Pothos, or Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum), is a highly popular houseplant that climbs up moss poles with its aerial roots or cascades down over the edges of hanging baskets.
These beautiful plants come in several varieties that plant lovers are enthusiastic about. Some are all green, like Neon, Jade, and Global Green, but most are variegated, like Marble Queen, Pearls and Jade, N’ Joy, Manjula, and Glacier.
N’ Joy and Glacier are two of the highly variegated Pothos cultivars that look so similar to one another that it’s hard for many people to tell them apart. We will detail the Glacier pothos vs Njoy differences and help dispel any confusion.
A Little Background
Glacier is a relatively new variety that came on the scene in 2014 and was first sold by Costa Farms, but their website states that now they no longer sell the Glacier variety. It is not a patented or registered plant, and information about who bred it and how it was developed is vague.
It may have been a selection from Marble Queen Pothos, like N’ Joy, but that information is not readily available. Whatever its origins, Glacier Pothos is a beautiful variegated plant that is a rare find for plant enthusiasts.
N’ Joy, on the other hand, is a patented plant that was discovered in 2002 in a greenhouse near Mumbai, India. It was a branch mutation on Marble Queen Pothos, an unpatented variety.
A branch of the Marble Queen plant had mutated naturally to form a different-looking leaf pattern from the rest of the plant.
Ashish Hansoti, who discovered the mutation, cloned it and was granted a US patent for N’ Joy in 2009.
Whether their heritage is parallel or not, the unpatented Glacier and patented N’ Joy are very similar.
The main differences between the two are the shape and size of the leaves, the patterns of variegation, the leaf texture, the size of the plants, and their growth rate.
According to the Costa Farms website, Glacier’s foliage is described as green with white variegation that is accented with silver and gray. The green areas of the leaves tend to be lighter in color than N’ Joy’s, and the white variegation is in streaks down the leaf rather than in solid patches.
Glacier’s leaves are smaller than N’ Joy’s and also smaller than the leaves of most Pothos varieties. In addition, its growth is slower and only attains a length of 6’ to 8’ indoors.
The patches of green over the midrib are of varying shapes and sizes and there are multiple shades of green on the cream-to-white background. The green coloration is separate and distinct from the white or cream.
There is no marbling of color or small splashes of green in the white or cream.
Here is a chart with the key differences between the two pothos varieties.
|Pothos Glacier||Pothos N’ Joy|
|Leaf shape||Heart-shaped, but smaller and rounder than N’ Joy’s leaves||2” long and 1.5” wide, oval or heart-shaped leaves; or sometimes deltoid|
|Leaf coloration/variegation||Green areas with elongated, lengthwise streaks of white with some silver and gray; areas of white and green less distinct; green color lighter than N’ Joy’s||Multiple shades of green over the midrib; edges often white; areas of green and white or cream distinct; no splashes of green within the white or cream|
|Leaf texture||Delicate and silky; less undulated than N’ Joy||Top of leaves undulated and waxy; bottom leathery|
|Length of vine||6’ – 8’ indoors||7’ – 10’ indoors|
|Growth rate||Slower rate than N’ Joy||Slow to moderate rate|
Care of Glacier and N’ Joy
The care of these two varieties is similar, although there are a few differences that can be noted.
Since these are both highly variegated plants, they have a reduced amount of green chlorophyll in their leaves to make food energy by photosynthesis. So in order to make the most of the limited amount of chlorophyll, they need bright indirect light.
Direct sunlight will burn their delicate leaves, but low light conditions will cause them to stretch. It can also make them revert to all-green foliage to compensate for the lack of light.
Set them back from a south- or west-facing window away from the harsh afternoon sun. If you bring them outdoors to enjoy the summer weather, locate them in bright shade, such as under a tree or on a porch or patio that doesn’t get full sun.
Pothos plants grow best in average household temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees F. In their native habitat, they can grow in temperatures up to 90 degrees, but much above that, they begin to wilt.
