Epipremnum aureum, also known as Devil’s Ivy or more commonly as Pothos, is a popular houseplant because of it’s non-fussy nature and easy care. Another great thing about Pothos is how easy it is to propagate: if you don’t have much experience with propagating houseplants this is a great species to start with.
Keep reading to find out how Pothos propagation works and propagating Pothos from just a small cutting!
Taking Pothos cuttings
If you’re looking to propagate your (or someone else’s) Pothos, the first step is to take a cutting. Find a healthy-looking vine with a decent number of leaves and select a piece that includes at least 3-4 leaves. The foliage will help your brand new plant to get started with plenty of photosynthesis power.
Be sure to have a look at the root nodes before cutting. These brown bumps on the vine produce leaves and, more importantly, roots. Including at least a few is always a good idea and guarantees your cutting will be able to root easily.
It’s easiest if you clip off your cutting right after a root node, using a pair of clean and sharp scissors. Once you have your cuttings in hand, congratulations, you can now get started with the propagation process! The first step is to choose whether you’d like to propagate in water or soil.
Propagating Pothos in water
Probably the easiest way to get your Pothos cuttings to root is to just place them in water. Take a pretty vase or glass, fill it with water and put it in a brightly lit spot. Avoid direct sunlight, as too much sun can cause algae growth and general yuckiness.
After this, just leave your cutting alone, aside from changing the water regularly. With some luck, roots should soon appear! It can take as little as a week or two during summer, while it may be much longer in the cold winter months. Don’t worry: as long as your cutting still looks healthy, it has the capacity to take root.
Planting your new Pothos
Your brand new Pothos is ready to plant when they’re an inch or two (~5 cm) in length. This is where it gets tricky, though, because the downside of water propagation is that a plant might have a little trouble adapting when you transfer it to soil.
Try planting your cuttings by covering the roots with a thin layer of potting soil and gently pressing the soil down a bit. And voila! If all has gone well, you now have a brand new Pothos vine. The leaves can look a bit limp at first as they adjust to life in soil, but they should usually be just fine after a week or two.
Did you know? If you like the look of Pothos cuttings in water, you can choose not to transplant them to soil. They grow just fine in a vase or glass indefinitely, filling the whole container with roots and making for a lovely windowsill or shelf decoration.
Propagating Pothos cuttings in soil
For my own first attempt at propagating Pothos way back when I wrote this article in 2017 (which was successful!), I decided to try and root my cutting in potting soil instead of water. This process takes a little longer, but there is no risk of the plant getting shocked when being moved from water to soil.
Some like to use moist sphagnum moss or perlite, as these media are great for preventing bacterial growth. Because Pothos isn’t too difficult, though, I usually just go for a regular houseplant potting soil mixture with some perlite mixed in for added airiness.
Here’s how you do it:
- Dip the end of the cutting in some rooting powder if you have it on hand. This is a bonus step, but it can definitely speed up the process.
- Press the stem into the soil in such a way that at least one node touches it or is covered. I use bent-open bobby pins to hold mine down.
- Keep the soil lightly moist (but never wet!), for example by spraying daily.
If you go for this method, be sure to be patient and trust the process: your cutting(s) might not do much for quite a while and can start to look a bit sad due to the lack of roots. However, they should perk up after a while once they can properly take up water. You can switch to a normal watering schedule at this point.
It can be a little difficult to figure out whether the plant has rooted yet, but once you’re seeing new growth you can be pretty sure your propagation attempt has been successful. There is more going on underground than you’d think!
Did you know? It’s normal for your devil’s ivy to eventually end up looking a bit sparse on top due to normal leaf die-off. If the “bald” look is bothering you, you can pop stem cuttings back into the mother plant’s pot to give the plant a fuller look again.
How to take care of Pothos
Once you’ve successfully propagated your Pothos, you’ll have a beautiful trailing or climbing plant to enjoy for years to come – as long as you take care of it properly! Luckily, caring for this species is even easier than propagating it.
Good news: the full Pothos care guide is coming soon! In the meantime, just remember to give your plant bright indirect light and keep the soil lightly moist.
Did you know? There are many different types of Pothos out there, the result of years of selective cultivation. They all have slightly different leaf shapes or colors. To find out which one you’ve got on your hands, have a look at the article on types of Pothos!
If you have any more questions about propagating Pothos or want to share your own experiences with propagating this popular houseplant, be sure to leave a comment below.