Golden Pothos Care Guide

Invigorating. Purifying. Exciting.

The Golden Pothos is known for its invigorating, vibrant green leaves with distinct variegation, bringing life and energy to any space.

Golden Pothos Care Guide

Golden Pothos Overview

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Golden Pothos are a lovely, moisture-enjoying aroid. Perfect in humid and warm climates (dry and cold can work, with some diligence), as well as easy propagation, make this a desirable addition to your indoor plant collection! This plant can grow quickly and densely.

Also known as Devil’s Ivy, this plant is hardy and fairly simple to care for, making it great for beginner indoor plant hobbyists or new enthusiasts who want to learn about multiple aspects of plant care such as indoor humidity control, proper watering, and the joy of propagation.

Your Golden Pothos can take on beautiful variegation and color, depending on its exposure to light, which will be covered in this Golden Pothos Care Guide.

Light Needs

Golden Pothos prefer bright, indirect light. Indoors, that means keeping it across the room from a window where the plant will receive even lighting without the sun directly beaming down on it.

Placing your pothos directly in a eastern or western facing window could expose it to too much light. Setting it across the room from a western facing window would provide it ample light, allowing it to develop beautiful, marbled variegation on its leaves.

We tested our Golden Pothos in a west-facing room and found that having it approximately 8 to 10 feet from the window slightly out of direct light provided ample enough light for consistent new growth and gave the leaves a rich green color.

We then moved the pothos 5 ½ feet to 6 feet from the window, in a place where it got a couple of hours of direct sunlight through the window – this caused it to develop some early variegation signs within a couple of days!

Signs of too little light

Some signs of too little light for your Golden Pothos could be lack/loss of variegation, a reversion to an entirely green color on its leaves, or legginess. You may also notice some of the green fade in vibrance.

Signs of too much light

Too much light for your Golden Pothos can cause leaves to yellow, burn, and brown.

Soil Type

Soil for the Golden Pothos should be able to allow ample drainage, provide some air around the roots, all while retaining moisture. This can be achieved with a chunky, barky soil mix that has a very light addition of perlite.

This type of soil allows the bark to retain moisture, while draining out excess water so that the pothos does not sit in soggy soil. As you water, you may notice the soil settle, leaving bark at the top – this is normal.

pH levels for Golden Pothos are ideally in the 6.0 to 6.5 range, which is slightly acidic.

Watering Preferences

Golden Pothos enjoy thorough watering anytime the top 1-2 inches of soil is dry. When watering, make sure to water thoroughly, allowing the water to drain from the bottom of your plant’s pot in a steady stream. This ensures the soil is properly saturated.

There is no steadfast rule on how often you should water your pothos, let alone any plant you may have. Stick to using your finger to check the top couple inches of soil for dryness or you can alternatively use a moisture meter (we suggest the use of both). In barky mixes such as the type Golden Pothos enjoy, you may find your moisture reader to under-register the actual moisture in the soil, as the bark will retain some moisture while leaving room around it in the mix.

Another way to tell whether your Golden Pothos is ready for watering is by the leaves – if they’re drooping, it is ready to be watered.

When your pothos is in more direct light/low humidity, it may need more frequent watering than if it is in bright, indirect light or high humidity. At LeafWise, we check our plants’ moisture daily but you can get away with checking on your pothos’ moisture twice per week.

Humidity

Golden Pothos enjoy medium to high humidity ranges – we find the ideal range to be 60-70%, though you can have a Golden Pothos that thrives and provides plenty of new growth in as low as 50% humidity.

Any room that you have your plants in would benefit from having a humidity and temperature reader – these let you know the humidity levels in the room your plants are in and whether you need to increase or decrease humidity. Check out our guide on how to achieve the ideal humidity range for indoor plants, as well as our recommendations on the best humidifiers for indoor plants.

Ideal Temperature Range

Keep your Golden Pothos between 70 to 85 degrees Farenheit (15.5 to 29.4 Celsius) if you want it to thrive. Typical pothos plants can withstand up to 90F (32.2C). Cold tolerance for Golden Pothos bottoms out at 50F, however frequent exposure to temperatures at that level could cause it to die. Anything below 50F will cause the Golden Pothos to die as well.

Pothos survive best in USDA Zone 10, but Zones don’t need to be as much of a concern if you’re caring for your Golden Pothos indoors, as long as you maintain temperature, humidity, and lighting control as outlined in our Golden Pothos Care Guide.

Repotting

When you buy your Golden Pothos, check the plastic growing pot it comes in and see if the roots are poking out of or near the drainhole – if so, you want to repot your new pothos into a pot that is .5 inches to 1 inch larger than the plastic pot it came in.

Make sure your pot is at most 1 inch deeper than the pot your pothos was purchased in – don’t make the mistake of overpotting your plant, which can lead to root rot or poorly developed roots in your Golden Pothos.

