Golden Pothos Care—Best Plant Guide 101

Golden pothos is one plant that is immensely popular in both residential and commercial properties. You are very likely to see it at homes on desks and in commercial properties such as shopping malls, offices and public locations. It is because this plant is beautiful and very easy to care for.

They can also be displayed in myriad ways. You can either hang them in attractive baskets at your home and balcony or place them in small cute pots on a shelf. It is also called devil’s ivy because of its innate resilience and will to live. So, if you are a novice and do not want to have a high-maintenance plant, this is the one you should go after.

The basic requirements that are needed for most indoor and outdoor plants do not apply for the golden pothos and they can even thrive in the darkest corners of the home. Dim light and a lack of sun can also not kill it and it will go on for a few days till you rectify your schedule and learn to love and care for it.

The ease of placement, the myriad ways of displaying it, the many places that you can place it in and its gorgeousness and low maintenance all make it an excellent plant to add to your already thriving collection or a new start to gardening and being a plant parent.

A golden pothos plant located on a table in a pot. Golden Pothos make amazing indoor plants!

Traits of Golden Pothos That You Must Know

There are a number of traits that make the golden pothos a must-have plant at home or office premises. Read on!

Air Purifier

If you live in a part of the world that is polluted, this plant can be a beautiful addition to your home because of its air purifying qualities. This plant is adept at removing benzene, xylene, toluene, etc. from the air and making it purer. In fact, it is one of the most effective toxins removing plants that you can surround yourself with.

Ideal for People Who Lead Busy Lives

Golden pothos is the ideal plant for those who lead busy lives or are constantly on the move due to work or business. This is also great for those who like plants but cannot commit themselves to care for them.

Space Constraints Are Not an Issue

If you live in an apartment and do not have a big balcony or terrace or even open spaces at home, nothing to worry about. The golden pothos does not need a lot of space to thrive and easily adjusts to small spaces.

In fact, golden pothos thrive in places that receive low to medium light, have high humidity and receive partial shade. If you have some other plants at home, you can underplant the golden pothos along with them. They can be hung vertically also for the vine to drape beautifully.

Golden Pothos plants are easy to grow in many locations including from hanging pots and planters.

Feng Shui Enthusiasts

If you are into Feng Shui and prefer a plant that has beautiful leaves and a tropical vibe, this is the plant that you need to get home. Its variegated leaves are to die for and can instantly uplift your mood.

Toxic to Pets

Though the golden pothos has several benefits to offer, you must also remember that it is not the best plant for pets such as cats and dogs and if you have those at home, you need to keep them at a place where your pet can’t reach them.

The presence of insoluble calcium oxalates makes the golden pothos toxic to pets and you should make sure you place them outside the reach of your cat, dog or any other pet.

Signs of Golden Pothos Poisoning

If, despite taking all the precautions, your pet has somehow managed to pull on the golden pothos, you need to watch out for signs of poisoning. These include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Drooling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Irritation in the eyes and mouth

Though these are common symptoms associated with toxicity and poisoning, they are not exhaustive. There can be some other symptoms too and if you see something amiss in your pet, you should immediately consult a vet.

If you spend time self-diagnosing and treating, it could be potentially damaging. Trusting a professional, therefore, is the best bet you have.

How to Care for a Golden Pothos Plant: Everything You Need to Know

Now that you know that the golden pothos is a very easy-to-grow plant, you should still understand its basic requirements and make sure you supply it with all optimum growing conditions.

Light

If you have a golden pothos, you need to place it near an eastern or northern facing window for it to thrive. It is a plant that grows well in low to medium indirect light. You don’t need to place it in a place that it receives bright, direct scorching sun. This is because the plant will burn away in extreme heat.

You also need to turn the plant every time you water it to expose the plant thoroughly to light. Golden pothos loves the sun but can also thrive in dim light when the light is not that great. You can also place it on a shady patio provided you expose it to the sun every once in a while.

Humidity is a friend of the Golden Pothos plant.

Water

The golden pothos does not have major watering needs and you don’t need to water it every day. One of the best indications that the plant needs water is when the top layer of the soil in which it is planted dries out completely. You can also poke the soil in which the golden pothos is planted to check if the two inches of the topsoil are dry.

Another indication that the plant needs water is when the leaves begin to curl. When you do water the soil, filter it with a spraying nozzle for the best results.

At no point in time should you water the plant so much that the roots get completely drowned because that can lead to rot in the plant. Overwatering is the only thing that you need to be cautious about when it comes to caring for your golden pothos.

