Hawaiian Pothos: Easy Plant Care Guide


The Hawaiian pothos or Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian is a pothos cultivar that needs proper care to thrive. I’ll tell you everything you need to know to grow this plant in this detailed guide.

How to care for the Hawaiian pothos? To care for the Hawaiian pothos, the plant requires water when its soil is halfway dry, bright and indirect light, well-draining soil, temperatures of 65 to 80°F, humidity up to 70 percent, and monthly fertilizer feedings to grow. 

In this guide to growing an Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian, I’ll go through every facet of this plant’s care and provide plenty of fun facts and actionable information so you’ll learn as you go along.

Let’s get started!

About Hawaiian Pothos (Epipremnum Aureum Hawaiian)

The Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian or Hawaiian pothos, like most pothos, hails from warm, tropical regions. 

A mature Hawaiian pothos grows one to four feet but might be smaller when planted indoors.  

As is true of most pothos varieties, the Hawaiian pothos features those same beloved heart-shaped leaves, yet its coloration is different. 

This is a specialized cultivar of the original pothos, after all. 

The leaves are primarily green but feature flecks or patches of yellow and cream. Each leaf of a Hawaiian pothos is unique and a wonder to behold.

This perennial, evergreen vining plant has a relatively fast growth rate, so if yours is a young Hawaiian pothos, it shouldn’t be too long before it sprouts up. 

You will never see a Hawaiian pothos flower, but in that regard, it’s no different from any other pothos.

After all, pothos as an indoor plant is propagated and grown in its juvenile stage, and the plant will only flower in maturity when uncultivated. 

The flowers feature a cream-colored spathe with hints of purple near the spadix. They’d be nice to see, but you’ll have to settle for photos. 

How to Care for Hawaiian Pothos

Have you decided that an Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian is the right plant to add to your indoor garden? If this is your first pothos, or at least your first variegated one, then allow me to walk you through all the components of its care. 

How Much Water Does Hawaiian Pothos Need to Thrive?

The Hawaiian pothos can have rather dry soil before you replenish it, with upwards of 50 percent of the soil drying out.

Yes, that’s right, 50 percent! 

If you’re sometimes forgetful about when to water your indoor plants, the Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian will be forgiving in that regard. 

That said, you don’t want to make a habit of underwatering or neglecting to water your plant. 

When the Hawaiian pothos is starved of hydration, its growth can inch to a halt. Those appealing heart-shaped leaves will droop and wilt, and the leaf tips can die.

The rest of the plant can develop brown or yellow spots.

This is a fate you want to do your best to avoid, especially for such a variegated plant as the Hawaiian pothos. 

Once your plant has discoloration, the original colors will never come back. You’ll have to prune the dead leaves and wait for new ones to grow in. 

How can you be sure when you should water the Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian? I recommend the fingertip test. 

Insert a clean finger or two deep into the Hawaiian pothos’ soil. You need to be able to feel if 50 percent of the soil is dry, after all.

When you deem that it’s time to water the plant, you want to be generous with the quantity of water you use. 

Keep pouring the water in until the H2O is flowing out of the drainage holes and into the saucer under your plant’s pot. 

Dump the water from the saucer when you’re finished 

The point of this is to avoid root rot, which the pothos can develop if it spends too much time saturated in water. 

Root rot chokes off oxygen to the Hawaiian pothos’ roots, killing them one by one as they drown in water. 

By the time you notice symptoms such as brown or yellow leaves, stunted growth, or an overall sudden decline in your plant, it’s usually too late to save it. 

You can always try to revive your plant by removing the dead roots (disinfecting your pruning shears with isopropyl alcohol or bleach along the way), cutting the browned foliage, and moving the pothos to a drier area. 

Oh, and cut back on watering too. 

Best Light for Growing Hawaiian Pothos Indoors

The Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian thrives in bright, indirect light, just like many pothos varieties.

Bright, indirect light is the light that passes through a curtain or another medium on the way to your plant. 

