Dragon Tail pothos (Epipremnum pinnatum), also known as the Centipede Tongavine, is the most beginner-friendly pothos variety you’ve probably never heard of. Despite being very common in the wild, it’s a surprisingly rare houseplant.
Admittedly, it’s not as showy as its cousins, the Cebu Blue and Baltic Blue pothos, which explains why few houseplant lovers boast of having it in their collection. But what this pothos lacks in looks, it makes up for in hardiness. Low-maintenance and virtually pest-free, this is the plant anyone can keep alive, anywhere.
Below you’ll find a complete care guide, learn about its unique fenestration, and how to identify this pothos cultivar correctly.
What Is Dragon Tail Pothos?
Dragon Tail pothos is the common name for the Epipremnum pinnatum plant, an evergreen climbing vine from the Araceae family. It has dark green leaves with a slight glossy shine, changing shape dramatically as the plant climbs and reaches maturity.
In its juvenile form, this pothos has narrow, lanceolate leaves, usually around 3 inches (7.5 cm) long. In its mature form, the leaves develop small, round holes along the midrib vein, which then split into deeply-cut fenestrations.
The higher the vines climb, the bigger the leaves get, reaching up to 20 inches (50 cm) in length.
Native to the rainforests of the Philippines, this species has naturalized in almost all tropical regions of the world.
Today you can find it growing across India, Japan, Southeast Asia, Australia, and even the other side of the Pacific Ocean, in Hawaii, the Caribbean, South and Central America.
Epipremnum pinnatum is the parent plant for several pothos varieties, including:
- Cebu Blue Pothos
- Baltic Blue Pothos
- Marble King Pothos
- E. pinnatum ‘Albo Variegata’
- E. pinnatum ‘Aurea’
Please note that, despite the name, Epipremnum pinnatum ‘Marble Planet’ is not a pothos variety. Instead, it is a species of monstera, known under the botanical name of Monstera karstenianum’ Peru’.
How Big Does The Epipremnum Dragon Tail Grow?
The pothos Dragon Tail plant can grow vines up to 10 feet (3 meters) long when grown as an indoor plant. In the wild, this species uses its aerial roots to climb trees and can reach a height of up to 50 feet (15 meters).
Dragon Tail Pothos Care Guide
Epipremnum pinnatum, or Centipede Tongavine, offers very easy care requirements. In its natural habitat, this plant grows as a ground cover or climbing vine and spreads like a weed.
So whatever your home has to offer, it will have no problems adjusting to indoor growing conditions.
Sounds too good to be true? Then let’s take a closer look at its growing and care requirements.
This pothos enjoys growing in bright indirect light. However, it’s not too pretentious about which part of your home you keep it in. This adaptable houseplant can grow in low light conditions but will also tolerate a few hours of direct sunlight per day.
The amount of light this plant receives will influence its growth rate. It will grow slower if kept in a north-facing room or on a dark, high shelf.
If you want to encourage faster growth, keep it in a room facing east or west, about 2 – 3 feet away from the window.
Plant your Dragon Tail (Epipremnum pinnatum) pothos in a moisture-retentive but well-draining soil mix. You don’t need anything too fancy to keep it happy.
A mixture of two parts organic potting mix and one part perlite or pumice will be sufficient.
Water your pothos when the top 2 inches (5 cm) feel dry to the touch.
Use your finger to test the humidity of the soil, then give the plant a good soak.
The soak and drain method is the best way to water this plant, as it ensures that the soil gets evenly moist and all the roots have access to water and nutrients.
Avoid watering your Epipremnum pinnatum plant on a schedule. Its watering requirements will change depending on the season and the room it lives in.
For example, your pothos will need more water throughout spring and summer or if it’s growing in a bright, dry, warm room. However, it will require less frequent watering during winter or if it’s kept in a dark, cool, or humid room.
To prevent overwatering-related issues, such as root rot, always test the soil with your finger before giving this pothos more water.
These pothos Dragon Tail plants grow best in a temperature ranging between 64°F and 84°F (18°C to 29°C). It can tolerate temperatures as high as 95°F (35°C) if provided with enough water and humidity. However, if temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C), the plant will struggle to grow and may even suffer permanent root damage.
You can plant Epipremnum pinnatum outdoors if you live in USDA zones 9b and higher. However, if you want to keep it in your yard or garden, please remember that this fast-growing species can become invasive.
To make sure that it doesn’t escape cultivation, it’s best to grow it in a large container.
Dragon Tail pothos doesn’t need a lot of humidity to grow, making it easy to grow indoors. However, for best results, keep the humidity above 40%. Or, if you want to encourage faster growth and larger leaves, try increasing the humidity to around 60%, and your plant will thank you.
Feed your Dragon Tail Pothos once a month from spring until early fall using fertilizer for foliage plants. A balanced, organic fertilizer with an N-P-K ratio of 10-10-10 will be enough to promote healthy growth.
The plant will enter a brief period of dormancy in winter when it won’t need any additional feeding.
In the right conditions, this pothos plant can grow up to 3 feet (90 cm) in length each year. Regular pruning is essential to keep the plant in good shape.
Every spring or early summer, trim between ⅓ and ⅔ of the longest vines. This will activate the growth nodes on the stem, and the pothos will start to branch out and grow more vines.
