Plant Sheet: Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Missing some jungle feel in your living space? Get yourself a Golden Pothos and soon enough, you will be surrounded by lush greenery. Even as a plant beginner with no green thumb whatsoever, this plant won’t disappoint.

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) grows well in shade, half shade, as well as indirect light though not in direct sunlight. It is native to all tropical regions of Asia as well as the Pacific Islands where it grows as a natural climber on tree trunks or the forest floor.

With its heart-shaped speckled foliage and long vines, it can be draped and shaped however way you want it. Learn more about what this skilled climber needs when kept as an indoor plant.

Origin and Natural Habitat of Epipremnum aureum

The Epipremnum aureum, also called Devil’s Ivy and Golden Pothos (=the variegated type), grows all across tropical and subtropical Asia as well as across all Pacific Islands.

Its golden-marbled leaves and long vines give it a real jungle feel when you have it at home. In its natural habitat, it is a tree climber that grows fast and upward, clinging onto trees with its aerial rootlets in tropical rainforests. Or, if not going upwards, it also finds its way along the forest floor as a ground cover.

It is sometimes called Devil’s Ivy because of its hardiness to cope with even hazardous conditions. It just survives almost anything.

In Eastern Feng Shui philosophy, the Epipremnum symbolizes financial prosperity and good luck which is why it is used to clean a space from negative energies. Furthermore, with its unstoppable growth behavior, it is also a symbol of determination and eternal life, hence its name “Pothos” like the Greek God of longing and desire.

Brighten Up Epipremnum’s Day: Light and Water Requirements

An Epipremnum is very versatile in terms of light requirements. It likes bright indirect light but it also does surprisingly well in partial shade or, on the opposite side of the spectrum, with partial sun. In short, you can put your Pothos almost anywhere you like. Just make sure to not switch light conditions from one day to the other as this will cause a shock to the plant.

Water your Pothos about once a week in summer and once every 1-2 weeks in winter. Pothos plants prefer moist but not soggy soil. I think one of the main reasons why it is such a hardy plant is because it is one of the few plants that cope surprisingly well with overwatering. Still, try not to let it sit in water permanently, just keep the soil a little moist.

An Epipremnum’s Guide to Happiness: Care Tips

Golden Pothos is a great beginner’s plant. It is low maintenance and has few specific needs.

  • Keep out of reach of children and pets: If possible, keep the Pothos plant out of reach of pets and children because it contains potentially harmful calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals can cause irritations if the skin or mouth gets in contact with them. It is not a fatal toxin at all but it is still best to make sure kids don’t tear off any leaves or cats do not nibble at them either.
  • Very versatile arrangements are possible: You can make your Pothos look just the way you like it. By trimming your Pothos plant regularly, you keep it compact and lush. If not trimmed, it grows into only a few very long vines which can also look good if you wrap them around your living room. It all depends on your taste!
  • Hanging basket or support structure: You can decide how and where you want your Pothos to grow. It looks fantastic in a hanging basket but will also climb up any support structure you give it.
  • Humidify the air in winter: As a survivalist pro, your Epipremnum survives even the dry air inside our houses in winter. However, if you want to make your Pothos a little happier, use a humidifier in your room during wintertime. It thrives under humid air that best mimics its native tropical habitat.
  • Create good drainage in your pot: Even though it likes moist soil, do not let it sit in water permanently. With good drainage in your plant pot, overwatering it does not cause all that much harm because the excess water can freely flow out of the pot.

How do you create good drainage in a plant pot? Find out in my post why plants need drainage and how to drain any type of pot!

How to Propagate Epipremnum aureum

Golden Pothos is easily propagated by stem cuttings that are put in water to take root. It takes about 2-3 weeks for cuttings to root. Pothos is best planted in soil that drains well but keeps a lot of moisture in.

Stem cuttings work best by cutting the tip of vines, though you can also use middle parts. Middle parts might just take a little longer to take root.

Tip: Make your own soil mix to plant your Pothos by checking out my post on what soil indoor plants need and how to make your own multipurpose indoor soil mix.

Epipremnum Superpowers

The Epipremnum is a survivalist superhero. Its hardiness makes it survive even in the worst conditions. Because of its ability to survive, this plant can also grow incredibly long and become quite old. Some specimens of this plant have grown longer than 40 feet (12m) and have become older than 20 years.

Among the Golden Pothos’ further special skills are its air cleaning capacities. It filters all toxins from the air such as formaldehyde, benzene, toluene, xylene, and carbon monoxide.

Further Questions

What Houseplants Are Good For Beginners?

The Golden Pothos is only one of the many plants that beginner plant parents can get without a second thought. Learn more about what other common plant types make for a good start to greener living!

Can You Grow Plants In Just Water?

Especially when talking about plant types such as the Pothos, the question of whether all plants need soil comes up frequently. Many tropical plants such as Pothos, Philodendron, or Hoya, live as semi-epiphytes in their natural habitat. This means they do not grow on proper soil there.

Hence as houseplants, many species do very well in just water. It makes them less prone to pests and diseases but it is more difficult to juggle a balanced diet with only fertilizers.

Find out what else to keep in mind when growing plants in just water in my post, including tips for suitable plant types to grow in water.

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