Pothos plants are viewed as one of the easiest indoor plants to take care of. (Yes, even for your not-so-green thumb.) You don't have to be an experienced plant parent to tend to this beautiful vining plant. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), better known as Devil's Ivy, is a tropical vine native to Southeast Asia. A popular, easy-to-grow houseplant similar in nature to philodendrons, pothos plants have thick, large, heart-shaped leaves. Some leaves are variegated with green, white, or yellow striations.

"I like to think of pothos as really grateful and tolerant plants," says Rebecca Sterling, easyplant's resident plant expert. "Just a little bit of care makes them happy, and they’ll even put up with some less-than-desirable situations."

This forgiving plant is generous when you forget to water it, and it's a great option for low-light homes. It can live for years. And, as an eye-catching tropical plant, it adds interest wherever you place it in your home while also helping to clear the air. Its cascading vines bring all the drama without the fuss. Below, we ask Sterling and other gardening experts to share the secrets to pothos plant care. Read on to learn why you should consider adding a pothos to your plant family.

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  • Hardiness Zones: 10 to 12
  • Sun: Partial shade, bright indirect sunlight
  • Water: Water every one to two weeks; allow to dry completely between waterings
  • Height: Vining and trailing growth from six to 10 feet long; can grow to between 30 and 50 feet its native habitat
  • Bloom: Rare occurrence, but if so, white, purple, or yellow
  • Toxic: Toxic to pets and children if ingested.

Types of Pothos

While pothos plants have a few similarities to other plants in the Araceae family, there are hybrid varieties of the vining plant reflected by the leaf variegation. They all have the same growing needs and habits, but lighting plays a factor in appearance. Popular varieties include:

  • Golden pothos: Prefers medium to low light and features yellow and green variegation.
  • Neon: The opposite of the golden, this pothos needs less light and is a lovely pick-me-up for getting out of bed in the morning.
  • Marble Queen: With a name fit for royalty, this stunning plant has an alluring white-and-green pattern running across the heart-shaped leaves. It needs more light to keep its marbled look and coloring.
  • Silver Satin: With a unique look for a pothos, the dark green leaves of this plant are speckled with silver splotches. It can survive better than most without water and doesn't need much light.
  • Pearls and Jade: Green, white, and gray highlight the outer edges of this pothos plant instead of variegating in the center of the leaves.

The Fresco

The Fresco

The Fresco

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How to Grow Pothos Plants

Pothos plant care is very hands-off compared with other plants. In order for your beginner-friendly greenery to thrive, it must be in bright, indirect light, though it can totally survive in a dark office. Justin Lievano of UrbanStems explains, "All pothos can tolerate low light, but moderate or bright light will keep your pothos happiest and keep it growing. By bright light, I mean a room with southern or western exposure that's full of light for most of the day."

As tempting as it is to overwater houseplants, allow the soil to dry out before watering a pothos again. You can tell when your plant needs to be watered when it begins to droop or, worse, lose some leaves. Toss any excess water that accumulates in the saucer so the plant doesn't rot. But all hope isn't lost even then! Water the plant, and it will begin to resume its growth.

Plant pothos in a well-draining potting mixture (most come with fertilizer so you're set for the first year). The soil can be rocky and slightly acidic as well. If your plany didn't come with fertilizer or you're repotting a plant, you can add some. "Any balanced houseplant fertilizer or a 3-1-2 formula will keep [a pothos plant] happy. Avoid fertilizing your pothos during cold months when growth is inactive," Sterling says.

The best temperature for a pothos plant is above 50 degrees. Like most tropical plants, they love humidity and temperatures between 65 to 75 degrees. A pothos plant will feel right at home in your bathroom if you don't live in a humid area.

Potting and Repotting Pothos

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"Fortunately, pothos aren't too picky about their pots. A classic terra cotta is always nice because the porous material allows the roots to breathe, but glazed and decorative pots work just as well," Leviano suggests.

The most important feature of your pot is to select a pot with drainage. Drainage holes allow excess water to escape the soil and prevent root rot, which can kill your plant. To take it up a notch, you can also choose a self-watering planter to make plant parenting even easier.

According to Sterling, the best pot is also one that's the correct size. "If your pot is too small, you run the risk of your plant drying out too quickly. If it's too large, you have the risk of your plant staying too wet for too long," she says.

Marble Pothos

Marble Pothos

Propagating Pothos

Trailing plants can be as wild or compact as you want. You can propagate pothos by cutting the stems and removing the leaf closest to your first cut. Place the 6-inch cutting into water and place it in bright, indirect sunlight to watch it grow roots. When the roots have formed, after about a month, place it in a container. Voilá: Your plant family just grew in number.

Common Pothos Paint Points

Your pothos plant isn't a complainer. But if you want it to look its healthiest, keep an eye out for signs of unhappiness. "I want to point out that there's a difference between 'survive' and 'thrive,'" Sterling adds. "Pothos can survive a long time in suboptimal conditions—they don't complain much. But if you don't give them what they really need, they'll eventually fail." These are the most frequently problems to look out for:

Overwatering: If you're concerned your plant needs water, Lievano suggests sticking your fingers two to three inches into the soil. If those top few inches are nearly or totally dry, give your plant a drink. If not, give it a few more days and check again. Breathe: Your plant is growing with style. Overwatering can cause the roots to rot, resulting in a fungal infection. But of course, don't underwater. You'll know your plant needs water if you see shriveled and wilted leaves.

Lievano says, "The most common pain point with pothos is too much love—specifically overwatering. Pothos are very hardy and can go two weeks or more without water depending on their size."

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Brown or yellow leaves: Discolored leaves are an indicator of a lack of water. Trim the leaves to allow for new growth and begin the necessary water schedule for pothos. If the leaves are losing color, your plant needs more light. Contrarily, if the leaves are pale or brown, your pothos is having too much fun in the sun. When the leaves are blackened, the culprit is usually cold temperatures. Trim off the affected leaves and move the plant to another area of your home.

Insects: Pothos plants don't attract pests often, but if yours is home to unwelcome guests, they're most like mealybugs. Kick them out by rubbing off the bugs with a napkin or cotton swab wet with 70 percent rubbing alcohol or insecticidal soap.

If the soil is overwatered and roots are rotted, this can invite fungus gnats. Dry out the plant to get rid of them.