Everything You Need to Know About Pothos Plant Growth Expectations
The Pothos is one of the fastest-growing houseplants around. The long vines can grow several inches per month under the right conditions, creating the stunning look we all know and love. In this guide, we’re going to take you through everything you need to know about how fast and how big pothos plants grow at home. We’ll also share some essential pothos plant care and growing tips, so yours thrive.
- How Fast Do Pothos Plants Grow? – The Essentials
- About Pothos Plants
- Growth Expectations: Pothos Plant Growth Indoors vs Outdoors
- A Pothos Plant’s Natural Growth Cycle
- How Long Does it Take a Pothos Plant to Reach Full Size?
- Factors Contributing to the Speed and Development of a Pothos Plant
- Common Reasons Your Pothos Plant Growth is Slow
- How to Make Your Pothos Plant Grow Faster
- Pothos Plant Growth FAQs
- Wrapping Up
How Fast Do Pothos Plants Grow? – The Essentials
Most Pothos varieties grow around 10-18 inches per month during the peak growing season. Variegated varieties have less chlorophyll in the leaves and grow slightly slower than greener ones. Giving your Pothos the right lighting conditions and adequate fertilizer will ensure quick and healthy growth.
|Marble Queen pothos||12 inches per month|
|Golden pothos||12-18 inches per month|
|Pothos n’joy||10-12 inches per month|
|Jade pothos||18 inches per month|
|Hawaiian pothos||12-18 inches per month|
|Manjula pothos||12 inches per month|
|Neon pothos||12-18 inches per month|
|Satin pothos||1 foot per year|
About Pothos Plants
Family, Genus, and Taxonomy
The current scientific name for Pothos is Epipremnum aureum, but that wasn’t always the case.
Its common name comes from the original genus it was placed in 1880 – Pothos aureus. It changed to Rhaphidophora aurea in the 1960s and was briefly confused for Epipremnum pinnatum before being given the name we know it as today.
There are a few species of climbing vines in the Epipremnum genus, all falling under the Monsteroideae sub-family. The Pothos is closely related to the Philodendron, which they are commonly confused with, and the ever-popular Monstera.
The Pothos is part of the Arum family – Araceae. This family contains many common houseplants, including Peace Lilies and Anthuriums.
Pothos are prized for their symbolic and ornamental value and also provide a host of other uses and benefits for would-be plant parents. They’re also super easy to propagate if you’re looking to grow your pothos plant collection.
Pothos has heart-shaped leaves growing from long vines. Thanks to their aerial roots, these vines can easily climb, readily latching onto nearby structures.
The common Golden Pothos has deep green leaves with flecks of gold, but there are many cultivars with interesting variegation patterns and growth habits. Marble Queen, for example, has spotty white or cream variegation, while the Neon Pothos has captivating bright green leaves.
History & Origins
As these plants naturalize so quickly in the areas they are introduced to, discovering the true origins of the Pothos is not easy. However, scientists believe they may originate from an island off the coast of French Polynesia.
As they can look incredibly different throughout their life cycle, depending on the conditions they are grown in, botanists had a hard time figuring this plant out initially. It was eventually placed in the Epipremnum genus where it remains today.
Popular Types, Species, and Cultivars
The most common Pothos is the Golden Pothos, hence the specific epithet name aureum. But there are many stunning cultivars, some rarer than others, that make the Pothos a true collector’s item.
Fans of variegated foliage will love Marble Queen and Snow Queen, both featuring the same pattern as the Golden Pothos but with white or cream sections instead of yellow. Snow Queen has more variegation, but Marble Queen tends to be easier to find as one of the oldest variegated cultivars.
Both N’Joy and Pearls & Jade are also variegated, but the variegated sections appear in large spots rather than in stripes. These cultivars are relatively new to the market and are often mistaken for each other due to their similar look.
For a more uniform look, you can’t go wrong with the Neon Pothos. This popular variety has yellowy-green leaves that make it look as if it were glowing. Thanks to its uniform color, it is also a quick grower, beat only by darker cultivars like Jade.
There are also plants commonly known as Pothos that fall under a completely different genus. For example, the popular Satin Pothos, with silvery-green foliage, falls under the Scindapsus genus as Scindapsus pictus.
