Pothos plants can grow delightfully bushy with the right kind of care. But if you leave them to their own devices or skimp on certain growth requirements, they can wind up looking stringy and bare. We want to help you make your Pothos fuller, crafting the lush tangle of tropical vines you’ve always wanted. This article will explain how to grow a Devil’s Ivy worth drooling over.
An Epipremnum plant needs lots of indirect sunlight to maximize its growth, as well as plenty of water and fertilizer. You can also make your Pothos fuller by pruning and propagating cuttings to fill out the pot. For even bigger, bushier leaves, give your Devil’s Ivy a structure to climb.
Remember that it’s possible to take good advice too far. You don’t want to scorch your Pothos with direct sunlight or give it root rot with excessive watering. As long as you’re meeting your plant’s needs, it should produce plenty of growth, and you can damage it by trying to do things like supercharge it with extra fertilizer. As long as you follow these 6 tips, you should be able to achieve the lush Pothos you’re looking for.
Tip #1: Light Up Your Pothos to Make it Grow
The factor that limits growth for most houseplants is light. Energy from photosynthesis drives everything your Pothos does, including making newer and bigger leaves. But it’s hard for any indoor space to match the abundant sunlight streaming down outside. If your Devil’s Ivy is in a space that’s too dark, it will grow bare and patchy, with large gaps between its leaves.
So before you try any strategy to make your Pothos fuller, make sure it has a healthy diet of light as a foundation for growth. You may be able to do this just by moving it closer to a window. East-facing windows are best since they get their most intense sunlight during the morning when the air is cooler.
Windows facing south or west have harsher light during the hotter hours, so they call for more caution. Don’t put your Pothos within 5 feet of a southern or western window unless you hang gauzy curtains to shield it.
If you really want to give your Pothos an edge, hang a grow light over it. That lets you provide a steady stream of light every single day, regardless of the weather or the seasons. Providing 12 or more hours of bright light per day should ensure robust growth in your Devil’s Ivy.
Your plant will grow toward the nearest light source, so rotate it every few days or it will get lopsided. For even more information on lighting for Pothos plants, see this article.
Tip #2: Water and Fertilize Your Pothos (In Moderation)
When your Pothos is getting more energy, it will also typically need more water and nutrients to support its growth. As you increase your plant’s diet of sunlight, pay attention to its hydration and fertilizer needs as well.
Note that we’re not telling you to blindly dump a bunch of extra water or fertilizer into your Epipremnum’s pot. An excess of either one can seriously damage your plant. Instead, monitor your plant’s growth and use your best judgment.
Let’s start with hydration. You should be watering your Pothos whenever the top 1-2 inches of potting mix are dry to the touch. When you increase your plant’s light intake, start testing the soil more frequently too. For a fast-growing, well-lit Pothos, it’s best to check the soil for moisture every 2-3 days.
Supplement this with some all-purpose liquid plant fertilizer every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. If you aren’t fertilizing your Pothos already, begin with a ½-strength dose (compared to what the package recommends). If your plant is already on a fertilizer regimen, you may want to increase it by ¼ or so.
Do this only if your Pothos is getting substantially more light than before. Adding nutrients without adding sunlight is more likely to hurt than help. Keep a close eye on your plant after each dose, and if the leaves start turning crispy at the edges, wash the fertilizer out with an extra-hearty watering.
Tip #3: Plant Cuttings to Make Your Pothos Look Fuller
Sun, water, and fertilizer are great for encouraging full, healthy leaves. But there’s a limit to how much bushier they can make your Pothos. Epipremnum plants naturally form long, snaky vines, with new growth virtually always showing up at the tips of each stem. They won’t branch out or send up new stalks from the pot.
But you can make your Pothos fuller by adding more stems yourself. Simply cut back several of the existing vines and plant them in the soil of the pot. You can position them to fill in the biggest gaps, making your Devil’s Ivy look more well-rounded.
