Propagating Pothos plants is definitely one of the simpler plants and you can create plenty of new plants from just a short vine cutting.
Below we will go through the different methods you can use to propagate your plant, including a step by step process as well as top tips and any issues you may come across.
Why propagate your Pothos plant?
Whether it’s a Devil’s Ivy, Snow Queen Pothos or one of the other incredible varieties, there are several reasons why you might choose to propagate your plant. The main reason is often simply wanting more plants!
Another reason is that their plant is either too long or becoming very leggy. Cutting your plant back encourages bushier growth and is a great way to cut back that winter growth which may have become straggly or leggy. But instead of simply throwing away those special Pothos cuttings, why not propagate them and start a whole new mother plant.
What tools/equipment will you need to propagate your Pothos plant?
It’s important to make sure you have all the right things before you start the whole process.
A healthy and mature Pothos plant
Clean, sharp scissors/shears
Fresh potting mix and water
Newspaper or plastic sheet if propagating indoors
How to propagate a Pothos plant using vine cuttings
This is the main method as it’s suitable for all maturities and lengths of Pothos plants. It’s also really easy and means you can easily come away with several new plants by taking a short vine cutting.
Locate a Healthy Vine
When taking a vine cutting you want to make sure that the part of the plant you are cutting is healthy to give you the highest chance of success. Avoid using parts of the plant that show any sign of disease or pests (eg. brown or yellow leaves) as these problems will be transferred onto your new cuttings and intensified in such young plants.
Ideally, you want to cut a vine that has several healthy nodes and leaves. A node is the joint in the vine where the root would grow out from (you will feel a slight bump running a finger down the vine). If you can, try to choose a section of the plant that already has short roots coming out of the nodes as this means it will be a more mature section of the plant and propagation will be quicker.
Make the Cut(s)
Using clean scissors, shears or a knife, make the cut across the vine. It’s important your tools are clean so they don’t pass on dirt or pests to the cutting or mother plant.
Make sure that each section of the vine has at least one node and leaf. If possible try to include 2-3 nodes and leaves on each cutting but it will also work with just 1 so it depends on how much you want to cut off your plant. The number of cuttings you take is entirely up to you and depends on your Pothos plant!
Fill up a Container with Water
Next, you want to fill up a glass with fresh temperate water to place your Pothos cutting(s) into.
It’s super important that you don’t use hot or cold water as this can very quickly shock or burn your delicate cuttings.
Place your Cutting(s) in Water
Make sure that the nodes on your vine cutting(s) are sat in the water so that the roots will start to grow out from them. Place your glass in bright but indirect sunlight, avoiding any direct light as this can burn the leaves.
Make sure you change out the water regularly
To prevent stagnant water and bacteria from forming, you need to be refreshing the water every few days.
Now comes the boring part – waiting! However, the good news is that Pothos propagation is actually relatively quick and you should see roots growing after only a week or two. It can be a little unpredictable though so just make sure your cuttings are getting enough light, warmth and fresh water and you should start to see roots soon.
Plant your cuttings into fresh potting mix
Once the roots on your cutting are about 5 or more centimetres long, it’s time to pot them into fresh potting mix! We recommend using a high-quality potting mix to make sure your cuttings are getting enough nutrients. Carefully place your cuttings a few centimetres into the soil, making sure not to damage the newly formed roots as they can be quite delicate.
Resume usual Pothos care
For the first few weeks of your cuttings living in potting mix, we recommend keeping the soil a little more moist than usual as the cuttings are used to living in water and you don’t want their roots to dry out and shrivel up. But after a few weeks, you can go back to usual Pothos care and soon those vines will be long enough to propagate again!
How to propagate a Pothos plant through division
This method works best if your plant is quite bushy and has several separate vines. it’s a great way to propagate your Pothos plant if you don’t want to wait weeks and months for new growth but do be prepared to take a chunk out of the mother plant and it will appear thinner.
Take your plant out of its pot
You need to be able to locate the various vines and detangle the roots. Take your plant out of its pot carefully, trying not to damage the leaves or root system.
Locate the various natural divisions in your Pothos plant
When looking for a part of the plant to divide it will become very obvious that there are various different offshoots and vines that make up your Pothos plant. The best way to locate them is by following each individual vine from the tip to the pot.
Shake off the potting mix around the roots so you can see the entire root system clearly. A good way to loosen the soil is to run your fingers through the roots to start to separate them. Don’t worry if a few break or fall out, this is normal and won’t cause much damage to your plant. Each vine should have its own root system that you can pull apart from each other.
Separate the vines
You may have to trim off the odd root here and there if the sections aren’t coming apart from each other very easily but with a bit of work, you should be able to separate out the different vines.
