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Pothos plants are some of the most easy-growing houseplants, and the golden variety is no exception. This species is perfect for beginner plant parents looking for attractive greenery with simple care steps to stay healthy.
While there are several varieties of these plants, the golden pothos is the most popular choice—and for good reason. Its leaves contrast with shades of green, yellow, and off-white in marbled patterns that stand out among other houseplants. Your golden pothos can dry out between waterings and grow in either dark rooms or bright, indirect light, so it's a great option to place in tricky areas where other plants won't thrive. However, since this species is toxic, it's also important to grow yours out of reach of children and pets.
- Botanical Name: Epipremnum aureum
- Common Name: Golden pothos, Devil's Ivy
- Plant Type: Vine
- Origin: Southeast Asia
- Mature Size: Up to 10 feet long
- Sun Exposure: Low to bright, indirect light
- Soil Type: Well-drained potting mix
- Soil pH: 6.1-6.5
- Toxicity: Toxic to humans and pets
When it comes to popular houseplants, the golden pothos is especially easy to care for. These plants typically thrive with a bit of neglect. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings, ensuring the potting mix of your choice is well-draining. Golden pothos plants don't like to sit in moist soil, so check the moisture levels with your finger and only water when the top inch of soil feels dry.
It's better for this species to go without fertilizer than to be fertilized too much, so at most, plan for monthly feedings in the spring growing season. Avoid fertilizing your pothos during its winter dormancy.
Best Growing Conditions for Golden Pothos
Your golden pothos can grow in a variety of light conditions as long as it's not in direct sun, which can burn its leaves. Opt for north- or east-facing windows for this plant, or grow it in a low-light room. Windows on the south and west sides of your home can also be suitable as long as your plant is placed a few feet away from the sun's rays.
Temperature-wise, the golden pothos doesn’t thrive in harsh conditions. It's best to keep this plant in areas that stay between 65 and 85 degrees. It's also helpful to provide moderate humidity, but the pothos doesn't require a particularly humid environment to thrive.
Pot this plant with a well-draining soil mix in any type of planter. The golden pothos can also grow directly in a jar of water—just be sure to change it regularly to keep your plant healthy. As long as its leaves are green and it's growing new stems, it should continue to thrive.
Leaves turning yellow are a sign that you’re watering a bit too much, so cut back and check the soil moisture to ensure it's dry before adding water in the future. If its leaves are turning brown or wilting, give it a drink and increase the frequency of your waterings.
Golden pothos are air-cleaning plants that work to remove toxins from your space. Many plant parents choose to grow this species in the bedroom to increase oxygen levels in the air while they sleep.
Types of Golden Pothos
Golden pothos is a variety of the pothos plant, and it's also the most popular choice thanks to its heart-shaped leaves and wide availability at garden centers.
Marbled leaves are also present in other variants like 'Marble Queen,' 'Manjula,' and ‘Jessenia.’ Another similar variant, 'Glacier,' has larger amounts of off-white colors that appear in solid sections rather than blending throughout the leaves.
Pothos plants are sometimes confused with heartleaf philodendrons. While they both require similar care, pothos plants tend to have larger, thicker leaves, and they're more likely to have marbled colors than the typical solid-green philodendron.
How to Propagate Golden Pothos
The golden pothos is very easy to propagate via stem cuttings. They can be rooted in water or planted in soil, depending on your personal preference, and they typically only take a few weeks to grow new roots. Here's how to propagate your plant:
Step 1: Gather a mature pothos plant, a small pot or jar, clean gardening shears, optional rooting hormone, and fresh soil (if rooting the cuttings in soil).
Step 2: Using your gardening shears, trim a stem with at least a few leaves just below a growth node. If you're rooting the cuttings in water, simply place them in a clean jar of water and move on to Step 4.
Step 3: To root the cuttings in soil, prepare a small pot with fresh soil. Add water until it feels moist, but not soggy. Plant the cuttings a few inches deep in the soil and trim any bottom leaves that will be below the surface.
Step 4: Once the cuttings have grown roots, plant them in a fresh pot and care for them as usual. Those rooted in water can continue growing in the jar as long as the water is refreshed every few weeks.
Common Problems With Golden Pothos
The golden pothos is typically a healthy plant with few issues. Your pothos may experience growing problems when its light or water conditions aren't ideal, but thankfully, it's usually easy to treat. Here's how to diagnose your plant to keep it thriving:
This trailing plant usually has long, green vines that hang down as they grow. If your plant is starting to look leggy, it's likely reaching too far for the light source. Move the plant to an area with brighter light (still away from direct sun) to encourage healthier growth. You can also trim a few stems and root them inside the container to help fill it out.
Drooping or Curling Leaves
While your golden pothos likes to dry out between waterings, it's also quick to tell you when it's time for water. If your plant's leaves are beginning to droop and curl on the ends, it's likely underwatered. Another telltale sign of a thirsty pothos is when its foliage feels crispy to the touch or turns brown. Place the plant outside or in the bathtub and give it a thorough soak, allowing all excess water to drain out of the pot's holes.
Yellow or Wilted Leaves
Root rot is a common problem for the golden pothos. If your plant is rooted in water, root rot will likely be caused by either algae or a lack of nutrients. Replace the plant's water every one to two weeks and keep an eye out for algae growth on the roots. Add diluted fertilizer once per month to provide the proper nutrients.
If your pothos is rooted in soil, look for signs like yellow or wilted leaves. This can sometimes indicate that it's simply overwatered (in which case, cut back on watering until the plant is restored to health). When these signs are accompanied by mushy stems, your plant may be experiencing root rot. Repot your pothos in fresh potting soil and gently trim off any affected roots.
If your potted golden pothos is in a low-light space, it will require less water than if it’s receiving plenty of sunlight. Growing this plant in a darker room makes it more susceptible to root rot—so pay extra attention to the soil's moisture levels in these conditions.
Potting and Repotting Golden Pothos
Repot your golden pothos in the spring or summer. Since it goes dormant in the winter, it's best to transplant it during the growing season when the plant is at its healthiest. You can use the same container as long as the plant is not outgrowing its pot, but a good rule of thumb is to size up every two to three years.
Plant pots made from porous materials like terracotta are a great option to help prevent root rot, but the pothos can also grow happily in ceramic or plastic containers with drainage holes on the bottom. Use a standard potting mix and moisten the soil, planting its roots at least 1 to 2 inches below the top of the soil.
Do Golden Pothos Plants Need Sunlight?
Place your golden pothos in an area with bright, indirect light or low light. North- and east-facing windows are best to encourage healthy growth. This plant's leaves can become sunburnt when placed in direct sunlight.
Is Golden Pothos Easy to Care For?
The golden pothos is a low-maintenance species that requires sparse waterings and moderate light. It can also be grown directly in water, eliminating the need for soil, as long as its water is replaced on a weekly to bi-weekly basis.
How Do You Train a Golden Pothos to Climb?
You can train your golden pothos to climb in virtually any direction you please. Simply wrap its vines around a trellis, wall hook, or any other structure that you'd like it to grow on. If it's not growing in the desired direction, you can gently move the stems to a more suitable location.
Can You Keep a Golden Pothos in the Bedroom?
The golden pothos is an excellent choice to grow as a bedroom plant, as this species cleans toxins from the air. As long as your bedroom receives medium to low light, your pothos plant can be a great addition to this space.
Poisonous and Non-poisonous Plants. Poison Control. 2022
Golden Pothos. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. 2022