Pothos can be trimmed heavily to encourage bushy, short growth. You can prune them to take cuttings or reduce the long stems that can reach down in the way. Pothos plants recover quickly when trimmed and can send out new stems from the center of the plant when others are removed.
Pothos can recover quicker in the warmer months and can grow new leaves and stems within a few weeks in spring and summer.
It is best to prune the pothos before spring to encourage new growth. Old stems can be taken as stem cuttings, grown in water and turn into new plants.
This article will explore how pothos grow after being trimmed and the best way to prune your plant.
How to prune and trim pothos
Pothos will benefit from pruning to encourage dense growth, removing old stems and leaves and to take cuttings to make new plants. Here are my top tips to successfully prune and trim pothos.
Pruning pothos to encourage fuller growth
Pothos can be cut back to reduce the length of the of the stems and encourage it to grow into a dense plant. Stems can be cut back to within 4-5 inches of the base. Just trim off the stem close to a leaf set. The more stems that you have growing from the base, the denser the plant will look. You can even plant multiple stems and cuttings in the same pot to make the pothos look fuller.
The pothos will send out new stems from the center of the plant and can even regrow straight out the end of the stem you cut. Never remove more than 1/3 of the plant leaf coverage at a time. You can always come back and trim more in 3-4 weeks once the plant has recovered.
Pruning long pothos stems
Pothos stems can grow long and trail down your book case or the edge of a shelf. If these stems get too long you can simply snip them off at a length that suits your space. Choose how long you want your pothos stems and simply prune them off at a leaf junction.
The stem can be cut into 5 inch pieces and placed in water to sprout a new plant.
Trimming off long stems can encourage new shoots to come from the center of the plant. Pothos grow rapidly in the spring and summer so water them once per week and add some liquid plant food. You can also add slow release indoor plant fertilizer in spring to support good leaf growth.
Pruning to remove damaged leaves and stems
Remove old leaves and stems or those that get bent or damaged at any time during the year. Pothos will naturally replace old leaves and these can be trimmed off at the base of the leaf stem near the center stem.
Pothos stems can be damaged accidentally in your home if they are bent or knocked. Once a stem has been damaged, the leaves after the break can die off. It is best to remove this damaged stem, around 1 inch below the break point to prevent the rest of the stem becoming affected by disease.
The pothos plant can grow new leaves from the bottom of the stem or may split and grow multiple stems from the point that you cut. Use sharp secateurs and cut the stem just below the last set of leaves.
Pruning pothos plants to take cuttings
Pothos can be pruned to take new cuttings. You can take cuttings at any time but they will grow quicker when taken in spring or summer. The plant will be in its growth phase so will be quick to sprout new roots from the stem placed in the water.
It is best to take pothos cuttings from the longest part of the stem to keep the plant growing evenly. I like to take the bottom 5-6 inches off the longest stem when taking cuttings trim a different stem each time.
Does trimming a pothos help it grow?
Trimming a pothos will help it to grow more stems and encourage a denser plant. Trimming the stems to within 4-5 inches of the base will give you a small leafy plant. Let the stems grow longer if you want to have a hanging display or wrap them around a grow pole for a vertical feature.
Trimming off old pothos leaves and stems will also help to reduce the chance of disease and keep the plant looking neat. Pothos plants will replace leaves and stems as they get older so trim them off if you notice they are turning brown and drying off.
Brown leaves and stems will not recover but can be replaced with new ones if you trim them off.
What happens when you cut back pothos?
When you cut back pothos it will be stimulated to send out new stems and leaves. The plant will want to have as many leaves as possible exposed to light so it can photosynthesise, make its own food and grow. Adding some nitrogen based fertilizer in spring will help this process.
Can pothos grow from cut stems?
Pothos can grow successfully from cut stems. Simply cut a piece of pothos, just below the leaves. Pull off the bottom leaves and place the stem in a jar of water. The plant will grow new roots from the base of the stem, from the aerial roots and leaf nodes.
After a 3-4 weeks your pothos will be ready to plant out into a pot. Fill a pot with good quality potting soil that drains well and contains a slow release fertilizer. Place it in a position that gets bright light to allow the plant to photosynthesize.
Give the new cutting regular water for the first 2 weeks until it settles into the soil. Make sure you sit the pot on a pot tray to catch any excess water. Always empty the water out of the pot tray after it has soaked through to avoid causing root rot.
After around 3 months, add some indoor plant food to continue to feed the plant for the next 6 months.
How to stimulate pothos growth
To stimulate pothos growth reduce the length of long stems by 1/3 to encourage multiple stems and leaves to come from the trimmed stem. Water the plant well and add a dose of liquid nitrogen fertilizer. Make sure the plant gets lots of bright light but is protected from direct sunlight.
Can you trim golden pothos?
Golden pothos plants are fast growing and will grow back rapidly after being trimmed. You can trim them back to 3-4 inches away from the base if you want a small bushy plant or only remove a few inches from the end of the stem. If they are trimmed in spring, you can expect new growth from the ends of the stems to appear in 2-3 weeks.
I trim my golden pothos at least twice per year taking around 5 inch pieces off of the end. I usually place these stems in water to grow new plants and give them away to friends.
How pothos grow after being trimmed | Summary
Pothos will grow rapidly after being trimmed. You will get new leaves, new stems sprouting from the center and you will refresh your plant. Some stems may branch into multiple stems while others will send out a single stem to place the one removed. While pothos don’t need regular pruning, you can trim stems to take cuttings or to encourage dense leaf growth.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.