How to Propagate Pothos Cuttings in Water or Soil

Almost everyone owns a Pothos, or at least, I believe almost everyone should own a Pothos! These fast-growing houseplants are incredibly easy to care for and some of the easiest plants to propagate at home.

They are loved and praised by plant parents all around the globe and are some of the most popular houseplants on the market today. 

Even if you’ve never grown cuttings at home before, I can assure you that you can successfully propagate a Pothos plant from cuttings.

Homegrown propagations make lovely gifts and are a great way to fill your home with green vibes without spending extra cash on new plants. 

There are various ways you can grow Pothos cuttings, and in the article below, I will help you choose which method will work best for you and provide instructions on how to get started! 

Pothos Overview

Scientific NameEpipremnum aureum
Common NamesPothos, Golden Pothos, Devil’s Ivy, Hunter’s Rove 
OriginSouth-East Asia
Size and Dimensions (Mature)20-40 ft. long, 3-6 ft. wide
Distinguishing FeaturesHeart-shaped leaves with varying patterns of green, gray, yellow, or white
In-Home PlacementA bright spot with indirect light near windows facing south and west 

Is it Easy to Propagate Pothos Plants?

glass jars with water propagated pothos on table

Yes, propagating Pothos is very easy! All you need is a mature, healthy plant with leaf nodes (the little brown bumps on the Pothos stems) and long branches, scissors, a propagation medium, and just a little patience. 

Can I Propagate All Pothos Varieties The Same?

water propagated pothos in two glass jars placed on table

Yes! The genus of Pothos has over 50  different varieties, from indoor plants you can find in grocery stores to extremely rare and unique Pothos plants that will cost you hundreds of dollars. Luckily, all of these plants can be propagated the same way! 

Well-known Pothos plants such as the Golden Pothos, Marble Queen, Neon Pothos, Satin Pothos, and Jade Pothos can all be grown from cuttings using the same methods.

You can even grow the ‘Pearls and Jade,’ created in a lab at The University of Florida from a mutation in the ‘Marble Queen,’ from cuttings at home with just a few simple steps. 

Propagating Pothos In Soil or Water

There’s no good or bad medium when it comes to propagating Pothos. But depending on your goal, a medium may be a better choice than the other.

Since Pothos are fast-growers, you won’t need to wait a long time to see new growth, regardless of your chosen method.

If you’re indecisive on what method would work for you, I’ve got good news; below are the pros and cons and instructions for each method. Ultimately, it is a personal preference, as both methods can work equally well! 

Why Grow Pothos Cuttings in Soil?


What I like the most about soil medium is that it makes stronger roots. In soil, the already established cutting does not need the extra step of transferring from water to soil, which reduces the chances of complications. 


Soil propagation requires a little more maintenance than the water propagation method because you need to keep the soil moist. This also increases the risk of root rot during the rooting process. Monitoring soil cuttings is also hard because you cannot see the roots growing. 

How to Propagate Pothos Cuttings in Soil

Materials Needed 

  • Pruning shear/ sharp scissors / sharp knife
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Paper towel
  • Small pot with drainage holes
  • Fresh potting soil

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Start with disinfecting your scissors or pruning tools with rubbing alcohol. If you take multiple cuttings, please clean them after each cut to prevent the spread of diseases. 
  2. Pick a long stem to cut from the mother plant. Please ensure that you take cuttings from a healthy, lush mother plant. Don’t try to propagate wilted, rotten, or ill-looking leaves. They won’t make it. 
  3. Make a clean cut right below the node. You need to keep the node on your cutting. This is where roots will form! 
  4. Remove leaf sheaths if there are any. 
  5. Place your cutting in the middle of the pot and fill with soil. Gently press the soil down to keep the cutting in place. You can plant multiple cuttings in the same pot. You’ll end up with a nice and full Pothos plant! 
  6. Water the soil thoroughly until it runs from the drainage holes. 
  7. Place your fresh cuttings in indirect but bright sunlight. Do not put them in full sun, because they will quickly burn! 
  8. Keep the soil slightly moist by watering when you feel the top layer of soil has dried out. I recommend checking the soil every couple of days and watering when needed. After a few weeks, the cuttings will take root, and new leaves will grow! 

Potted Exotics Pro Tip: Cut the root nodes at a 45-degree angle to increase the surface area in contact with the soil. The greater the surface area, the faster it is for the plant to get moisture and nutrients.  

What is the Best Soil Mix for Growing Pothos Cuttings?

The best potting mix for Pothos is well-draining soil to prevent root rot. Mix half potting soil with half perlite for a simple, fluffy mix.

Alternatively, you can create your own soil by combining 50% coco coir, 20% perlite, 20% orchid bark, and 10% worm castings. 

