How to propagate pothos plants at home: a step-by-step guide

How to propagate pothos plants at home: a step-by-step guide

If you're a fan of interiors that combine jungle and tropical oases—think Hilton Carter or Plant Queen homes—then you need to know how to propagate pothos plants. Beautiful vines are the key to beauty, and pothos plants are among the best houseplants that create a stunning look. In addition, pothos plants are great vines for beginners because they are very easy to maintain: the plant species usually thrives in low light conditions and tolerates some neglect. They are quite low maintenance, even therapeutic, in terms of plant care.

But how do we go about propagating pothos plants? To further develop your pothos making skills, we spoke to some plant pros. Vladan Nikolic, plant expert and creator of Mr. Houseplant: “Pothos is one of the easiest plants to propagate, and you can do this by cutting the stem into water or soil.” So, whether you're just hoping to add a few new houseplants here and there or opt for an entire indoor jungle, follow this guide below to get started on your pothos propagation journey.

The supplies you will need to propagate pothos plants

  1. Healthy pothos plant
  2. Trimming shears or scissors
  3. Water container
  4. Soil
  5. Container with drainage holes

Propagating Pothos is an easy project that you can do yourself.
Photo: Crystal Bolen/Getty Images

Step 1: Cut back the existing pothos vine

Most plant propagation starts with the healthy stem of an existing plant, and the same is true for pothos. Start by finding a pothos stem that has at least 2-3 leaves that are larger and richer in color. Skip any stems that have yellow leaves or new leaves that are just starting to grow. If you cut a vine while its leaves are still growing, you may put unnecessary stress on the trunk and roots may be less likely to sprout.

Where do I cut pothos plants to propagate them?

The stem you choose should have several nodes (they look like little bumps where future roots will emerge). “When propagating pothos plants, you want to cut just below a node,” says Autumn Hilliard-Knapp, marketing and horticulture coordinator at Perfect Plants Nursery. Use pruning shears or scissors to make the cut. “Nodes are important because this is where the plant will develop new roots. Look for a healthy stem that has several nodes to ensure successful propagation.

Step 2: Place the cuttings in water or soil

The first option: propagating the pothos plant in water

After selecting the appropriate stem, place the pothos cutting in a cup of water, making sure the leaves remain above the water. Here, it contains all the nutrients it needs. “I recommend propagating pothos in water and in a glass container,” says Alfred Palomares, vice president of merchandising at 1-800-Flowers. “Keep your container in a location that receives bright or moderate indirect light to encourage rooting.” Brighter, direct sunlight will help the new cuttings root faster. Remember to change the water every few days to maintain the right amount of minerals needed for plant development. Replacing the water regularly also prevents the growth of bacteria, which may harm the plant.

Option 2: Propagate pothos in soil

If you don't want to go the water propagation route, you can propagate in soil instead. “Plant parents can follow the same steps for cutting stems as they do for propagation in water,” Palomares says. Then place the cut end of the cutting in well-draining soil and in a pot with drainage holes. This will help water move freely through the soil and avoid root rot. “Propagating pothos in soil can be more reliable in terms of successful root development,” says Hilliard-Knapp. “Using a well-draining potting mix and keeping it constantly moist helps stimulate root growth.”

Step 3: Plant the rooted cuttings in the soil

Assuming you've chosen hydroponic propagation, once your pothos is rooted — meaning you can see new roots that are at least 2-3 inches long — it's time to transplant it into soil. You'll need to use a well-draining potting mix and a small pot with drainage holes. Water it and move it back to the same location that gets bright or moderate indirect sunlight. You will need to water the plant regularly to keep the soil evenly moist during the first week or two. Nikolic recommends watering the plant once every two days.

Frequently asked questions

If you still have some lingering questions about propagating pothos, consider the following frequently asked questions.

Pothos trees can add a jungle ambiance to your interiors.

Pothos trees can add a jungle ambiance to your interiors.
Photo: Yevvin Zed/Getty Images

Are some pothos varieties more difficult to propagate than others?

In general, most types of pothos plants are easy to propagate. “Certain varieties, such as golden pothos, are particularly easy to propagate due to their vigorous growth and tolerance to different conditions,” Hilliard-Knapp adds. “These varieties often root quickly and easily, making them ideal for beginners.” Popular houseplants like the neon queen and marbled are also easy to propagate.

On the other hand, there are a few varieties that are a little more difficult to propagate at home. “Cultivars like harlequin pothos can be more of a challenge because their distinctly variegated leaves are low in chlorophyll and somewhat delicate,” says Lauren Landers of Zero Waste Homestead.

Is it better to propagate pothos plants in water or soil?

As you've probably noticed, you can propagate pothos plants in both water and soil. Both methods are successful, but each comes with its own set of pros and cons. With water, there is the visual appeal of watching the pothos roots grow. “Water diffusion is also easier for beginners,” Nikolic points out. “There's no need to think about watering, there's no need to think about humidity,” and “water spread can be faster than soil spread.”

However, as the water spreads, there is a risk that the pothos plants will die when they finally move into potting soil and are repotted, Nikolic says. For this reason it is important at this stage to water the pothos plants once a day, every other day during the first week. This will help make sure the plant gets enough water as it moves into the soil during the final plant propagation step.

    (tags for translation) Make it your own

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