Place each section in fresh potting mix
Pop your mother plant back into its original pot (or downsize to a smaller pot if you’ve taken away quite a bit from the mother plant). Then pot your new plant(s) into fresh potting mix. As you are dividing an already mature plant, you can usually skip the water step!
Continue normal Pothos plant care
That’s all there is to it! The Ppropagation is complete! Now your new plants are safely in their new pots you want to simply care for them as you would the mother plant.
Pothos Propagation FAQs
What time of year should I propagate my Pothos plant?
Spring gives quite a few months of sunshine and a warm environment which encourages new roots and leaves to grow. The warm weather will also allow the mother plant to recover quicker from any shock caused by the propagation.
Starting in autumn or winter will mean that your cuttings will be trying to grow in the dormant period and you won’t see much happening as the rate of growth will be very slow. This increases the risk of root or leaf rot which can kill your cutting.
When propagating through division of the mother plant, you can get away with doing it in less than ideal conditions as the roots are already mature and you’re simply dividing up the plant.
Is it a good idea to use a rooting gel?
It’s definitely optional to use rooting hormone on Pothos plants but you might choose to use it to speed up the process. These products stimulate root growth on new cuttings which can also produce stronger roots but you can have great success without it.
There are 3 types of rooting hormone you can choose from: powder, liquid or gel. Gel and liquid forms are the best ones to use when propagating in water first and powder will simply dissolve off the cutting in the water and won’t have a very strong effect.
What is a node?
It’s important that you are able to identify the different parts of the plant so you know where to make the cut on your plant. A node is where the vine and leaf joints meet. On Pothos plants you will often see very small aerial roots or stubs growing out from the more mature nodes. If there isn’t a root there yet, you may feel a little bump in the vine which indicates a node.
Can I propagate a Pothos from a single leaf?
Unfortunately, you can’t just use a single Pothos leaf. There needs to be at least one node on each cutting as this is where the root system will start growing from. If you do try to propagate a single leaf, it will probably stay alive for a week or two before wilting and dying out very quickly.
Should I fertilise my cuttings?
We strongly recommend against using fertiliser until the plant is at least 1 year old (so that’s one less thing for your to-do list). Fertilising too early can slow down root growth and cause a weak root system as you are giving the plant nutrients directly. Fertiliser can also shock the young cuttings which can cause a whole range of issues, the worst of which is actually killing the cutting completely.
Common problems when propagating Pothos plants
Whilst propagating Pothos plants is definitely easier than some other houseplant types, that doesn’t mean it won’t come with some issues every now and again. You might be lucky and find the whole process goes off without a hitch, but it’s important to look through the common issues below so you know what to look out for and can act quickly if something is wrong.
Help! My cutting isn’t growing new roots…
You should start to see roots growing on your Pothos plant anywhere between 1-6 weeks. The process can be super quick but can also take over a month for anything to appear.
As long as your cuttings are in the right environment and are getting the right care, you should see some roots popping out soon.
If you’re trying to do this when the temperatures in your home are quite cool then this may be why you aren’t seeing any roots growing. To help speed up the process, use a heat pad underneath your cuttings to warm up the area.
What’s causing my Pothos cutting to turn mushy?
If the vine or leaves of your cuttings are turning brown and mushy then unfortunately this isn’t a good sign. This is usually due to the cutting rotting in stagnant water or due to an infection/disease. You want to make sure you are regularly refreshing the water (every 2-3 days or more) so that it doesn’t encourage the growth of bacteria. If the node is still healthy, you may be able to salvage the cutting by trimming away the mushy parts.
Why are the new leaves on my cutting small?
Great news! Your cutting is growing new leaves. Don’t worry if they are smaller than the leaf on the cutting. This was taken from the mature mother plant and it will take a while for the cutting to mature enough to be able to support such large growth. Give it time and slowly the new leaves will start to get bigger. You can then trim away the smaller leaves if you prefer.
Why is my cutting turning yellow?
If the leaves on your cutting are turning yellow then it may be due to too much direct sunlight which has scorched the leaves. Root rot could be another cause so inspect the new roots closely to see if they are mushy.
We hope this guide to Pothos propagation has been useful! It can be a little unpredictable and things won’t always go the way you want them to! But with the right method, care and environment, you are ensuring that there’s nothing else you can do to help those cuttings thrive. These plants are fast growers and your small cuttings will soon enough be long cascading vines, so it’s definitely worth a little bit of hassle.
Check out our full Pothos care guide to find all the information on how to continue to care for your cuttings once they have matured.
Written by Billy Dawson