When you buy a new houseplant, it’s normal to want to watch it thrive. After all, that’s a great indication that you’re nailing it as a plant parent! And if your choice of new plant is a pothos, it’s natural to wonder how fast does pothos grow when it has the right conditions.
And that then leads to the next question: what do you do if your pothos isn’t growing as fast as it could be?
Well, never fear. In this article, I’ll show you exactly what you need to do for your pothos to thrive. This stunning trailing plant often looks best when its vines really start to extend and knowing just what you should be doing for it to reach that point can help your pothos reach its peak beauty as quickly as possible.
How fast does pothos grow?
Pothos are some of the fastest-growing houseplants. During the growing season, from mid-spring to mid-fall, they will grow from between one foot to 1.5 feet (30cm to 45cm) every month. With ideal growth conditions, including the right amount of light, water and humidity, pothos can grow even faster.
That said, some types of pothos do tend to grow at a slower rate, especially variegated pothos varieties which aren’t able to photosynthesize as effectively given they have less green on their leaves. You’ll also see slower growth outside of their prime growing season.
How long does it take for a pothos plant to grow to its full size?
In the wild, golden pothos plants can reach sixty to eighty feet tall (approximately 20 to 30 meters). Wild pothos reach their full size in three to five years. Pothos plants that are grown indoors as houseplants rarely reach their full size, though many people consider twenty feet long to be fully mature.
It only takes two or three years in good growing conditions for an indoor pothos plant to reach this size. This will likely be faster if your pothos can live outside.
How fast do pothos grow indoors?
Pothos plants grow slower indoors than outdoors, but you can take specific measures to get these houseplants growing fast, strong, and healthily. In general, though, the average indoor houseplant grows about three inches per thirty days in the off-season and twelve to eighteen inches per thirty days during the growing season.
We will cover those ideal conditions in more detail below to help your pothos grow faster. However, if you want, it is possible to make the growing season last all year with the correct supplies and care. In particular, you can create the right environment for an everlasting growing season, which can result in your plant growing another five feet (or more) in length every year.
What’s the main pothos growing season?
The primary pothos growing season lasts from mid-Spring to mid-Fall. Specifically, the growing season runs from late April to late October in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, it’s the reverse, with the growing season lasts from late October into late April.
The pothos growing season lasts about six months of the year, meaning that your pothos plant can grow about six feet in length during that period.
Why is my pothos not growing fast?
If your pothos isn’t growing as quickly as you’d like, it’s very likely that all of its needs are not being met. In particular, this is often because your pothos isn’t receiving enough water, light or humidity, meaning that it doesn’t have the energy needed to grow as quickly as it could.
We’ll run through each of these points in more detail below but, ultimately, it will probably come down to a process of elimination for you to figure out the actual culprit.
1. Your pothos isn’t receiving enough sunshine or artificial lighting
Pothos plants grow native and wild in the bright and sunny countries of Australia, China, India, Indonesia, and Japan. These plants naturally grow under jungle canopies and up the trunks of tropical forest trees. For a couple of hours a day, they may experience bright, direct sunshine. But for the majority of the day, they receive bright and indirect light.
Consequently, if your pothos isn’t getting bright, indirect light for at least part of the day, it isn’t likely to thrive.
When it comes to the light your pothos plant needs, they are often marketed as “low lighting” needs. However, this label only means that they can tolerate low light levels. It does not mean that the plants will flourish or proliferate (or at all) in these conditions.
The best place in your home for a pothos plant is in a south-facing room, with about an hour of direct light and many hours of the day filled with bright, indirect sunshine. If a south-facing room isn’t available, east and west-facing rooms are the following best options, followed by a northern exposure space.
FYI: If you don’t have an ideal place for your plant to receive optimal lighting, consider adding an artificial light source, or try moving your plant outdoors on your balcony, porch, patio, or backyard for a few hours a day. When you’re first introducing your plant to the outdoors, you’ll want to acclimate it slowly. Start with only fifteen minutes a day during the summer, and gradually increase the time by fifteen minutes every three days.
2. The pothos isn’t getting an appropriate amount of water
Pothos plants come from areas that are humid, tropical, and where the forest floor is damp but not soggy. You’ll want to try to replicate this environment in your home, at least to the extent possible, although how often you need to water your pothos varies depending on your home environment.
If your house is humid, the water will evaporate more slowly, and you’ll need to rewater less frequently. If, however, you have a hot furnace or a dry-wood stove, you will need to water much more regularly.
Stick your finger about one inch into the soil. If that top inch of soil is dry, water the plant thoroughly. If it is still damp, wait before giving the plant another drink. After all, overwatering a pothos can result in soggy soil, which means root rot or drowning plants. Watering volume is not nearly as significant of a factor as watering frequency.
The best way to water a pothos plant is to keep it in a pot or container with drainage holes and then submerge three-quarters of the container (and plant) into a bowl, bucket, or bathtub of slightly warm water. This is often called bottom-watering or “butt chugging” by our cheekier plant friends.
