Close this search box.

Philodendron Vs. Pothos: Similarities and Differences

Heartleaf Philodendron and Pothos are two popular houseplants that can sometimes be confused with one another.

At first glance, they look extremely similar and these plants do have a number of traits in common. But with time, you can learn to fairly easily tell them apart and discern which one is which.

Similarities Between Pothos And Philodendron

Before going into the differences between both plants, let’s look at how these plants are similar.

Both Philodendron and Pothos belong to the same Araceae family of plants. They are both tropical vines and love growing on the sides of trees, poles, and other plants. When grown indoors or in containers, trellis or poles are often used to train them to climb upwards. They are also grown in hanging baskets as they make great trailing plants.

As for appearance, both the Philodendron and Pothos plants grow heart-shaped leaves that have a glossy green color. Adult philodendrons and pothos are also similar in size. Also, both the philodendron and pothos plants do best in a warm and well-lit environment.

Both Pothos and Philodendron are toxic to humans and pets such as cats and dogs. Ingesting them can cause irritation and swelling in the mouth, tongue, lips, and throat.

Differences Between Pothos And Philodendron

Pothos and philodendrons might seem similar from afar, but upon closer inspection, you should be able to see the difference between them. Key differences lie in their taxonomy, leaf texture, other physiological features, and growth habits, so let’s take a closer look at the differences in each of these areas. 


Taxonomy is simply the science of classifying and naming organisms. This is used to group plants, animals, and other organisms into their various groups for easy identification.

Both Pothos and Philodendron are from the same Araceae family of plants but belong in different genera. 

The houseplant Pothos ispart of the Epipremnum genus, while Philodendrons are of course classified within the Philodendron genus

Pothos, Epipremnum aureum, is most commonly confused with the heart-leaf Philodendron,  Philodendron hederaceum AKA Philodendron scandens

Pothos, or the devil’s ivy, as it is popularly known, has a number ofpopular named varieties such as golden pothos, jade pothos, and neon pothos.

Leaf Shape And Texture

Although the leaves of Pothos and Philodendron are similar in shape they are not identical and their textures are not the same

The philodendron has more heart-shaped leaves compared to the pothos. The bases of the philodendron are more curved inwards, improving its resemblance to the heart.They also have a thinner, softer, and smoother texture

Pothos leaves have a thicker, waxy feel with a slightly raised texture. The bases of pothos, where the stems connect to the leaves, are straighter compared to those of philodendrons.


Petioles are the small stems that connect the leaves to the main stem of the plant. Philodendron petioles are fully rounded and are also much thinner. The petioles of Pothos are indented and curved inwards towards the stem of the plant. They also have thicker petioles when compared to those of philodendrons.

Aerial Roots

Aerial roots are also known as air roots. They grow from the stem of the plant above the ground and are used to absorb water from the surrounding air. 

Both Philodendron and Pothos are epiphytic and have aerial roots which aid them in climbing. Aerial roots in pothos are thicker compared to those in philodendron and there is only one per node. Philodendron  can have two or more thinner aerial roots per node.

The Habit Of New Leaf Growth

The way new leaves sprout in Philodendron and Pothos is somewhat different. In Philodendron, new leaves start their growth in cataphylls, which are leaves that encase and protect new leaves as they grow. The cataphylls dry up and fall off as the philodendron’s new leaves grow and mature.

Pothos, on the other hand, does not start its new growth in cataphylls. Instead, they sprout new growth from their previous leaves. As they mature, the previous leaves will darken over time.