When growing natively in tropical forested regions, the pothos never receives direct sunlight since it has the overhead canopy of trees and plants surrounding it. Thus, you never want to expose the Hawaiian pothos to direct sunlight.

Direct sunlight is too harsh for this plant. Prolonged exposure will cause the Hawaiian pothos’ soil to dry out. The plant’s leaves will turn crispy and droopy as well.

The leaves might develop white areas unlike the creamy variegation the Hawaiian pothos is known for. 

Rather, the bleach-like areas are a surefire sign of plant sunburn. The spots can later turn brown.

Where you position the Hawaiian pothos in your home or office matters when safeguarding your plant from direct sun exposure. 

For example, a westerly or southerly-facing window gets more direct sunlight than northerly or easterly-facing windows. The former window positioning will be too much for the Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian

I caution you not to take things too far in the opposite direction and starve the Hawaiian pothos of light, as this can be just as detrimental. 

Variegated indoor plants that spend too long in the dark can lose their coloration. It simply drains from the plant and will never return. 

Your Hawaiian pothos will still be a Hawaiian pothos in name, but in name only.

The plant will begin developing spindly, leggy stems and vines and smaller leaves to indicate it needs more sunlight.

If you’re growing a Hawaiian pothos in a cubicle without access to sun, then at least buy a grow light for your plant. 

Indoor plants can’t tell the difference between sunlight and artificial light. They just need light to grow! 

Best Type of Soil for Hawaiian Pothos

Well-draining soil is a must for the Hawaiian pothos so the plant doesn’t risk becoming waterlogged.

You can use regular potting soil as you do for a lot of your indoor plants but keep it on the acidic side. 

If you have a pH scale, Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian likes soil between 6.1 and 6.8. That’s only mildly acidic, as a pH reading of 7.0 is neutral.

To keep the Hawaiian pothos’ soil as well-draining as possible, I’d recommend adding soil amendments such as coconut coir or perlite. 

Coconut coir or coco coir for short comes from the outer husks of coconuts. It’s sold in bricks or loose. 

By mixing coconut coir into the soil of the Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian, it will promote excellent aeration so the soil doesn’t become compacted.

Compacted soil is hard and unyielding. Water can’t travel freely, so it’s likelier to get stuck. Root rot situations can easily occur from there.

Coco coir is also excellent at providing drainage, and the stuff has good water retention as well. This will keep the Hawaiian pothos’ soil moister longer so you don’t have to water the plant as frequently. 

Perlite is a type of volcanic rock that also has excellent water retention abilities since it’s very porous.

 The texture of perlite encourages water drainage as well so you won’t have to stress about standing water. 

Best Containers for Growing Hawaiian Pothos Indoors

The Hawaiian pothos is fine in dry conditions (provided they’re not too dry) and doesn’t like water lingering in its pot for too long.

Based on those characteristics, I would recommend a glazed clay or terracotta pot or container for the Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian.

Terracotta and clay are both porous and thus highly absorptive plant pot materials. Without a layer of glaze, the terracotta or clay would suck up the water in the Hawaiian pothos’ pot so fast that you’d be forced to water the plant again every couple of days.

Glazing the material reduces the porosity of clay and terracotta to a degree. 

The plant pot materials will still absorb water faster than say plastic or ceramic, but the water won’t be gone so fast that your plant feels parched all the time. 

If you do decide that a glazed clay or terracotta pot or container, carefully handle both materials, as they break easily. 

The pot or container should always have drainage holes. You’ll also need a saucer for your pot.  

Hawaiian Pothos Temperature and Humidity Preferences

A happy Hawaiian pothos is one in an environment between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 

They don’t call it the Hawaiian pothos for no reason! This plant likes it warm, but not so warm that you’ll be sweating trying to keep up. 

Since the Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian’s preferred temperature range is right within room temperature range (68 to 74 degrees), give or take a few degrees, there should be no need to touch your thermostat at home or at the office.

