Top Ways to Grow the Epipremnum Aureum

Last update: April 1, 2021

Considered a beginner’s houseplant, epipremnum aureum has few needs. Also known as Devil’s Ivy or Pothos, the plant can grow in low, medium or high light conditions. It can also tolerate a bit of drought and doesn’t need to be watered that often. A trailing vine that can reach up to 40 feet in the wild, pothos is easily propagated at home by taking cuttings of the plant. The cuttings can be started in either soil or water.

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Growth Habit of Epipremnum Aureum

Epipremnum aureum, also known as Devil’s Ivy or Pothos, is a vining plant. When it grows in the wild, it can reach up to 40 feet in length, according to the Missouri Botanical Garden.

A native of the Solomon Islands, it’s known for either growing up tree trunks, winding its way around them or for spilling onto the ground. When grown as a houseplant, it can either be stretched across the wall like a garland or allowed to tumble over the side of a tall piece of furniture.

In some cases, a number of different pothos plants are put in the same container together, so that they spill over the sides, creating a full, bushy look. Some gardeners will train the plant to grow up on a trellis placed in the center of a container.

Care for Epipremnum Aureum

Epipremnum aureum, or pothos, is a houseplant that’s often recommended to beginners. That’s because it is fairly simple to grow and will thrive in a range of conditions, from low to high light. It can handle a bit of neglect. In some cases, you don’t even need to plant pothos in soil. It will thrive simply stuck in a vase full of water.

Light and Water Needs

Pothos plants are fairly tolerant of a variety of light conditions. They’ll grow in rooms that don’t get much natural light as well as in well-lit, sunny rooms. Although it is flexible and can adapt to a variety of light conditions, it usually prefers a bit of indirect light.

One things that’s interesting about pothos is that different varieties handle light levels differently. Variegated varieties, which have white or yellow stripes on their leaves, tend to prefer brighter conditions, according to Gardening Know How.

A dark or dim room won’t kill a variegated pothos, but it can cause the plant to lose its distinctive markings. The green areas of the leaves are what produce food for the rest of the plant. When the there’s not enough light in a room, the plant’s leaves will become more green in an attempt to provide more food and energy for the plant.

Your pothos plant will also let you know if it’s getting too much light. The leaves will become pale yellow or white if there’s too much sunlight in the room or if the plant is in direct light.

When it comes to watering your epipremnum aureum plant, it’s better to provide too little water than too much. Waterlogged soil can lead to root rot, which can cause the plant’s leaves to turn yellow and fall off.

While your pothos can tolerate some drought, if you let it get too dry, it can have stunted growth. If you’re unsure whether or not it’s time to water the plant, push your finger into the soil. If the top inch or soil is dry, it’s time to give your plant a drink.

Your plant might also give you a visual cue that it’s thirsty. If its leaves wilt, it’s time for water.

Growing Pothos in Soil vs Water

One interesting thing about Pothos is that the plant can grow well planted in soil or potting mix or simply stuck in a vase full of water. That means that feeding the plant is usually not much of an issue. It’s able to get the nutrients it needs without supplemental fertilizer.

Whether you should grow pothos in water or soil depends on how it began its life. If you purchase a plant from a garden center and it’s potted in a container with soil, you’ll want to continue to grow it in soil.

But if you get a cutting of a pothos stem from someone that’s been rooted in water, you’ll want to keep the plant in a container with water for the rest of its life. The plants don’t transition well from growing in soil to growing in water or from growing in water to growing in soil.

Propagating Pothos

Epipremnum aureum is a fairly easy plant to propagate or to divide and produce new plants. Although the plant won’t get as large in the home as it would in the wild, there might come a time when your pothos plant is longer or leggier than you’d like it to be.

If that’s the case, you can take a cutting of the plant and allow it to root so that it creates a new plant.

The video above shows you what to do if you want to start pothos cuttings in a soil-filled pot. You’d follow similar instructions to start the plant in water. Instead of filling a deep container with soil, though, you’d fill a glass or vase with water.

It’s important to choose a healthy looking pothos stem when propagating your plants. Ideally, the stem will have at least four leaves on it and will have health looking nodules at the base. The roots grow from the nodes, so be sure your cutting has at least one.

After you’ve planted the cuttings in soil or placed them in water, they should usually start to form roots after about two weeks. At that point, you can decide to leave them where they are or you can transplant them to a new container.

If you’ve started a cutting in water and decide that you want to grow the plant in soil, the sooner you transplant it, the better. If the roots become too large the plant will have a hard time adjusting to life in soil. It’s usually better to just leave a cutting started in water growing in water.

