How to Care for Devil’s Ivy

Devil's Ivy is a great way to add green foliage and life to your house. Are you taking care of your plants correctly?

Don’t let its name Devil’s Ivy fool you into thinking it’s a gardener’s living nightmare. With its lush foliage and easy care, you’ll probably feel this fast-growing tropical vine is heaven-sent.

Today, we are going to take all the mystery out of caring for your own Devil’s Ivy plant. You don’t have to be a master gardener to keep this leafy beauty flourishing.

General Description

Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum) goes by a host of common names. It’s known as Golden Pothos, Marble Queen, Ivy Arum, Taro Vine, or just Pothos.

It’s a perennial vine native to the Solomon Islands. The climbing plant belongs to the family Araceae. In its natural environment, the evergreen grows up tree trunks by way of aerial roots. The long vines growing up to 40 feet long also crawl across the forest floor.

When grown as a houseplant, the Pothos plant’s vines average around 6 to 8 feet long. The green, waxy and heart-shaped leaves are quite attractive, variegated in yellow and white. While young, and when grown indoors, leaves average around 4 inches long.

They rarely bloom as a houseplant or while in cultivation. When they do bloom, the small white flowers form in a spadix and are surrounded by a spathe.

With these plants, though, it’s not about the flowers. It’s all about the lavish heart-shaped leaves.

A pothos plant that has been given proper care and maintenance is in front of a window

Common Cultivars

Standard Devil’s Ivy with variegated green, yellow, and white leaves is the most common type grown. However, the cultivar ‘Marble Queen’ is also a common type of Pothos. Marble Queen sports white leaves adorned with splashes of cream, green and yellow.

Toxic Qualities

If you have children or pets, be careful of where you place it. All portions of the plant are toxic to pets and humans.

The plant is toxic to humans, horses, cats, and dogs. The toxic properties contained in the plant are insoluble calcium oxalates.

Symptoms of poisoning include extreme drooling, problems swallowing, vomiting, mouth irritations, and swellings of the tongue, lips, and mouth.

Devil's ivy plant growing out of a jar filled with water.

Basic Care

Caring for these low-maintenance plants are not hard. It doesn’t take extreme measures to keep them green and happy.

Preferred Soil Conditions

Provided they are well-draining, they aren’t too fussy about what type of soil they are housed in.

Grown outdoors in the landscape, Devil’s Ivy grows well in a variety of well-draining, average soils. However, soils containing some fertility produce the best growth.

Indoor plants grow well in peaty soil mixes that are well-draining. Some potting mixes contain slow-release fertilizer, reducing the need for extra feedings.

Amount of Sun

If you are growing outdoors, find a pot that is located in partial sun to shade. Keep it in a location not affected by hot, direct sunlight in the afternoon. Too much afternoon sun can scorch the leaves.

Devil’s Ivy grown as a houseplant grows well in bright indirect light or filtered sunlight. Although brighter conditions are preferred, it also tolerates lower light conditions.

Whether it’s grown outdoors or as an indoor houseplant, bright light conditions help produce the most color on their leaves.

If light conditions are too low, the leaves can lose the intensity of their color. They end up being mainly green.

Pothos growing in a steel container on the ground can be toxic to pets.

Ideal Fertilizer

Devil’s Ivy isn’t a big feeder and won’t notice if you forget. In fact, its growth more than likely won’t skip a beat.

While it’s actively growing during the growing season, you can feed the Pothos every two months. Use a water-soluble houseplant fertilizer and apply when you regularly water.

Once winter arrives, stop feeding the Devil’s Ivy as it’s dormant and its growth slows. Once spring arrives, you can resume regular feedings.

Watering Frequency

Devil’s Ivy has a high tolerance to drought, so don’t stress if you forgot to water for a couple of weeks. Although it prefers moist soil, the Pothos will forgive your forgetfulness.

Even though it grows best in moist soil, don’t allow the soil to be constantly soggy. Soil conditions that are too wet can promote root rot. Devil’s Ivy leaves turning yellow is usually a symptom of overwatering. To help prevent the problem, make sure to grow the vine in pots or hanging baskets with bottom drainage holes.

For indoor plants, water approximately once weekly during the growing season. In winter, while the plant is dormant, cut back watering to about once every two weeks.

You can easily check the soil’s moisture. Stick your finger into the top inch of soil, and if it feels dry, apply water. Apply water until it runs from the bottom drain holes.


