Epipremnum Aureum ‘Golden Pothos’ Care Guide (2022)

Golden pothos or Scindapsus aureus texture background

Golden Pothos is one of the most popular houseplants around and with good reason. 

Not only is this fast-growing perennial vine festooned with beautiful golden-green foliage, but it is also one of the most forgiving of neglect.

This makes it a perfect house plant for both beginner and experienced plant growers.

Scientific NameEpipremnum aureum ‘Golden Pothos’
Common NameGolden Pothos, Devil’s Ivy
LightBright indirect sunlight
WateringWeekly, water if the top half of the soil is dry
Temperature70 to 90ºF (20 to 32ºC)
Hardiness Zone10-12
Humidity50-70%
Soil Typequick-draining
Soil pH6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
FertilizingA balanced feed once a month in spring and summer
RepottingEvery 2 years
PruningIn spring or summer
PropagationRoot in water or soil
ToxicityToxic to humans and pets
Mature Size13-foot vines as a houseplant
Bloom TimeRarely in cultivation

What’s Unique About Golden Pothos?

Golden Pothos plants can be found in public and private settings all across the world because of their good looks and easy care requirements.

The green heart-shaped leaves of this tropical vine are splashed with gold in very attractive variegation.

The Golden Pothos plant is also very easy to care for, as it will tolerate low light and infrequent watering.

As well, it’s been recognized by NASA as an excellent plant for clearing the air of contaminants like benzene and formaldehyde.

With so many good qualities, it’s no surprise that so many people are growing Golden Pothos as an easy-care house plant.

Golden Pothos Care

Golden Pothos plant care is among the easiest of any house plant.

Native to the Society Islands of the South Pacific, these tropical vines will thrive when kept out of full sun in warm temperatures and high humidity.

Water only when the soil is dry, and feed monthly, and you can expect your Golden Pothos to thrive for years.

Light 

The pothos family of plants originates in the tropical rainforests of the South Pacific, where the vines grow under the tree canopy in dappled shade.

As a result, Golden Pothos light requirements are for bright but indirect light.

Golden Pothos light needs are from 2,500 to 20,000 lux. You can achieve this range anywhere from an east-facing room several feet from a window to a shady corner of a south-facing room.

In a space with only artificial light, such as an interior office, the light levels from ceiling lights should be adequate.

Keep your Golden Pothos out of full sun, which can seriously damage the plant.

Watering 

In the rainforests of the South Pacific, Golden Pothos is used to porous soil which quickly drains. As a result, its watering needs are very undemanding.

Golden Pothos watering should strive to recreate those conditions, but you don’t need to water daily, and in fact you shouldn’t.

Water Golden Pothos when at least the top half of the soil has dried out. Check to see when the pot becomes lighter in weight, or test the soil with your finger.

Set the pot in the sink and water slowly until water drains out the holes.

Never let Golden Pothos sit in saturated soil, which can encourage disease and even kill the plant. 

Temperature 

The ideal Golden Pothos temperature range is hot, which is not surprising for a native of the tropics.

It will thrive between 70º to 90ºF (20º to 32ºC). The lower end of that range is well within the usual indoor temperature for homes in temperate zones. 

However, Golden Pothos has a limited temperature tolerance below 70º. Prolonged exposure to temperatures at or below 50ºF (10ºC) can seriously impact healthy growth. In hot weather, keep them out of the direct blast of air conditioning or fans.

Golden Pothos has no frost hardiness whatsoever. Temperatures of 32ºF (0ºC) will kill the plant.

Humidity 

The ideal humidity for Golden Pothos is high, as it befits a native of tropical rainforests. 

Its preferred humidity level is between 50-70%, which is much higher than is good for a house.

However, you can still meet the Golden Pothos humidity requirements.

Group other plants that thrive in high humidity with your Golden Pothos, and use a small humidifier to infuse the air around them with moisture.

Place your Golden Pothos pot on a pebble-lined tray and fill it with water. This will keep the roots from being waterlogged while at the same time creating a more humid micro-climate.

You can also mist the foliage every few days with distilled water.

Soil 

It is important to use the right soil mix to ensure the healthy growth of your Golden Pothos.

