Golden Pothos Care – Growing The Devil’s Ivy Plant

What if I told you that the devil's ivy plant was given that name because it's nearly impossible to kill?

As a houseplant enthusiast, any plant that's hard to kill is a plant that I want to grow! ​

Devil's Ivy Overview

Common Name(s)Devil's ivy, ivy arum, hunter's robe, Solomon Islands ivy, taro vine
Scientific NameEpipremnum aureum
FamilyAraceae
OriginFrench polynesia
HeightUo to 40 feet
LightBright, indirect sun
WaterAverage
Temperature60-80°F
HumidityAverage-high
SoilWell-draining potting mix
FertilizerFeed every 2 weeks with houseplant fertilizer, once a month in winter
PropagationStem
PestsScale insects

Golden pothos is one of the most popular houseplants in the world because it is so easy to care for.

It's a gorgeous vining plant with heart-shaped leaves that are variegated in green and yellow. It's a fast grower, hardy, and can tolerate a wide variety of growing conditions.

The vines can reach 10' or longer, making them ideal for hanging baskets where they will create beautiful draping foliage.

If a moss pole or other type of support is provided, the devil's ivy plant will create a beautiful climbing houseplant.

Golden Pothos Care

Devil's ivy care is pretty straightforward. It takes the name devil's ivy simply because it's hard to kill and is actually an invasive species if grown outdoors in many regions. 

While that's bad for people battling it outside, it's actually GOOD for a houseplant - it means even if you're a beginner, it's hard to kill it!​

Light

An excellent beginner plant, it's not fussy at all and can thrive in both bright sunlight or dim lighting inside your home. The only lighting conditions it can't tolerate are full, direct sun and complete darkness.

If exposed to bright, filtered light, your devil's ivy will have more yellow variegation in its leaves.​

Water

The root system of pothos plants is rather shallow, so you only need to water a little bit to penetrate the roots. Water it as often as needed during the growing months of spring and summer. Just avoid soaking the soil completely and you should be fine.

Soil

As far as soil goes, a standard houseplant potting mix is perfectly fine. It should be well-draining, but hold on to enough water to remain moist in between watering (devil's ivy doesn't like super dry soil).

Fertilizer

Golden pothos is quite hardy and can survive without fertilizer for months on end. However, if you want to produce vigorous growth and foliage, give it a 20-20-20 mix.

Fertilize during the growing season and avoid fertilizing during the winter months.​

If the plant stops producing new growth, reduce the frequency of fertilizing to once every two or three months.

Repotting

Pothos does well in a smaller pot, so feel free to keep it in the pot you buy it in for quite some time. I have had mine in a 6" pot I bought at the nursery for over half a year and it's doing just fine!

However you can repot it if you want more vigorous growth. Just add extra soil and pick a pot 1-3" larger than the existing pot. You don't need to be extremely careful when repotting because the plant is so hardy.

Pruning​

You should prune your plant to control its shape over the year. Sometimes it will send out vines that look a bit bare except for foliage at the very bottom, so pruning those back will make your plant more aesthetically pleasing.

They grow so quickly that you can prune back heavily to reshape your plant and it will start coming back in no time.​

Propagation

Along with being easy to care for, golden pothos is also one of the easiest houseplants to propagate!

You can simply clip the vines and root golden pothos in water. New roots will form at leaf nodes, which are directly under a leaf.

When you make your cutting, remove the lowest leaves and place the cuttings in water.

You can also propagate by air layering, but most gardeners use the water method because of how quickly the cuttings form new roots.

You don't even have to worry about trimming the plant for propagation because the vine will start a new shoot at the cut area!​

Problems

Devil's Ivy Plant

Golden Pothos doesn't have many pest or disease problems.

Like I've mentioned, it's hard to actually kill this plant, even if you try. There aren't a lot of mistakes you can make that will harm the plant.

Pests and Diseases

Although the plant is susceptible to several pests, infestations are rare. Fungal and bacterial problems are the main cause of failure with this houseplant. These problems which cause root rot and leaf spots can be avoided by making sure the soil is only moist and not soaked.

Pests include spider mites and mealy bugs, but mealy bugs are most common. They can easily be removed by using a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol or an insecticidal soap.

