The Pothos NJoy and the Pothos Pearls and Jade are both gorgeous, popular houseplants beloved for their striking variegation and charming heart-shaped leaves. However, given their similarities in appearance and growth pattern, they are often mistaken for one another.
Indeed, given that they are both cultivars of the magnificent Marble Queen, it follows that they share many of the same characteristics. That said, to the informed eye, there are notable differences, no matter how slight, between the two.
In this article, I’ll take you through the differences and the parallels between these home-growing beauties. By the end, you’ll be able to impress even the most clued-up of the houseplant aficionados in your life. Ready? Let’s jump right in.
What are the differences between Pothos NJoy and Pearls and Jade?
The main difference between the Pothos NJoy and the Pearls and Jade is their variegation, which is more tonal and speckled on the latter. The NJoy also has slightly larger leaves, prefers brighter conditions, and is more inclined to lose its coloration in the shade than its hardier cousin, the Pearls and Jade.
I’ll be the first to admit that when I started my plant journey, I easily mistook different cultivars of pothos for one another. This is because they share so many traits in appearance – most notably their distinctive heart-shaped leaves. To my mind, there were variegated pothos and plain pothos.
However, over time I’ve become fascinated by their history and the minuscule but (now) apparent differences between them. So often, identification is as simple as looking at their coloring and the patterns of their creamy splatters and specks.
While many of these dissimilarities can seem purely cosmetic, they do slightly impact how you care for your plants and, simultaneously, how tolerant they are to different lighting conditions. In the following sections, we’ll unpack these characteristics in detail.
1. Differences in variegation
The easiest way to tell a Pothos NJoy apart from a Pearls and Jade is to look at its variegation. The NJoy is whiter overall, with dark and light green shades adorning its leaves from the center vein outwards.
On the other hand, the Pothos Pearls and Jade’s leaves are lighter green overall, with white and cream areas scattered across their leaves more randomly. The creamy variegation itself is also stroked with flecks of green.
In short, if your pothos has pure white or cream areas, it’s likely an NJoy. If the white is sprinkled with green, it’s almost certainly a different type of variegated pothos, like the Pearls and Jade or Marble Queen.
2. Leaf size
It can be challenging to distinguish a pothos variety by leaf size if you don’t have something to compare it to. However, as a general rule, the NJoy has smaller, more compact leaves in contrast to the Pearls and Jade.
Indeed, the NJoy’s leaves rarely grow larger than 2 inches (5 centimeters) long and 1.5 inches (4 centimeters wide). The Pearls and Jade has leaves that can reach 3 inches (7.5 centimeters) at maturity, with a width of 1.5 to 2 inches (4 to 5 centimeters).
Because of their difference in length, the leaves of the Pearls and Jade also tend to be more elongated. Both are papery and thin in texture.
There is an ever-so-slight difference in the internodes of the NJoy and the Pearls and Jade. On the latter, they are slightly longer, whereas they are closer together and shorter on the NJoy.
The difference is marginal, less than an inch (2 centimeters), but is clear when held in comparison.
4. Light tolerance
When it comes to variegated plants, coloration often depends on lighting conditions. This is because the lighter areas of the plant (the white and cream parts) cannot photosynthesize energy at the same rate as the darker green spots.
The Pearls and Jade is greener overall, so it is more tolerant to lower light conditions and won’t lose its color quickly in the shade. There are greater surface areas on its leaves to draw in sunlight, which it then processes for growth.
The NJoy has large areas of white, which means the tissue with more chlorophyll requires supplementary sunlight to support the rest of the plant. In low light, the NJoy tends to overcompensate by losing some of its variegation in favor of greener, life-preserving tissue.
Who doesn’t love a good origin story? While the NJoy and the Pearls and Jade may look similar, they have very different beginnings.
The Pothos NJoy is a relative baby in the plant world, discovered in 2002. It began as a naturally occurring stem mutation of the Marble Queen, found in the South Pacific Islands. A well-known horticulturist, Ashish Hansoti, further cultivated the plant for resale. It is now in its 25th generation.
The Pearls and Jade, on the other hand, is a scientifically bred cultivar developed in Florida from Marble Queen tissue. Its parent plant originated in the Solomon Islands.
Pothos NJoy vs Pearls and Jade: Similarities
The predominant shared traits of the Pothos NJoy and the Pothos Pearl and Jade are in their growth habits. Both are slow-growing, variegated varieties of the genus Epipremnum aureum, in the family Araceae. They also share the same care requirements regarding water, soil, nutrients, and humidity.
If you’re less interested in telling your plants apart and keener on just keeping them going, you’ll be pleased to learn that both the NJoy and the Pearls and Jade are low-maintenance, hardy plants that thrive in most indoor settings.
Hailing from the tropical Society Islands of French Polynesia, plants in the pothos family enjoy lots of humidity and moisture and plenty of bright but indirect light. Pothos are vining plants with terrestrial, ground-dwelling roots as well as aerial roots that they use for climbing. Therefore, they enjoy climbing poles or trellises in the home.
To give your pothos their best chance to thrive, there are a few care fundamentals they share that are easy to follow. Read on to find out more.
1. Water needs
The Pothos NJoy and Pearls and Jade both enjoy a consistent watering schedule that keeps their soil moist but not drenched. Generally, this means hydrating them every 7 to 10 days. However, depending on the season and temperature, a better idea is to keep an eye on their topsoil, topping up their water once the top inch is dry.
Related: How Often to Water Your Pothos (So It Thrives)
While both plants are pretty disease-resistant, they can easily fall prey to root rot if they’re overwatered. To avoid this, never let your pothos stand in pooled water, and feel their soil for sogginess should you notice drooping or yellowing leaves.