For best results, take cuttings that already have a few leaves and some bare nodes where roots can grow. If you don’t know where the nodes are, just look for the knobbly, swollen spots along the stem.
Once you know where you’ll be making your cuts, clip through the stems with a sharp pair of trimmers. Disinfect the blades with rubbing alcohol or diluted bleach, and try to take each cutting with a single clean snip. This will greatly reduce the risk of infection at the cut site.
When you plant each cutting, make sure at least one or two nodes are underground. Give them plenty of humidity and indirect light while they’re taking root, but make sure not to overwater them. The best time for cutting and propagating Pothos vines is at the beginning of the growing season, typically around mid-Spring.
Tip #4: Prune Pothos Tips For Bushier Growth
Pruning your Pothos has another benefit: if you do it right, you could persuade your plant to branch out.
We mentioned above that Epipremnum vines don’t normally split and grow to the sides. That growth pattern is regulated by a hormone called auxin. This inhibiting chemical spreads backward along the stem from the new buds forming at the tip.
If you slice off that growth point before it produces enough auxin, the side nodes may send out new stems. The result is a Devil’s Ivy vine with two or three separate branches. This is a great way to make your Pothos fuller and bushier.
This works better the earlier you snip your Pothos as soon as the new growth starts to appear. And there’s no guarantee that the side nodes will form branches before another growth point sprouts at the tip. So you’ll probably have to prune your Pothos in the same spot a few times before it gets the message and splits.
To get the bushiest look, we’d suggest picking one Pothos vine and trimming it pretty far back. Then keep a close watch on it so you can clip the new growth right away if it appears at the end of the vine. If you’re patient and persistent, this should make your Epipremnum form multiple branches near the base. Repeating this technique a few times will give you a much fuller Pothos plant. For more tips on convincing your Pothos to branch out, read this article.
Tip #5: Make a Fuller-Looking Plant With Soil Layering
Soil layering is an alternate way to propagate your Pothos to create a thicker cluster of vines. It’s very similar to propagating cuttings, but without the cutting! Instead, you’re simply burying a portion of a vine in the soil and letting it grow roots.
You can only do this with a reasonably long vine. Loop it back on itself to place one or more nodes from the middle of the stem against the soil. Dig out a shallow trench for them and bury them under the potting mix. It should look as though the vine is diving under the soil and popping out again, like a sea monster snaking through the ocean.
The vine may not want to stay put under the soil. If it’s popping out, try anchoring it with a paper clip bent into an arch like a croquet wicket.
After a month or two, the underground nodes should be rooted firmly in place. You can cut through the loop in the stem at this point, separating it into independent Pothos vines. Or leave it in place if you like the way it looks! With patience, you can layer the same stem over and over until your pot is full of “new” plants.
Tip #6: Let Your Pothos Climb
Pothos plants often grow in hanging planters or on shelves with their vines trailing down below the pot. You might notice an interesting pattern if you raise your Devil’s Ivy this way: the leaves get smaller as each stalk grows further down. If it gets long enough, a vine may stop producing leaves altogether, leaving a dangling thread of bare stem.
That’s because your Pothos prefers to grow up, not down. In their native rainforests, these plants crawl up tall trees to reach the sunnier spaces high above the ground. When they sense that they’re growing downward, they start conserving energy, waiting for the vine to reach the ground and head toward another tree.
So if you really want to make your Pothos fuller, give it something to climb. That’s the only way to get the biggest, most grandiose foliage on your Devil’s Ivy.
Even a simple garden stake will help, though you can get impressive results with a lattice or a creative-looking trellis. A Pothos spreading up and out to form a network of twisting vines is a glorious sight. This article provides detailed instructions on how to help your Pothos climb.
There are a variety of ways to make your Pothos fuller, and they’ll work better if you use multiple techniques at once. Support vigorous growth by providing plenty of light, water, and fertilizer, while helping it spread out by pruning and propagating. With smart planning, you can transform your Pothos into a riot of bushy foliage faster than you’d ever believe.