Golden Pothos Care 101: How to Keep Your Plant Happy & Healthy

A Golden pothos is a great way to add life and beauty to your home. With its attractive heart-shaped leaves that feature green with yellow variegation, this hardy plant makes it simple to bring nature indoors.

To ensure that your Golden pothos stays healthy and looks beautiful all year round, however, several critical aspects of caring for these plants must be considered– all of which will be explored in more detail throughout this Golden pothos care guide.

Light Requirements

pothos growing by window

Golden pothos (also called by Devil’s Ivy) boasts an aptitude for living in diverse light conditions, making them a highly adaptive choice. They can tolerate low light but grow slower or produce fewer leaves if the light is too dim. Therefore, Golden pothos should be placed in bright, indirect light for optimal growth and health (PDF fact sheet).

Be careful; direct sunlight can cause leaf sunburn on these plants, so it’s best to keep them out of the direct sun. However, if you have a south-facing window that gets plenty of natural light throughout the day, this would be an ideal spot for your Golden pothos plant (again, just be sure to keep out of the direct sun).

If you don’t have access to natural sunlight or want to supplement what your plant is getting from windowsills and balconies, consider investing in artificial lighting, such as LED grow lights or fluorescent bulbs specifically designed for indoor plants.

These types of lights provide just enough brightness without overwhelming your plant with intense heat and UV rays like direct sunlight do.

A combo of natural and artificial illumination may be employed to guarantee that your plant gets the nourishment it requires, warding off any harm from too much sunshine.

It is important to remember that even though these plants prefer bright indirect light, they still need some darkness each day to stay healthy – ideally 8-10 hours per night during the growing season (spring through fall).

During winter months, when days are shorter and nights longer, try turning off artificial lights at least 12 hours before sunrise so your plant can get its restful dark period each night without interruption from additional illumination sources like lamps or overhead fixtures.

Proper light requirements are essential for your plant to thrive, but adequate watering is also vital. So let’s delve deeper into the most effective methods for sustaining your plant’s hydration and vigor.

TLDR Summary: Golden pothos plants need bright, indirect light for optimal growth and health; however, giving them some darkness each day is essential.


watering pothos plants by a window.

Watering your Golden pothos is vital to keeping it healthy and happy. It’s essential to only water the plant when the top inch of soil is dry, as overwatering can cause root rot and other issues. 

To determine if your pothos needs watering, stick your finger into the soil up to about one inch deep.

If your finger, when inserted up to one inch deep into the soil, feels dry, then it’s time to water. However, if it still feels moist or damp, you don’t need water yet.

When watering your houseplant, make sure you use room temperature or lukewarm water instead of cold or hot water, which could shock the plant’s roots and damage them over time.

Also, be sure not to pour too much at once as this can lead to pooling in the potting mix, preventing proper drainage and root rot and other problems with the plant’s health. 

Instead, slowly pour until you see some water from underneath the pot before stopping so that all parts of its root system get watered evenly without becoming oversaturated with moisture.

Ensuring your Golden pothos is adequately hydrated is critical for its well-being; thus, ensure you provide the correct water quantity. Now let’s look at how temperature and humidity can affect its growth.

TLDR Summary: It is essential to water your golden pothos when the top inch of soil is dry and use room temperature or lukewarm water, pouring slowly until some runoff comes out from underneath the pot.

Temperature & Humidity

golden pothos plant under ideal lighting

Humidity and temperature are two essential elements to take into account when tending to houseplants. Temperature significantly influences the rate of photosynthesis, respiration, and transpiration in plants. Ideal temperatures for most houseplants, including pothos plants, range from 65-75°F (18-24°C).

If temperatures drop below 50°F (10°C), it can cause damage to your plants. However, at elevated temps, consistently going over 85°F (29°C) can be hazardous to the well-being of your plant.

Humidity is another factor that plays an essential role in keeping your houseplant healthy. Most indoor plants prefer high levels of humidity, between 40%-60%. Therefore, misting your houseplant with water or deploying a humidifier (better option) in their vicinity can help amplify the humidity.

If you notice brown tips on leaves or wilting stems, this could indicate that there isn’t enough moisture in the air for optimal growth.

Noting varying temperature and humidity conditions for different plants is essential; examine each kind before buying. For example, succulents such as cacti thrive in hot, dry climates, while ferns need higher levels of moisture and cooler temperatures to survive indoors.

