The Hawaiian Pothos (botanical name: Epipremnum aureum ‘Hawaiian’) is a cultivar of the popular Golden Pothos. They have larger leaves than many other pothos, with vibrant variegation in shades of gold, green, and cream.
In terms of care, Hawaiian Pothos is known for its easygoing nature and ability to tolerate some neglect. They thrive in most light conditions (though, medium to bright indirect light is best) and a wide range of humidity, between 40-70%. Water deeply when the topsoil is dry, using the soak and dry method. Light fertilizing during the growing season is optional, but beneficial.
Trust us, these hardy plants are hard to kill. They are actually classified as invasive in Florida!
Let’s dive into the details.
Caring for your Hawaiian Pothos
Light is an important part of Hawaiian Pothos care, but this plant’s needs are straightforward. Medium to bright, indirect light is best to bring out your Hawaiian Pothos’ lush variegation. For this reason, placing your plant in an East-facing windowsill is ideal.
While they can tolerate some low-intensity filtered light, you will know that your plant needs more light if its foliage slowly turns more green, losing its creams and golds.
No chlorophyll is present in the cream and gold portions of its leaves, which means photosynthesis cannot take place. So if the green portions of the plant don’t receive sufficient light, your Hawaiian Pothos produces more green leaves to compensate.
Watering is another important care component for your Hawaiian Pothos, but there’s nothing too special that it needs. Use the usual “soak and dry” method, and take care not to overwater your plant.
Here are some tips to make sure you’re nailing it 🙂
How to check when it’s time to water:
- Check the soil’s moisture with your fingers. If the top 2 inches of soil is dry, water your plant deeply, until excess water drains out of the drainage hole. Then, allow the topsoil to dry again before watering again.
- If the topsoil is still slightly moist, hold off watering and check back in a day or two.
- As a rule of thumb, using the method described, watering frequency should work out to be roughly once a week during the spring and summer months, naturally reducing in frequency as the weather turns cold and evaporation rates drop.
- During colder months, your plant will also require less water as growth slows.
- The Hawaiian Pothos is quite forgiving if you forget to water it. You will know it needs a drink when it starts drooping, leaves start to get crispy and its soil starts to compact.
- It also is fairly responsive to watering after a dry spell, perking right back up in a couple of hours.
- Having a shallow root system, this Hawaiian Pothos is susceptible to overwatering.
- Severe overwatering leads to root rot, where roots are suffocated as water drowns out the air needed for roots to breathe. Moisture-loving fungi may also feed on decaying roots.
- When overwatered, your plant’s leaves turn yellow, and stems start to droop down. You’d notice that soil remains wet after several days. In this case, allow your plant to dry completely before attempting to water it again. You may also need to bring it outdoors to encourage it to dry off quickly.
For a step-by-step on how to save an overwatered plant, check out our guide.
Ideally, keep your tropical Hawaiian Pothos in 40-70% humidity.
If you live in an arid climate, watch out for browning leaf tips as this indicates the air is too dry for your plant. In this case, investing in a humidifier is the best and most convenient way to keep your humidity levels high. Alternatively, you can use a pebble tray to boost humidity levels.
Alas, when it comes to temperature, the warmer the better! Your Hawaiian Pothos comes from the tropical islands of the South Pacific, where it is used to basking in a warm and humid climate. Temperatures between 65-85 degrees F (18-30 degrees C) keep your plant most happy, with the higher end of this range being ideal.
Unsurprisingly, your Hawaiin Pothos is not cold-hardy, so keep it indoors during the colder months, especially if temperatures dip below 60 degrees F (15 degrees C). A warm and stable temperature is preferred, so place your plant away from air vents and drafts.
Unfortunately, don’t expect to see Hawaiian Pothos flowers. This is because only the juvenile form of the plant is seen when it is cultivated away from its native habitat. That’s okay though, in all honesty, what this tropical pothos is known for is its large, lush foliage anyway!
In the wild, a Hawaiian Pothos climbs up on host trees, reaching towering heights. But even when kept as a houseplant, this hardy Pothos can reach an impressive 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall, and around 2 feet (0.6 meters) wide. Its uniquely vibrant leaves span around 5-12 inches (12-30 cm), producing much larger leaves than many other pothos.
