Pothos is a popular houseplant because it is easy to care for and very versatile. With a little bit of TLC, you can create a fuller plant that will add some life to any room in your home.
As a general rule, pruning pothos back ensures a fuller look while stimulating new growth to fill in the gaps. Also, propagating and group planting the cut stems into the same pot helps create a bushy appearance. However, it’s important to note that giving it the best care ensures better development.
Below, I elaborate more on these methods with helpful tips to encourage a fuller pothos plant:
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Table of contents
How To Make Pothos Bushier?
There are essentially three ways to make your Pothos look fuller:
- Pruning regularly to maintain a bushy plant and stimulate new growth.
- Propagating stem cuttings in the same pot as a group planting.
- Using a stake to train the Pothos upwards and encourage fuller growth.
All of these methods are pretty straightforward. However, there are two things I need to address before you take the plunge into Operation: Plump the Pothos.
A. Always use a sharp, sterilized cutting tool when trimming your plants. This little tip goes a long way in preventing infections from contaminated pruners to the open wounds on the plant. Not to mention, you want to make clean cuts as possible to ensure quick recovery for the plant. You can check out this other article I wrote on two ways to sterilize your pruning shears.
B. Provide your Pothos with the best care possible. If you can make your plant flourish with the perfect care, you may not have to go through all these extra techniques to make it go va-va-voom! It’ll effortlessly be full from all the new growth, and more often than not, that’s enough. But if you do intend to do some pruning and propagation, you have to at least make sure the plant is in good health. Here’s a quick overview of their care needs to thrive, even if you only get this mostly right you’ll be in a good spot:
- Sun: Plenty of bright, indirect sunlight 6-8 hours daily.
- Water: Once a week to keep the soil constantly moist.
- Soil: Standard, well-draining potting mix.
- Fertilizer: Biweekly to once a month in spring and summer using an all-purpose fertilizer.
- Temperature & Humidity: A warm room with 70-90°F and average indoor humidity of 30-40%.
- Repotting: Once a year in spring.
How Do You Prune Pothos to Encourage Fullness?
Now pruning is not a science; it’s an art. And as pretentious as I make that sound, it does require a bit of finesse. Because pruning your Pothos is kind of like giving it a haircut – you want to style it and give it the proper cut to get that full look you’re aiming for. And if you make a mistake? Don’t worry – just like hair, Pothos will grow back eventually. Unlike hair however, you can propagate if the mistake cutting has a node, we’ll get into this in the next section. It’s best to prune in spring or summer when their growth is naturally faster. Here’s how you can get started:
- Start by removing any yellow/brown and dying leaves. You’re not going to need them around anyway; they’re just going to cramp your Pothos’s style. It also allows the plant to redirect its energy to produce new growth rather than maintain old, dying leaves.
- Trim off long, straggly vines. These look better when you have your Pothos in a hanging basket but do nothing to promote that bushy look. Getting rid of them is usually the best way to get newer growth and keep the plant neat and compact. You can also set these cuttings aside for propagation later on. Just ensure to make clean cuts just before the leaf node (the point where the leaves attach to the stem), so these will have a chance to grow roots.
- Pinch young shoot tips at the end of the vines. This little technique ensures that the plant won’t grow longer vines. Instead, it shifts its energy into developing another set of stems along the existing vine.
How Do You Propagate & Group Plant Pothos in a Pot?
This method is a bit of a hack, but it works so well. It gets the plant to put out more vines, resulting in a fuller look with the rest of the original plant in there. In fact, you’d be surprised to know this is done in nurseries and garden centers too! Those pots full of Pothos are actually a bunch of propagated cuttings of the plant grown in the same pot. Who knew, right?!
So remember those leftover stem cuttings you have after pruning your plant? It’s time to make use of them here. Here’s what you need to do:
- Take a stem cutting from your pothos plant, ensuring it has at least 2-3 nodes. The more you have, the better your chances at getting multiple ones that will root.
- Place the cutting in water, submerging one of the nodes. Ensure to change the water once or twice a week, and keep it away from direct sunlight. The roots will start growing in about 3-4 weeks, so be patient and watch closely. Once the roots are about 3-4 inches long, it’s ready.
- Place the cutting in the same pot as the original Pothos. Use a chopstick to create small holes in the moist soil to place the cuttings in. You can also opt to dust the roots in rooting hormone powder after making the depressions to ensure the “water” roots take hold in the soil. But it’s usually unnecessary because Pothos propagate really easily.
Another option is placing a node face down in the soil to encourage rooting while the vine is still attached to the parent Pothos. It’s good if you’re not keen on cutting off any stems just yet so that by the time it has taken root, only then can you safely cut it off. But otherwise, the above method works fine as is.
How Do You Train a Pothos to Grow Upwards?
This approach makes full use of the plant’s straggly vines so you can sort of weave it around the plant with a stake to give it an aesthetically full appearance. It’s a bit of a quick fix, especially if you’re not ready to prune your Pothos just yet, but it does serve its purpose. Here’s how you can set your plant up:
- Stick a stake, a stick, or a moss totem pole into the soil. Depending on how thick your trellis support is, you may even have it on the outside of the pot to avoid accidentally damaging the roots.
- Weave the long Pothos vines around and up the trellis support. It’s like decorating a skinny Christmas tree – you pretty much loop it around like garland, just be careful not to pinch any leaves against the trellis if possible.
By training your Pothos to grow vertically you’ll also encourage more growth. It’ll be able to get more of that sweet sun and some good airflow around its vines and foliage.
FAQs on Common Pothos Problems:
As a whole, Pothos do not branch and grow out, they usually rely on one vine to grow closer to the light. This is why pruning is common practice. Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with just a singular Pothos vine, but if you’re looking for a bushy look, pruning and pinching the tips is the way to go.
Pruning and providing trellis support for the Pothos will encourage new growth and, by extension, branching in the plant. The latter, in particular, promotes the plant to grow more vine and side stems to better wrap around the vertical support and grow upwards.
Pothos with inadequate sunlight tend to suffer stunted growth, causing no new leaves to grow. Other possibilities may include no remaining healthy nodes for leaves to grow from. The former is easier to fix – it’s just a matter of putting the plant somewhere brighter. However, the latter problem means the plant has little to no chance of future plant growth, unless it puts up a new shoot. Pruning full dead leaves and keeping a few functional but damaged leaves may allow you to coax the plant back to life. But, it’s definitely a goner if there aren’t at least a couple of semi-healthy leaves.
Lack of light is often the cause of smaller Pothos leaves. With not enough sunlight to go around for photosynthesis, the plant is reserving its energy instead. This condition can be fixed by moving the plant to a brighter area. However, the affected leaves will not change and are best discarded to give the plant a new growth start.
Pothos prefers to grow down hanging as it is a trailing vine, not a climbing plant like Ivy. However, it can be trained to climb up a vertical support. It comes down to personal preference and how much work you’re willing to put into growing the plant. But otherwise, letting it develop in a pot where its vine can trail to the sides looks beautiful too.
Overall, getting your Pothos to be fuller in appearance is not too hard. With a little bit of cutting, finagling, and patience, your plant will grow as bushy as you want it to. Happy planting!