Plant Showdown: Emerald Pothos vs Global Green Pothos

Emerald Pothos and Global Green are two very similar varieties of Pothos, or Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum aureum). These elegant, trailing houseplants with dark green leaves can both reach up to 10 feet long. They are so much alike, in fact, that they’re often mistaken for one another.

There are three key differences between the two, however.

Three Differences Between Global Green vs Emerald Pothos

Both of these green varieties are difficult to find. It’s possible to find them for sale online, but it’s wise to be aware of their differences because they can easily be sold as either one.

Emerald Pothos

1. Emerald Pothos (Epipremnum aureum ‘Emerald’) is the rarer of the two varieties. It is not patented like Global Green.

2. It has light green variegation around the outside of the leaves, with darker green coloring in the interior.

3. The leaves are heart-shaped with a pointed tip and more elongated than Global Green’s, and they have a slightly puckered appearance.

Global Green Pothos

global green pothos plant in basket pot

1. Global Green is a patented variety of Pothos, which was discovered by Hiroaki Asaoka in 2016 in a greenhouse in Aichi, Japan. He noticed an unusual variegation pattern and filed for a patent in 2019. It was accepted and finalized in 2021 as ‘Global Green’, USPP33530P2. To date, Costa Farms has exclusive propagation rights for Global Green Pothos in North America.

2. It has dark green variegation around the outside of the leaves, with lighter green coloring in the interior. Occasionally, there may be a small streak of silver or cream on the foliage.

3. Global Green Pothos plants have heart-shaped leaves with pointed tips and are rounder than Emerald’s. The leaves curl upward and tend to pucker between the veins.

Care Tips for Emerald vs Global Green Pothos

global green pothos plant in pot

Both of these green Pothos varieties are robust plants that have the same growing requirements. They are beautiful cascading over the sides of a hanging basket or climbing up a moss pole or trellis.

They are both easy to care for and with some attention to their basic needs, you’ll have excellent plants for years to come.

Light

Pothos are native to the rainforests of French Polynesia where they are understory plants, crawling along the ground and climbing up trees. They receive filtered, dappled light – never direct sunlight.

Your green Pothos will be happiest if you mimic these native conditions. An east- or south-facing window with indirect light is good, especially if you set the plant back away from any direct sun.

Temperature

Both Emerald and Global Green Pothos do well in household temperatures from 65 to 75 degrees. They can handle temperatures up to 90 degrees in the shade, but above that, they will wilt and die.

If you bring your plants outside to enjoy the summer weather, make sure they’re in a cool spot when the temperature soars, and bring them in towards fall if the temperature threatens to dip below 50 degrees.

Humidity

In the tropics where they are native, Pothos plants live in high-humidity conditions year-round. They can tolerate average indoor humidity levels of 30 to 40 percent, but they prefer 40 to 60 percent levels or higher.

You can boost the humidity around your Pothos by setting it on a pebble tray with water or by using a humidifier, especially in the winter when the heat is on and the air becomes drier. Misting regularly is helpful, too.

Soil

Pothos plants need loose, crumbly, well-draining potting soil. A good commercial potting mix is fine if you amend it with perlite, cocoa coir, orchid bark, or peat moss for good drainage and air circulation around the roots.

A soil that is too dense can suffocate a plant by either not draining well and holding too much water or by not having enough air pockets around the roots to afford good air circulation. Keep the soil loose and make sure there is at least one drainage hole in the bottom of the pot.

NOTE: When you repot your Pothos, only go up one pot size. This is because a pot that is too large for the plant will hold too much soil which in turn will hold more water than the plant can use, likely causing root rot.

Water

Water your plant when the soil is almost dry. It will require more water in the spring, summer, and early fall when it is actively growing than in the winter. Water it every 7 to 10 days during the growing season and every 10 to 14 days or longer during the winter, depending on the dryness of the soil.

Because the heat will be on in the house during the winter, the soil will tend to dry out faster, so you will have to gauge when it is dry enough to water.

