The Manjula Pothos (botanical name: Epipremnum aureum ‘HANSOTI14’), also known as the Happy Leaf Pothos, is a personal favorite. Its broad and wavy, heart-shaped leaves make for a unique shape. This, coupled with this cultivar’s painterly striations in shades of green and off-white has captured our hearts!
How can it not? 🙂
Like many other pothos, the Manjula Pothos is an easy plant to start with if you’re new to the world of houseplants. Here’s a quick care summary:
- Keep your Manjula Pothos in East-facing windowsills; or a location with medium to bright, indirect light;
- Average room temperatures and humidity will suffice, though the higher the humidity and temperature, the better;
- This plant has a moderate growth rate; with bushy growth that eventually vines. Place in a hanging basket or use a moss pole to support its stems;
- Water only when the topsoil is dry to the touch;
- Fertilize fortnightly with a high-quality liquid fertilizer at half strength during growing season;
- An airy and well draining potting mix is key; use an African Violet potting mix with perlite, orchird bark and charcoal;
- Root rot and mealybugs are the most common issues; ensure you have your watering practice on point & a bottle of insecticidal soap spray on hand!
Let’s dive into the details.
What is the Manjula Pothos?
This new, patented cultivar was created in 2010 by Ashish Arvind Hansoti near Mumbai, India. Its botanical name references its founder, who created this unique plant via naturally-occurring branch mutations.
Caring for your Manjula Pothos
The Manjula Pothos does well in medium to bright levels of indirect light. For this reason, placing your plant directly on an East-facing windowsill is ideal. Alternatively, you can also place your plant around 1 feet (90cm) away from a West-facing window, to reduce the light intensity it receives.
North windowsills may offer too little light for a thriving plant. While the Manjula Pothos can tolerate some low light conditions, if you see your plant putting out more green leaves with less variegation, and the leaves are smaller than usual, these are signs that your plant is not getting enough light.
If you look at your Manjula Pothos, you’ll see that large portions of its leaves are cream or off-white. These variegated portions are especially susceptible to scorching. So keeping it out of the harsh afternoon sun is equally important!
In terms of watering your Manjula Pothos, we always use the soak and dry method.
- Wait until the top 2 inches of soil is dry to the touch before watering.
- Then water deeply, until excess water seeps out of the drainage hole.
- Empty the saucer so that your plant is never sitting in a pool of stagnant water.
- Repeat the cycle, waiting for the topsoil to dry out before watering again.
We’ve found that using distilled water is best to avoid some of the brown crisping on its leaf tips if the tapwater is highly chlorinated. Another option is to use tap water that’s been left outside overnight, allowing mineral salts to dissipate.
You’ll know your plant is underwatered if you see the Manjula Pothos leaves curling and if the soil appears cakey. In this case, confirm that the soil is dry with your fingers (it’s important to confirm that the problem is underwatering, not some other problem like a pest infestation).
Then, water deeply. Thankfully, your plant is quite forgiving, so it usually perks back up in a couple of hours. Just don’t make a habit of it!
In the case of the Manjula Pothos, the higher the humidity, the better. Aim for 60-90% humidity. You can use a humidifier to give dry conditions a needed boost. In all honesty though, despite preferring higher humidity, this hardy plant still survives pretty well in average room humidity levels.
Your Happy Leaf plant does well in average room temperatures; 50-95 degrees F (10-35 degrees C) is a good range, with the higher end of this range being ideal. Loving the tropics, it prefers warm weather year-round!
Cold temperatures naturally slow growth, which is why your plant can be pretty slow-growing in the winter months.
Like many houseplants, you Manjula Pothos doesn’t like being near cold drafts or air vents. No surprises there.
Like many pothos, the Happy Leaf will not bloom when kept indoors, away from its native environment. This is because indoor pothos remain in its juvenile state, and flowers do not form unless the plant is mature.
In the same way, you can’t expect your houseplant to grow to the size that it would in the wild! In any case, your Manjula Pothos is prized for its foliage, rather than its flowers, so you’re not missing out.
The Manjula Pothos has an interesting growth habit. It tends to grow thick and bushy first, before eventually vining out, increasing its length. You can choose to place your Manjula Pothos on a hanging basket where its long vines can cascade down. Alternatively, drape its vines loosely around a moss pole!
The Manjula Pothos has a moderate growth rate, growing quicker than the variegated Marble Queen Pothos as an example, but definitely not as quickly as the common Golden Pothos (Devil’s Ivy). Part of this is due to its variegation: less chlorophyll is in its leaves compared to uniformly green counterparts, so your plant receives less food for growth.
