Have you found out how to trim pothos plants? I have found a systematic approach works best.
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How to Trim Pothos?
First, gather your pruning materials. Then, carefully observe your pothos for any blighted parts. You can trim a pothos plant as short as two inches (5 cm) above ground level, but this will result in a long regrowth time. Re-examine your plant, trim more if necessary, before you clean up and place the newly-pruned pothos in a warm and humid spot.
How to Trim Pothos in 6 Steps
Step One: Gather Your Equipment
I hate starting with the trimming process only to discover I haven’t got the right tools or that my blades aren’t sharp enough.
So before you start cutting, choose the right pair of scissors or a razor blade that is safe to use.
Pruning shears are also handy. The important thing is to ensure these are clean, sharp, and if possible, sterile.
Since I also hate a mess, I use a drop sheet under or around my pothos plant, so I can simply drop the trailers or branches as I trim, instead of having to dispose of each as soon as I cut.
If my pothos has a disease, I am careful to remove all the cuttings and incinerate them after I am done trimming.
Step Two: Examine Your Pothos
When I’ve got a sickly or blighted pothos, I am careful to examine it in detail. Any affected branches and trailers need to be removed, so I may simply cut those immediately.
With bacterial infections, I may wear a set of surgical or disposable gloves, and as soon as the affected leaves and branches are cut away, I will change gloves or sanitize my hands.
With healthy pothos, I first decide why I am trimming it.
Do I want it to grow denser? Then I would cut it lower and closer to the ground.
Am I trying to encourage longer trailing branches? Then I would trim off the tips of branches to encourage longer growth.
I also keep the overall appearance of my pothos in mind. After all, I want to create a balanced and healthy-looking plant.
Once you’ve cut a branch or leaf, it’s not going to simply reattach itself, so think twice before you cut.
Step Three: Start Trimming
When trimming, use a swift cutting or slicing motion if you’re using a blade. With scissors, they should be large and sharp enough to effortlessly cut through a stem without bruising the rest of the plant.
I like to keep my cuttings as few as possible when I begin until I get a feel for the plant.
The stems or vines should be cut at least a quarter-inch (0.35mm) above the leaves, which will give your pothos enough remaining tissue to grow new stems from.
New vines will form from the area where the leaf attaches, which is called a node.
From nodes, you will see new shoots form. This is how you can also encourage your pothos to thicken or lengthen.
If you want longer vines or trailers, then cut the node of the third leaf of the existing vine, encouraging new lengthened growth.
For bushier pothos plants, I cut shorter, encouraging the nodes further along the vine to thicken and form a more bushy appearance.
Step Four: Re-examine Your Pothos
Importantly, take some time to step away from your pothos every so often and examine whether it is balanced, or whether you need to cut more or stop.
Don’t simply cut and cut without considering your plant or you will end up with sticks in the pot, and no pothos plant.
While pothos can take heavy pruning, you should err on the conservative side of pruning.
Step Five: More Trimming
If necessary, you can trim more pothos leaves or vines away, but be wary of trimming and pruning without keeping the overall picture in mind.
You need to stop eventually, and I mean before your pothos is bare!
Step Six: Clean up and Acclimatization
The last step is to clean up. I simply fold my drop sheet closed, or if I want to propagate some stems or leaves, then I gather these up and tend to that process while the cuttings are fresh.
I can compost the remaining leaves if they are not infected by bacteria or an insect strike.
After pruning, I move my pothos plant to a warm and humid area where it can quietly recover and start growing again.
I give it sufficient water to ensure the soil is moist but not damp, and I keep an eye on the cuts to make sure they aren’t getting infected.
I may even dust these with cinnamon, which is a natural anti-fungal and anti-bacterial treatment.
Two Reasons Why You Need to Trim Your Pothos
Revive a Sickly Pothos Plant
When your pothos plant has taken ill, you may need to trim some leaves and trailers to help reduce a bacterial infection or remove damaged leaves and stems.
Since I hate a lopsided plant, which will in any case damage the main stem, I use this as an opportunity to trim the plant symmetrically.
Encourage a Pothos to Form New Growth
The other and more recurring reason to trim my pothos plant is to encourage new growth.
This may mean I want to stimulate the pothos to make longer trailers, or I may want to encourage a more bushy pothos by allowing the plant to thicken and form more branches.
The growth season (early spring and summer) is a good time to trim.
Frequently Asked Questions about How to Trim Pothos
Where do you cut pothos vines?
For vines, cut just below the root node where the brown roots start. Leaves are removed in sets from the bottom few inches of a vine.
How do you keep a pothos bushy?
When you trim your pothos regularly, you encourage the vines and main stem to thicken and grow new vines and leaves, which give it a bushy appearance.
Why is it that my pothos only has a single vine?
A single vine can grow with propagation, which is why your pothos may seem scraggly. To get a more bushy and healthier plant, you need to trim some leaves, which will stimulate more vines to grow.
The Last Vine
A pothos plant can be a really easy houseplant to care for, but it does require pruning, and you should do so in a careful and considerate manner.
For first-time plant owners, the pothos is a fairly forgiving plant when it comes to pruning.
However, think before you snip, and you’ll have a healthy and happy pothos plant.
Daniel has been a plant enthusiast for over 20 years. He owns hundreds of houseplants and prepares for the chili growing seasons yearly with great anticipation. His favorite plants are plant species in the Araceae family, such as Monstera, Philodendron, and Anthurium. He also loves gardening and is growing hot peppers, tomatoes, and many more vegetables.