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The Pothos

The pothos is one of the most popular houseplants: its cultivation is indeed really affordable for everyone. It adapts easily to the environmental conditions of our homes, has a vigorous growth and, thanks to its thick and variously colored leaves, it can cheer up every corner of our house.
It is one of the most typical houseplants, the Latin name is Scindapsus, or epipremnum, or even Pothos; they are commonly called pothos, although the scientific name pothos now identifies another species of plants. They are herbaceous climbing or prostrate plants, originating from the Pacific islands.
Potos are definitely very easy to grow, and they also easily tolerate living conditions that would lead to a rapid decay any other houseplant: dry heat, air free of humidity, dust, dark corners, prolonged drought; the pothos seem to resist even the most distracted gardener, who forgets his plants.
Perhaps this is one of the reasons that made the pothos so widespread, of very successful plants, also due to the beauty of their brilliant foliage
THE potos they have large oval or heart-shaped, glossy, slightly waxy leaves, thick and rigid, which develop on long twining branches, from which aerial roots emerge which allow the plant to cling to any support; typically the pothos are cultivated as climbers, placing in their vase a guardian up to a couple of meters, on which the plant develops; small-leaved varieties are often grown in hanging baskets, such as hanging plants.
There are many varieties of pothos, generally with variegated foliage of yellow, white and pinkish white.

Description and origins of Potos

The plant that is commonly known as pothos (or even potos) in the botanical field is called Epipremnum: it is a liana native to the whole area of ​​the Indian Ocean. The approximately 40 species that make up the genus (from the Araceae family), grow in the rainforests, clinging to trees, both with the long stem and through the aerial roots, in an extremely hot and humid environment.
In nature they can become really impressive plants, exceeding a total of 6 meters in length and thus succeeding in reaching the upper parts of the vegetation to take greater advantage of light and rain. The leaves are large, thick and almost leathery. Their basic color ranges from dark green to light green, more or less acid and almost always present spots and variegations. The foil also appears compact and shiny, making the whole really pleasant. Flowering occurs only in the spontaneous state or when they are grown in special greenhouses: it is composed of a spate, cream or light green, and a spadix (as for many other exponents of the same family). Products at the end of the dry season.
In the domestic environment we can decide to use it as a creeper (with special supports) or as a decombente, by hanging the stems from hanging baskets. During the winter months it can only be kept at home, but when spring comes, it benefits greatly from being moved to the outside, on a balcony or in the garden, taking care to give the right lighting and humidity.


Common name

Photos, potos
Family and Latin name Araceae, Epipremnum or Scindapsus, more than 40 species
Type of plant Liana woody or herbaceous, with a climbing or decombente habit
Leaf color Light or dark green, frequent spots and variegations
Foliage persistent
Adult length / width Up to 2 m (in cultivation)
Cultivation easy
irrigations Frequently
Environmental humidity rapid
growth Up to 2 m (in cultivation)
Minimum temperature 14 ° C
Ideal temperature 18-25 ° C
Vegetative rest 15-18 ° C
Substrate Light, almost inert, very draining (bark, vegetable fibers, sand, perlite)
substrate pH Preferably acid or subacid
Pests and diseases Very healthy, it fears water stagnation
Propagation Cutting on the ground or in water
Exposure Very intense light, but never direct
use From a pot, as a creeper or as a decombus in baskets
Ground Light, subacid (lots of peat and sand)

Grow Potos

As reported earlier, these plants are really easy to cultivate, and do not give up on anything: put them in a dark corner, stop watering them, forget them and when you find your pothos it will still be alive and well.
Clear that to have a healthy and luxuriant plant it is always good to guarantee the right growing conditions, surely we will obtain a plant with more glossy foliage and more vivid colors, in addition to a faster and richer development over the months.
To best cultivate potos, let's place it in a vase that is not too large, with universal soil; we avoid excessively large vessels, which seems not to be acceptable to pothos.
Throughout the year we keep the plant in a place where the temperature never drops below 12-15 ° C, or it will suffer a lot.
We prefer fairly bright locations, not affected by direct sunlight; the pothos survive even in dark places, it is in any case advisable to choose an area of ​​the house with a little filtered light.
Let's water regularly, always waiting for the soil to be completely dry before watering again; we avoid the excesses of water, little appreciated by the pothos; rather than exceeding, let us water once less, these plants bear drought very well. Every 12-15 days, from March to September, we add fertilizer for green plants to the water.
If the plant tends to produce excessively thin and not very vital branches we do not hesitate to prune it, and in case also to repot it, changing all the earth contained in the vase.



February-March (but can be operated in all seasons)
Talea March may
Pruning April
topping April-September
Intensive fertilization April-September (every 15 days)
Light fertilization October-March (every 30 days)
Vegetative rest November-March (not strictly necessary)
Moving outside May to September

"steal" the neighbor's plant

We often see in the case of a friend a beautiful plant, which we do not find in the nursery; in the case of potos we can safely propagate it by "stealing" a small piece of plants in the place where we saw it. Clear that the term steal is improper, when we see a plant that we like, we do not hesitate to ask the owner of it if we can have a leaf or a portion of a branch as a gift.
Potos freely produce numerous aerial roots, all along the stem, often at the leaf axil; practically every leaf can become a new plant, it is enough to remove a piece of plant that already has roots, place it on a vase full of fresh soil, and with good probability the plant will take root, giving us a new potos to grow and admire.
Obviously, as we always suggest in case of cuttings, for greater safety we always prepare a certain number of cuttings, so in the group at least one will take root with certainty; in the case of potos, 2-3 cuttings can be enough to give us the certainty of obtaining a new plant.

