How Long Do Pothos Live? Answered & Tips to Increase Pothos Lifespan

Pothos plants are known for their low maintenance and hardiness, but how long do pothos live? No easy answer exists. While some specimens may last up to 10 years in the right conditions, other factors, such as care and environment, can drastically reduce a plant’s lifespan. 

Understanding what it takes to keep your pothos healthy will help you get the most out of this beautiful houseplant. We’ll explore everything from care requirements, signs of poor health, how long they take to reach maturity, and more. 

Lifespan of Pothos

pothos plants trailing on shelf

Pothos, also known as Devil’s Ivy, is a popular houseplant that has been around for centuries. It’s easy to care for and can live for many years, but how long is a pothos lifespan typically? 

On average, a healthy pothos plant can live anywhere from 5 to 10 years or more.

Although, a variety of elements, such as the environment it inhabits, its well-being, and upkeep, determine how long a pothos may survive.

What Is The Longest Living Pothos?

The longest-living pothos variety is the Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum). This variety of pothos can survive longer than 10 years with proper care. It’s also one of the most common types found in homes due to its vibrant green leaves and ease of growth. 

Other varieties, such as Marble Queen Pothos (Epipremnum pinnatum’ Marble Queen’) or Silver Satin Pothos (Scindapsus pictus), may not live quite as long but still have impressive lifespans when cared for properly—upwards of 8 years or more.

Tips For Prolonging Your Pothos Plants Lifespan

preparing pothos plants care

To ensure your pothos lives a long life, specific steps must be taken. 

  • Provide adequate light levels but not direct sunlight
  • Water when needed but not too often
  • Use well-draining soil
  • Fertilize occasionally during active growing periods
  • Prune regularly to encourage new growth
  •  Inspect for pests and diseases frequently

Additionally, rotate the plant periodically so all sides receive equal light exposure. Adhering to these guidelines will help prolong its lifespan significantly.

It is essential to comprehend the fundamentals of plant care before attempting more advanced techniques, such as propagating cuttings or transplanting into larger pots. 

Begin by becoming acquainted with different types of soils available at garden centers and how they contrast in terms of drainage properties and nutrient content. 

Then, understand what kind of lighting requirements each species needs based on where it naturally grows in nature; for example, low indirect light versus bright direct sun exposure indoors. 

Finally, learn about proper watering schedules depending on seasonality; that is, less frequent during winter months than summer months – this helps prevent overwatering, which can lead to root rot, amongst other issues.

TLDR Summary: Pothos can thrive for many years (5-10 years on average) with proper care, like ample lighting, soil that drains well, and regular trimming. However, environmental conditions and pests may affect their lifespan.

Factors Affecting Pothos Lifespan

Several factors affect how long your pothos will last, including light exposure, water needs, temperature requirements, humidity levels, fertilizer use, pest control methods, and pruning techniques. 

All these components must be considered when calculating your greenery’s life expectancy. So here are some plant care tips for extending the lifespan of your pothos:

Location

Picking the right location is vital in keeping your pothos healthy and happy. Place it in an area that gets bright indirect light or partial shade. Avoid direct sunlight as this can lead to leaf burn on your plant’s leaves.

Light Exposure

pothos with light shining on a wood table.

Too much direct sunlight can cause pothos sunburn, while too little light stunts growth and leads to yellowing leaves over time. 

Aim for bright indirect sunlight throughout the day if possible; this will help keep your plant healthy and strong to reach its potential.

Supplementing with additional lighting, such as grow lights or fluorescent bulbs placed near the plant but not directly on it, may be necessary if your home needs more light for a pothos to survive and thrive.

Water Needs & Soil

watering pothos plants by a window.

Overwatering is one of the biggest killers when it comes to pothos plants; make sure you only give your pothos enough water so that soil stays moist but not soggy at all times—this helps prevent root rot which could drastically reduce its lifespan. 

 To avoid this problem, ensure that soil dries out completely before watering again and always use room temperature water when possible – cold tap water can shock roots into dormancy, reducing growth rate and pothos’ lifespan significantly.

Water when the soil feels dry, about 1-2 inches below surface level; water until the soil is evenly moist. Allow excess water to drain out from the bottom of the pot after watering each time so that no standing water remains inside potting mix itself.

The best type of soil for pothos is one that has good drainage yet retains some moisture; a mixture of equal parts peat moss, perlite, or vermiculite (or all three), will work well. 

Additionally, make sure you choose an appropriate size pot with drainage holes. We recommend keeping your plants in the plastic grow pots and placing that inside decorative pots (cachepots).

Temperature Requirements

pothos plants growing outside

Different species require different temperatures depending on where they are natively from; generally speaking, though, most do best between 65-85°F during daylight hours, with cooler nights down near 60°F being optimal for longer lifespans overall.

The Epipremnum aureum is native to the Solomon Islands and French Polynesia.

The ideal pothos temperature range for indoor plants is 70 to 90 F

The only states where pothos can thrive outside are Hawaii, southern Florida, southern Arizona, south Texas, and parts of California (according to the USDA plant hardiness zone map). 

Humidity Levels

Higher humidity levels are preferred by many plants like pothos since they originate from tropical climates where moisture content tends to be higher than in other areas. 