Allow the plant to sit in the water bath until the top of the soil is visibly damp, and then remove it from the pool of water. Allow it to drip dry, and then return the plant to its usual place in your home.
Related: Do Pothos Need Drainage?
3. Your pothos’ soil isn’t quite right
Pothos plants do their best in loose, aerated, nutrient-dense soil. To keep your pothos happy, make sure the soil isn’t compacted and is allowing for sufficient drainage. If it looks like soil is a problem, you may need to repot your pothos using a more appropriate potting mix.
Take a look here at our ultimate guide on the best soil for your pothos to thrive!
4. Your plant isn’t getting enough humidity
In general, pothos plants do better the warmer and wetter their atmosphere stays. They are naturally designed for hot, humid rainforests. More than likely, you will feel that your home is too hot or too humid before the plant becomes uncomfortable.
A humidity level over 50% is ideal, and over 75% is strongly preferred. However, if that’s not possible in your home, consider placing the pothos in an enclosed container, terrarium, or indoor greenhouse. You can also put your houseplants in clusters together. Clustering houseplants will create a neat microclimate that may increase the humidity levels by a few percent.
Another option is to keep the pothos in more humid rooms, such as the kitchen or bathroom. Steaming kettles and hot shower steam will help the pothos grow faster.
5. The temperature range isn’t right for your pothos
Temperature-wise, pothos plants prefer temperatures between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 32 degrees Celsius). Of course, these temperatures can be too warm for some households. In those cases, terrariums, windowsills, and draft-free rooms tend to stay warmer, so that is an option.
That said, never place your pothos plant near heaters, furnaces, or stoves; the lack of humidity is almost always more detrimental to the plant than a cooler room.
6. You have a slow-growing type of pothos plant
Not all pothos plants grow at the same speed. If your pothos is growing slower than expected, it could be because of its genetic makeup. In particular, variegated plants, such as the N’ Joy and Snow Queen pothos grow much slower because they possess less chlorophyll to convert sunshine into energy for growth.
Plants with less variegation, and therefore, more green and chlorophyll, grow considerably faster. Based on my personal collection, Epipremnum is the fastest growing variety, followed by Jade, Golden Pothos, Silver/Satin Pothos, Cebu Blue Pothos, Neon Pothos, Pearls N’ Jade Pothos, Manjula Pothos, and then finally, the N’ Joy Pothos.
How can I make my pothos grow faster?
1. Make the pothos climb, not hang
In the wild, pothos have aerial roots to absorb humidity and securely attach the plant to trees, buildings, rocks, cliffsides, and more.
Pothos plants do not naturally hang; it is much more natural for them to climb upwards or outwards in search of better sunshine exposure. If you can cater to this climbing need, especially if the plant is climbing toward a light source, it will grow noticeably faster.
And as a bonus, the climbing pothos will develop more beautiful variations (if it has any), deeper colors, richer hues, and considerably larger leaves. Pothos leaves can grow one to two feet long each in the wild.
FYI: Learn how to train pothos to climb here in just a few easy steps!
2. Increase humidity and temperature
Pothos plants want a temperature between 70 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit or between 21 to 32 degrees Celsius.
They also prefer humidity levels that creep above 70%. While a 70% humidity level is not feasible for most households, enclosed terrariums are another option.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with a lower-humidity home. Your plant won’t grow as quickly, but it will still do well, so long as the humidity level doesn’t fall below 30%.
3. Water appropriately, and use the correct soil
Pothos plants are accustomed to the jungle floors in tropical regions, with their natural soil being aerated and loose, damp but not soggy, and full of nutrients from decaying plants, animals, and animal waste. Pothos plants will benefit from freshly replaced soil. Soil rotation will prevent compaction, soil hydrophobia, and loss of nutrients in the potting mix.
Water the plant thoroughly and deeply, and then allow the top inch or two of the soil to fully dry before giving it another drink.
It is best if you can give your plant chlorine-free water. While tap water will not necessarily kill pothos, it can be detrimental in certain regions or to more sensitive plants. You may experiment to see what works best for you and your plants.
Did you know: Many people assume that distilled water is the best choice for their plants, but this just isn’t so. Distilled water does not contain the natural minerals and nutrients that plants need, and what’s worse, that water is always actively seeking out these minerals and nutrients. If distilled water passes through your plant, it will absorb and “steal” some of these nutrients from your plant to replenish itself.
Spring (or well) water is always the best solution, as it naturally contains the minerals and nutrients needed and will not strip your plant of these resources. Rainwater is also a wonderful option.
4. Feed your pothos plant
Fertilizing your pothos plant every sixty days during the growing season will make a significant difference in the size and health of your pothos plant.
Pothos plants require a balance of the following nutrients:
Many people use water-soluble houseplant fertilizers that can be found for sale in greenhouses and big box stores with success. I occasionally use pre-made fertilizers, as well as my own homemade concoctions.
Check out our pick for the best pothos fertilizer so your plant thrives!
My favorite is to toss banana peels, used coffee grounds, and eggshells into a sealing container, and then fill with water and tightly screw a lid back on. I can readily get all of these ingredients after breakfast most of the time. I allow this fertilizer to sit for at least a day, preferably two or three, before adding it to my houseplants.
