Are you addicted to pothos? I don’t blame you. These hardy houseplants are gratifying growers that brighten up even the dullest spaces with their bright, leafy vines. And as any enthusiast would agree, one of the best things about pothos is how easy they are to propagate, meaning the more, the merrier, for even the most inexperienced grower.
That being said, if you’ve gone through the process of rooting stem cuttings from your pothos plants, you may be wondering about transferring a propagated pothos from water to soil. The good news is that it’s surprisingly straightforward, with high rewards for minimal effort.
In this article, I’ll take you through exactly what you need to know about moving pothos from water to soil, how to identify when they’re ready for transplantation, with an added note on how long to let them stay in water. Ready? Let’s get growing.
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Can I transfer my pothos from water to soil?
Yes, once a pothos plant has developed new roots via water propagation, it can be transferred into a planter prepared with soil. This benefits your new plant, as soil is rich in nutrients and minerals that fortify and aid your pothos cuttings to grow and thrive into mature plants.
As any experienced houseplant owner will attest, there’s more than one way to propagate a pothos. Indeed, they can be rooted first in water and then placed in soil, or alternatively, cuttings can be grown directly in soil. Personally, I prefer the former, as it has a higher success rate.
Water-grown cuttings have constant access to hydration directly into their stems. Conversely, cuttings placed into soil have a slighter more challenging time accessing moisture, as they rely on hydration from their soil and the air around them, which may not always be sufficient.
Therefore, to give your pothos cuttings their best chance, it’s good first to let them grow roots in water. From there, it’s a simple process of transferring them – complete with new root systems – into good-quality soil. Once planted in soil, they benefit from accessing the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals embedded within it. This makes them more robust for further growth and more tolerant of varying environmental conditions.
In the following sections, we’ll cover how to transfer pothos from water into soil and how to care for them once they’re planted.
How do I transfer a pothos cutting from water to soil?
Once your pothos cutting has developed new roots, it’s ready to be planted. The first step is to prepare a pot with soil. Next, rinse your cutting’s roots before gently placing it into the planter. Finally, fill in around the cutting with gently pressed-down soil, hydrate, and find a suitable, sunny location for your new plant.
Transplanting a cutting from water into soil can be intimidating, especially after the effort you’ve put into helping it develop new roots. Fortunately, the process is quick and straightforward, with most of your attention needed to secure the right soil and find a good location to place it after the fact.
Let’s look at how to transfer a pothos cutting from water to soil, step-by-step.
1. Selecting a pot
Selecting the right pot or planter for your cutting is crucial, as its size can impact how well your pothos takes to its new environment. You don’t want a pot that’s too big or too small, but rather one that has sufficient space for it to grow comfortably without you needing to transplant it again for at least 18 months.
In this regard, I recommend selecting a planter that is 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7 centimeters) wider than the diameter of your cutting’s new roots. This way, roots have access to the soil’s moisture without being weighed down by it.
It’s also essential to ensure that your selected pot has drainage holes to allow excess water to drip out, mitigating the risk of root rot.
2. Choosing your soil
Pothos aren’t particularly picky, but they do best with good-quality, aroid soil rich in nutrients.
An indoor potting soil mixed with a bit of perlite and orchid bark is perfect. It strikes a healthy balance between air circulation and moisture retention while simultaneously feeding your cutting with vitamins and minerals.
3. Rinsing your roots
When rooting pothos cuttings in water, you should swap out your H20 at least once a week to ensure it remains oxygenated.
Similarly, when moving a pothos from water to soil, it’s a good idea to give it a light rinse to further oxygenate the roots and wash away any potential critters or creatures that may have found their way into your rooting jar.
Work as carefully as possible to prevent accidentally damaging vulnerable new growth. A light rinse under your faucet should suffice.
4. Planting your cutting
With your planter ready and your roots clean and fresh, the next step is to plant your pothos cutting in its new home.
Start by lining the base of your pot with 2 inches (5 centimeters) of lightly damp soil. Then, place your cutting on top of the soil layer, with its roots spread out. Holding the stem securely, fill in the space around the cutting with soil, pressing it down gently but not compressing it. Leave about an inch of space between the soil and the top of the planter.
Give it a good dose of hydration until water runs through the drainage holes, and your cutting is good to go.
You may also be interested in: 15 Signs of an Overwatered Pothos (and How to Fix It)
5. Caring for your new pothos plant
Congratulations! You have a new pothos baby, and all that’s left to do is care for it. A large part of this is finding the perfect spot for your plant to thrive, where it receives sufficient sun for energy and the right amounts of humidity for your pothos to help it grow.
For young plants, the sun is vital for combatting transplant shock. Not only does it provide warmth, but it also helps with photosynthesis, which is necessary for cell rejuvenation and growth.
This is why, if possible, you should position your pothos close to an East or South-facing window, where light streams in for six to eight hours per day. Water it once the top inch of soil is dry (roughly every 7 to 10 days), and in no time, you should see progressed development.
How long should the roots be before planting a pothos in soil?
A cutting is ready for planting once its roots are at least 2 inches (5 centimeters) long. Most cuttings’ roots reach this length after 6 to 8 weeks in water. You can, however, plant cuttings with slightly shorter roots, bearing in mind they may take somewhat longer to start showing new growth in their planters.
Once your cuttings start showing new roots, the temptation to plant them can become irresistible. However, it’s in your plant’s best interests to wait until these roots are sturdy and robust, reducing the chances of them becoming compressed by heavy soil.
On the other side of the spectrum, allowing the roots to get a bit longer in water is also okay. This won’t harm your cutting, provided you refresh its water regularly (weekly) so that it remains oxygenated and clean. To speed up the rooting process, make sure your cutting has access to plenty of sunlight, which works in tandem with moisture to help it develop new roots from its pothos nodes.
How long can a propagated pothos stay in water?
Pothos can survive in water alone for months as long as they have enough space in their rooting jars. While pothos can be transplanted once their roots reach 2 inches (5 centimeters) in length, you can allow them to grow longer and stronger before planting, with proper care and maintenance.
There’s no denying that pothos look beautiful in any circumstances, even if they’re just adorning a water jar. And the good news is that there are no hard and fast rules about when you need to transplant them – only recommendations.
If you plan to keep your pothos in water for a bit longer than the norm, that’s perfectly okay. Just make sure to keep changing their water and to keep their jars clean. If you notice any signs of wilting or ill health, it may be time to plant them so they can access nutrients from soil. Until that point, provided they’re healthy, you can confidently keep them in water.