How to Tell the Difference between Philodendrons and Pothos

Both heart-shaped beauties vine and make lovely décor accents. Here’s the differentiators:

POTHOS

PHILIODENDRON

Color names

Leaf tip shape

Overall leaf shape

Finish texture

Where leaf meets petiole

Colors, 

Varieties, 

Variegations

Length between nodes on stem

Aerial root shape &  growth

Pruning for plant health

Pruning and Training for overall  shaping and look

Light

Water

Fertilizers

Propagation Tip

Light colored Philodendrons are called Lemon Philodendrons

Sharp tip

More slender heart shape

Smooth and glossy

Stronger definition

More exaggerated angle

Jade, neon, lemon, mixed defined contrast clear overlapping areas of mixed neon and Jade; for example, the Brasil

Available in solid and multi-colored

Dramatic, bold and clearly defined color boarders, even when colors overlap

Much longer and leggy between leaves

Are a little longer and tend to form in clusters

Affixing the plant to supporting structures such as trellises, rocks and walls.

Cut off the longest, oldest stems, or any leggy stems or those with a lot of yellowing or dead leaves, and all leafless stems.

Philodendron have tighter fuller bushiness.

Look at the plant from the vantage point most often seen. Shape the plant to desirable shape by moving stems and leaves and trimming unwanted parts away.

Philodendrons grow best when the roots are higher, as in a hanging basket and the leaves flow in a downward direction. This can be an elegant look cascading down bookshelf. For a fuller plant fill in a bald spot in the soil by taking a long arm; find the halfway mark and pin it in place with an open paper clip or bobby pin to hold it down. It grows new routes and foliage.

Note both Pothos and Philodendron tolerate low light, but they do not thrive in it.

Be careful not to overwater. Let philodendrons get to a critical stage of dryness and then water completely. Let roots get root bound as they drive up more foliage at that time.

Fertilize 6-months after arriving from the nursery. Use Fish emulsion ¼ strength or put a top dressing of worm castings on the soil surface ¼ deep which will feed with each watering. Commercial plant food is also good; use as directed.

Cut off leaves were the stem meets the stalk. Dip the end of the stem in a root hormone to enhance growth and gently press it into the soil at least 1/2 inch deep. Keep the soil wet for the first few weeks until it develops a few roots so your new plant doesn't have a panic attack or die of thirst. Keep in mind it has gone through the shock of losing its water source anticipate its fear of dehydration because you cut off its only means of water.

Light green Pothos are called Neon Pothos

More blunted point

Wider and more-rounded heart leaf shape

Flat color with depth

More subtle

More inline

Jade, white, neon, variegated

Available in solid and multi-colored

Undefined color boarders, splattered, scattered and speckled 

Have longer internode distance between leaves; more so when in the shade or a dark room

Are nubby and thicker

Affixing the plant to supporting structures such as trellises, rocks and walls

Trim back the longest, oldest arms, or any long stems showing not covered by leaves. Remove yellowing and dead leaves and leafless stems.

Pothos are more streamlined & tend to be a looser flowing type of plant. Their arms flow like separate branches of a river all coming from the same source.

 

Standing where you most often view the plant, imaging how you want the plant to look and place stems and leaves there, cutting off unwanted foliage. The longer vining plants grow the greater the distance between leaves.

To grow Pothos into a fuller big bush stake it up and train it to grow upward toward the light. This causes leaves to be bigger in general and the plant to be fuller and bushier.

Note both Pothos and Philodendron tolerate low light, but they do not thrive in it.

Don't overwater. Let Pothos get to a serious stage of dryness and then water thoroughly. Let roots get root bound because they push up more foliage at that point.

Fertilizer after their 6-month birthday. Use Fish emulsion ¼ strength or put a top dressing of worm castings on the soil surface ¼ deep which will feed with each watering. Commercial plant food is also good; use as directed.

Trim off leaves were the pediculi, (leaf stem) meet the stem plant stalk). Dip the end of the pediculi in a root enhancing compound powder or gel and gently tuck it into the soil at least 1/2 inch deep. Keep the soil wet for the first few weeks until it develops a few roots so your new plant doesn't have a panic attack or die of thirst. Keep in mind it has gone through the shock of losing its water source anticipate its fear of dehydration because you cut off its only means of water.