How to Propagate Pothos: Soil & Water Plant Propagation Guide

Propagating pothos is a fast, cheap, and easy way to get more houseplants. This beginner-friendly vine is a vigorous grower and will benefit from a regular trim. Our how to propagate pothos guide will discuss the best methods with easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions.

Getting Started

Before getting started, here are some essential tips for propagating your pothos successfully.

Materials You Will Need

You only need a few supplies to propagate pothos, and you can easily pick them up from a hardware store or gardening center.

Here’s a quick shopping list:

  • Sharp pair of scissors or pruning shears;
  • Small glass or jar (if propagating in water);
  • Pot with drainage holes;
  • Chunky soil mix is made from fresh potting soil, perlite, and coco coir.

Tip: Pothos cuttings root very fast and don’t usually need rooting hormone. 

When to Propagate Pothos

You can propagate pothos all year round. However, for best results, try propagating pothos in spring and summer when the plant is actively growing. This is because Pothos cuttings grow roots faster during the brighter, warmer months and will root slower in winter.

Tip: The same method can be used to propagate all types of pothos. This includes the classic Golden pothos and varieties such as Marble Queen, Pearls and Jade, Neon Pothos, Manjula, Cebu Blue, and even Satin Pothos (Scindapsus pictus).  

How Many Pothos Cuttings Do You Need?

To make a bushy pothos plant, you will need at least 3-4 cuttings per pot. For a 6-inch pot, five cuttings should be enough. This will give the roots space to develop and give the pothos a fuller look. 

Tip: You can propagate pothos from a cutting without leaves. As long as the stem is at least 2 inches long and has a growth node with a visible aerial root, you can put it in soil or water, and new roots will grow. 

How to Cut the Pothos Vine for Propagation

showing how to cut pothos vine for propagation

Start by untangling your pothos plant, and pick 3-4 of the longest vines for propagation. Each vine should have at least 6-7 leaves. 

You can cut a long vine into single-node sections or take individual cuttings from several vines. All leaves should be healthy, with no pests or diseases, so check them thoroughly before taking any cuttings.

Next, locate the growth node on the vine. It will look like a small lump where the leaf petiole joins the main stem with a woody aerial root. 

Take your scissors or pruning shears and wipe them with isopropyl alcohol to disinfect the blade. Cut the pothos vine at an angle, half an inch above and below the node. That’s it: you now have a pothos cutting! 

Tip: Never cut more than ⅔ of the pothos plant. If you miss too much, the parent plant can go into shock and take several months to start growing leaves again. 

Step-By-Step Guide for How to Propagate Pothos

The easiest pothos propagation method is rooting cuttings in water or soil. Here’s what you need to do. 

Propagating Cuttings in Water

  1. Use a sharp, sterilized blade and cut the pothos vine ½ an inch above and below the growth node.
  2. Cut at least three cuttings per pot for a bushy pothos plant
  3. Half-fill a glass with room-temperature water.
  4. Put your pothos cuttings in the glass, ensuring that the growth node is submerged but the leaves stay above the water level.
  5. Keep your glass of cuttings in a warm, bright room but away from direct sunlight. 
  6. Change the water in the glass once every 5 to 7 days to prevent algae and bacteria buildup.
  7. After 7 to 10 days, the cutting will grow roots.
  8. Wait until the roots are at least 2 inches long or another 3-4 weeks. Then, transplant your rooted pothos cuttings into a well-draining, chunky soil mix, and water them well.  

Tip: Pothos cuttings can speed up water propagation for other plants. Their roots release water-soluble hormones that promote cell division and rapid root growth. So if you’re propagating other houseplants in water, put 1-2 pothos cuttings in the same glass. 

Time Lapse of Pothos Propagation in Water

This time-lapse video will show you what the various stages of root growth will look like.

