Whether you’re a houseplant connoisseur or a relative newbie to the game, there’s no denying the beauty of pothos. These gorgeous tropical plants are well-loved worldwide for their shapely leaves and vining growth patterns, but most of all, because they’re easy to care for.
In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at two of the most aesthetic and enigmatic pothos available on the market. The Manjula pothos and the Marble Queen are exquisite to look at and share many similar characteristics. However, there are also distinct differences between the two that set them apart.
From their taxonomy to their leaves to their growth habits, I’ll take you through how to identify and care for your Manjula or Marble Queen pothos. In no time, you’ll be able to tell these gorgeous houseplants apart and meet their particular needs. Ready? Let’s dive in.
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Is Manjula the same as the Marble Queen?
No. While the Manjula pothos and the Marble Queen are similar, there are scientific differences between the two. To start, the Manjula is a naturally occurring variety of pothos, while the Marble Queen is cultivated in a lab environment. In addition, while both have variegated leaves, the Manjula has more dark green areas, particularly around its edges.
Internet forums are littered with stories of well-intentioned houseplant breeders mistakenly marketing Manjula pothos as Marble Queens (and vice versa). The reason for this is primarily due to these two plants’ similar aesthetics. Indeed, their parallels can make them very difficult to distinguish, particularly because they hail from the same plant family.
The Manjula pothos and the Marble Queen are both part of the Araceae family and fall under the Epipremnum genus. Within this genus, they are both Epipremnum aureum cultivars, which in simple terms means they are each their own distinct scientific variety. Consequently, they look and behave slightly differently.
Their uniqueness also has to do with their origin stories. The Manjula pothos occurs naturally in the wild and hails from the tropical regions of Polynesia, Australia, France, and Southeast Asia. The Marble Queen, on the other hand, was cleverly designed by botanists working in Florida in the United States.
At a glance, the easiest way to tell these two types of pothos apart is to look at their leaves. The Manjula has wavy, heart-shaped leaves with spattered creamy-white variegation and larger dark green edge areas. The Marble Queen, while also variegated with beautiful creamy spots and splatters, has bigger, flatter leaves and no dark green edging. In the following sections, we’ll look at their differences and similarities in greater detail.
Manjula pothos vs Marble Queen: What’s the difference?
The main differences between the Manjula pothos and the Marble Queen pothos, are their leaf coloring, shape, and their growth rate. As a rule of thumb, the Manjula has wavier leaves that are a little thinner in texture than the Marble Queen’s broader, flatter leaves.
Taxonomically, they are also different species that go by different scientific names.
When purchasing houseplants, we often go first on looks and figure out species later. Most collectors have an idea of the breed of plant they’re buying (monstera, pothos, philodendron, etc.), but it’s only after a deep dive that we start to learn about different plant varieties and cultivars. For avid houseplant enthusiasts, this can get really interesting, especially if you’re after rare finds.
Further complicating matters are the naming conventions that most nurseries and breeders subscribe to. Pothos are often mislabeled as Money Plants or Devil’s Ivy rather than by their complete scientific names. This means you may never know which pothos variety you’ve purchased unless you do your research and learn to identify them by sight.
Let’s look at the differences between the Manjula pothos vs Marble Queen pothos.
1. Leaf shape and texture
Manjula pothos and Marble Queens have slightly different leaf shapes, but this can be challenging to figure out without a side-by-side comparison.
As juvenile plants, their leaf shapes are very similar. As they mature, it becomes easier to see the actual shape of fully formed leaves. The Manjula’s leaf will stay slightly frilly, whereas the Marble Queen’s leaves grow straighter.
The Marble Queen is also smoother and waxier than its cousin Manjula, which can feel quite grainy or coarse to the touch.
2. Color and patterning
The easiest way to tell the Manjula pothos and the Marble Queen apart is to look at their foliage coloring. Both are variegated pothos varieties with cream and white spatters but to different degrees and in different patterns.
On Manjula leaves, you’re likely to see cream and white splattering mixed with hints of light yellow that begins in the center of each leaf and moves outwards toward the edges. Often, there is still quite a bit of dark green around the borders of the leaves. This patterning is sporadic and varies significantly from leaf to leaf in both size and spread.
The Marble Queen pothos has coloring that is lighter and strictly white and cream, with many considering it the quintessential white pothos. It covers more of each leaf’s surface area, extending outward from the center vein more uniformly than the Manjula. In this regard, the Marble Queen’s leaves look like they’ve been dipped in paint that has subsequently suffered a bit of run-off.
3. Growth habit
Pothos are generally fast-growing plants, but there is a slight distinction in growth rate between the Manjula vs Marble Queen. The Manjula, which is naturally occurring, grows at a quicker pace than the Marble Queen.
Scientifically, this is because the Marble Queen has more white and cream variegation. Lighter areas photosynthesize less than the darker parts of plants. This means the Marble Queen takes in less sun energy to convert into new growth. While it will still thrive in ideal conditions, it won’t ever match the growth rate of the Manjula in the same environment.
How are the Manjula pothos and Marble Queen pothos similar?
There are plenty of similarities between the Manjula pothos and the Marble Queen, which is the primary reason why it’s so hard to tell them apart. They have the same care requirements and flowering patterns and grow to the same height. They also share air-purifying qualities and mild levels of toxicity.
At the heart of it, pothos are uncomplicated plants. The Manjula and Marble Queen are no different. Even though they look exotic, they are really easy to look after and are super gratifying in the home. No matter which one you buy, you’ll have no problem helping it thrive.
Maintenance aside, the Manjula and Marble Queen also share other characteristics. Both have terrestrial and aerial roots to help them vine and climb, and both are able to flower in ideal conditions. You can also propagate these pothos from stem cuttings to create new plants.
