Devil's Ivy, Pothos Plant
Amongst the most unkillable indoor plants, Scindapsus aureus is contender for easiest indoor plant to look after, making it one of the best plants to give as a gift! It is so tough that it, unusually, keeps its variegation when kept in darker rooms – lending it the nickname Devil’s Ivy.
Also known as ‘Epipremnum aureum’, or sometimes ‘Pothos’, it displays frequently variegated heart-shaped foliage that sprawls from trailing vines, perfect for a hanging pot – or trailed up poles or doorways. Despite being a popular beginner plant, it is nonetheless kept by even the most avid house plant collectors.
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Native to the French Polynesian Society Islands, specifically the island of Mo’orea, it is so prolific that it has become naturalised in tropical environments across the globe and has become one of the most popular houseplants in temperate regions.
When it was first described in 1880 it was named Pothos aureus, which is why it is often known simply as ‘Pothos’.
With a little interior design experimentation, these plants are brilliant to add a little flair to your home. Trail them from a tall shelf, let the foliage wrap around a beam or banister, grow it up a moss pole, droop it from a basket held up by macramé, or even pin the foliage so it grows spread out up a wall – the possibilities are endless.
A Very Shy Flower
Scindapsus aureus can technically flower – but if you’re struggling to get yours to bloom then don’t worry, you’re not alone. There have been no reports of anyone seeing S. aureus flower naturally since 1962, both in the wild and in naturally in cultivation!
There are a few factors contributing to this strange fact. Firstly, only a truly mature Pothos in the wild is theoretically able to naturally flower – at which point its leaves will have grown up to a stunning metre in length, and its vines will have climbed up to the top of the tree canopy, having grown to about 20 metres in length.
Even when it has fully matured, S. aureus pretty much never flowers – largely because it doesn’t need to.
These plants have mostly stopped producing the hormones they require to flower, which would diversify its gene pool, because of how perfectly adapted it is for its habitat. Instead, it reproduces in the wild in the same way you would propagate it at home. Fallen branches and leaves, much like cuttings, root themselves in the ground and a new clone is formed.
In labs they have been coaxed to flower with the growth hormones which they naturally lack the genes to make. Ultimately though, they’re so successful in their environment that keeping their genetics identical is what keeps their success so uninterrupted.
Care & Size Guidance
Water your Pothos when the top few centimetres of soil feel dry to the touch, and do not leave it to sit in water for long periods of time.
These plants are happy in average humidity, though like most tropical plants should be kept away from heat sources. Giving it an occasional shower will help get rid of any dust build up on the leaves.
In the wild these climbers can grow to an impressive 20 metres tall, but if it grows too big for your space it’s simple to trim. These cuttings root very readily in water and can be propagated with great ease.