How to Propagate Pothos Without Leaves (Step-By-Step Guide)

Pothos, or ‘Devil’s Ivy,’ is one of the easiest houseplants to propagate at home, making it an excellent plant for beginner gardeners just starting with plant propagation.

No matter what type of Pothos you own, taking cuttings and growing new plants from your mother plant can be done in just a few simple steps. You only need a sharp blade, a propagation vessel, and water.

New plant parents often ask: “Can you propagate pothos without leaves?“. The answer is yes, you can! We’ll explain how below, along with some common mistakes that lead to failure.

Do Pothos Cuttings Need a Leaf?

propagated pothos plant

No, cuttings do not require leaves to be successful! You can easily propagate your Pothos plants using stem cuttings without leaves! But the stem must have leaf nodes for successful propagation. However, please note that cuttings without leaves may take longer to grow roots and foliage. 

Any type of Pothos can be successfully propagated, with or without leaves. From Golden Pothos to Neon Pothos, you can quickly grow new Pothos plants at home by following the steps below!

How To Propagate Pothos With No Leaves in 6 Steps Using Stem Cuttings

Taking cuttings from your Pothos plants is a straightforward process. It requires very little time to do but a little bit of patience to see results. However, there is no better feeling than growing new plants at home, so it will all be worth it in the end! 

Tools you will need:

  • A sharp pair of scissors
  • A glass jar or other small pot to hold your cutting

1. Choose Where To Cut

When taking cuttings of your Pothos vines, you must ensure a node on the stem. Nodes are the thick part of the stem where leaves and aerial roots grow! 

It’s also vital to take cuttings from a healthy parent plant only. Using dry, rotten, or otherwise ill plants for propagation is a recipe for failure!

2. Take Your Cutting

showing pothos pruning with scissors

Take some clean, sterilized pruning shears, and snip your vine below the leaf nodes. Aim to cut at around 3 to 4 inches of stem and cut at a 45-degree angle for the best results. 

Ensure to sterilize your pruners with alcohol or disinfectant before cutting to prevent the spreading of bacteria and disease! Alternatively, you can sterilize your tools with heavily diluted bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts water).

You can take cuttings from each node, so if your Pothos has very long vines, you can take many cuttings from the same plant! If you plant these cuttings in the same pot, you will grow a full-looking and lush new plant.

Optional: dip the cut end of your propagation in rooting hormone powder. Rooting hormone will encourage the production of new roots on your propagation. 

3. Put It in a Jar Of Water (or Other Medium)

Choose how you want to propagate your Pothos. The easiest and most common method is using plain old water. But you can propagate in other mediums, too—things like perlite, sphagnum, peat moss, or potting mix, such as coco coir. 

If you use the water propagation method, refresh the water every 7 to 10 days to introduce new oxygen and prevent algae growth. We recommend using a shallow bowl or dish and laying the stem cutting flat in a thin layer of water. If the stem is completely submerged, it’s at higher risk of rotting. 

When doing moss or soil propagation, keep the medium moist. Moisture is essential for healthy root development. Avoid soggy soil mediums. Too much water inhibits airflow and can increase the risk of root rot.

4. Give It Bright Indirect Sunlight

Place your cutting in a brightly lit location; bright indirect light is best. Avoid putting it in direct sunlight because you will risk burning the stem. Also, if new leaves start to form, they can get scorched quickly when exposed to direct sunlight. 

5. Wait For Roots

After a couple of weeks, you should start to see root growth from the nodes on your Pothos stem. At first, you will see little bumps on the nodes. These will soon sprout white roots that grow quickly.

6. Transfer To Soil

Once the cuttings have white roots that are 2-3 inches long, you can plant your new plant in a pot with fresh potting soil. After planting, water the soil immediately. Watering directly after transplanting will help the roots to settle into the new environment.

Use a well-draining soil mixture to plant your Pothos. Amendments like sand, perlite, and orchid bark will provide aeration in the soil, preventing overwatering and protecting your Pothos roots. Please also ensure to use pots with drainage holes in the bottom!

Over time, the cutting will take root in the new potting soil. Gently tugging the vine can allow you to check that your plant has rooted properly. If you feel a bit of resistance, it’s rooted well! You will see new growth very soon!

Note: Read our complete guide on how to propagate pothos plants for more propagation techniques and tips.

5 Reasons Your Pothos Vine Propagation Failed

1. There Were No Nodes on Your Cutting

If you try to propagate bits of the stem with no root nodes, your cutting will sadly not take root. Your cuttings must have nodes, as this is where new growth will emerge from.

It’s also crucial to always submerge the nodes in water or place them inside the propagation medium you’re using. The nodes need moisture to grow roots, and exposure to too much air will result in a dried-up node.

2. the Cutting Was Unhealthy

Ensure to check Pothos before you take cuttings. Only take propagations from vines with healthy leaves and strong stems. While it’s not impossible to successfully propagate unhealthy vines, the chances of it failing are much more significant, so it’s not worth the risk.

3. It Did Not Get Enough Light

For your cuttings to succeed, you must provide them with bright, indirect light. Without it, your plant cannot produce any energy to grow roots or leaves. When the cuttings live in dark areas, they can quickly rot and wither away.

4. Problems With the Water / Soil Medium

If you grow your Pothos cuttings in moss or soil, always keep them moist. Allowing it to dry out too much can dry up the piece of stem, after which it will often not come back to life and rot. 

When growing your cuttings in water, it’s important to provide airflow to the node. Refresh the water at least once weekly to introduce fresh oxygen for your cuttings. 

5. You Waited Too Long With Transplantation

While Pothos cuttings can live in water for a long time, they will decline if left in their propagation vessel for too long. At some point, the plant will require nutrients.

Planting your cutting in soil will provide it with the necessary nutrients! If you want to keep your Pothos in water for longer, you can provide nutrients by adding a few drops of liquid fertilizer. 

Faq About Propagating Pothos Without Leaves

Can You Put Cuttings Straight Into Potting Soil?

Yes, you can plant your Pothos cuttings directly in the soil. Push the leaf node under the soil surface. Otherwise, it will not take root. A soil mixture with good drainage is also important, as your cutting requires plenty of oxygen to grow healthy roots!

Can You Propagate Just A Pothos Leaf?

Single Pothos leaves will not take root if there is no node on the leaf. If you want to propagate a leaf from your Pothos, it must have a piece of stem attached to a node! 

What To Do With Pothos Vines That Have No Leaves?

If you have a Pothos plant that is balding on the top, you can fix this issue by taking cuttings from some of the healthy vines and placing these back into the mother plant. This way, you can create a fuller-looking plant! 

Do You Need A Leaf To Propagate Pothos?

No, you don’t need leaves on your Pothos to propagate it! However, the stem you propagate must have a node. Otherwise, the cutting won’t take root. 

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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.