Climbing on the tutor

In nature, the Pothos grow along the trunk of other plants, climbing them; they are therefore plants originating from a damp and fresh undergrowth area. At home we will try to imitate nature as much as possible; in the nursery we can find long plastic stakes, light and manageable, covered with a thin layer of moss or sponge, on which we will wrap part of the plant, leaving it to develop freely. When we insert a new brace into a vase we will take care to wrap the plant well at the base of the brace, possibly fixing it with wire or raffia, so as to invite it to continue along the brace; to further invite the plant to develop along the tutor, remember that the sponge and moss are made to be kept moist, simply by pouring a little water over the apex of the tutor. In addition to providing water to the plant in this way, and to create an environment on which it can grow, we will also be able to increase the environmental humidity.


Pothos is essentially a tropical plant: to obtain the best results it is good to try to reproduce as closely as possible those climatic conditions. In general, it will need to be grown in a warm environment, with little temperature changes, and with a good level of humidity.
These conditions are simple enough to reproduce in the home, especially in living spaces in all seasons, such as bathrooms, kitchens and living rooms. The ideal temperature should be between 18 and 25 ° C and can easily be maintained throughout the year. This does not exclude that, on the arrival of winter, it is possible to choose to induce a period of light vegetative rest by moving the pot in a slightly heated compartment, at about 15-18 ° C (consequently adjusting irrigation and reducing the lighting).
This plant is naturally very little rustic: the first damages can be found as soon as the thermometer marks 14 ° C; Sudden changes in temperature and currents must also be avoided. They are the most frequent cause of yellowing and falling leaves.


Another factor to keep in mind is the importance of an environment with a high level of humidity: to have a luxuriant growth and avoid desiccation it is always good to keep it at least 60%, even if the ideal is always from 70% to 80 %. Let us remember that this need becomes essential when temperatures increase, especially when they exceed 25 ° C. To meet our potos we can spray the hair and the roots several times a day, with possibly demineralized water. In winter, instead, we use special humidifiers to place on radiators.
In summer, if we bring the pots outside, let's wet the surrounding floor abundantly and place in the vicinity of bowls full of wet expanded clay.


Intense lighting is very important to obtain lush plants, and from the internodes as short as possible, and therefore with a fuller appearance. Therefore we keep the vases in rooms facing South and West, where the sun arrives for most of the day. The variegated cultivars suffer most from the lack of light and must therefore be properly placed.
Direct sun may be a problem, causing leaf burns, especially in the summer months. At home, especially in the afternoon, we screen the windows with light-colored curtains. If we have moved our pothos outside we will have to choose a luminous but at the same time sheltered location. The ideal is to place it under the foliage of deciduous plants or under a pergola.

Composition of the vase

The lianas originating from tropical forests need very light, draining and almost nourishing substrates. The materials used can be many: from pine bark (we can buy that treated for orchids or boil for a long time to mulch), coconut fiber, peat, leaf mold. These materials can also be mixed with silica sand, perlite or some polystyrene. The important thing is that the perfect water surface is guaranteed.


A pothos kept in the best conditions has a rapid growth: for this reason the repotting is necessary every year and should be done preferably at the end of winter.
Before proceeding, we wet the substrate well so that the roots become soft and flexible: in this way we will avoid damaging them while we extract them. We remove the old substrate as much as possible and prepare a new vase, 2-4 cm larger than the previous one. We create a thick draining layer on the bottom: ideal for this use are the expanded clay and the medium-size volcanic lapillus. We fill with the previously prepared compost: if we use pine bark we put the largest one on the bottom and reduce the size as we go up towards the edge. If the plant should grow from a climber, we place a special vegetable fiber support in the center (they are easily found for sale in nurseries).


To obtain beautiful specimens it is fundamental to measure the irrigations carefully. Potos always loves having fresh roots, but at the same time it is sensitive to water stagnation and radical rots are quite frequent.
We therefore irrigate when the substrate is dry for at least the first 5 cm from the surface, but remember to let it drain perfectly and always avoid the use of saucers. If possible we use demineralized water or in any case with a low concentration of salts (especially calcium).
Even irrigation by immersion can be considered. From time to time it is advisable to place the pot outside during a thunderstorm: the plant and the substrate will be well rehydrated and the leaves will be cleaned and freed from domestic deposits.


To stimulate the growth of the pothos it is necessary to provide regular fertilizations: the substrate, in fact, is almost devoid of nutrients and therefore is not able to support the vigor of these plants. The ideal products are the liquid ones for green plants: generally they have a balanced composition or with a slight preponderance of nitrogen. Dilute it in irrigation water once every two weeks, especially from March to October. In the winter period we can suspend (if we induce a slight vegetative rest) or possibly delay further intervening every 30 days. We can, if desired, also use water-soluble products to be administered through foliar spraying: especially during the summer they can be a valid additional support.

Pruning and cleaning

Pruning is not strictly necessary, but it can help us to obtain a more compact specimen with many branches, both at the base and along the stems. In general it is advisable, at the end of winter, to shorten the vines by about 1/3 of their length. During the whole vegetative period we can intervene with repeated topping to stimulate the planting: this treatment is particularly recommended for plants kept in baskets as decombenti.


The pothos is very simple also to multiply. The most used method is undoubtedly the stem cutting. Proceed by taking one and cutting it into sections of about 10 cm, at the leaf axil. Then put it in a sand or perlite compost and a little peat. We keep in a bright room and keep the humidity high, covering it with clear plastic. The ideal temperature is about 22 ° C constant. The rooting takes place in about 1 month: we can then move into the final compost, working with great delicacy.

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  • Photos plant

    One of the most typical houseplants, the Latin name is Scindapsus, or epipremnum, or even Pothos; commonly ven

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