Neon Pothos is a popular beginner-level houseplant, well known for its chartreuse-green leaves.
Leaves are most luminous when young, often appearing neon yellow and darkening slightly to a more bright green tone as they mature.
Best of all, neon pothos is extremely easy to grow. They thrive in most light conditions (though bright, indirect light is best) and aren’t too picky about soil as long as it has sufficient drainage and nutrients. They tolerate average room humidity but aim for >50% for the best growth. As long as you avoid overwatering, you usually won’t encounter too many problems with this pothos.
Let’s dive into the details!
The Neon Pothos belongs to the family of Araceae and traces its origins to the subtropical forests of Asia and Africa. In the academic phytology journals and encyclopedias, you will find it listed under its botanical name, Epipremnum Aureum ‘Neon’.
How to care for your Neon Pothos
The hardy Devil’s Ivy earned its nickname due to its ability to survive even in low-light conditions.
However, bright, filtered sunlight is still its preference. In lower light conditions, the leaves will lose its “neon” and turn darker and greener.
Any location in your home that receives bright light is ideal.
If there is one thing that the Neon Pothos cannot stand, it is soggy, waterlogged soil. This can occur either with improper drainage (using a soil that retains too much water; we’ll go over that in the Soil section) or watering too frequently.
The best way to know if you should be watering your Neon Pothos is by checking if the topsoil is dry using your finger. If the soil clings to your finger or feels slightly damp, you should wait an additional day or two before giving it a drink. If the soil feels dry, go ahead and water it.
Developing the habit and skill of using your finger to determine whether to water your plant is important. It helps maintain the right balance between overwatering and underwatering your Neon Pothos.
Once you figure out that your plant needs watering, the best time to do it is in the early morning. This gives your plant sufficient time to absorb the water, as evaporation rates are highest later in the day.
High humidity levels work best for the Neon Pothos plant. While the plant can grow well in average room humidity, ideally, aim to keep the humidity above 50% for BEST growth. If the conditions become too dry, your plant might respond with browning leaves.
In this case, you may well need to use different ways to boost humidity levels. Here’s a 4 effective ways to do so!
A warm environment is essential for the Neon Pothos to look its best – after all, it is a tropical plant! The ideal temperature range for this beauty is around 70 – 90 degrees F (21 – 31 degrees C).
However, this hardy plant can do well even if the temperature falls as low as 50 degrees F (10 degrees C). Just be prepared that your plant will grow at a slower rate at lower temperatures.
Dips below 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) for too long can result in the leaves losing their luster and their bright, neon color. In these conditions, you will notice the leaves of your Devil Ivy begin to take on a brown or black hue.
The Devil’s Ivy has a fast growth rate, especially when given ideal conditions. Neon Pothos can grow 18-20 inches (45-50cm) per month when grown in the wild. Of course, this rate is slower when kept indoors, but we still spot new leaves emerging every few weeks.
They also can grow large! Even when kept indoors, a mature Neon Pothos can reach am impressive 10 feet (3 meters) in length. It seems then, that the problem is finding a high enough shelf or location to hang your vining plant from.
In terms of flowers: generally, it is only the wild Neon Pothos that will bloom, and only after it has fully matured. Therefore, the plant is usually sought-after for its neon foliage rather than its flowers.
Soil or Growing Medium
The Neon Pothos is not too picky about its potting mix. As long as there is adequate drainage and the basic essential nutrients in the soil, this undemanding houseplant will not give you trouble.
If your Neon Pothos arrived in a small, disposable container from the nursery, you may consider repotting it into its permanent pot. While you can use an indoor potting mix that you picked up from the nursery, adding 1 part of perlite to 3 parts of indoor potting mix is even better. This ensures superior drainage and protects the young plant from root rot while supplying it with essential nutrients.
Speaking of pots – choose one with drainage holes! Again, this is to ensure excess water is free to drain out of the pot and doesn’t pool there, inviting root rot.
If you’re planting outdoors, US hardiness zones 11a, 11b, 12a, and 12b are the best conditions for Pothos growth. If not, keep your plant indoors!
Even though Neon Pothos is an undemanding houseplant that does quite well under its own steam, it, too, can benefit from a small nutritional boost. Especially if the soil mix you chose lacks basic essential nutrients, a high-quality fertilizer can make a world of difference for your plant.
We are fans of the Dyna-Gro 9-3-6 liquid fertilizer, which is designed to give your plant’s foliage a boost.
