Everything You Need to Know About When and How to Water Pothos Plants Grown Indoors
Also known as Devil’s Ivy, Pothos plants sport trailing vines with pointed, heart-shaped, and somewhat variegated foliage with white, yellow, or pale green striations. Luckily, these fast-growing houseplants are easy to get your hands on and will barely dent your wallet. Even better, Pothos plants are arguably one of the most straightforward plants to care for and provide lots of additional benefits. However, poor watering habits can make them discolored, stretched out, or flopping over. Make sure you’re giving your Pothos plants just the right amount and type of water with this guide.
- When and How to Water Pothos Plants – The Essentials
- About The Pothos Plant
- The Role of Water in Plant Health and Development
- When To Water Pothos Plants?
- How to Water Pothos Plants?
- Signs You Might Be Overwatering Your Pothos Plant
- Signs You Might Be Underwatering Your Pothos Plant
- What to Do In Between Watering Cycles
- Watering Pothos Plants FAQs
- Wrapping Up
When and How to Water Pothos Plants – The Essentials
On average, Pothos need weekly watering during the spring and summer and biweekly during the fall and winter, or once the top 2 to 3 inches of the soil dry out. However, it’s best to test the soil’s moisture instead of following a set schedule as environmental factors impact the watering frequency.
About The Pothos Plant
Pothos are common houseplants also known as Epipremnum aureum. Additionally, they are home to lush tropical jungles in Southeast Asia to the Western Pacifics; Pothos plants belong to the genus of flowering plants in the Araceae family.
Pothos plants are evergreen plants with thick, waxy, heart-shaped foliage with a splash of yellow or white. In its natural habitat, the Pothos plant is a vining plant that attaches itself to trees through its aerial roots.
They’re prized for their ornamental value and pothos plants are also rich in meaning and symbolism.
The Role of Water in Plant Health and Development
Water helps a plant in several ways, ensuring healthy growth and development.
- Water acts as a solvent and transpiration carrier that helps transport the soil’s essential nutrients to the plant, preventing malnourishment and a physically weak plant.
- Without enough water in a plant’s cells, the plant becomes weak and limp. Proving water ensures that the plant cells are full of water, keeping them rigid and upright and increasing their growth.
- Water helps with the hydraulic process that converts starch into sugar.
When To Water Pothos Plants?
Even though the Pothos plant will survive with similar watering schedules as most other houseplants, it will look at its best with the appropriate and optimum watering requirements.
Pothos plants natively grow in tropical and sub-tropical areas; they typically require watering every 7 to 14 days. However, as a quick rule, try to allow the soil’s top two to three inches to dry out between watering sessions.
Additionally, we encourage taking cues and hints from your plants instead of marrying a strict watering schedule as various factors contribute to the Pothos watering needs.
Watering and moisture requirements may vary for propagated pothos plants.
How Do You Know When a Pothos Plant Needs Watering?
Do not allow the Pothos plant’s soil to become bone-dry. However, ensure that the top two to three inches of the soil dries in-between watering.
Additionally, when the Pothos exhibits wilting or drooping foliage, they may need extra water.
How To Check When to Water Pothos Plants?
Various effective methods exist to test if the Pothos plant needs rewatering; these methods include:
- The finger test – stick your clean index finger into the Pothos plant’s soil about two inches deep. If the ground feels moist or wet, wait a few days before watering the plant. In comparison, if it feels dry, water the plant.
- Test the soil using a stick – this method is similar to the finger test; however, you use a stick instead of your finger.
- Use a moisture probe or meter – a moisture meter or probe works well to measure the moisture in the potting mixture.
- The weight test – if the pot feels lighter than usual when you pick up the plant, it is an indication that the Pothos needs watering.
How Often Do Pothos Plants Typically Need Watering?
Environmental Considerations That May Impact Watering Cycles
As we said earlier, it’s best to take the contributing environmental factors into account to determine the amount and frequency of water your Pothos needs instead of following a watering schedule.
Take the following four factors into account:
- Lighting conditions: Exposing the plant to brighter, direct sunlight will allow the soil to dry out rapidly; in turn, the Pothos will need more frequent watering. In comparison, low-lit areas tend to result in the plant needing a drink less frequently.
For example, you’ll need to water the plant more frequently if you grow it near a north- or south-facing window.
- Temperature: In warmer areas, plants generally consume more water; therefore, the Pothos will need more frequent watering.
- Humidity: Like sunlight exposure, the Pothos will require less watering in an environment with high humidity (similar to its native area) and more frequent watering if you plan to keep it in a location with low moisture.
Pothos plants enjoy high humidity, so if you want to keep their watering schedule on a low, be sure to keep the plant in a typically humid area in your homes, such as the bathroom or kitchen.
Still, the Pothos is hardy and tolerant to low humidity, so you won’t have to invest in a humidifier; however, you’ll want to provide water more frequently to keep the plant lush and thriving.
- Soil type: Not all soil is equal; the composition of your potting mixture will play a significant role in how often your Pothos needs watering.
Pothos plants typically thrive in ordinary potting soil that is well-draining. However, adding ingredients like perlite and peat moss will increase the aeration of the ground and the absorption of the water. Therefore, you’ll need to water the Pothos plant less frequently.
Seasonal Considerations That May Affect Watering Cycles
The Pothos plant actively starts growing in the late spring. From late spring through summer, the temperatures start climbing, and due to warmer weather, the soil absorbs water faster. So, you may find yourself needing to water the Pothos weekly rather than biweekly, but this will depend on the temperatures of your climate.