Golden Pothos soil should be loose and well-draining so that it will not retain too much water. 

The best pH level for Golden Pothos is 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic).

If you can find a palm soil mix, use that; otherwise, you can take a generic indoor plant mix and add equal parts perlite and sphagnum or peat moss. These soil additives will open up the soil and let it drain excess water more effectively.

Coconut coir is a renewable resource that you can substitute for peat moss. 

Fertilizer 

Because Golden Pothos is a quick-growing vine, it will grow faster and with more lush foliage if it is fed on a regular basis.

Look for a standard 20-20-20 NPK fertilizer ratio.

You have two main options for fertilizer for Golden Pothos. 

You can use a liquid houseplant fertilizer once a month, diluted as directed. Make sure that you only apply it to the surface of the soil, and that the soil is already damp. Otherwise, the fertilizer solution may run out the bottom of the pot and not get to the roots.

Granules can be mixed gently into the soil, where they should last for several months. 

Potting & Repotting 

Repotting Golden Pothos every couple of years will encourage the plant to grow to its full size.

When you see roots growing out of the drainage holes of the pot, it’s time to give your Golden Pothos more room.

Don’t be too generous, though: only increase the pot size by at most 2 inches in diameter. Any more can actually inhibit the growth of your Golden Pothos.

Choose a new container with adequate drainage holes. 

Fill the new pot with fresh potting mix, settle the root ball in firmly and water the soil thoroughly. Providing a sphagnum pole for support can help this vining plant grow vertically.

Pruning 

Golden Pothos pruning can help your plant stay lush and bushy, and maintain the desired form.

Of course you should trim out dead or damaged leaves to keep it looking its best, but you can choose to prune more aggressively as well.

If you want to encourage bushier growth, cutting Golden Pothos stems will encourage new branches to develop off the main stem.

If your Golden Pothos vine is rambling too far, you can also just cut off the growing point to keep its length within bounds.

Use sharp, sterilized scissors and cut just above a node, where new growth will start developing.

Propagation 

Golden Pothos propagation is an easy way to create new plants for your home or others.

To propagate Golden Pothos, start by selecting healthy stems about 4-6 inches long with at least 1 node and a few leaves.

Use sharp, sterilized scissors to cut the stem just below the lowest node.

You can root the cuttings using 2 different methods.

Set the cuttings in a glass of water with at least the lowest node  under water. Change the water every few days. 

Alternatively, put the cuttings in fresh growing medium and keep it moist. 

Within a few weeks your cuttings should develop roots and you can plant your new Golden Pothos out in small pots.

Common Problems of Golden Pothos

There are not many potential Golden Pothos problems, but it is not completely care-free to grow.

Look carefully at its leaves at the same time that you water your Golden Pothos to catch problems early.

Pests and diseases can be controlled or eliminated with good cultivation practices and the use of sprays.

Pests 

Unless you catch Golden Pothos pests early, you could find yourself with a population explosion of bugs. 

Mealybug eggs look like puffs of cotton on the underside of leaves. Use a cotton ball dipped in rubbing alcohol to wipe them off.

Aphids are light green bugs that often leave a sticky trail of sap. Mix up a spray of 2 cups water with one tablespoon of dish soap, and cover all surfaces of the plant.

Scales look like little brown bumps attached to the stem. Remove them with your fingernail and then use a pyrethrum spray to kill any that remain.

Spider Mites leave little yellow or brown spots on the leaves. Use insecticidal soap or neem oil to control them.

Diseases 

Golden Pothos is prone to the same diseases as other members of the pothos family.

Most Golden Pothos diseases start as the result of overwatering, so keeping the soil moderately dry can prevent them from developing. 

If stems are getting mushy and yellow, you probably have a case of root rot from wet soil. Remove it from the pot, trim off all affected stems and roots, and repot in well-draining soil.

Bacterial leaf spot causes yellow circles on the leaves which spread and turn black. Cut out all infected leaves and their stems.

Using a fungicide can help diseased plants recover once you’ve removed the inffected tissues.

Growing Problems 

Not all growing problems for Golden Pothos plants are caused by disease.

You may think that you have a sick plant, but often you just need to adjust its growing conditions to ensure renewed healthy growth.

