Whether you prefer to call it a pothos, devil’s ivy or Epipremnum aureum, knowing when to water your pothos plant can be the difference between a droopy yellow and brown pothos and a vibrant green and lush pothos plant. If you want to know how often to water your pothos, how much water to give it when you do water it, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s dive in!
How often should I water a pothos plant? Pothos plants should be watered every 7 to 14 days on average, but it’s much better to feel its soil moisture and use that as a gauge than it is to follow a set schedule. When the first inch to two inches of soil feels dry to the touch, you should water your pothos plant.
You may still have more questions about watering your pothos, and I’m here to answer them. Ahead, I’ll discuss in detail how often a pothos plant needs to be watered, the amount of water pothos requires, based on the time of year.
How Often Should I Water a Pothos Plant?
Did you know the nickname devil’s ivy originated because even if pothos was put in poor conditions, it still wouldn’t die? That doesn’t make it satanic though, just durable.
There are some areas of its care where the pothos is more forgiving than others. For instance, if you leave it in the dark with very little natural light, it’ll be fine.
If you don’t water it for a month though, your pothos will probably die. A succulent it is not, meaning the pothos can’t retain the water you give it for very long. Thus, when the moisture dries up and you don’t provide any more, it’s bye-bye pothos.
You don’t want it to come to that, and neither do I, so what kind of watering schedule should you follow for your pothos?
Here’s the thing, I recommend eschewing a schedule altogether. Some gardening experts say the pothos needs watering once a week, others twice a week. Yet if you decide that every Thursday you water your pothos, there may be some weeks where it needs more water than what you give it and other weeks in which you could skip watering it. Yes, even on a Thursday.
The fingertip test will always be a much more reliable gauge in determining when it’s time to water your pothos.
What is the fingertip test, you ask? It’s simple! With a clean finger, plunk it into your pothos’ pot about an inch or two deep. Then feel how wet the soil is.
Does it feel super moist? Then even if you haven’t watered your pothos since last week, it’s okay for now. Is the soil very dry, like approaching bone-dry? That’s bad news and something you need to fix immediately with more water.
Okay, so what if the soil is moist now? Does that mean you wait a whole extra week to water your pothos? Not necessarily.
Use the seasons as your guide when it comes to watering your pothos. I’ll talk about this more in the next section, but depending on the time of year, a houseplant will be thirstier during some seasons than others.
If your pothos is actively growing, I would repeat the fingertip test a few days after you last did it to see how moist the soil is at that point.
How Much Water Should I Give My Pothos?
Okay, so based on the soil test, it’s time to refresh your pothos with more water. You’ve got your watering can ready, but should you drench your houseplant or only lightly sprinkle it?
Here’s how you know.
Watering Pothos in Spring
Most houseplants bloom in the spring, and the pothos is no exception. As a caveat though, it doesn’t start blooming as soon as the winter frost disappears like other plant species do.
Instead, the spring growing season for the pothos might not start until May, which is the very tail-end of spring.
Even still, you need to watch your watering habits and probably increase them. The pothos may not have started actively growing much as spring gets underway, but outside, the world is in full bloom.
The days are longer, the birds are chirping, and the temperatures are steadily climbing.
Since the weather is warmer, the soil will absorb water faster. You may find yourself watering your pothos closer to weekly rather than every two weeks, but then again, that also depends on what spring is like in your neck of the woods.
If it’s warm to hot, then yes, anticipate more frequent watering. For mild springs, your watering habits might not change all that much quite yet.
Watering Pothos in Summer
During the summertime, you can expect to water your pothos up to twice as often as you would during any other time of year. If your pothos is experiencing the heat and the extended days of sunlight, watering your pothos 1 to 2 times a week isn’t uncommon for many pothos over the summertime.
With summer underway, now it’s time to get into the bulk of the pothos’ growing season. Since the pothos excels in temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit and those temps are very common in summer for most parts of the United States, your pothos plant will be in an optimal growing setting.
Growth will occur quickly, when a pothos is in it’s optimal conditions, which happens to be warm moist and under the bright summer sun, exactly like the summer time we experience in the United States.
