It’s not surprising to hear rumors about certain rare houseplants if you’ve been in the plant lifestyle for a while now. Some of which don’t seem to exist in any credible plant database yet! One of them is the Harlequin Pothos. However, the question remains: Does it exist?
Harlequin pothos are real, but they are not of a stand-alone pothos variety. They are possibly a highly variegated version of the Manjula pothos. Some have theorized that its more intense white variegations became the propagated cuttings that formed the rare houseplant.
Below, I discuss more on this plant, its essential care guide, and a hypothetical way to create it:
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What is a Harlequin Pothos?
As mentioned in the introduction, a Harlequin pothos is speculated to be the propagated cuttings of a Manjula Pothos. It has prominent white blocks of variegation on its sparsely green leaves. But it doesn’t have the lime green and yellow markings that you’d usually find in a regular Manjula.
Theoretically, this seems improbable. A highly variegated stem cutting is unlikely to grow due to the absence of chlorophyll pigments in the leaves for photosynthesis. However, I supposed that it may work with a lot of patience and multiple rounds of trial & error.
Since there hasn’t been any proof of this claim, I’m working on an experiment to see if such a thing is possible. More on that later at the end of this article.
How Do You Take Care of a Harlequin Pothos?
Generally, all pothos share more or less the same basic care. Harlequin Pothos is no different. Here’s how you can get started:
- Give plenty of indirect sunlight.
As a variegated plant, ensure that your Harlequin pothos gets consistent lighting. Otherwise, its beautiful white markings will fade away due to lack of light. In the same vein, avoid direct sun exposure lest you risk crisping up your plant’s leaves.
- Water once a week when the top 1-2 inches of soil dries out.
Always use the knuckle test before you water your plant. It’s an easy, no-fuss method to ensure you don’t accidentally overwater your plant. There may even be times when you’ll need to water your Harlequin pothos twice a week due to hot spells, soil type, and other factors. The same can be said of the opposite too. Either way, once a week is a good benchmark to start with.
- Plant in a well-draining, loamy mixture.
Like most houseplants, you want a soil mixture that holds water sufficiently but isn’t too compact to get rid of excess water. Additionally, the soil must be airy enough to allow gas exchange and easy growth expansion for the roots. When in doubt, a 3:7 ratio of perlite and potting soil (Amazon links) is good enough.
- Fertilize monthly with diluted liquid fertilizer.
While not compulsory, a Harlequin pothos could use a pick-me-up once a month with a mild fertilizer. In this case, a well-diluted liquid fertilizer, be it an organic DIY or this fertilizer from Amazon. However, give it less than the recommended dose to observe your plant’s response to it first. Sometimes fertilizers can be too much for any houseplant and cause it to just crumple up and die. It’s kind of like forcing a horse to gallop for 2 hours straight only to have it drop dead by the end of the journey.
- Place in a warm room with a humidifier or at least with 30-40% humidity levels.
Luckily, a Harlequin pothos finds indoor conditions to be satisfactory to their needs. But if you can increase the humidity levels, it’ll be even better for the plant. You can find 3 methods to do just that in this article.
- Do a weekly pest & disease check for scales, spider mites, fungus gnats, and root rot.
You’ll have to be on the lookout for pests with this plant, specifically scales and spider mites. They will suck your Harlequin pothos dry and leave sweet, honeydew excretions behind. On the other hand, fungus gnats don’t harm plants but are considered a nuisance. They’re almost like the plant’s personal black cloud of gloom. You can get rid of these pests quickly by following the instructions in this article.
On that note, the presence of fungus gnats may possibly mean you’ve overwatered your plant. This means the soil is soaking wet, which will likely cause root rot. I know; you didn’t intend to drown the plant – it’s alright, it happens to the best of us. Here’s an article to help you fix that issue.
How Do I Create a Harlequin Pothos?
Important note: The following is based on an ongoing experiment I’m undertaking. It tackles the propagation theory of a Harlequin pothos from a Manjula pothos.
- Cut a stem from a Manjula pothos with 3-4 nodes and leaves with intense variegation. Where possible, ensure that one of the leaves is mainly non-variegated to allow the plant to photosynthesize later on.
- Place the stem cutting in moist soil with the node buried. Be careful to remove any bottom leaves to prevent them from touching the ground. Otherwise, this may cause fungal pathogens to easily spread from the wet foliage.
- Alternative option: root the stem cutting in water first before transferring into moist soil. This method lets you observe any roots developing, which may take several weeks to a month. Ensure to avoid direct sun exposure and change the water daily to avoid bacteria and algae from growing.
- If there are no roots, chuck the stem out and start over again.
- If there are roots, transfer the stem only when 2-3 inches long.
- Give the propagated stem plenty of indirect sunlight and constantly moist soil to encourage growth. Honestly, the best thing you can do now is to provide optimal care for the cutting to grow well. But don’t be disappointed if it doesn’t – some plants are just not that easy to propagate.
Realistically, I’m not holding out much hope for this experiment to pan out. But I’ll continue to update this section and let you guys know how it goes. Because who knows? Maybe I’ll get a surprise out of it.
A Harlequin pothos is a pretty unique and coveted houseplant, if you ever get your hands on one, you can bet that it is just as straightforward a plant to care for as any other variegated variety of Pothos. Happy planting!
Disclaimer/FYI: All information in this article is based on several related pages and forums on the subject. There is currently no official information in reputable sources about this plant. But if you know anything about Harlequin pothos, feel free to send me an email! As such, this article will be edited when more scientific details on the plant are available.