Photo by 821292 licensed under CC0

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Learn How Best to Grow the Wandering Jew Plant

Last update: April 1, 2021

The Wandering Jew plant is actually three varieties of Tradescantia, or spiderwort, plants. The varieties come in a range of colors and are native to Mexico, Central America and Brazil. The plant gets its name because of its spreading growth habit. After being planted in a container, planter, or in the ground, it will quickly wander to other areas. Although some varieties are only hardy in zones 10 and 11 and just one variety is hardy to zone 8, the plant is occasionally grown outside as a groundcover.

Varieties of Wandering Jew

When people talk about growing a Wandering Jew plant, they might actually be talking about growing one of three different varieties of plant. Each of the three types of Wandering Jew is a type of spiderwort plant.

Although each variety has the same basic care needs as the others, there are some features that set them apart.

  • Tradescantia pallida. Also known as spider lily, Tradescantia pallida is native to Mexico and is hardy to zone 10. It’s usually grown as a houseplant and potted, although it can be grown outdoors as an annual. The plant has dark purple leaves, a trailing habit, and produces light purple flowers.
  • Tradescantia zebrina. Sometimes called the inch plant, Tradescantia zebrina has distinctive leaves. Each leaf has two silver stripes running up and down it. Like the spider lily, it has a trailing, creeping habit and can reach up to two feet in length. The plant is a native of Mexico and Central America and is hardy down to zone 8.
  • Tradescantia fluminensis. The third Wandering Jew variety, also known as the small-leaf spiderwort, hails from Brazil. It has solid green leaves and invasive habit. The plant is hardy to zone 9 and will easily take over an area of the garden if grown outdoors.

Where Did the Name Come From?

Why are these three varieties of spiderwort called Wandering Jew plants? According to Ask the Rabbi, the name of the plant might simply be due to the fact that is likes to spread and will grow quickly.

Forward magazine discovered that there were actually two other plants, unrelated to Tradescantia, that had the name Wandering Jew, in the 1800s. Like the Tradescantia varieties, those two plants, ivy-leaved toadflax and creeping rockfoil, also had a tendency to spread and travel over the ground.

How to Care for the Wandering Jew Plant

In many parts of the US, varieties of Wandering Jew are grown indoors as houseplants in pots. Although the plant has a reputation for quick growth and for spreading with ease, ti does need a fair amount of attention and care to really thrive.

Light Needs

Varieties of Tradescantia tend to prefer bright light. The distinctive markings on some varieties will become less visible if the plant is grown in a room that is too dark, according to Garden Know How.

Putting the plant in a room with a lot of windows is ideal. But you want to be careful not to put the plant in the direct path of the light. The plant prefers light that is filtered, as direct sunlight can burn it.

Food and Water Needs

The plants can be a bit picky when it comes to water. You want to give them just enough, but not too much and not too little, water. Too much water, especially near the crown of the plant, will encourage rotting.

Too little water will hurt the plant, except in the winter, when you’ll want to ease up on watering. In the spring and summer, you can tell whether it’s time to water the plant or not by touching its soil. If the soil is dry to the touch, it needs more water.

Although you can water less in the winter, the drier indoor air can bother the plant. You might want to mist the plant’s leaves every so often in the winter time to keep it from becoming too dry.

Wandering Jew plants need fairly regular feedings. During the spring and summer, make sure you feed the plant once a month.

Propagating Wandering Jew

Whether you grow the purple variety, the solid green variety or the variegated variety, you can easily propagate Wandering Jew plants by pruning¬†cuttings. In fact, the plant’s growth habit pretty much demands that you take cuttings from it every few years and start over again.

That’s because as the plant gets older, it starts to lose its leaves near the crown. The plant will continue to produce a long, trailing vine, but the vine will be bare near the crown.

To preserve the look of your plant, you’ll want to take a cutting a start a new one as soon as it begins to drop leaves. You can also take cuttings before that to create new plants to give to friends and family.

The video above from Josh’s Frogs walks you through the process of propagating the plant. The woman in the video is rooting the cuttings in soil, but it’s worth noting that you can also put the stem in a glass of water to get it to produce roots.

Should You Grow the Plant Outdoors?

You don’t have to grow Wandering Jew plants indoors. In fact, the plants are frequently grown outdoors as groundcover. If you are in zone 8 or 9 or higher, you should be able to grow the plants as perennials.

There’s just one thing to keep in mind before you start growing any variety of Tradescantia outdoors. That’s the fact that plants can be invasive. Its growth habit can mean that it quickly overtakes an area of your garden, then moves onto take over other parts of your yard or even your neighbor’s yard.

Whether the plant is considered invasive or not depends on where you live. Some areas might actually forbid gardeners to grow the plant outdoors because of the chance that it might push out native species. It’s a good idea to check with your local horticultural organization or with a local university extension to see if there are any restrictions on growing Wandering Jew plants in your area.

Photo by melissiam licensed under CC0