The Hawaiian pothos will be comfortable and so will you, which is truly a win-win!

Let’s talk about the temperature limits this plant can withstand. On the colder side, you don’t want to let the mercury drop below 60 degrees.

This can happen if you turn off your heat for an afternoon at home during cool months or if you’re growing your plant in the office, where you can’t always control the thermostat.

In cold temperatures (or what the pothos deems cold), after enough exposure, the Hawaiian pothos can begin to suffer the symptoms of cold shock.

Cold shock can lead to foliar discoloration, leaf drooping or wilting, and possibly even leaf death depending on how prolonged the exposure is.

By moving the Hawaiian pothos to a warmer area, stat, and trimming the dead leaves, the plant might bounce back.

The hottest temps the Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian can handle are 85 degrees. 

Again, you might not deem this all that hot, but to the Hawaiian pothos, it’s plenty warm.

Pushing the temperatures too much higher could cause your plant to succumb to heat stress. 

You’ll notice cupped or rolling leaves, wilting and drooping, crispy foliage, and leaf discoloration such as yellowing or browning. 

These symptoms mirror what happens when a Hawaiian pothos is exposed to too much sunlight since in either case, the plant is frying.

The best treatment for heat stress is moving the plant to a cooler area, removing the damaged leaves, and hoping for the best.

The Hawaiian pothos needs moisture in the air as well at a rate of 50 to 70 percent. This humidity range is much higher than the average relative humidity in a building such as your home or office.

You could always grow your pothos in the bathroom provided the spot gets enough light. A humidifier is another suitable solution for increasing moisture. 

Fertilizing a Hawaiian Pothos

The Hawaiian pothos isn’t big on fertilizer but still needs it from time to time.

Select a water-soluble, balanced fertilizer formula with the same amount of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus. The formula on the bag or package will have the same three numbers, like 15-15-15.

Wait until the Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian’s active growing season begins in the spring and then fertilize about monthly. Continue this throughout the summer. 

Some indoor gardeners keep fertilizing the Hawaiian pothos through the winter, doing so maybe once every three months. Other indoor gardeners stop during the colder months. 

If you want to fertilize this plant into the colder season, you can, but the Hawaiian pothos won’t be growing much in the winter. 

Overdoing it on the fertilizer also increases the risk of fertilizer burn, which can seriously damage your plant. 

The symptoms include browning and yellowing foliage and dead, crunchy leaves. Your poor variegated pothos would look a lot worse for wear.

To treat fertilizer burn, you can flush the plant’s soil using water until you’re confident you got all the fertilizer salts out. You can also replace the soil with fresh potting soil. 

Don’t forget to prune the dead bits of the plant too. 

Hawaiian Pothos Propagation Methods

You’ve fallen in love with the Hawaiian pothos and want the other indoor gardeners in your life to try growing this plant too. 

Without further ado, here are your propagation methods for Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian.

In Water

Your first propagation option is to grow the Hawaiian pothos in water. 

Select a suitable plant cutting, which should be green, healthy, and have at least a leaf or two attached. 

What’s most important is the presence of at least one leaf node, with a leaf node a bump where a new leaf will emerge. 

Place the cutting in a glass or jar of water. Within several days or about a week, the water will turn filmy and murky. 

This is normal, but it’s a sign you need to dump the water and refill it. 

It can take three to four weeks for roots to grow. You’ll be able to see them sprout right through the glass!

In Soil

Your other option when propagating Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian is to take the cuttings and insert them in some potting soil. 

Put the soil in a shallow container or dish; there’s no need for a full-sized pot until the Hawaiian pothos cuttings get bigger. 

Hawaiian Pothos Related Questions

Is Hawaiian Pothos Rare?

With at least 15 varieties of pothos, Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian is not the rarest out there by any means.

I’d categorize it as uncommon more so than anything else. 

At the end of the day, the rarity of an indoor plant species isn’t the end-all, be-all of the plant. If anything, it just makes owning that plant a very costly endeavor!

