If you grow a Pothos (Epipremnum aureum), also referred to as Devils Ivy, it’s only natural to wonder when the plant will begin trailing. I’ll tell you the timeframe and how to speed up the growth of your pothos so your plant can begin trailing even sooner!
When will my pothos start trailing? Pothos will grow 12 inches per month during its active growing season, which is from December to May. Within two to three months, your pothos should be long enough to start trailing!
This guide to trailing pothos care will delve deeper into the indoor plant’s projected growth. I’ll also share my best tips for how to speed along pothos plant growth. I have lots of great information to cover ahead, so make sure you keep reading!
How Long Until My Pothos Begins Trailing?
Few parts of an indoor garden are as beautiful as trailing plants. Whether your Pothos is a Neon Pothos, Global Green Pothos, Golden Pothos, Silver / Satin Pothos, or any other Pothos variety, the one thing they all have in common is they all have the capability to trail.
Growing a pothos so it can trail and climb or hang off a bookshelf always seems to add a tropical feel to any room it’s growing in.
And if you’re growing your own pothos, I’m sure you’d love to see your own pothos trail too. But, how long will it take?
Well, that depends on several factors. I’m assuming yours is a young pothos that you purchased or received as a gift, perhaps through propagation. I’m also assuming you’re giving the plant the correct care.
In that case, then your pothos should grow an estimated 12 inches per month during its active growing season.
That season begins in December when most of your indoor garden goes dormant and will last until May, a period when growth renews for other species.
At two months old, your pothos will be 24 inches, and that’s certainly long enough to climb.
If not by two months, then undoubtedly within three months your pothos will start to trail, as it will be 36 inches long.
A healthy pothos that develops over the entire five-month growing period will often grow to be 60 inches when all is said and done. That’s quite a lot of growth for a year!
That’s also why I love growing pothos. I’m impatient and growing a pothos keeps me excited especially in the colder months when so many of my other indoor plants slow down to a crawl.
How to Get Your Pothos to Trail Sooner
Is the thought of waiting upwards of three months for a trailing pothos not that appealing to you? You’re curious about how to speed up pothos plant growth.
The following methods should accelerate the growth of your pothos so it will trail nicely.
Maintain a Good Watering Schedule
Few things will halt pothos growth progress more than bad watering habits.
An underwatered pothos that’s starving for moisture might not even be able to keep its leaves attached to the plant, let alone encourage further growth.
If you overwater your pothos, you could be slowly killing it if the plant develops root rot. No growth will occur at that point, as your plant will be too busy fighting for its life.
To maintain a good watering schedule for your pothos, the rule of thumb is this: when your pothos soil feels dry, you should water it.
How often to water pothos in the summer versus the winter? I don’t like to recommend a schedule, per se, as factors outside of the season such as the humidity of your home will play a role.
That said, you should certainly expect to water the pothos more in the summer even if the plant is not as active then.
The higher temperatures will cause your plant to drink up the water more thirstily. Plus, water evaporates faster.
Use the Right Growth Medium
Without the proper growth medium, you can’t expect to see much if any growing from your pothos.
The pothos does best in well-draining, mildly acidic soil. The ideal pH range for this plant is between 6.0 and 6.8. That’s only a little past neutral on the pH scale.
I’d recommend soil amendments to improve the aeration of the pothos soil and keep the water well-draining (but not too well-draining, as then you deprive your Epipremnum aureum of hydration).
Perlite is a great addition to your pothos pot, as it enhances both drainage and aeration.
The pH of perlite is 7.0 to 7.5, so you shouldn’t use too much if you don’t want your pothos soil to veer too close to neutral territory.
Vermiculite in small quantities can be good as well. This phyllosilicate mineral improves aeration but also boosts moisture retention, which is why I recommend you don’t use a lot.
As for vermiculite’s pH, it’s between 7.0 and 7.5, just like perlite.
Prune Your Pothos
I’ve discussed this a lot in recent blog posts, but it seems like a good time to mention again how plant energy allocation works.
In this case, your pothos plant uses its energy on maintaining itself primarily, including its offshoots or plantlets. Then, with whatever energy is left over, the plant will grow.
The bigger your pothos is, the more offshoots and dead bits it has. Even though the dead bits aren’t growing, your pothos still uses energy to keep those parts attached.
That’s why a good pruning session is the perfect method for paving the way to future growth.
When you prune, you want to find the pothos leaf node. You’ll be able to easily spot the node since it’s a swollen, raised area on the stem.
Make a diagonal snip using clean pruning shears or gardening scissors. In some cases, pinching pothos is appropriate.
The diagonal cut is so the new stem has a larger surface area for drinking water and absorbing sunlight.
When it comes to dead parts such as leaves and stems, you can trim them in their entirety. Feel free to use them for a compost pile to eventually be used in your own DIY potting mix rather than throw them away.