Although they originate from the small islands of French Polynesia, Pothos can now be found in tropical forests around the world. They are present in Southeast Asia, Australia, the West Indies, and Southern Africa.
In some forests, they have become invasive, suffocating trees and other surrounding native plants. However, they are most commonly found in homes across continents, grown as a houseplant.
Growth Expectations: Pothos Plant Growth Indoors vs Outdoors
Pothos vines can reach impressive heights outdoors. They are known to climb tall trees, reaching well over 20 feet in length and covering entire tree trunks.
Their leaves also grow incredibly large and develop slits like other members of the Monsteroideae sub-family, with a length well over 20 inches. These plants are so large that many may not recognize them outdoors.
Due to the differences in growing conditions and the space constraints of a pot, Pothos do not grow as large indoors.
The leaves will only grow to a maximum of 8 inches long, although the vines will continue to grow more extended year after year in the right conditions. Providing optimal conditions can help them grow bigger, but they are unlikely to reach the towering size they do in their natural environments.
A Pothos Plant’s Natural Growth Cycle
Pothos will produce new growth during spring and summer each year.
Around fall, growth begins to slow, and growth will stop almost entirely in winter. During the colder months, the plant prioritizes storing energy to make up for the energy lost with less photosynthesis.
In the right conditions, your Pothos may still produce leaves during this time, but it will likely produce far less than it would during its peak growing period.
How Long Does it Take a Pothos Plant to Reach Full Size?
Outdoors, Pothos plants can reach 20-40 feet within a few years.
However, as the environmental conditions are slightly different indoors, they will take far longer to reach their full potential. They should continue to grow longer vines year after year unless they are trimmed or have stunted growth.
Factors Contributing to the Speed and Development of a Pothos Plant
Care and Maintenance
Pothos are quick growers when given the proper care.
These low-maintenance plants require consistent watering and the occasional fertilizer application to grow to their full potential. Inadequate care or lack of maintenance can result in stunted growth as the plant ages. Pruning your pothos plant can also help to accelerate new growth.
The type of Pothos you choose can also influence how fast they will grow.
Variegated varieties like Snow Queen or Manjula are naturally slower growers due to the lower chlorophyll present in their leaves. As less photosynthesis occurs, the plant has less energy and food to use for growth.
This is also why variegated varieties in lower lighting conditions will begin to lose their variegation – they produce more chlorophyll to make the most of the softer light provided.
Pothos plants will grow quickest when the environmental conditions closely match what they are used to in their natural tropical habitats.
For most of the day, bright indirect sunlight and high humidity will help speed up pothos plant growth. Temperature also plays a role, as growth will slow in cooler months, stopping below 50F.
Common Reasons Your Pothos Plant Growth is Slow
Overwatering is one of the greatest indoor plant killers.
Most plants, especially houseplants, can’t sit in moist soil for long periods. When their roots are exposed to too much moisture, they begin to rot. As rotten and mushy roots cannot take up any water, the plant cannot photosynthesize and will slow growth, ultimately stopping altogether.
Only water when the top 2-3 inches of soil are completely dry, and ensure your pot has plenty of drainage holes to avoid overwatering.
Underwatering can also stunt growth for the same reason.
Water is an essential component in the process of photosynthesis. When the plants lack water, they cannot produce their own food for growth.
Your Pothos may be able to survive on the stores in the waxy leaves for a while, but if they remain underwatered for too long, they will stop growing.
Lack of Light
Pothos are often labeled low-light plants. This causes some owners to place them in rooms with no windows or incredibly dark corners, leading to stunted growth.
While they can tolerate low light conditions for a while, their growth will slow significantly and may even stop, depending on how dark the area is.
Move your Pothos to an area with bright indirect light for the quickest growth possible.
Pests & Diseases
Although they are not majorly susceptible to pests and diseases, common households pests like spider mites, scale, or mealybugs can attack you Pothos. These bugs feed on the plant tissues, slowing growth exponentially over time.
If you notice any pests on the leaves or stems of your pothos, remove them with a continuous application of neem oil until the problem is resolved.
Poor Soil Base
Soil is the foundation of plant growth. It provides essential nutrients and holds moisture to deliver water to the roots when needed. If your soil doesn’t contain enough nutrients, doesn’t hold enough moisture, or holds too much moisture, it can cause problems with growth.
