In admiration of ‘money-plant’

It is very unusual for leaves in a plant to attract the same amount of admiration as do the blossoms, due to their seemingly monochromatic appearance. Pothos, widely known as ‘money-plant’, however, arrests the onlooker’s attention solely by its leaves— bright, big, curvy and colourful.

Pothos, a favourite house plant worldwide, is one of the easy-to-care climbing shrubs with ornamental-foliage, native to Southeast Asia and belonging to the family Araceae. Its scientific name is Epipremnum aureum ( Pothos aureus , Scindapsus aureus ) though commonly called as Money Plant, Devil’s Ivy and Golden Pothos. Pothos is one of the most effective plants that improve the indoor air quality by removing certain gaseous toxins like formaldehyde from the air.


Pothos is a vigorously growing tropical evergreen vine that can reach varying heights or spreads on ground rapidly and covering a wide area. It has aerial roots at internodes that can hook onto tree branches as it climbs. Colours, variegation and sizes of foliage are variable depending on the cultivars, lighting conditions and other cultural factors.

Young plants feature bright, waxy, heart-shaped leaves, where large mature vines display much bigger leaves . Flowers and berries rarely appear on indoor plants. All parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested.

If grown in ground and unrestricted, this woody climber can grow quickly up the trunks of huge trees by attaching its aerial roots to their surfaces, reaching 50-60 feet tall, producing gigantic mature leaves. The higher it climbs, the larger the top leaves grow. However, as a container plant it has restrained growth.

Pothos is a multipurpose garden plant that can be easily grown in containers, as ground cover, as climbing vine in the landscape, in hanging baskets or in a jar or vase in water. It grows quickly up the tree trunks, lending a tropical effect to the landscape. When not allowed to climb, it rapidly conceals the ground with a dense cover of its bright foliage.

Because of its tolerance to low-light conditions, this hardy plant makes excellent indoor variety. Outdoors, Pothos, with its sprawling habit, is most suitable as a groundcover in garden-beds and borders, or grown in above-ground planters or small to large containers raised on a pedestal for a cascading effect. It can also be trained as a climber on walls, trellis, poles, fences and trees.


Being robust and hardy, Pothos is one of the easiest plants to grow. It requires little care and withstands neglect. It grows best in humus or organic-enriched fertile potting-mix that holds moisture, yet well-drained and well-aerated. It is not susceptible to diseases of major concern.

The plants require bright diffuse light or partially sunny locations with protection from afternoon sun. Under bright light or filtered sunlight they attain the best leaf coloration and growth. They shall be regularly watered during dry periods. Keep soil consistently moist during the growing season, but reduce watering during winter. Frequent trimming is required to control growth and maintain shape.

Feed with balanced fertilizer once in a month during the growing period.

Pothos can be propagated easily from the tip cuttings or stem cuttings which root easily in soil or water. Another method of propagation is layering which is done naturally too wherever the stems touch the soil.

Growing in water

Instead of using soil-mix, Pothos plants can be grown in water. They root readily from cuttings placed in water and grow well as long as they are positioned in bright light. Addition of liquid fertilizer will boost the growth and health of the leaves.

Periodically the water shall be changed and the vase or jar shall be rinsed to remove the algae formation.

N. Chandramohan Reddy

(The author is a forest officer and can be contacted at: nchandramohanreddy@