Office of pothos production

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This is golden pothos (Epipremnum aureum). Sometimes it's not so golden, especially when grown in dim light. Sometimes it goes by other names: Silver Vine, Centipede tongavine, Devil's Ivy. However, with that leaf shape and given their shared vining habit, we can see why it's confused with heartleaf philodendron. 

Cut and stick, wait and see

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I have a plant in my office at work that is very happy and I am wondering how easy it would be to start cuttings to give away. It is an Epipremnum, Pothos. (I thought it was a Philodendron when I bought it, is there a difference?)

The plant is putting out long vines and I don't want it to develop into one of those office plants that take over the all shelves and eats the office. Is it share-able or should I just prune it and throw the cuttings away? Thanks guys, - J.C. -

It's eminently share-able.

Stick any short bit of stem with one leaf into some sandy potting mix, and tent it with a sandwich baggie to create a mini terrarium. Keep it in decent light -- something many offices have which have fluorescent lights shining from dawn long into the night. It'll not only root but bust out of the tent on its own in a month or so. Give it bottom heat, see it happen even faster.

Or root cuttings in water. Move them into pots soon as you see roots, or just grow them on in water for years.

More about propagation in the notes from our Propagation Workshop.


Commonly, understandably confused

Plenty of people confuse members of Epipremnum and Philodendron. A pothos grown in low light may be very green, very similar in leaf and habit to heartleaf Philodendron (P. scandens). The two like the same growing conditions, too -- bright but not direct light, steady moisture, good drainage. In practice, they are interchangeable. However, it's pothos that provides the gold leaf and some variegated types people find especially attractive .



Right: Golden pothos is definitely a plant that can take over the shelf and eat the office. Yet it has no need to be so big and makes no argument if continually trimmed back.

We're among those who often mix them up. Friends who specialize in interior plants have chuckled over this, and seem able to tell them apart at a distance. However, we did overhear, one time, "You need to feel the new leaf. Even then it's a relative thing. If it's glossier, it's pothos. If it's matte it's a Philodendron."

We look at the leaf stalk to make a stab at which is which. An Epipremnum petiole has a trough in it, while Philodendron leaf stalks are smooth and round in cross section. If they ever bloomed we'd see bigger differences, but we're not likely to ever see a bloom on either one. They fail to receive some trigger or condition they need to flower, outside their home tropic/subtropic environment.

Below, left: Pothos leafstalk or petiole forms a trough. Below, right: The Philodendron petiole is solid.

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Stick a cutting

Making cuttings of indoor plants brings a smile to our faces, forever linked to a day of sticking cuttings (What's Coming Up issue 32*) with our young friends Mackenzie Moore and Cody Tripp, who dubbed Janet, "Nature Girl." (What's Coming Up issue 31.*)

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*Check Ensemble Weekly Editions for these two fun issues. If they are not yet posted, they will be. You can also look them up on our CD collection, Asking About Asters.

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