Pothos is a popular houseplant that produces a long vine of waxy green foliage. These large leaves provide your space with natural decoration and air filtration. Best of all, pothos plants are hard to kill.
But what about a plant that won’t simply survive but will thrive? In the right growing conditions, pothos plants can grow leaves larger than your hand.
If you want to know how to grow big pothos leaves, keep reading. This article outlines eight steps to cultivate a plant that produces beautiful, robust foliage.
A Quick Introduction to Pothos Plants
Pothos plants are indigenous to the tropical climates of the South Pacific islands. Outdoors, a pothos vine can grow up to 30 ft at a rate of over 1 ft per month.
Without a doubt, the Hawaiian Big Leaf Pothos is the king of the jungle. In the wild, the fully grown plant can produce giant leaves measuring over 1 ft wide and up to 2 ft long.
In an indoor garden, pothos vines reach an average length of about 8-10 ft, with mature leaves measuring 4-8 in long. Although indoor pothos does not grow as quickly as outdoor pothos, you will still notice rapid growth from month to month.
Treat it right, and this easy-growing plant can live up to ten years indoors.
Most garden centers will sell a variety of pothos. You can find it under a few names: Money Plant, Devil’s Ivy, Tropical Vine, Hunter’s Robe, and its scientific name — Epipremnum aureum.
(Note: Pothos is considered an invasive species in some areas of the U.S. such as Florida. Check local recommendations before planting pothos outside.)
How to Make Pothos Leaves Bigger
1.) Select the Correct Variety
If you want bigger leaves, the first step is selecting the correct variety. Some produce bigger leaves than others.
Take a quick look at the potential leaf size of popular pothos varieties. (Expect potted pothos plants to reach the lower limits of these ranges.)
- Hawaiian Pothos: 6-24 inches
- Golden Pothos: 6-24 inches
- Marble Queen Pothos: 5-15 inches
- Manjula Pothos: 6-12 inches
- Neon Pothos: 6-12 inches
- Baltic Blue Pothos: 6-12 inches
- Moonlight Pothos: 5-10 inches
- Silvery Anne: 4-10 inches
- Global Green Pothos: 4-8 inches
A mature plant will produce bigger leaves than a new plant. If possible, select one 2-3 years old for much larger leaves in a shorter time frame.
Optimal plant care varies from pothos to pothos. Consider the light, water, and humidity requirements when you select your plant.
It is easy to propagate pothos from cuttings. But remember, each cutting will have the same characteristics as the parent plant. Therefore, a new cutting will not change the leaf size potential.
2.) Re – Pot the Pothos
Garden centers put plants in small pots to contain growth. Leaving your pothos in this pot will stunt its growth and lead to potbound roots.
To encourage growth, transplant the pothos into a bigger pot immediately after purchasing. Ideally, use a pot two inches larger than the previous pot with a depth of about ten inches.
Once you’ve replanted the pothos, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to repot the plant. First, however, check that it has not become potbound. This condition will limit the plant’s ability to produce larger leaves and robust new growth.
In terms of potting mix, use an aroid soil blend. Specifically designed for use with an indoor plant, this soil mix will promote fast drainage and root aeration.
Or, create a blend of garden soil, compost, pebbles, or perlite for aeration. If your pothos is producing small leaves and straggly vines, this might indicate that the soil is not sufficiently oxygenated.
Cow dung manure will also encourage growth for outdoor pothos. (Remember that some states prohibit the growing of outdoor pothos.)
Last but not least, make sure the pot drains well to prevent root rot.
3.) Position Pothos in Appropriate Light
Exact light requirements will vary by pothos variety. But in general, choose a spot that offers 3-5 hours of bright indirect sunlight per day.
The pothos plant is pretty tolerant when it comes to different light levels. If it receives adequate light, it will grow.
But to make sure it bears large-sized leaves, you’ll need more than just the bare minimum. Try placing your pothos in an east-facing window. That way, the plant will receive direct exposure to the morning sun and enjoy indirect light the rest of the day.
Pothos plants will grow in low light. But the trailing vine will become thinner as it grows toward any available sunlight. As a result, new leaf growth will be smaller, sparser, and paler than the plant’s more mature pothos leaves.
Inadequate sunlight can also cause the leaves of some varieties, such as the marble queen pothos, to lose their variegation.
If you notice leaf burn, move the pothos to west or south-facing windows.
Grouping several plants into the same area will help recreate the dappled light they receive in the wild.
4.) Stake the Plant
This step is the key to making pothos leaves grow bigger.
Pothos is a vine plant, meaning it will grow best if it can climb. In the wild, pothos climb trees. Indoors, you can assist their vertical growth with a stake, moss pole, houseplant trellis, or other support systems.