Beware, the longer this fertilizer brews, the stronger it will smell, but it will also be more nutrient-dense. You’ll have to find a happy medium on your own.
A less smelly alternative is to dip water from your fish tank (preferably the bottom of the tank where the heavier nutrients lie) and distribute that to the plants. I always water several of my plants on the tank-cleaning days for this very reason.
How fast does pothos grow in water?
When you propagate a pothos cutting in water, new roots will appear within 7 to 14 days. Adding liquid fertilizer can help your pothos grow faster in water, as does ensuring it has the right amount of light. New leaves tend to appear within four to five months.
Keep an eye on the water though to make sure it doesn’t become murky or develop any algae. If it does, change the water as soon as you notice it.
Does pothos grow faster in soil or water?
In my experience, pothos plants grow considerably faster in water, especially if they are started as cuttings from the water. Once your pothos becomes more mature, it will grow faster in soil but, as cuttings, water definitely produces faster results.
I believe this is because of higher humidity levels, on-demand, unlimited access to water, and more nutrient-dense water than soil (because I use a fish tank as my propagation setup). My tank water is also regulated to seventy-eight degrees Fahrenheit (twenty-five and a half degrees Celsius), which is another bonus for the heat-loving pothos.
How to make pothos grow faster in water
1. Start with cuttings
I have attempted to grow matured pothos plants in water after they have spent a lifetime in soil, but this rarely works well. The change is too much of a shock, and the plant tends to lose most (or sometimes all) leaves in the process.
Save yourself the headache and frustration, and start with cuttings. Not only do they tend to adapt well, but you can have dozens of fast-growing plants rather than just one. I like to have one to two nodes and one leaf per cutting. Leaves aren’t necessary, though, and node-only cuttings will adapt and grow quickly.
2. Place the pothos in fish tanks, or feed the water
I always start my cuttings right in my 55-gallon community fish tank. I simply lay the cuttings on partially submerged but still floating driftwood and then leave it alone.
The tank naturally supplies all the water and nutrients that the cuttings need to start, and the plants will eventually attach themselves to the permeable driftwood. I don’t have to worry about the water evaporating too quickly, nor keep track of feeding schedules using this method.
If you don’t have access to a fish tank, small vases, cups, shot glasses, and vials make attractive propagation stations. You will need to monitor the water levels, so keep it in a well-lit, higher traffic area in your home where you can check in regularly.
3. Keep the water pothos in a bright, sunny location
Windowsills are one of the best options for houseplant propagation stations because they provide natural light and warmth to the plant.
If you choose to start your pothos in a fish tank, consider adding an artificial grow light to your setup. The pothos will grow exceptionally fast, but algae can also bloom, so keep that in mind. This is my only complaint when it comes to this method.
4. Don’t fully submerge the pothos
This was one of my first mistakes when I was starting. It is okay for the stem and nodes to be underwater, but it is best to keep all, or at least most, of the leaves above the waterline.
I have noticed that fully submerged plants completely stop growing or are severely stunted. The leaves tend to deteriorate somewhat quickly, losing their color, sheen, and vibrancy.
Which pothos grows fastest?
The Epipremnum and Epipremnum aureum (golden pothos) grow the fastest. These plants thrive domestically and in the wild all over the world. That said, in general, pothos varieties with solid green leaves tend to grow faster than variegated types, which aren’t able to photosynthesize as effectively.
Both of these varieties are known to grow up to eighteen inches in a single month, and they can grow to impressive heights. Their leaves can grow up to two feet long, and the leaves will split at a certain size.
These plants have evolved to grow quickly, take up valuable sunshine space in the forest, and attempt to overpower the tree they climbed.
Which is the slowest growing pothos?
The slowest growing pothos is usually the most recently developed (not naturally occurring in nature) and with a more significant percentage of the leaves being covered in variegation. The slowest growing pothos plants are the Cebu Blue Pothos, Neon Pothos, Pearls N’ Jade Pothos, Manjula Pothos, and the N’ Joy Pothos.
Cebu Blues do not have much variegation, but they are relatively new developments, which is why they are such painfully slow growers.
Are pothos slow-growing?
Pothos plants, for the most part, are not slow-growing. In fact, most gardeners, myself included, consider them one of their fastest-growing houseplants. Considering that, in the right conditions, pothos can grow up to ten feet long in a year, they are impressive houseplants (and wild flora, too).
Will pothos grow faster outside?
In a suitable climate, pothos can grow faster outside. Regions that are warm, humid, and have a more extended summer season are inviting for the pothos. Outdoor pothos plants can be grown in containers or turned loose on the ground.
With that said, it is not recommended to allow pothos to grow directly in the ground because they are invasive and illegal in many US states.
In colder, more northern climates, not only will pothos grow slower during the summer, but they will die and not return after a hard frost. If you live in a colder region, take your pothos outside in a container during the heat of the summer; bring the plant back inside overnight and on cooler days, especially as the summer draws to a close.