Devil’s Ivy vs Pothos: Differences & The Truth Revealed

Get ready to discover why pothos plants have become a household favorite! These easy-to-care-for houseplants add a touch of color to any room and can help purify the air of chemicals like xylene and benzene. 

Pothos plants come in several varieties, all with medium-sized, heart-shaped leaves that can be a solid green or speckled with white, cream, yellow, light green, or silver. 

But wait, what about Devil’s ivy? Are pothos and Devil’s ivy the same plant? We’ll answer that question, and also provide you with what you need to know about growing and caring for your own beautiful pothos, whether it’s indoors or out.

hawaiian vs golden pothos plant examples

Quick Overview: Devil’S Ivy Vs. Pothos – Understanding the Differences

Devil’s Ivy and Pothos have subtle differences, referring to the Epipremnum aureum species. Devil’s Ivy typically denotes Golden Pothos, while Pothos may encompass other Epipremnum plants. These low-maintenance indoor plants feature heart-shaped leaves and trailing vines and adapt well to low-light conditions, making them popular and easy-to-grow houseplants.

Why Is Pothos Called Devil’S Ivy?

pothos trailing off a shelf

Pothos, or Epipremnum aureum, earns the nickname “devil’s ivy” due to its hardy, low-maintenance nature and ability to thrive in low-light conditions. Yet, despite its name, this attractive, variegated vine is not a true ivy but a popular choice for its resilience and striking heart-shaped leaves.

This is why it’s also known as Devil’s ivy – in some parts of the world, pothos can become invasive and wreak havoc on local ecosystems. In Florida, for instance, it’s considered a weed that can choke and kill trees since it is so hard to kill.

So, there you have it – Golden pothos, Devil’s ivy, and Epipremnum aureum are all interchangeable terms for the same plant. Whether you’re a pro gardener or a newbie, this hardy and versatile plant is a great choice. Just be careful where you plant it.

Pothos Plant Genus: the Royal Aracea Family&Nbsp;

The pothos plant is truly a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to names. We touched on some of its titles, such as Devil’s ivy, Golden pothos, taro vine, ivy arum, or even Devil’s vine. But no matter what you call it, this plant has some serious botanical street cred. 

Devil’s ivy’s scientific name is Epipremnum aureum. It’s a member of the Epipremnum genus and Araceae family ¹, including some other big hitters like the elephant foot yam, taro, and breadfruit. 

Interestingly, the pothos plant is related to the flowering plant known as the arum. So even though it may go by many names, the pothos plant is still a part of a prestigious family of plants.

Origin: Tropical Native Habitat

giant pothos plant outdoors

Mo’orea, one of the Society Islands, is where the pothos plant, or Devil’s ivy, originated. This plant species is widespread in tropical regions, especially in Southeast Asia. 

Quick & Basic Pothos Care Guide

on table showing the benefits of pothos plants.

Here we’ll briefly summarize what it takes to care for a pothos. Then, check out the pothos varieties’ care requirements for more details and specifics for each cultivar. 

Care needs change as the foliage (variegation) of different types changes. For example, Jade pothos has entirely green leaves, whereas Marble Queen pothos has lots of white variegation. This changes the plants’ light needs. 

Watering, Soil & Fertilizer

pothos plant with water and sunlight to help it grow faster.

These plants are also pretty low-maintenance and can tolerate various conditions. Just make sure to water them well until the water runs out of the drainage holes in the container, and then allow them to dry out completely before watering them again.

Root rot is public enemy number one with pothos. And is caused by overwatering. 

Select soil that drains well and is rich in oxygen to keep your pothos plant healthy. Fertilize the plant once a month during the spring and summer when it’s actively growing, but avoid fertilizing it during the winter. When growth slows and is dormant.

Light Needs

pothos with light shining on a wood table.

Pothos plants prefer bright indirect light rather than direct sunlight, but they can also tolerate some shade or even fluorescent lighting. So while they can tolerate some low light conditions, your plant will thrive with ample indirect light that mimics its natural tropical habitat.

If the plant becomes leggy or loses its variegation, you may need to trim the stems more frequently or adjust the lighting conditions.


a rootbound cebu blue pothos plant

As these plants grow quickly, they may need to be repotted over time. Look out for signs like roots growing out of the bottom of the pot or water quickly draining out, which may indicate that it’s time to repot. 

Choose a slightly larger container and use new, sterile potting soil when repotting pothos. If your pothos is severely root bound, you may need to remove all dirt from its roots. 

Remember, while pothos is tough and can withstand some mistreatment, they prefer not to be rootbound.


showing how to propagate pothos in water

These houseplants are one of the easiest plants to propagate. So, if you’re a novice, this is the perfect plant to practice on. You’ll be amazed to see new roots growing out of the nodes.

Plus, create more free plants for yourself, or give them away as gifts.

Growing Outdoors

Pothos can be grown outdoors year-round in the garden in USDA hardiness zones 10 to 12, which take in the southernmost parts of Florida, Texas, Arizona, and much of southern California, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii.

Grown outdoors in these areas, pothos is a spectacular ground cover. 

Beware, Pothos Is Toxic

According to the ASPCA, this plant also harbors a potentially dangerous secret – tiny crystals composed of calcium oxalate that make pothos toxic

These insoluble calcium oxalate crystals are sharp enough to break through the skin, leading to discomfort for those who come into contact with them. Moreover, if ingested, they can also damage the mouth and digestive system. 

Therefore, keeping the Epipremnum aureum plant away from curious children and pets is essential, as it’s notorious for its poisonous properties.


pothos decoration idea for bathrooms

Pothos grow best when it uses their aerial roots to climb. Mimicking its natural growth habits where it climbs trees in the jungle. Although indoors, you’ll use a coir or moss pole.

It can also be placed in a hanging basket where the vines can trail over the edge. The only drawback of this growing method is the leaves will be smaller. Here are more pothos decorating ideas to gain inspiration from.


Pothos plants have some benefits that most plant parents are not aware of. Including being symbols of good luck (Feng shui), helping filter toxins in the air, and even medicinal uses that are being studied.

Final Thoughts

You no longer need to worry about whether you should choose Devil’s ivy vs pothos, as you now know it’s the same plant. And this versatile plant is a classic choice that can thrive with just a little attention.

Make sure it gets enough sunlight, keep it away from children and pets, and you’ll enjoy a beautiful plant that lasts for years. 

You can’t go wrong with choosing this timeless and low-maintenance plant to enhance your home. 


1: ARACEAE. (n.d.). Retrieved March 15, 2023, from

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.