Whether you are new to houseplants or already have a few, the golden pothos is a great addition to your home.
The easy to care for nature of a golden pothos makes it great for any level. Plus, its beautiful foliage makes it a joy to look at.
Read on to learn about how to care for golden pothos plants.
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What is a golden pothos?
A golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum), also known as a devil’s ivy and ivy arum, is a trailing plant with heart-shaped leaves. Golden pothos has green leaves that can be solid in color or have some cream to yellow variegation on them.
It is a popular houseplant due to its easy care instructions and ability to thrive in various conditions.
Are golden pothos poisonous/toxic?
Yes, all parts of the golden pothos plant are poisonous. While it doesn’t usually cause death, it can still harm people, cats, and dogs.
This is due to the calcium oxalate that the plant contains. Calcium oxalate is like a piece of broken glass and can shred the skin and digestive tract.
If you have small children or pets you should keep the golden pothos out of their reach. If this isn’t possible, it’s best to consider a different plant.
Golden pothos care
While the golden pothos is one of the easiest houseplants to grow, it does have a few requirements.
Golden pothos grows best in bright, indirect sunlight. While this is best, it can tolerate low and medium light as well.
While it can grow in low light conditions, the new leaves will be smaller and have less variegation.
It can also cause the plant to become leggy. This is because it is trying to find more light.
To keep the plant growing on all sides, rotate it every few days. This ensures all sides of the plant are getting enough light.
Another important part of golden pothos care is watering. Allow the soil to dry out between waterings. This is typically every 5-7 days.
The frequency of watering will depend on the size of your pot, the type of potting mix, and the conditions in your house.
I water my golden pothos once a week. The soil is usually dry enough to need water by then without having gotten too dry.
Golden pothos does best in rooms with medium to high humidity (40 to 60%). Though they will tolerate lower levels of humidity as well.
If your home typically has humidity lower than 40%, you may want to consider raising the humidity around your golden pothos. This can be done in a few ways.
You can group your plants together, put a pebble tray with water under your plant, or buy a small humidifier to place near it.
For my golden pothos, the humidity varies from 30 to 70% depending on the weather and the season. In the summer, it’s usually around 50 to 70%.
In the winter I use a dehumidifier to keep it around 35%. Otherwise, I get moisture on my windows and that has led to mold in the past.
I, personally, don’t worry about the humidity level for my golden pothos. As long as I keep it watered enough, it seems to do fine.
Golden pothos are tropical plants that prefer warm temperatures, anywhere between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Though that is what they prefer, they can tolerate slightly lower temperatures.
I have never had my golden pothos above 85°F for more than a short period of time. Under 65°F is quite common though.
All winter long, I have one floor of my house that gets below 65 at night. And I’m lucky if it reaches 68 during the day. With this, my golden pothos does fine during the winter. It may have slower growth and takes longer to dry out, but it manages like the rest of us.
That being said, I don’t recommend keeping a tropical plant in a cool location year-round. I think my pothos manages because my house is warmer in the summer.
Golden pothos grows best in well-draining soil. A typical potting mix will work well. If you’re not sure if your potting mix will drain well, you can add some perlite, vermiculite, or orchid bark to it.
Recently I have been adding orchid bark to the potting mix that I’ve been buying. I’m not a fan of perlite as it eventually can rise to the top of the pot. And vermiculite hasn’t always been easy to find where I live.
But honestly, I’ve had pothos for years that have grown nicely with straight out of the bag potting soil. Just make sure you are using potting soil and NOT garden soil.
If you use good potting soil, like Miracle Grow potting soil, you shouldn’t need to fertilize your pothos for at least 6 months.
After that, it’s a good idea to fertilize your golden pothos regularly. This is because it’s growing in a confined space with no way to replace the nutrients that the plant is using.
Fertilizer replaces those nutrients, allowing your plant to continue to have the best conditions to grow.
Just make sure to follow all the directions on the bottle of fertilizer. It will tell you how much to use, how to apply it, and how often to apply it.
Also, make sure you buy a fertilizer specifically made for houseplants.
You’ll need to repot your golden pothos every 1 to 2 years as it outgrows its pot.
When you repot it, remove as much of the old potting soil as possible without damaging the roots. This allows you to use more fresh potting soil that is full of nutrients.
You also want to choose a new pot that has a drainage hole and is about an inch or so bigger to allow for more root growth. This is especially important if it is root bound when you remove it from the old pot.