The moisture level, temperature, and potting medium are all critical components to remember when tending to your Golden pothos, the latter being of utmost importance for vigorous growth.

Potting Soil

repotting a houseplant

On soil for Golden pothos, a few elements should be considered. First, you’ll want soil that is well-draining and light in texture. The best pothos soil mix usually will contain peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, and composted bark or coconut coir.

This combination will provide your plant with the necessary drainage while also providing enough moisture retention so your plant won’t dry out too quickly.

You can buy pre-mixed soils specifically formulated for houseplants like golden pothos from most garden centers or online retailers. Mix equal amounts of peat moss, perlite or vermiculite, and composted bark/coconut coir for aeration and water retention.

Ensure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed together before using them as a potting medium for your plants.

Remember that if you apply fertilizer directly into the potting soil for your golden pothos, stay moderate, as too much nitrogen can scorch the roots. It is best practice to fertilize monthly during active growth periods only (spring through fall).

Moreover, abstain from utilizing any chemical fertilizers on these plants as they may harm their vulnerable root frameworks after some time.

Now let’s look at how to properly pot and repot your plant for optimal health.

Finally, remember that while Golden pothos prefers moist but well-drained soils; they do not tolerate wet feet very well so make sure you don’t overwater them.

TLDR Summary: Golden pothos need a well-draining, light soil mix with peat moss, perlite, vermiculite, and composted bark-coconut coir; also, be careful not to overwater as it can cause root rot.

Potting & Repotting

Little girl showing the best soil for pothos plants.

When it comes to potting and repotting, certain factors should be taken into account. First, you should always use the right size of pot for your plant. 

A pot that’s too small won’t offer the roots sufficient space to develop optimally, whereas one that is overly large could result in waterlogging and root rot. Therefore, choosing a container slightly larger than the current one– 1-2″ diameter larger is recommended.

Next, make sure you have good-quality soil on hand. Refer to the potting mix section above for more details.

Be gentle when it comes time to move your plant into its new home. Start by removing it from its old container and lightly shaking off any excess dirt around the roots before transferring it into its new home.

Be sure not to disturb them too much as this could damage their delicate structure – instead, use a knife or other tool if necessary for more stubborn clumps of soil stuck around them.

Once in place, fill up with fresh soil until about two inches below rim level, then give it a light press down with your fingers, so everything settles nicely together without leaving air pockets behind, which could cause problems later on down the line like root rot due to poor drainage, etc.

Finally, water thoroughly until the liquid begins draining out at the bottom holes, then let sit overnight before adding any decorative elements such as decorative moss, etc.

Repotting pothos isn’t something that needs to be done every year, but rather every couple of years, depending on how quickly they outgrow their current containers – usually indicated by signs such as yellowing leaves and stunted growth, amongst others – so keep an eye out during regular maintenance checks.

Potting and repotting your Golden pothos is a crucial step in its care. Providing the best pothos soil, suitable pot size, and adequate drainage openings can help guarantee that your golden pothos will flourish for many years.

Now let’s move on to fertilizing your golden pothos for optimal health.

TLDR Summary: Potting and repotting Golden pothos plants requires the right size pot, good quality soil, gentle transfer of roots, and regular maintenance checks for signs of outgrowing.


Fertilizing Golden pothos is integral to keeping them healthy and happy. 

You should fertilize every two weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength during the growing season. This will help provide the nutrients that your plant needs for optimal growth.

When selecting a fertilizer, choose one specifically designed for houseplants or foliage plants such as Golden pothos.

Avoid using fertilizers meant for outdoor plants as they may contain too much nitrogen which can burn the roots of indoor plants like golden pothos. Additionally, be sure to read and follow all instructions on the package before applying any fertilizer to ensure proper application rates and safety precautions are taken.

It’s also important not to over-fertilize your plant as this can lead to nutrient burn, which causes yellowing leaves and other signs of distress in your plant.

When applying fertilizer, only use half of what is recommended on the label, so you don’t risk burning your plant with too many nutrients at once. 

Also, it’s better to apply smaller amounts more frequently than more significant amounts less often when it comes to fertilizing houseplants like pothos.

During the winter months, when growth slows significantly, fertilizing is unnecessary as there will be limited uptake from the soil due to low temperatures and shorter days. However, if you notice any signs of nutrient deficiency, such as yellowing leaves or stunted growth, applying a light dose of balanced liquid fertilizer may be beneficial.

It’s important not to over-fertilize during this period, so only use half of what is recommended on the label to avoid burning your plant with too many nutrients.

