6 Fact-Checked Pothos Plant Benefits & 1 Disadvantage

Also known as Devil’s ivy, pothos are low-maintenance plants that will thrive in a variety of conditions while requiring minimal upkeep. In other words: you don’t need a green thumb to enjoy the benefits of pothos plants. 

Explained: 6 Pothos Plant Benefits

Here’s a list of the top pothos plant benefits from filtering air, being lucky, and even medicinal use.

1. Air Purification&Nbsp;

neon pothos on a shelf

All plants perform photosynthesis to survive. During this process, plants convert sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide into food. Across the planet, indoor and outdoor plants absorb CO2 from the air, making it easier for us to breathe.

But pothos plants take the commitment to clean air one step further.

According to a NASA study published in 2016, Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) reduces toluene, xylene, benzene, carbon monoxide, and formaldehyde levels. That’s why it’s often suggested to be planting near windows and garages with potential exposure to car exhaust fumes.

So yes, pothos can help remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other indoor air pollutants. There is, however, an air purifying catch.

This often-cited study was conducted in a sealed container. Unfortunately, the rooms in your house don’t work quite the same way. So, to notice the air-purifying benefits of pothos, you need to have many of these plants in your home. 

Researchers from Drexel University determined that you would need approximately 100 to 1,000 houseplants per square meter of floor space. And that’s to mimic the air purification benefits you receive by opening a window. 

But, hey. No one said you couldn’t turn your living room into a small jungle. 

2. Pothos in Aquariums

bunch of pothos plants in aquarium

When you’re shopping for pothos, chances are you’ll find it planted in a pot. But you can also grow pothos in water. In fact, if you attach pothos to an aquarium, the plant will act as a natural filtration system.

The pothos roots absorb nitrates and ammonia from the water. These substances enter the water through fish waste and fish food. In large quantities, ammonia and nitrates can kill fish.

Adding pothos to an aquarium can neutralize nitrates. Pothos can lower nitrate levels by 20-40 ppm in less than a week. Decreasing nitrate levels will also help prevent algae growth. 

Pothos roots absorb carbon dioxide from the water as well as the air. So they also add oxygen to the water. Believe it or not, fish need some oxygen to survive. 

This root system also provides coverage for small fish hoping to hide from aggressive tank mates. The roots also mimic the shade found in natural aquatic environments. Fish can rest, breed, and lay eggs in these roots. 

If your aquarium hosts a pothos with an expansive root system, the plant can keep the tank’s substrate in place. 

Unlike other aquatic plants, pothos roots are not attractive to hungry fish. (Inquisitive fish might try a nibble, but they will ultimately find the roots too tough.) So you won’t have to worry about frequently replacing this natural filtration system. 

Plus, water-growing pothos add attractive layers to your aquatic landscape. 

Note: pothos won’t remove physical particles. You will need a mechanical filter to perform this function. 

3. Aesthetic Versatility&Nbsp;

neon pothos in bathroom

Pothos is a trailing plant that produces attractive green leaves with yellow variegation. But these heart-shaped leaves can display many different shades and variegations. 

If you want a particular leaf color or variegation pattern, pay attention to the variety of pothos. In general, all pothos plants enjoy similar growing conditions. But foliage will vary from variety to variety. 

For example, Marble Queen pothos displays cream-colored variegation in a marbled texture

On the other hand, the leaves of Neon pothos are not variegated. Instead, they feature bright, chartreuse foliage.

A hanging basket can be a fun architectural accent for your houseplant jungle. But don’t expect gravity to do all the work if you want pothos to produce long, trailing vines.

Pothos produce aerial roots. The name refers to the fact that these roots grow above the soil. It does not mean that pothos can vine into thin air.

Pothos will only vine if you give it something to climb. You could provide a moss pole, trellis, or similar structure for vertical climbing. Try stretching a length of string taut across a wall for lateral climbing. 

4. Easy To Propagate

propagated pothos plant

Pothos plants are very easy to propagate. So after you buy your first pothos, you’ll soon be able to multiply the houseplant. 