How big does a golden pothos get?
A golden pothos can grow to be quite large when in its native habitat growing on tree trunks. The leaves can reach a foot or more in length. And the vine can grow to reach about 60 feet long.
Indoors the golden pothos leaves only get about 4 to 8 inches long. Pothos vines that are grown indoors typically only get to about 6 to 10 feet long.
My biggest golden pothos had leaves that were about 4 or 5 inches long and the vine was over 10 feet long. Then I repotted it and dropped the pot, breaking it.
After repotting it again, it started to struggle, dying from the root end. I assume the roots were damaged when I dropped the pot.
Do you need to clean a golden pothos?
Golden pothos doesn’t really need regular cleaning. If the leaves get dusty, you can dust them, but I seldom bother with that.
To dust the leaves, just take a damp cloth and wipe the dust off the leaves. Don’t use soap, water is all you need.
Can you propagate a golden pothos?
Yes, you can propagate a golden pothos. I personally think it is one of the easiest plants to propagate.
All you need is clean scissors or a knife, a jar, and some water.
To propagate your golden pothos you need to cut the end of a vine so you have at least one node and leaf.
I tend to have the best luck on cuttings that have two or three nodes on them. More than that and the vine struggles. Less than two nodes they seem more likely to rot.
Then put the cut end into the water making sure the leaf is out of the water. Then wait for new roots to grow.
Does a golden pothos need to climb?
No, a golden pothos doesn’t need to climb. In fact, it can grow quite happily without something to climb on.
One of the most common ways to grow a golden pothos is to have it in a hanging basket. This allows the vines to trail to the floor.
If you prefer to have a climbing pothos, you can put something in the pot for it to climb. You can use a moss pole, or a small trellis, or allow it to climb a board or the wall.
I personally have used moss poles for my golden pothos and have some of my other pothos on a trellis.
One note of warning: if you choose to allow your golden pothos to climb the wall, the aerial roots can, and probably will damage the wall.
Common Issues with golden pothos
Even though golden pothos is easy to grow, there are some issues you may have with them.
One of the most common issues with golden pothos is that it gets leggy. This happens when the plant isn’t getting enough light.
The vines become long with large spaces between the leaves in an attempt to reach for more light.
If your plant is getting leggy, move it to an area with brighter light. The leggy growth won’t produce any more leaves, but the new growth should be less leggy.
If the leggy growth bothers you, chop and prop. Cut the plant back to where it started being leggy and put the pruned plant in an area with more light.
Then propagate the pothos cuttings. Once they have roots, add them back into the same pot or put them in new pots.
Another common issue with golden pothos is yellowing leaves. This can be caused by several different things:
One of the most common reasons for yellowing leaves is overwatering. If you think you’re watering your plant too much, cut back on watering and see if the leaves stop turning yellow.
And make sure to dump out the excess water that collects in the base of the pot.
On the other hand, if you think you’re not watering your plant enough, try increasing the amount of water you give it.
If you’re using a fertilizer that’s too high in nitrogen, it can cause the leaves to turn yellow. Cut back on fertilizing or switch to a fertilizer with lower nitrogen content.
Too much light
While most plants need lots of light to grow, too much light can cause the leaves of golden pothos to turn yellow. Move the plant to an area with less light if you think this is the problem.
Drooping or Curling Leaves
If the leaves of your plant are drooping or curling, it’s probably not getting enough water. Try increasing the amount of water you give it and see if that helps.
Pests are another common issue with golden pothos. The most common pests are mealybugs, spider mites, and fungus gnats.
If you see any of these pests on your plant, you need to treat your plant.
Spider mites and mealybugs can lead to the death of your plant if left untreated. Both of these pests can be treated with neem oil.
Fungus gnats are unlikely to cause damage to your plant, but they are extremely annoying. The easiest way to treat these is by using sticky traps. After a week or so, most of the adults should be dead and stuck to the traps.
The most common disease affecting golden pothos is root rot. This is caused by the plant sitting in water for too long. If you think your plant has root rot, the best thing to do is to cut away the affected roots and repot the plant in fresh soil.
Golden pothos is the perfect low-maintenance plant for any household. Along with being easy to grow, it’s pretty to look at.
With a little bit of care, your plant will thrive. Just be sure to give it enough light, water, and fertilizer and you’ll have a happy plant.