Nevertheless, you can expect your plant to grow up to 6 feet (1.8 meters) tall and 3 feet (0.9 meters) wide. This is still a far cry from a height of up to 40 feet (12 meters) it can get to when fully formed in the wild.
An interesting feature of the Manjula’s leaves is that their coloring and the way the shades of greens and creams come together are highly variable across each leaf. This makes each leaf truly unique!
Soil or Growing Medium
For the Manjula Pothos, choose a high-quality potting soil that is airy and loose, very well-draining, yet holds on to some moisture. Confused? 🙂 Don’t worry, we’ll show you how.
We like using a high-quality African Violet potting mix, then adding some amendments like perlite, orchid bark, and horticultural charcoal to lighten the soil and enhance drainage. Mix together:
- 1 part African Violet potting soil;
- 1 part perlite;
- 1 part orchid bark;
- a handful of horticultural charcoal
This gives your plant a slightly acidic potting mix that has good aeration and drainage properties, yet allows your plant to be nourished without becoming overwatered. Overwatering can lead not only to root rot, but also fungal diseases like Botrytis and Leaf Spot. An overwatered plant is also more attractive to mealybugs!
Since overwatering is Enemy #1, you need to have that chunky, airy mix so that roots can always breathe easy, and excess water drains out of the pot. Speaking of pots, please do choose a pot with drainage holes – we harp on about it a lot, but it’s essential!
Your variegated Manjula Pothos can do with some fertilizer during the growing season. We’ve seen how it makes a HUGE difference to growth rate, and also the lushness of its leaves.
Fertilize once every two weeks during the spring and summer months (we like this fertilizer, applied at half strength). Then hold off during the spring and autumn and winter, when growth naturally slows.
Now, if you live in a temperate climate or a tropical country without seasons, as long as you see your plant continuing to grow, you can continue to apply the fertilizer fortnightly. However, if you live in a cold country with seasons, then it’s best to hold off!
When you first take your plant home from the nursery (or get it in the post), ensure you check with the seller whether the plant has been fertilized. Sometimes nurseries apply slow-release fertilizers before shipping, so you may not need to fertilize your plant immediately.
Once every 2 years is generally how often we repot our Manjula Pothos, but the exact frequency really depends on how quickly your plant is outgrowing its pot. It tends to have a small root system that lends itself to less frequent repotting.
Roots peeking out of the drainage hole or circling up above the soil’s surface is a tell-tale sign that it needs repotting; you may also notice altogether lackluster growth. Another sign is that your plant seems to be VERY thirsty, almost insatiably so, no matter how often you water it.
Here are some other repotting tips:
- When repotting, you can either choose to upsize your pot by one size (2 inches only, please!). This gives your plant sufficient space for roots to grow, and yet is not too large such that the unused soil holds on to too much water (again leading to an overwatered plant.)
- Water your plant the day before repotting. This makes it easier for you to remove your plant from its pot and reduces the risk of transport shock.
- Place your plant on its side, and use your fingers to gently work through the plant, untangling any bits of compacted soil.
- When repotting, always use fresh soil, as nutrients in the soil deplete over time.
According to the ASPCA, the Manjula Pothos is toxic when ingested by animals and humans. This is due to the presence of insoluble calcium oxalate crystals. These crystals cause skin burns, vomiting, nausea, and gastrointestinal pains.
It’s easy to propagate your Manjula Pothos through stem cuttings. This method of propagation for Pothos also has a high success rate!
- a glass jar half-filled with room temperature water (distilled preferred);
- clean garden shears
- potting soil (equal parts African Violet potting mix + perlite + orchid bark + handful of horticultural charcoal)
- a pot with drainage holes
- Identify a stem that is about 5 inches long and has at least 1 leaf and a few nodes.
- Using clean garden shears, cut below the node.
- Remove any leaves from the bottom half of the stem cutting (as this will be submerged in water.)
- Prepare a glass jar, half-filled with room temperature water.
- Place the glass jar in a warm spot, with plenty of indirect light. But do keep direct sunlight away!
- Change out the water every few days to prevent it from getting murky.
- In about 3 weeks, you’ll see roots starting to form from the nodes and cutting.
- Once the roots grow to about 1 inch long, you can plant your stem cuttings in their permanent home.
- Prepare its pot, and fill with potting mix. Water the potting mix such that it is evenly damp but not soggy or waterlogged.
- Plant the stem cuttings into the potting mix.
- Treat as you would any other Manjula Pothos!
As with all vining plants, your Manjula Pothos can do with the occasional trim to keep it looking bushy and neat.
