Your pothos (Epipremnum aureum) also referred to as “Devils Ivy” is growing quickly enough so far, but you’re eager for it to grow even faster and you’re wondering if pothos plants grows faster in water or soil. In today’s guide, I’ll answer that question as well as give you tips for speeding up the growth of your pothos regardless of the growth medium.
Does pothos grow faster in water or soil? Pothos grows faster in soil if it’s already established roots. If you’re propagating pothos cuttings, you’ll see speedier results if you grow them first in water, then in soil once the cuttings develop stronger roots.
This guide to fast pothos growth will explain why soil is usually the faster growth medium. I’ll also provide growth timelines for rooted and propagated pothos. If even those time frames won’t work for you, I’ll share tips for improving pothos growth rates as well, so keep reading!
How Does Pothos Grow Faster – In Water or Soil?
You’re the type of indoor gardener who likes to see results fast. If you’re going to take the time to get a plant’s care right, you should have a lush, full-grown pothos plant to show off to your friends and followers.
If you grow your pothos in soil, will it grow faster than if you grow it in water? Or how about vice-versa?
That depends on the age of your pothos.
Are you propagating pothos cuttings that a friend gave you, or perhaps cuttings you obtained from another pothos?
In that case, you’re better off growing the pothos in water, at least initially. Once the pothos cuttings mature (more on that timeline in just a bit), you should move them to be planted in a soil medium.
What’s nice is that you can actually see the growth of the pothos cuttings in water. You can watch as the roots become longer and stronger over time. It’s quite encouraging!
Assuming your pothos is well past the propagation stage and more mature, if you want it to grow quickly, then skip the water and go straight for the soil as its growth medium of choice.
The soil should be full of nutrients to encourage healthy, fast growth. I’ll talk later about soil requirements for the pothos, don’t worry.
How Fast Does Pothos Grow Indoors?
The pothos is considered one of the faster-growing plants you can choose from, but you must provide the proper plant care.
If you do, your pothos plant could grow by at least 12 inches every month during its growing season.
The pothos growing season begins in December and lasts until May, so it’s five months in all. Per year, your pothos could grow 60 inches!
I’ve even seen some estimates that suggest the pothos can grow 18 inches per month.
This isn’t something you should necessarily expect, but if you have a happy, well-cared-for pothos, it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
How Fast Do Pothos Cuttings Grow?
Perhaps you’re more into propagation. This is a fascinating, rewarding way to grow indoor plants from practical infancy into maturity, after all.
Again, I’m assuming you’re providing proper care for your pothos cuttings. If you are, then after at least 30 days, you should see the roots of the pothos begin to develop.
In two to three months, the pothos cutting would officially be ready for a transition into a pot full of soil so it can continue growing.
How to Make Pothos Grow Faster
I’ve established that the pothos is a fast-growing indoor plant, but its growth is not fast enough for you. You want to see more growth ASAP. Can you speed things up a little bit?
Yes, with the following tactics, you can!
Choose a Good Potting Mix
You’re growing your pothos in soil, but with so many types of soil mixes out there, which is right for the plant known as the devil’s ivy?
The soil must be well-draining above all else. I’ll talk about this more a little later, but the pothos doesn’t like standing water.
The soil should be aerated and light but not too dense.
To achieve the above properties for your pothos soil, you should add some soil amendments.
Coconut coir or coco coir is excellent for drainage. It also improves the water retention of soil to a degree so you can stretch out the time before you have to water your pothos again.
Compost lends the soil nutrients, so it’s a good choice for pothos soil.
Shredded bark can improve the drainage and aeration of the soil.
Sand too is a good aerator, but don’t use too much if you don’t want to dry out the pothos soil.
You can also add perlite to pothos soil. Perlite will absorb water and help prevent any excess standing water in the bottom of the pothos container from gathering. Perlite is also a good soil aerator.
Peat moss, which some indoor gardeners will use in lieu of coco coir, improves both oxygen and water rates in the soil.
Finally, you can use vermiculite, which aerates the soil while boosting nutrient and water absorption.
Keep an Eye Out for Pests
Pothos cannot grow healthily if the plant is impeded by pests.
Unfortunately, a whole host of insect species will try to make your pothos their home. They include the following.
- Aphids: With their soft bodies and unyielding appetites for plant juices, an aphid infestation can leave your pothos in poor condition very quickly. The species are all very small too so they can get into your indoor garden nearly undetected.
- Thrips: The stick-like bugs with the fringed wings will also drink plant juices until they’re full. With 6,000+ species, any one species of thrips can make its home on your pothos.
- Scale insects: Once a scale bug latches onto a branch, leaf, or twig of an indoor plant, it begins drinking sap. The scale bug will also bring all its friends, which can quickly lead to an infestation.
- Whiteflies: The aphid relative known as the whitefly has a similarly soft body and an appetite for plant juices. Warm weather can cause whiteflies to propagate more readily.
