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How to Propagate Pothos Plants

All of the Pothos vines are very simple to propagate from stem cuttings. Pothos propagations will easily root in either water or soil.

Most Pothos plants are strong, resilient plants that grow roots easily from a leaf node cutting with almost no trouble.

Pothos vines are famous for growing a lot of foliage. Those beautiful healthy vines occasionally need trimming to shape them up.

When you trim your Pothos plant, propagate more Pothos using the stems you pruned off.

How Long does it take to propagate Pothos? Expect Pothos stem cuttings to take about 2 to 3 weeks to begin forming roots in water. Soil cuttings take longer to show new growth above the soil line. But both methods are normally quite successful.

How Long Does It Take For Propagated Pothos to root? You should see new roots on the node in 14 to 20 days. but if the stem and leaf are green and looking healthy, give it more time.

Once the rooting process is established, you will need to be patient. It takes months to grow your Pothos into a large lush plant.

pothos N Joy planted cuttings
Pothos n’Joy stem cutting in Soil
pothos n joy rooted cuttings
Rooted Pothos N’Joy-stem cutting in water

Do You need Rooting hormone to Propagate Pothos plants? There is no need to use rooting hormone for propagating pothos. These vines have plenty of energy in the leaves and stem to feed them through the rooting process. However, If you do use rooting gel it may speed up the rooting process.

Making A Stem Cutting For Pothos Plants:

When we want to make a new Pothos plant we need to make a stem cutting. This means we cut a piece of the plant stem that includes a node and a leaf. This is the section we propagate.

What does this mean?

What is a Pothos Leaf Node?

The Pothos leaf node is the part of the plant that grows new roots and nurtures new plant growth. It is found at the base of the leaf where it joins the vine. You will notice a swollen area on the stem at the base of the leaf stem. This is the leaf node.

Where Do you Cut Nodes on Pothos? You cut nodes on Pothos stems in the internodal zone. This means between the nodes. If you actually cut the nodes themselves you are ruining the part of the plant you need to nurture to grow new roots.

Pothos node and root nub
An aerial root and node are circled. The node is the swelled joint. The root is the brown nub.

What is the Brown Nub on the Node?

The brown nub emerging from the leaf node is a potential new root. If it finds water or moist soil the rootling will be fed. Then it grows and can feed a new plant.

  • Cut the stem in the internodal zone. Pictured and marked Below
  • Trim the stems into sections. Each stem cutting should have a node and at least one healthy leaf.
  • Cut a longer section with three nodes, roots and leaves if you want a longer stem.
  • Do not propagate a really long stem (over 6 inches). It may struggle to support itself as it makes new roots.

Watch our demonstration video in this post to see Kayti make stem cuttings for propagation.

How Do You Cut Nodes On A Pothos?

Actually you cut the internal zone rather than the the node. The internode zone is the part of the stem BETWEEN two nodes. Cut Pothos in the internodal zone to propagate a cutting.

Cut your stem in the internodal zone
Cut between the leaves and nodes

When we Propagate a Pothos we need this node (and brown nub if it has one) in order to grow a separate, new Pothos plant. You need at least one node on a stem to root your vine.

It is simplest to propagate from a trailing vine. You only need one or two healthy pothos leaves with good nodes with aerial roots.

Now you can plant this stem cutting into soil or place it in a glass of water to root.

Can A Node Grow Without A Leaf?

It is possible to grow a new plant with only one node cut from a stem with NO leaf. Pothos are sturdy and if you plant a node into moist soil it may actually make a new leaf and grow a whole new plant.

However, Pothos propagation success is much more likely when you have a leaf attached to the node. The node is fed as the leaf photosynthesizes.

If you drop a node into a glass of water with no leaf it will drown and rot. Use the soil method to try a leafless cutting. You can also try setting a leafless node into moist sphagnum moss.

Can’t Wait? Purchase Pothos Cuttings from Etsy

Do Pothos Propagate in Water?

Water propagation is the easiest method to root a Pothos. Pothos grow roots in a jar of water on your window sill with no problem most of the time.

I normally propagate cuttings in water. I have great luck with this method.

How to Water Propagate Pothos Plants:

Caution: Do NOT propagate in fresh tap water containing Fluoride, water softeners, bleach or other chemicals. Be sure your tap water is neutralized of chemicals. Allow it to sit 24 hours in an open container before using tap water to propagate plants.

