The Blog

A Passion for Pothos

Pothos is by far one of the easiest plants to grow in your home. I myself have a passion for pothos. There are so many different varieties that, even if you had nothing but pothos they would bring your home to life. In colors that range from dark green to lime green and variegated varieties, you find something you can’t live without.

Vines of love

Pothos are vining plants that can grow up to 20 to 40 feet long. They can tolerate the general forgetfulness of humans who don’t water their plants and they don’t have to have an abundance of light. Their heart-shaped leaves will love you anyway. These vines are easily propagated so you can easily fill other containers, share with friends, or even fill in some empty space in your current container.

Native to where?

Pothos are native to the Society Islands in the South Pacific. However, the Golden Pothos is only found on the Solomon Islands, also located in the South Pacific. Though these plants are tropical plants they fare well in our living spaces, just about anywhere.  Pothos will let you know when it is unhappy.  if their leaves begin to yellow, that means they could use some fertilizer or a bigger pot. Simply turn your pot over and allow the rootball to release into your hand and check the root system. If you see more roots than soil, your pothos needs a larger home. If you still see plenty of soil around the roots, then it’s a fertilizer issue or a watering issue. Pothos benefit from damp to drier soil like Miracle-gro or a slow-release pelleted fertilizer. But, if you want to spoil your plant, you can spring for the more expensive tropical foliage fertilizers. Your pothos will love you even more if you give it a good misting between waterings. This simulates the humidity found in their native homes.

Hardiness

Pothos can grow outside in almost any climate as long as the temps don’t fall below 50. They are cold hardy in zones 10 through 12.  Now, here in zone 7, you can keep them outside during the warmer months, but you would have to bring them in when the nights began to dip below 50. Pothos will not do well in all-day sweltering heat and direct sunlight. An ideal place would provide dappled sun, filtered sun, morning sun, and evening shade. Planting in the same pot with other spreading or vining plants or upright blooming plants is sure to really liven up indoor space. 

Problems, Causes, and Cures

The most common problem is the yellowing of the leaves. This can be a watering issue. Either it’s receiving too much water or it has begun the rotting process at the roots. Or, it isn’t receiving enough water and the root system has begun to dry up. Or, it could be as simple as a lack of nutrients in the soil. This can happen when the plant becomes root bound.

Lack of water

If your soil has gotten too dry this could make the leaves turn yellow. The simple fix would be the obvious one, just water it, right? Well, yes but you might need to prune it back just a bit also, depending on how long it’s been without water. After you water it and rid it of its yellow leaves, keep an eye on it. If leaves are still turning yellow, it is a nutrition problem.

Lack of Nutrients

If your plant has been in the same soil and pot for a long time, it could be getting root bound which will render the plant unable to take up moisture or nutrients sufficiently. As the roots begin to take up more and more space in the pot, there is less and less room for the soil. Soil is what holds moisture and nutrients for the plant. If there are more roots than soil, then when you water it, the water runs straight through as will any fertilizer with nothing there to hold on to it, so the plant can’t absorb it as needed. Now you need to put your pothos in a larger pot. Give the roots room to spread and give them some fresh soil to provide nutrients and get rid of residual bacteria in the soil. Be mindful of the amount of fertilizer you use, as too much can yellow the leaves as well.

Too much Water

Too much water will cause root rot by limiting the amount of oxygen in the soil. More water than the plant can use will cause the roots to begin to rot. That will make it hard for them to carry the moisture up to the rest of the plant that lives above the soil. All is not lost if this is the case and you still have mostly good white roots. You will need to remove the plant from its pot and remove excess soil from around the visible roots. You might want to even rinse the roots lightly. Then you can carefully cut the affected roots off of the root ball. Be careful not to remove any more roots than is necessary. Just remove the affected areas. Lightly rinse again and replace all the soil that was in the pot with new soil. It is a good idea to thoroughly clean the pot to get rid of any lingering disease organisms.  Once you have done this just put it back into its pot and fill in around it as needed with the new soil. Water it one good time then leave it alone till the soil is dry again.

 

This should take care of most of the problems you may have with your pothos. Remember to only water it when the soil is somewhat dry and the pot becomes lightweight. When you do water, be sure to water thoroughly. Proper drainage is important. If your pot does not have drainage holes, you may want to drill some or use a smaller pot inside the decorative pot that you can pull out to water.  

Enjoy your pothos and if you’d like some fun facts and more info on other plants read it here. 

 

–DELORES