How to grow and propagate a pothos plant
The plant has a multitude of common names including golden pothos, Ceylon creeper, hunter’s robe, ivy arum, house plant, money plant, silver vine, Solomon Islands ivy, marble queen, and taro vine. It is also called devil’s vine or devil’s ivy because it is almost impossible to kill and it stays green even when kept in the dark.
It is sometimes mistakenly labeled as a Philodendron in plant stores. It is commonly known as money plant in many parts of the Indian subcontinent.
Devil’s ivy. It is also a highly invasive species in the wild, for example in Sri Lanka. Having no natural enemies, it completely overgrows the forest floor as well as the trunks of trees, causing severe ecological disruption.
With an abundance of trailing leafy growth doused with splashes of colour, Devil’s ivy is the perfect indoor plant. To adequately nurture this “trendy” vine and encourage prosperous foliage, simply follow these easy steps.
What you need to know about Pothos or Devil’s ivy
Name: Devil’s ivy, golden pothos, Epipremnum pinnatum. Cultivars include “Aureum”, “Snow Queen” and “Marble Queen”.
Height: height and spread can reach 4 or 6m, however as a trailing species this greatly varies
Foliage: evergreen glossy green marbled or variegated heart-shaped leaves, depending on the species or cultivar.
Climate: originating from tropical and temperate regions, but will thrive indoors in most climates.
Soil: a light, porous, aerated and well-drained soil is required to keep the roots moist but not soggy, usually containing peat moss or coco peat.
Position: grows well in full to partial shade outdoors. Indoors, Devil’s ivy prospers to the greatest extent with bright light, but will also grow in low-light conditions.
Flowering and fruiting: rarely flowers when placed indoors. Outdoors, flowering of the purple/green spathes only occurs in the mature phase.
Feeding: use a controlled-release fertiliser upon planting. Alternatively, using a liquid fertiliser is beneficial every few times it is watered.
Watering: keep moist but allow the surface of the potting mix or soil to dry out between each watering. Usually once a week for indoor plants.
Appearance and characteristics of Devil’s ivy
Categorised under the genus Epipremnum, Devil’s ivy is a lush and hardy plant that can survive in minimal light and is almost impossible to kill. This evergreen trailing vine will thrive all year round, although variegated varieties may lose their colour in low-light conditions. Surviving well in a variety of positions, the diverse range of different-hued forms are a perfect accent to any indoor or sheltered outdoor space. Devil’s ivy can be grown as a ground cover, in hanging baskets, in containers or along walls. It will grow to around 6m, but up to 20m in the wild.
Epipremnums were first discovered in French Polynesia and have become acclimatised to sub-tropical forests globally. Preferring a humid or temperate environment, they can withstand occasional periods of cold, but will not survive frost. In the cooler winter months, additional misting of tepid water will create a humid environment. Moderate diffused light is recommended for the foliage to retain its colour and variegation.
Devil’s ivy is poisonous to cats and dogs, and harmful to humans if ingested, so avoid placing Devil’s ivy on the floor inside if this is a significant risk. Instead, place it up high within a hanging basket, or on a shelf.
How to plant and grow Pothos
An integral aspect for the growth of all plants is soil quality. Devil’s ivy will flourish in a large spread of soil types, ranging from acidic to alkaline. The soil should not be left overly wet, as this encourages root rot.
Leave the surface of the soil to dry out completely before watering again. Do not be overly concerned about underwatering, as Epipremnums only require minimal watering, and have a strong ability to withstand dry periods and neglect.
When planted in indoor environments, Devil’s ivy requires a premium standard potting mix with additional sphagnum moss or cocopeat to maintain health and vigor.
Caring for Pothos
Upon planting, mixing in controlled-release fertilizer will nourish the growth of the vine. Alongside this, using a soluble liquid fertilizer is ideal during the warmer seasons of growth. Cease this in the cold and wet winter months.
How and when to prune Devil’s ivy
Trimming back the trailing stems is essential to control and enhance the plant’s shape, otherwise this species, which is invasive in some tropical areas, may take over.
To ensure it does not grow too big, regularly trim the stem of the plant, always leaving a healthy piece of foliage at the end.
Yellowed leaves are often the result of overwatering, and can be easily removed simply by bending them back until they snap.
Diseases and pests
Devil’s ivy is mostly resilient to diseases and pests, with most problems being related to the soil. Other issues stem from bacterial or fungal infections such as root rot, and leaf spots from excessive overwatering throughout the growing season.
Limp and curled foliage originate from inconsistent drops in temperature, cold air below 10°C or lack of water.
Spider mites and mealy bugs pose a significant issue, but this is easily solved by simply spraying the foliage with an garden insecticide. Repeat this in two weeks to completely eradicate the problem.
How to Propagate a Pothos
Propagation of Pothos or Devil’s ivy can be easily achieved in a number of ways.
1. Cut a piece of stem or stem tips below a node.
2. Submerge its base in water for up to two weeks to root.
3. Once shoots have become visible, plant the vine into soil to grow.
Long trailing stems with aerial roots can be cut off and placed in a seed and cutting mix or a 50:50 peat and coarse propagating sand. Alternatively, they may be pegged down into pots of seed and cutting mix with wire or hair clips. When they have formed a sufficient root system they may be cut off from the parent plant and treated individually.