Once your new pothos plant is healthy, happy, and well-established, identify a stem section with at least four leaves. Next, locate the nodes (small bumps) on the stem. 

Cut the stem at a 45-degree angle an inch or two below the node using sterilized scissors. Place the stem cutting in a glass of water. For best results, use filtered water.

Position the cutting somewhere that it will receive bright indirect light. Mature pothos can survive in low light conditions. But when a cutting first develops, it will do best in ideal light conditions. 

Change the water once a week. This step ensures the water contains enough oxygen to sustain pothos. 

Over the next month, the cutting will begin to produce roots. Once the cutting has several roots measuring 2-3 inches long, transplant the cutting to soil where it will continue to grow. 

You can attempt to propagate sick or dying pothos in dire situations. But doing so will likely breed a pothos with the same diseases as the parent plant. If possible, use a healthy parent plant for pothos propagation.

5. Pothos Spiritual Meaning

pothos plants growing outside

Like many other plants, pothos holds spiritual significance for some cultures. 

In its native South Asia, pothos is a symbol of prosperity. You’ll often see pothos referred to as the money plant. A thriving pothos is said to indicate that the household will receive wealth. 

According to the traditional Chinese practice of feng shui, pothos can remove negative energy from a space. Feng shui experts suggest using pothos plants to hide sharp corners or angles. 

Doing so is thought to relieve stress and anxiety. 

In modern times, feng shui also sees pothos as an antidote to chemicals released by technology and cleaning products. (Placing pothos in front of a WiFi router might also help rid your space of visual clutter.) 

The ancient Indian architectural practice of vastu shastra, meanwhile, views pothos as a bringer of good luck.

No matter your belief system, it’s hard to deny the fact that houseplants add a sense of calm and beauty to indoor spaces. 

Note: when positioning a pothos for feng shui plants or vastu, don’t forget pothos light requirements (preferably bright, indirect light). A dead plant will do little to help a room’s energy. 

6. Pothos Medicinal Uses

lab with a houseplant

Traditional medicine has long embraced the medicinal benefits of plants. In India, for example, people have used the plant’s natural chemicals. The antioxidant properties have helped to heal illnesses such as stomach pain and arthritis. 

Scientists continue to study the biological activity of pothos for potential medical and pharmacological use. In fact, researchers have discovered that pothos may offer cytotoxicity against cancer cells. 

Although more research is needed, studies¹ so far focus on the crude extract of pothos leaves and aerial roots. Currently, scientists have noticed that this extract offers antibacterial properties. 

Pothos Plant Disadvantages

While researching houseplants, you might encounter whispers about the dangers of pothos plants toxicity. Is pothos toxic to humans? Can pothos poison my pet? These are some scary accusations against a humble houseplant.

Yes, pothos indeed contains tiny, sharp calcium oxalate crystals (ASPCA). These crystals can cause nausea, vomiting, and general discomfort if ingested. So parents of curious kids might want to place pothos plants out of reach. 

Pets can also experience discomfort if they ingest parts of a pothos plant. However, the calcium oxalate crystals will soon cause mouth irritation after munching. So unless you polish the pothos leaves with bacon grease, it’s unlikely that your furry friends will eat your pothos plants. 

When in doubt, place the pothos on a higher shelf.

Faq

Is pothos plant lucky?

Yes, the ancient Indian architectural practice of vastu shastra, views pothos as a bringer of good luck.

Is pothos good for home?

Yes, pothos is good for your home. They add the beauty of nature, help with some air purifying, and are simple to take care of. If you’re not convinced reread this article on pothos plant benefits.

References

1: EPIPREMNUM AUREUM (JADE POTHOS): A MULTIPURPOSE PLANT WITH ITS MEDICINAL AND PHARMACOLOGICAL PROPERTIES. (n.d.). Retrieved March 14, 2023, from https://www.jcreview.com/admin/Uploads/Files/61c72281812a91.70204394.pdf

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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.