You might wonder “Can pothos live outside?” because you so often see them as a hanging plant indoors.
It can thrive outdoors quite easily, and you can plant it in a variety of situations if the minimum temperature requirements are met.
Can pothos live outside?
Pothos can thrive outdoors, but most people do not plant it there because it is poisonous to animals. When it grows naturally, it wraps around trees and shrubs but is typically planted in hanging pots. You can move the hanging pot to the porch or patio in a spot with indirect, bright sunlight in a climate that remains at least 50-85 degrees Fahrenheit (10-29 degrees Celsius).
Growing Pothos Outdoors
Pothos is toxic to canines and felines, as well as many other animals and humans. For this reason, gardeners who plant it, typically do so out of reach of animals and children.
This means you rarely see it growing on the ground in a garden plot or around a tree in a planned landscape.
In its natural environment, the plant grows in tropical forests as a high-reaching vine. It develops massive leaves of about three feet in length in the forest’s canopy layer.
The shade provided by these statuesque trees also helps the pothos grow in length, often up to 30 feet in length (9 meters). Also referred to as the devil’s ivy, the lovely vine thrives in the humidity of tropical forests.
As a houseplant, the same plant remains beautiful but grows less immense. It does not flower, nor does it develop gigantic leaves.
In its natural environment, few animals come into contact with it. In a US household, unless kept out of reach, most cats and dogs would sniff at it and perhaps taste it. This could prove deadly.
The same is true of growing it in the yard, but as long as you keep your plant out of reach of paws and small hands, you can safely grow it outdoors.
Ideally, you will grow this vine in humid conditions that range from 50-85 degrees Fahrenheit. It abhors direct sunlight, so you need a shady spot that provides some indirect sun.
Potting Your Pothos
These plants require little water. They will essentially feed themselves when provided water. In fact, you can propagate pothos and grow them in water.
Let’s tackle potting them first though.
Provide your pothos a roomy container that lets it drape and hang. Once it gets going, this vine will look like it wants to give Tarzan something to swing on.
Hang it as high up as possible so your animals will not reach it.
A well-draining potting mix that can retain just enough moisture is what you’ll need for your pothos to thrive. Provide it a tray underneath from which to draw water.
Rather than trying to grow it from seed, purchase a starter plant or obtain a cutting that you plant. Pot your pothos.
Once per month in the summer and spring seasons, you should fertilize your pothos. It will thrive with little added nutrients besides what appears in the soil.
You can use a general balanced fertilizer, but you will only need half of what the manufacturer recommends because this plant eats little. Never fertilize it in winter, since this hurts the plant.
When growing pothos outdoors, you need to give it a little more water than when indoors. If the top two inches of topsoil seems dry, then you water it.
Misting it occasionally helps it since this is what the plant experiences naturally in the tropical forest – a light mist of rain.
If you live in an area where the winter temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, you need to bring the pots inside.
Check your pothos for pests first, then isolate your pothos to let it acclimate. You can eventually introduce it to the other houseplants, but make sure it has not picked up bugs outside first.
Growing a Pothos in Water
Perhaps you have a pothos growing indoors already and you want more. You can take a cutting of the vine and propagate it in water.
Sterilize your pruning shears first. Dip them in rubbing alcohol, making sure to sterilize all the surface areas by alternately opening and closing them.
Snip a healthy leaf and stem so that you have at least two nodes on your cutting. Cut at a slight diagonal.
Place the vine cutting in a vase or a bowl with at least two nodes submerged in water. Let it remain in the water, replacing the water each week with clean water.
You can also fertilize a plant that you grow in water. You follow the same schedule as when you fertilize a potted pothos.
The difference is that with water growing pothos, you must use a water-soluble fertilizer.
If you have a shady man-made pond, you can eventually move your plant to it. Wait until the pothos’ roots develop.
If you have ever seen photos of a rainforest, you probably noticed the greenery growing at the edges of the waterways. Devil’s ivy can grow like that, too.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pothos Living Outside
Can pothos grow on the ground in the US?
Pothos can grow as ground cover. It will typically climb the nearest tree or shrub though. That’s just what vines do.
How can you get a houseplant pothos to flower?
If you have a greenhouse, you could propagate your plants in it. By providing it with idealized conditions, you could potentially coax the plant to grow as it does in a tropical forest.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.