Conversely, they will also suffer if you underwater them. So, while skipping the odd day isn’t overly harmful, don’t make a habit of it, as this can cause permanent damage in terms of leaf and stem death.
Like most houseplants, pothos require plenty of sunlight daily (6 to 7 hours). However, because of their tropical origins, they also fare pretty well in shadier conditions with dappled light. In the home, the best situation for a pothos is close to an East or South-facing window set back from direct sun.
As previously mentioned, the Pothos NJoy may lose some of its variegation if it doesn’t have access to enough sun because of its prominent white patches. This won’t necessarily impact its health, but it can slow down its growth. To combat this, you may want to consider investing in supplementary grow lights.
Too much sun, conversely, can also be problematic. In direct sunlight, the delicate variegation of the NJoy and the Pearls and Jade can become scorched, negatively affecting the plant’s overall health. Symptoms of scorching include dry leaves, browning, and wilting.
3. Humidity requirements
Plants with aerial roots, like pothos, draw in moisture from the air to help them grow. For this reason, NJoy and Pearls and Jade do best in growing environments with plenty of humidity – between 60% and 80%.
Most homes retain a humidity level of around 50%, which isn’t exactly ideal for these plants. That said, you have loads of options in terms of humidity hacks, like misting your plants’ leaves or installing a plug-in humidifier.
Research has also shown that grouping lots of houseplants together is a symbiotic way of upping the moisture levels in your home. If you ever needed an excuse to imbibe in some plant shopping, now you have one. It’s for the greater good of your pothos.
As much as we love our plant babies, our home environments can never truly emulate their natural circumstances. This is why I always recommend treating your houseplants to a little TLC in the form of a balanced, slow-release fertilizer.
The nutrients and minerals found in plant supplements provide them with a boost of energy they would otherwise draw from the decaying foliage on the forest floor. Fertilizers can be applied twice annually, once in the spring, as they emerge from dormancy, and again during the summer when they’re at the height of their growth.
Both the NJoy and the Pearls and Jade should be fed on occasion. However, initially at least, err on the side of less-is-more, and keep an eye for any signs of ill health, like yellowing. This may indicate a chemical burn.
5. Soil needs
The NJoy and the Pearls and Jade pothos are both blissfully easy-going when it comes to their soil, and the same formula can be used for both. If you can’t get hold of a pothos blend at your local nursery or garden center, you can mix your own at home following a simple formula.
Combine top-quality potting soil with perlite to retain moisture and peat moss for nutrients. A few tablespoons of activated charcoal will keep the soil’s pH level neutral.
6. Occasional pruning
With their wily growth patterns, the NJoy and Pearls and Jade both benefit from occasional pruning to keep them in shape. Additionally, removing old or decaying leaves improves their overall health and paves the way for new growth. To keep your pothos neat, prune it during the early spring, just as it is about to begin its seasonal growth spurt.
Before pruning your pothos, always ensure your tools are clean and sterilized on the off chance you spread pests or diseases between your greens. Pruning should be marginal and never more than 30% of a plant’s entirety, as overly enthusiastic chopping can cause plant shock.
7. Climbing vs trailing
The Pothos NJoy and the Pothos Pearls and Jade are both vining plants and grow leaves along strong stems with aerial roots that can attach to various structures. Depending on your aesthetic preference, you can either choose to let your pothos trail from a hanging planter or basket or provide your pothos with a moss pole or similar structure to help it climb.
For the latter option, you’ll need to teach your pothos to climb. I recommend starting out with a peat moss or coco coir pole that serves a dual benefit by providing nutrients to aerial roots. Attach your pothos to your climbing pole with clips around the stems, thin twine, or florists’ tape.
Once the roots have attached, you can remove your adhesives, sit back, and let your pothos thrive. Their natural inclination is to climb towards their source of sunlight, so for an even appearance, rotate your plants once a week.
While considered slow-growing, the NJoy and Pearls and Jade will both eventually outgrow their planters. Once this happens, they risk becoming rootbound which can cause problems with their growth and, at worst, potential root death.
Therefore, you should repot your pothos every 2 to 3 years. To do so, gently remove it from its planter, shake out the roots, and transfer it into a new home with prepared, nutrient-rich soil. Repotting is also beneficial in the sense that fresh ground is full of minerals and oxygen, as opposed to stagnant soil, which contracts fungi and bacteria over time.
Can’t get enough of your pothos? In good news, one of the best similarities between the NJoy and the Pearls and Jade is that they are both great for propagating. In other words: there’s an opportunity for you to produce loads of lovely little plant babies.
To propagate either pothos plant, select a strong stem cutting with visible pothos nodes and leaves. You can either root them in water or directly into soil. For the latter, however, you must keep your pothos cuttings moist with regular misting and plenty of sunlight.
On that note, light is exceptionally important for propagating variegated pothos like these two. Their white areas don’t absorb energy like their green bits, so they need a little more love than regular pothos cuttings.
You may also be interested in: 5 Easy Steps to Transfer a Propagated Pothos from Water to Soil
Where to buy Pothos NJoy or Pearls and Jade
Both the NJoy and the Pearls and Jade can be commonly purchased from nurseries or specialist breeders, but you can also find them online from plant vendors or marketplaces like Etsy and eBay. In both cases, do your research and be clear about what you’re looking for.
Now that you’ve learned how to distinguish the NJoy from the Pearls and Jade and what makes them similar, you may be wondering where to get your hands on one. Fortunately, the route is the same for both, although you may have to be a bit insistent that you want one type of pothos over the other, especially if a seller tries to pass one off as its similar-looking cousin.
But sellers can’t argue if you present them with facts – and after reading this, you’re well equipped to recognize the difference between a Pothos NJoy vs Pearls and Jade.