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Pothos (Epipremnum aurum) is one of the easiest, most prolific growing houseplants on the market. They’re well known for their beautiful vines that either climb up high or cascade elegantly out of their pot.

However, the overall look isn’t as striking if you’re dealing with a leggy plant. It’s for that reason that learning how to make your pothos fuller and bushier can really help you have the houseplant of your dreams.

So how do we ensure that these beautiful plants can live their best, most fabulous lives possible? Keep them looking shiny, full, bushy, and always Instagram-ready! Don’t worry; I’ll show you how.

fuller and bushier pothos plant

How to make pothos fuller and bushier

1. Prune

Prune any part of the pothos that you wish. Don’t worry; it will grow back. You need at least one node (that little brown nub, usually on the opposite side of the stem where a leaf has sprouted).

Having more than one pothos nodes is better but not necessary. You can have a few leaves on the same cutting that you propagate, or it can just be a bare stem with only nodes. Both ways will work.

You may also be interested in: How Fast Does Pothos Grow (and How to Make it Grow Faster)?

2. Repot

You may repot a pothos cutting directly in the same pot at the ‘mother’ plant, or you can propagate it elsewhere – another pot of damp soil, a jar of water, or hanging onto the inside of a fish tank all work well.

If you place it with the same plant, make sure you water it well, submerge at least one node into the soil, and then leave it alone.

If you propagate elsewhere, you can later transplant it back into the same pot after some roots have developed if you choose to do so.

Related: 5 Easy Steps to Transfer a Propagated Pothos from Water to Soil

3. Provide enough light

Pothos usually get leggy when there is too little light – and in fact, this is the most common reason why a pothos may not be as full or bushy as you may like. They will put out fewer leaves, or drop leaves, in low-light areas as a way to conserve their energy. 

Providing more light, by either moving them to an area with more natural light, or providing some artificial light, is the best way to make a pothos bushier. 

Find out more: What Are Your Pothos’ Light Needs (So Your Plant Can Thrive)?

4. Don’t provide too much light though

Another reason why pothos occasionally get leggy is that there is a very bright light source, but not close to the plant. Even if your plant has adequate lighting, if it knows that there is a bright source of light (for instance, a big south-facing window) it will put out fewer leaves (or drop leaves) so it can get to that light source faster. If your plant succeeds in doing this, though, you may find yourself with a pothos with sunburn.

For that reason, to make your pothos fuller, make sure you position it in a place where it’s getting just the right amount of light for it to thrive. 

small pothos that has been made bushier

5. Water on time

The pothos plants can survive nearly any condition and considerable amounts of neglect. It is easy to forget them or push their needs off. While pothos will likely survive this, they won’t look great. If you want to make pothos fuller and healthier, water it on a consistent basis.

Want to know more about how often to water your pothos? Take a look here!

6. Water according to the pot

If your pothos is in a sealed or glazed container without drainage holes, you may only need to water once a month. On the other hand, if your pothos is in an unglazed pot, like ceramic or terracotta, and has drainage holes, you may need to water them once a week as those materials tend to absorb more water, leaving less for the soil and your pothos.

The best way to tell if your plant needs water is to stick your finger or a popsicle stick about one to two inches deep in the soil. If your finger or the stick is dry and without little bits of soil sticking to it, it’s time to water.

watering can next to pothos

7. Water thoroughly

One of the biggest mistakes that new houseplant owners make is not watering enough. Overall, watering thoroughly is far more important than watering on a schedule (although doing both is best!).

When you water your pothos plant, give it a big drink. It’s best if you can place the plant’s pot (only if it has drainage holes, as pothos need drainage) in three or four inches of water for about thirty minutes so all the soil can absorb water. 

If that isn’t an option, it’s okay to topwater too. Just don’t get stingy with the amount you’re providing. If your pot doesn’t have drainage holes, make some, or experiment to find the appropriate watering amount.

8. Check the soil

Over time, the soil will compact and become hydrophobic, which can impact your plant’s growth. To combat this, you’ll need to break up the soil, rehydrate it, amend the soil, or completely replace it on occasion.

The next time you water your plants, reach in the pot and stir up the soil a bit. If the soil moves freely and seems to dampen easily, it’s fine for now.

You may also be interested in: What’s the Best Soil for Pothos Plants to Thrive?

9. Replace the soil (if needed)

Upon checking it from time to time, you may notice that the soil is hard with dry clumps and doesn’t seem to accept the water, it’s time to check it to see if it’s time to replace it. This can get messy, so take it outside or, if you’re in a balcony-free apartment, move to your bathtub. 

If you want to save as much of the soil as possible, pull the plant out of the pot, completely soak the soil with water, and add new organic materials such as composted leaves, needles, peat moss, aged manure, or even more (healthier) soil to the pot and existing soil. Mix it in well, drain excess water, and repot your pothos plant. You’ll make your pothos bushier in no time.

person holding soil in gloved hands

10. Repot as needed

While you shouldn’t do this too often as it can shock your plant, you may need to repot your pothos from time to time to encourage growth. To do this, carefully remove your plant from the pot, dump the soil out (into your compost bin or outdoor garden is ideal), and then work on the roots.

Dry, compacted soil is going to be stuck within the root ball, especially if your pothos plant is root-bound. My best advice is to soak the soil, and then use your finger to poke it out of the roots, little by little. 

