Devil’s Ivy Houseplant (Epipremnum aureum)

Devil's Ivy, Devil's Vine, Golden Pothos, Ivy Arum, Marble Queen, Pothos, Taro Vine

Epipremnum aureum belongs to Aracee the arum family native to Moaroua in the French Polynesian Society Islands. The species is a popular houseplant for warm climates, but it’s also found in tropical forests globally, including northern Africa. It is often referred to as golden Pothos, Devil’s Ivy houseplant, money plant, silver vine Solomon Island and many others, but mainly known for its botanical name Epipremnum aureum.

I. Appearance and Characteristics 

Epipremnum aureum is a species in the arum family Araceae, native to Mo’orea in the Society Islands of French Polynesia. The species is a popular houseplant in temperate regions but has also become naturalised in tropical and sub-tropical forests worldwide, including northern South Africa, Australia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Pacific Islands and the West Indies, where it has caused severe ecological damage in some cases.

The plant has a number of common names including golden pothos, Ceylon creeper, hunter’s robe, ivy arum, silver vine, Solomon Islands ivy, and taro vine. It is also called devil’s vine or devil’s ivy because it is almost impossible to kill and it stays green even when kept in the dark. It is sometimes mistakenly labeled as a Philodendron, Pothos or Scindapsus in plant stores. It is commonly known as a money plant in many parts of the Indian subcontinent. It rarely flowers without artificial hormone supplements; the last known spontaneous flowering in cultivation was reported in 1964.

The plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

Epipremnum aureum is an evergreen vine growing to 20 m (66 ft) tall, with stems up to 4 cm (2 in) in diameter, climbing using aerial roots which adhere to surfaces. The leaves are alternate, heart-shaped, entire on juvenile plants, but irregularly pinnatifid on mature plants, up to 100 cm (39 in) long and 45 cm (18 in) broad; juvenile leaves are much smaller, typically under 20 cm (8 in) long.

The flowers are produced in a spathe up to 23 cm (9 in) long. This plant produces trailing stems when it climbs up trees and these take root when they reach the ground and grow along with it. The leaves on these trailing stems grow up to 10 cm (4 in) long and are the ones normally seen on this plant when it is cultivated as a potted plant.

II. How to Grow and Care

Sunlight

The pothos Epipremnum aureum prefers bright, indirect light. They can tolerate lower light conditions, which is common in many indoor settings. 

But if the light is too dim, the leaves stay smaller and maybe lose variegation (if there was any). Vines may also grow leggy with more space between the leaves reaching for the light. 

There are many types of Epipremnum plants with stunning variegated leaves. These plants grow better with more and brighter light compared to the green-leaved plants. 

The best temperatures for prayer plants range from 18-24°C or 64-75°F. It is best to avoid any room that has fluctuations in temperature, as it makes it difficult for the Golden Pothos to settle into its environment.

Humidity

Ceylon Creeper plants also love humidity! Rooms such as shower rooms or steamy kitchens will make these plants very happy. If you opt to place these plants in other rooms, there are methods of creating a humid environment. Misting the Golden Pothos leaves twice a week, having multiple houseplants around each other as lost water from one plant during the process of transpiration can be picked up by another plant, and lastly using a humidifier. These can be a preferred option as they can be small, quiet, and turned on and off to create the perfect humidity levels for your houseplants.

Watering

Caring for your Pothos plant is extremely easy once you understand its needs and signs. Devil’s Ivy like their topsoil to be dry between waterings. On average, you should water your Golden Pothos around every 8 days. When watering your Money plant, avoid using tap water as it may contain chemicals such as chlorine that can affect your houseplant. Instead, use filtered water or more preferably rainwater. Of course, as with majority of houseplants, water less during the winter months.

Soil

When potting a Devil’s Ivy plant, we recommend using a blend of coconut coir, coarse pumice, perlite and activated charcoal. The activated charcoal is a really good addition as it helps combat harmful chemicals in the water that can lead to problems from the build-up of salts. Other ingredients such as perlite will help with drainage, so your Pothos plant isn’t sitting in water and is a happy houseplant! If you want to take things to the next level, we recommend putting some worm castings in the soil blend as they act as a natural fertiliser that will allow the Golden Pothos roots to slowly eat away, making the beautiful stems healthier and longer.

Fertilizing

Epipremnum aureum plants don’t need a lot of fertilizer. You can fertilize to supplement poor soil or give your plant a boost during the growing season. 

Use a diluted liquid fertilizer to feed your Epipremnum once a month during the growing season in spring and summer. You can also treat your plant to a specially formulated fertilizer for Pothos plants. 

Remember, over-fertilization can be more harmful than under-fertilization. If you notice signs of nutrient burn, such as yellowing or browning leaf tips, you might want to cut back on the fertilizer. 

