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When you have a long pothos that looks like it is more stem than leaves, your plant has become leggy. 

While a leggy pothos is not an uncommon occurrence, it is also not something you have to simply deal with. In fact, there are a few things you can do to fix a long pothos. 

long pothos above a shelf

Why is my pothos so long?

Long pothos occur when the plant doesn’t receive the proper amount of light. When this happens, the pothos focuses its energy in producing stems and not leaves, which will give the plant a long, leggy appearance. Too much light, however, will burn the leaves causing discoloration and scorching.

Remember: It is important to provide the pothos with moderate bright but indirect light. This will help prevent the pothos from becoming long and instead encourage a bushier growth.

What can I do with a long leggy pothos?

While a leggy or long pothos doesn’t mean your plant is dying, it does show you that the plant is not getting the optimal growing conditions it needs to thrive. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to help fix the problem.

1. More light

If you have a long pothos, the first thing you want to do is ensure that the pothos plant has enough light. Too little light will cause the plant to grow more stems and less leaves, which gives it that leggy look.

Pro tip: Aim to provide the pothos with bright, indirect light for 12 or more hours every day. Growing the plant in low light conditions will result in a long pothos with smaller leaves.

2. Prune the plant

Pruning a long pothos helps to keep its size in check, while also getting rid of those gnarling long stems. Simply cutting off the long stems will make the pothos look bushier.

With that said, however, you don’t want to remove more than 75 percent of the plant at one time, and always make the cuts directly above a leaf node.

3. Proper care

One of the best ways to ensure your long pothos doesn’t get leggy is to provide the plant with proper care.

This means watering the pothos every one to two weeks when the soil becomes dry, ensuring it is growing in bright, indirect light, and lives in a room where temperatures are between 70 and 90 degrees.

long pothos place on a shelf

How do I make my pothos grow longer?

Making a pothos grow longer isn’t difficult, but does require some work on your part to ensure the plant has the right care for optimal growth.

1. Good soil and proper hydration

The type of soil the long pothos is growing in will have a direct effect on its overall health and size. If you want to promote growth, choose a soil for pothos that drains well and isn’t compact. You will also want growing medium that is rich in nutrients.


Best soil for Pothos

Miracle-Gro Tropical Potting Mix

Light and well-draining (perfect for avoiding root rot) while being packed with just the right nutrients – that will feed your plant for up to six months. The best soil for keeping your pothos healthy and strong.

Pothos do not like to have their roots sitting in water, so make sure you only water when the top 2 inches of soil are dry. Typically, this is every one to two weeks, depending on the size of the plant, temperature, humidity level, and time of year.

2. Correct temperatures

Pothos are tropical plants that need constent warm temperatures. To encourage growth, the pothos need 70 to 90 degree temepratures and humidity levels of about 60 percent.

To easily increase the humidity level around the plant, set its pot on a drip tray. Drip trays are shallow trays filled with pebbles. When you water the plant, the excessive water collects in the tray and then naturally evaporates into the air to increase the humidity levels.

Another option to increase the humidity is to use a humidifer. No matter which option you choose, make sure that the humidity levels don’t get too high around the plant as this can increase the chance of fungal diseases.

Find out more: Do Pothos Like Humidity? (6 Tips to Boost It)

3. Indirect bright light

Even though pothos can tolerate various lighting conditions, they grow the best and the quickest when they are in bright indirect light. An east-facing window is an ideal location as long as there is a sheer curtain to filter the sun’s rays. Just make sure the plant is about 2 to 3 feet away from the window.

Don’t have bright, indirect sunlight? That’s okay! You can use artificial lighting to give the long pothos the 12+ hours of indirect light it needs for optimal growth.

4. Fertilize regularly

Apply a water-soluble all-purpose fertilizer to the pothos once a month during its active growing period, which is in the spring and summer. The best fertilizer for your pothos will help promote and encourage healthy growth.

While fertilizing can help your pothos grow long, too much can cause more harm than good. That is why it is important to never over fertilize the plant.


Best fertilizer for Pothos

Jack’s Classic 20-20-20 All Purpose Fertilizer

A great fertilizer with the perfect balance for your pothos. Simply dissolve in water and feed your plant to watch it thrive.

5. Remove old leaves

Pruning off the old leaves, as well as dead or damaged leaves, is an easy way to encourage growth on your long pothos. When you remove the old leaves, you free up resources, and space, that the pothos need to create new foliage.

When you prune, make sure to use sharp pruning shears and cut the old leaves as close to the vine as possible. Discard the leaves in the trash or compost pile, if the leaves are not diseased.

potted long pothos on a chair

How long can pothos vines get?

Pothos vines can grow as long as 40 feet. This length varies, however, depending on how well the plant is cared for. Of course if you give the pothos its ideal growing conditions, it is more likely to grow better than one that isn’t properly cared for.

To clarify, that’s how long a standard pothos vine will get. As you’ll see in the next section, there are always exceptions… 

What is the longest pothos plant?

The longest pothos was recorded in 2013 and had been living in the Elko County Recorder’s office in Elki Nevada since about 1960. Its name was Ester and this tricolor golden pothos was estimated to measure about 1,000 feet long.

So if you’re worried about your leggy, long pothos, just think – it could always get worse! 

Can you propagate a long pothos vine?

Long pothos vines can be used for propagation as long as the vines are healthy and not diseased. To propagate, select a part of the vine that is about 3 to 6 inches long that has several leaves on it. Remove the bottom portion of the leaves and then dip the cut end of the vine into rooting hormone.

Plant the pothos cutting, cut side down, in the same type of soil as the parent pothos. Water the cutting and then set it in a location where it will get bright, indirect light. Continue to care for the cutting in the same manner as the adult plant.

Related: 8 Simple Steps to Propagate Pothos Plants Successfully

Given that you can grow pothos in water, instead of rooting the cutting in soil, you can root it in water. Simply submerge the cut end of the vine into water and then replace the water whenever it gets cloudy. After propagating pothos from water you can transfer it to soil once the roots reach about 3 inches long.