Sometimes you will tear a root; that’s okay too. As long as you don’t cut or remove more than 30% of the roots, your pothos will be fine. Once you’ve removed the majority of the soil, repot your plant into the old pot, or move it up to a slightly larger container.

11. Feed and fertilize pothos

While pothos can survive with very little care, it does appreciate food and fertilizer, especially if you’re trying to make your pothos fuller.

You can either purchase these items at your local nursery or a big box store, or you can make your own. If you choose to purchase, look for the houseplant variety, and follow the instructions closely. 

Check out our pick for the best pothos fertilizer so your plant thrives!

12. Provide sufficient humidity

Pothos plants thrive in humidity, particularly levels that range between 50-70%. At the same time, it is not advised to keep your home or office at levels higher than 60%, so it’s okay to keep your humidity a little lower than your pothos’ preferred range. 

However, if you have an especially dry house, you may want to keep your pothos in a more humid room, such as the kitchen or bathroom, or place it in an indoor terrarium or an indoor greenhouse. It’s also a good idea to place your plant near your humidifier or diffuser.

person misting houseplant

13. Ensure consistently warm air

These plants originate in lush, tropical rainforests where the air stays nice and warm, usually between 65 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, or 18 to 30 degrees Celsius. Most people keep their homes in this temperature range anyway but if yours isn’t, you may want to consider warming up your pothos somehow to make it bushier.

14. Avoid draftiness

The only factor you may be overlooking is the drafts. In particular, during the winter months, your windows may leak a little outside air inside.

Alternatively, if you’re like me, you’ll be opening your windows for new clean air and ventilation. And don’t forget your doors; when you open them, a shockingly cold breeze floats through your home, and that isn’t good for pothos. For optimal care, move your pothos plants away from all cold drafts.

How do you keep pothos from getting leggy?

1. Move to more appropriate lighting

If you want to make a pothos bushier and avoid long stretches of bare stems, you’ll need to provide enough light for the plant. If you plan to use natural light only, the best location is one where the plant can see the blueness of the sky outside but won’t be exposed directly to the sunshine for more than a few hours each day.

Should you want to use a grow light, read the instructions for it carefully and adhere to them. Most of the time, you’ll want the light to sit about one to two feet away from your plants.

pothos being made fuller and bushier from more light

2. Make sure you are watering enough

Water enough, and water consistently. If your plant is regularly dehydrated, it’s going to do all that it can to conserve water and energy. When your plant goes into conservation mode, it grows slower and produces fewer leaves, making it impossible for you to make your pothos fuller if it’s thirsty. 

So thoroughly water your pothos on a regular basis, and you should see significant improvements.

3. Provide sufficient nutrients to the water or soil

Pothos can survive on water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide alone. However, additional nutrition is even better and will result in a healthier, fuller plant. You can add food or fertilizer directly into the soil or mix it in with the water you provide. 

You can grow pothos in water by making nutrient-dense water part of the normal growing conditions by placing your pothos into a jar of fertilized water or by adding it to a fish tank.  

4. Use the right fertilizer

Most plants have a certain balance of fertilizer that they prefer and the pothos is no different. By using the right fertilizer with your plant, you’ll help to make your pothos fuller as it gets the nutrients it needs to thrive.

5. Prune the plant

If your plant grows to be too long, it can get leggy. This is why you should cut back the plant vine from time to time if it grows too long, to help avoid putting too much of a strain or stress on the plant.

However, if you want your longer tendrils to stay long, provide a “checkpoint” along the way for them. My favorite way to do this is to tuck a couple of nodes into a small jar of lightly fertilized water; the pothos vine dips into the jar and then resumes growing outward. 

This lets the plant get the water and nutrition it needs without unnecessary “shipping” all the way from the plant pot, which can easily be twenty to forty feet away. 

pruning shears next to yellow leaf

How to fix a leggy pothos

You can fix a leggy pothos by meeting its care needs to help it grow more fully. More immediately, you can prune the leggy sections and propagate them in the same pot as the original plant to make it look bushier. Tying up leggy vines around a support structure can also help your plant look better.

There’s always the option of doing a combination of both! For example, a leggy pothos is often caused by a lack of light, so you can address that issue while, say, also propagating parts of your pothos plant that look to be on the thinner side. Together, you’ll make your pothos look fuller over time as the light does its work, but also as the existing vines improve your plant’s overall look.

Find out more about: 8 Simple Steps to Propagate Pothos Without Leaves

How do you make pothos grow more branches?

For a pothos to branch, prune the plant on the vine one to two inches below the node. This gives the new propagation the best chance at life and encourages the existing vine to grow even more. However, you also have to leave enough room for new growth to sprout from the node.

When pothos vines branch, it usually looks like a Y. Pothos usually won’t make branches on their own but do on occasion. They rarely branch into three or more sections in one place.

This is because the pothos plant is more concerned with sending new growth up and out, not creating lots of new growth or becoming bushy. Pothos do not care about appearance, they only care about getting adequate sunshine.

How do I make my pothos grow evenly?

The best way to make your pothos grow evenly is to rotate it every few days, so the entire plant receives a balanced amount of light. Beyond that, the next best thing you can do is prune, propagate, and replant longer, leggier sections of your pothos back into the pot where the plant looks bare.

With careful pruning and some patience, you’ll make your pothos fuller in no time.