Pothos (Devil’s Ivy or Money Plant) can grow into a beautiful vining plant with heart-shaped leaves. Sometimes, the plant doesn’t grow bushy enough. Instead, the plant will look leggy and unattractive.
So, how can you make your pothos fuller and help it climb?
Prune pothos often to make it grow fuller and prevent legginess. Apply a balanced fertilizer twice a month and place it in bright indirect light while providing water every 1-2 weeks to make it grow bushier fast. Staking pothos on a moss pole will also encourage bigger leaves on the plant.
Why is my pothos leggy and thin?
Legginess is a sign your pothos isn’t getting proper care in terms of fertilizer, sunlight, water, or soil quality. Pests and diseases can also prevent the plant from growing thicker and fuller.
Here are the reasons for thin and leggy pothos:
- Very low light conditions
- Insufficient nutrients
- Lack of pruning
- Poor watering habits
Legginess means your pothos is growing tall but producing few, small leaves – usually 1-2 feet apart. This is a common problem in trailing plants when they don’t receive enough light.
Pothos will, therefore, grow fewer leaves that are spread far apart to expend less energy, relative to the minimal amount of light being received.
Leggy vines also occur as a result of the plant stretching toward the source of light.
This, coupled with the thin stems, is what results in the spindly appearance instead of the bushier, fuller appearance.
How to Make Pothos Fuller and Bushier
The best way to make pothos fuller is to prune the plant and provide adequate nutrients, light, and water. If you leave the houseplant to grow and spread on its own, it will stretch for light and develop long vines with sparse leaves.
Here’s how to make pothos fuller and grow faster:
1. Prune pothos frequently
The stems of pothos that are never pruned tend to gradually thin down with sparse leaf placement resulting in a spindly appearance.
I recommend cutting back to encourage more foliage and vines to grow out.
Here’s how to prune your pothos:
- Mark each vine where you want to cut it back.
- Cut the vine ¼ inch above each leaf to allow a new vine to grow at each node after pruning.
- Cut off any leafless vines completely (because they’ll not regrow).
- Repeat the process for each vine on the plant.
Pothos can tolerate heavy pruning, so do not be afraid to cut back the plant every time you want to encourage fuller growth instead of letting it climb too high.
Also, the proper way to prune is to trim just below the leaf nodes; this way, you won’t be leaving behind any new stems that haven’t yet sprouted any new growth.
Here’s a video clip showing how and where to cut back pothos:
2. Apply a balanced fertilizer
Pothos are not heavy feeders, but when growing thin and leggy, try fixing nutrient deficiency. Apply a 20-20-20 fertilizer 1-2 times a month to make it grow fuller.
Use a water-soluble fertilizer such as Miracle Gro and apply just enough to stimulate faster growth of pothos.
Fertilizing your golden pothos will stimulate the growth of new foliage. This method is especially helpful if your pothos is still in the same pot that it was initially planted in.
To properly apply solid compost, mix it into the soil using a hand trowel, then- water the plant and the soil for instant activation of the fertilizer.
For liquid fertilizers, mix with some water and spray the solution onto the plant and the soil beneath it.
3. Stake your pothos
Staking a trailing plant provides support on which to grow – much in the same way as wild vines wind around taller trees in the jungle. You can stake your pothos using a bamboo cane, a moss pole, or a trellis.
The effect of staking is that winding plants tend to grow larger leaves closer together when offered support.
Introduce this support early on while the plant is still young, as staking is a slow, long-term solution.
Pothos can become top-heavy especially if well-fed. As a result, the vines might need a little help in carrying the weight as the leaves grow bigger. If your pothos is not growing full, stake it to provide adequate support for the plant to spread, climb and become fuller.
4. Provide bright indirect sunlight
Extreme low light is the main reason your pothos isn’t growing thicker and fuller. Plants that are grown in poorly-lit areas will stretch toward the source of light, resulting in each leaf node being spread out farther apart from one another.
Move your pothos to a place with bright indirect light to encourage it to grow fuller and bushier. You can also use a full-spectrum LED grow light to provide the plant enough light. Pothos can tolerate low to moderate indoor light but that often leads to slow growth.
Avoid exposing pothos to direct sunlight as this can cause leaves to wilt and curl.
5. Plant multiple pothos together
You can plant up to 3 pothos plants together in the same pot for a fuller look with more foliage than you would get from growing a single plant.
You can even grow different types of pothos in the same pot for a more stunning look. You can plant satin pothos, golden pothos, neon pothos, etc. in the same pot to achieve a fuller houseplant with a mix of leaf colors.
6. Water once every 1-2 weeks
While Pothos don’t necessarily need a lot of water to thrive, under-watering your houseplants certainly won’t help encourage new leaf growth. Inadequate water will lead to wilting, leaves turning yellow, and stunted growth.
To help pothos grow fuller fast, do the following:
- Allow the soil to dry between waterings
- Water your pothos every 1-2 weeks, or more often if exposed to bright sunlight.
- Provide enough drainage in the pot to allow excess water to drain away easily.
To avoid overwatering and root rot in pothos, ensure there’s any excess water coming out of the growing pot’s drainage holes as you’re watering.
How big do pothos plants grow?
When grown indoors, pothos can grow 6 – 10 feet long while in the wild, Epipremnum aureum can grow up to 40 feet long. The plant will grow while trailing and forming leafy vines, achieving a fuller appearance quite easily.
How often should I prune my pothos?
You can prune your pothos as often as you want to make it bushier. Pothos can tolerate heavy trimming and the cut-back stems always grow back.
Remember to cut back the stems about a quarter an inch above the leaf scars and pinching back the stems during peak growth seasons to stimulate further branching.
READ MORE: Pothos vs Philodendron: How to Tell the Difference