When caring for our plants, sometimes life gets busy, and we don’t stay on top of their needs as well as we should. Maybe this has happened without you even realizing it, and now you’re looking at your once stunning pothos and wondering why it seems so leggy and sad. Unfortunately, this is a pervasive issue with the pothos plant. It can easily be fixed, but it might take some time.
The pothos plant is probably the most popular houseplant in homes across the United States. Even non-plant lovers often have pothos somewhere in their homes. The plant is easy to care for, which attracts those looking to add some green to their space, and their vines makes them ideal for hanging, draping, and climbing around the home. This popularity also means they are often cared for by those who don’t know much about plants. A leggy-looking pothos isn’t a dying pothos; however, it’s a sign that the plant isn’t getting the care that it wants. So here are the ways you can encourage your pothos to grow bigger leaves and fuller vines.
When growing a vining plant, it can be tempting to allow it to grow as long as it wants to. The long vines are elegant and are a great way to decorate your home, but letting them get too long can be draining on the plant. In nature, things like animals and weather naturally prune the vines. In our homes, we have to prune them ourselves. Always be sure to do this with a set of disinfected pruning sheers; don’t take off more than one-third of the plant at once. Pruning will encourage the plant to grow bushier and fuller rather than lanky.
There are a lot of plants you can grow on a pole, and a pothos is one of them. In their natural habitat, these plants grow up and around large trees in the rainforest, so it’s their natural growth pattern to use a pole. You can use a bamboo cane, moss pole, trellis, or any other similar object. It’s best to start this process when the plant is young, but you can still start an older plant on a pole. Start by tying the vines onto the pole one at a time and wind them up like they would along the side of a tree. Give it time to acclimate and as it grows bigger, keep tying up the ends to the pole.
Pothos that are grown on poles tend to grow fuller vines and bigger leaves. The leaves can access better lighting when growing this way, allowing for better photosynthesis, and they tend to not reach for the sun as much as draping or hanging pothos.
Often pothos will have fewer full vines due to a lack of sunlight. They then grow smaller leaves that are further apart, trying to reach and find the sun. Be sure the plant is getting bright indirect light if you’re noticing its new leaves are smaller or if you notice the leaves stretching toward the light. It might mean you need to move your pothos to a better spot, but be careful with variegated varieties. Varigated plants are much more sensitive to sunburn than non-variegated plants. If you have a marble queen pothos that needs more sun, avoid putting in it direct sunlight. Instead, find a spot that’s about four to six feet from a south-facing window, or put sheer coverings on the window to filter the light.
Like all plants, pothos need to be fed with a balanced fertilizer regularly, which might be why your pothos vines aren’t looking their best. Life gets in the way sometimes, and we often forget to feed our plants as regularly as they’d like. So especially after pruning and about every month during the growing season, you’ll want to provide your pothos plant with a balanced fertilizer.
Pothos plants like to be watered heavily and then dry out between waterings. The biggest reason plant owners kill their plants is by overwatering. This is easy to do and nothing to be ashamed of. We recommend investing in a moisture meter to prevent this disaster from happening. The meter will tell you when the plant is wet, moist, or dry, so you don’t have to rely on how far you can stick in your finger. Sometimes plant lovers will avoid watering a plant for fear of overwatering or they’ll overwater for fear of them drying out. This inhibits the plant’s growth pattern and often leads to spindly vines or root rot.
Lastly, it’s imperative to rotate your plant routinely. If you don’t, your pothos will likely grow one-sided and end up with a less full side that isn’t as healthy or attractive as the other. You don’t have to do this every day, but once every other week is best.
We only want what is best for our plants, and sometimes we need a refresher on our plant’s needs. So if you’re noticing your pothos vines aren’t as robust as they once were, try some of these tips and give it a few months to see if that helps. It will take a little bit to notice a difference, but it will be worth it in the end.
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