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Why are my Pothos Not Growing?

If you have pothos in your apartment or garden, I bet you know how effortlessly they prosper. They are one of the low-maintenance houseplants that do justice to your love and care. Clingy yes! But not very needy!

Restricted growth is very common with pothos in closed apartments. They might be screaming for help!

Normally, the main reasons for stunted or slow growth pothos are inappropriate lighting, less/more water, and lack of plant food. In addition, during winter the growth of pothos may be slower due to the lower temperature. 

Listen to this article here:

Revive a Dying Pothos Plant
Pothos in a pot (Source: Pixabay)

If you have a proper understanding of what’s going on with your pothos babies, you can make them grow anywhere between 20-25 inches every month!

Now isn’t that very tempting?

Despite being a low-maintenance plant, are you having a hard time getting them trailing around your bedroom wall? Or, do you simply wish to speed up their growth? If so, you have come to the right place!

Take a warm cup of coffee and read along to identify the major felons responsible for stunting your beloved pothos.

Pothos Growth Rate

Before getting to the causes of your stress, let’s understand the growth patterns of pothos in general. No doubt they are fast growers, growing anywhere in between 12-20 inches on an average every month.

They can go as high as 40 feet and as wide as 6 feet under normal circumstances. They are pretty tolerant life forms. There are more than 12 kinds of pothos. However, their growth habits are more or less the same.

Types of PothosBotanical NameTotal LengthMonthly Growth Rate
N-Joy pothos Epipremnum aureum ‘N-Joy’2-6 feet indoors1-2 inches
Glacier pothosEpipremnum aureum 'Glacier'4-6 feet indoors2-4 inches
Manjula pothos Epipremnum aureum ‘Manjula’2-5 feet indoors
20-40 feet outdoor tropical setting
1-2 inches
Cebu blue pothosEpipremnum pinnatum4-8 feet indoors
40 feet outdoors
2-3 inches
Hawaiian pothos Epipremnum aureum Pothos ‘Hawaiian’3-15 feet indoors
30-50 feet native habitat
1 inch
Satin pothos (or silver pothos) Scindapsus pictus2-6 feet indoors
10 feet (3 m) outdoors
Slow, if kept in low light
Jessenia pothos Epipremnum aureum ‘Jessenia’3-8 feet indoors4-6 inches
Neon pothos Epipremnum aureum ‘Neon’2-6 feet indoors4-6 inches
Golden Pothos Epipremnum aureum5-12 feet indoors1 inch
Marble Queen pothos Epipremnum aureum ‘Marble Queen’1-4 feet indoors0.75 -1 inch
Snow Qween Pothos Epipremnum aureum ‘Snow Queen’3-6 feet indoors0.75 inch
Pearls and jade pothos Epipremnum aureum ‘Pearls and Jade’2-7 feet indoors

2-5 feet indoors
0.75 -1 inch

Don’t you want your pothos to look as appealing as the ones on Instagram or Pinterest?

Plant beside a bright window
Plant beside a bright window (Source: Pixabay)

Is Your Pothos Receiving Enough Light?

Pothos will survive in the absence of natural light. Place them in a dim bathroom with no windows, and they will survive. But will they trail?

Low lighting conditions are not a problem for pothos. However, it has serious implications for the growth rates and size of foliage. Pothos grow better in bright indirect sunlight for 12 hours or artificial light for ideal growth. You need to limit the direct exposure to sunlight for 3-4 hours. 

Hurry up and place your pothos beside your window if you want them to get bushy and trail in no time. Also, you do not want to burn the leaves or parch out the plant. Thus, you could add some translucent curtains to the window.

Underwatering and Overwatering is a Disaster!

How frequently are you watering your pothos? Overwatering is a tragedy for your babies but so is underwatering. I mean, they are not cactus, are they?

It is suggested to water your pothos once a week. However, I would not agree with the advice.

The watering schedule or the amount of water needed for pothos depends upon different aspects such as the placement of plants, humidity, season, plant size, and so much more.

If you have a 10 feet long trailing Neon Pothos, it is undeniably going to require more frequent watering than a 2 feet long Marble Queen.

The question is, how much is too much and how much is enough? You will find plenty of watering tricks on the internet. But I swear by two of the following rules:

  • Place the plant pot on a plate or a saucer, pour water on the plate. The roots will suck up the necessary amount of water through drainage holes in the pot. Leave the plant undisturbed for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Next,

  • Insert one inch of your finger in the soil. If it is wet and soggy, do not water your pothos for a few more days. If it is dry, you should go ahead and water them right away!

The Growing Medium

Well, the best part about growing pothos is, you can either grow them in soil or water. Depending upon the growing medium, its growth habits differ. Growing in soil is much more rewarding than in water.

When growing them in a water medium, be certain to use non-chlorinated water. Springwater works the best due to the healthy minerals.

If you want to learn more about growing pothos in water, click here.

When potting it in a soil medium, make sure the soil is not too dense. Garden soil is not enough for pothos plants to grow vigorously. A potting mix that has been particularly developed for indoor plants would be best suited.

And if you are thrifty when it comes to spending, you can make your potting mix. Mix perlite, sand, cocopeat, and garden soil together to give your pothos exactly what it deserves for healthy development.

Keep Proper Track of Humidity!

What happens to your lips in winters? They get extremely dry and chapped. It’s the same for pothos. When the humidity level drops down, their leaves get crisp and stop shooting off new branches.

Despite your care and concern, if your pothos isn’t trailing, just check the humidity of your room. They enjoy moderate to high humidity. If it is below 50%, you might want to invest in a good humidifier.

Pothos
Pothos (Source: Pexels.com)

After all, humidifiers are not only great for your pothos but humans too! However, if you are on a budget, here is a trick for you! Place a medium-sized bowl filled with water beside your pothos. This will most certainly get the job done.

