Marble Queen Pothos vs. Golden Pothos: What’s the Difference?

Want to know the difference between Marble Queen Pothos and Golden Pothos? Closely related, only color and variegation intensity set these two plants apart. Houseplant enthusiast Madison Moulton breaks down the similarities and differences between these two indoor plants.

Marble Queen Pothos vs Golden Pothos

Contents

If there was a hall of fame for houseplants, Pothos would certainly feature. With stunning trailing vines, lush leaves, and variegation patterns in an amazing array of colors and patterns, these plants are irresistible for beginners and houseplant experts alike.

Two of the oldest and most popular Pothos types are Golden and Marble Queen. While these two plants carry many similarities, they also have some differences. It’s important to understand all the factors of both plants before deciding which is the best for your indoor garden space.

Although quite different in appearance, these plants are closely related and have similar care requirements. Low-maintenance and Instagram-worthy, there’s no reason you can’t have both. Let’s take a deeper look at both plants, and see which one (or both) are a better fit for your garden.

Marble Queen Pothos vs. Golden Pothos Comparison Chart

Close Up of Creamy White and Golden Variegated Leaves
Specification Marble Queen Pothos Golden Pothos
Specification
Scientific Name
Mature Size
Native Region
Leaf Appearance
Leaf Color
Growth Difficulty
Soil Preference
Sun Exposure
Lighting Tolerance
Marble Queen Pothos
Epipremnum Aureum ‘Marble Queen’
10+ feet
Central and South America
Heart-shaped
White Highly Variegated Leaves
Beginner-friendly to Moderate
Light, Well-draining
Bright, Indirect Light
Not Low-light Tolerant
Golden Pothos
Epipremnum Aureum
10+ feet
Central and South America
Heart-shaped
Green With Yellow Variegation
Beginner-friendly
Light, Well-draining
Bright, Indirect Light
Low-light Tolerant

Characteristics

There are quite a few differences with these two plants, starting with their name. While they are both botanically known as the same plant, they are different cultivars, and carry different common names. Let’s take a look at some of the differences and similarities of these two plants.

Taxonomy 

Close Up of White and Gold Variegated Devils Ivy
Pothos plants are often called Devil’s Ivy because of how difficult it is to kill.

All Pothos plants are botanically known as Epipremnum aureum. They also have a few nicknames that they share. 

One of those is Devil’s Ivy, thanks to their ability to spread and level of difficulty to get rid of. In some regions, they are also known as Money Plants due to the shape of the leaves and belief that they can bring financial prosperity to their owners. 

The Golden Pothos is the common name of the original plant Epipremnum aureum. The specific epithet hints at this common name as aureum is Latin for gold. 

But, the Golden Pothos wasn’t always known as Epipremnum aureum. The plant was originally named Pothos aureus, hence the common name Pothos that is still used today. It became Rhaphidophora aurea and Epipremnum pinnatum before scientists settled on Epipremnum aureum

Marble Queen is a cultivar of Epipremnum aureum, meaning it is closely related to the original Golden Pothos. 

Propagating several generations of plants can lead to spontaneous mutations in the cells, leading to genetic differences that are either unstable or long-lasting. In the case of Marble Queen, the genetic mutation that caused the interesting variegation patterns was stable and lasted through successive generations. 

Marble Queen is one of the oldest popular Pothos cultivars. It has been used as a parent plant to create several new sports, including Pearls and Jade and N’Joy, thanks to its high levels of variegation and stunning creamy white color. 

Native Area 

White and Gold Variegated Devils Ivy Vines Hanging Down
These popular houseplants started out growing wild in subtropical regions.

Pothos plants are believed to be native to the islands of French Polynesia. They are found climbing trees or covering the soil as a ground cover of tropical forest floors. 

Due to their ability to establish themselves quickly and spread rapidly, they have become common in tropical forests across the world, including Australia and Southern Africa. 

In many regions, they have been declared invasive as they tend to suffocate other plants and spread quickly. This makes them wonderful houseplants as they are very adaptive to indoor conditions, but they should not be planted outdoors. They can quickly take over not only your own garden but your whole neighborhood if left unchecked. 

Golden Pothos, the original species, is common in forests around the world. You may not recognize them due to their massive leaves and splits that don’t occur indoors, but you can spot them based on their golden flecked variegation patterns. 

Since Marble Queen is a cultivar, it is far less common. You won’t find one outdoors growing in the wild, but you will often come across them in local nurseries or online. 

Rarity 

White and Gold Variegated Devils Ivy in Pots
Marble Queen pothos tends to be more expensive, but it is not considered rare.