It’s also a good idea to remove any damaged leaves or leggy stems. Pruning in this fashion helps your plant refocus its energy on new growth. Cut above the node to reduce the risk of infection, and be sure not to cut off more than a third of its length so as to not stress out your plant.
Always use clean garden shears – we use 70% isopropyl solution to sterilize our shears. This prevents cross-contamination between different plants too; as fungi and pathogens can be microscopic, so a “clean-looking” garden shear is not always so!
Common Pests and Diseases
Root rot is a common problem due to an overwatered plant. If you notice:
- browning or yellowing leaves that appear soft and droopy; and / or
- moist soil that remains moist over a week;
chances are that your plant is overwatered. Root rot occurs when roots become mushy, brown, and start to decay; in this state, they are unable to function normally to draw water and nutrients to the plant. The extent of overwatering determines what you need to do next; check out our step-by-step guide on how to treat an overwatered plant.
The warm and humid conditions that your plant loves are also unfortunately attractive to mealybugs. They look like bits of cotton swabs from afar and like to cluster together in hard-to-reach places, like leaf axils.
It’s important to inspect your plant regularly, and before introducing a new plant to your collection. This is so that these bugs can be detected early. Because of their quick reproduction, a mealybug infestation can quickly grow out of control, as they attack one plant and start infesting other plants nearby.
If you do see a mealybug,
- Isolate the infected plant from all other plants to prevent cross-contamination.
- Inspect all other houseplants to check if any others are infected.
- Apply Bonide Insecticidal Soap spray to eradicate these bugs. Reapply according to the instructions, until the infestation disappears.
- Apply a neem oil solution on all houseplants as a preventative measure, to ward off mealybugs and other pests.
Why are my Manjula Pothos leaves yellow?
Yellow leaves are generally due to:
- Overwatering; or
- Insufficient light
The most common cause is overwatering, so make sure that you are watering your plant correctly. If you need to, invest in a grow light to support healthy growth!
Why are the leaves brown?
For a Manjula Pothos, brown leaves usually mean that your plant is lacking moisture – either in the form of underwatering, or a lack of humidity (which is a measure of moisture levels in the air). Sometimes it can be an indication of both!
Adjust your watering practices accordingly, and use a humidifier to combat dry conditions.
Why is my Manjula Pothos losing its variegation?
Insufficient sunlight is the main reason for your Manjula Pothos’ leaves turning green. Since it’s not getting enough light, your plant is trying to compensate by producing more green leaves, which have the ability to manufacture food unlike the cream and off-white portions.
Use a grow light to give your plant much-needed light!
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between a Manjula Pothos, a N’Joy Pothos, a Marble Queen Pothos, and the Pearls and Jade Pothos?
Yes, it’s wild! These look-alikes are all Pothos (all Epipremnum Aureum) that have similar-looking, variegated foliage in shades of cream and green. I guess that’s just how much us gardeners love pothos plants! Here’s how to tell them apart:
Manjula Pothos vs. Pearls and Jade:
The shades of whites, creams, and greens on the Manjula’s foliage may look similar to the Pearl and Jade. However,
- The Manjula Pothos has larger leaves than the Pearls and Jade; and
- The Manjula Pothos is more variegation on individual leaves.
Manjula Pothos vs. Marble Queen Pothos:
- Variegation on the Manjula Pothos tends to be more patchy, usually with 3-4 shades of green and cream; while
- The Marble Queen has longer, more streaky and speckled variegation, usually with just 2 colors.
Manjula Pothos vs. N’Joy Pothos:
- N’Joy Pothos have smaller leaves, with a vining growth habit
- Manjula Pothos have larger leaves and wider, bushier growth, tending to both vine (grow vertically) and also grow horizontally.
Where is a good place to buy a Manjula Pothos? How Much?
A great place to buy a Manjula Pothos is on Etsy. Expect to pay around US$10 – 30 for a standard potted plant, depending on its size.
Is the Manjula Pothos rare?
Well, you may or may not be able to find a Manjula Pothos at your local gardening center. But you can easily find them online at reasonable prices! Don’t believe anyone who is trying to price gauge by labelling this plant a rare and exotic plant (as lovely as it is). So no, we wouldn’t consider them rare.
Similar Plants and Varieties
- Neon Pothos
- Pothos N’Joy
- Cebu Blue Pothos
- Marble Queen Pothos
- Hawaiian Pothos
- 11 Types of Pothos we Love – Have a peek at our Pothos ROUND UP! Perfect for those still browsing Pothos options and wanting to find out more.
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.