So remember, regular fertilization during warmer months helps keep your golden pothos healthy while avoiding over-fertilization prevents nutrient burn, which can cause damage or even death in extreme cases if left unchecked.

It is imperative to heed the instructions before utilizing any fertilizer to determine the precise quantity for each application depending on dimensions, age, species, and so forth.

Fertilizing is vital in caring for your golden pothos, but proper pruning and propagating can also help keep your plant healthy. With the right techniques, you’ll be able to maintain a lush, vibrant houseplant.

TLDR Summary: Fertilizing your Golden pothos during the growing season is essential. Be sure to use half of what's recommended on the label and avoid over-fertilization to prevent nutrient burn.

Pruning & Propagating

showing pothos pruning with scissors

Pruning golden pothos is important in keeping your plant healthy and looking its best. Pruning helps to keep the plant in shape, encourages new growth, and prevents it from becoming too large or unruly.

When pruning pothos plants, you should always use sharp scissors or shears to avoid damaging the stems.

Start by removing dead leaves or stems that have turned brown or yellow. This will help promote healthier growth for your plant. Next, prune any shoots, or vines, that are becoming too exuberant or occupying excessive room in the container.

Pruning is also the perfect time to propagate your plant!

Propagating golden pothos is relatively easy and can be done with stem cuttings taken from an existing mature plant. To propagate a cutting, start by snipping off a piece of stem about 4-6 inches long using sharp scissors or shears just below one of the leaf nodes (the spot where a leaf attaches to the stem).

Remove all but two leaves at the top of the cutting and dip them into rooting hormone powder (not required but recommended) before planting it in a moist soil mixture such as perlite and peat moss mix.

Place your propagated cutting somewhere warm with indirect sunlight until roots begin to form, which usually takes around 2-4 weeks, depending on conditions like temperature and humidity levels. 

Once established, you can transplant them into pots filled with regular potting soil mix so they can thrive.

By pruning and propagating your golden pothos, you can ensure that it remains healthy and beautiful. Nevertheless, it is also essential to be conscious of any potential ailments or parasites that could detrimentally influence the plant’s condition; consequently, let us now move on to pests and diseases to watch out for.

Pests & Diseases

pesticide for houseplants

Pests and diseases can be a significant problem for golden pothos plants, but luckily they are generally resistant to most of them. Mealybugs, root rot, spider mites, and aphids are the most frequently occurring afflictions of golden pothos plants; though they usually possess a degree of immunity to these pests.

Spider mites are tiny eight-legged arachnids that feed on plant sap. They cause yellowing or bronzing of leaves and webbing between stems and leaves. To treat spider mites, spray the affected area with insecticidal soap or neem oil solution every two weeks until the infestation is gone.

Mealybugs are small white insects that suck sap from the plant’s foliage and stem joints. They leave behind a sticky residue called honeydew which can attract ants and other pests to your plant. 

To get rid of mealybugs, use an insecticidal soap or horticultural oil solution to remove them from your plant’s surface before wiping away any remaining residue with rubbing alcohol on a cotton swab or cloth.

Aphids are small soft-bodied insects that feed on new growth by sucking out their juices, leaving behind yellow spots on leaves and potentially stunting the plant’s growth if left untreated. 

To battle aphids, using insecticidal soap or introducing helpful bugs like ladybeetles into your garden (if your pothos is outside) may help to keep their numbers in check without having to utilize chemical treatments such as pesticides or fungicides which can have adverse effects on other beneficial creatures living in the same area, for instance, bees and butterflies.

It’s essential to be aware of potential pests and diseases that can affect golden pothos, but these issues can often be avoided with proper care and attention. Next, let’s look at the matter of toxicity.

TLDR Summary: Golden pothos plants are generally resistant to most pests and diseases, but it is important to treat spider mites, mealybugs, aphids, and root rot with insecticidal soap or horticultural oil solutions to protect the plant from harm.


cat with pothos in background

When it comes to toxicity, the Golden pothos is considered toxic for humans and animals (ASPCA Link). The plant contains insoluble calcium oxalates, which can cause irritation, vomiting, difficulty swallowing, etc., if ingested.

For cats and dogs, the Golden pothos is also considered toxic. As with any houseplant, ingestion should be avoided due to potential gastrointestinal upset and other severe conditions that could occur. Should your pet have consumed any of this vegetation, immediately contact a veterinarian for advice on the correct way to move forward.

