Hawaiian pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is known to be native to the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and tropical China. These plants are also known as tropical veins as they are known to commonly exist in tropical countries. These are variegated plants and have white, yellow, and dark green colored streaks. This pothos grows well in the presence of medium to bright sunlight and produces green stems provided by the right care and management. The color of Hawaiian pothos leaves is not changed due to seasonal variation but the color intensity is greatly variable according to extent of exposure of the plant to the sunlight.
The newer leaves of pothos grow by unfurling the light green color widening from current leaves. These plants have a vining nature and trailing habits can grow 30-50 feet in the native areas. However, these can grow about 6-10 feet only in the other areas. Usually, giant pothos can be observed in the forests trailing on the trunks of higher trees. Hawaiian pothos leaves have alternate arrangements and only one leaf emerges from each node when the plant is growing in the ascending spiral structure. While the leaf type of pothos is simple with blade lengths of 18-36 inches, 12-18 inches, 8-12 inches, and 4-8 inches. The height of Hawaiian pothos is also dependent on the supporting structures and more height can be obtained by using the longer trails. Hawaiian pothos has fast-growing nature so the use of the right kind of supporting structure is critically important to get maximum growth and development.
Hawaiian Pothos Growing Guide
Hawaiian pothos grows best in the USDA zones of 11-12 but these plants go under dormant conditions in winter. While their normal growth and development are resumed after winter. So, growers do not have to worry about the slower growth in cold climatic conditions. However, indoor growers can easily regulate the temperature for optimal growth.
Hawaiian pothos grows well in well-drained soils as the presence of excessive moisture or irrigation water can cause root rotting and disease attack. The addition of a calculated amount of organic matter, perlite, vermiculite, and coconut coir is also helpful to improve the physical, chemical, and biological health of the soil. However, the results of scientific studies have also shown that Hawaiian pothos can tolerate occasionally wet, loamy, acidic, sandy, clayey, and slightly alkaline soils as well.
Growers must keep in mind the difference between survival and best-growing conditions, so management of soil health is critically important to get better results. Soil structure can be easily modified by the addition of organic matter and amendment to support and sustain the best growth of pothos. However, growers must consider soil testing analysis from any nearby government or private soil testing services so that only calculated and the desired amount of recommended material is added.
Although pothos plants can grow in a wide range of soil types the best growth and development can only be observed in the pH range of 6.1-6.5. Therefore, growers must regularly check the soil pH and should use amendments to adjust pH values in the desirable range.
However, growers can also buy a specifically designed potting mix or grow mix from the market if they don’t feel comfortable with the routine pH checks. These mixes are specially designed by keeping in mind the aeration, pH, watering, and nutrient requirements of the plants. So, growers can save time associated with routine checks and management.
These plants grow well in the presence of moderate light, but growers must place the plants at least 6 feet away from the window. Direct placement of Hawaiian pothos in the intense sunlight can cause the burning of foliage. So, care must be taken to avoid any damage as prolonged exposure can also cause the death of plants.
Generally, pothos has optimal watering requirements and growers must water the growing plants once a week during summer conditions and once in two weeks in the winter conditions. The soil must be allowed to dry properly before the next watering. The moisture level in the soil can be tested by inserting the fingers in the soil because the upper layer is usually dried due to heat and evaporation. However, the lower layer has enough moisture to support water absorption by the plant roots. Irrigation frequency must be reduced during the winter conditions as plants go under dormancy and their growth is naturally reduced. Moreover, moisture losses in the form of vapors are also reduced in the winter so excessive watering must be avoided.
Fertilization and Repotting
Hawaiian pothos needs to be repotted at least once a year. Growers can also report it when it grows double in the size. Usually, the fresh potting soil contains a sufficient number of micronutrients and macronutrients. So, there is no need to add fertilizers to the soil. However, the optimal amount of fertilizer must be added according to the requirements of plants if the soil is not being replaced for each repotting. However, the use of organic fertilizer, compost, and manure is also a good choice to improve soil fertility. Organic fertilizers must be free from pathogens and contaminants because the use of contaminated materials can cause significant quality losses.
