Chances are you’ve seen devil’s ivy, also known as pothos, on many an occasion. It might have been in a hanging basket or plant stand—the ideal vessels for showing off its trails of large, leathery green leaves marbled with cream or yellow. What you may not know about this indoor favorite is that it might just be the easiest plant to keep alive. According to The New Southern Living Garden Book, «This philodendron relative from the Solomon Islands is one of the toughest houseplants around, tolerating low light, infrequent watering, and near-total neglect.» If you didn’t inherit Mama’s green thumb, this one might be for you.
Pothos prefer bright, non-direct light but can also tolerate low-light dwellings. If you’re the type that forgets to water houseplants for weeks at a time, you’ve met your match with devil’s ivy—it does best when the soil is allowed to dry out between waterings. It makes a particularly desirable plant for offices and homes due to its ability to purify the air of toxins and fumes.
While it maintains its popularity as an indoor plant, pothos can be grown outside in planting zones within the Tropical South (USDA Zones 10 and 11). Just be warned that it tends to throw its inhibitions to the wind when taken outdoors. If a large, tropical-type vine with extremely large (we’re talking 2- to 65 feet-long) leaves doesn’t fit with your yard goals, it’s best to keep this one tucked safely inside.
If you can’t get enough of your pothos plant, you’re in luck—it propagates like a dream. Cut a stem from your plant, being sure to include a node. Place in a jar of water. Once it roots, plant in a small container.
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Pothos is poisonous to animals and humans if ingested, so keep out of reach of children and pets.
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- Akhavan V, Naderi R, Danaee E, Kalatejari S, Nematollahi F. Comparison of Phytoremediation Potential of Pothos and Sansevieria under Indoor Air Pollution. Journal of Ornamental Plants. 12(3):235-245.