Golden pothos, also called Devil's ivy (Epipremnum aureum), grows outdoors only in the warm climates of U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 12, but it adds fill to houseplant gardens and grows into impressive vines in indoor baskets. When these stout vines grow too long and leggy, cut them back and root the cuttings to multiply your pothos. Root the cuttings in soil or water to produce new plants
Pothos Propagation Basics
Pothos leaves drop from the bottom of the vine when the plant isn't getting enough water and as it ages. So taking cuttings helps neaten up a tired, leggy plant. The tip cuttings force bushy new growth and also provide cuttings so you can start new plants.
Whenever you're pruning houseplants or taking cuttings, sanitize the cutting tools between cuts by wiping the blades with a solution made of equal parts rubbing alcohol and water.
Pothos is slightly toxic, so wear gloves or wash your hands immediately after handling plant parts. The leaves contain calcium oxalate, a toxic substance that can irritate skin, throat and eyes.
Rooting Cuttings in Soil
Plant pothos cuttings in moist potting mix or vermiculite by taking up to 6 inches of the tip of one vine, cutting just above a leaf. Pull the leaves off until only three or four remain at the top of the cutting and sink the bottom half in moist, new potting mix or vermiculite. Kept evenly moist and out of direct sunlight, new plants root in three to four weeks. Dip the cut tips in rooting hormone powder, which you can buy at garden centers and nurseries, for faster rooting. If you have the house heated for winter, enclose the pots in clear plastic bags to preserve moisture.
Rooting Cuttings in Water
Pothos stem cuttings root quickly in water, taking three to four weeks to produce enough roots for planting in soil. Prepare the cuttings in the same way you would to root in soil and put them in a container so that the bottom half of the cutting is under water. Change the water several times a week until the cuttings root. If your tap water contains chlorine, usually added to municipal water to control bacteria, let the water sit overnight before using it for the cuttings. You will soon see roots growing from the thickened "nodes" along the stem. You might also see growth from the aerial root nubs -- small fleshy bumps along the stem.
Other Ways to Propagate Pothos
In addition to cutting stem tips, try starting stem segments in water or single leaves in soil. Keep the petioles -- the leaf stems -- intact as you remove them and sink them in the soil. Small leaves should rise from the soil after about a month.
Although they bloom and produce berries in the wild, pothos seldom grows to the mature size needed for flowering in pots.
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Epipremnum Aureum
- Texas A&M Extension: Epipremnum Aureum
- University of Wisconsin Extension Master Gardener Program: Pothos
- North Carolina State University Cooperative Extension: Epipremnum Aureum
- University of Illinois Extension: Philodendron or Pothos
- University of Illinois Extension: Vegetative Propagation of Houseplants: Cuttings
- University of Maryland Extension: Pothos or Devil's Ivy “Neon”
- University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension: Plant of the Week: Golden Pothos, Devil's Ivy
An avid perennial gardener and old house owner, Laura Reynolds has had careers in teaching and juvenile justice. A retired municipal judgem Reynolds holds a degree in communications from Northern Illinois University. Her six children and stepchildren served as subjects of editorials during her tenure as a local newspaper editor.