Often confused with the philodendron, the pothos (pronounced poe-those) is a climbing plant that is very popular as a houseplant, especially for new plant parents.
Also called golden pothos, money plant, or devil’s ivy, it is a hardy indoor foliage plant of the arum family (Araceae), native to southeastern Asia.
The evergreen plant is characterised by thick, waxy, green, heart-shaped leaves with splashes of yellow. Because it trails or climbs well, pothos is often grown as a hanging, climbing or draping plant.
However, pothos are mildly toxic. All parts of the plant contain a substance called calcium oxalate. Ingestion of pothos can cause swelling and a burning sensation in the mouth and throat, skin irritation, indigestion and diarrhoea.
Marble Queen is one of the most common pothos varieties, which has smooth green leaves variegated with white and grey. The golden pothos has dark green heart-shaped leaves with white or yellow variegation while jade pothos is all green with no variegation. Neon pothos, as its name suggests, has showy bright light-green leaves.
Here are five reasons to have a pothos plant at home, if you don’t already:
The pothos can grow under various conditions – sun or shade, indoors or in an office environment under artificial lights. For best results, place it in a bright, indirect light area. In low lighting conditions, it’ll just become less variegated. Be careful with too much light as that will burn the leaves and make them lose their marbled quality.
Water it only when the soil feels dry to the touch. Under-watering is not a big problem, as this plant can take quite an amount of abuse, but expect a little slowdown in the plant’s growth. Over-watering also won’t kill it immediately.
Research has found that in rooms that have plants, there is up to 50% less bacteria and mould spores detected than in rooms without plants due to the process of transpiration. Plants with larger leaves are also more effective, as they have more surface area to contribute to the process.
Plants increase humidity in the air through a process called evapotranspiration. This is when water from the soil travels up up through the roots of the plant, through the stems, and up to the leaves (transpiration). There, it’s evaporated into the air through pores on the leaves called stomata. The pothos is one of the many plants that can help increase the humidity around it.
Propagating a pothos is a breeze. Look for a healthy-looking vine and cut off a four to six inch (10-15cm) stem with two to three leaves on it. Cut the vine just above a root node, the place on the vine where aerial roots sprout from. Place the cut end in clean water, changing the water after one or two weeks. Once you see roots forming, transfer the plant to a container or pot.