Although these trailing vines look pretty in hanging baskets, hanging baskets are not the best way to achieve big leaves.
Once the vine starts to droop toward the ground, the foliage on that section of the plant won’t be as large as those attached to the stake. Instead, the aerial roots will try to find something to grasp. Guide this growth so that your pothos can climb rather than cascade.
5.) Create a Tropical Setting
Pothos originates in tropical climates. Therefore, the leaves of indoor pothos will never grow as large as those of outdoor pothos. But replicating tropical growing conditions will encourage big leaf growth.
Keep air temperature between roughly 70°F and 90°F. Although the pothos might not die in temperatures outside this range, the leaves will grow smaller and sparser. A pothos experiencing temperature stress will exhibit limp vines and shriveled leaves.
Adjusting the temperature is straightforward. Unfortunately, replicating tropical humidity is less simple.
Rather than turn your living room into a steam bath, make plant-focused humidity adjustments. For example, mist the plant with room temperature water several times a day. You can also use a houseplant humidifier or a humidity tray.
If subject to low humidity, the pothos can develop brown leaf tips.
6.) Water Appropriately
Overwatering is probably the leading cause of houseplant deaths. But even if you’re not drowning your pothos, you still might be reducing its leaf growth.
Yellow, shriveled leaves are a reliable indication of overwatering. Improper watering can also cause the pothos to produce smaller leaves.
Exact watering requirements vary depending on variety and daily exposure to sunlight. But in general, pothos requires moist but not soggy soil.
For bright glossy foliage, let the pothos dry out between watering. (This will take roughly one to two weeks.) Then, use a watering can to water the plant until water begins to flow through the drainage holes.
Water quality will also impact pothos growth. Depending on where you live, tap water can contain significant portions of chlorine, fluorine, and sodium. These chemical elements can cause salt build-up in the soil. In some cases, the water might leave white watermarks on the foliage.
Fortunately, there’s a simple fix. Let the water stand for at least 24 hours, allowing enough time for the chemicals to dissipate. Alternatively, you can water pothos using filtered water, distilled water, or rainwater.
7.) Fertilize As Needed
Like any other houseplant, pothos will only have access to the nutrients available in its pot. And since plants absorb nutrients to survive, you will need fertilizer to replenish nutrients every so often.
Proper fertilization can boost foliage growth, leading to a bushier and more robust plant.
It’s tempting to think that larger amounts of plant food will equate to much larger leaf growth. But overfertilizing your pothos can also stunt growth, limiting the plant’s ability to produce large foliage.
From spring to fall, feed pothos plants once every two weeks. During the winter, reduce fertilization to once a month. If the leaves of your pothos develop brown tips, you should limit fertilization. This browning indicates overfertilization.
To start, use a balanced water-soluble fertilizer at quarter strength. Mix the general-purpose fertilizer with water and then apply it directly to the top of the soil. If necessary, increase the ratio to half-strength. (A full-strength mixture can burn the plant.)
You can also use compost or liquid seaweed solution to feed pothos plants. If your pothos produces smaller-sized new growth, switch to a fertilizer with higher levels of nitrogen.
If you’re using a solid fertilizer, apply the substance onto the top of the soil. Gently mix the fertilizer into the topsoil. Then water the plant to activate the fertilizer.
8.) Prune & Maintain
Pruning stimulates bushier, thicker leaf growth. If you don’t prune the vine, the stems will continue to trail and develop smaller leaves at sparser intervals.
Pothos plants will tolerate intense pruning at any time of the year. Plus, you can easily propagate the cuttings by sticking them in a jar of water.
To prune the plant, locate the nodes. These will look like tiny nubs along the vine. Cut above the node to trigger new growth from that point.
Pruning your pothos will also help maintain the plant’s growth pattern, allowing you to guide the plant to climb rather than dangle.
Pothos plants rarely suffer from pest infestations. That said, white flies, spider mites, thrips, mealybugs, and other pests will sometimes attack the plant’s tissues and leaves.
These infestations can cause new leaves to appear weaker and smaller than older leaves. If you notice pests on your pothos, remove them by wiping the plants with insecticidal soap.
Leaf spot disease is another thing to watch out for. Although it will not affect the roots, leaf spot disease will stunt pothos growth.
There are a couple of identifying features. First, the disease will cause yellow halos to develop on the underside of the leaves. If you don’t address the problem at this stage, leaf spot disease will cause new growth to have a brown color and a mushy texture.
To remedy this issue, remove the diseased part of the plant. Don’t be afraid to prune hard if necessary. Although it might take some time to heal completely, pothos is an easygoing plant. Soon it will recover, and you can reprioritize growing big leaves.