Then again, from fall through winter, Pothos plants continue growing right through the season. So, it may need a little less watering due to colder temperatures.
How to Water Pothos Plants?
The Pothos plant communicates in various ways to let us know that it is thirsty. So, instead of following a strict watering schedule, pay attention to the specific plant’s needs.
Here are the aspects to consider when watering the Pothos plant.
The Fundamental Importance of Good Drainage
Drainage is a vital factor to consider when growing Pothos. The potting mixture needs to be loose, aerated, and well-draining. Lastly, the container needs to have ample drainage holes.
Excess water will smother the roots and cause fungal diseases and root rot without proper drainage.
What Type of Water is Best for Pothos Plants?
Although Pothos plants tolerate regular tap water, the purer the water supply is, the healthier and more robust the Pothos will be.
The best options are rainwater, distilled water, or filtered water. However, if you only have access to tap water, allow it to stand in an open container for about 24 hours to allow the chlorine to dissipate before watering the Pothos.
How to Water Pothos Plants
The saturation method is the best technique to follow when watering the Pothos plant. One of the most significant errors made when watering a Pothos plant is not providing enough water to feed the top of the root ball.
Therefore, follow the correct saturation method to ensure that the entire root system has access to water without standing water that turns roots soggy.
You’ll want to ensure that the Pothos is in a container about two inches larger than the plant’s root ball. Then, ensure that the pot has adequate drainage holes and use aerated and well-draining potting soil.
Next, pour the water around the base of the plant while trying to avoid wetting the foliage. Continue watering the Pothos until water comes out of the drainage holes. Lastly, tip the container to prevent root rot and pour off any excess standing water.
Signs You Might Be Overwatering Your Pothos Plant
Like underwatering, the Pothos plant will communicate in various ways if it receives too much water. So, look out for the following signs.
- Guttation is a process that occurs when the Pothos try to process the excess water in the ground by pushing water out through the foliage tips while the roots absorb moisture from the soil.
- Wilted or curling leaves
- Wet, soggy roots
- Pests like mealybugs
To rescue an overwatered Pothos plant, allow the soil to dry out and prevent watering it until the top two to three inches feel dry to the touch. Additionally, use a soil probe to aerate the soil and consider pruning your pothos to remove past prime or decaying foliage.
Signs You Might Be Underwatering Your Pothos Plant
The Pothos plant communicates in various ways to let us know that it is thirsty. A few examples that the plant exhibits include the following:
- Sunken leaves
- Dry and crackly leaves with yellow or brown, dry patches.
- Leaf drop and a dying Pothos plant are indications of underwatering.
Revive the Pothos plant by providing enough water to moisten the entire root ball by watering the plant until the water starts running from the draining holes.
What to Do In Between Watering Cycles
Pothos will benefit from additional TLC in between watering cycles, including the occasional fertilizing and ensuring you position the pothos plant in the best location in your home for optimal growth. Here is what to do:
Should You Mist Pothos Between Waterings?
Misting the Pothos leaves between watering cycles is a great way to increase the humidity and keep the plant dust-free.
Will Pothos Plants Benefit From Sitting in a Humidity Tray?
Pothos will love the extra humidity. Placing it on a humidity tray is a fantastic way to keep the Pothos healthy, primarily If you reside in an arid area.
Main Things To Keep An Eye On
The main things to watch for in-between watering the Pothos is the following:
- Drooping leaves
- Spotted leaves
- Curling or wilting foliage
- Loss of variegation or vibrancy
- Color changes in the plant’s foliage
Watering Pothos Plants FAQs
What are the most common signs a Pothos plant needs watering?
The most common sign of a pothos plant needing water is when the leaves of the Pothos wilt or turn yellow and brown or when the foliage feels crispy around the edges.
What is the most effective way to water Pothos plants?
The best way to water the Pothos is through the saturated method or top watering.
How much water do Pothos plants need?
The amount of water a Pothos needs depends on its environment and size. However, it typically needs watering once the first two to three inches of the soil is dry. More so, water the plant until the water starts running through the drainage holes.
Is it ok to get water on Pothos plant leaves?
The Pothos leaves can get slightly wet through misting, but you’ll want to avoid letting large water drops pool on the surface of the foliage for extended periods as it can cause diseases.
What do I do if I overwater my Pothos plant?
Try to drain the excess water and allow the soil to dry completely before rewatering the Pothos. Additionally, remove the infected parts and repot the plant if the plant develops root rot.
Can I water my Pothos plant with tap water?
Pothos plants tolerate regular tap water, but the plant will be healthier and more robust when you use rainwater, distilled water, or filtered water.
Should I mist my Pothos plant?
Although not necessary, the Pothos benefits from the extra humidity. So, mist the plant once a week to boost moisture and to clean the plant.
To summarize, instead of following a strict watering schedule, test the soil to see if the top two or three inches are dry before rewatering the Pothos plant. In addition, consider the environmental factors as each impacts the plant’s frequency of watering.
The best method to follow when watering the Pothos plant is the saturation method, as it will ensure that the entire root ball receives moisture while preventing soggy soil and root rot.
By following these straightforward tips on how to water Pothos plants, you’re will have a lush Pothos as the star of your houseplant collection!
If you’re looking for your next pothos plant to add to your collection, see our in-depth guide to where to find the best pothos plants for sale.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.