- Spider mites: The last pest species that can target your pothos plant is the spider mite. These teeny-tiny bugs weave webs that look like white mold or mildew.
Some of these insects can fly, so controlling their spread is critical.
How do you do that? Well, you have to know what you’re looking for. I can’t stress enough that the bug species that target the pothos are small. You’ll have to closely inspect your plant to find unwanted pests.
Where exactly should you be looking? That would be underneath the plant’s leaves, which is a common spot for the above insect species to nest and feed.
Once you spot a few bugs, swift removal is recommended. You should use either rubbing alcohol or dish soap diluted with water to treat the critters.
Being able to remove bugs and pests naturally when they’re first spotted on the plant is much better than having to deal with them once they become a full blown infestation. Once they’ve begun taking over the plant, ridding the plant of them becomes a much more serious and tedious work.
Growth is great, right?
The issue is that too much growth can quickly become a bad thing.
You see, your pothos only has so much energy that it can use for growing. When it has to dedicate the bulk of that energy to supporting old or dead plant parts, that inhibits how much new growth can develop.
You can use pruning shears to trim the pothos since its stems are not that thick.
Start with any dying or dead parts and remove those first. Then you can cut the parts that are becoming long and unruly.
When making snips, position your shears so you’re cutting at a 45-degree angle. Select a leaf node and trim just under there.
A leaf node is where new growth will emerge. It looks like a swollen bump on the pothos stem.
If you keep going, there might not be anything of your pothos left!
Be sure to disinfect your pruning shears when you’re finished.
Fill a shallow basin with bleach or isopropyl alcohol and let the shears rest. Keep the handles out of the liquid or they can become permanently discolored.
The point of disinfection is to prevent the spread of any plant diseases you may have picked up on your shears while pruning.
Your pothos likely isn’t diseased, but in case it is, you’re sparing the rest of your indoor garden from illness by disinfecting your gardening tools.
Feed a Balanced Fertilizer
When the pothos has the right balance of nutrients, it will be fueled for growth.
What is the right balance for this vining indoor plant? The pothos requires an equal mix of the macronutrients nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.
Balanced fertilizers are represented in an even ratio on the fertilizer packaging, usually 10-10-10 but possibly 20-20-20 depending on the formula.
Once the active growing season starts, over those five months, you should fertilize the pothos every two to three months.
You’ll fertilize the plant once or twice per season.
Beware of overfertilizing, which can happen if you’re overzealous in your fertilizing habits.
If you feed the pothos fertilizer more than twice per growing season, then you’ve likely overfertilized it.
The plant will let you know by wilting. The leaves will turn brown around the leaf margins and tips.
Your pothos could even begin dropping or shedding leaves, especially if the roots deep in the soil are dying from the influx of nutrients.
That’s right, a plant can die of too many nutrients just as you shouldn’t overdo it on the vitamins or supplements.
Balance is key!
Water When Needed
The pothos likes moist soil and can often handle generous waterings, but the frequency in which you water your plant is critical if you hope to see speedy growth.
You must allow the soil to dry out a little bit in between waterings.
Rather than follow a weekly or biweekly watering schedule, I would recommend dipping a clean fingertip or two into the soil to gauge how moist it is.
This is a much more accurate means of determining when it’s time to water your indoor vining plant.
Maintain Proper Temperatures
The pothos enjoys warmer temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
No, that doesn’t mean you have to open every window in your home on a balmy summer day.
Rather, if the temps in your home or office reach 90 degrees, you won’t have to worry about your pothos wilting or otherwise exhibiting signs of stress.
However, once the temps exceed 90 degrees, now heat stress can take hold in your poor pothos.
The plant will begin wilting. Then its leaves can become yellow and brown as they lose water quickly.
The texture of the leaves will change as well. The leaves will feel crunchy and brittle, a sure sign they’re dying.
The pothos is not very cold-tolerant. It can handle temperatures under 70 degrees, but its cap is 50 degrees.
Should its temperatures dip even lower than that, then chlorosis could occur. This is another term for leaf yellowing.
Growth will slow or stop, which is the opposite of what you want.
In some cases, necrosis or cell death is likely. Once the tissue of your pothos dies, you’ll have no choice but to prune the dead parts.
Provide Optimal Lighting
Another great way to speed up pothos growth is with the right lighting. The pothos grows best in bright, indirect sunlight.
You’ll need a curtain in a window or another medium to prevent the direct sun from boring down on your plant.
Direct sunlight will scorch the leaves. The stress of this injury will impede growth, so try to avoid that.
You might have heard that the pothos can grow in shade and low light. While it can, I would caution you against doing that for two reasons.
For one, a pothos grown in dim conditions does not grow as quickly as one that’s exposed to bright, indirect light every day.
Second, if you have variegated pothos with unique patterns and/or colors, dim light can cause the variegation to fade.