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Pothos, different variegations, direct sun, overwintering

Posted by purpleinopp 8b AL (My Page) on
Wed, Sep 7, 11 at 12:01

What I've learned about Pothos since moving to AL... Being one of the most tolerant plants of low light conditions known to houseplant kind, Pothos seems to have earned a reputation for being unable to *handle* more light. One wouldn't want to take a plant from a dark corner and suddenly thrust it outside, but it can become acclimated to lots of direct sun, as in mine gets sun except from about 11-2. Who else has a Pothos getting a lot of sun?

It also survived outside all winter. Just called my Mom to make sure (I appropriated this plant from her this spring) and she said this plant spent the winter behind bushes (not deciduous,) against the outside wall of her garage. That would be east-facing. She says there was a mass of pots of ferns, palms, and this one pothos.) Covered with a sheet for a few weeks when it got in the teens at night for a few weeks. It wasn't pretty but it was alive. Your experiences?

This plant I'm talking about is variegated with yellow. The plant I had previously for about 30 years was variegated with white. Unfortunately I managed to kill the cuttings I took to when I moved by letting all the water evaporate out of the bottles of water so I haven't had that plant to play with since moving here. So I wanted to clarify the experience above is in regard to the plant in the link, the one with yellow.

And naturally comes the question of whether one with white variegation would be as accepting of direct sun, and likely to overwinter in the same conditions. Your thoughts / experiences? Who has both? Please share any differences you've noticed.


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RE: Pothos, different variegations, direct sun, overwintering

One thing I can say with certainty is the more the plant is varigated the more it not only will tolerate the sun but has become accustom to it. Strong markings on the leaves are due to bright light, which can actually lessen if not provided the same lighting conditions. This has nothing to do with the health of the plant, however.

Pothos is one of those plants that is tolerant of varying light conditions if acclamated. If brought in from the summer months it may drop some leaves until it has gotten use to the lower light conditions.

Propagation is nearly fail proof as there are roots already at the nodes of the plant. If you want a sure bet take 2 to 3 nodes off the plant and let them root in water.

I am currently propagating them using root hormone in which case you only need one node. I'm not so brave to stick it right into the soil but I've read where its done. Philodendrums the same thing. Use a humididom and mist if you plant to do it this way. Cut off any large leaves as well as the lower ones, you only need one leaf on top, but pretty pairs make for prettier new starts.

Using the ends as well gives you a pretty plug, and there is more energy at the ends of these plants in this new growth.
I am amazed that your plant survived after 30 degrees. That is a brave little pothos. I would not have experience with the warmer climates as I reside in the cold north. We take our plants in starting about now before nights get below 50ish.
Hope this helps.


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RE: Pothos, different variegations, direct sun, overwintering

Thanks for the input, but I've been propagating the plants you mentioned for decades, no hormones are needed. I was looking for a more in-depth discussion of people's experiences with the different variegations in differing light conditions.

My plant survived in the teens. Again I thank you, but I'm not sure you really read what I wrote at all.

One thing I can say with certainty is the more the plant is varigated the more it not only will tolerate the sun but has become accustom to it. Strong markings on the leaves are due to bright light, which can actually lessen if not provided the same lighting conditions. This has nothing to do with the health of the plant, however.

Copied from Variegated Plants; The Encyclopedia of Patterned Foliage by Susan Conder: The parts I think apply to Pothos are in pink but this info is very general. Variegation can't be discussed as a single entity.

Variegated plants originate naturally as random seedlings, or as sports - mutant variegated shoots on otherwise plain green plants. Some, such as Abutilon pictum 'Thompsonii', are virus-induced, in the same way that the streaked colours of 'Bizarre' tulips result from a harmless virus.

In red-or purple-variegated plants, chlorophyll, the green pigment responsible for photosynthesis and vital for non-parasitic plants' survival, is masked by other pigments, anthocyanins. Yellow and white variegations are caused by imperfect or absent chloroplasts, the granule-like plastids within a cell which contain chlorophyll. In a white- or yellow-edged leaf, the green pigment functions normally in the inner layer of leaf cells, but the outer layer lacks chloroplasts, making the edges white, or contains a preliminary version of chlorophyll, protochlorophyll, creating yellow. A yellow- or white-centered leaf, with green edges, has a defective inner layer of leaf cells. The attractive pink, red or russet spring flushes that some variegated leaves have result from anthocyanins protecting the vulnerable new growth from harsh ultraviolet light rays. Autumnal flushes result from an accumulation of sugar in the leaf tissues, caused by a drop in night temperatures which triggers the production of anthocyanins and anthoxanthins.

Variegated plants are often weaker and less floriferous, with smaller and fewer blooms, than their all-green counterparts, but it is a matter of degree. Shelter is often more important for variegated than all-green plants, especially thin-leaved, white- and yellow-variegated types, which can brown if exposed to hot sun, wind or extreme cold, thus destroying their ornamental value.

The intensity of leaf colour is affected by the amount of light available. There are exceptions, but generally, variegated plants with glaucous foliage, such as rue and certain hostas, tolerate more sun than all-green kinds. Those with purple, maroon and brown variegations colour most intensely in sun, often becoming dirty green in shade. Yellow-variegated leaves colour best in full sun or light shade. White- and cream-variegated leaves, such as variegated apple mint, tend to prefer shade, especially where the soil is dry. With those that are happy in sun or shade, variegation is often sharpest in sun, but if it is combined with dry soil, smaller leaves and more compact growth result.


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