It is possible to make your pothos branch out and produce more stems from the same vine. So whether you have a pothos with bare stems or even a healthy pothos that needs a bushier look, here are two methods you can try.
1.) Apply Keiki Paste to the Bare Nodes
Keiki cloning paste is a blend of plant hormones used to stimulate vegetative growth. It’s commonly used on orchids, but it also has excellent results on leggy pothos plants.
You can also use it on a pothos plant that has dropped some of its older leaves and looks a bit bald at the top.
Put some Keiki paste on a cotton bud, and rub it against the bare nodes on your pothos stem. The paste takes around four weeks to start working.
When it does, you’ll notice the bare node growing a small auxiliary bud, which will then develop into a stand-alone stem.
You can use Keiki paste on any pothos variety, especially on slow-growing cultivars, such as Manjula or N’Joy, and on species of Scindapsus (Satin Pothos).
2.) Prune Regularly
You’ve most likely read that pruning a pothos will make it bushier (read our complete guide to making pothos bushier here).
Technically speaking, this is correct, but it won’t work the same way as pruning a Peperomia or Fittonia plant, for example.
When you trim a pothos vine, only one node on each vine tends to become active and start growing into a new stem. But with the right approach, you can get your pothos to branch out and grow more stems from the same vine.
Here are some tips to encourage your pothos to branch using regular pruning:
- Start with a healthy pothos plant that’s at least one foot (30 cm) long. The plant should be at least a year old for best results, especially if it’s grown from single node cuttings.
- Make sure that the pothos has recently been repotted, and avoid repotting it for the next 2 – 3 years. Otherwise, the plant will spend its energy on root and leaf growth.
- Find a spot for your pothos and keep it there for the next 2 – 3 years. This place should provide your plant with ideal growing conditions: bright indirect light, moderate temperature, and humidity levels of at least 50%. If you move the plant in the meantime, it will take a while to adjust to its new growing conditions, which may either delay or interrupt the process.
- Start pruning your pothos when the plant is actively growing in the spring. Take 2 – 4 single stem cuttings from each vine.
- Give the pothos a nitrogen-rich fertilizer diluted to half-strength once every two weeks. After a month or so, you will notice that the cut vines are each growing a new stem from an auxiliary bud.
- Keep feeding the pothos until late fall, then stop fertilizing it until next spring.
- Repeat the pruning process every spring, taking cuttings from all of the vines. Remember to regularly water and fertilize the plant, and don’t change its location.
After the second year, you may notice that some older stems are growing a second set of vines. If you’re working with an older, well-established plant, you may notice branching even in the first year.
The process can take a while, and it’s not 100% guaranteed to succeed immediately, so remember to be patient.
Pruning is more likely to result in branching in pothos varieties such as Marble Queen, Golden Pothos, and Neon Pothos.
For other varieties, especially Scindapsus and Epipremnum pinnatum cultivars, it’s best to use Keiki paste instead.
Following these two methods will no longer have you wondering how to make pothos grow more stems.
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.