Just as you did in the spring, you’ll continue into the summer by watering your pothos pretty frequently. If it the temperatures are closer to 90 degrees than 70 degrees, the loss of soil moisture will occur much more rapidly.
For those in the country whose summers are mild, you can water your pothos a bit more sparingly.
Watering Pothos in Fall
Watering your pothos every 7 to 12 days is a good place to start when establishing your regular watering routine during the Fall season. Pay close attention to your pothos when going from one season to the next. The autumn is usually when houseplants put a hard stop on growth until next year. Not the pothos.
Pothos plants can continue growing right through the fall and even later than that, so be prepared. That said, consider watering your pothos just a little less than the summer until you can tell by looking at it how much water your particular pothos needs to thrive in Fall.
In many parts of the country, the start of autumn signifies a switch to cooler temperatures, although sometimes that switch is a more gradual one. If you’re still experiencing summer-like weather into September or even October, then keep up your summer watering habits for the pothos, as its soil is still drying out at just as fast a rate.
When the temperatures become cooler, make sure you’re cooling your jets as well. Since you’ve spent the better part of four months with essentially the same pothos watering schedule, it’s easy to enter autopilot and continue watering it just as frequently into the fall, but you shouldn’t.
Watering Pothos in Winter
I recommend checking the soil with your finger to determine how often to water your pothos in the Winter, watering a pothos once every 10 to 14 days in the Winter months is good timeline to start with.
The pothos can continue growing until December, the month when Winter officially starts on the calendar. Since the pothos is still active at this point, don’t be surprised if it needs more water than the other plants in your indoor garden, as they’ve since gone dormant.
By the time January arrives, your pothos will be about done growing until May or thereabouts. This four-month period of dormancy will require the least amount of effort on your part. The pothos will behave more like your other dormant houseplants, needing to be watered perhaps every other week or so.
Although your pothos is dormant, that doesn’t mean you should forget about it. Keep testing its soil before watering it every other week.
How Big Can a Pothos Grow?
- There are always exceptions but on average, growing outdoors, in its natural habitat, a fully matured pothos can extend to widths between 3 & 6 feet and between twenty & forty feet in length.
- A fully mature pothos grown indoors can grow to 3 feet wide by 20 feet in length.
Does the Type of Pothos Affect How Much Water the Plant Needs?
Depending on which cultivar you gravitate towards, does your pothos need to be watered more frequently or less so? Fortunately, no. Whether you own a golden pothos, a Marble Queen, or a Manjula, water them just as you would a regular ol’ pothos.
If anything, plant variegation dictates the level of light a houseplant needs more than how much water. Should you notice that your pothos’ once distinct patterning and coloring has begun to fade or has even disappeared entirely, that’s due to lack of light.
One of the most fun parts of growing pothos plants in your indoor garden is all the different varieties, types or cultivars to choose from! Here is an overview.
- Cebu Blue Pothos: The Epipremnum pinnatum or Cebu Blue pothos may have a metallic shine to it as well as an attractive blue-green tint. The older this pothos cultivar gets, the more its leaf shape can change. With time, the leaves might develop splits that make it resemble the Swiss cheese plant more than a pothos!
- Pearls and Jade Pothos: This pretty, two-toned pothos is green in parts with much lighter patches that are shades of gray, silver, or white, sometimes even a combination of the three. The pearl and jade pothos is a slow grower, and if its leaves are smaller than other pothos in your indoor garden, that’s perfectly normal for this cultivar.
- Manjula Pothos: The Epipremnum Manjula or Manjula pothos was first discovered at the University of Florida. Its leaves are larger and wider than usual, taking on a shape more like a heart than an arrow. The variegation or patterning of this pothos is all over the map. Your Manjula pothos might have shades of light green as well as cream, white, or silver specks or patches.
- Jessenia Pothos: At first, the Jessenia pothos might look to you like any ol’ pothos, but take a closer look. Its leaves are typically darker green, and some have traces of chartreuse in them as well. This is yet another slow-growing cultivar, so be patient with it.