Remember to keep the vine trimmings and use them for propagation.
The plant is an epiphyte, which means that it loves climbing. You can keep it as a hanging or trailing plant, but bear in mind that this will cause the leaves to get smaller.
If left hanging for more than three years, you will notice that the leaves will reduce in size by more than half.
The best way to keep your pothos thriving indoors is to grow it on a sphagnum moss pole. This will also encourage the plant to mature and develop large, fenestrated leaves.
These houseplants need repotting once every 2 to 3 years. The best sign you need to repot your plant is if you can see the roots come out through the drainage holes or the top of the soil.
However, you may also need to repot your pothos if you notice that the soil stays wet for too long, that the plant is suddenly wilting or developing brown spots, or if you have problems with fungus gnats.
The best time to repot your pothos is in spring and summer. Your plant is actively growing during the warmer, sunnier months. This will give the roots a better chance to recover from transplanting and become established.
Repot your pothos in a container one size bigger or 2 inches (2 cm) wider than the older pot. Always make sure that the pot has drainage holes at the bottom.
Both plastic and terracotta pots work well for this plant. However, remember that terracotta pots wick moisture from the soil, so you’ll need to water your pothos more often.
Dragon Tail pothos is easy to propagate using stem cuttings. Use a sharp, sterilized blade, and cut a long vine into single-node cuttings. Put the cuttings in a glass of water, and keep them in a warm and sunny location but out of direct sunlight.
Your pothos cuttings will start growing roots after 7 to 10 days. Remember to change the water in the glass once a week. Then, when the roots are at least 2 inches (5 cm) long, you can transplant them into a well-draining, nutrient-rich potting mix.
Common Pests & Problems
These plants are resistant to pests and diseases and rarely suffer serious problems. However, here are a few things you’ll want to keep an eye on.
The most common pests for the Dragon Tail pothos are scale, thrips, spider mites, and mealybugs. If the soil in the pot stays wet for too long, it can also become a breeding ground for fungus gnats. Although pest infestations are rare, they can prove fatal if incorrect growing conditions stress your plant.
Therefore, the best way to keep your pothos pest-free is to provide the right amount of light, water, and fertilizer and to use a well-draining soil mix.
If your Dragon Tail pothos leaves start turning yellow, the most common cause is overwatering or not allowing the soil to dry out slightly between each watering session.
Waterlogged soil with poor drainage can harbor fungal and bacterial diseases, eventually leading to root rot.
Brown Leaf Spots
Brown or black spots on your pothos leaves are a symptom of a fungal or bacterial infection. They’re not very common, but when they appear, they are a sign that your plant’s health is seriously suffering.
The only way to save your pothos is to identify the exact cause and treat the problem accordingly.
Holes in the Leaves
It’s normal for the leaves of your pothos Dragon Tail plant to develop small, round holes, especially along the main leaf vein. However, if the holes have an irregular shape and dried edges, this could indicate that the air in your home is too dry and the leaf did not unfurl properly.
Also, if you have pets, especially cats, this can signify that your pet has been chewing on the leaves — a serious concern because pothos is toxic to cats.
Is Dragon Tail Epipremnum Pothos Toxic?
Like all Epipremnum species, Dragon Tail is toxic to cats and dogs. Its leaves and stems contain calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause mouth and throat irritations, excessive drooling, vomiting, and difficulty breathing and swallowing. Always keep this plant out of reach of pets.
Is Dragon Tail Pothos Rare?
Dragon Tail pothos is a rare houseplant. Its dark green, narrow leaves are not overly exciting so few sellers will stock it. Instead, you’ll have more luck finding other Epipremnum pinnatum varieties, such as Cebu Blue, Baltic Blue, and Marble King. The good news is that, despite being rare, it’s a pretty cheap plant.
Bear in mind that sellers often use the name ‘Dragon Tail’ for a completely different species: Rhaphidophora decursiva. Unfortunately, this species is also more expensive.
So if you want to buy a real Dragon Tail pothos, always look it up using its botanical name, Epipremnum pinnatum
To avoid confusion, it’s also essential to learn to tell these two species apart.
Rhaphidophora decursiva vs. Epipremnum pinnatum: What’s The Difference?
The main difference between Rhaphidophora decursiva and Dragon Tail pothos is the foliage. R. decursiva leaves are rounder, almost tear-shaped, with a glossy shine, and display alternating leaf fenestrations when the plant reaches maturity.
E. pinnatum leaves are longer and thinner, with distinctive pin-hole fenestrations at maturity.
What Is the Difference Between Epipremnum aureum and Epipremnum pinnatum ‘Dragon Tail’?
Epipremnum aureum (Golden Pothos) has round heart-shaped leaves and a fast, robust growth habit. Epipremnum pinnatum ‘Dragon Tail’ leaves are narrow and lance-shaped.
As they mature, the leaves of E. pinnatum will develop pin-hole fenestrations along the midrib vein and dramatic, well-defined leaf splits. On the other hand, golden pothos leaves will have shallower fenestrations without any pin-holes.
What’s The Difference Between Cebu Blue Pothos vs Dragon Tail?
Dragon Tail will develop fenestration, and Cebu Blue fenestration is possible but not as expected. The Cebu Blue also has silvery blue leaf color with distinct veining.
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.