Devil’s Ivy is easily propagated by taking stem cuttings. It’s best to do any propagation while the Pothos is actively growing during spring through summer.

Always use clean pruning tools when making your cuts. This prevents transferring a potential disease to the Golden Pothos.

Remove about a 6-inch stem cutting. Snip off the cutting right below a leaf node, as that’s where the roots develop. Trim off all the leaves except for the top two or three. You can easily root the stem cutting in a container of water or a pot of soil.

Someone with pruning shears cutting a devil's ivy vine

Rooting in Water

Fill a container about two-thirds full of room temperature water. Use a container that is short enough that the top leaves aren’t submerged. Place the stem cuttings in the water. Next, situate the container in a location receiving indirect sunlight or bright indirect light. After a couple of weeks, you’ll notice a root system starting to develop.

Keep the water clean by changing it out every couple of weeks. When it starts to become cloudy, it’s time for a change. You can keep growing the cuttings in the container of water or plant them in soil once they develop a root system.

A bunch of devil's ivy vines sit in water as they begin to root.

Rooting in Soil

You can also root your cuttings in soil. Depending on how many cuttings you’re rooting, use a 3-inch to 6-inch pot with bottom drainage. Make sure to use a pot that drains or the cuttings can develop root rot before they have a chance to develop fully.

Use a soil mixture that drains well, such as a well-drained potting mix. Water the soil to settle it before planting the stem cuttings. Poke a hole into the soil and place the cut end of the stem cutting into the hole. Firm the soil around the cutting. Water the soil again and place the pot in a location receiving bright indirect sunlight.

The stem cuttings should start developing roots in a couple of weeks. After several months, the cuttings should have established a root system.


When it comes to pruning care, Devil’s Ivy plants don’t need much. You may have to trim off too long vines to control the plant’s size and shape. Don’t throw the cuttings away because you can use them to propagate additional plants.

If stems or leaves brown or become damaged, you can trim those off the plant as needed.

Once again, always use clean pruning tools when doing any pruning care.

A devil's ivy plant is planted in a modern hanging basket.

Design Ideas

Devil’s Ivy is a tropical vine native to frost-free regions of the world. Therefore, only those living in frost-free areas of USDA zones 9b through 11 can successfully grow it year-round outdoors.

However, those living in cooler locations can grow the golden pothos in hanging baskets or a pot and bring it indoors when temperatures drop. You can then bring the containers back outdoors once temperatures rise in spring.

Designing Outdoors

When grown outdoors in its preferred climate, the vine works well used as a ground cover or as an accent growing up a tree. Devil’s Ivy growing up a tree trunk is a spectacular sight. It’s sure to grab everyone’s attention with the golden-green leaves growing up to 3 feet long.

Devil’s Ivy is a natural climbing plant, so you can plant it directly in the soil next to the tree. You can also place a pot of the pothos next to the tree’s trunk. The vine doesn’t need any help attaching itself to the bark.

It looks attractive growing up single and bare trunk palm trees like cabbage palms.

The vine also gives any outdoor area a tropical feel growing up a trellis or arbor. It is also attractive dressing up hanging pots or trailing over the edge of a pot.

A devil's ivy plant is seen naturally growing up a tree

Designing with Indoors

With its ease of care and lush leaves, it’s easy to see why Devil’s Ivy is a popular houseplant. It can dress up almost any indoor location with its greenery. An added benefit of adding it to your indoor space is it’s an air purification plant.

You can dress up a window, bright bathroom, or almost any indoor space with the addition of a Devil’s ivy plant. It’s like bringing the tropics indoors. As a houseplant, the Pothos works well growing in a hanging pot or regular pot (for instance putting it in a white pot and elevating it off the ground to allow the vines to flow out of the pot). Even a pot of cuttings growing in a water-filled container adds a green feeling to a counter or shelf.

Indoor care and design of an ivy plant.

You can also grow Devil’s Ivy on a moss pole. This was first made popular in the 60s and is now making a comeback. It adds to an indoor design of bringing the outdoors inside with its lush greenery.

The waxy green leaves also pair very well with the ever popular fiddle leaf fig tree. The two are almost meant to be styled together.

Whether you’re growing outdoors or as a houseplant, it won’t be the problem child of your plant collection. It’s the perfect choice for the lazy or black thumb gardener who feels they kill everything.

Carley Miller
Carley Miller is a horticultural expert at Bustling Nest. She previously owned a landscaping business for 25 years and worked at a local garden center for 10 years.
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