When should you repot your Golden Pothos? Repot your Golden Pothos whenever it is rootbound or once per year (to help replenish nutrients in the soil and keep it growing). If your pothos is outside, make sure to repot during growing season in the summer or spring. You don’t want to repot your pothos while it is in a slow growth phase or dormant.

Pruning

Pruning is a vital aspect to caring for a Golden Pothos; proper pruning can also open the door for propagating the plant, which can help you increase the size of the mother plant or grow entirely new Golden Pothos plants as a result.

Prune your pothos when it becomes longer than you desire. For example, if you don’t want it to hang down, you may prune it frequently to keep the vines upright and controlled.

It is beneficial to prune your pothos if you notice the plant is having leggy growth. Pruning will encourage regrowth for the plant as it finds ways to continue growing despite being pruned. 

Like most vines and aroids, you’ll want to prune your Golden Pothos by cutting close to a node – nodes are easily identified by seeing where aerial roots are forming or where leaves diverge from the stem.

Pruning can help encourage branching from the node you cut at! This helps the plant become bushy, dense, and beautiful.

Save your cuttings from pruning so that you may propagate them to help grow your plant even further! Click to learn how to prune plants.

Propagating

Golden Pothos can be easily propagated in water – take your cutting, and gently cut away leaves from the bottom two to three nodes on your propagation. Submerge all the bottom, leafless nodes in water (we love using a test tube for this or vial).

Golden Pothos will develop roots quickly under the right conditions: bright, indirect light and 50-70% humidity range.

Once your Golden Pothos propagation has developed several roots that are 2 to 3 inches in length, you can pot them with the mother plant after a fresh watering. For planting the cutting on it’s own or to grow a child plant, dampen the soil you’ll plant the pothos in and then bury the roots. Make sure to use a Golden Pothos-friendly soil.

Common Pests

As with any indoor plant, the Golden Pothos can become a delicious snack for pests. The most common Golden Pothos pests are:

  • Spider Mites
  • Mealybugs
  • Scale

LeafWise always quarantines new plants and treats them with a neem oil treatment over several days to help kill any possible pests that may be lingering from the shop or nursery the plant came from.

For more info on common Golden Pothos pests as well as indoor plant bugs and how to get rid of them, check out our resources below:

  • Common Indoor Plant Pests
  • How to Get Rid of Indoor Plant Pests

Common Growth Issues

Common growth challenges we’ve seen people experience with Golden Pothos are:

  • Droopy Leaves
  • Yellowing/Pale Leaves
  • Burning & Brown/Crispy Leaves
  • Slow Growth
  • Soggy Roots
  • Pests
  • Leggy Growth

Almost all of these Golden Pothos growth issues can be prevented or resolved through following our Golden Pothos Care Guide! Follow our guidelines on soil type, temperature range, watering method, humidity range, and repotting and your pothos should thrive.

Sign up for our email list to download a free Golden Pothos Care Card – it has all the vital information from this article as well as a quick diagnostic and solution breakdown for the most common growth issues and pests. You’ll also get over 40 care cards for other plants you may already have or be interested in growing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) are generally considered easy to care for, making them an excellent choice for both beginner and experienced plant owners. They are highly adaptable and can tolerate a wide range of lighting conditions, from low light to bright, indirect light. They are also forgiving when it comes to watering; they prefer to dry out a bit between waterings and are relatively drought-tolerant. Overall, their low-maintenance nature makes them one of the most popular houseplants.

Golden Pothos are toxic to cats, as well as dogs, due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals in the plant. If ingested, these crystals can cause symptoms such as oral irritation, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty swallowing. While the toxicity is generally considered to be mild to moderate, it’s best to keep Golden Pothos out of reach of pets to prevent any potential issues. If you suspect your cat has ingested any part of the plant, consult your veterinarian immediately for advice on how to proceed.

Yellow leaves on a Golden Pothos can be a sign of several issues, including:

  1. Overwatering: This is one of the most common reasons for yellow leaves. Overwatering can lead to root rot, depriving the plant of essential nutrients and oxygen.

  2. Underwatering: While Golden Pothos are relatively drought-tolerant, prolonged periods of dry soil can also lead to yellow leaves.

  3. Nutrient Deficiencies: A lack of essential nutrients like nitrogen can also cause leaves to yellow. Consider using a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer to address this.

  4. Light Conditions: Too much direct sunlight can scorch the leaves, while too little light can also cause them to yellow. Make sure your plant is in a location with bright, indirect light.

Drooping leaves can be a sign of various issues, such as:

  1. Overwatering or Underwatering: Both can stress the plant and lead to drooping leaves. Make sure you’re following a consistent watering schedule based on the needs of your specific plant and the conditions in your home.

  2. Temperature Fluctuations: Golden Pothos prefer a stable environment. Sudden changes in temperature can cause the plant to droop.

  3. Transplant Shock: If you’ve recently repotted your plant, it may experience some drooping as it adjusts to its new environment.

To resolve any drooping, identify the root cause and adjust your care routine accordingly.