The Hawaiian Pothos is known for being a vigorous grower, especially when given the right light and watering conditions.
When given a moss pole, vining plants that are natural climbers tend to grow more quickly. It is common for our Hawaiin Pothos to grow vertically on its moss pole around 12 inches (30 cm) during the spring and summer months.
Soil or Growing Medium
The Hawaiian Pothos is not terribly picky about its growing medium, as long as it is light and well-draining.
For our Hawaiian Pothos, we like using:
- 3 parts high-quality indoor potting soil
- 1 part perlite
The perlite helps lighten the soil and enhances its drainage. At the same time, the potting soil provides a good nutritious base, and, containing peat, is slightly acidic.
If you don’t have perlite on hand, you can substitute this for vermiculite or orchid bark. These amendments increase drainage and aeration.
Alternatively, we’ve had success using LECA as a growing medium for Pothos plants. LECA is inorganic, so has the benefit of reducing the risk of pests and insect attacks. At the same time, it is extremely light and breathable.
You can check out the Pros and Cons of LECA here to see if this is a good fit for you.
While the Hawaiian Pothos is a light feeder, it does appreciate a bit of a nutritional boost to support large foliage growth! We like using a liquid houseplant fertilizer that is high in nitrogen, as this encourages lush leaves.
Applying a high-quality liquid fertilizer once a month during the spring and summer growing months is sufficient. In the case of the Hawaiian Pothos, less is more. Hold off fertilizing in the autumn and winter; this only increases the risk of fertilizer burn.
Hawaiian Pothos need to be repotted every year or so. Spring is the best time for repotting, as your plant is actively growing and has time to establish into its new pot.
You’ll know that the time for repotting has come when you notice these signs:
- Roots peeking out of the drainage hole.
- Roots circling above the soil’s surface.
- Your plant seems thirsty no matter how much water you give it.
When repotting, always use fresh soil, as nutrients in the old soil deplete over time. Because overwatering is a bugbear for Pothos, also ensure that you use a pot with drainage holes, and upsize your pot just 2 inches when repotting. Large pots hold on to more moisture in “unused soil” relative to the root system that your plant has, which often leads to overwatering.
Unfortunately, all pothos are toxic when ingested by animals and humans; your Hawaiian Pothos is no exception. This is due to the presence of calcium oxalate crystals in its stems and leaves.
These crystals pierce skin tissue, causing skin burns. It can also cause vomiting, nausea, and gastrointestinal pains. So it’s best to keep this one away from pets and small children.
If you are keen on a vining houseplant but prefer it to be child and pet friendly, try a Hoya Bella or a Peperomia Hope. These two are also beginner-friendly plants that are fuss-free.
It is SO EASY to propagate a Hawaiian Pothos! Stem cuttings is the way to go.
To get started, you’ll need:
- a glass jar half filled with room temperature water;
- clean garden shears
In 4-6 weeks’ after propagation, you’ll also need:
- potting soil (indoor potting mix + perlite, vermiculite or orchid bark)
- a pot with drainage holes
- clean garden shears
Here’s how to propagate your Hawaiian Pothos:
- Identify a healthy portion of stem, around 4-6 inches long, and that at least 2 nodes and 2 leaves.
- Using clean garden shears, cut off this identified stem, just below the node.
- Remove any leaves from the lower half of the stem cutting (as this will be submerged in water).
- Place the stem cutting in the glass jar prepared with water, ensuring at least 1 node is under the water and no leaves are submerged.
- Place the stem cutting in a warm spot, with plenty of indirect light, but away from direct sunlight.
- Change out the water every few days.
- In about 2 weeks, you’ll see roots forming from the nodes and cut end.
- Within 4-6 weeks, you’ll notice that the roots have grown to about an inch long. At this point, it’s ready to be repotted in its new (and permanent) home!
- Plant the stem cutting into a new pot with moist potting mix.
- Treat as you would any other Hawaiian Pothos.
These Pothos can get unruly! Because they are fast-growing vines, if not pruned, your Hawaiian Pothos can look a little messy.
But we’ve found that giving your plant a moss pole helps direct its vines upwards; similarly, a hanging basket encourages it to cascade down. On the other hand, giving it a pot to do as it please often results in vines growing out in all directions, requiring more frequent trims. But this is really up to you 🙂
Just make sure not to be overzealous in your snipping – cutting off more than a third of the length of a vine creates too much stress on your plant. Think about it – it has lost lots of leaves that previously would manufacture food for growth!