If you like the look of the Hawaiian pothos, then that should be your deciding factor. 

Is Hawaiian Pothos the Same as Golden Pothos?

Some indoor gardeners get the golden pothos and Hawaiian pothos confused, especially beginner indoor gardeners. Allow me to shed some light on the matter.

The Hawaiian pothos and golden pothos are not the same. They do look similar, and a lot of their care overlaps, but these are not identical plants. 

You can tell as much in a few critical ways.

First, there’s the coloration of the leaves. The golden pothos, perhaps attributing to its name, features yellow patches and flecks throughout the foliage.

You’ll recall from earlier in this section that the Hawaiian pothos has yellow coloration but creamy white in its foliage as well.

The second difference is also quite distinct, and it’s the size of these two pothos varieties.

The golden pothos can easily exceed 10 feet in maturity while the Hawaiian pothos is a lot smaller. 

Hawaiian Pothos Common Issues

As you grow the Hawaiian pothos, it’s common to run into some snags. Let’s talk about the pests and diseases that can halt growth progress and even put your plant’s life on the line. 

Pests

All the pest species you’d expect to bug an indoor plant will invade your Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian. They include spider mites, aphids, scale insects, and mealybugs. 

Here’s some background information on each bug species and your removal options.

  • Spider mites: The web-weaving insects known as spider mites will live underneath the colorful leaves of the Hawaiian pothos, so be sure to look for the pests there. I’d recommend mixing water and alcohol in a spray bottle and directly misting every spider mite underneath your plant. Spray the tops of the leaves too just to be on the safe side, then rub off the alcohol after a few minutes. 
  • Aphids: Aphids linger outside and can easily get in the house through an open window. They’ll keep themselves alive by drinking the sap of the Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian and reproducing. To remove the bugs, stir together dish soap and water and coat the plant’s leaves with the stuff. Repeat for up to two weeks and you’ll see no more aphids. 
  • Scale insects: Although not overly mobile, scale insects find a way to get around on indoor plants like the Hawaiian pothos. You can flick them right off or attack them with a cotton swab dipped in rubbing alcohol. 
  • Mealybugs: Mealybugs like subtropical trees, indoor plants, and greenhouse plants, so they’re not picky. They’ll suck up plant juices all the same. Rubbing alcohol and water–or, if you want to be ultra-effective–rubbing alcohol and water with dish soap will do the trick. 

Diseases

Next, let’s look at the diseases that pothos species such as the Epipremnum aureum Hawaiian are susceptible to.

  • Phytophthora: One of the top pothos diseases is Phytophthora, which is caused by the water mold known as Phytophthora nicotianae. The roots are affected first, and then the leaves, which will become black or brown. The stems and leaf veins do not change color though. Limiting overwatering is the best prevention method. 
  • Bacterial wilt disease: A Hawaiian pothos infected with bacterial wilt disease will, as the name implies, wilt. The stems and leaf veins will blacken as well. Bactericide might help, but its effectiveness varies.
  • Southern blight: Southern blight occurs mostly in warmer environments. A fungus spreads throughout the plant, causing the walls of the Hawaiian pothos to break down with time. Fungicides or solarization are recommended treatments. 

Is Hawaiian Pothos Toxic to Pets? 

If this entire guide has intrigued you to the point where you want to own a Hawaiian pothos, you may want to bring one home posthaste.

Is the plant safe around four-legged friends such as cats and dogs? Not in the slightest, no.

The plant’s roots, stems, and leaves all have calcium oxalate, which will cause intense stomach pain in your pet as well as vomiting, an oral burning sensation, difficulty breathing, and swollen tongue and lips.

If your pet has gotten into a Hawaiian pothos, take them to the vet immediately. 

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Fred Zimmer

I'm a lover of plants, animals, photography, & people, not necessarily in that order. Currently, I'm focused on photographing indoor plants & chachkies. I write & rewrite articles about creating an environment where indoor plants can thrive. I'm good at listening to music but bad at shopping to muzak.

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