Growing Pothos in Small Pots | 5 Hacks for Success

Pothos will grow happily in a small pot or the pot it came in for 1-2 years after you purchase it. Pothos are hardy plants that will grow well in tight spaces as long as they are watered regularly and fertilized. The key to success with growing pothos in small pots is watering them regularly. Small pots will dry out quickly causing the plant to wilt and turn yellow.

This article will explore some easy tips to grow pothos successfully in small pots or the pot it came in.

My pothos plant is growing large in the small pot it came in.

1. Water pothos in small pots regularly

The most important tip to keep pothos alive in a small pot is to water it regularly. Tiny pots will dry out quickly so it is essential to water them well. The method I use to water small pots is to take them over to my sink and thoroughly water the surface of the soil with my tap.

Add water to the plant until you see it flow out the bottom of the pot. Let the pot stand in the sink to drain until there are no drips coming out the bottom. This will take around 5 minutes. You can then return the pot to a pot tray or outer pot.

Another way to water a small pothos plant is by bottom watering. Add a small amount of water to the bottom of the outer pot or pot tray. Only add a small amount so that it can be absorbed in around 10-15 minutes. This will moisten the soil without accidentally washing soil out of the pot.

I use this method for all my small pots. For more on the bottom watering method, check out my previous article here:  Watering pothos from the bottom | Should you do it?

2. Feed pothos in small pots with an indoor plant food

Another essential step to keep pothos happy in a small pot is to feed it regularly. The easiest method is to use a slow release indoor plant food. Give your plant a small amount, around a teaspoon at the start of spring and fall. This will feed pothos plants for 6 months and keep them growing well.

Small pots will contain small amounts of soil which can quickly run out of nutrients for your plant. Growth can slow and leaves can start to turn yellow as they run out of nitrogen, magnesium or iron. Regular fertilizing will prevent any nutrient deficiencies and keep pothos growing well in a small pot.

Slow release indoor plant food will feed pothos for 6 months.

3. Keep pothos in small pots out of direct sunlight

Keep pothos growing in a small pot out of direct sunlight. This will prevent leaf burn and also stop the small amount of soil in the pot from drying out too quickly. Indoor pots can almost bake if they are placed near a window that gets direct sun.

The glass can heat up and burn the plant and cause leaf and root damage. Place pothos in small pots at least 3 feet away from windows and out of direct sun. Pothos love filtered light, particularly morning light that will allow the leaves to photosynthesize but avoid drying out the soil too quickly.

4. Use an outer pot for small pothos plants

Another key to success when growing pothos in small pots is to use an outer pot. Tiny pots will work well when placed in a pot without drainage holes. I have used this method for my small pothos plant. The outer pot will catch any leftover drips from watering, will allow you to bottom water and helps to keep the soil moist.

The outer pot will almost act like an insulating layer slowing evaporation from the thinner plastic pot that the plant came in.

The outer pot catches the drips from the inner pot.

5. Trim pothos in small pots to keep them smaller

Another tip for keeping pothos in small pots is to regularly trim them. This will keep the plant small and allow you to keep it growing in the pot for longer. You can trim the long stems back to within a few inches of the base and it will resprout with new leaves.

Rather than a long trailing vine, you will have a smaller, bushier plant. This is optional but is one way to keep the plant happy  in a small pot.  

When to repot your pothos

Here are the top ways to tell that your pothos plant needs to be repotted. If you notice these signs, it might be time to move your pothos out of its small pot.

1. When you see roots coming out the bottom of the pot

If you notice roots coming out the bottom of your pot it is sign that your pothos will soon need more space. Once the roots have filled the pot they can escape out the bottom searching for more water and nutrients. The roots size will increase as the plant gets bigger so to allow the plant size to increase the pot size will need to increase too.

2. When the soil dries out too quickly

If you find that you need to water your pothos plant more than every 3 days it is time to move it to a bigger pot. Once the pothos plant fills out the pot with its roots and the soil has broken down it will no longer hold water well.

This can happen after a year if the pot is small but may take up to 2 years. It will reach a point where water will just flow out the bottom of the pot without being absorbed. This means it is time for a bigger pot and more potting soil.

3. If the plant is wilting and won’t recover

Another sign that it is time to repot a pothos plant is if the leaves are wilting. If the leaves don’t stand back up within 1-2 days then it is likely that the plant is not getting enough water and needs new soil. Over time the organic matter int eh soil will break down and the remaining soil can become hydrophobic. This means it won’t hold water and the plant can wilt.

When repotting a pothos plant from a small pot choose a new pot that is only 1 size bigger. This means that it will be 1-2 inches wider and deeper. This will prevent the roots from moving into too much soil which can stay cold and wet and cause rot.

Growing Pothos in Small Pots | Summary

Pothos will happily grow in the small pot that you bought it in for 1-2 years. Make sure it is watered thoroughly, particularly in summer, is kept out of direct sun and is fertilized twice per year. Pothos are hardy plants that will grow in small pots well. If the plant is wilting and won’t recover however it is time for a new pot with some fresh potting soil.

Happy growing.