One of the most typical houseplants, the Latin name is Scindapsus, or epipremnum, or even Pothos; they are commonly called potos, although the scientific name pothos now identifies another species of plants. They are herbaceous climbing or prostrate plants, originating from the Pacific islands.
These plants are definitely very easy to grow, and they also easily tolerate living conditions that would lead to a rapid deterioration of any other houseplant: dry heat, air free of humidity, dust, dark corners, prolonged drought; the potos they seem to resist even the most distracted gardener, who forgets his plants. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that made i pothos so widespread, very successful plants, also for the beauty of their brilliant foliage.
THE pothos 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 they are cultivated as climbing plants, 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 this species, generally with variegated yellow, white and rosy white foliage.
The pothos is one of the most appreciated and widespread indoor plants: it finds many admirers by virtue of its extreme versatility in different light and climate conditions. Furthermore, it has a vigorous growth and can be used in different ways: from creeper, from decombente or by letting its long vines grow horizontally, tying them to beams or to furnishing elements.
In recent years his liking has further increased due to his "air purifier" skills. Some studies have in fact found that it is able to absorb a large amount of pollutants deriving from city traffic (such as benzene and carbon monoxide) as well as some paint components, very common in our apartments (toluene and formaldehyde).
As reported earlier, these plants are really easy to cultivate, and don't give up on anything: put them in a dark corner, stop watering them, forget them and when you find yours potos he 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 cultivate it at its best, 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; they 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; avoid the excesses of water, not very appreciated by potos; 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.
POTHOS IN BRIEF
|Family and Latin name||Araceae, Scindapsus, more than 40 species|
|Type of plant||Liana, used as a descaling or tied to supports, horizontally or vertically|
|Foliage||Persistent. Leaves up to 10 cm long (even 50 in nature), heart-shaped, usually dark green with contrasting spots. Common other cultivars in a large number of color variations|
|Adult length / width||Up to 2 meters in cultivation, up to 5 in nature|
|Water needs||From medium to high|
|Minimum temperature||13 ° C|
|Ideal temperature||18-25 ° C|
|Exposure||Bright, no direct sun (especially from May to September)|
|use||Apartment, tempered greenhouse, veranda|
|Ground||Very light, almost inert|
|pH||From subacid to acid|
|Propagation||Cutting, division or offshoot|
|Avversitа||Very resistant; rot, red spider mite|
"Steal" the neighbor's plant
We often see a beautiful plant in a friend's house, 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.
They are houseplants that freely produce numerous aerial roots, all along the stem, often at the leaf axil; practically every leaf can become a new plant, it is sufficient 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 plant 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 pothos, 2-3 cuttings can be enough to give us the certainty of obtaining a new plant.
Climbing on the tutor
In nature, Potos 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.
General characteristics of the pothos
The plant known at horticultural level as pothos actually makes part of the genus Scindapsus (family of the Araceae). The approximately 40 species that compose it are practically all originating in the rainforests of the tropical and equatorial bands of the Asian continent. In their spontaneous state they develop by clinging to the trees to reach the top and therefore take advantage of more light and water. For this reason they are able to produce stems (in this case "lianas") even more than 5 meters long (however in cultivation they rarely exceed 2).
To cling, it makes use of aerial roots that are also useful for accessing rainwater or the atmosphere as steam. They are also capable of absorbing nutrients, such as mineral salts, from other plants (in particular from the bark and moss present).
Along the stems the leaves are produced, alternating in the shape of a heart, very consistent and decorative. The varieties are glossy dark green, but are further enhanced by the presence of variegations and spots in many different shades: gold, cream, silver, white. Thanks to the work of horticulturists we can then also choose with different and more luminous bases such as light green (almost acid) or olive green.
In cultivation, flowering rarely occurs (and, being rather insignificant, it is not even encouraged). In the environment of origin it is produced after the season of the great rains: the flowers are very small and, as for all the Araceae, collected in a spadix in turn surrounded by a spade.
Temperatures and environmental humidity
The pothos finds in the city apartments an almost ideal environment for its luxuriant development, especially if kept constantly in the inhabited environments. Its ideal climate is in fact characterized by medium-high temperatures (from 18 to 25 ° C). From autumn to spring you will therefore have a great time in our kitchens or living rooms. In summer we can decide to keep it inside (especially if we have air conditioning) or move it outside (on the terrace or, if we have it, in a protected area of the garden).