Be sure the soil is damp before fertilizing and don’t fertilize in winter when growth slows down.   

Also never fertilize if your plant is recently repotted or is having problems. Fertilizer gives your plant a boost of nutrients when it is actively growing, it is not plant medicine. 

Trailing vs Climbing

The long trailing vines make the Epipremnum aureum a great indoor hanging plant.

But in nature, Epipremnum pothos plants grow as an epiphyte, using aerial roots to grow on trees and other structures for support. Its aerial roots allow it to cling to tree trunks and branches while absorbing moisture and nutrients from the surrounding environment.

Indoors you can give a large epipremnum climbing support in the form of a moss pole. Place the pole in such a way that leaf nodes are touching it, or at least are very near to it. Aerial roots will grow from these nodes, grabbing onto the stake. Mist frequently so the roots can attach themselves more easily.

Potting and Repotting Pothos

Over time, your pothos will become pot-bound. When the leaves droop, no matter how much or how often you water them, drooping is a sure sign that roots have probably filled the pot and there is no room to grow. Look for roots growing out of the pot’s drainage holes, or carefully lift the plant out of its pot to examine the roots.

When the plant has reached this stage, you can repot it into a container that is one or two sizes larger in diameter and depth. Use fresh potting soil and water well after repotting to help the plant recover. If possible, wait until the spring or summer months and repot when the plant is in active growth for best results.

Propagation

You can buy a mature pothos from a plant shop, but it’s easy to propagate pothos yourself using stem cuttings. Pothos cuttings like to propagate in water at first. Here are the steps to take:

  • Using a sterile, sharp cutting tool, choose a healthy stem with at least three leaves, and cut it at an angle about a half-inch or inch below the lowest leaf.
  • Remove the lowest leaf from the stem (you don’t need to remove the other leaves).
  • Place the stem in a vase or jar of water, but do not let the remaining leaves touch the water.
  • Once the cutting has sprouted new roots that are several inches long, likely over the course of a few weeks, transplant it into a pot with potting soil as soon as possible so it can begin to develop a strong root system.
  • Put the pot in a spot with bright indirect light and keep the soil moist but not wet.

Pests and Diseases

Common Diseases 

These amazing Devil’s Ivy plants can have their fair share of problems. Fading leaves that disrupt their variegation, due to not enough bright but indirect sunlight. If your leaves are beginning to fade, try placing your Devil’s Ivy in a brighter spot. Drooping leaves is another common problem. This is mainly caused from not enough humidity or infrequent watering. If your Golden Pothos leaves are turning yellow, this is the opposite as you are overwatering in most cases. You should only water your Epipremnum Aureum if the top few inches are dry. Overwatering signs on a Devil’s Ivy can also be indicated with brown spots.

Common Pests

The Pothos plant isn’t prone to a whole lot of pests, however that doesn’t make it immune to critters. As with all houseplants, you should regularly and thoroughly inspect your plant, especially the undersides of the leaves for any infestations. The reason for this is to catch infestations in the early periods before they become a larger problem down the line. In most cases, Golden Pothos common pests include mealy bugs, spider mites and fungus gnats. The good news is Happy Houseplants has you covered with a blog covering how to get rid of houseplant pests.

Lifespan

Pothos plants live for an average of five to 10 years, but with proper care, these hardy houseplants can live for much longer. Giving your plant the proper environmental conditions and basic maintenance can help increase its lifespan.

III. Uses and Benefits 

In temperate regions, it is a popular houseplant with numerous cultivars selected for leaves with white, yellow, or light green variegation. It is often used in decorative displays in shopping centers, offices, and other public locations largely because it requires little care and is also attractively leafy. In tropical countries, it is found in many parks and gardens, and tends to grow naturally.

The plant can remove indoor pollutants such as formaldehyde, trichloroethene, toluene, xylene, and benzene in controlled circumstances (e.g. a sealed room). A study found that this effect declined as the molecular weight of the polluting substance increased.

The plant is sometimes used in aquariums, placed on top of the aquarium, and allowed to grow roots in the water. This is beneficial to the plant and the aquarium as it absorbs nitrates, using them for growth.

Devil’s Ivy Houseplant (Epipremnum aureum) Details

Common name Devil's Ivy, Devil's Vine, Golden Pothos, Ivy Arum, Marble Queen, Pothos, Taro Vine
Botanical name Epipremnum aureum
Plant type Ground Cover
Growth rate Medium
Height 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 8 in.
Width 0 ft. 6 in. - 0 ft. 8 in.
Sunlight Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
Soil condition Loam (Silt)
Flower color Gold/Yellow
Leaf color Gold/Yellow