You can do this by poking your finger down in the soil. If it is dry 1 to 2 inches down from the top, it will be time to water your Pothos. If you don’t trust yourself to time the watering correctly, a moisture meter will help.

When you water, let it run through the pot until the soil is thoroughly wet, and then empty any residual water from the dish or tray underneath the pot so that the roots don’t sit in water.

Drainage is important for pothos. The soil has to be loose enough to allow water to run through, and your pot needs to have drainage holes in the bottom to let the water drain from the soil out of the pot.

Fertilizer

If your Pothos is planted in a good quality potting mix, it probably doesn’t need much fertilizer. But if you want to boost its nutrition for maximum growth and health, use a complete liquid N-P-K fertilizer once a month during the growing season, or slow-release pellet fertilizer once in the spring.

Pruning

Since they have mostly green-on-green variegation, unlike some of their white-variegated Pothos cousins like N’ Joy and Pearls and Jade, your Emerald or Global Green has more chlorophyll in their green foliage, allowing their vines to grow faster.

Under optimal conditions, they will grow 10 feet long or more indoors and will need pruning. Cut the stems in between the nodes (where the leaf meets the stem) to the desired length.

Propagation

After you’ve pruned your Pothos, you can easily propagate the stem cuttings in water or soil to add more plants to your collection. Both methods are effective and will root your plants within a month.

 Water Propagation

Cut the lengths of stems to about 4 or 5 leaves. Put the cuttings into a clean jar with fresh water, and remove all the leaves below the waterline, leaving the aerial roots attached.

Set the jar in a warm, sunny spot and change the water every few days to prevent algae from growing. You should start to see roots forming at the nodes after about 2 weeks.

 Soil Propagation

Trim your cuttings to about ¼” below the bottom node and remove leaves on the bottom two nodes. Insert the cuttings into moist, loose soil and set them in a warm, light spot. Keep the soil moist, and the roots will grow in 3 to 4 weeks.

You can plant the cuttings right back in the soil of your Pothos pot if there is room and the soil is loose and well-draining. As an option, you can dip the ends of your cuttings in rooting hormone to aid in root formation.

Pests

Aphids, spider mites, mealybugs, and scale sometimes attack Pothos. Insecticidal soap or Neem oil will take care of an infestation of the soft-bodied critters, but the hard-bodied scale needs a different method.

Scale can be controlled by tipping the pot to its side and running a stream of water over the plant to knock as many bugs off as possible. Then wipe the plant down and remove the rest with rubbing alcohol.

Diseases

The most common disease of Pothos plants is root rot, which is a fungal disease that comes from overwatering. The fungus is already present in the potting soil, but too much water can cause it to increase in growth and rot the roots.

To treat root rot, tip the pot on its side and remove the root ball. Shake the soil off and wash the roots to see what they look like. Healthy roots should be firm and white, but if the roots are black, mushy, and smell bad, cut them off with clean scissors or shears.

Then treat the roots with a fungicide like Neem oil or a weak solution of hydrogen peroxide and water to kill any remaining fungus. Repot your Pothos in a clean pot with fresh potting mix, and remember to only water your plant when the soil is almost dry.  

Toxicity

Emerald and Global Green Pothos are members of the Arum family (Araceae), which are toxic to people and pets. These plants contain calcium oxalate crystals which cause the lips, tongue, mouth, and throat to burn and swell.

Keep all members of your family safe by making your plant inaccessible to little hands and paws by setting it high on a shelf or in a hanging basket. 

Author & Editor | + posts

Nancy has been a plant person from an early age. That interest blossomed into a bachelor’s in biology from Elmira College and a master’s degree in horticulture and communications from the University of Kentucky. Nancy worked in plant taxonomy at the University of Florida and the L. H. Bailey Hortorium at Cornell University, and wrote and edited gardening books at Rodale Press in Emmaus, PA. Her interests are plant identification, gardening, hiking, and reading.