In any case, remember that to grow luxuriant (and not attract pests such as the red spider) requires a high level of environmental humidity that must be further increased when we exceed 25 ° C. Frequent steaming with demineralized water, the use of moist expanded clay pots or the activation of electric humidifiers can be very useful. Braces covered with sphagnum are good aids in this respect.
Irrigation and watering pothos
The water supplies must be constant, but it is important not to overdo it: the substrate must always be fresh, but never wet, under penalty of widespread rottenness. A good method is to test the state of the soil with a finger, in depth, and proceed only if it appears almost dry.
The pothos is very sensitive to the presence of minerals (especially to calcium salts): they raise the pH of the soil and settle on the roots, preventing their functions. Ideal for all uses, the use of demineralized or rainwater.
From time to time it may be useful to place the plant outdoors under heavy rain: it will completely refresh it and eliminate dust and other residues on the leaves.
Pothos in winter
These plants are very sensitive to cold: to avoid permanent damage we must absolutely avoid falling below 13 ° C. During the bad season it is possible to induce a slight vegetative rest by moving the pot in a slightly heated room (ideal temperatures from 15 to 18 ° C) and with a softer lighting. Consequently we will also reduce the water intake (making sure, however, that the substrate does not dry out completely). It is also very important to protect the plant from drafts and sudden thermal changes: they could cause yellowing of the leaves and stems. We adapt the plant very gradually to the new location.
Pothos and light
The rapid growth that sets it apart must be supported by extremely bright exposure. Rooms with windows facing South or East are suitable in the apartment and therefore illuminated for most of the day.
It should be noted that the sun (especially if concentrated by glass) can cause burns on the leaf blade. This can be more likely in the months from May to September, even depending on our geographical location, while it is much more rare during the other months.
In the warm season we can decide to move our pothos outside: we choose a location where the light is abundant, but filtered (for example under a pergola or in the shade of a deciduous tree).
We note in addition to what the variegated leaf cultivars, to develop properly, absolutely require very bright environments due to the lower amount of chlorophyll present on the lamina.
The substrate suitable for pothos must be light and porous, capable at the same time of keeping itself fresh but also of draining excess water. You can use the mixtures already ready for green plants, but the ideal is to make one yourself. In that case we buy good quality peat and add sterilized pine bark (by boiling or baking) and medium-grain river sand. As an alternative (or together) to the peat it is possible to use leaf mold.
These lianas, in the right conditions, grow very vigorously: repotting is almost certainly necessary every year by choosing a larger container or by dividing the specimen and completely changing the substrate (which usually tends to deteriorate quickly and lose its capacity to maintain itself) fresh).
The best time for this operation is the end of winter, when the plant has not yet completely resumed its vegetative activity. After delicately extracting the ground bread we observe the roots well and we eliminate those that seem old, dry or compromised by rot.
If we do not want to divide, we opt for a vase just a little wider than the previous one (maximum more than 4 cm): these plants tend to occupy all the space available for the roots before starting to produce new stems and leaves again.
It is important to provide a layer of gravel, cocci or expanded clay on the bottom: the water must always flow freely.
If we want a climbing habit we insert in the center one of the special supports covered with sphagnum or fibers (they are easily found in all nurseries). We follow the plant for a few days with abundant irrigation.
Being a vigorous liana, it requires frequent nutritional support: we choose a product for green plants in which the nitrogen is predominant over phosphorus and potassium, halving the dose indicated on the package. From spring to autumn we feed once a month, dissolving it in the irrigation water. In winter we can suspend or thin out further, especially if the specimen is in a poorly heated room.
Pruning and topping
They are not strictly necessary. After repotting, to stimulate vegetative growth, we can shorten the stems by about 1/3. Topping is recommended for those who want to obtain a bushy specimen as it stimulates the emission of new vines from the base. It can be performed several times a year.
Diseases of the pothos
It is a very healthy vegetable. The only verifiable problems are rottenness (caused by unsuitable substrate and excessive irrigation) and red spider mite (exposure too bright and low environmental humidity).
Scindapsus aureus it has bright green leaves with golden or white spots: among the most widespread.
Scindapsus pictus leaves with medium green variegated in silver. Very long stems suitable for climbing or to drop from baskets.
Scindapsus trubii light green or dark green leaves, sometimes with white or silver spots. The back is clearer.
The pothos is one of the most popular houseplants: its cultivation is indeed really affordable for everyone. Yes a
With this name we refer to a genus comprising some evergreen climbing plants, the scientific name is S
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