How to Prune your Pothos Plant – The Ultimate Guide

Last Updated: March 5, 2023

Pothos Plants are loved around the world and are definitely one of our all-time favourite houseplants. Not only are they pretty hardy and easy to care for, but their long cascading vines brighten every room. 

When it comes to Pothos varieties, there are so many to fall in love with but you’ll be happy to know that the principles of pruning them are the same. So regardless of what type of Pothos you have, everything still applies! 

When it comes to caring for your Pothos Plant, there are obviously the basics of water and sunlight needs but pruning is also an important part of plant care. Not only does it help maintain a healthy and happy Pothos Plant but it also is a good way to keep your plant the size and length that works for your space. 

The Benefits of Pruning Pothos Plants

It’s pretty obvious the role that water, sunlight and warmth play in creating a healthy Pothos Plant but where does pruning come into it? Well, there are actually plenty of benefits of regularly pruning your Pothos.

Pruning promotes more growth

It may feel counterproductive to chop off parts of your Pothos Plant to help it grow more, but pruning in the right way can actually stimulate growth. This is because there are growth hormones throughout the vines of your Pothos Plant and when the stem is cut, the hormones kick in to repair and regrow the plant tissue. The outcome is faster, stronger and healthier growth as a result.

Pruning controls the shape of your plant

Pothos Plants can grow pretty long and you’ll find the vines often reaching the ground before you know it. Pruning the vines at the right time is not only a great way to keep your plant healthy, but it will also give it the shape and length that you need. Pruning and propagating the cuttings also helps create new vines if you are after a fuller look.

Helps cut back leggy growth

During the darker winter months, it’s not unusual for your Pothos Plant to become quite leggy. This is when you get long sections of stem without any leaves. Aesthetically this never looks quite as nice as a full plant so pruning these sections off can be a great way to spruce up the plant a little.

When to Prune your Pothos Plant

Time of year

The best time to prune your Pothos Plant is in spring and summer. This is because your plant is in the growth period and will reward you with plenty of new healthy leaves. If you prune during autumn and winter, your plant will be dormant which means you won’t see any new growth for a while. Pruning in spring and summer also gives you the best chance at successfully propagating the cuttings you remove (if you want to propagate them) as root growth is quickest in a warm and bright environment. 

Remove sections that are developing issues

If you spot any leaves that are starting to turn yellow or brown, then this can be a good time to prune your plant. It’s important that you try to diagnose what’s causing the issue as quickly as possible to prevent it from spreading. 

However, sometimes Pothos Plants can naturally develop brown or yellow leaves as a sign of ageing. When this happens, it’s up to you whether you want to remove them. They will eventually fall off but for aesthetic reasons, you might want to remove them.

What you need to successfully prune your Pothos Plant

Scissors or shears. Make sure these are sharp as you can damage the vine if you don’t make a clean cut. You also want your tools to be clean to avoid passing on any bacteria or dirt into the vine. 

Gloves. Although Pothos Plants aren’t toxic enough to kill you, they do contain calcium oxalate crystals. These are dangerous when consumed and can cause swelling of the mouth and throat if consumed. Although it’s unlikely that you would consume any, wearing gloves is an important safety precaution when pruning your Pothos Plant as their sap can also cause eye irritation. 

Containers if you are propagating. If you choose to propagate the parts of your plant that you remove, then it’s good to have some transparent containers to hand which you can pop the new cuttings into.  

How to Prune Pothos Plants: A Step by Step

  1. Determine how much you want to cut

    Before you even start to get your shears out, it’s important to take a look at how much you want to prune your plant. There’s little point cutting it just above the ground as it will grow too long again in no time.

  2. Locate the nodes on the vines

    You want to prune your Pothos Plant by cutting just below the node. This is where the stem joint is and where often you’ll see small little roots starting to grow out. The node is where the new growth will start so it’s good to cut just after a node.

  3. Make the cut(s)

    Use your clean, sharp shears to make one or several cuts across your Pothos Plant’s vines. It’s important that the cuts aren’t rough as if you pull the vine or chop away at it several times, this can damage the plant.

  4. Put any cuttings in water to propagate them 

    If you do want to propagate any offcuts, then transfer these into a clear container filled with water. You can only propagate cuttings that have one or more nodes as roots cannot grow out from anywhere else on the vine.

How to care for your Pothos Plant after pruning

Now that you’ve cut back your Pothos Plant, there are a few things to do to ensure it grows back healthy and strong. Your plant may be a little stressed after the shock of pruning, so it’s just good to make sure the environment is right for your plant to help it recover. 

Firstly, you want to give your plant a good soak. You can either do this by top watering your plant and removing any excess water from the saucer, or you can give it a soak/shower. This will ensure that the roots and soil take up as much water as needed, without the risk of overwatering. 

The next thing you need to check is the light levels around your plant. Although Pothos Plants are fairly adaptable when it comes to the amount of light they are exposed to, it’s good to make sure they get ample bright but indirect light after they have been pruned. This helps to stimulate new growth. 

Hold off fertilizing for a few weeks just whilst your plant recovers. Then you can go back to your usual feeding routine throughout spring or summer to help assist strong growth. Just a reminder though that fertilizing is optional and you can still see plenty of new growth without it if the environment is right. 

Frequently Asked Questions

So that’s everything you need to know when it comes to pruning your Pothos Plant. It’s a really important part of the care routine that is often forgotten by plant parents. Not only does it stimulate growth, but pruning is key to getting your plant the shape and length that you want it. Throughout the growth season, Pothos Plants are pretty quick growers so can quickly dominate the space which is why pruning can really help hold them back a bit. 

We hope that you’re able to successfully prune back your Pothos Plant and if you want to learn more about how to care for your plant, check out our Pothos Care Guide for tips on watering, feeding and more!

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