Temperatures are rising with climate change, so be careful when you set your plant outdoors in the summer. As long as it’s in the shade and temperatures don’t climb too high, your Pothos will enjoy its vacation.
Pothos are tropical rainforest plants, so they are happiest in high humidity. They’re adaptable and will grow in average household humidity levels of 30% to 40%, but will do better in 40% to 60% humidity, especially in the winter when the heat is on.
You can boost the humidity around your plant by setting it on a pebble tray with some water, making sure the pot is above the water line. If it’s in a hanging basket and a pebble tray isn’t possible to do, mist the plant often, or use a humidifier if you have one.
You can also locate your Pothos in a high-humidity part of the house, such as in the kitchen or bathroom.
All Pothos plants need loose, rich, well-draining soil. A commercial potting mix for indoor plants will work fine as long as it’s amended with some perlite, coco coir, peat moss, or orchid bark to give the soil maximum air circulation and drainage.
You can use a smaller pot with less soil for Glacier than for N’ Joy since it is slower growing and won’t use up the nutrition as quickly.
Both Glacier and N’ Joy should be watered when the soil is dry 1” to 2” down from the top. Let the water run through the pot and out the drainage holes so that the soil is thoroughly soaked through.
Let it drain and empty any remaining water in the dish or tray underneath the pot. It’s important to supply moisture to the roots, but keep them from sitting in water so that they don’t develop root rot.
Since Glacier is a slower-growing plant than N’ Joy, it won’t need to be watered as often.
Fertilize N’ Joy with a low-nitrogen fertilizer per instructions two or three times when the plant is actively growing during the spring, summer, and early fall. Slow-growing Glacier will only need to be fertilized once or twice during the growing season.
Too high a percentage of nitrogen in the N-P-K ratio can cause an overgrowth of green in the leaves of both N’ Joy and Glacier and can also inhibit their ability to absorb water.
Pests and Fungal Disease
All types of Pothos will host aphids, mealybugs, spider mites, and scale. You can control the aphids, mealybugs, and spider mites with an insecticidal soap and/or Neem oil. A heavy infestation will need several treatments in order to get rid of the pests.
Scale insects need to be controlled differently. Wash the infested foliage under running water to knock as many insects off as possible, then wipe the rest down with rubbing alcohol.
Both Glacier and N’ Joy are highly variegated, and since white variegation can make plants more susceptible to fungal diseases, it’s important for the soil to be loose and the pot to have good drainage. Soggy soil from lack of good drainage or from overwatering can cause root rot.
If your plant starts to droop and its leaves turn yellow, it could have root rot. Take the plant with its soil ball out of the pot, loosen the roots, and shake the soil off. Then wash the remaining soil off of the roots so you can see what they look like.
Healthy roots are firm and white, but if they are black, soggy, and smell bad, you have a case of root rot. Cut the black part off, treat the roots with a fungicide, and repot the plant in a clean pot with fresh soil.
Pothos plants are vines that naturally grow up trees or trail along the ground. Indoors, they cascade down over the sides of a hanging pot or climb up moss poles and can grow quite long.
If you want to prune your pothos to keep it at a certain length, cut it above a node, where the leaf joins the stem, with clean scissors or shears.
You can propagate your stem cuttings if you want to grow more N’ Joy or Glacier plants. Use stems with several nodes and put them in a clean jar with fresh water.
Remove the leaves that are below the water line and wait until the roots grow 2” to 3” long before planting them in a clean pot with fresh potting medium.
Patented plants, like N’ Joy, are protected for 20 years, but patent owners aren’t looking to catch homeowners making their own cuttings. They’re protecting their cultivars from being reproduced and sold in quantity by competing companies unless they pay to enter a licensing agreement.
So you’re safe to make cuttings and propagate your plants at home, but it’s probably not a good idea to try to sell a patented plant.
Like all members of the Arum family, 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 vomiting in cats and dogs.
The sap can also cause skin irritation in humans, so it’s well to wear gloves when pruning your plant.
Now that you know how N’ Joy stacks up against Glacier, see the difference from Pearls and Jade vs Pothos N Joy.
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.