Rare plants are all the rage at the moment. There are several rare Pothos cultivars, many fetching incredibly high prices.  

Luckily, neither of these two plants will set you back that much. The Golden Pothos is the most common Pothos you can buy, regularly available for sale at nurseries or general stores across the world. 

When it was first introduced, Marble Queen was considered a rare plant and was also quite expensive. However, as it has become more common over time with frequent propagation, they are now quite easy to find too. 

These plants may still cost more than the Golden Pothos, but this is more a result of their popularity than their rarity. Variegated plants are also more difficult to successfully propagate and grow, meaning growers can charge more for them. 

Appearance

Both of these plants look quite similar to one another. In fact, many times, they get confused for one another due to their similarities. Let’s take a look at how these plants differ in appearance, but also how they are so close to one another with their looks.

Leaf Color 

People Holding Devils Ivy Plants in Containers
These plants look similar in the variegation, but Marble Queen is white or creamy whereas Golden is, well, golden.

Color is the greatest difference between these two Pothos plants. 

The Golden Pothos, true to its name, has flecked golden variegation patterns. In highly variegated plants, the color appears mottled. The leaves start out a bright, almost luminescent green and darken as the leaf ages. In some cases, the yellowing gets a little more visible, leaving some owners wondering if their plant is sick.

It’s not uncommon for the Golden Pothos to be confused with other plants like the Jade Pothos, due to the common similarities in the variegation of their leaves.

Marble Queen has a similar variegation pattern. However, instead of the bright yellow color, this variegation is stark white or creamy white, depending on the plant. In some plants, the leaves appear more white than yellow, with only a few dashes of green. 

It’s not hard to see where Marble Queen got its name. From afar, the leaves truly do appear marbled, giving the plant its highly sought-after look. 

Leaf Shape 

Close up of Heart-Shaped Devils Ivy Leaves
The shapes of the leaves are very similar, which is why people use the coloring to see a difference.

Pothos plants all have gently heart-shaped leaves with rounded bases and pointed tips. Some are more rounded, while others are elongated. 

Both of these plants have an incredibly similar leaf shape. Without the differences in color, you may not be able to tell them apart without a very close look. 

Both plants have heart-shaped leaves that are slightly elongated. The ends taper off into a sharp point. Each leaf has a slight wave and folds in gently at the stem, creating the full and lush look these plants are known for. 

The leaves have a waxy texture and are quite thick when compared to some other leafy plants. They hold a lot of water and don’t require watering as often as similar trailing plants such as Philodendron hederaceum

Growth Rate and Size 

Popular Indoor Plants at Maturity
In the right growing conditions, both of these plants can grow to be several feet long.

The vines of Pothos plants can grow several feet long indoors and even longer outdoors, climbing trees well over 20 feet tall. They grow quickest in the conditions most similar to their native habitats but can adapt well to a range of indoor conditions. 

When comparing these two plants, Golden Pothos will generally grow faster and larger than Marble Queen. This is due to their differences in variegation. 

Variegation is the result of a genetic mutation in the cells of the plant known as chimeral variegation. This mutation makes the cells unable to synthesize chlorophyll. Variegated parts of the plant are therefore not technically white in color but are more accurately described as having a lack of green due to the lack of chlorophyll. 

Chlorophyll is essential in the process of photosynthesis. This is how plants make their own food in the form of sugars to continue growing. Put simply, the more photosynthesis takes place, the quicker and larger a plant will grow. 

Since Marble Queen leaves are highly variegated, they contain less chlorophyll. They grow at a much slower rate and generally have smaller leaves than the Golden Pothos. 

But, their slower growth doesn’t mean they grow slowly overall. Marble Queens are still quick growers when compared to other houseplants, adding 10 to 12 inches in length to the vines each month in spring and summer. 

Care 

When it comes to care, these plants are quite similar. They have the same basic care needs, but they do differ a bit when it comes to lighting conditions. Let’s dive in a bit deeper to see what you can expect when caring for either plant.

Light 

Devils Ivy Plants in Bright Indirect Light
Proper lighting is important to avoid leggy vines and discoloration.

Pothos plants have the ability to adapt to a wide range of lighting conditions. They can tolerate some low light but grow best in positions with bright indirect sunlight. They can even handle some gentle morning sun, but cannot be left in harsh sunlight for too long or the leaves will burn. 

Golden Pothos is the most suitable for low light conditions. These plants grow well almost anywhere and will adapt wherever they are placed. In low light conditions, they will not grow to their full potential, but they will not suffer either. 

