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How to Propagate a Pothos

Origin

Growth

Varieties

Tools You'll Need

Propagation Steps




Origin


Epipremnum aureum or ‘Pothos’ for short is native to the tropical forests in French Polynesia where they live beneath tree canopies. The Pothos is one of the easiest plants to grow as a houseplant due to its ability to adapt to a wide range of different environments that some more temperamental houseplants cannot. They even respond well to being propagated! The vigorous growth of these plants allow for frequent propagation to maintain or reduce the plant’s size and to allow us plant lovers the ability to increase our house plant collection.



Growth

Pothos grow long, vining stems that produce aerial roots. These aerial roots adhere to surfaces, allowing them to climb as they do in their natural forest environments. Their aerial root adaptation is part of what makes these plants so resilient. These roots allow them to go in search of more sunshine and water that the larger plants in their native environments compete with them for. When grown in the home, the Pothos’ long growth looks great draped over an elevated pot or trained up a moss post.


The Pothos can be forgiving to some neglect such as under watering or being placed in a room with low lighting, but for the overall health of the plant they should be placed in a sunny location and the soil should be kept moist.


When suffering from drought stress, the plant will droop and curl its leaves. This is a survival mechanism for the plant to reduce its leave's surface to conserve water. The plant should quickly bounce back once it has been thoroughly watered again. If a Pothos’ soil is left completely dry for long periods of time, the edges of the leaves will begin to brown and leaves will drop from the stem. Keeping the plant’s soil consistently moist will prevent drooping and damage to the leaf cells.


To prevent the tips of the leaves from drying out, apply Silica Blast. The potassium silicate in this product increases the cell wall structure of the leaves and stems, creating stronger plants.


If over watered, the Pothos’ leaves will yellow and can sometimes have a mushy instead of leathery feel to them. This occurs when the leaves are saturated with too much water. Ensure you are letting the soil almost completely dry out before watering again.



Varieties


The popularity of the Pothos has led botanists to make hybridized varieties with different leaf color patterns and leaf shapes. Many of these varieties are easy to come by at your local plant nurseries, but some are harder to find and have become collector’s items.


Varieties with more white variegation or a lack of pigment to their leaves will need to be placed closer to sunlight because the plant is not able to produce chlorophyll as readily as non-variegated varieties. However, the lack of pigment also makes the plant more susceptible to burning if placed too close to a window that gets heavy sunlight. Avoid placing varieties with poor pigment close to windows that get strong, afternoon sunlight.


Here are some of the most popular Pothos varieties:


  • Golden Pothos - Dark green with gold variegation

  • Marble Queen - Dark green with white variegation

  • Snow Queen - Mostly white variegation with dark green spots

  • Neon Pothos - Completely neon green or yellow

  • Jade - Completely dark green

  • Jessenia - Lime green with dark green and white variegation

  • Manjula - Heart shaped leaves with dark green and white variegation

  • Silver Satin Pothos - Green leaves with silvery white variegation


Tools You'll Need


Propagation Steps


The two different ways of propagating Pothos stems is through water or soil propagation. Water propagation is the easiest because you are able to see when the roots form.



Water Propagation Steps

Step 1: Disinfect your pruners or scissors with isopropyl alcohol or warm soap and water.


Step 2: Find a healthy stem and make a cut right below a node at a 45° angle to make a larger surface area on the stem for roots to grow. Nodes are nodules along the stem where new growth such as leaves and additional stems form.


Step 3: Remove bottom sets of leaves, leaving only the set at the top. Removing the bottom leaves allows the stem better access to the propagation container and prevents them from sitting in the water.


Step 4: A rooting hormone powder or gel can be used to help promote root growth. If you choose to use a rooting hormone, dip the end of the cutting in the hormone before placing it in the water or soil.


Step 5: Place cuttings in room temperature water to promote quicker root growth. Replace the water every few days to when roots form to add oxygen to the water. Without oxygen, the plant’s roots will drown.


Step 6: Place the cutting near a window where the cutting will get bright light most of the day. The cutting still needs sunlight to photosynthesize, even without roots.


Step 7: Pot into an all purpose potting soil when the roots are at least 3-4” long. The initial roots that form will be brittle and will become more flexible the longer they grow. Let the roots grow long enough until they have curvature to them before potting the cutting into soil.


Step 8: Fertilize with an all purpose fertilizer such as Osmocote ‘Flower & Vegetable’.



Soil Propagation Steps

Step 1: Disinfect your pruners or scissors with isopropyl alcohol or warm soap and water.


Step 2: Find a healthy stem and make a cut right below a node at a 45° angle to make a larger surface area on the stem for roots to grow. Nodes are nodules along the stem where new growth such as leaves and additional stems form.


Step 3: Remove bottom sets of leaves, leaving only the set at the top.


Step 4: A rooting hormone powder or gel can be used to help promote root growth. If you choose to use a rooting hormone, dip the end of the cutting in the hormone before placing it in the water or soil.


Step 5: Place cuttings in fresh, all purpose potting soil. The pot size should not be larger than 4.5” per cutting to reduce the buildup of too much water and to allow the pot to fill with roots sooner. Clear pots will allow you to see when the roots have formed.


Step 6: Thoroughly water the soil and keep moist throughout the entire rooting process.


Step 7: Place the cutting near a window where the cutting will get bright light most of the day. The cutting still needs sunlight to photosynthesize, even without roots.


Step 8: After roots have begun to fill out the pot, fertilize with an all purpose fertilizer such as Osmocote ‘Flower & Vegetable’.




Although Pothos propagate very easily from stem cuttings, the success rate is not always 100% successful. If your cutting fails to produce roots after three weeks and you have followed all of the steps below, try again with another cutting. The more you practice propagating Pothos or any other type of plant, the more techniques you will learn and the more successful you will get at propagating.




If you have any more questions about how to propagate a Pothos, we will be happy to assist you in a virtual telehealth appointment with one of our Plant Specialists. Please click on one of the options below to book an appointment.







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