I usually mist my pothos with plain water in a spray bottle a least once in two days. Again, this is not a requirement, but your pothos will definitely love that extra boost of water. Also, they will look squeaky clean, and fresh.

Did You Plant Your Pothos in Winter or Late Fall?

Many research suggests that people normally opt for indoor plants in late autumn or winter. Why? The simple answer is, it’s too cold to go out for a quick nature stroll! So how about bringing nature inside your living space?

Like most of the plants, pothos love summer. Spring and summer are the ideal time to plant these beauties. In the autumn and winter seasons, they become dormant. And, it is not easy to keep a track of their growth, especially in winters.

Pothos do not require much care during cold seasons. They do not require any fertilization. And can do good with very little water. Do not add in excessive plant vitamins expecting long trails. That simply won’t happen!

In fact, you might end up with dead pothos in the next few days. Beyond repair!

Thus, if you have planted them in the cold season, have some patience and wait for the sun. Your plant might be in good shape, the season on the other, hand might not be as perfect.

Watch out for the warm seasons when you can enhance their growth with extensive care. But winters are hard, both for you and your pothos. Don’t stress.

Pot Preferences and Aesthetics

When getting a houseplant for our apartment, we usually get them in a plastic pot. It would not be very pleasant to place them in earthen or terracotta pots due to the probability of fungi/algae development.

That’s not aesthetically pleasing!

Unlike earthen pots, plastic pots do not allow the flow of air from inside the pot to the outside and vice versa. Likewise, water inside the plastic pots cannot vapor out. Even if the topsoil is dry, the inner layers of soil might still be soaking.

This, in turn, can cause water-logged roots and decay. Consequently, the pothos will spend most of their energy recovering their root system than growing in length.

How about we shift to ceramic pots? They are visually appalling and superlative for your plant!

Check for the Plant-Eaters!

Insects and bugs are not a common occurrence in pothos. However, every once in a blue moon, they might become victims of mealybugs, ants, scales, mites, thrips, and other bugs.

These bugs attack the leaves and stem causing tissue damage. And, sometimes root maggots and fungus extensively delay the growth of the plant.

A bug on leaf (Source: Pixabay)

It is a good thing to check on the roots if you feel that your pothos is stunted. After all, who knows what you may find?

Also, if the bugs are bugging your pothos leaves, just spray the plant with a mixture of dishwashing liquid and water once a week. It will keep the bugs at bay!

Frequent Re-potting

Frequent repotting is clearly a sin! I have heard that a lot of people tend to re-pot their pothos every year. This is an unnecessary step that does more harm to your plan than good.

Pothos has considerably strong roots, and they do not get root bound in a matter of one year. Sometimes a certain amount of root-bound environment is necessary for healthy growth.

You should wait at least two years before re-potting your pothos. It is recommended to re-pot only when you see that the roots are coming out of the drainage holes of the pot.

Frequent re-potting will only make your plants sick. And, not to forget the root damage, which will take a considerable amount of time to heal. This will considerably delay the growth of your plant.

Errors with the Fertilization Process

Can there ever be too much of a good thing? All of us want change….overnight! Right? And, I am pretty sure every plant-lover or gardener has killed a few plants due to overfertilization.

Pothos don’t usually require fertilization. So, if you don’t provide any plant vitamins, it is fine as long as your pothos is healthy.

However, if your pothos isn’t growing despite adding in lots of good plant foods, it is time to stop and observe.

Sometimes fertilization helps with the growth habits. Your plant might initially respond well. However, in the long run, the pothos will get stringy and leggy. Not something pleasing to the eyes!

Is there a remedy for overfertilization?

Unfortunately, there is not much you can do to revive an over-fertilized plant. Just wait and see if it gets through! And, of course, do not repeat your mistake.

Potting Soil (Source: Pixabay)

Other Reasons for Pothos not Growing

Now, you are just a few tips away from getting that long trailing pothos you always wished for!

Lack of Nutrition in the Soil or Water Medium

Add a very tiny amount of organic manure or natural plant vitamins once in 15-20 days. See how the plant responds before adding more.

Root Rot

If you discover any root rots, make sure to prune the damaged roots. Yes, you can prune the roots as well!

Build-up Photos Fertilizer in the Soil

If you are in the habit of adding fertilizers to your potted pothos, changing the soil entirely can benefit the plant by eliminating build-up fertilizers.

Air Conditioners and Heaters

Air conditioners are not exactly a friend to your pothos. They significantly drop the humidity level. It’s better to keep them far from AC or heaters.

Additional Tips for Noticeable Growth in Pothos

  • Do not use solid fertilizers. The roots more easily absorb liquid fertilizers and vitamins.
  • If you use tap water to feed your pothos, let it sit overnight to remove chlorine.
  • Make sure your pot has drainage holes at the bottom for proper drainage. Else, your pothos will not be as healthy and happy.
  • Although terracotta pots might not look appealing in the long run, they are the best. Even better than clay pots!
  • Do not reuse old potting mix. Change the soil every time you re-pot your pothos. This way, you won’t force your plant to grow in a non-nutritional environment.
  • Pruning pothos once a month encourages new growth. Also, cut off all the yellow and brown leaves.
  • Stick a small iron nail in your pothos pot. In a matter of few days, you will see that the plant is much greener and the leaves much larger.
  • If you are a coffee lover, you can use the coffee remains to fertilize your pothos every now and then. Like most Americans, pothos love coffee too!
  • Soak banana peels overnight in water. Strain it and give this vitamin-infused water to your pothos.

Pothos are aggressive growers!

You would really have to be a carefree gardener to let it die. With minimal care, they can and will give you the satisfaction of being a pothos parent. No wonder it is the trendiest houseplant at current times.

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