Like its namesake, the Emerald pothos is a rare gem of a houseplant. Maybe you stumbled upon this precious pothos in a garden center, or perhaps you propagated a clipping from a friend’s plant.
Either way, once you’ve added it to your collection, you’ll want to keep it alive. To increase your chances, follow this guide on how to care for Emerald pothos plants.
Emerald pothos is a rare cultivar of pothos species. Like all pothos plants, it is a member of the Araceae family. Also known as the arum family, this group contains many other popular houseplants like philodendrons and monsteras.
If you’re searching for Emerald pothos, you might find it under a few botanical names: Epipremnum aureum ‘Emerald’, Aureum Emerald, E. Aureum Emerald, and Pothos Emerald.
It can be easy to confuse Emerald pothos with Jade pothos and Global Green pothos. But these are not the same cultivars.
Both Emerald and Global Green pothos plants have green-on-green variegation. This variegation can be quite subtle, making it even trickier to distinguish the two pothos. Look closely at the center of the leaf.
Emerald pothos has dark green centers with lighter green around the edges. Global Green pothos displays the opposite.
It’s slightly easier to tell the difference between Emerald pothos and Jade pothos plants, even though both are cultivars of the same pothos variety (N Joy).
Jade pothos has deep solid-green leaves, occasionally speckled with creamy white blotches.
Emerald Pothos Care Guide
With proper care, indoor pothos can live for several years. In some cases, they may even live for over a decade! To maximize indoor pothos growth, make sure you provide the Emerald pothos with its preferred growing conditions.
How often you need to water Emerald green pothos depends on several factors: room temperature, humidity, light availability, and pot size. There’s not a good one-size-fits-all watering guide for pothos.
Instead, you’ll have to use your best judgment.
Place your finger into the first couple inches of soil. In general, you want to let this top layer dry in between waterings.
When it is time to water your Emerald pothos, water it at the base of the stem. Doing so keeps leaves dry and helps prevent fungal infections. Water the plant thoroughly, until water comes out of the drainage holes.
If the pot sits on a saucer, remove any liquid after watering.
Position your Emerald pothos somewhere that it will receive bright indirect light.
If the plant does not receive enough light, its growth will become stunted. At the same time, direct sunlight can burn the foliage. Pothos is a tropical plant, so try to recreate the dappled light it would receive in its natural jungle habit.
The best place to find bright indirect sunlight is deeper in rooms that receive full sun from south-facing windows. You can also use a gauzy curtain or larger plants to filter the bright light.
Note: Pothos receiving direct sun will most likely require more frequent watering than plants in lower lighting.
Emerald pothos will grow well in most well-draining soil mixtures. You can purchase soil specifically for members of the arum family. Or you can make your own by combining basic potting mix with perlite, vermiculite, or sand.
For the best pothos soil, it should maintain a neutral to acidic pH level. If you’re using pre-mixed potting soil, the bag should indicate the approximate pH levels of the dirt.
If you’re using repurposed soil, say from your backyard, you might consider doing a pH test before potting your pothos.
Again, pothos Emerald is a tropical plant. It enjoys high humidity, generally between 50-70%.
If you’re unsure about the moisture levels in a room, you can use a hygrometer to measure humidity. Looking at the pothos leaves will also give you a good indication. Brown tips are usually a sign that humidity is too low.
There are a few ways to increase humidity. Use a humidifier to make changes to the entire room, which is what plant professionals recommend. But for plant-based humidity adjustments, lightly mist the pothos with water.
You can also place the base of the pot on a pebble tray.
Pro tip: bathrooms and kitchens are naturally humid spaces.
As you might have guessed by now, Emerald pothos prefers warm temperatures. The ideal range for this plant is 70-85 F. It will survive in temperatures above and below this range. But for best results, keep it balmy.
Temperature consistency is also key. Avoid placing the pot in drafty locations or near heating/cooling vents.
At best, cold weather will stunt pothos growth. But in severe cases, low temperatures can kill your precious Emerald pothos, when outside.
These plants don’t require frequent fertilization. Too much pothos fertilizer can cause salt deposits to form on the leaves and prevent roots from absorbing water.
During the growing season (spring and summer), apply diluted fertilizer once a month. In colder months you can pause fertilization completely, as the plant won’t need as many nutrients.
Plant Emerald pothos in a clay pot; this material allows for side evaporation. Make sure the pot has drainage holes.
You likely will only have to repot your pothos once every couple of years, when the emerald pothos outgrows its pot. You’ll know it’s time to repot if you can see roots poking through the drainage holes or if the soil separates from the sides of the pot.
Avoid the temptation to plop pothos in the biggest pot you can find. Soil holds moisture. So too much soil increases the likelihood that your plant will develop root rot.
Instead, increase the pot size slowly. For smaller pots, increase by 1-2” diameter. For larger floor pots, increase by 2-4” diameter.
How to Encourage Trailing Vines
In the right growing conditions, pothos plants will use aerial roots to grow long, trailing vines. However, they will only do this if they have somewhere to attach. This surface might be a trellis or a moss pole.
But you can also use something as simple as a piece of taut string.
It can be tempting to put pothos in hanging baskets and let gravity do the work. But unless there is something for the plant to hold onto, or climb, the Emerald pothos won’t likely vine well in a hanging basket.
Troubleshooting 4 Common Emerald Green Pothos Problems
1.) Root Rot
Yellow leaves can indicate that your plant has received too much water. If not addressed quickly, overwatered plants can develop root rot. (Although fungal infections can cause root rot, overwatering is the most likely culprit.)
Pothos with root rot will smell like decay and rotten eggs. And, as the name indicates, the roots will begin to rot. If you catch the issue early, stop watering the pothos until the soil dries completely.
In more severe cases, you might need to follow a root-rinsing procedure, ultimately transplanting the pothos to fresh soil.
Pests don’t usually bother pothos plants. However, you may find mealybugs, scales, or spider mites on the stems and leaves. The earlier you catch a pest infestation, the better.
You’ll want to remove the bugs before they spread to the entire plant. To remove bugs, spray the leaves and stems with neem oil. Then, use a cotton ball to gently wipe the bugs off the plant.
3.) Changes in Variegation
Emerald pothos displays subtle green variegation. Light levels can cause changes in this coloration. If your pothos begins to lose its variegation, try repositioning the pot in full sun.
If you want to subdue the variegation, decrease the available light.
Just be careful not to harm the plant’s overall health in pursuit of the perfect color scheme. Pothos need sunlight to survive!
4.) Brown Tips
If the leaves of your Emerald pothos develop brown tips, this may be a sign that the air has insufficient humidity levels. To increase humidity, set up a humidifier in the room or place a pebble tray near the plant.