Pothos is one of the most popular houseplants ever. It has the good reputation of being a plant that’s easy to maintain, unlike needy varieties like gardenias which demand a lot of care. It’s also known to be a fast grower, to the point that it’s nicknamed the ‘devil’s ivy’.
However, we sometimes notice that the pothos is rather thin and sparse. Luckily, there’s a way to fluff it up and boost its growth.
In this article, we’ll share 7 tried and true tips on how to make pothos fuller.
7 Tips to Make Pothos Fuller
Before getting into the technicalities of gardening, let’s get to know pothos a bit more. Being better acquainted with the natural origins of a plant is key to understanding how to care for it.
Pothos, which is scientifically known as Epipremnum aureum, is a member of the Araceae family. It’s originally from Southeastern Asia, where the climate tends to be warm and humid.
Pothos depends on other plants for support, and it usually climbs on their trunks, reaching admirable heights. This means that the pothos isn’t used to the direct sunlight, but it doesn’t do well in the total shade either.
The leaves of the pothos plant are heart-shaped, often dark green, but there are several varieties that get white, yellow, or pale green variegation. This is not a flowering plant, and the only growth it does is by increasing its foliage and vines. Pothos might look a lot like Philodendron, but they are very different plants.
In the US, pothos does well in hardiness zones 10-12, which is the closest it feels to its native South Pacific lands.
The following are easy measures you can take to make your pothos look lush, healthy, and full.
Tip 1: Feed the Pothos With the Right Fertilizer
For humans, food is justifiably placed at the base of Maslow’s Pyramid detailing our needs. Plants aren’t different at all.
In normal conditions, pothos wouldn’t require much fertilization, and it gets the nutrients it needs from the soil. But you might’ve noticed the difference in size, height, and vitality between the pothos planted in the garden, and those growing inside a pot.
The soil of the potted pothos becomes depleted over time, and if the plant’s growth is stunted, then it’s time for a nutrient boost. The best options for pothos are liquid seaweed, indoor plant food, and slow-release mild fertilizers.
Applying a fertilizer once a month should be more than sufficient for a pothos plant that’s in need of some encouragement. This wouldn’t be sufficient for a weak plant though, and feeding it bi-monthly would be best.
Tip 2: Check the Vitality of the Soil
Pothos isn’t too picky when it comes to pH levels, and it can manage quite nicely in neutral or acidic soils. Just make sure the soil doesn’t turn alkaline, as it wouldn’t like it.
Soil drainage is far more important than soil pH, and so, you’d need to aerate the soil if it seems too compacted. You can also check the drainage holes in the pot whenever you water the plant.
There’s also the matter of chemical build-up. Minerals, fertilizers, and pesticides tend to pile up and accumulate in the soil. This could be harmful to the plant and interfere with its nutrient assimilation mechanisms. Sometimes, a good watering can wash off these excesses, but if the soil is too contaminated, then it would be best to change it.
Tip 3: Find the Right Watering Schedule
Pothos favors moist soil and easily gets dehydrated in the absence of suitable amounts of water. Its leaves soon turn brown and ‘burned’ around the edges, and it loses its density. If you notice these telltale signs, then you should increase the frequency of watering.
There’s a bit of an issue here, though, since pothos doesn’t like overwatering either! These plants are notorious for getting root rot if they receive too much water. Also, in case the pot isn’t providing sufficient drainage.
Root rot manifests as yellowing in the leaves, then the stems, and finally total wilting of the pothos. Spotting it at the onset is critical to saving the pothos, and luckily, there are remedies that gardeners can use to fully recover the plants.
Coming up with the right watering schedule is imperative for keeping the pothos happy. It’s not easy to suggest a specific watering frequency, as each geographic area has its individual temperature and humidity, in addition to seasonal changes.
The best procedure is to water the pothos heavily until the water comes out of the drainage holes. Then, the plant should be left alone and take its time utilizing all that moisture. You can check the soil every other day, and water again when the top layer is free from moisture.
It’s worth noting that the watering schedule that works well in summer isn’t likely to be as successful in winter. Thus, it’s best to depend on the soil dryness as the primary indicator of the plant’s watering needs.
Tip 4: Place the Pothos in a Good Light
In its native habitat, the pothos plant grows within dense forests, and often receives filtered light. We tend to classify a pothos as a shade plant, but that’s not very accurate. It’s an indoor plant that likes bright light. Only it can’t stand the direct exposure to the harsh sunlight.
The best place to put a pothos is beside a large window facing the west or the southeast. The south is too glaring and the north is too dim.
You might also notice that the pothos leaves are less dense and paler on one side more than the other. That’s most probably the side that’s not facing the light. There’s a little trick we use to avoid that effect, and it’s simply turning the pot a little every other day. This way, the whole plant would be equally exposed to the sunlight.
An overcrowded pot would also have a similar effect. The leaves on the extremities would bask in the sun, while the ones in the middle would barely get any light. The best solution for that is to keep the plant well-pruned and evenly distributed in the pot.
Tip 5: Prune the Pothos Routinely
Cutting off the weak, leggy, or dead leaves stimulates new growth. This is among the best ways to make the pothos become fuller.
Some people just pick up the unwanted leaves with their hands, but good pruning is best done with a pair of shears. At the very least, you can use sharp scissors. It’s also recommended to put on gardening gloves while pruning the pothos.
We often see lengthy stems dangling from the pothos plant, and this doesn’t contribute to the fullness of the plant all that much. This ‘leggy’ pattern of growth usually occurs when the pothos is located in a dim corner. The leaves are deprived of light, so they go off to look for it by elongating their stems.
Cutting these lanky stems doesn’t need to be a total loss of foliage. You can use the cuttings in propagating new pothos plants. Simply, take the leaves with their nodes and plant them in small pots, or, place them in water inside glass containers.
Tip 6: Adjust the Temperature and Humidity
Pothos thrives in temperatures ranging from 65-85°F, which is approximately 19-29°C. Much lower or much higher temperatures stress the plant severely. You’d notice that the leaves start to curl on themselves, look smaller, and even show signs of burning.
As a rule, the temperature that’s uncomfortable for you is probably annoying to your plant as well. Thus, it’s recommended to adjust the temperature around the pothos and keep it from crossing cold and hot extremes.
Humidity is also important for the well-being of pothos. It wouldn’t be too picky and demand a specific level of humidity, and life would be good as long as its environment isn’t too dry. This is not a cactus, so that’s quite understandable.
Misting the pothos from time to time is nice, and the plant usually looks refreshed after each shower. But that doesn’t provide a sustainably humid ambiance. Placing a porcelain bowl beside the plant, and filling it with water, is often good.
Tip 7: Fight Off the Pests
Houseplants usually have nasty encounters with common bugs and pests every now and then. The onset of the invasion is often invisible, but in a few days or weeks, the plant shows clear signs of sickness.
It’s much better to catch the bugs when they start their attack, rather than leaving them till they cause irreversible damages. Additionally, using some organic pesticides and home remedies could repel many kinds of pests.
We wouldn’t be exaggerating if we said that making a pothos fuller is every gardener’s aim. While this plant is relatively low maintenance, especially when compared to some other needy species, it still needs some care to flourish.
Luckily, following the tips listed above works like a charm and renders quick results. Within a few weeks, the pothos should start filling up. And after a few months, it should be lush, dark green, and totally vivacious.