Soilless potting mixes are also available in the markets and online stores. The use of soilless potting mix is also a good approach because these mixes are sterile and help to reduce the probability of insect pest attack and disease development. These potting mixes have excellent moisture absorption and retention properties. Furthermore, the use of organic materials in these potting mixes is a slow but steady source of nutrients so these mixes are also helpful for optimizing soil fertility.
Hawaiian pothos grows well in optimal temperatures ranging between 18-29 degree Celsius. So, the growing plants must be placed at such a place where growers can easily maintain this temperature range.
Hawaiian pothos does not require additional humidity because water absorption by the roots is sufficient to support the growth and development. Efficient water absorption by the roots is more important than the absorption by the leaves so growers should focus on managing soil moisture contents. However, these plants can tolerate 50-70% humidity in the environment but significant efforts must be considered to maintain minimum humidity in the surroundings.
How To Grow Hawaiian Pothos By Propagation or Cutting
Propagating Pothos from Cuttings
- Select a healthy and vigorously growing plant to take cuttings. The selected plant must be free from diseases, and insect pest attacks. Moreover, the selected plant should not have any nutritional deficiencies or health disorders. Because taking cuttings from poor-quality plants can cause a problem for next-generation growth and development.
- Obtain cutting of about 10-15 cm in length.
- Each cutting should have at least four or more than four leaves.
- Remove the leaves in the closet vicinity of the cut end.
- Dipping the cutting in rooting hormone is also a good approach to stimulate efficient rooting.
- Place the cutting in a water-filled glass or jar.
- Other than water cuttings can also be placed in the soil, peat moss, sand, and half perlite.
- Keeping the soil moist is essentially important to stimulate rooting development.
- Root emergence can be observed after 14 days of placing the root in the container.
- The cutting can be transplanted to the pot after the development of 1 inch of roots.
- Water the pots properly and place them in a place where they can get bright but indirect sunlight.
Is it Possible to Grow Hawaiian Pothos in Water?
Hawaiian pothos is a hardy plant and can be easily grown in the water in indoor conditions. While the quality of water is a major concern to produce good growth and development. Pothos can grow in water for numerous years if the water quality is properly maintained. Growers must replace the water after every two weeks to get good growth. Moreover, the addition of liquid fertilizers is also a good approach to maintain nutritional balance for the growth of plants.
Aeration pumps must be used to provide oxygen for the plant roots and care must be taken to check the growth of algal blooms. Algal blooming is a common problem in nutrient-rich water but can be reduced to a significant extent by routine checks and time management. The use of opaque containers and maintaining clean conditions are also important factors to reduce algal growth.
Propagation of Pothos Cuttings in Water
The cuttings of pothos can be successfully propagated in the water by using the right care and management measures. It is important to take cuttings right below the nodes. Leaves around the nodes must be removed to avoid their drowning and prevention of emergence of new growth. The container containing water and cutting must be placed in indirect and less intense sunlight. Liquid fertilizers must be added to the water after one month of cutting transplantation so that the growing plant can get sufficient nutrients for growth and development.
Growing of Hawaiian Pothos from Layering
Hawaiian pothos can also be propagated from layering. Growers can easily propagate the pothos by layering practice by considering the following points.
- Select any healthy growing and disease-free pothos plant.
- Bend a desirable and low-growing stem in the nearby soil or any container.
- The quality and health of the soil are significantly important to produce vigorous growing new plants.
- Properly cover the stem in the soil but avoid compaction as it can harm the cutting.
- The emergence of new roots and shoots can be evident after a few days and the growers can cut the stem from the parent plant.
- The new and individual plant is ready for growth, and development.
Growing of Pothos from Seeds
Pothos propagation from seeds is a rare practice because pothos does not bloom often. The blooming of Hawaiian pothos is very rare and only a few growers are lucky enough to see flowers or blooms on this plant. However, growers can get the seeds from progressive growers or registered and trusted markets. Hawaiian pothos can be propagated from the seeds by the below-mentioned guidelines.
