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Pothos – Golden Pothos Plant

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The golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum) plant has glossy, heart-shaped leaves, with green foliage splashed in creamy gold. Although this plant tolerates low light well, its leaves may lose their variegation if kept in the dark for too long. It will look its best in moderate or bright light. It makes an excellent office plant because it grows well under fluorescent lights. I have quite a few of these in my Studio, which is mainly lit by fluorescent lights. They are doing growing and looking very healthy.

I have admitted this before, but pothos plants, in general, are by far my favorite. They provide a lush pot of greenery with beautiful trailing vines.  Ever seen pothos plants with really LARGE leaves?  Most people grow their pothos to be lush and trailing, but you have the option of winding the vines around an upright pole, and soon you’ll find the leaves can grow quite large. I own quite a few golden pothos plants, and each one is unique. The patterns on the leaves are much like the patterns on a zebra… meaning, every one of them is different. I will sprinkle some photos throughout this posting of a few ones that I have.

“Don’t forget the Secret Sauce!”

In the summer of 2018, I came across a golden pothos plant that was for sale on our local Facebook virtual garage sale group. I didn’t hesitate one minute; I immediately reached out to the woman, letting her know that I wanted it. Within thirty minutes, Bob, Milo, and I were motoring down the road, looking like the hillbilly to pick up the plant.  When I walked into the house, my jaw hit the floor. The plant was gorgeous and had eight trailing vines that reach over ten feet each. She sold the plant to me for twenty dollars!

As we were carrying it out the truck (Bob carried the pot, and I followed behind with the vines wrapped around me), the previous owner hollered out the front door, “Oh, the secret sauce!” She said that she had put 3-4 earthworms in the soil of the plant to help fertilize them. She did a mix of potting soil, compost, and earthworms. This concept was new to me, but I have to admit that this is one healthy plant!

Light Requirements

Golden pothos does well in low light to bright light. It is best to keep it out of the direct sun, which will burn foliage. Although pothos will tolerate low light, it will have more leaves and better variegation if kept in bright indirection light. Long spaces between leaves indicate pothos is not getting enough sunlight.

Water Requirements

When it comes to watering,  I find that pothos does best when their soil is allowed to dry out between waterings. Not 100% dried out, though. I am learning how to watch the leaves for signs of the plant’s well-being: if the leaves are glossy, green, and perky, the plant is happy; if they’re wilting or turning brown, you’re not watering enough. I take the plant to the kitchen sink and water it until it starts dripping from the bottom of the pot. Don’t get in the habit of watering ALL your plants at the same time. Whereas this may seem like a time-saver, it isn’t necessarily best for the plants. Especially if you have a variety of plants. Each variety has its own timing and needs.

Optimum Temperature

They prefer average to warm temperatures of 65-80 degrees. Do not expose it to temperatures below 65 degrees even for a short time because cold air will damage the foliage. Avoid cold drafts and heat vents.

Fertilizer – Plant Food

Feed monthly in the Spring through Fall with general-purpose indoor plant fertilizer. How often a person needs to feed their plants seems to be all over the board. If you over-feed your plants, they will let you know. Here are a few things to watch for:

If you overfeed a plant, you can remove the houseplant from its current soil and repot it in fresh soil. This technique is undoubtedly the best way to get rid of the excess nutrients affecting your plant. Alternatively, you can flush the soil, which involves drenching the soil with water and letting it drain out. Repeat this several times to help the soil get rid of excess fertilizer.

Additional Care

Plant Characteristics to Watch For

Diagnosing what is going wrong with your plant is going to take a little detective work, but more so… patience! First of all, don’t panic and don’t throw a plant out prematurely. Take a few deep breaths and work down the list of possible issues. Below, I am going to share some typical symptoms that can arise. When I start to spot troubling signs on a plant, I take the plant into a room with good lighting, pull out my magnifiers, and begin by thoroughly inspecting the plant.

Variegation on the leaves is fading

Stems are leggy with few leaves.

The base of the plant is looking sparse.

The leaves are soft and wilting.

Yellow leaves.

Yellow and Mushy Stems

Brown Edges of Leaves

Brown Leaf Tips

Fungus gnats

My plant is bushier on one side.

Common Bugs to Watch For

If you want to have healthy house plants, you MUST inspect them regularly. Every time I water a plant, I give it a quick look-over.  Bugs/insects feeding on your plants reduces the plant sap and redirects nutrients from leaves. Some chew on the leaves, leaving holes in the leaves.  Also watch for wilting or yellowing, distorted, or speckled leaves. They can quickly get out of hand and spread to your other plants.

IF you see ONE bug, trust me, there are more. So, take action right away. Some are brave enough to show their “faces” by hanging out on stems in plan site. Others tend to hide out in the darnedest of places, like the crotch of a plant or in a leaf that has yet to unfurl.

Toxicity

All parts of this plant are toxic to humans, as well as dogs and cats. They contain insoluble calcium oxalates, which are poisonous if ingested. Keep the plant high up and out of reach from any vulnerable members of your family; this includes pets.

Nibbling on the plant can cause severe irritation of the lips, mouth, and tongue. It will create a painful burning sensation inside the mouth, and if ingested, will cause stomach upset, along with vomiting. Pets may exhibit these signs along with excessive drooling and pawing of the mouth. In rare cases, ingesting the plant can cause swelling of the airways, making it difficult to breathe or swallow. Thought poisoning of pets is usually only mild to moderate, it can be fatal in some instances, so it would be advisable to visit a vet if you suspect your pet has eaten any of your Pothos plant (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).

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