Besides pruning for shape, regularly pruning off dead or damaged vines and leaves is important. This helps your plant redirect its energy on new growth.
Common Pests and Diseases
Thankfully, Hawaiian Pothos are pretty pest and disease-resistant: another reason to love this Pothos. If issues are to arise though, it is likely due to:
- Overwatering, leading to root rot or fungal infections. So always make sure the topsoil is dry before watering! If you’re dealing with a chronically overwatered plant, then follow our guide on how to save it.
- Infestations from spider mites, mealybug or scale. This is sometimes unavoidable, as pests may cross-infest plants. That’s why it’s important to regularly inspect your plants so that you can catch these bugs early on. We always keep a bottle of Bonide Insecticidal Soap Spray handy to deal with these common pests; luckily, this insecticidal soap is pretty effective.
For the most part, if you follow this care guide, you’ll be trouble-free.
Why are my Hawaiian Pothos’ leaves losing its variegation?
A Hawaiian Pothos losing variegation is usually due to too little sunlight. Your plant needs to compensate by producing more green leaves with chlorophyll. It simply cannot afford to produce golden variegation in the absence of enough sunlight, as these golden parts don’t have chlorophyll.
Encourage lush variegation by providing medium to bright indirect light. If you live in a home with little natural light, using a grow light works wonders.
Why are my Hawaiian Pothos’ leaves turning yellow?
Yellow leaves in a Hawaiian Pothos is most commonly due to overwatering. Ensure you are:
- only watering when the topsoil is DRY
- using a well-draining potting mix
- using a pot with drainage holes
- emptying the saucer after watering such that roots never sit in stagnant water
Why are the leaves Cripsy?
This is usually due to underwatering, or too little humidity. If you see that the soil has begun to cake and compact, the most likely scenario is that you need to water your plant more frequently.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between a Hawaiian Pothos and a Golden Pothos?
While the Hawaiian Pothos is a cultivar of the beautiful Golden Pothos, there are several key differences between the two.
- Hawaiian Pothos has much larger leaves compared to the Golden Pothos. While the difference is much more obvious in the wild, even when kept indoors the Golden Pothos leaves span 4-8 inches (10-20cm), while the Hawaiian Pothos leaves are 5-12 inches (12-30 cm) long. Overall, the Hawaiian Pothos is also a larger plant.
- The Hawaiian Pothos tends to have more intense gold variegation on its leaves compared to the Golden Pothos. Golden Pothos leaves have more green with cream striations.
- Golden pothos vines are yellowish, while the Hawaiian pothos develops green stems.
- The Golden Pothos is WAY more commonplace than the Hawaiian Pothos. The Hawaiian Pothos is somewhat hard to come by, especially at local gardening centers. You may have to search online to buy one.
- In terms of care, the Golden Pothos also prefers lower light and more water than the Hawaiian Pothos.
Where is a good place to buy a Hawaiian Pothos?
If you’re not having luck finding one at your local gardening center, Etsy is a great spot to find a reputable seller online.
Similar Plants and Varieties
- Neon Pothos
- Pothos N’Joy
- Cebu Blue Pothos
- Marble Queen Pothos
- Manjula Pothos
- Check out 11 types of Unique Pothos round-up with photos!
The Hawaiian Pothos is an fast-growing Pothos that can withstand some neglect. It is fairy undemanding and pest-resistant, making it a great choice for beginners.
- Medium to bright indirect light is best; East-facing windowsills are ideal.
- Using the “soak and dry” watering method is key to ensuring your plant stays happy;
- Average room temperatures and humidity is usually sufficient, though warmer temperatures and humidity ~70% is ideal;
- Use a moss pole to support healthy growth; this mimics your plant’s natural climbing habit;
- Add perlite to your indoor potting mix to enhance drainage qualities; alternatively, use LECA;
- Fertilize sparingly. Once a month during growing season is sufficient; choose a high-nitrogen fertilizer for large-leaf growth.
- Prune for a bushy look, and trim off any damaged leaves or vines.
Check out the Marble Queen Pothos next!
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.
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