- Take average-sized pots and fill them with good quality soil or potting mix.
- Organic matter must be added to the soil to provide nutrients to the germinating seeds and to improve soil health.
- Place the seeds in the soil-filled pots and properly cover the seeds with the soil.
- Must keep the pots in sunlight for about 2-3 hours on daily basis.
- Water the pots regularly to avoid watering stress.
- Over-irrigation must be avoided as it can cause germination failure.
It is important to report Hawaiian pothos once in one or two years, but repotting requirements are greatly dependent on the growing nature of plants. The reporting requirements are also dependent on growth controlling factors for the Hawaiian pothos. These plants can easily grow in smaller containers so growers can place the plants in the feasible sized container after repotting.
However, it is important to note that repotting allows plants to grow more in size because it provides more room to the plants for further growth and spreading. While keeping the plants in smaller containers for longer periods causes limited growth so the use of large size containers is a good approach.
Spring is the best repotting time for the Hawaiian pothos because plants start growing new leaves in this season. Moreover, repotting can also be done after observing the emergence of roots out of plants. This emergence is an indication that the plant needs more space and is looking for space feasibility outside its home.
Common Problems and How to Treat
Insect Pests and Stunted Leaves
The feeding activity of insect pests on the Pothos leaves causes malformation of leaves and dropping of leaves. Scales and mealybugs are commonly known to attack pothos plants and cause the significant malformation of leaves. The feeding activity of the mealybug minimizes the sap in plants and causes redirection of nutrients from pothos leaves. Higher infestation can cause leaf distortion and stunted growth. Therefore, the problem of insect pests should be reduced at the initial stages to avoid major losses.
Rubbing alcohol-dipped cotton swabs on the leaves helps to get rid of these pests. Although it is difficult to treat or rub all leaves at one time, the growers can rub alcohol on a few leaves each day. However higher infestations must be treated by using outdoor bathtubs and completely rinsing off the mealybugs. Moreover, horticultural oil sprays and insecticidal soap sprays can also be used to reduce the extent and severity of the problem.
Leaf yellowing in pothos may occur due to numerous biotic and abiotic stresses. While watering stress is the most common reason for leaf yellowing in Hawaiian pothos plants. Maintenance of hydration balance is essentially important to get good growth and development. Any fluctuation in irrigation scheduling and frequency can cause significant problems to plant health. The optimal growth of pothos is dependent on consistent watering.
Both overwatering and underwatering can cause yellowing of pothos leaves. While overwatering can also cause the appearance of brown spots on the plant surface. Oversaturation also causes pitting on the pothos leaves but these are hardy plants and can easily withstand the worst scenarios. Whereas the development of spots and pits may be a major concern for some people as they are greatly concerned about the beauty of plants. So, they can correct the problem by fixing the irrigation schedule according to the plant needs, soil moisture status, and prevailing climatic conditions.
Overwatering in poorly drained soils can cause significant losses due to root rotting. Too much pith necrosis due to overwatering also causes stem rotting of pothos, yellowing or browning of leaves, and falling off of the Hawaiian pothos plants. The problem can be fixed by using the soil with good drainage capacity and inserting holes in the bottom of pots. Underwatering causes drooping and dies off of the pothos leaves and can be easily identified by just looking at the plant foliage. Whereas the probability of stress due to underwatering can be minimized by the use of compost, potting mix, and organic matter because organic materials can absorb 20 times more water than their weight.
Overfertilization also causes yellowing of leaves due to burning. Usually, overfertilization causes significant damage to the roots. So growers should prefer soil testing to check the level of nutrients in the soil. Moreover, different types of fertilizers can provide some nutrients to the plants but the specific type of fertilizer works differently for different types of soil and growing mix. Therefore, proper consultation with agriculture extension workers or soil doctors is a must to get the best nutritional benefits.
