Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) are a tropical vine and arguably one of the most easy-going houseplants. They are sometimes mistaken for Philodendrons, which have similar heart-shaped leaves and come from the same Araceae family.
These popular houseplants originate from French Polynesia, although several varieties are native to the Pacific Islands and parts of Southeast Asia. In this article, we’ll identify 11 types of Pothos to add to your plant collection.
If you are new to Pothos, here are some interesting facts you may not know about this species. Otherwise, skip ahead.
- Pothos are shy-flowering in nature due to the impairment of a particular gene responsible for developing flowers. (You can read more about the gibberellin biosynthetic gene here.)
- In the wild, Pothos are understory vines that act as ground cover. They can also climb up trees using their aerial roots and reach for light higher in the canopy. Because of these characteristics, they usually can tolerate different light conditions.
- Pothos are widely recognised as Epipremnum Aureum; however, Scindapsus and Philodendron varieties and cultivars are sometimes referred to as Pothos.
- Pothos can live up to 10 years and grow up to 30 feet (0.9metres) long.
- Pothos are considered toxic to pets and humans when ingested. This is due to calcium oxalate crystals in their leaves and stems. These crystals act like shards of glass that injure tissues. Though rarely fatal, vomiting, mouth burns and severe stomach pains are common side effects.
The following four Pothos types are the most common and well-known. They are the “mainstay” Pothos that are the most established compared with newer varieties.
#1: Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum ‘Aureum’)
If you have come across Pothos before, chances are, this is the Golden Pothos. Also known as Devil’s Ivy or Money Plant (though this can refer to any number of Pothos), the Golden Pothos is the most prolific and well-known Pothos variety.
Golen Pothos has green leaves with golden-yellow variegation, though some individual leaves may be purely green with no variegation. Brighter light encourages more variegation.
According to a NASA Clean Air Study, they are air-purifying plants that remove impurities like benzene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde from the air.
#2: Jade Pothos (Epipremnum aureum ‘Jade’)
Jade Pothos are similar in size and shape to Golden Pothos but have one important distinction: they have no variegation. Instead, they boast uniformly lush green leaves that range from medium to darker green.
Unlike their variegated counterparts, Jade Pothos do best in low-light conditions. If you do not have much natural light in your home, Jade Pothos may be a good choice for you.
#3: Neon Pothos (Epipremnum aureum ‘Neon’)
Neon Pothos are hard to miss! They have a striking bright lime or chartreuse-green tone with no variegation. Leaves are most luminous when juvenile, often appearing neon yellow and darkening slightly to a more bright green tone as they mature.
The shape of the Neon Pothos’ leaves differs slightly from Golden and Jade Pothos. The former is more elongated and less round. Though tolerant of low-light conditions, Neon Pothos thrive in bright but indirect light.
#4: Marble Queen Pothos (Epipremnum aureum ‘Marble Queen’)
This Queen has a similar shape and pattern as Golden Pothos but differs in its variegation.
Unlike the Golden Pothos, the Marble Queen’s variegation is:
- A mix of light green, darker green and white (instead of golden-yellow);
- Exists on every leaf (Golden Pothos may have individual leaves with no variegation);
- Set against greyish-green leaves (instead of green).
Because it lacks chlorophyll on variegated parts of its foliage, the Marble Queen is a slower-growing pothos than most. It tolerates a range of light conditions but place it in bright and indirect light to thrive.
Read more about how to care for your Marble Queen here.
Other Popular Pothos
#5: Pearls and Jade (Epipremnum aureum ‘UFM12’)
Because Pothos are shy-flowering, no known hybrid cultivars are known to exist. As a result, programs to induce mutations in selected Pothos to create new varieties are not uncommon.
In the case of Pearls and Jade, the University of Florida had created this new cultivar using mutations from the Marble Queen. They irradiated a group of Marble Queen plants, waited until a new shoot appeared six months later, then isolated and propagated this new mutation (more info here). How cool is that!
This cultivar is creamy white and green, giving this beauty its name. Pearls and Jade leaves are much smaller (3 inches by 2 inches; 8cm by 5cm) than its parent plant (4.5 inches by 3 inches, 12cm by 8cm). The variegation appears as irregular splotches ranging from a small dot to covering over half the leaf.
#6: Jessenia Pothos (Epipremnum aureum ‘Jessenia’)
Jessenia is another rare cultivar with the Marble Queen parent plant. It features heavily-variegated emerald green leaves with light green and yellow splashes.
Unlike other Pothos, the shades of its foliage do not change depending on light conditions. Due to its liberal chartreuse, they are slow-growing like the Marble Queen, its parent plant.
#7: Pothos NJoy (Epipremnum aureum ‘N’Joy’)
The NJoy stands out from other Pothos with its small oval green-white leaves. The green parts tend to be concentrated at or around the leaf’s midrib, appearing in large splashes, with the white colouration appearing at the edges.
It does look so similar to the Pearls and Jade, but the NJoy has clean lines between the cream and green parts of its leaves. On the other hand, the Pearls and Jade tends to have some green dots or streaks on the cream portions.
Interestingly, the NJoy came into existence in 2002 as a naturally occurring mutation from the Marble Queen Pothos. However, they look very different – the NJoy’s leaves are around 1/3 the size of the Marble Queen, and the variegation, as you can see, is much more concentrated than the Marble Queen’s.
