In the undisputed era of the houseplant jungle, it makes perfect sense that we can’t get enough of our pothos. These beauties are great for propagating, and you can derive plenty of juveniles from one healthy parent plant.
In even better news, rooting a pothos cutting is super simple and infinitely satisfying too!
To begin with, it might seem daunting to take cuttings from your pothos. However, once you know the fundamentals, you’ll find that plants in the pothos genus are hardy, low-maintenance, and gratifying growers with a high propagation success rate.
In this article, I’ll take you through everything you need to know about rooting pothos cuttings, from setting up your workstation to caring for them once they start to grow. Ready? Let’s get right into it.
How to root a pothos cutting
Pothos cuttings can be rooted in a jar of water or planted straight into prepared soil. The first step is to ensure your parent plant is strong and healthy and select a suitable stem with sufficient leaves and nodes. Once you’ve made a clean cut, you can root your cutting in water or in soil.
The beautiful and well-loved pothos is an excellent plant for propagating, primarily because of its hardy nature. Hailing from the tropical climates of Asia, India, and the Pacific islands, pothos prefer warmer temperatures and plenty of moisture and humidity.
For this reason, they make fantastic houseplants and will thrive in spots with a fair amount of sun and a relatively consistent temperature. In these conditions, they grow quickly, producing plenty of new stems and leaves in the spring and summer growing seasons.
Once your plant is mature in age and sizeable, preferably over 1 foot (30 centimeters), you will start to notice strong stems with visible nodes and aerial roots on your pothos. A good cutting should have at least two to three nodes and a few leaves to retain moisture.
We’ll get into more detail in the following sections.
1. Setting up your workstation and tools
The quality of your pothos cutting can significantly impact how well it grows. Keeping it as healthy as possible gives it a greater chance of rooting successfully, much of which depends on how and when you make your cut.
To start, you want to ensure you are working in a neat, spacious area to prevent any damage to your plant. The next step is most important – making sure your tools are clean and sterilized. Harmful pests and diseases can be transferred between plants via shears and scissors if you don’t take the time to disinfect them.
2. Selecting a healthy cutting
With your workstation ready, it’s time to select your cutting. Ideally, you want to choose a strong-looking stem that has a few nodes and leaves. Nodes are essential, as this is where your new roots will spring from. They look like little bumps or nodules and are usually slightly darker than the rest of the stem.
Having a few leaves on your stem is also beneficial and will improve the chances of your cutting taking root. This is because your stem does not have roots yet to draw in water and thus relies on its leaves to pull moisture molecules from the air.
A good cutting should be 8 to 10 inches (20 to 25 centimeters).
3. Making your cut
Once you’ve selected your stem, it’s time to make the cut. And there are two crucial points to remember when doing so.
Firstly, whenever you prune a pothos, you want to make as clean a cut as possible. Going in at a 45-degree angle will give you optimal surface area for new growth. Additionally, it’s easier for your parent plant to heal from a clean slicing versus a jagged edge.
Secondly, ensure your growing medium, whether water or soil, is prepped and ready at your workstation. This way, the open cut won’t be exposed to air for too long and won’t have a chance to start drying out.
4. Preparing for rooting
While pothos are perfectly capable of rooting on their own, there is a considerable benefit to giving them a little help in the form of rooting hormone. This is a natural product you can purchase from most nurseries and garden centers and which will simply give your juvenile pothos a little kick to speed up the growing process.
My top pick: The rooting hormone I like to use for cuttings is Garden Safe TakeRoot (you can check the latest price here). I’ve had a ton of success with my cuttings when using this.
All you need to do is dip the cut end of your stem into the rooting hormone before placing it in your growing medium.
That said, don’t worry if you don’t have this substance on hand. A healthy stem from a thriving plant will do just fine too.
5. Pick your growing medium: water vs soil
Pothos can be propagated in water or soil, and both mediums have their benefits.
In water, your stem cuttings have access to plenty of hydration which helps them to develop new growth quickly. On the other hand, if you’re planting straight into prepared soil, you won’t need to transplant your juveniles at a later stage, and they also have access to vitamins and nutrients in the ground.
Whichever you decide on, make sure your planting station is ready to receive your cuttings. For water propagation, I advise using a clear glass bottle or jar and unchlorinated water. For soil propagation, combine top-quality potting soil and nutrient-rich peat moss.
6. Stem cutting care
With your cutting happily settled in its growing medium, all that’s left to do is ensure its needs are met while growing new roots. This includes providing plenty of sun, humidity, and moisture.
If your cuttings are rooting in water, make sure to change the water every week or so to prevent the growth of algae. If they’re rooting in soil, mist the leaves, stems, and soil every few days so that the cutting can stay hydrated.
Position your cuttings close to a window that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of bright, indirect sunlight daily. If possible, keep your cuttings close to other plants, which give off additional humidity, which will allow them to thrive.
