How to Propagate Pothos

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pothos cuttings
Rooting pothos cuttings in water is easy.
Image Credit: Teo Spengler

Some plants are easy to care for but hard to propagate. Others are easy to propagate but hard to maintain. Pothos takes top prize in both departments, and that's why we all love it. This wildly popular houseplant is the go-to option for beginners and expert gardeners alike, given its tolerance for low-light locations and its drought resistance. But it is also so easy to propagate that there is no reason to own just one.


Ready to multiply your pothos population? Just follow these simple steps.

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Things You'll Need

  • Scissors or pruners

  • Healthy pothos plant

  • Water

  • Clear jar, tall water glass or small pot and soil

1. Weigh your options: water or soil?

You can root a pothos cutting in water or soil. I personally prefer water since half the fun is seeing those roots grow. But propagating in soil is also easy and quite reliable. Since there is no transplant after rooting a cutting in soil, you don't have to worry about transplant shock.

2. Prepare the glass or pot

If you want to propagate your pothos cuttings in water, all you need is a see-through jar or tall water glass and some water. Truth to tell, the pothos cuttings won't care if the container is see-through or not, but if you're like me, you'll be checking those roots every hour or so, at least the first time. With a glass container, you can take a peek without pulling the cuttings out of the water.


If you want to propagate the cutting in soil, get a small pot with drain holes. Add well-draining potting soil to an inch below the pot's lip. Moisten the soil well and use a pencil to poke a hole in the soil.

3. Take the cuttings

Take cuttings with three sets of leaf nodes.
Image Credit: Teo Spengler

Don't get hung up about the tools to use to take the cuttings. Kitchen scissors or a regular pruner will work just fine. Take the cuttings in spring or summer during the time the plant is actively growing. While pothos cuttings may do OK in winter, growth is less certain and also slower.


Look at your pothos plant and identify the leaf nodes. These are small nubs located on the stems from which the leaves grow. You'll need three sets of leaf nodes on each cutting since the plant's roots will grow from the nodes as well. Take stem cuttings that are at least 4 to 6 inches in length. Make the cut below the bottom leaf node at a 45-degree angle.



4. Prepare the cuttings

Remove the lower leaves from the cuttings.
Image Credit: Teo Spengler

Remove all the leaves on each cutting other than the top set of leaves. Don't worry if there are no leaves on a cutting but be sure to put the right end into the water or soil. Cuttings with leaves will root quicker, but cuttings without leaves will also root in time.


5. Place the cuttings in water or soil

Pothos cuttings root in water or soil.
Image Credit: Teo Spengler

If you are growing the cuttings in water, place the cut end of each cutting (the end that was closest to the mother plant's roots) into the water container. Make sure that all leaves are above the water line. Place it in a warm location out of the sun.


If you are growing the cuttings in soil, you can dip the cut end of the cutting in rooting hormone if you like, but it's not essential. Slip it into the hole in the soil and press the soil in around it. Place the plant in indirect light.

6. Perform weekly maintenance

For plants rooted in water, change the water every week. This keeps it clean and lowers the risk of rot. It also reminds you to look for roots once a week, although if you're like me, this reminder won't be necessary.



For plants rooted in soil, keep the soil moist. At first, water every day. After three or four days, allow the soil to dry out before the next watering.

7. Move rooted cuttings to soil

Use a small pot and well-draining soil for pothos cuttings.
Image Credit: Teo Spengler

If you are rooting cuttings in water, you can move them to soil after the roots are 3 inches long. This is not an exact science, so 3 1/2 or 4 inches in length is just as good. Prepare a container with a few inches of well-draining potting soil, moisten it and sit the cutting's roots on the soil. Add more soil and gently press the soil around the stem. Place it in a location with indirect light and allow the plant to establish.

Propagating Pothos FAQs

What are leaf nodes?

Pothos leaf nodes grow into leaves and roots too.
Image Credit: Teo Spengler

These are small bumps or nubs located on the pothos stems. Leaves grow from these above ground; roots grow from these below ground. When you are taking pothos cuttings, it is important to cut segments that have several sets of leaf nubs to enable them to root.

Can I use multiple cuttings from one stem?

I used to think I had to use the very tip of a stem for a cutting, meaning there could only be one cutting per stem. But I've learned that this isn't true. You can cut off one long stem and then make it into two or three cuttings. In my experience, cuttings between 4 and 6 inches root quicker than long cuttings.

Can I use stem sections that don't have leaves?

When it comes to pothos, pruning and propagation go well together. If you schedule pruning in spring or summer, clip off any long, sparse stems and then cut them into segments for cuttings. Leaves help provide food for the roots, but even if there are no leaves on a cutting, there is still a good chance it will root. However, it is critical that the end of the cutting that gets rooted is the end that was closer to the mother plant's roots.


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