Note: Featured image is not a pothos flower. It is an Orchid. Why? We’ll explain below.
Pothos, or Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum), are highly popular house plants that enhance homes and offices. Their long stems with glossy, often variegated leaves with yellow, cream, or white spill over the edges of pots or climb up moss poles or trellises with their aerial roots.
They are one of the plants that are believed to remove xylene, benzene, and formaldehyde from the air, freshening an indoor space.
These beautiful plants are frequently sold in plant stores, nurseries, and grocery stores and are a perennial favorite of plant lovers.
But do pothos flower?
They are members of Araceae, the Arum family. Familiar flowering plants like Anthurium, Calla Lily, Canna, and Peace Lily are also in this family, so do Pothos flower, too?
The answer is that they do indeed flower, but it is rare and only when they grow to maturity. Which requires the following conditions.
Conditions For Pothos Flowering
Pothos has two stages of growth — juvenile or vegetative, and mature or reproductive.
As a houseplant, Pothos remains in its juvenile phase with smaller foliage, concentrating its energy on the vegetative growth of leaves, stems, and roots. Under these conditions, it will grow beautifully, but will never get the chance to flower.
Pothos originally came from the Solomon Islands in the Pacific. As an understory vine, it creeps along the ground and climbs up tropical trees to lengths of 60 feet.
The dappled light and warm, humid conditions in its native habitat and its ability to climb to tree-top heights eventually allow it to reach maturity. Its roots lengthen, its stems enlarge to a thick cord, and its leaves grow up to 3 feet long with splits that give it a palm-like appearance.
But even under these optimal conditions, it takes 10 to 20 years to reach its reproductive phase, when it concentrates on producing flowers, fruits, and seeds. In addition, Pothos plants produce low levels of gibberellin, the hormone that triggers flowering, so they don’t often flower, even in their native habitat.
In the United States, they have been seen to flower outdoors in the southernmost areas of the country (USDA hardiness zones 10-12), such as southern Florida, Texas, and California.
The Pothos Flower: What Does It Look Like?
Like other members of the Arum family, Pothos flowers consist of a spathe and spadix.
The spathe is a cream and purple, concave structure behind the upright spike-like spadix.
Several Pothos flowers appear together on the stem, unlike Anthurium, Calla, Canna, and Peace Lily.
As it matures, the spathe dries and drops off, and the flowers develop into a spike of orange fruits.
Best Conditions for Getting a Pothos Flower to Bloom
If you live in USDA zones 10-12 and grow your Pothos in a tropical greenhouse or climbing a tree outdoors, it may possibly flower.
Indoors, however, It will thrive in its familiar juvenile phase of growth when given the right growing conditions.
Pothos plants like bright, indirect light, similar to the light they get in the understory of trees.
Direct sunlight is too intense, and their foliage may burn.
They will get enough light from an east-facing window, but keep them set back from a south- or west-facing window that gets hot afternoon sun.
Pothos grow well in temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees F, but they will tolerate heat up to 90 degrees and down to the 60s. However, they will not do well at 50 degrees and below and die in cold temperatures.
Since they are native to tropical rainforests, Pothos plants are most comfortable in high humidity.
Average household humidity is 30% to 40% and is especially low in the winter when the heat is on.
Pothos do best in higher humidity, such as 40% to 60%. You can boost the humidity around your plant by misting it or setting it on a pebble tray with water, ensuring the pot is above the water line.
A humidifier is helpful, too, if you have one.
A loose, well-draining, slightly acidic potting mix is best for these plants. An excellent organic mix amended with perlite, sand, peat moss, or orchid bark will give their roots the drainage, aeration, and nutrition that they need.
And be sure that your pot has at least one drainage hole.
Water your Pothos when the soil is dry down one or two inches from the top. Then, thoroughly soak the soil until the water runs out of the drainage hole.
Let it drain completely, and empty any remaining water from the dish or tray underneath. Keeping the roots from sitting in water is essential to prevent root rot.
In order to give its growth a boost, fertilize your Pothos according to its needs.
All-green, or mostly green varieties, like Neon, Global Green, and Golden Pothos, will do well with a balanced N-P-K fertilizer once a month from spring through early fall.
Highly variegated cultivars, like N’ Joy and Snow Queen, will need less nitrogen in the N-P-K ratio since that could cause an overgrowth of green in the variegation.
They also will not need to be fertilized as often — only twice during the growing season.
Pothos are susceptible to aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, and scale that suck the sap out of the stems and foliage of plants. You can control aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs with a spray of insecticidal soap and/or Neem oil.
Scale are tough little pests that need separate control. First, knock as many off as you can with a stream of water, then wipe the remaining ones with alcohol.
Remember to isolate any infested houseplant from its neighbors so that the pests don’t move from one plant to another.
Pothos plants are vines and, if not pruned, will grow up to 10 feet indoors.
To keep your plant at an acceptable length, trim the stems above the nodes with clean scissors or shears. As a bonus, you can easily propagate the cuttings in water for more plants.
Like all Arum family members, Pothos is toxic to humans and pets. The foliage contains calcium oxalate crystals that cause the lips, tongue, and throat to swell if ingested and may cause cats and dogs to vomit.
The sap can also cause skin irritation in humans, so it’s well to wear gloves when pruning your plant.
Nancy has been a plant person from an early age. That interest blossomed into a bachelor’s in biology from Elmira College and a master’s degree in horticulture and communications from the University of Kentucky. Nancy worked in plant taxonomy at the University of Florida and the L. H. Bailey Hortorium at Cornell University, and wrote and edited gardening books at Rodale Press in Emmaus, PA. Her interests are plant identification, gardening, hiking, and reading.