Perils of Overwatering Your Golden Pothos

Root rot is the most common cause of overwatering golden pothos. You can identify a root rot by the changing color of the leaves and their wilting condition. Additionally, the soil around the plant may feel soggy and the stem may develop some black or brown spots.

The most unfortunate part of root rot is that you will have to discard the plant unless you find a way of reducing its moisture. The latter is difficult to do and people, most often, have to let go of a plant that they love.

However, if you manage to dry the oil out, kudos! You should now treat the plant with hydrogen peroxide to kill any fungus or bacteria that may be thriving on the golden pothos.

Here are some other steps that you can take to salvage an overwatered golden pothos:

  • Dig and overturn the soil in which the plant is potted. This is necessary to give some aeration to the golden pothos. Digging makes more oxygen available to the plant, which is necessary for its healthy growth. Overturning the soil is also a great exercise in drying the soil out and thereby preventing excess moisture accumulation.
  • Trim off the yellow and brown leaves from the plants, making room for new leaves to emerge on the plant. Once you see that healthy leaves have started sprouting, you should be assured that you have managed to save your golden pothos.
  • Consider repotting it completely. Sometimes, root rot may only leave this option to you and you would have to do it even if it is a golden pothos that isn’t two years old.
  • Refrain from watering the golden pothos for a few days after you have salvaged it from overwatering. In fact, if you begin to water an already moist soil you would be damaging the golden pothos to a point of no return. Would that not be counterproductive?
  • Fix the drainage of the container. You may also need to make a couple of more holes in the container to ensure that the root doesn’t rot again.

However, bear in mind you will only be able to salvage your golden pothos if the root rot is not excessive. So, the first step that you must ensure is to water the plant perfectly well to not let that happen.

How to Water Your Golden Pothos?

A bottom-up approach is an ideal way of watering the plant and will also prevent overwatering. In addition, make sure you refrain from using water that is high in salt to water the golden pothos.

Can You Mist Your Golden Pothos?

This is a common question that many pothos parents seem to have. However, you must not mist your golden pothos. If the winter months require humidity around the golden pothos, you can do that better using a pebble tray.

Misting may not adequately provide humidity to the golden pothos, nor is it sufficient to keep it moist. On the contrary, it may increase the risk of pest infestation on your golden pothos.

Pruning the golden pothos plant is key in making sure the plant stays healthy and free of pests.

Pruning

You should occasionally prune your golden pothos because this will fasten its growth and keep it hale and hearty, and also free from pests. Use a scissor to do this and don’t do it more often than once every two months.

Temperature

The golden pothos thrives in tropical temperatures such as 70-90°F. You need to protect the plant from drafts and therefore, make sure you don’t expose it to severe air conditioning. Temperatures above 70°F are ideal to keep the golden pothos blooming and thriving.

Soil

The golden pothos thrives best in well-drained soil. The soil should be such that it does not allow puddles of water to stand because this can lead to overhydration and lead to rot in the roots. Neutral to acidic soil works best for the golden pothos, and while it should be moist, it should be well drained.

You can either buy a well-draining potting mix from the market or go with a mixture of sand, perlite and moss to give the golden pothos optimum soil for its healthy growth.

Fertilizer

The spring and the summer months are the ideal time to fertilize the golden pothos. You can supply the plant with a slow fertilizer once a month during the peak growing time i.e. summer and spring. You don’t need to furnish it with any fertilizer during the winter months when the plant goes into dormancy.

Fertilizing should be done with care and when the plant is not watered. While you feed the plant, check that it does not have any rot or pest, or disease.

Cleaning

Cleaning the golden pothos occasionally can be a good way to ensure their grooming and maintenance. It can also be therapeutic and help you unwind by spending some quality time with yourself. You will be amazed at how freeing and liberating nature can be!

A watering can with filtered water must be used to clean the leaves and make them come alive. Once you sprinkle the leaves with water, let them air dry. Sometimes, if there is visible dirt or debris on the leaves, you can use a moist cloth to clean them off.

Rains are also a natural cleanser that cleans the leaves and makes the plant look really gorgeous. But that can only happen when you place the plant outdoors. Indoor plants would warrant some care from you, let’s say once every two months.

Alternately, you can also place your indoor golden pothos outside when it rains and get it inside when the plant dries out.

Pests

Pests can infiltrate even the healthiest of plants and as a plant parent, you must constantly check your golden pothos for pests and diseases. The key areas of the plant that you need to examine for this purpose include the soil, leaves and stem.

Mealybugs and spider mites are some of the most common pests to attack the golden pothos. This is something that even a low-maintenance plant such as this cannot avoid. Hence, keep checking the plant for any visible signs of pests to keep it healthy and happy.

