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Pothos are one of the easiest houseplants to propagate via stem. Propagating pothos gives you the opportunity to increase the amount of plants you are growing, as well as “sharing the love” with friends and family. 

In fact, you can propagate pothos using the stems that you pruned off the plant. While the propagating process is rather simple and straightforward, some often wonder if you can propagate pothos  without leaves.

Keep reading to find out!

leaves and cutted stem that cen be used to propagate pothos without leaves

Can you propagate pothos without leaves?

Yes, you can propagate pothos without leaves. In fact, if you cut a stem off the pothos to propagate, it is recommended to remove the bottom leaves. With that said, however, the stem will need leaf nodes for the cutting to propagate properly.

When you propagate pothos via stem cutting, the roots will develop from the leaf nodes, as well as the cut portion of the stem. Generally, the leaves on the cuttings will absorb sunlight to help get the roots to grow. 

If there are no leaves, however, the stem will use the energy and nutrients stored inside of it to produce roots.

pothos near the window with healthy stem that can be use to propagate pothos without leaves

Can you propagate pothos without leaves in water?

Yes, you can propagate a pothos without leaves in water, which is done in a similar manner as if you were propagating the cutting in soil. It does, however, require regular attention to the water quality, which means changing the water about once a week.

Additionally, you will need to repot the cutting in the soil once the roots are several inches long.


Best soil for Pothos

Miracle-Gro Tropical Potting Mix

Light and well-draining (perfect for avoiding root rot) while being packed with just the right nutrients – that will feed your plant for up to six months. The best soil for keeping your pothos healthy and strong.

If you do decide to propagate pothos without leaves in water, you should avoid allowing the entire stem to become submerged in the water. This means you will need to find a way to prop the stem up so that only the bottom half is in water. 

Allowing the entire stem to be under water will increase the chance of root rot in your pothos occurring, which will not only prevent roots from forming and eventually kill the cutting.

Keep in mind: If you’re unable to keep the stem propped up while it is in water, consider planting the cutting in soil instead. While this may not be the ideal method of rooting the cutting for many people, it is an alternative method that works.

Should you propagate pothos without leaves?

Pothos cuttings can be successfully propagated with or without leaves. With that said, however, some people who grow pothos have stated that propagating the plant via stem cuttings without leaves can take a little longer to root than if you propagate the plant via stems that have leaves.

This is because stem cuttings that don’t contain any leaves have no way to absorb the sunlight, which plants need for healthy and fast growth. What the cutting has to do instead is use the stored energy inside of its stalk in order to produce roots.

While this is far from a deal breaker, it is something that you should consider when propagating pothos without leaves. If you want to propagate the cutting quicker, consider using a cutting that has several leaves on it.

pothos cutting with fewer leaves that can be use to propagate pothos without leaves

How to propagate pothos without leaves

When you propagate pothos without leaves, you follow the same steps as if you were propagating them normally. Which means the stem will need to have at least one leaf node on it.

1. Select a healthy stem

The very first step for when you propagate pothos without leaves is to select a healthy stem from the plant. Never use stems that are diseased, damaged, or dying. This will only decrease the chance that you will be successful in your propagating venture, and increase the chance of transferring the disease to the new plant.

Never take a cutting from an unhealthy plant. This includes using a pruned off stem that was diseased. In most cases, the cutting won’t root if the stem is infected with a disease, and if it does, you have just created a new plant with the same disease as the parent plant.

Related: Why Does My Pothos Have Brown Stems (and How to Fix It)?

2. Cut the stem

You can see a full guide on how to prune a pothos at that link but, in brief, start by taking a clean, sharp pair of pruning shears to cut a 3 to 5 inch stem off the pothos.

When cutting, do so at a slight angle and make sure you have at least two leaf nodes on the stem. The leaves don’t have to be attached, but you will need those leaf nodes.

pruning shear to use in propagating pothos without leaves

After you have cut off the stem, don’t forget to clean and sanitize the pruning shears before placing them back in storage. This will help reduce the chance of accidently spreading diseases from one plant to the next. 

Even if you assume your pothos are healthy, it is always best to err on the side of caution and sanitize the shears after each use.

3. Dip in rooting hormone

While this step isn’t required, it can help to speed up the rooting process. Simply dip the cut end of the stem into rooting hormone. Rooting hormone is relatively available at garden centers, local nurseries, and even online from various merchants.

Remember, this step isn’t a requirement and you don’t need to use rooting hormone for your cutting to root. All the powder does is help speed up the rooting process.

4. Place the stem in soil

Fill a small pot with the same type of soil mixture that the parent pothos is growing in, and then plant the cutting (cut side down) into the soil. 

Alternatively, skip the soil and root the leafless node propagation in water. To use water instead of soil, simply fill a glass with water and then insert the cut end of the stem into the water.

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

5. Set the cutting out of direct sunlight

Place the cutting in an area that is out of direct sunlight, but where it will still receive bright light. The area should also be between 65 and 85 degrees, and have a humidity level of around 60 percent.

Furthermore, make sure the cutting is placed somewhere out of reach from children or pets.

Related: What Are Your Pothos’ Light Needs (So Your Plant Can Thrive)?

6. Water the cutting

Check the soil of the cutting every few days to ensure the top 2 inches are still moist. If the soil feels dry, water deeply. Avoid overwatering or underwatering the pothos cutting as this will only put stress on the cutting, which makes it harder to produce roots.

For leafless node propagation in water, change the water whenever it becomes cloudy or every 7 to 10 days. For the best results, use distilled or spring water. 

If you do decide to use tap water, allow the water to sit for about 24 hours beforehand as this will give the chlorine a chance to dissipate from the tap water.

tools and water spray near plants that have been used to propagate pothos without leaves

7. Repot the cutting

For leafloss node propagation in water, you will need to repot the pothos cutting once the roots reach two to three inches long. This will require a clean pot with drainage holes at the bottom and well draining soil. 

Once the pot is prepared, simply plant the cutting (root side down) into the soil and care for the plant as you normally would.

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

8. Care for the pothos

Just because you have completed the propagating process and you now have a full-fledged plant and not simply a cutting, that doesn’t mean your job is done. Far from it. You will now have to provide the plant with its ideal growing conditions.