Pothos, also known as Money Plant (or Devil’s Ivy), matures into a vine-like bush with beautiful, heart- or palm-shaped leaves.
Pothos will grow slowly if it is not cared for properly, and it may end up looking spindly, thin, and ‘weedy’.
In this article, we answer the question, “how to make pothos bushy?”
How to make pothos bushy?
To encourage pothos to grow larger and to stop it from becoming spindly, prune it often. Encourage pothos to grow faster by feeding it with a good fertilizer once a month. To grow larger leaves, stake pothos to give it extra support.
How to Get Pothos to Grow Fuller and Still Climb
In poor light, pothos will reach for the light source, causing it to sprout fewer leaves, spaced widely apart. Pothos also grows thinner stems.
Combined, the thinner stems and smaller wide-apart leaves give pothos a frail and spidery look rather than a healthier and bushier one.
Get Pothos to Grow Bushier
Pruning pothos will make it more vigorous and give it enough water, light, and nutrients.
If you just leave the plant alone to grow naturally, it will grow long, thin vines with spread-out, narrow leaves.
Get Pothos to Grow Faster and Fuller
1. Stake your pothos
Staking is a way to support trailing plants, similar to how wild vines climb up trees in jungles. Stake your plant using a trellis, moss pole, or bamboo cane.
Staking has the effect that, when given support, winding plants grow bigger leaves packed closer together. Stake your plant early, when pothos is as young as possible.
Staking is normally a sluggish process, and it will take a long time to produce good results.
For the best results, you should stake your plant against a bamboo cane. If pothos becomes top-heavy, particularly when it is well-fed, it will need extra help to carry the additional weight of larger, heavier leaves.
2. Make sure there is enough light
Lack of sunlight often causes pothos to look spindly. Plants grown in poor lighting conditions stretch towards light, seeking nourishment, so leaves get spread out further apart.
The easiest way to help your pothos grow bushier is by moving it to a well-lit spot with plenty of sunlight, such as close to a window.
Pothos prefers moderate indoor lighting, but you can also grow it outdoors in partial or full shade.
Never expose the plant directly to sunlight, as doing so will cause it to curl and wilt.
Artificial plant lighting options such as LED grow lights may be an option if you are growing pothos indoors but don’t wish to–or can’t–move it to where there’s better lighting.
However, make sure you buy a LED grow light that only produces light in the grow-light spectrum.
3. Use a good fertilizer
Pothos is not a rapacious feeder, but if it becomes thin and spindly, you can fix any nutrient deficiency by applying some 20-20-20 balanced fertilizer once or twice a month.
For the best results in stimulating the plant’s growth, use a fertilizer like Miracle-Gro, which is water-soluble.
Fertilizing your pothos will also stimulate the development of new leaves, especially if it is in its original pot. Natural fertilizers such as compost can balloon leaf growth in pothos if applied at least monthly, making it look much bushier.
Mix the compost into the soil with a trowel to ensure that it is applied appropriately. Afterward, water the plants and soil to activate the fertilizer immediately.
Mix liquid fertilizers with water, then spray them onto the soil and plants. To avoid burning your plant with an overconcentration of fertilizer, strictly follow instructions from its manufacturer and dilute the fertilizer correctly.
4. Prune pothos properly
Pothos stems no one has pruned grow thinner over time. Together with the sparse placement of leaves, the plant ends up looking frail and spidery.
To help your pothos grow faster and fuller, prune pothos whenever you see them looking spindly (some people say ‘leggy’).
Tips to help you prune pothos:
- Mark all the vines where you intend to trim them.
- To get new vines at each node where you’ll prune it, trim the vine about 1/4 inches above the leaf.
- Remove all leafless vines entirely as they won’t regrow.
- Repeat this process for every vine on your pothos.
- Pothos is tolerant to heavy pruning. If you feel the need to encourage pothos to grow into bushier growth, don’t be afraid to trim it back.
Proper pruning with the proper tools and the correct methods encourages branching, which helps plants grow larger leaves.
Shears (such as the ‘F-2 Manual Pruner’ made by Felco) and gloves are essential. You can boost branching at the top of the plant by removing any stems growing downwards.
To trim correctly, cut just below leaf nodes. This step will ensure that no stems that have not yet sprouted new growth will be left behind.
When your Pothos is Spindly and Thin
To find out why your plant is spindly and growing smaller leaves than it should, carefully investigate ambient conditions. Do so even if you think you are looking after it properly.
Your plant’s unsatisfactory performance could come down to soil quality, fertilizer, light, disease, or water.
Specifically, you need to investigate for:
Pothos plants can grow spindly if they grow too tall but only produce a few leaves, usually small-sized and set a couple of feet apart.
This is common in those trailing plants which do not receive enough light.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Make Pothos Bushy
How frequently can I prune pothos?
Prune pothos as frequently as needed as it can withstand quite heavy trimmings.
How can my pothos grow?
Indoors pothos grows to between six and ten feet in height. Outdoors, it can reach 40 feet.
Pothos is fun to grow, and an attentive gardener can grow it to be tall and bushy even indoors.
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.