How to Keep Your Golden Pothos Pest and Disease Free?

It is easy to keep the golden pothos free from pests and diseases. Mealybugs are one of the most common pests to attack the golden pothos. You can remove these from the plant using:

  • Cotton swab
  • Hands
  • Insecticidal soap

These pests often lead to rot in leaves, stems and roots and can also cause blight. Healthy roots are the key to keeping the golden pothos healthy. Therefore, you need to examine the roots properly before purchasing the plant and if you see any changes to it, you should take action immediately to resolve the rot.

A quick tip to check if there is pest infiltration in the golden pothos is to check the color of the leaves. If the leaves look brittle, worn out and yellow, this can be a clear indication of pests.

Mealbugs are an enemy of Golden Pothos plants just as they are with many other plants. Keep an eye and get rid of mealybugs if you notice them

How to Identify Mealybugs on Your Golden Pothos?

Mealybugs are one of the most common pests to infest on golden pothos. These are habitual defaulters and infest all types of houseplants. Hence, being vigilant against them is the best you can and should do.

Mealybugs are soft-bodied insects that have a slight pink tinge on them in addition to a white, waxy coating on their body. This white coat is a kind of protective shield for these bugs as it prevents them from excessive heat in the hot summer months when they are the most active.

No matter how vigilant and careful you are, mealybugs are sure to make their way to your plants. They can sometimes come from soil or a fresh plant and getting rid of them is the best option that you have. Their small size makes it easier for them to infiltrate plants and feed on them.

Though removing them is not going to cause any problem to you, as they are harmless to humans, they can really harm your golden pothos. At the most, removing mealybugs from your plant by hand can cause skin irritation, but that also seldom happens.

Though golden pothos is immune to many other pests and diseases, the mealybugs tend to somehow make their way to the plants. They can turn the leaves of the plant yellow and slowly feed on them till they kill them.

How to Control a Mealybug Infestation on the Golden Pothos?

Mealybug infestation on the golden pothos can be controlled in a number of ways. These include:

Lady Bugs are a natural enemy to mealybugs!
Ladybugs

This is one of the most common ways to control mealybugs on your golden pothos. Ladybugs are insects that are known for eating aphids. However, they can also be used to control the infestation of mealybugs and other small, waxy insects that feed on houseplants.

In essence, these insect predators can help you clear away mealybugs from your plant. You can get these easily online or in a nursery; just make sure to check the exact amount of ladybugs that you would need to get your golden pothos completely free from mealybugs.

Isopropyl Alcohol

This is another way of tackling mealybugs and keeping your golden pothos disease and pest-free. More commonly used as a disinfectant in the medical field, isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol is also effective in killing mealybugs and other small insects that feed on houseplants.

To use this, you can simply dip a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol and use it on the leaves to disinfect them completely from mealybugs. If the infiltration is severe, you can use a spray bottle to spray alcohol on the golden pothos.

However, you also need to check if the plant can take the severity of the solution. Spray a couple of leaves with rubbing alcohol to check if the leaves can withstand it. Sometimes, isopropyl alcohol can lead to a burn in the leaves.

If this happens, you would need to dilute the solution first before treating the entire plant with it.

Insecticides

Sometimes, mealybug infestation can be managed with store-bought insecticides. You can look for one with low toxicity to rid your golden pothos with mealybugs. Alternately, insecticide soap can also be used on the plant to keep it disease-free. It is also a less harsh treatment as compared to artificial insecticides.

Neem Oil

This is a great and organic way of treating your golden pothos and keeping them free from mealybugs. This is also used by people who are more into organic farming and do not want to spray their plants with harsh chemicals.

Neem oil is a strong and safe solution to mealybug infestations and disrupts the insect’s hormonal balance. They kill the mealybug and stop it from reaching its next cycle. The smell of the neem oil is also a deterrent to the mealybugs.

You can spray your golden pothos with neem oil once in a while to keep mealybugs away from them.

Horticulture Oil

If you have an aversion to pesticides, horticulture oil may be a great way to protect your golden pothos from mealybugs. It is an eco-friendly alternative to pesticides and can also rid the plant of some other insects that may feed on it. Horticulture oil disrupts the egg metabolism of mealybugs, freeing the plant from insects.

Golden Pothos plants do well in pots, but if they get to large you may have to repot them.

Repotting

This is something that many people struggle with and get intimidated by. This becomes a deterrent in getting plants home because the caring needs seem too much to commit to. While some plants have frequent repotting needs, the golden pothos will not give you much trouble at all when it comes to repotting.