If new leaves are not developing the distinctive golden variegation, your Golden Pothos may not be getting enough light. Move it to a brighter location, avoiding full sun.

If leaves are bleached of color or turning brown all over, your Golden Pothos is getting too much sun. Move it to a shadier spot.

Brown edges or wilting can indicate insufficient soil moisture. Give the pot a thorough soaking and let all excess water drain out.

If leaf tips are brown, mist the foliage more often.

Toxicity of Golden Pothos

All parts of the Golden Pothos plant are toxic to humans and pets.

The tissues contain calcium oxalate, which causes a painful reaction when ingested.

Its toxicity is not high enough to be fatal, but can cause serious reactions, especially in children and pets.

It’s good to know what to look for if you suspect that a child or pet has eaten some.

For Humans 

Golden Pothos is toxic to humans.

Adults are unlikely to eat any part of a Golden Pothos, but children may not know better and try nibbling on a leaf.

Luckily, the taste is very bitter and a child is unlikely to try more than a little bite.

If a child has ingested Golden Pothos, clean off any plant material from their mouth and give them something cool and soothing to help dull the pain.

If they develop a swollen tongue or have trouble breathing, take them for medical treatment immediately.

Adults may get some sap on the skin while tending to a Golden Pothos. To prevent irritation, rinse the affected area and use antihistamine creams for any rash.

For Pets 

Golden Pothos is toxic to pets, so you should be prepared to deal with any symptoms that develop.

Cats, dogs, and other household animals such as rabbits may start vomiting or drooling excessively after ingesting some Golden Pothos foliage. 

In severe cases they can develop a swollen tongue and start wheezing. 

Contact your veterinarian immediately for the best course of action.

You can prevent any accidental poisonings by growing your Golden Pothos out of reach of animals (and children). Because the vines can be trained to grow almost anywhere, it’s easy to grow them out of a hanging basket or pot on a high shelf.

Golden Pothos Appearance

Golden Pothos is notable for its green leaves splashed with gold.

The Golden Pothos appearance has made it one of the most popular houseplants, as it will create a tropical feel even in a cold winter.

While it will probably never flower, the leaves are more than enough to make it worth growing.

Foliage 

The evergreen foliage of Golden Pothos stays fresh-looking for a long time, making it a low-care houseplant.

The heart-shaped leaves reach a full size of 3-6 inches long and across, each growing on its own stem.

The glossy green leaves of Golden Pothos have a leathery texture, with a paler green underside. As they mature they are splashed with gold variegation, which is what makes it so desirable as a foliage plant.

Because they last so long, you will need to clean the leaves periodically to keep them looking their best. Wipe down each leaf with a damp cloth twice a year or so.

Flowering 

It is very unlikely that you will ever see a Golden Pothos flower on a plant growing inside, as is the case in most growing zones.

Golden Pothos flowering will only occur on a mature plant. This may happen in zones with no cold winters, where they can be grown outside year-round.

If you want a blooming Golden Pothos and live in a tropical climate, plant it in good, well-draining soil in the ground. That way, its roots can spread and support more vigorous growth. 

Once the vine has reached a length of 35-40 feet, you have a good chance of seeing flowers, which bloom in shades of yellow, green, or purple.

Size and Growth 

The size of Golden Pothos is dependent on how it is cultivated.

It does have a rapid growth rate, and can grow a foot or more a month during the spring and summer

However, when grown in a pot the eventual size is limited by the room available for its roots.

You can expect an indoor plant to reach a mature size of up to 12 feet.  A Golden Pothos vine planted in the ground outdoors in a tropical zone can ramble as far as 40 feet.

The width of a Golden Pothos vine and foliage is between 6-8 inches.

Golden Pothos Fragrance

The foliage of Golden Pothos has no scent, and since you will not get flowers blooming on an indoor plant, do not expect to smell Golden Pothos fragrance.

This can actually be an advantage in public settings such as medical offices. In these places the use of fragrances is discouraged to protect people with sensitivities.

At home, you can create an indoor garden with the lush, tropical Golden Pothos, draping the vine wherever it will make the most visual impact. 

Then, add other flowering plants such as jasmine, camellias, to augment the Golden Pothos appearance and make your indoors a fragrant space.