Pothos soil should be airy and well-draining. Newly bought plants don’t require fertilizer but will benefit from additional nutrients after a few months during spring and summer.
Some new gardeners may assume more fertilizer will equal faster or stronger growth. Unfortunately, the opposite is the case. Excessive fertilization can actually burn the roots and cause extensive damage to the plant long-term.
Always follow the packaging instructions exactly to avoid stunting growth. If you have overfertilized, flush the soil with filtered water and don’t fertilize again for several months.
As tropical plants, Pothos prefer warmer temperatures around 70F for most of the year. When temperatures dip, the plants switch to energy conservation mode, limiting growth. Growth will typically slow when temperatures drop below 60F, stopping altogether under 50F.
How to Make Your Pothos Plant Grow Faster
The Best Soil Types
All Pothos varieties require light and airy well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH between 6 and 6.5.
A premade houseplant mix is typically suitable, with the right balance between moisture retention and drainage. You can also make your own soil mix by amending regular potting soil with coconut coir or peat moss and perlite.
The Best Light Conditions
Pothos plants will tolerate a wide range of lighting conditions but grow best when given bright, indirect sunlight for most of the day.
They will also appreciate some gentle direct morning sun in front of an east-facing window, but cannot handle direct sun in the hotter parts of the day.
Keep an eye out for yellowing leaves on your pothos plant as this is a common indicator that light conditions aren’t quite right.
The Most Suitable Potting Vessels and Containers
Drainage is essential in any container to avoid root rot. If you’re recycling an old object to make your own container, make sure you drill plenty of drainage holes before planting.
Hanging baskets are ideal for these plants as the stems can cascade downwards without any hindrances to growth, but any container large enough to hold the root system will be suitable.
Ideal Temperature & Humidity
Pothos plants prefer warmer temperatures between 70F and 85F. They don’t mind temperatures slightly out of this range, handling heat better than cold, but moderate temperatures will ensure the quickest growth.
They are also humidity lovers, growing best in about 60% humidity, but they will still grow well in humidity above 40%.
When and How to Fertilize
Not particularly heavy feeders, Pothos plants will grow best when given a lower concentration balanced fertilizer around once a month during spring and summer.
Staking / Providing support for the plant to grow
As these plants are climbers with aerial roots, they will grow quickly when placed close to an object they can climb. Moss poles are ideal, as they also improve humidity and moisture retention. Those looking for a living wall structure can also train the stems around a trellis.
When and How to Repot
Quick-growing pothos plants will benefit from frequent repotting to provide space for the roots to grow. Repot every 1-2 years, or when the plant shows signs of being root-bound, by planting in a pot a few sizes up. Try to replicate the original soil mix as much as possible and water soon after repotting to allow the roots to settle.
Pothos Plant Growth FAQs
How long does it take a Pothos plant to grow a new leaf?
Pothos should frequently put up new leaves under the right conditions in spring and summer. This slows in the colder months, but growth should ramp up again the following spring.
Are Pothos plants slow-growing?
Most Pothos plants are quick growers, especially compared to some other houseplants. Some variegated varieties grow slower than others but can still be considered rapid growers overall.
Are Pothos plants easy to care for?
The Pothos is one of the most low-maintenance houseplants you can find, perfect for beginner gardeners or forgetful plant parents.
How do you know if your Pothos plant is happy?
Happy Pothos plants will grow quickly, frequently putting out new leaves. Larger leaves and little space between the leaves also indicate the plant is growing well in the right conditions.
Do Pothos Plants like big pots?
Indoor Pothos plants are generally small and don’t require large pots. When repotting, choose a pot 1-2 sizes up at most.
Do Pothos Plants like grow lights?
As they prefer bright indirect light, Pothos plants can grow better with the use of grow lights in darker rooms with few windows. However, they are tolerant of low light and will still survive in without grow lights, although they may not grow as well.
If you’re looking for a fast-growing plant to fill a space in no time, Pothos is your answer. These low-maintenance and beginner-friendly plants are suitable for any kind of plant experience and will thrive in almost any type of growing environment. Give them adequate light, the proper temperatures, and the right amount of water, and they will continue thrive year after year.