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The no-fail houseplant

The use of houseplants is an excellent, yet inexpensive way to enhance and beautify a living and / or work space.

For that reason, I enjoy giving plants as gifts. More than once after gifting a plant, the recipient expressed fear of doom for the plant followed by the wish for an easy plant they might not kill. Enter Pothos, the easy-care houseplant that has great chances for survival and success even for those who only wish for a green thumb.

Pothos (epipremnum aureum) is native to the Society Islands of French Polynesia and has the nickname devil’s ivy. It is so named because of the plants’ sturdy nature, its rapid vinelike growth and ability to tolerate drought conditions due to the occasional forgotten watering. NASA lists pothos as one of the top two plants to clean indoor air, which is another good reason to include plants in indoor spaces.

• Appearance — A vining, trailing habit of smooth, waxy, shiny medium to dark green often variegated leaves. The vines, with patience, can grow as long as 6 to 10 feet. Pothos can be used in hanging planters or can be trained to climb.

• Light — Pothos adapts well to filtered sunlight, indirect and low light environments as well. It does like bright light, but the plant does not like direct or strong sunlight. It does not like cold or cool drafts. It grows well in office spaces without windows and other areas with reduced or florescent lighting.

• Water –Allow the top inch of soil to dry in between watering. After watering, ensure the plant saucer does not retain water leading to soggy roots, diseases and pests. This tropical plant likes the moisture and humidity of bathroom areas.

• Soil — Pothos will thrive in any potting soil. Repot when needed into a pot 1 1/2 to 2 inches larger, especially if root bound.

This almost fail proof plant is easy going, no fuss, little care, adaptable to most if not all living and work areas, making it one of the easiest care houseplants around. Pick one up today from almost anywhere that sells houseplants, from your favorite plant store to the local grocery store.

For details on pothos and philodendron, go to http://go.osu.edu/pothos

Smith is an Ohio State University Mahoning County Extension Master Gardener Volunteer.

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