Why Grow Pothos Cuttings in Water?


Growing your Pothos cuttings in water is the easiest way to propagate your cuttings. You have to refresh the water occasionally, but they don’t need any other maintenance. I also love to see Pothos roots growing on my cuttings; a great bonus of water propagation! 


The downside of water propagation is the transition from water to soil. Water roots are very delicate and will easily break during the transplanting. Due to transplant shock, most cuttings will rot and die after being transplanted to soil. However, you can prevent this by being extra careful with your young cuttings! 

How to Propagate Pothos Cuttings in Water

Materials Needed

  • Pruning shear/ sharp scissors / sharp knife
  • Alcohol
  • Paper towel
  • A glass jar
  • Fresh water

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Make sure to start with clean tools! Clean your scissors with alcohol before cutting; this can help prevent the spreading of illness and disease. 
  2. Pick a long stem to cut from the parent plant. Again, ensure that the mother plant is healthy! 
  3. Cut the stem right below the leaf nodes. The node is important as this is where your plant’s new roots will grow. 
  4. Remove leaf sheaths if there are any. If you leave them on, they will rot in the water. 
  5. Grab your glass jar (or other vessel) and fill it with fresh water. Tap water will work just fine. 
  6. Place your cutting in the water, ensuring the nodes are submerged. Do not submerge the leaf. It will drown and rot! 
  7. Place the glass of water in bright, indirect light. Before you know it, your roots will have grown, and your rooted cuttings will be ready to be moved to the soil! You can transplant the cutting to the soil when the roots are about inches long. 

Potted Exotics Pro Tip: You can plant your cuttings right back into the soil of the mother plant when they have taken root to fill your planter up with more Pothos vines for a bushier plant and a fuller look!

Can You Put Fertilizer in the Water?

Yes, but it’s not necessary. The liquid fertilizer can make the shoots grow faster. However, if you use it excessively, it might cause burning of the roots and stem. Also, there can be an overgrowth of algae, making sunlight less available for the roots. 

If you want to experiment, try adding a few fertilizer drops to your water and see how it goes! Aim for about a teaspoon of fertilizer to three parts water. But trust me, your plant won’t need it. Pothos cuttings will grow wonderfully in water alone. 

Other Methods To Grow Pothos Cuttings

pothos soil layering in a pot

Apart from the classic soil and water methods for Pothos propagation, people like to grow Pothos cuttings in a few other ways. These methods require a little more work but will yield great results. Below is all the information you need to 

Soil Layering

Soil layering is a technique where the main vine is bent into the ground to produce roots. When Pothos plants are over- or underwatered, you may be left with a bare, long vine.

When Pothos vines get leggy, soil layering is an easy way to give your plant a bushier look without making a single cut! 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Pick a healthy Pothos plant. This method is great for Pothos with long, bare vines without leaves. Bonus points if the vines have aerial roots growing from the nodes already! 
  2. Water the pot to make the soil slightly moist. Moisture will help the cuttings to take root! 
  3. Bend the first node into the soil until fully covered. You can use a bobby pin to pin the vine down. Ensure the node is touching or submerged in the soil; otherwise, it won’t root.
  4. Do the same in all succeeding nodes, going around the pot. 
  5. Add a thin layer of soil to ensure everything is covered in a thin layer of soil. 
  6. Continue care for your Pothos as usual. At some point, the nodes will take root and sprout new growth! After a while, the top of your Pothos will begin to fill up and eventually vine down. And you’re left with a stunning, full plant! 

Perlite or Sphagnum Moss

Perlite or Moss can be used to replace plain water for propagation. Many growers prefer these mediums to plain water, as they allow for more airflow, which will greatly benefit the root development of your cuttings. 

Materials Needed

  • Pruning shear/ sharp scissors / sharp knife
  • Alcohol
  • A jar or other vessel
  • Perlite or Spagnum Moss, enough to fill the jar. 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Thoroughly clean your scissors or pruners before you begin chopping up the Pothos. Sterilize them with Alcohol to ensure the tool is free of bacteria. 
  2. Pick a long stem to cut from the parent plant, ensuring the stem has a node. 
  3. Cut the stem right below the node. The node is important as this is where your plant’s new roots will grow. 
  4. Grab your glass jar (or other vessel) and fill it halfway with perlite or moss. If you’re using moss, it’s not a good idea to press it down much; instead, gently lay it in the jar. 
  5. Place your cutting in the pot’s middle and fill it with more moss or perlite. Again, if you use moss, do not press it down hard. Pressing the moss might compact it, which will inhibit airflow and may cause rot! 
  6. Place the jar in bright, indirect light and wait for root growth
  7. Keep a low layer of water in the bottom of your jar if you’re using perlite, about a third of the jar. 
  8. Moss should be kept moist. I like to mist my moss daily, but you can also water it when you notice it’s drying out. Do not allow water to remain in the bottom of the pot when using moss! 