Propagating Cuttings in Soil

  1. Cut the pothos vine half an inch above and below the growth node, using a shard, sterilized blade.
  2. Take a pot with drainage holes and fill it with a chunky soil mix.
  3. Stick each cutting in the soil one inch deep and gently press the soil around it so that the cutting sits upright.
  4. Water the soil slowly and evenly until the water starts dripping through the drainage hole.
  5. Put the pot in a warm, bright room, and keep the soil moist.
  6. Pothos cuttings take longer to root in the soil. After 3-4 weeks, give them a light pull. If you encounter resistance, it means that the cuttings have developed roots. 

Water vs. Soil Pothos Propagation: Which Is Best?

Water propagation is the fastest and easiest way to root pothos cuttings. Compared to soil propagation, your cuttings will root up to 3 weeks faster, especially in a warm, sunny room. 

Keeping the cuttings in water also makes it easier to see if and when the roots have started growing. And if you remember to change the water at least once every five days, you won’t have problems with rot, a common issue in soil propagation. 

Overall, we recommend using the water propagation method for your pothos cuttings. But if you want to root them in soil instead, there are no rules against it.  

Troubleshooting Common Propagation Mistakes

Scindapsus pictus or satin pothos being propagated in pot
Scindapsus pictus – Satin Pothos

Let’s look at some of the most common pothos propagation problems and how to fix them.

Cuttings Are Not Rooting

There are several reasons why your pothos cuttings are not growing roots:

  • The cutting has no growth node. You can’t propagate pothos from just a leaf, so always make sure the cutting has a node.
  • Cuttings are not getting enough light. Keep them in a bright, indirect light room but away from the intense afternoon sun.
  • The cutting is too long. Try using single-node cuttings instead or vines shorter than 6 inches.
  • It’s too early. Pothos cuttings take between 1 and 4 weeks to start growing roots. They will root faster in water, and if you propagate them during spring and summer.

Cuttings Turning Black

Pothos cuttings can be susceptible to stem and root rot (PDF), which causes them to wilt and turn black. If propagating in water, change the water once every five days. 

For soil propagation¹, use a well-draining potting mix, and allow the top half-inch of the soil to dry out before watering again.  

Cuttings Wilted After Transplanting

If pothos cuttings are drooping after transplanting to the soil, this is usually caused by too much or too little water. Keep soil moist but not soaked, and always use a well-draining potting mix. Also, avoid sudden changes in temperature, which can also cause the cuttings to wilt.

Final Thoughts on Propagating Pothos Plants

That’s a wrap on our how to propagate pothos guide. Enjoy your baby plants, and remember to check our in-depth pothos care guide to keep your plants thriving. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you propagate pothos straight into soil?

Yes, you can propagate pothos straight into the soil. It is mentioned in this article. It may save you some time transplanting from water, but it will take longer and is a bit more risk for problems. Water is the preferred method.

How long does it take for pothos to propagate in water?

You will usually see root growth after 7-10 days. Once the roots are 1-2″ long you can transplant into soil, or keep in water with a good quality liquid fertilizer.

Can you propagate pothos without leaves in water

You can propagate pothos without leaves using a root or stem cutting. But, as stated above, it is usually better to select a healthy section with 6-7 leaves for best results.

What to do about pothos propagation root rot?

Root rot is usually caused by fungal diseases or overwatering. Roots will have a foul smell and be brown or black. These damaged sections should be cut off. Then, place the pothos into new sterile potting soil.

Can pothos propagate from just a leaf?

No, you will need a node that can grow roots. Just using a leaf will not work.

Can pothos live in water forever?

If you enjoyed propagating your pothos in water, don’t feel like potting it in soil. You can leave it in water, and it will happily live out its days. But, you will need to ensure proper care, such as using liquid fertilizer to ensure it is getting the nutrients it needs.

Can you propagate pothos without node?

Unfortunately, no you cannot propagate pothos without a node. It will work without leaves, but always requires a node for roots to grow.


1: Home Propagation of Houseplants. (n.d.). Retrieved March 3, 2023, from

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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.