- Neon Pothos: Light up your indoor garden day and night with the neon pothos! Its pure yellow or neon green leaves are unvariegated but stand out very vividly nevertheless.
- Marble Queen Pothos: One of the better-known pothos varieties is the Marble Queen. This cultivar has leaves in a mostly a pure, bright green with streaks and flecks of yellow or ivory throughout.
- Golden Pothos: The most common cultivar of all is undoubtedly the golden pothos. This variety features more distinct splotches of ivory or light yellow color compared to the Marble Queen.
Signs the Pothos Is Being Underwatered
You sometimes feel like you’re treading a fine line between watering your pothos too much or too little. I can understand your nervousness, especially as the pothos’ watering requirements change throughout the year.
Although plants can’t talk to us verbally, they can communicate in other ways. For example, if your pothos exhibits these symptoms, then you need to start watering it more frequently.
Pothos Has Dry Leaves
You noticed one day that the leaves of your pothos looked a little stiff and crackly. It was strange for sure, but you didn’t think much of it. Days later and brown, dry patches have appeared on the leaves of the plant.
The next time your pothos’ leaves look dry, do pay attention. This is the first and most obvious sign that your plant is parched, so feed it some water ASAP!
You should put your fingers in the pot of your pothos regularly enough that if the soil has begun to separate from the pot’s sides that you’d realize it. The soil is very dry if such a thing is happening, so you’re watering your pothos far too seldom.
Pothos Leaves are Sagging
Besides the crispiness of the pothos’ pretty leaves, they can also begin wilting and drooping. If they hang limp and sad, a bit of water might be able to spruce your pothos back up.
Admittedly, sometimes you can be watering your pothos just as often as it needs but it still acts like it’s being underwatered. If that’s the case, then it’s time to consider a new pot for this houseplant. The meager amount of soil in your pothos’ current pot dries out too fast, preventing the water from reaching the roots and helping the pothos grow. In a pot that’s better sized to the plant, that shouldn’t happen.
Signs the Pothos Is Being Overwatered
There is such a thing as the pothos’ soil being too moist. Overwatering your pothos has its own set of consequences that you should keep an eye out for.
Since guttation is how a houseplant processes the excess water in the soil, it will definitely occur if you’re overwatering your pothos. Remember though that temperature and humidity can also lead to guttation, so be sure to rule out those other causes first.
Pothos Has Wilted or Curling Leaves
Yes, things can get a bit confusing because the pothos’ leaves will sag and wilt if the plant is being overwatered as well as if it’s not watered often enough. The only way to be sure which is the problem is by doing the soil test.
Your Pothos Has Browned Leaf Edges
Rather than brown patches throughout the leaves of the pothos, the edges of the leaves turn brown if your plant is overwatered. The pressure of guttation, if it’s great enough, can make the leaves’ veins explode. They turn brown as a result.
Overdoing and underdoing it on the water is bad for your pothos in different ways. Without enough water, especially for a prolonged period, your pothos will die, as I said before. Overwatering can lead to a quicker death courtesy of root rot. As the name implies, when water oversaturates the roots, it makes them brown, mushy, and rotted. Since the roots are the lifeblood of a plant, if they’re dead, the rest of your pothos will soon follow.
Should I Mist My Pothos Plant?
I wanted to take a moment to talk about watering versus misting your pothos.
When you water the pothos, you’re supposed to pour water into the soil with a watering can or even a cup. Misting is completely different. When you mist a plant, you use a spray bottle. The fine sheen of the water isn’t meant to sustain the plant, but rather, provide additional humidity.
The pothos is a humidity lover, however, it won’t die if it doesn’t have enough moisture in the air. That means moderate and low humidity are acceptable conditions. Since homes and offices have a relative humidity between 30 and 50 percent anyway, you shouldn’t have to change much to suit the pothos.
If you live in a cold environment and you think your pothos could use a bit more humidity, misting the plant is the wrong way to go about doing it. Unless you have no other obligations than to sit around and mist your pothos all day and night, then using a humidifier would be a much better idea.