Pothos is a common type of hanging houseplants of the origin Epipremnum aureum family Araceae. The name Epipremnum is a derivative of the words “epi” and “premon.” Together, they roughly translate to “upon tree trunks,” which makes sense, considering that it’s a vine, after all.
Golden pothos is mainly used for ornamental purposes. Yet, it’s sometimes called the money plant. Why? Well, if you’ve ever seen the brilliant iridescence of the leaves, you’ll see the resemblance!
Since pothos make such a wonderful houseplant, you may wonder “Can pothos live outside too?” Thankfully, golden pothos can be grown outside so you can move them to your garden. You’ll still need to consider the conditions outdoors, though!
Let’s see where, when, and how you can grow pothos outdoors.
Can Pothos Live Outside?
Yes, pothos can live both indoors and outdoors. Golden pothos vines are very tolerant when it comes to living requirements.
You can grow pothos in gardens as long as you live in USDA zones 10 to 12. In colder areas below 50℉, pothos should be moved indoors.
However, most people prefer to keep their pothos pots inside because they can be toxic to cats and dogs.
Golden pothos vines are rated as a category II invasive plant by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council. In some regions, there are regulations regarding planting and transplanting pothos outdoors.
To move your pothos outdoors for the summer, you don’t have to transplant the whole vine. It might be easier to just immerse the pot in the ground.
What Is the Ideal Environment for Pothos?
Pothos plants thrive in warm, humid, and partially shaded areas. So, golden pothos thrives in zones 10 to 12, but not everyone’s an expert on USDA planting hardiness zones.
You might want to check the conditions one by one before you decide whether you want to keep your pothos indoors or outdoors:
Pothos grow the best at humidity between 50 and 70%. The idea that misting is the best solution for dry weather is a common misconception. Misting isn’t very efficient and it can lead to fungal infections.
Instead, you can invest in a hygrometer and a humidifier if you’re growing your pothos indoors. Some hygrometers come with integrated app systems that allow you remote access to the data. Similar integration is available for humidifiers too.
However, if you’re growing your plant outdoors, try misting with a few drops of neem oil. This helps reduce the risk of fungal infections.
Pothos plants prefer warmer temperatures, anywhere between 70 and 90℉. Once the temperature starts to drop below 50℉, pothos will have a very hard time thriving.
It’s recommended to move your plant indoors during the winter season.
Partial shade with diffused light is the best setting for pothos. For outdoor pothos, pick a spot that isn’t exposed to harsh sunlight all day long.
Ideally, golden pothos should grow in the shade of a larger tree or near a fence for added support.
Meanwhile, indoor pothos plants aren’t picky at all when it comes to light. In fact, pothos can grow nicely on artificial light. That’s why it works so well in houses and offices.
Pothos vines can grow in almost all soil types. If you want to really pamper your pothos, go for neutral soil with a pH between 6.1 and 6.5. Moisture retaining soil can do wonders for humidity-loving plants.
Other than that, pothos plants are generally forgiving. But can you possibly grow pothos without soil?
Can Pothos Grow Without Soil?
Yes, pothos can grow in water indefinitely. However, its growth will be a bit slower and some leaves might fade in color. To avoid this, you can grow the vine in water from the get-go instead of transplanting them from soil to water.
Here’s how you can grow golden pothos without soil:
- Choose appropriate pots. In the beginning, go for transparent vases, since you’ll need to monitor water levels and root growth. Later on, you can shift to opaque or darker colored ones to avoid root infections.
- Place the cutting. Growing without soil only works with cuttings and not seeds. Make sure your cutting is fresh, 3 to 4 nodes in length, and placed well below the water level.
- Add fertilizer periodically. Pothos vines aren’t very needy. Any all-purpose fertilizer will do just fine. Use a few drops every month or so.
- Maintain as needed. Once again, pothos plants are very low maintenance. You’ll only need to clean the water every now and then to avoid root infections.
Does Pothos Grow in the Wild?
Pothos plants can grow exceedingly well in the wild without any human intervention. Epipremnum aureum’s natural habitats are usually in tropical areas.
In heavy forests, pothos thrive with the support of thick trees and perfect shade levels. When compared to domesticated vines, wild pothos take the cake. They can grow leaves up to 2 feet! Talk about growth sprouts!
Did you know that most pothos plants have a Gibberellin deficiency that inhibits them from flowering? If you have any shot at all at seeing flowering pothos, it’s going to be in the wild.
Is Pothos Toxic?
Unfortunately, nothing’s perfect. Pothos vines can be mildly toxic to cats, dogs, and in some cases, humans too.
When ingested, the vines can cause gastrointestinal disturbances. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Not really lethal, but disturbing nevertheless.
Pothos are listed in the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). This is because it has a high content of calcium oxalates.
Toxicity in humans is mainly limited to skin irritation from the inner sap. If this happens, please wash your skin thoroughly with cold water. Seek medical help if the irritation persists.
It’s recommended to suspend hanging vines from the ceiling to keep it out of reach. It also looks better that way.
If you’re going to grow golden pothos indoors, keep them away from curious pets and small children. You might want to check with your neighborhood for regulations against outdoor pothos.
Why Are Golden Pothos So Trendy?
Despite being toxic when ingested, pothos vines are still one of the most common houseplants, and rightfully so! Let’s see what makes the Epipremnum aureum such a perfect choice for homes and offices:
Ideal for Beginners
Golden pothos is chillingly low-maintenance. The maintenance that you do need to do is simple; move it inside in the winter, adjust a humidifier, and water it if 2 inches of soil dry out. Usually, pothos will need watering only on a weekly basis.
Besides being called the money plant, pothos vines are also called ivy arum, silver vine, and the devil’s ivy. It’s said that the name devil’s ivy relates to how resilient the vines are.
So, even if you’ve had plants die on you before, pothos will feel almost immortal!
Real Pretty Leaves!
Even though it’s very rare to see flowering pothos, they’re very pretty to look at, even when potted.
Golden pothos’s appeal comes from the leaves; a brilliant green with striations that are either white or golden yellow. They have a shiny, almost artificial look to them.
Like other plants from the arum family, golden pothos leaves are either arrow-like or slightly heart-shaped.
Natural Air Purifiers
Sure, all plants breathe in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Good old photosynthesis, right? However, the Epipremnum aureum vines are known to do a bit more than that.
Golden pothos has what’s called an “activated carbon filter system.” This means that it can clean up toxic volatile chemicals from the air like benzene, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene.
It might be a good idea to keep potted pothos by your door or near windows to filter out car fumes and polluted air.
Quick fun fact: NASA’s Clean Air study rated golden pothos as one of the best houseplants for air purification!
Where to Buy Pothos?
Pothos vines rarely get to the flowering stage, and even if they do, the resulting seeds are most likely not viable. So, you can’t expect to buy pothos seeds and plant them yourself.
Instead, you might want to consider getting a cutting from a neighbor or a friend. If that fails, you can still visit most planters to buy a full-grown pothos plant in a pot. You can even get it online!
For new plant parents looking for ornamental plants, a common question that pops up is, “Can pothos grow outside?” Long story short; yes, pothos can grow outside.
Golden pothos can grow outdoors in warm seasons and partial shade. In general, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about pothos vines’ survival; they’re pretty much indestructible.
What you want to consider though, is their invasiveness and toxicity. To keep their invasive nature under control, leave them potted when you move them outdoors. If pets and children share the same household or garden, place the vines out of reach.
When you balance out all the benefits of owning pothos with their low-maintenance needs, it’s going to seem very enticing to get one for your home. After all, who wouldn’t want a NASA-rated plant on their patio!