  1. Prepare a jar with water. I use mason jars or small shot glasses.
  2. Make a stem cutting as we show you above and in the video
  3. Set the stem cutting into the water so the node is submerged.
  4. Make SURE the leaves are out of the water or they will rot and pollute the water.
  5. Set the jar on a window sill with moderate to bright INDIRECT light.
  6. Keep the temperature between 70 to 75 degrees F with no strong temperature changes.
  7. Change out the water about twice a week.
  8. After 2 weeks watch for roots to grow.
  9. Once roots are two inches long you can choose to place the cutting in soil or continue to grow them hydroponically as we discuss further down into this post.
plant node in mason jar with water.
Place the stem cutting in water so the nodes are in the water. Not the leaves.

Propagating Pothos in A FreshWater Fish Tank:

It is very easy to put a Pothos leaf cutting into a fresh water fish tank and grow new roots. Simply let the leaf hang over the side and set the leaf node into the tank water. After a few weeks the plant will have new roots.

Are Pothos good for Aquariums? Pothos are a good plant to grow from the top of a freshwater aquarium. Trying to plant a pothos into the bottom of your tank will rot it. Set pothos into the top of the tank and allow only the roots and stem into the water. The foliage can drape over the outside of the tank.

Pothos will not harm your fresh water fish. In fact pothos pulls nitrates out of the water. Since nitrates are toxic to fish and a nutrient Pothos vines, both the plant and your fish benefit.

If you already have pothos cuttings hanging out at the top of your tank growing roots you can let them stay there and grow decorative foliage that will cascade down the outside of your tank.

This is often appreciated by the fish. They enjoy the illusion of shelter and protection pothos vines offer. And they get to hide in the water roots too.

golden Pothos node in fish tank
Set your cutting in the tank with the node and roots completely submerged. The vine will grow this way indefinitely trailing down the tank side.

Pothos are easy to propagate. But Problems can come up. Here’s a few ideas on how to help your Pothos propagation succeed. Most of these tips pertain to water propagation, since that is the method most often done.

Look down to the soil propagation section for tips on that method.

Why is My Pothos Propagation Not Growing Roots?

  1. Are you propagating a healthy Pothos? If you are trying to propagate a weak or dying plant the chances of success are not as high.
  2. Does your cutting have a node? You cannot grow roots out of a stem with no node. Be sure your stem has a growing node.
  3. A really long stem with lots of nodes may be too much to support. A long stem of 8 to 12 inches or so is too much for water propagation. Cut a shorter length of stem (under 2 inches is best) with one node and one healthy leaf for best results.
  4. Don’t forget to change the water. Stagnant water loses oxygen over time and can grow bacteria which can attack your Pothos nodes and rot the roots. Change Water Twice Weekly.
  5. Pothos Propagation works best in moderate to strong indirect lighting. Adjust the light if necessary.
  6. Are you trying to propagate a dormant Pothos? Expect a longer timeline for root development. And the cutting may ultimately fail to grow roots since the plant is sleeping. Propagating works best in the growing seasons.
  7. Keep the leaves OUT of the water. Pothos leaves will rot if allowed to sit under water. This pollutes the water and ruins photosynthesis for the leaf.
  8. Did the node stem sit out and form a dry callous on the cut end? If so the node may not be able to root. Propagate Pothos from a fresh cut.
  9. The temperature of the Pothos propagation. Keep your cutting at around 70 to 85 degrees F to encourage growth of the roots.
  10. Finally, give your pothos propagation TIME. If the leaf and node look healthy and all these other conditions are met, it should grow new eventually roots.

Growing Pothos Water Propagations Hydroponically:

neon pothos cuttings in a jar
Neon Pothos are easily propagated in water or soil. And they can live in water a LONG time.

Pothos rooted in water will grow hydroponically with no problem. Once they grow water roots, continue to grow them hydroponically if you wish. They will thrive in a vase with an occasional light dose of liquid fertilizer. Or keep them in your aquarium as we discussed in the previous section.

You can also grow water rooted Pothos in LECA. I grow my golden pothos in LECA (lightweight Expanded Clay Balls). This semi hydroponic system works great for these vines.

planting bare root water propagation in leca balls
once water rooted Golden Pothos grows well in LECA.