Usually, the appearance of black spots on the Pothos is due to overwatering and root rotting. However, lower temperatures may also enhance the probability of black spots on Hawaiian Pothos. The sudden onset of these spots on the pothos plants is an indication that the environment is not warm and plants are suffering from cold stress. While, the gradual appearance of black spots is an indication of the poor health of roots, so growers must remove the soil around the roots for detailed examination.
Soft, smelly, and black roots are an indication of severe issues, and immediate action to required to save a plant from death. The sudden appearance of black spots can be treated by placing the plants in warmer areas. Whereas, the gradual appearance of black spots can be treated by rinsing off the soil around the roots and cutting the soft and smelly roots.
Under irrigation and lower humidity levels are major reasons for the drooping of leaves in the pothos plants. Therefore complete drying of soil must be avoided by carefully monitoring the soil moisture contents. Drooping due to under irrigation is also accompanied by browning and limp veins. This problem can be resolved by watering the soil according to the needs of growing plants. While, if the soil is already wet, gentle soaking will also be helpful to reduce the extent of the problem. This soaking can be done by placing the plant in the sink and filling the sink with 3-4 inches of good quality water. Allow soaking of Hawaiian pothos for 40-50 minutes and drain the leftover water.
Whereas, the lower humidity levels in the surroundings can be improved by using humidifiers in the growing spaces. Growers can also place the plants in trays filled with water and pebbles if they are not able to find or purchase the humidifiers. However, the use of humidifiers is a good idea to get better results. Moreover, the placement of the pots near the other plants is also a good idea to improve humidity around its surroundings because growing plants increase humidity levels due to evapotranspiration.
Less or No Variegation
Less variegation of disappearance of variegation is a major concern in the Hawaiian pothos. Although it is the least issue among all other concerns less variegation significantly reduces the beauty of pothos plants so it must be cured to get good looks. The major reason behind variegation is less production of chlorophyll, so if the plant is not producing good variegation it must be placed in partial shade conditions.
Hawaiian Pothos Vs Golden Pothos (Differences and Similarities)
Generally, the appearance of golden pothos and Hawaiian pothos is significantly similar but still can be identified by critical analysis.
- The major difference between the two pothos is the color differences on stems and foliage.
- Golden Pothos have intense and vivid yellow hues but Hawaiian pothos have variegations of yellow and green colors with white streaks.
- Golden pothos grows well in the less lights but the best growth of Hawaiian pothos can be observed in the bright and medium light intensities.
- Golden pothos has yellow vines, but Hawaiian pothos has green stems.
- Hawaiian pothos has split leaves to allow the penetration of sunlight to the below-ground parts. Whereas golden pothos does not split their leaves.
- The foliage color of Hawaiian pothos and golden pothos is nearly identical but the major difference lies in the color of their variegation. Golden pothos has white streaks and yellow and dark green leaves. While the variegation color of Hawaiian pothos lacks bright yellow color.
- The leaves of both varieties have heart-shaped leaves.
- The leaves of both varieties have pointed ends.
- Hawaiian pothos have bicolor leaves as the mingling of yellow and bright green colors can be observed in the form of amazing variegation patterns. The yellow color is not intense and can be confused as white in the absence of light. Golden pothos leaves also have yellow effects but have an intense yellow color. Sometimes these can be tricolors due to the presence of white-colored leaves along with the yellow and green color components.
- The leaves of Golden Pothos are small but the leaf size of Hawaiian pothos is significantly larger.
- Both this pathos requires enough space and good care for proper blooming and large crown development.
- Indoor blooming is rarely observed but outdoor blooming of Hawaiian pothos can be ensured by strictly sticking to the right care and management.
- Hawaiian pothos produces cream-colored and bigger flowers but the flowers of golden pothos are snow white and small.
- Both these plants have a climbing nature and can easily grow in the upward direction.
- The watering requirements of both plants are almost the same but Hawaiian pothos may need extra water due to their larger size.
- The heating, fertilization, and repotting requirements of both plants are also the same.