Enrich the soil with a quality fertilizer every month during the spring and summer months to enhance the growth and appearance of your plant. Hold off fertilizer in autumn and winter months; growth naturally slows during this time, and your plant doesn’t need the extra boost. In fact, overfertilizing when your plant doesn’t need it will harm your Pothos.
We have already discussed how the Neon Pothos can grow larger than life, given the right conditions. With this in mind, it is only right to expect that your plant will need to be moved to a larger pot once it grows out of its current one.
How will you know its time to repot? If you see the roots crowding together or poking through the drainage holes, it is clear that you need to change its container. For most Pothos plants, this will be required every couple of years or so.
To repot your Neon Pothos, place your pot on its side. Gently tease the plant out of the pot without damaging its roots, using your fingers to work through the soil.
When repotting, use fresh potting mix, and choose a pot that is 2 inches larger than the original. This gives your plant enough room to grow, but not too much “unused soil” that it holds too much moisture when watered. Wait for a day before you water the newly transplanted Neon Pothos, allowing it some time to become accustomed to its new home!
According to the ASPCA, the sap of the Neon Pothos contains calcium oxalate crystals that can severely irritate the oral mucosa and gastrointestinal tract if ingested by animals or humans. Therefore, choose a high shelf or out-of-reach location if you have pets or small children at home. Otherwise, try planting your Neon Pothos at your office!
If you want to propagate your Neon Pothos, the easiest way is through stem cuttings. This requires a healthy stem with at least one visible node and a couple of healthy leaves at the end.
- Once you have identified the ideal stem for propagation, make a clean diagonal cut just below the node.
- Now, take your cut stem and place it in a jar half-filled with room temperature water.
- Remove any leaves below the water line so that no leaves are submerged, but that at least one node IS submerged. The node is where you’ll see roots start growing!
- Place the water jar in a warm location with plenty of bright, filtered light. If you can, place a humidifier next to the jar at 70% humidity.
- If you see the water getting murky, change this out for fresh water.
- After a few days, you’ll see new roots sprouting.
- When the roots have grown to about 1 inch long, you can transplant the cut stem into its permanent home: a small pot filled with an airy and well-draining potting mix.
- Once you have repotted your plant, you can treat it as you would any other Neon Pothos.
Pruning your Neon Pothos does two things for your plant. It keeps the plant looking neat and tidy, maintaining its aesthetic. Second, it promotes the growth of new leaves and bushiness of your plant by diverting the energy it would otherwise spend on trimmed-off vines.
When pruning your Neon Pothos, always ensure that your shears have been sterilized. According to the University of Minnesota, plant pathogens can be transmitted via bits of soil and plant debris left on gardening tools; some of these microorganisms are microscopic, so even clean-looking tools can be sources of cross-infection. We recommend using a 70% isopropyl solution for sterilization.
Prune twice a year – spring and fall to keep your plant looking its best.
Additional care: Hanging basket or Moss pole?
There are two ways to adorn your home with the Neon Pothos plant. You can either have it grow as a climbing vine in a pot or let it dangle down low from an overhead basket.
If you choose the former, it needs climbing support like a moss pole to grow well. On the other hand, if you prefer to let your Neon Pothos cascade down from a hanging basket or high shelf, ensure that the entire length of the plant is getting adequate sunlight!
Phytophthora (Root rot)
Like all other houseplants, the Neon Pothos is not immune to pests and infections plaguing indoor gardens. However, the most common problem for this Pothos is phytophthora – commonly known as root rot. This problem presents itself with browning or black, unsightly leaves.
This issue arises when an overwatered plant attracts the Phytophthora fungi, which feeds on your plant’s decaying roots. Generally there are two reasons for overwatering: inadequate drainage or too frequent watering. That’s why its important to always check the soil’s moisture with your finger before watering, allowing the topsoil to dry between watering.
Also, mix 3 parts indoor potting mix with 1 part perlite to enhance drainage.
However, if the damage has already occurred, then check out our step-by-step guide on saving your plant.
Second only to root rot, Neon Pothos is can be susceptible to ethylene damage. This toxic compound directly harms your plant’s leaves, turning them yellow to tan. Ethylene is naturally emitted when plants decompose. If you are keeping your Neon Pothos in a greenhouse, malfunctioning greenhouse heaters may also cause a build-up of ethylene.
To prevent this problem, keep a regular check on the heaters in your greenhouse. Also ensure that there is sufficient air flow around your plants.