The NJoy prefers bright, indirect light to lower light conditions. Set it on an East-facing windowsill to see it flourish.
#8: Manjula Pothos (Epipremnum aureum ‘HANSOTI14’)
We love the Manjula Pothos. The Manjula is a new cultivar discovered only recently in 2010 by Ashish Arvind Hansoti near Mumbai, India.
Another name for the Manjula? Happy Leaf Pothos. We can see why: its leaves are broad and uniquely wavy, almost like it’s smiling and saying Hi!
The shades of whites, creams and greens on the Manjula’s foliage may look similar to the Pearl and Jade. However, the Manjula has larger leaves than the Pearl and Jade, and there is more variegation on individual leaves on the former.
Personally, the way we differentiate the Manjula is through its leaf tips, with the pointy end narrowing into a tip more than other Pothos.
#9: Glacier Pothos (Epipremnum aureum ‘Glacier’)
Another slow-grower is the Glacier Pothos. The Glacier looks so similar to the NJoy that most people get the two confused!
But if you look carefully, there are a few ways to tell them apart:
- Glacier’s leaves are larger and flatter
- NJoy tends to have a higher concentration of green on its foliage, while Glacier can have more white than green.
There’s not too much information on the origins of Glacier Pothos. What we do know is that the Glacier is relatively rare. Count yourself lucky if you get your hands on one!
#10: Global Green (Epipremnum aureum’ Global Green’)
The Global Green is another mysterious patented variety of Pothos. Its origins are not well known. In 2021, Costa Farms had released a statement saying they have exclusive rights for its propagation in North America.
We especially like Global Green’s small but lush green-on-green foliage.
Uniquely, its lighter greens are concentrated in the middle of the leaf, while darker greens feature on leaf edges. It also has a more rapid growth habit than most other variegated Pothos, perfect for impatient gardeners like ourselves.
#11: Hawaiian Pothos (Epipremnum aureum ‘Hawaiian’)
Hawaiian Pothos are a cultivar of Golden Pothos. While its variegation may look similar, the easiest way to tell them apart is the sheer size of the Hawaiian Pothos’s leaves, especially in the wild!
While both species do well in bright indirect light, Hawaiian Pothos thrives in higher light conditions than the Golden Pothos, so they should be placed directly on windowsills if kept indoors.
Another way to tell is that Golden Pothos develop yellow stems, while Hawaiian stems are green.
Not True Pothos!
True Pothos are Epipremnum aureum. There are several look-alikes commonly referred to as Pothos but are not. Here are two of them!
#1: Silver Philodendron (Scindapsus Pictus, also known as Satin Pothos)
Though the Silver Philodendron (also known as Satin Pothos) is from the same Araceae family, they are not Pothos, nor Philodendrons!
Nevertheless, Satin is popular due to its heart-shaped, green leaves and greyish-silver variegation. This evergreen climber is also a tropical plant originating from the rainforests of Southeast Asia.
Satins generally need the same care and are as easy-going as their Pothos relatives. It reportedly can grow up to 10 feet (3 meters) tall in the wild!
#2: Cebu Blue Pothos (Epipremnum pinnatum)
The Cebu Blue Pothos, or Epipremnum pinnatum, is related to Pothos but isn’t technically one. They feature elongated, arrow-shaped leaves and are a more rare and delicate variety than most.
Not surprisingly, the Cebu Blue is native to the Philippines and named after the city of its origin. What’s impressive about this plant is that juvenile and mature forms look nothing like each other. Some Monsteras, like the Monstera Dubia and Monstera Siltepecana, share this trait.
When young, this plant has green, dainty long leaves with a blue undertone, which is especially noticeable when the light hits at certain angles. Then, it transforms into a glossy green plant with fenestrations, resembling something like a Rhaphidophora Decursiva.
The catch? You might have to wait 20 years for this Blue to mature!
Other Similar Plants and Varieties
Often we are asked if Pothos and Philodendron are the same species. Althrough they have similar care conditions and also appear similar, they are not the same plants! Here’s how to differentiate between the two.
Other houseplants we recommend are:
- The easy to grow Tradescantia Nanouk, for a pop of colour! Another plant for a pop of colour is the pinstriped Calathea Ornata.
- Peperomia Hope or Hoya Curtisii for vining, compact, easy-going houseplants. If space is not an issue, another vining plant, the Rhaphidophora Decursiva has lush, larger foliage.
- Hoya Linearis is a good vining option too, if you like its long, uniquely-pointy succulent leaves, but they are a little more challenging to grow.
- Anthuriums are an excellent choice if you like plants with impressive foliage. Start off with the hardy Crystallinum, and when you’re confident, work your way up to the Clarinervium and Magnificum.
- If you’re a more seasoned gardener, Alocasias have beautiful leathery leaves – go for the Zebrina or Polly.
- For a change from the usual Philodendrons, try the rare Philodendron Melanochrysum.
- A wacky option – the strange but beautiful army-camoflague plant, the Aglanema pictum triclor
- For the true aficionado: the unicorn plant! The very beautiful and very fussy Monstera Obliqua is for you!
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.
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