pots & mix, forget about fertilizers for a while; it won't need it right away. This is not a plant that folks prune.

Be advised the one way to kill this plant is overwatering, so pls. know you'll need to let it dry out btwn waterings.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 10:48PM
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Alrighty. I think I've calmed down a little. I'll make sure not to overwater it and take things one step at a time.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 1:19PM
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I bought a moisture sensor to make sure I don't overwater it. It goes from a scale of 1 to 10. I think I'll let it get down to a 2 before watering.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2010 at 11:55AM
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Wanted to show you a couple of fun things you can do with your Pothos once it starts growing vigorously. The pot at the left actually contains two different varieties of pothos - golden and marble queen and I think they make a good contrasting display. You can also raise your pothos to a higher level and let the vines trail like I have done in the pot to the right. Have fun with your Pothos!

From Houseplants

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 11:17AM
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Ugh, Walmart. Took a browse last week at one of the supercenters, half the houseplants were dead, dying, and completely dry and in a completely inappropriate part of the store with no special lighting at all. Pretty sad considering all those plants were moved across the continent just to die in a Walmart in Canada.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 10:03PM
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Oh, and Pothos are great plants, fairly forgiving if you forget once and a while. One of mine is now around 12 feet long, and arching along a hallway door frame.

Also propagate easily. Cut a stem (better yet, several), put it in a pot with soil and water it and you'll have a whole new plant.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 10:07PM
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pirate_girl(Zone7 NYC)

I've never used moisture meters, have also heard folks here who say they are not accurate.

I'd suggest you try learning its watering w/out that. Many of us learn to do this w/ the weight of the pot dry vs. the weight of the pot wet, it you lift the pot in each of these conditions, you'll get the idea.

OR, take a pencil, push it ALL the way down in the pot & lift it out again. If some mix sticks to the pencil, there' still moisture, if it doesn't, there isn't. If you've ever baked & tested a cake for doneness w/a skewer or knife, it's the same idea.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 1:51PM
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davemichigan(zone 6a (SE Michigan))

Don't bother with moisture meter with pothos. It can even grow in water, so we are not worrying about root rot here. Do anything to it, and soon you will have too many pothos plants. Ok, that might be a little exeggeration, but pothos is really a very easy plant.

For watering, water until the water starts to run out of the drainage holes, then don't bother with it until the top become dry to the look for maybe 2 or 3 days, then water again. If you misjudge, it will be fine too. If you under water to a certain degree, you will see the leaves looking depressed and wilting, water immediately then, but they will come back. In general, don't wait until that stage, however.

Fertilize about one a month with a general purpose fertilizer. I use about 1 tspn/gallon of water.

For pruning, just think of it/them as your hair. Some like it long, others like it short, so depending on where or what container you put it in, prune whenever you like.

Remember "prune 1 get 2 free." When you prune, the originally plant usually shoot out two new branches, and the cutting that you took can be rooted as a new plant. :-)

If this plant somehow get you interested in house plant keeping, you can do more research on other plants, but don't spend too much time on pothos (unless you enjoy the reading part, of course).

Oh, I've got to take and show you some pictures of my pothos. Be right back.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 2:56PM
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davemichigan(zone 6a (SE Michigan))

All my friends love this design so I thought I would show it. :-)

On the left side a let a couple of branches to grow....

And down the stairs....

Hopefully these picture answered your question on pruning too. As I said before, just do whatever you like. On the first picture, sometimes they grow long enough to touch the floor. Then I give them haircuts. :-)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 3:25PM
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Dave, beautiful...You gave me an idea..:-)

    Bookmark   May 14, 2010 at 4:56PM
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Wow, some of those pics... That's cool looking. I wish I had enough room to let mine grow like that. I think I'm going to just try to keep mine bushy. I'll try to learn to gauge when it needs watering by the weight of the pot, but I think that'll take a while.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 3:16PM
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Although your plant is called "Pothos" is it not truly a member of the genus Pothos. The plant is Epipremnum aureum which originated in the Solomon Islands according to aroid botanist Peter Boyce. It is now found in tropical locations all over the world and in Hawaii is considered an invasive species.

I have a plant that has now reached almost 15 feet tall and the leaves are around 30 inches. They take on a completely different shape as they morph as a result of natural growth called ontogeny Just like you don't look like your own baby pictures any longer, the adult form of this plant looks nothing like the juvenile you are now growing.

The species is tropical and loves high humidity, evenly damp soil and right light. It will survive in low light but it is really seeking bright light which is why it climbs. You can read more here including photos of adult leaves. Rather than grow as it would in nature the plant remains a juvenile for it entire life if kept in low light.

Some sites claim your plant is Epipremnum pinnatum but scientifically that is a totally different plant.


Here is a link that might be useful: Epipremnum aureum (Golden Pothos)

    Bookmark   May 18, 2010 at 11:59AM
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Well, that's informative. Much obliged, friend.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2010 at 5:57PM
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Just got my first plants to brighten up our home. I bought two different plants and after research found out one of them is poisonous. Is the pothos okay to have around kids who might take a nibble every once in a while?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2011 at 10:10PM
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can someone tell me how to arrange cuttings of pothos in a pot. I want to fix some pots with the slat in the middle and have the runners go up the slat. Should I put some of the runners around the inside of the pot, and then plant several runners in the soil up against the slat and let them climb up the slat? I have about 40 ft. of runners between 2 plants. I think pothos looks pretty growing that way. Thank you for your help.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 6:04PM
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cynandjon(Z 5/6)

Pothos are great, mine is almost 7 ft long.
I have had my metal stem moisture meter for 10 years. It works great. If you meter is metal and all your plants are measuring dry, put the meter into a glass of water. If it still reads dry take a piece of sand paper and lightly sand the stem. It will be as good as new again.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 1:20PM
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I just recently bought two golden pothos baby plants. i have always been a fan of vine plants but do not have a green thumb. i joined this site for everyone help. I was told that miracle grow plant food is good for house plants so i fed it to the plants also i put it in my bedroom window that have blinds the sun is coming in but i have the blinds turned up so that the sun is not coming straight in is this ok. also i wanted to know is it ok to repot them in the miracle grow soil. and when do i repot them from the pot they came in to a different pot pot. I'm afraid of not being able to take care of it since i don't have a green thumb yet so everyone advice is greatly appreciated .
sorry for so many questions at once

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 5:43PM
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davemichigan wow-- those pics are fantastic!
I just want my "Brasil" bushy for now, having a hard time of getting it like I want it for some reason. But I am learning and it isnt dying, so something is going right. Do "Brasil" leaves get as big as Pothos leaves? I will have to look it up and compair the 2.

Next time I "trim" mine tho, I am just going to put it in water to grow.. see what happens.

DH wants nothing but vines.. so he has "his" little potho, tho I am the one taking care of it-- funny how that works. lol

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 8:59PM
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I hit submit instead of preview~ hate it when that happens. The cuttings will be in water, not the whole plant. And that question about leaves size? disregard that, I can look for it-- lol

anyway-- if there is a way to Un-post a post-- wish someone would tell me-- /sigh

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 9:03PM
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