Full disclosure: Pothos are my favorite houseplant. This post will lean very pro-pothos. I’m just warning you now.
Pothos, or Epipremnum aureum if you wanna get technical (I never do, I’m lazy! That’s why I love Pothos!), are native to Mo’orea, a French Polynesian island. They’ve gotten comfortable in many tropical and subtropical habitats, to the extent that they are considered invasive. In the wild, pothos climb trees and their leaves grow to over a foot wide and fenestrate– the type of perforation that is so beloved in Monsteras. In your home, they’ll happily climb a moss pole, but indoor pothos do not fenestrate or flower. That’s ok, they’re still lovable!
Pothos are a hardy plant: they can survive with minimal light or with infrequent watering. However, they’ll thrive when they’re placed in a spot with indirect light and with a watering routine that gives them a good soaking once their soil has gone dry. Pothos are very communicative– which is one of the reasons why I love them. If their leaves lose their vibrant green color or dramatic variegation, they’re asking to be rehomed to a sunnier spot. If the same leaves start drooping, hit their soil with some water and they’ll bounce back in hours. Of course, it’s better if you don’t ever see these warning signs, but to err is human and to forget to water your plants is a pretty standard 2020 err.
Pothos are a vining plant. Put your plant on top of a bookshelf or in a hanging basket and watch them grow. Their dramatic growth coupled with their unfussy needs makes for a fantastic visual. If a pothos vine gets too leggy, they’re super easy to propagate. Find a node (a small bump on the branch– there’s many on each), cut right below it and stick it in water. Your pothos will root in water and you can start a new plant or you can repot the vine in the original container to keep your pothos looking full. I personally love the look of rooting pothos– recycle some wine bottles or other glass containers and stick ’em in there. You’ll look like a hip botanist to your friends and will constantly rooted vines of pothos to share with them. Win/win.
Included in my doodle and on our web store, you’ll find Silver Satin Pothos. It’s worth noting that any “pothos” of the Silver variety are actually a cousin of the standard Pothos variety. Their official name is Scindapsus pictus. Scindapsus care is pretty similar to Epipremnum with a couple of exceptions– Scindapsus do not like wet toes, so avoid soaking them as much as you do their relatives. And, while all Pothos prefer to be out of indirect sunlight, these babies are especially susceptible to sunburn so keep them in an indirect light situation. Also, if you’re like me and have to run a humidifier for your dramatic calatheas, I suggest keeping your Silver Pothos there, too. They love humidity. One of my favorite things about the Silver variety is that they vine in a Z pattern, which is just a smidge more dramatic than the curtains of green that their relatives are known for.
While there’s a lot of pride in mastering the care of a more difficult plant, nothing quite fills my heart with joy as much as watching one of my pothos push out a new leaf. And that’s largely because it did it without my help, and I respect an independent plant.
-Text and illustration by Kate Rath