7. Planting your cuttings
If you’re propagating pothos cuttings in water, you can expect to see new growth within 7 to 10 days. That said, you shouldn’t plant them in soil until their fresh baby roots are at least one inch long, which will take 4 to 6 weeks.
Once they’re ready for planting, prepare a relatively sized pot or planter with a quality pothos soil blend. Pop the cutting, root-down, into the soil, making sure all new leaves and stems are still protruding. Then, simply look after your pothos as you would a mature one.
Can you put pothos cuttings directly into water?
Pothos are perfect for rooting in water, provided they receive plenty of sunlight. A healthy cutting with two to three nodes and at least two leaves, placed in a jar or vase with unchlorinated water, should have no problem producing new growth in 7 to 10 days.
If you’re looking to expand your plant collection rapidly, rooting pothos cuttings in water is the way to go. Unless your parent plant is seriously ill, water-fed cuttings have a tremendous success rate.
In the section above, I’ve taken you through a step-by-step guide on propagating pothos cuttings in water and soil, but a tip for water rooting specifically is to keep your plant clean and healthy by regularly replacing its water.
In addition, don’t submerge your leaves. They’ll begin to rot, infecting any new growth from the stem nodes.
Rotating your jar every few days so it can receive sun from all angles is also beneficial for even growth.
Can you put pothos cuttings directly into soil?
Pothos cuttings can be rooted directly into soil. However, as the end of the cutting won’t yet have roots, you’ll need to ensure the stem and leaves receive plenty of moisture to stay hydrated. You can achieve this with regular misting and plenty of sunshine for humidity.
I can be a little lazy when it comes to propagating my pothos and have no problem sticking strong stem cuttings straight into prepared, nutrient-rich soil. While they won’t grow as quickly as water-rooted cuttings, they will eventually develop new growth and thrive if you give them a sunny spot and lots of water.
For this method, I recommend dipping their cut ends into rooting hormone before planting to set them on their way. It’s a beneficial kick-starter and will help them recover from transplant shock while also loading their systems with nutrients for energy.
How long does it take for a pothos cutting to root?
Pothos cuttings rooted in water will begin to develop new growth within 7 to 10 days, provided their growing environment allows for sufficient sun, moisture, and humidity. In ideal conditions, a cutting will be ready for planting after 6 to 12 weeks once its roots are over an inch long.
Impatient for new plants? Pothos are some of the fastest growers out there. Cuttings root quickly and should be ready for planting in just two months. That said, you must ensure their care needs are met, so they have enough energy to keep growing.
How do I make my pothos cutting root faster?
A little love and attention can’t hurt if you’re trying to make your pothos cuttings grow faster. One trick is to pop them into rooting hormone before placing them in their growing medium, giving them an extra dose of nutrient energy.
Secondly, you can treat them to some extra humidity by placing them close to a collection of other houseplants or installing a plug-in home humidifier.
This goes without saying, but most important is plenty of sunlight. Keep your cuttings close to a sunny window, but not so near that they scorch. Rotate them often so that every angle benefits. In no time, your cuttings will start to thrive.
You may also be interested in: How Fast Does Pothos Grow (and How to Make it Grow Faster)?
Do pothos cuttings grow faster in water or soil?
Pothos cuttings grow faster in water simply because they have more access to hydration. Even so, soil rooting is just as effective. However, your cuttings will take slightly longer to develop new growth. You can speed up this process by misting its stems and leaves regularly.
How long can a pothos cutting be?
A good length for a pothos cutting is 8 to 10 inches (20 – 25 centimeters). That said, you can take longer cuttings and divide them up into smaller pieces to propagate multiple juvenile plants. The golden standard is ensuring at least two nodes and two to three leaves.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to selecting a stem cutting, although the more robust and healthier, the better. Length is not as crucial as nodes and leaves – so this is what you should be looking out for.
Why do I have a droopy pothos cutting?
When cuttings start to droop, it’s indicative of an unmet need. For cuttings in water, this may mean insufficient light or a lack of oxygen in the water. For cuttings in soil, drooping can indicate dehydration, which can be remedied with moisture and humidity.
Plants are very good at telling us when they’re unhappy. Drooping almost always signifies that they need more of something, like water or sun. If this is the case, look at their growing environment to establish what they need and remedy it accordingly.
Find out more: 9 Reasons Why Your Pothos Is Drooping (and How to Fix It)
Where to find pothos cuttings for sale
If you’re looking for a specific variety of pothos, cuttings can generally be purchased from online merchants, such as Etsy or eBay, or from specialist suppliers. Alternatively, pothos forums and clubs can provide information on where to find cuttings, even offering trades and exchanges between collectors.
Check for relevant Facebook groups in your local area, especially those dedicated to plants or more general swap-related groups.