FAQs​

Goal: To answer common problems and questions about planting, caring for, harvesting, or storing this plant.​

Q. My golden pothos plant is growing like crazy and I don't know what to do with all of the vines - help!

A. When you cut off parts of a pothos vine, typically new vines grow right out of the cut. Sometimes you'll even get two new vines, just like the heads of a hydra. To prune down a crazy pothos plant, you should either wrap the vines so they're more manageable, or cut some completely back to the soil surface.

Q. What should I water my pothos plant with? Tap water, distilled...?

A. Unlike some houseplants, golden pothos is fine with normal tap water. You may want to let it cool to room temperature though to avoid shocking the root system with a sudden temperature change.

Q. What is the best pruning strategy for devil's ivy plant?

A. If you don't prune it at all, it will become a vining plant and drop a lot of foliage and vines all over the place. If you want to control it, all you need to do is cut off a vine completely to thin it out. You can also root these cuttings if you want even more golden pothos!

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  • falon

    Hi, I have a devils ivy and I’ve had it since June 2011. I just recently changed the pot it was originally in. Now It’s acting wierd. I thought it was going to get better but its creating brown spots on the yellow not healthy looking leaves. I cut the dead leaves off, but it just seems that after I do that, more leaves with yellow and brown spots keep coming back. Can you please help me???

    • Cee

      Too much exposure to light perhaps or maybe the soil is to acidic for the plant. Possible you could have overfed the plant with plant food? Try moving it into some neutral soil and give it some time to adapt before adding anything into the other than water.

  • leslie

    Hi I have the same plant and I transplanted them. They go into shock for a little while. If you watered them don’t water them for a good three weeks until their soil is dry. If you over water they may turn yellow telling you they have been over watered. Good luck!

  • falon

    Thanks Leslie. I have not watered it in a while and it seems to be doing some what better hope it works 🙂 thanks again

  • shaela

    My devil ivy plant seems like its growing slowly had it for about month in a half and it has brown spots on few leaves along with some brown along the roots and vines

  • shaela

    I have a sweetheart plant that seems a little limpy any suggestions on that

  • lisa

    My husband put my two pots outside on the backyard, he doesn’t want them in side the house since they were producing flies and now the leaves are turning brown because is so hot outside any advice? I love that plant 🙁

    • deb

      see if you can put them in a shady area outside

  • Angie

    I just bought this plant. It was in a 4 inch pot, and it had many different stems and leaves and looked like the pot was not large enough. I transplanted it, using the same soil I used to transplant other plants. I drowned my plant because I was taught after switching containers you need to water the plant very well. The water has drained out and it’s all good there.
    I don’t have many places to put the plant, I decided on a south window which gets sunlight coming in at an angle. The only problem is my room gets cold. It’s turning winter and my room has already gotten 64 degrees. I will try and get a small heater, but my room is still very cold. Will my plant be okay? It’s in a larger pot, in good sunlight, etc. Its just the coldness I’m worried about.

  • ben

    My pothos ivy is about 5 years old and grows outside. It now has leaves that are about 12 inches wide and its stalk is about 1 inch wide. Further the stalk has some serious heavy duty anchors that are attached to the wooden fence.

    A couple of years ago it vine’d/grew horizontally and i was able to guide its direction. But it froze during the a bad winter. Subsequently, the ivy sprouted again but only after the 2nd year, ie this year, had the leaves become giant size again.

    The problem i have is that its growing vertically and its destination is not a good place. Its about 10 feet high now.

    My question is can the anchors be severed in order to release its grasp on the wooden fence?

    What i would like to do is to take a exacto knife and carefully severe the anchors and then carefully bend the stalk with breaking it and breaking the beautiful leaves- guiding it horizontally again.

    Any ideas or thoughts?

    • ben

      correction:

      “with breaking” should be “without breaking”

      • Duncan

        Hi Ben,

        Yes, the ‘anchors’ are aerial roots; if they are attached to a wood fence, then the plant isn’t getting much moisture or nutrition from them, just support. I think you should be OK cutting and redirecting; you may need to loosely tie the vines up along the new route, until it takes hold. (Where are you? Must be somewhere very temperate!)

  • lilly

    Hello all, has anyone started their pothos from seeds? If so, where did you buy them?

  • My love pothos

    My question is,if you wipe the pothos plant leaves with alcohol does it really work or does it hurt the plant.