Troubleshooting Failed Propagations

pothos propagation in water on a stand placed on table

There are numerous reasons your pothos cuttings failed to grow roots. But don’t worry, you can prevent most of these problems if you are prepared!

Below are the most common issues and some great tips on treating and preventing them. 

Cuttings Don’t Grow Roots

If your Pothos cutting is not growing roots, the cutting will likely not have a root node. The node is the most critical part of plant propagation. It’s the growing point where new roots and leaves emerge! 

A cutting without a node will not grow roots, and thus, you need to try again with a new cutting. Cut your Pothos right below a node to ensure that it will be able to root. 

Cuttings Won’t Grow New Leaves

Environmental problems might cause a lack of leaves on your Pothos cuttings. Too much sunlight can stress out the Pothos. Instead of making new roots, its energy will be diverted to respiring to cope with the stress! 

Similarly, if the stem cuttings are in low light, they can’t make enough food (photosynthesize) to produce energy and grow new leaves. Give your cuttings indirect sunlight for the best results. 

Another common reason for a lack of leaves is cold exposure. The Pothos love warm temperatures. The plant will go dormant and cease growing completely if temperatures fall below 68 ℉ (20℃). Make sure to put the plants indoors during the colder months! 

Lastly, sometimes, a lack of growth comes down to a lack of patience! If the conditions for your cuttings are all correct, the plant will eventually grow. Although Pothos are fast-growers, you’ll still need to wait a while to see growth. 

The Leaves On Your Cuttings Are Curling 

You need to water more! The first few weeks after propagation are critical for the new plants.

The best way is to water the Pothos every week or when the soil is 2-3 inches dry to ensure constantly moist soil. For water propagations, please make sure that the nodes and roots are always submerged in the water. 

Sometimes, curling happens when you take cuttings from an unhealthy mother plant. Ensure to water the mother plant a day before you take cuttings to ensure the cuttings are filled with moisture. 

Cuttings Are Turning Brown/Black

This means your cuttings have rotted! If the part of the stem with the node is still green, you can try to cut off all the brown, rotten bits and repeat the propagation process.

However, if the entire Pothos stems have rotted, you will need to try again with new cuttings. Use fresh, new soil for the new cutting. 

Rot is caused by overwatering or not refreshing the water frequently enough. Make sure to allow the soil of your propagation to dry out before you water again, and ensure that your pot and soil have good drainage. Water propagations should be refreshed with new water once a week! 

Cutting Dies After Transplanting To Soil

Finally! You’ve grown a beautiful and healthy cutting in a jar of water, and you’re ready to transfer it to the soil, but soon after you moved it to the soil, the cuttings seem to have died. This is likely due to transplant shock, common during this process.

Moving to a new environment can be incredibly stressful for your poor Pothos plants. Sadly, this plant death is irreversible.

Sometimes, the cutting will perk back up eventually, but prevention is the best treatment for transplant shock. When repotting to soil, be very gentle because water roots are delicate! 

Keep your soil medium nice and moist for at least four weeks after transplanting. You can continue to allow the soil to dry out a little more (about halfway) once you notice new growth on your cutting. 


propagated pothos in a glass jar filled with water placed on wooden table

Can You Propagate Pothos Without a Leaf?

Pothos can be propagated with no leaf as long as there is a root node, although it takes longer—place the cuttings in a plastic bag or box to create a warm and humid environment. Alternatively, you can use a glass container or test tubes with plastic cover. 

Can You Use Rooting Hormone To Propagate Pothos?

Yes! Rooting hormones will give the stem cuttings a head start but are unnecessary. But if you do, dip the cut end into the hormone powder and avoid pouring directly into the water because it will make the medium murky. Rooting hormone can be used for every propagation method. 

When is the Best Time to Propagate Pothos?

Pothos should be propagated in the summer for best results. The cuttings need lots of light and warmth to grow roots and leaves!

Remember that Pothos become dormant in cold weather, and while you can propagate in the winter, you’ll likely not see much growth until spring. 

What Is The Fastest Way To Propagate Pothos?

Water propagation is likely the fastest method to grow new Pothos plants. However, since Pothos are vigorous growers, they can grow roots in water and soil propagations in just a couple of weeks. 

Does Pothos Like to Be Rootbound?

This indoor houseplant can tolerate being rootbound but should be repotted if its pot gets too snug. You can tell when it is time to repot when you notice the soil goes dry very fast, the leaves grow stunted, or the Pothos stops growing completely. Repotting is best done in spring and summer!

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