Suggested Uses for Golden Pothos

Take advantage of the insatiable desire of this vining plant to ramble to bring a tropical feel indoors.

It is not only good-looking, but also filters impurities such as benzene and formaldehyde from the inside air. Keeping a Golden Pothos plant in a hanging basket in your bedroom will not just be beautiful but practical.

Train your Golden Pothos up a sphagnum pole to encourage it to reach up 6 feet or more, and then train the vines further along a high shelf or around a north-facing window. 

Golden Pothos is also an excellent choice for a windowless office space, where the fluorescent lights will provide them with high enough light levels to thrive.

FAQ

What is Golden Pothos? 

Golden Pothos is a low-maintenance vining foliage plant usually grown as an indoor potted plant. It is a member of the Aracae family native to tropical rainforests.

How to identify Golden Pothos? 

Golden Pothos plant has a single vining stem with 3-6 inch heart-shaped leathery leaves that are glossy green and splashed with gold variegation when mature.

How to care for Golden Pothos? 

Golden Pothos should be grown in bright, indirect light in temperatures from 70 to 90ºF (20 to 32ºC), with humidity between 50-70%. Water only when the soil is dry.

How to grow Golden Pothos indoors? 

Golden Pothos can be grown indoors in the window of a north or east-facing room, or out of the full sun in a south or west-facing room.

How to grow Golden Pothos outdoors? 

Golden Pothos can be grown outdoors in garden soil year-round in zones 10-12. In temperate zones potted plants can be moved out to a patio and kept shaded.

How fast does Golden Pothos grow? 

Golden Pothos has a fast growth rate and it can grow a foot or more a month during its growing season of spring and summer. 

How tall does Golden Pothos grow? 

A Golden Pothos vine can reach 12 feet in length when grown indoors in a pot, and 35-40 feet outdoors when planted in the ground. 

How to make Golden Pothos grow faster? 

Provide your Golden Pothos with indirect light, warm temperatures, high humidity, monthly fertilization and infrequent watering to encourage it to grow as fast as possible.

How to stake Golden Pothos? 

Golden Pothos can be staked with a sphagnum pole that gives its aerial roots something to grow into and encourage healthy growth as well as support.

How to pot Golden Pothos? 

To pot your Golden Pothos, select a container with drainage holes and fill it with a well-draining soil mix. Place the roots firmly in the soil and water well.

How to revive Golden Pothos? 

If the soil has completely dried out, revive the plant by plunging the whole pot into a bucket of water until soaked. Let all excess water drain away.

Why is my Golden Pothos dying? 

Your Golden Pothos may have an insect infestation or a fungal disease from wet soil. Identify the problem and either treat the disease or spray for pests.

Why is my Golden Pothos drooping?

The soil may be too wet or dried out. Either water it thoroughly or repot with a loose, well-draining soil mix and cut back on watering,

How cold can Golden Pothos tolerate? 

Golden Pothos will suffer some damage and not grow well if temperatures stay below 50°F (10°C), and temperatures of 32°F (0°C) will kill the plant. 

How to get rid of pests on Golden Pothos? 

Identify the insect infesting your Golden Pothos, and use the recommended spray for that bug. Usually, insecticidal soap will be effective and safe for humans and pets.

Is Golden Pothos toxic to cats? 

Yes, Golden Pothos is toxic to cats if they ingest any part of the plant. They could develop a swollen tongue and have trouble breathing.

Is Golden Pothos toxic to dogs? 

Yes, Golden Pothos is toxic to dogs. If your dog starts vomiting, drooling, or wheezing, call your veterinarian for advice on how to treat it.

Is Golden Pothos toxic to children? 

Yes, Golden Pothos is toxic to children. If a child has a swollen mouth or tongue or trouble breathing take them to emergency immediately.

Is Golden Pothos toxic to humans? 

Yes, Golden Pothos is toxic to humans. Exposure to the sap can cause a rash. Rinse the skin with soap and water and use an antihistamine cream.

Does Golden Pothos have a scent? 

Golden Pothos foliage has no fragrance, and while flowers may be scented, flowering can only occur when the vine is grown outside in a tropical climate.

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