This is not the case for Marble Queen. Due to the high levels of variegation, this Pothos needs bright indirect light in order to thrive. In lower lighting conditions, even less photosynthesis takes place, leaving the plant unable to produce food to keep itself alive. 

In low light, Marble Queens will begin to lose its variegation as the leaves produce more chlorophyll to make up for the lack of sunlight. A heavily variegated plant can become almost completely green again if it is left in low light for long periods. Growth will also be very slow or non-existent. 

You can keep your Golden Pothos in moderate to low light and it will still survive. It’s best to save Marble Queens for the perfect bright position to maintain its stunning color.   

Water 

Close up of Houseplant Leaves Being Watered
It is best to mimic their natural tropical habitat when watering.

Thanks to their thicker leaves and long stems, Pothos plants can handle a missed watering or two. They prefer their soil to remain dry rather than waterlogged as they are quite prone to root rot. 

For both plants, it’s best to water when the top 2-3 inches of soil have completely dried out. You can test the soil with your finger or use a skewer. If it comes out dry with no soil stuck to it, it’s time to water again. 

This practice is healthier for both Pothos plants than watering according to a strict schedule. Soil moisture changes according to lighting conditions, humidity levels, and temperature. Watering on a schedule that ignores these external factors can quickly lead to under or overwatering. 

Marble Queen may use up slightly less water than the Golden Pothos due to its slower rate of growth. However, this difference is so slight that it’s almost unnoticeable. Given the same environmental conditions and size, both plants will need water around the same time. 

Soil 

Houseplants in Pots on Tables
Pothos plants require well-draining soil in order for them to happily grow.

Houseplants require specialized soil due to the differing conditions indoors. When it comes to Pothos plants, this soil needs to be well-draining while holding enough moisture to keep the roots saturated and happy. 

Both plants are happy in the same soil mix. Any specialized houseplant soil mix should be suitable for these plants. However, you can also mix your own by combining potting soil with materials to improve water retention, aeration, and drainage. 

To create your own soil mix, combine two parts potting soil with one part perlite and one part coconut coir. You can also replace coconut coir with peat moss if you already have some available as they perform the same function. 

Temperature and Humidity 

Indoor Plants Growing in Pots
Since warm, humid climates are where these plants originated, it is ideal to imitate these same conditions for them.

Native to tropical rainforests, all Pothos need high temperatures and humidity to grow their best. They handle heat very well, preferring indoor temperatures between 65F and 85F. They do not appreciate any cold weather, stopping growth below 60F and facing serious damage in temperatures below 50F. 

Their adaptive nature means they can handle humidity lower than their native habitats. These plants are accustomed to humidity between 70% in the dry seasons and 90% in the rainy seasons. Luckily, they are known to manage any humidity levels above 40%. 

If you need to raise the humidity levels around your Pothos plants, place them close together or leave them in a high humidity room such as a bathroom (as long as their other environmental conditions are met). Humidifiers are also a great way to increase humidity and recreate the conditions these plants love. 

Fertilizer 

Leaves of Common Houseplants Thriving
Pothos plants generally do not need fertilizer, but they do appreciate a boost in the growing seasons.

If repotted often, Pothos plants don’t require heavy feeding. However, they will grow their best when given a balanced houseplant fertilizer in spring and summer. 

Golden Pothos, a quicker grower, will need fertilizer more often than Marble Queen. They will use up nutrients in the soil faster, needing feeding around once per month in spring and summer. 

Marble Queen only needs fertilizer every 6-8 weeks in the right conditions. Overfertilizing is a real risk as the build-up of salts in the soil can cause the roots and leaves to burn. Always apply fertilizer according to the instructions, never more, to prevent damage. 

Uses 

Close Up of Houseplants
Both of these plants are excellent houseplants.

The trailing vines of the Pothos are what makes them so beloved as houseplants. They are perfect for bookshelves or kitchen windowsills and can even be trained up trellises to form a living wall feature. 

Both plants are also easy to care for, although Marble Queen is slightly trickier due to the high levels of variegation. They are great houseplants for beginners, tolerating a bit of neglect well. 

Marble Queen is also a great collector’s plant for those looking for something a little different. They are not as tricky to manage as some other rare plants like the popular variegated Monstera and are a wonderful gateway to Pothos plant collecting. 

Final Thoughts 

Closely related and both easy to care for, there is very little that sets the Golden Pothos and Marble Queen Pothos. Their variegation color and intensity make them easy to tell apart, but these plants are incredibly similar in almost every other department. 

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