Pothos plants prefer high humidity levels, ideally between 50-70%. Low humidity can cause leaves to be dry and brown, reducing life expectancy; try using a humidifier nearby if needed.

Fertilizer Use

Feeding your plant regularly with balanced fertilizers helps promote healthy growth, increasing longevity.

Fertilize pothos once every couple of weeks during spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half strength according to package instructions. 

During the fall and winter months, fertilize only once per month since these plants don’t need as many nutrients during these times of the year.

Pruning 

showing pothos pruning with scissors

Trimming off dead/dying foliage encourages new growth, which keeps things looking fresh & vibrant while also helping maintain healthier lifespans overall. 

Cut off any dead or dying stems at the base using sharp pruners or scissors (sterilized). 

Repotting

Little girl showing the best soil for pothos plants.

Repotting pothos is necessary when a healthy plant needs more root space and also to fix the problems of a root-bound pot, compacted soil, fungus gnats, or root rot. Follow the steps outlined in our pothos repotting article.

Pest Control 

Keeping pests away from indoor plants is essential if you want them to last longer than average. Inspect your pothos regularly for mealybugs, aphids, and spider mites.

If found, treat them by wiping down the leaves with a rubbing alcohol solution on a cotton swab or using an insecticidal soap spray. 

Additionally, powdery mildew may occur due to poor air circulation caused by overcrowded pots; in this case, remove any infected parts immediately before they spread further throughout the foliage and stems.

TLDR Summary: Pothos plants can live for 10 to even 15 years with the proper care, including bright indirect sunlight, consistent watering, and fertilizing schedules, adequate humidity levels, repotting, and regular pruning. Also, regular inspections and treatments for pests and diseases are essential to keep it healthy and thriving.

Signs of Poor Health

If you notice any signs of poor health in your pothos, such as yellowing leaves or wilting stems, this could indicate that something is wrong with the plant’s environment or care routine. 

Make sure you check all aspects of its care – light levels, soil quality, etc. – before taking further action, such as repotting or fertilizing if necessary. 

If problems persist, consider replacing the plant if possible so you don’t risk spreading disease from one pot to another through shared soil/water sources, etc.

Yellowing Leaves

yellow pothos leaves

One sign of poor health in a pothos plant is yellowing leaves. This could result from overexposure to direct sunlight, inadequate hydration, or an imbalanced nutrient composition such as nitrogen and phosphorus. 

To remedy this issue, read our guide on yellowing pothos leaves.

Wilting Stems

Wilting stems can also signify poor health in a pothos plant. This could be due to overwatering or underwatering; both can cause stress on the roots, leading to drooping foliage if left unchecked over time. 

If you have recently repotted your pothos into a larger container, there may not be enough soil surrounding its root system. This can lead to inadequate hydration throughout the day and eventual dehydration of the plant, resulting in wilted stems. 

To avoid this issue, select an appropriately sized pot based on how large or small your current pothos is; this will ensure proper drainage while providing adequate oxygen for its root system.

Finally, remember that sometimes even when we do everything right, our plants still don’t always thrive – life happens. 

In these cases where nothing else works, try giving them some extra love through gentle pruning back dead growth along with fresh organic compost mixed into their existing soil before finally replacing their entire pot entirely with new high-quality material (if necessary). 

Hopefully, with patience and dedication, those pesky signs of poor health should start disappearing altogether, leaving only lush green foliage ready for another round of vibrant growth.

FAQ

How Long Does It Take For Pothos To Reach Maturity?

Generally speaking, it takes about three months for a young pothos plant to reach maturity. During this period, the roots should be established in the soil, and the stem should have grown several leaves.

Once a pothos reaches maturity, it can continue to thrive and grow for years with proper care. While the life expectancy of a mature pothos is unknown but can range from 5-10 years or more, it’s essential to maintain adequate plant care.

Can pothos live in water permanently?

Yes, pothos can live in water permanently. However, it is essential to note that the water must be changed regularly and provided proper nutrients. Additionally, the plant should receive some sunlight each day for optimal growth. 

If these conditions are met, pothos can indefinitely thrive in a water-based environment. 

How do You know if a pothos is dying?

Pothos plants are hardy and resilient but can still suffer from disease or pests. If you think your pothos is dying, observe your plant carefully for any indications of wilting foliage, yellowing leaves, brown patches on the leaves, or discoloration of the stems – these could be signs that it is in distress and requires assistance. 

Check for insects or diseases that may be affecting it as well. Finally, inspect the roots to ensure they’re healthy and rot-free. If all else fails, repotting with fresh soil might be necessary to save your pothos.

How Long Can a Pothos Cutting Live?

A single cutting taken from an existing mature parent plant can live a typical pothos lifecycle of 5 to 10 years given ideal conditions within the container housing them, e.g., ample nutrient-rich soils, regular watering, and sufficient lighting provided. 

That said, once roots become overcrowded inside the current pot size, chances of survival drop significantly unless replanted into a larger container soon after; otherwise, death usually follows shortly after that, regardless of age reached thus far.

With proper plant care and maintenance, pothos can live for many years. With their long lifespan, it’s no wonder they’re such a popular houseplant.

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Davin is a jack-of-all-trades but has professional training and experience in various home and garden subjects. He leans on other experts when needed and edits and fact-checks all articles.