Common Types of Pothos Houseplants
Snow Queen Pothos
Snow Queen is a white pothos plant and is primarily known due to green and white blotches, and speckles. This plant is invasive in some regions of the world due to its quick-growing nature provided by the right conditions. This plant can grow well in the presence of medium or high humidity levels, and well-drained soils. Best growth can be observed by regular pruning, fertilization, and watering.
Golden pothos is commonly sold throughout the globe and is identified due to the presence of yellow streaks across green leaves. This plant requires minimal care and management for growth and is a natural purifier for the living spaces. This pothos grows 40 feet in length and 6 feet wide in the presence of the right conditions. This plant is more adaptable due to variegation but cannot grow well if humidity is too low in the surroundings.
Pearls and Jade Pothos
The name of this plant is attributed to the presence of white-colored pearl-type variegation with jade leaves. Its colors are clearer than the golden pothos and have a more streaked appearance of variegation. This plant was developed at the University of Florida due to due to genetic mutation. It grows well in the presence of indirect bright light, and medium humidity.
Neon Pothos name is attributed to the presence of translucent, and brightly colored green leaves. This plant has its special beauty due to its electrifying bold leaf colors and bushy appearance. These plants have a vigorous growing habit and can be easily grown in containers and hanging baskets. Moreover, this Pothos can also be easily grown in the water or hydroponic grow system. However, these plants must be placed in bright locations where they can easily get filtered light.
Glacier pothos grows slower than the other pothos plants and can be distinguished due to the presence of green foliage provided with the white variegations that are specifically flecked with the grey or silver accents. This plant produces smaller leaves and can be easily placed at any point in indoor conditions. However, growers must clean their leaves regularly to maintain their shine and cleanliness.
How to treat brown spots on Pothos Plant?
Brown spots may observe on the pothos plants due to insect attacks, cold temperatures, over-fertilization, low humidity, intensive sunlight, diseases, and incorrect watering. Therefore, growers must try to observe the main reason behind the browning of pothos leaves. The management measures for avoiding leaf browning due to these reasons are explained below.
Cutting off leaves: Growers must regularly check the growing plants to avoid major losses in the later stages. If the problem is detected at the early stages, the infected leaves can be immediately removed. Removal of bad leaves is the most effective and quickest solution to reduce the further spread of the problem. Removal of damaged parts helps plants to focus on maintaining nutritional, energy, and hydration status for better growth and development. Fungal attacks and diseases can be reduced by using appropriate fungicides. However diseased plants must be separated from the healthy plants to avoid further spread of the problem.
Deter the insect pests: Insect pests can be removed from the pothos plants in three distinctive ways such as using soap sprays, bug sprays, and rubbing alcohol. Soap sprays can be easily made at home. Soap sprays help to deter pests by reducing the sticky surfaces on the plant surfaces. The use of bug sprays is not recommended at the initial stages as chemical sprays cause significant damage to the beneficial insects and surroundings. While rubbing alcohol on the pothos leaves also helps to get rid of insect pests.
Maintenance of environment: Health and quality of the growing environment are directly related to the health of pothos plants. Growers must maintain appropriate sunlight, aeration, temperature, and humidity for better growth.
Avoid underwatering: Water is an essential constituent of plants as each plant cell contains about 90% water. Underwatering causes reduced water contents in the plants and causes browning of pothos. Therefore, the watering schedule should be carefully designed to avoid water stress.
Improper fertilization: Excessive fertilization and reduced fertilization both can cause the development of brown spots on pothos. Therefore, growers must check the soil fertility status to optimize fertilization application according to the requirements of plants and growing media.
Avoid direct sunlight: Direct exposure to sunlight is the foremost important reason for brown spots on the Hawaiian pothos. Although all plants need sunlight for photosynthesis and survival all of them are not able to survive in the presence of direct and intense sunlight. These plants survive well in natural forest conditions because they get filtered sunlight due to the presence of upper story vegetation. Therefore, these plants must be placed at such points where they can get filtered or partial sunlight.
Where to Buy the Hawaiian Pothos and Other Pothos Plants?
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