Are you a fan of pothos? What about Scindapsus? They’re both also known as the Devil’s Ivy plant!
This indoor beauty has relatively simple needs, grows attractive foliage, and is super flexible. Growing freely, it can hang down, be trained upwards, or even horizontally! When cared for properly, this beauty can live successfully for several years.
But how do you care for a Devil’s Ivy plant? Check out my complete guide to choosing and maintaining pothos plants below.
What is Devil’s Ivy?
Devil’s Ivy goes by the Latin name Epipremnum aureum. It’s an Aroid, which means if you have any peace lilies or monsteras hanging around, they’re part of the same family!
It’s a climbing and trailing plant – which means it will need abundant space. What’s more, it can be poisonous – so avoid nibbling on it!
Despite potential toxicity, Devil’s Ivy is one of the best air-purifying plants you can house at home. If you want to breathe easier but can do without leaving your windows open, it’s time to get potting.
Choosing and positioning your Devil’s Ivy plant
Let’s start at the beginning and think about how you will set up your pothos. Like many plant lovers, it’s easy to buy on a whim and then choose a spot when you get home!
Either way, it’s unlikely the first place you choose will be the forever home of this stunning plant – as it always seems to stretch into spaces you least expect!
That’s why it’s always worth finding an appropriate spot for this plant before buying. Also, do you want your Devil’s Ivy to:
- Climb up?
- Hang down?
- Train horizontally?
Once you have a spot in mind, it’s time to go shopping. If your prospective plant is already in a hanging basket, you can reform its growth upwards easily if that’s what you prefer.
Check for bugs, diseases, and damaged foliage at the point of purchase. Its leaves should look glossy, and its stems should be nice and firm.
Check the pot your plant arrives in, too. Ideally, you should be looking at at least a 200mm pot for nursery plants. Oddly enough, you won’t always need a larger pot to warrant a larger Devil’s Ivy. They actually enjoy cramped conditions.
If you don’t have a suspension hook in place (or even if you are using a shelf to house your plant), the weight of a basket can almost double when you water your plant.
It’s important to ensure supports are strong enough. If not, you risk the plant crashing down and breaking.
Where is the best spot for my Devil’s Ivy plant?
When positioning a climbing Devil’s Ivy, it’s usual to place them in a corner or against a wall. They do, however, need a good light source.
As plants grow, they will need larger pots and larger supports. They also need regular watering. Try to envisage how long your Devil’s Ivy plant will be sustainable in your chosen position.
If it’s already quite a large plant, do you intend to allow its spread to widen and grow upwards? This can be a factor in choosing supports.
Fan-shaped supports or additional metal spirals can be added and even placed at an angle as plants develop. Take a look online or at your local garden center!
But, supports aside – where in the home will be best for your Devil’s Ivy plant to get the sunlight it desires?
How much light does Devil Ivy need?
In their native Polynesian home, Devil’s Ivy thrives in good light but not direct sunlight – and that’s much the same in your home! They’re used to growing on forest floors with dappled light and lots of shade.
Devil’s Ivy does well in a wide range of light – from dim to strong – but it detests full-force sunshine, which will likely eventually kill it.
The brighter the light your Devil’s Ivy is exposed to, the more striking its variegated colors will be. Typically ranging from a deep to mid-green to a creamy bright yellow, its leaves are a striking heart shape with a superbly glossy shine.
It is usual for some leaves to be less green and more lemony yellow – even bordering on creamy white – when they have more light.
So, ideally opt for a spot slightly away from your windows. Believe it or not, Devil’s Ivy is one of the best plants for darker rooms of the home, too!
Now your plant’s sitting in a healthy dose of UV, it’s feeding time.
How much water do Devil’s Ivy Plants need?
Watering needs depend on the size of your Devil’s Ivy plant, its position, and the temperature it lives in.
This plant enjoys moist light showers rather than being soaked in a bath! Keep an eye on drip trays to ensure excess water is draining well.
You’ll likely need to water your plant once a week at summer’s peak. By winter, that might slow down to once a month!
These plants hate having wet feet for more than a few moments. Try to water less in chilly periods. During hot periods and when housed in warm rooms, your plant will enjoy regular misting of leaves.
To keep your Devil’s Ivy in tip-top condition, feeding once a month during the growing season is advisable. Keep your plant in a general premium potting mix that drains well.
Always try to feed your Devil’s Ivy with dechlorinated water. If pouring straight from the faucet or hosepipe, your plant may be at risk of a few nasty chemicals that could stunt its growth.
To dechlorinate your water, leave a jug or can full overnight, or for 24 hours (with access to sun). This will give the water time to break down chemicals, and will be safer (and healthier) for your Devil’s Ivy to drink.
This is generally good practice for most other houseplants, too – keep it in mind!
Can I propagate Devil’s Ivy?
Yes! In fact, it’s really easy to grow your own little pothos community. Devils Ivy can be easily propagated by cuttings placed in dechlorinated water.
To restrict growth or nip off any leggy or undesirable shoots, simply pop them in water, and roots will appear beneath leaf nodes. These can be potted up to make new plants.
But what if you’re completely new to potting and repotting Devil’s Ivy? Keep reading!
Potting and repotting Devil’s Ivy
Repotting a Devil’s Ivy plant is sometimes necessary when growth demands more space and roots are cramped. Try and repot larger Devil’s Ivy can be close to the spot they are growing in – as you can simply reuse the same supports.
If you happen to have “pegged” a climbing Devil’s Ivy plant to walls or posts, it can be possible to leave those attachments in place and simply lift the root ball from one container to another.
Repotting Devil’s Ivy – step by step
Here’s how to repot Devil’s Ivy while causing the least disturbance to your plant.
- Unpeg any stems from supports beyond those attached to frames or supports sunk into the pot. Stems fixed to hooks or legs against a wall or frame beyond the pot will need to be loose – or they risk being snapped.
- Lay a clean plastic sheet or old newspapers/magazines on the floor by the existing container and the new one. Prepare the new container with drainage stones and growth medium.
- Place the new pot next to the existing one. Loosen the plant gently from its old home. If the plant is reasonably tall and you are working solo, loosely tie any free stems to the central support with wool or string.
- As you lift the plant, its leaves will mostly be facing in the direction of light. Decide if you want to alter the way it’s facing and change accordingly.
- Ensure the support is ready and/or in place. Gently loosen the roots and lower the plant into the well you have created in its new home, and then slowly fill in around the freed roots with fresh compost, patting it down gently.
- Next, move the original container and place the newly repotted plant into position.
- Re-attach any external supports, and – finally – water your plant!
What pests and diseases affect Devil’s Ivy?
Overwatering Devil’s Ivy can result in fungal problems. You may notice a dust-like covering on the surface of the container if this is the case!
Remove any trace of this dusting immediately and be prepared to change the compost if the; plant shows indications of ill health.
Mealy bugs and Spider mites can also become problematic if left to propagate. It’s best to examine your plant once a week and remove these with an insecticide or a natural alternative.
It’s usually easy to swab them away because the space between the Devil’s Ivy stems and leaves allows pests to be spotted and dealt with. Remember to check other nearby plants, too!
Devil’s Ivy, while a voracious grower, is absolutely stunning to behold inside the home. It actually needs very little looking after – which makes it such a popular pick with indoor horticulturists.
Why not take a look at growing your own and seeing if you can set up your own wall or cascade of pothos?