For as beautiful as the pothos is, this indoor plant species can attract its fair share of critters.
The pests that prefer the pothos plant include everything from fungus gnats to thrips, aphids, whiteflies, scale insects, spider mites, and mealybugs.
Watch the foliage of your pothos, which can wilt, become discolored, have holes in them, have a sticky residue, or fall off your trailing pothos completely, depending on which of these pests attacks your pothos.
Some small insect species leave behind residue in their wake that makes them more easily detectable. In the case of spider mites, these are silken webs.
Sticky honeydew is another type of residue secreted by some insects.
Be sure to check underneath the leaves, as that’s where this residue is likeliest to appear!
For many insect invasions affecting your pothos, a little bit of diluted dish soap or rubbing alcohol does the trick. Apply the mixture to a cotton swab or pour it in a spray bottle.
If you’re still dealing with a nagging infestation, you can try neem oil. I wouldn’t use harsher products than that except maybe insecticidal soap.
Provide Proper Light
In bright, indirect light, your pothos is happiest.
Indoor gardeners can provide dimmer conditions for this plant, but I wouldn’t recommend it for two reasons.
For one, the pothos’ light needs are greater if it’s variegated, such as the marble queen pothos and many other attractive pothos cultivars. In dimness or–worse yet–darkness, the coloration and patterning of your pothos disappears.
Once your pothos loses its variegation, the change is permanent, FYI.
More importantly for your purposes, a pothos that isn’t receiving enough sunlight is not going to grow and trail.
Natural sunlight is generally the best option if possible but a plant cannot tell whether its light source is natural light coming from the sun or an artificial light aimed at it from a grow light, so use both if possible when speeding up the growth of your pothos.
After all, in the winter when the pothos is still active, you won’t have nearly as much sunlight, making the colder months a perfect time to add additional light to your pothos using grow lights.
Get the Temperature and Humidity Correct
A pothos that’s exposed to temperatures in its naturally preferred range will thrive and grow to its fullest and longest potential. The ideal temperatures range for a pothos is between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
No, you do not have to crank up the heat to 90 degrees! Instead, this means that if the pothos is exposed to temperatures that hot (usually outdoors), it won’t wilt.
If you keep your home or office at room temperature, your pothos will be in the right conditions to begin trialing.
The pothos also likes humidity at 50 percent or higher. If you own a humidifier, you’ll need to use it for optimizing the growth of your pothos (Epipremnum aureum).
When speeding up the growth of a pothos, do your best to recreate the pothos natural environment. In the case of the Pothos, its natural environment would be the French Polynesia islands, think warm, sunny, and very tropical weather.
Fertilize Only When Needed
A fertilizer infuses your pothos with the nutrients it needs to grow, but too much of a good thing can quickly become a bad thing.
You only have to fertilize your pothos every two or three months. Since the plant’s active growing season lasts five months, you’ll fertilize once or twice over that growing season.
I recommend a water-soluble balanced indoor plant fertilizer.
How to Train Pothos to Climb a Wall
As your pothos grows, its trailing vines might not extend upward like you were hoping. Rather, they’ll grow lengthwise or dangle, such as if your pothos is in a hanging basket.
You have to train pothos to climb a wall. Here’s how you do it.
Can you train an already grown pothos to climb? Yes, but it’s easier to do it when your plant is young.
Give the Pothos Material to Climb On
Your pothos will not naturally grow upward. You have to provide something for the vines to latch onto and wrap around.
Here are some recommendations to get your pothos trailing as soon as possible.
- Trellis: Indoor trellises appealingly decorate any home or office, and they give your pothos something sturdy to grab. The trellis you select should be as tall as you want your pothos to be when climbing.
- Moss poles: A moss pole looks and feels like real moss, especially to a plant like the pothos. Plus, having a moss pole in your home or apartment adds to the greenery of the place even if you don’t have to care for the faux moss like you do the rest of your indoor garden.
- Metal poles: For a more utilitarian look to your indoor garden, metal poles are another great option for allowing your pothos to climb. The poles are certainly sturdy enough to support even a larger, fully-grown pothos!
- Bamboo cane: Bamboo is a much-beloved material, so why not add it to your indoor garden? Your pothos will enwrap around the bamboo stalks, and you can enjoy the beauty of bamboo at home or work every day.
Anchor the Pothos
Providing a climbing material isn’t necessarily enough to keep your pothos upright as it begins its growing ascent. You need to anchor the trailing vines of your pothos into place.
I’ve seen indoor gardeners use an assortment of different solutions for this.
You can wrap the pothos vines around a wire and then staple that wire to your wall.
Whichever option you select, keep two things in mind.
One, you usually don’t want the anchors to be too visible, as that erases the effect that your pothos is naturally trailing your wall.
Second and crucially, you don’t want to hurt your plant and its delicate vines with your anchor. Please be careful not to staple the vines puncturing the vines of your pothos!