Easy-to-grow indoor plants

The pothos is an easy to grow, indoor house plant. It has a reputation of being tough and adaptable and is quite tolerant of neglect. Erratic watering and low light will not harm it. Its common names are Devil's Ivy or variegated philodendron (although the foliage may be solid green rather than variegated). It has two botanical names and may be listed as either Epipremnun aureum or Scindapsus aureus.

It is a tough plant and can survive without any natural light if it has to. It will survive humidity and hot conditions. The stems trail and/or climb and in a lounge or living room, it is extremely decorative. Although pothos may grow to 40 feet in their jungle habitat, six feet is about the limit for specimens in pots. Although the pothos can flower, it is rarely seen.

Pothos(58845)Credit: Wikimedia

Originally from Malaya, pothos like natural, bright, filtered light but not direct sunlight. Fluorescent light is acceptable as a light source. If fluorescent light is the only light source, 12 to 14 hours per day is required. Being of jungle origin, temperatures of around 65 to 85oF are ideal. Colder weather will see a decrease in the rate of growth.

A common problem with all indoor plants is that of over-watering. Pothos have a small root system and allowing the topsoil to remain damp will result in the roots rotting. Let the top inch of soil dry out between each watering. Then saturate the plant and allow the excess to drain away as pothos need freely draining soil. For preference, rainwater, filtered or distilled water should be used as any mineral content will affect the condition of the plant. Humidity, temperature, soil type, size of pot and plant all have a bearing on the water requirements of plants.

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Pothos don't need to be repotted too often. Every couple of years should suffice. They don't really need feeding if planted in good soil to start with. If poor quality soil is used, fertilise with a liquid fertiliser.

There are numerous uses for a pothos plant. It can be grown up a pole, used as a ground cover or living mulch, allowed to twine round and round the base of a larger plant or planted in hanging baskets or pots. Pothos are listed in the top bracket of plants which will help to purify the air when grown indoors.

Pothos are quite good at indicating any problems they may be experiencing. Insufficient water turns older leaves a bright yellow and the foliage will wilt. Thin, weak stems and small new leaves indicate insufficient light while the opposite will result in a pale green plant instead of the rich green of a healthy pothos.

But in general this is an easy plant to accommodate and it is certainly attractive.