The sap from the stems can cause skin irritation in some people (although rare), so it’s important to wear gloves when handling this plant and wash your hands thoroughly after touching it. 

Additionally, care should be taken when pruning or repotting this plant, as its sap can irritate eyes and mucous membranes if splashed into them accidentally.

Be conscious of the likelihood that Golden Pothos may be ingested by pets or children, and place the plant where it is inaccessible.

Common Problems With Golden Pothos

Despite its hardiness, golden pothos can suffer from common problems such as yellowing and brown leaves, root rot, mushy stems, and pests or diseases.

Yellowing & Brown Leaves

pothos leaves turning yellow and with leaf spot

Yellowing of the foliage may occur due to too much direct sunlight or not enough light at all. If the foliage has taken on a brown hue, it could be due to inadequate moisture in the atmosphere surrounding your plant, or you may have been over-watering, leading to root rot and discoloration of leaves.

To fix this issue, ensure your plant has indirect light throughout the day and water only when necessary, so the soil does not become soggy and wet for long periods.

Root Rot

healthy pothos roots
What healthy pothos roots should look like.

Root rot occurs when roots sit in overly moist soil for extended periods without proper drainage, leading to fungal growth on them.

This problem can easily be fixed by repotting your Golden pothos into a fresh potting mix with good drainage holes at the bottom of its container and trimming off any affected roots before replanting it back into a new soil mixture.

Mushy Stems

Mushy stems usually indicate overwatering, which leads to the rotting away of stem tissue resulting in softening and collapsing plant parts, including their stems and leaves, eventually dying off if left untreated for a too long period.

The best way to avoid this problem is by allowing the top inch layer of soil to dry out between each watering session so that excess moisture doesn’t accumulate around its root system leading to fungus growth within a few days after being watered again.

TLDR Summary: Golden pothos is an easy-to-care-for plant, but proper lighting and watering conditions are key to avoiding common problems like yellowing leaves, root rot, mushy stems, pests, or diseases.

Faqs Of Golden Pothos Care

How do you care for a Golden Pothos indoors?

Golden Pothos is a popular houseplant due to its easy care and ability to thrive in many environments. To keep your Golden Pothos healthy indoors, provide it with bright indirect light, moderate temperatures between 65-85°F (18-29°C), and high humidity. Water when the top inch of soil is dry and fertilize monthly during spring and summer months. 

Prune regularly to maintain desired shape or size, but avoid over-pruning as this can cause stress on the plant. With proper care, your houseplant will stay healthy for years.

Should I mist my Golden Pothos?

No, it’s better to use a plant humidifier to add humidity than to mist a Golden pothos.

What does an overwatered Golden Pothos look like?

An overwatered Golden Pothos will have wilted, yellowing leaves that are drooping and limp. The soil may be soggy or waterlogged, and the plant’s roots can become damaged from too much moisture.

Mold or fungus may be observable on the soil’s surface, resulting from overwatering. Therefore, it is crucial to carefully monitor your watering schedule (always check with your finger versus going strictly by a timed schedule) when caring for a Golden Pothos to avoid this issue.

How often do you water Golden Pothos?

Golden Pothos is a hardy and low-maintenance houseplant that requires minimal watering. It thrives in indirect sunlight and should be watered when the top inch of soil feels dry. 

Water your plant every 7-10 days during the growing season. In winter, reduce the watering frequency to once every two weeks or less, depending on light levels and temperature. Make sure not to overwater, as this can cause root rot and other issues.

What else is Golden Pothos called?

The botanical name is Epipremnum aureum, and another common name you’ll see this plant called is Devil’s Ivy.

Are there different cultivars available?

Yes, there are other pothos varieties available. In fact, there are 21 common cultivar that range in color and shape. Plus, there are always plant breeders coming out with new cultivars like Baltic Blue pothos.

My pothos is developing white variegation, what does that mean?

White variegation is rare, but does happen with Golden pothos. It is called White sport Golden pothos.

Final Thoughts For a Thriving Golden Pothos

Providing the proper Golden pothos care is essential to keeping this beautiful and versatile houseplant healthy. With the right light, water, temperature and humidity levels, potting soil, fertilizing schedule, pruning, and propagation techniques, as well as pest control measures in place, you can ensure your golden pothos will thrive for years to come.

Taking good care of your Golden pothos will reward you with lush foliage that adds a touch of greenery to any home.

Website | + posts

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.