Pothos Tops My List


I live in a house filled with easy-care, low-maintenance, survivor houseplants. That is no coincidence, since I have found most of them sitting beside garbage cans in San Francisco. In order to survive, these neglected plants had to be tough.

Like parents refuse to say which child they like best, plant owners generally keep silent about their favorites. But I don’t think any of my plants will be offended to hear that golden pothos tops my list.

Rescue Plants Are Tough Cookies

It’s hard to believe how many houseplants are tossed in San Francisco. You have to wonder what people thought when they were buying them. Maybe they mistook “low-care” for “no-care”. Maybe they just got busier than they thought they would be. But whatever the issue, the results are there to see. I find plants by garbage cans almost every day.

Now many of these plants are dead. Fancy ferns and big-leafed plants tend to wither and die without water and humidity, and although I have tried to coax some of these back to life, I haven’t succeeded with many of them.

Certain houseplants make it through however, and these are the one that fill my house. They are the tough cookies of the plant world, ranging from almost indestructible snake plant to succulents (that stock water in their chubby leaves) to pothos.

Pothos Tops My List

All of my survivor plants are important to me, and I love them all. But somehow, golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum), with its bright, rounded, trailing leaves, has a special place in my heart.

Pothos looks like it should be delicate, but it is tough as nails. Maybe it is this contradiction that appeals to me.

The color is fresh and tender, a yellowy green. The leaves are halfway between round and heart-shaped. The branches cascade over the edge of the container like so many curls. But this is perhaps the easiest houseplant to care for of any I have ever had.

More About Pothos

Pothos is a wonderful and attractive houseplant all year long. It grows quickly, sometimes adding up to 18 inches (45.7 cm.) in one month. You can train it up a stake in the center of the container, but I personally love the way the branches spill over the side of the container.

I once had a pothos with vines growing to 10 feet (3 m.) and have heard reports of some three times that long. But pothos accepts trimming without blinking an eye, and it is easy to root clippings to create another plant.

What about light exposure? They are happy with almost any kind of exposure you give them. Bright, indirect light is what the experts recommend, but I just don’t have much in my San Francisco apartment. I can assure you that pothos thrives in low-light areas as well as offices with only fluorescent lighting. They are the perfect plant when our kids head off to college dorms, asking little, yet helping clear the air of toxins.
In short, pothos plants have a lot to offer and don’t ask for much in return. How’s that for a friendly houseplant?


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