Read Our Post Series On Growing Plants In LECA

For soil rooted pothos, growing hydroponically requires a difficult transition. They have to grow water roots and the soil roots will most likely rot away.

This can be very hard on the plant and not all of them make this change over successfully. If you make a soil propagation it is best to plant it into soil permanently.

How to Propagate a Pothos in Soil:

Neon Pothos cuttings in soil
Plant the node and aerial root of Devils Ivy directly into moist soil.

Propagating a Pothos in soil is easy to do. It will take more time to produce new growth for a soil propagation than a water rooting. But part of that is not being able to see the roots grow. So it just SEEMS to take a lot longer.

With a Pothos soil propagation look at the leaves. Are they a healthy color? Are they firm and strong? After a month or so you should see new leaf shoots forming. That is your tell that the propagation worked.

After about 2 months, you will see healthy new leaves form and the Pothos stem reaching and forming new growth. Success.

Soil Propagation Instructions:

  • Cut a healthy section of stem with nodes and leaves. (Look at how to cut the pothos nodes in the section above.)
  • NOTE: If you have a length of vine with leaves at all the node points you can plant the whole stem with the leaves and leaf stems above the soil line. ALL the length of the stem must be planted to make this work.
  • You need a pot large enough to place the stem in a circle. New vines should grow from every node point over time and Produce a pot of foliage.
  • Provide a pot with soil appropriately sized to the number of cuttings you are planting. Too big a pot will encourage root rot.
  • Plant single nodes into the soil with the leaf over the pot edge. Do not plant too deeply.
  • Water the soil and keep it moist, but not saturated.
  • Set the pot into a moderate indirectly lighted area.
  • Keep temperatures at 70 to 80 degrees F.
neon leaves in soil
Neon pothos stem cuttings planted directly in soil.

Soil Propagation Tips:

  1. Be sure your potting mix is NOT high in fertilizer. Or the cuttings might burn.
  2. I mix perlite into my potting mix to ensure oxygen gets to the new roots so they won’t rot.
  3. The roots need moist soil until they begin to absorb nutrients and grow on their own.
  4. Once the plant starts show new growth begin normal watering schedule.
  5. Look for signs of new leaf and stem growth on cuttings. You did it!
marble queen pothos plant in white pot
Marble Queen Pothos Propagated Easily in soil and grow lush foliage in time.

How to Propagate Pothos Printable:

Yield: pothos plantings

How to Propagate Pothos Plants

Methods of propagation

Either soil or water propagation work well for making a new pothos rooting. It's easy to create new plants from your favorite pothos.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


For Soil propagation:


Make your soil mix:

  1. I use a 40/60 blend of soil mix and perlite.
  2. So for every cup of soil mix you will need 4 oz or potting soil and 6 oz of perlite. (you can adjust this balance as you prefer). This light mix will keep the starts rooting without fear of root rot.

Prepare your cutting:

  1. Wipe down the blades of your cutting utensil with the rubbing alcohol.
  2. Cut the vine in the internodal zone*. You want a healthy leaf or two on the stem.Cut your start in the internodal zone

Plant Root Node:

  1. Fill your small pot with the soil/perlite mixture to within a half inch of the pot lip.
  2. Use finger or pencil (eraser end down) to create a hole of 1/2 inch or so deep in the soil. (see video for more detail)
  3. Gently press the node and root into the hole.
  4. Press soil firmly around the root to hold it in place.
  5. Water the soil completely until it is moist through but not dripping.watering can watering starts
  6. Press the root again into the soil to completely support the root cutting.

Water and Light:

  1. Set the pot in strong INDIRECT light. neon leaves propagated in soil
  2. Keep it watered LIGHTLY until the leaf shows strength and new growth appears.(this can take several weeks)

Water Propagation:Golden Pothos -water propagation

  1. Cut the vine as directed above.
  2. Set the rooting in any available clean glass or clear plastic container filled with filtered water(or fresh water fish tank).
  3. It will grow roots within several weeks.
  4. Keep the water level above the node and roots.


*The internodal zone of the vine is the area on the vine BETWEEN the nodes.

Pothos Plants of all kinds are well loved in homes all over the world. Learn all about Pothos Plant Care in this post.

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