There are a number of beautiful varieties of Epipremnum aureum, aka Pothos or Devil’s Ivy. Some have all-green leaves, like Neon Pothos, but most have numerous patterns and colors of variegation.
N’ Joy and Pearls and Jade are two of the very popular variegated cultivars, and they are so similar that it’s easy to get them confused. We’ll sort out the differences here so that it will be easier to tell them apart.
Breeding tropical plants for indoor use in the United States began during the first two decades of the 1900s in California and Florida. Pothos was an excellent candidate for breeding because of its handsome appearance and adaptability to household conditions.
But because Pothos plants seldom flower, even in their native habitat, they can’t be hybridized. So new cultivars had to be developed in different ways. Marble Queen Pothos, an unpatented variety of Golden Pothos, was the parent for both N’ Joy and Pearls and Jade.
N’ Joy was discovered in 2002 in a greenhouse near Mumbai, India. It was a branch mutation, meaning that 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.
The Pearls and Jade variety was created at the UF/IFAS Mid-Florida Research and Education Center in Apopka, Florida, in the early 2000s by exposing Marble Queen to Cobalt-60 gamma radiation.
The mutated foliage was cloned through multiple generations until it was considered a stable cultivar and the University of Florida was granted a US patent in 2010 under the name of ‘UFM12’ and trademarked Pothos ‘Pearls and Jade’®.
Since N’ Joy and Pearls and Jade came from the same parent, they are very similar. Their main differences are the patterns of variegation, shape and size of the leaves, and length of the internodes.
7 Differences Between N’ Joy and Pearls and Jade
Both cultivars have highly variegated leaves with large splotches of white or cream together with green. Their leaves have a lumpy, or undulated appearance compared with the smooth leaf surface of their parent, Marble Queen.
According to its patent, the leaves of Pothos N’ Joy are small (2” × 1.5”), broad, and oval or heart-shaped, with some tending toward a deltoid shape. The tips are pointed, but not as sharp as Pearls and Jade’s.
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, unlike in Pearls and Jade.
It has shorter internodes than most Pothos varieties on strong, dark green stems, giving it a compact growth pattern (6”-10” × 12”).
Pearls and Jade
Pearls and Jade’s patent states that the leaves are heart-shaped and 2”-3” long × 1.5”-2” wide. They are longer and narrower than N’ Joy’s leaves with a sharper tip.
There is more green coverage on the leaves than N’ Joy has, including splashes of various shades of green throughout the white, cream, or yellow variegation.
Its internodes are 1”-2” long, which is longer than N’ Joy’s. It is a low-growing vine, approximately 3”-5” high × 7”-8.5” wide.
Both cultivars will grow to 7 to 10 feet indoors.
In order to make the differences clearer, here is a chart outlining the characteristics of both.
|Pothos N’ Joy||Pothos Pearls and Jade|
|Leaf shape||2” long and 1.5” wide, oval or heart-shaped leaves; or sometimes deltoid||2”-3” long and 1.5”-2” wide; elongated heart-shaped leaves|
|Leaf tip||Pointed with a wide angle; stubby tip||Pointed with a narrow angle; sharp tip|
|Leaf coloration/variegation||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||Greener than N’ Joy; multiple marbling and splashing of green shades and yellow-green within the white variegation|
|Leaf texture||Top of leaves undulated and waxy; bottom leathery||Leaves are papery; thinner than N’ Joy, undulated|
|Internodes||Shorter than Pearls and Jade||Longer than N’ Joy|
|Height and width of plant||6”-10” high × 12” wide||3”-5” high × 7”-8.5” wide|
|Length of vine||7’ – 10’ indoors||7’ – 10’ indoors|
Care of Pothos N’ Joy and Pearls and Jade
Pothos have a reputation as easy-care houseplants, and these plants are no exception. The care of Pothos N Joy vs Pearls and Jade is almost identical, with a few slight differences.
They both like bright indirect light since direct sunlight will burn their foliage. Pearls and Jade has more green in its leaves so it’s got more chlorophyll available to photosynthesize and make food for the plant. Because of this, it can grow well in low to medium light.
N’ Joy has large areas of white in its leaves, so it doesn’t have as much chlorophyll to make food, and it needs brighter indirect light than Pearls and Jade to make up the difference.
Without enough light, it may compensate for the low-light conditions by reverting to an all-green form. If you bring your Pothos outside in the summer, locate it where it will get indirect sunlight or bright shade all day out of the harsh afternoon sun.
Both plants do well in average household temperatures – 65 to 75 degrees F. Outdoors they can tolerate up to 90 degrees and down into the 60s, but not below 50 degrees.
If you have your plants outdoors in the summer, be sure to keep them where there is plenty of light but where temperatures don’t go above 90 degrees. In the fall, bring them in when temperatures are predicted to dip lower than the 50s.
Pothos plants love high humidity since their native habitat is a tropical rainforest. They will tolerate normal household humidity of 30% to 40%, but will grow better in higher humidity, especially in the winter when the heat is on.
If the humidity is low in your house, there are several things that you can do. You can start by setting the pot in a pebble tray of water, careful to keep the bottom of the pot above the waterline.
If this isn’t practical because your Pothos is in a hanging pot, you can use a humidifier, if you have one, or locate the plant in a high-humidity area of the house, such as the bathroom or the kitchen.
All Pothos plants need loose, rich, well-draining soil. You can use a commercial indoor potting mix amended with perlite, orchid bark, coco coir, or peat moss for optimal drainage and air circulation.
Your N’ Joy could use a slightly smaller pot with less soil than Pearls and Jade since it will grow more slowly due to the smaller amount of chlorophyll in its leaves.
It’s important to water your Pothos correctly. Wait to water until the soil is dry 1” or 2” down from the top. When you water, soak the soil and allow it to run out of the drainage holes. Then empty any remaining water out of the dish or tray underneath the pot so that the roots don’t sit in water and develop root rot.
Pothos are susceptible to overwatering, so be sure to monitor the amount of moisture in the soil and always use a pot with drainage holes.
Because of the limited amount of green in its leaves that slows its growth rate, N’ Joy will not need to be watered quite as frequently as Pearls and Jade.
Fertilize Pearls and Jade with a balanced N-P-K indoor fertilizer per instructions once a month during the growing season.
N’ Joy will need fertilizer with a lower amount of nitrogen (N) since too much can cause an overgrowth of green in the leaves and limit its ability to absorb water from the soil. It also will only need to be fertilized two or three times from spring through early fall.
All the different types of Pothos are susceptible to aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, and scale. You can control the aphids, spider mites, and mealybugs with a spray of insecticidal soap and/or Neem oil.
Scale insects need a different kind of control. If possible, you can hose off as many as you can with a stream of water and then wipe them with rubbing alcohol.
Pothos plants will grow 7’ to 10’ long indoors. Their vines will spill over the edges of a hanging basket or they will climb up moss poles with their aerial roots.
In order to keep the plant at a reasonable length, you can prune it back above a leaf node (the knob where the leaf attaches to the stem) with clean scissors or shears.
Put them in a clean jar with fresh water and remove the leaves below the water line. Wait until roots grow 2” to 3” from the nodes and then plant them in fresh potting mix.
For another comparison, check out Glacier pothos vs NJoy. It is challenging to tell these two apart!
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.