In a home environment, the Manjula and Marble Queen can also be beneficial for their air-purifying qualities. Conversely, they share levels of toxicity that need to be taken into consideration if you share your house with pets or curious children.
Let’s look at their similarities in greater detail.
1. Watering requirements
Pothos are tropical plants which means they are used to moist, humid conditions. In a home environment, pothos need regular watering to keep them happy and healthy, but not to the degree that they risk contracting root rot.
A good rule of thumb is to water your Manjula or Marble Queen every 7 to 10 days, with an extension of this gap in the colder months of the year. However, I personally prefer to check my pothos’ soil every few days instead, so I can make sure not to overwater them.
When the top inch of their soil is dry, they need a dose of water. Allow it to run through but ensure there isn’t a pool of water in the drip tray, as this can wreak havoc on your pothos’ root system. By the same token, don’t let your pothos stand dry for too long either, as it will start to wilt and yellow, which can cause irreversible damage over time.
2. Soil requirements
Another characteristic that the Manjula pothos and Marble Queen pothos share is their love of well-draining, nutrient-rich aroid soil. Their terrestrial roots need to do a lot of work for these vining beauties to live their best lives, and the best way you can provide for them is to get your fundamentals right by investing in the proper soil.
In this regard, you can purchase specialized pothos potting soil from your local garden center or mix your own. My standard blend consists of top-quality potting soil mixed with orchid bark for nutrients and perlite for moisture retention and aeration. Usually, I throw in a bit of activated charcoal, too, to keep the soil’s pH level to a convenient neutral acidity.
3. Light requirements
The Manjula and Marble Queen both enjoy bright, indirect light for 6 to 7 hours per day. Because of their creamy variegation, they need a fair amount of sun to help them convert soil nutrients into energy to grow. Conversely, their variegation also places them at greater risk of scorching in harsh light, so it’s a good idea to put them close to the morning sun that filters in from the East or South.
In my home, I keep my pothos a few feet from a bright East-facing window. This way, they can bask in the sun almost all day without burning. My reasoning is that this best emulates their natural environment, in which they grow slightly shaded from the sun in the shelter of bigger trees and plants.
4. Humidity requirements
Another key characteristic that the Manjula and Marble Queen pothos share is their craving for humidity. Pothos have aerial roots which are exposed and require moisture to stay healthy, and so, of course, they need to pull this dampness in from the air around them. If your home is not naturally humid, you may need to supplement it.
One way to go about this is to invest in a home humidifier. Failing this, you can mist your pothos regularly or set them on top of a damp pebble tray. A cool trick I recently learned is to group your houseplants together. As they absorb light through the day to photosynthesize, they give off humidity to one another, which can be hugely beneficial in helping them thrive.
5. Fertilization and feeding
Generally speaking, pothos don’t require fertilization as they’re naturally hardy. However, both the Manjula and the Marble Queen are pretty light in color, so if you see they’re lagging in their growth, you can give them a small dose of slow-release balanced fertilizer once per growing season.
Start with a small dose of fertilizer for your pothos, and if you notice discoloration, hold off. These beauties can suffer from chemical burns if you feed them too often, so you may need to begin with a trial run to see how they adapt.
6. Climbing poles vs hanging baskets
Because the Manjula pothos and the Marble Queen are both vining species, you can either choose to provide them with a climbing pole or let your pothos trail free from a hanging basket.
If you go the route of training your pothos to climb, both species would appreciate a structure like a moss pole or a coco coir pole. You may just need to work on them for a while first by gently attaching their stems with florist’s tape.
Can’t get enough of these exotic beauties? The good news is that both are excellent propagators. To create new plants, all you need is a healthy stem cutting that you can root in water or directly into prepared soil. And you can also propagate pothos from water to soil.
Once again, considering their variegation, your pothos cuttings will need a lot of light and moisture, but with proper maintenance, you should have no problem producing juvenile plants in the space of four to six weeks.
Speed up the process by dipping your stem cuttings in growth hormone ahead of your rooting option of choice.
8. Flowering patterns
The flowering patterns of pothos are always a strange phenomenon, as these beautiful plants are unlikely ever to flower indoors.
In perfect conditions or in a greenhouse, mature Manjula and Marble Queens can both produce purple-spathed, cream-colored cylindrical flowers, but chances are this won’t happen to yours – at least not for a number of years.
9. Height and spread
While the Manjula pothos grows faster than its scientifically engineered cousin, the Marble Queen, both can reach heights of 6 feet (2 meters) at maturity. This is, of course, provided their needs are met and they have enough room to grow, whether up a pole or trailing from a basket.
Both the Manjula and the Marble Queen need some light pruning between growing seasons. Pruning your pothos keeps your plant neat and allows for new growth.
11. Air-purifying qualities
One of the best things about the Manjula and the Marble Queen is their air-purifying qualities. Both these beautiful plants collect carbon dioxide from the air around them and convert it into oxygen for your home.
They don’t ask for much except for sufficient moisture and light, and they will do the rest, making your home feel cleaner and purer.
With all good things comes a little bit of bad, and unfortunately, this is true for pothos too. These exotic plants contain toxins in their sap that can be detrimental to humans or animals if consumed or if it comes into contact with their skin.
Luckily, the signs of pothos toxicity are easy to spot. Skin contact can result in rashes, itchiness, or welts, and consumption can lead to nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. In extreme cases, pothos poisoning can cause difficulty breathing. Either way, seek medical treatment (whether human or pet) as a matter of urgency.
For safety’s sake, keep your pothos out of reach of curious kids or pets unless you’re sure neither party will take a bite or a swipe. Usually, a high shelf or setting will suffice.