You can repot the golden pothos once every two years. Sometimes, you can also skip this if the plant shows signs that say it can do without repotting. A thorough inspection of the roots will give you an indication of the plant needs repotting.

If the roots have spread out a lot and seem to be caged in their current container, it should be a clear indication that you need to repot the golden pothos. This won’t happen earlier than a couple of years from propagating and nurturing the plant.

Summer is the best season to repot the golden pothos. If you have been taking good care of the plant, chances are the vines would have grown longer. You can simply tie these at the time of repotting.

The basic requirements for repotting include well-drained soil and a container with holes so that the water does not stay. This is because a container without proper drainage holes will lead to rot in the roots and potentially cause the plant’s death.

Alternately, if the leaves have grown too much, you can always propagate a new plant from them by clipping them away. This will also be beneficial to your current plant and stimulate its growth.

How to Repot Your Golden Pothos?

Repotting a golden pothos is easy and can be done without the help of a gardener. In fact, this is one of the perks of getting a low-maintenance plant such as the golden pothos that you can do everything pretty much on your own.

For repotting, you need to carefully remove the plant from its current container and put it in a new one that is slightly bigger than the current with good drainage and holes. Make sure to remove any debris and dirt stuck to the roots before you repot it.

While you are repotting the plant, you can also propagate a new one from the existing plant.

The Many Ways of Propagating the Golden Pothos

Though repotting is a good way of keeping the plant alive and maintained, there are a few other ways to propagate the golden pothos and that too easily. They are popular and practiced by people all across the world who love pothos.

Here is what you need to know:

Root Propagation

Root propagation is one of the most common ways of propagating the golden pothos and almost all different types of Pothos. It is easy and can be done by you without any help.

Follow these easy steps to propagate golden pothos from roots.

  • Cut a stem from a mature golden pothos. Make sure the stem is at least 4-6 inches in height and has three to four leaves on it for the best results.
  • Let the stem be for some time to ensure that it dries out well.
  • Create a good potting mix simultaneously and once the stem is dry, plant the stem in the mix. Make sure you don’t plant the stem too deep. This may lead to potential rot and cause the plant’s death.
  • Water the plant periodically and do not forget to place it in indirect sunlight. When you have just propagated the golden pothos, steer away from overwatering the plant as it will make it rot.
You can propagate golden pothos in water.

Water Propagation

Water propagation is one of the most common ways of propagating golden pothos. It is easy, convenient and a beautiful way as you can see the various stages of growth of the plant. It is, in fact, one of the best ways to witness the bounties of nature.

At the time when we are all living stressful lives, seeing a plant grow in close vicinity to yourself can be fulfilling and life affirming. It is these small things that make life beautiful.

Here is what you need to do to propagate golden pothos using the water propagation method:

  • Cut 4-6 inches of pothos stem from a full-grown plant. Make sure that the stem you cut off is healthy and does not have any signs of disease or pest and has at least, four to five healthy leaves springing on it.
  • Take a glass container (glass jar, vase, or even a mason jar) and fill it with water. Place the stem in the glass container, making sure the cut end is immersed fully in the water.
  • Take the glass and keep it in an area that receives optimum sunlight but not scorching rays of the sun.
  • You will see the plant springing to life in a few weeks. Once this happens, you can supplant the golden pothos in the soil using the root propagating method discussed above.

A word of advice is that you must keep the stem in water for as long as it is needed. You must never overdo it because once the pothos gets used to the water, it will be difficult for them to acclimatize to the soil.

Seed Propagation

Though uncommon, sometimes the golden pothos can be propagated using seeds. Follow these steps to propagate the golden pothos using seeds:

  • Take a medium-sized container with holes and fill it with well-draining soil. The soil should be a mixture of perlite and sand.
  • Sprinkle seeds into the seedbed and cover them with a thin layer of soil. This is necessary to cover them with soil so that they don’t get blown away by the wind or eaten by insects or termites.
  • Once you have done this, water the seeds gently to ensure their growth.
  • Make sure to place the container in an area where it receives sunlight, indirect and bright.
  • See the seeds sprout and pat yourself for doing the job really well.

Layering is another way of propagating the golden pothos, or any other variety of pothos for that matter. But it is not as easy as the other ones and hence, not as popular.

The Final Word

Golden pothos is a great plant to get home. Its foliage looks beautiful and the vines can make any space seem more beautiful.

The fact that it is low on maintenance makes it easy to propagate and nurture. A few simple caring steps and the plant will thrive forever. If you are planning to get one home, do it. It is totally worth it!

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