Other less common yet equally damaging conditions for Neon Pothos include mealybug infestations, bacterial wilt disease, and the Southern blight fungus.
Why are the leaves of my Neon Pothos turning yellow?
There are many reasons why Neon Pothos started growing yellowed leaves. However, the most common culprit is watering the plant too frequently or too much. To prevent this,
- Ensure your potting mix is well draining. Add perlite to enhance drainge;
- Ensure you water your plant only when the topsoil is dry!
- Use pots with drainage holes, and preferably use terracotta pots which are porous.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there variegated Neon Pothos?
Yes. Some varieties of Neon Pothos sport variegated leaves due to specific gene mutations. In these plants, you can see contrasting patches of dark green against the bright, light green leaves. You can check out Etsy for these!
Where can I buy a Neon Pothos?
Etsy is a great source of buying this plant online. Do expect to pay about US$15-30 for a small potted plant.
What are the benefits of a Neon Pothos?
Okay so the Neon Pothos will look stunning on your windowsill, but beyond its aesthetics, they will also purify the air in your house! The Devil’s Ivy is known to improve air quality and clear it of benzene and formaldehyde.
How do I encourage my Neon Pothos to grow more neon?
If you would like your Neon Pothos to be brighter, ensure that it is getting plenty of sunlight. Low-lit conditions are the number one cause of the Devil’s Ivy losing its characteristic brilliance. Use a grow light if you need to!
Does Neon Pothos like to be misted?
Many gardening enthusiasts believe that since Neon Pothos enjoys high humidity levels, it would love to be misted now and then. However, this is a myth and largely untrue. Misting is ineffective at maintaining the desired humidity level for Neon Pothos, and you are better off investing in a humidifier instead.
Can Neon Pothos grow outdoors?
Neon Pothos is pretty low maintenance and grows very well on its own in the wild. They can also be grown outdoors in hardiness zones 11a, 11b, 12a, and 12b, given that you find it a spot away from direct light.
Do Neon Pothos like coffee grounds?
There’s been some discussion that adding coffee grounds to potting soil is beneficial for Pothos. This claim is because some Pothos enjoy a slightly-acidic to neutral potting mix. Other articles claim that it can be a source of nutrition.
However, most peat-based potting mixes are already slightly acidic, so we do not see the need for this, especially when using the potting mixes that we have recommended. We also rather use high-quality fertilizer with a good NPK ratio than repurpose coffee grounds.
Also note that coffee grounds can attract fungi growth due to their being high in organic compounds. Altogether, we caution against adding coffee grounds to your plant’s potting mix. We just don’t think its worthwhile!
Is Pothos the same as Philodendron?
No, they are different. According to the University of Illinois, Pothos need more light, and enjoy higher temperatures than Philodendrons. Here’s our guide on how to tell them apart; they have 5 major differences.
Similar Plants and Varieties
Lemon Lime Philodendron (not a Pothos!)
The Pothos and Philodendrons both belong to the Araceae family, with many similarities between the two. To the untrained eye, the two plants may look the same. Lemon Lime Philodendron is another houseplant that closely resembles the Neon Pothos species.
However, there are slight differences between the two. The Lemon Lime Philodendron has a thinner, heart-shaped leaves that are soft to touch. In contrast, the leaves of Neon Pothos are slightly more elongated, thicker, and have a waxy feel to them.
Other Pothos we LOVE
Did you know that there are several types of Epipremnum Aureum? We have a write-up on 11 Types of Pothos to add to your home – check out the photos of different types of Pothos! These range from common pothos to more rare, variegated pothos.
If you are new to indoor gardening, the fast-growing Neon Pothos is an excellent plant to start with. Undemanding and trouble-free, growing one of these plants is easy. You can have a beautiful houseplant liven up the surroundings by only paying attention to a handful of factors.
To summarize, here’s what you must do to keep your Neon Pothos happy and healthy:
- Choose a well-draining soil mix and water only when the topsoil feels dry to the touch. Root rot is your number one enemy!
- Place the plant in bright, indirect sunlight to fully enjoy the characteristic brightness of the leaves. East-facing windows are a good option.
- Keep the humidity above 50% and the temperature between 70 – 90 degrees F (21 – 31 degrees C). Remember, tropical plants like it hot and humid.
- Fertilize your Neon Pothos with a nitrogen-heavy, high-quality liquid fertilizer once a month during the growing season to keep it looking its best.
Love the Neon Pothos? Check out the Marble Queen Pothos next!
Deborah is a plant enthusiast and founder of Gardening Collective.