Why do pothos grow aerial roots? | Should you remove them?

Pothos plants will grow aerial roots to help stabalise the plant and to search for more nutrients and water. In nature, pothos would absorb water and nutrients from rain through their aerial roots. At home pothos aerial roots can make it easier to take cuttings and grow new plants by simply cutting a piece of stem below the roots.

Aerial roots are more likely to grow in humid conditions indoors or in a greenhouse outdoors.

You do not need to remove aerial roots as they will not cause any hard. Trim them back if you don’t like the look of them but be careful not to damage the stem.

This article will explore all you need to know about pothos aerial roots and how to take cuttings that will grow fast because of them.

Aerial roots on pothos can be small and brown.

Pothos aerial roots will stabilize the plant

Pothos plants will grow aerial roots searching for more water and soil to stabilize and feed the plant. Roots that start off as aerial near the base of the plant can find soil grow longer and hold the stems and plant in place.

What do pothos aerial roots look like?

Pothos aerial roots will grow from the main stem next to where the leaf connects. They usually start growing closer to the base of the plants, growing the longest near the base of the stem but starting to grow longer down the stem as the plant grows.

They will look like small, brown stumps to start with but can grow in the air up to an inch long. If the roots manage to find water or soil, they can actually grow longer, reaching in to absorb nutrients and water for the plant.

These pieces can actually be trimmed off and turned into new plants. If a stem is cut and placed in water, the plant will continue to grow aerial roots longer into the water and can eventually be planted out into soil.

Aerial roots can grow along the whole stem of a pothos plant.

Pothos aerial roots can grow new plants

Aerial roots on pothos are the beginning of a new plant. Stems can be cut and placed in water to allow the plant to grow longer, stronger roots. After the roots have grown to 5-6 inches, the plant can be moved into good quality potting soil to establish.

I have found that when I have taken pothos cuttings that they only take 1-2 weeks to start growing longer roots in water. Once I move them into soil, their growth will slow for a few weeks, and then the plant will jump to life and continue to grow fast on its own.

Aerial roots can dig into the potting soil if they find it to stabilize the plant.

Pothos aerial roots are searching for soil

Pothos aerial roots will grow longer and look for a soil substrate to dig into. Once the roots touch the soil it will continue to grow down, into the soil and will help the whole plant to absorb water and nutrients.

For indoor pothos plants, this can happen at the base where the roots can reach the potting soil. Older plants can have a whole line of aerial roots which have stretched out to hold the plant into place in the pot.

Aerial roots will grow into water if you place a cutting into a jar.

Pothos aerial roots can grow longer in water

Pothos aerial roots are the starting points for new plants and if they reach water they will grow even longer. I have had pothos aerial roots reach the small amount of water that was sitting at one point in the pot tray and grow longer.

Trimming a healthy piece of stem cutting the end leaves and aerial roots can mean you can create your own plants. These actually look great in jars or vases on their own and can be planted out after 4-6 weeks.

Why does my pothos have aerial roots?

Pothos will naturally form aerial roots as they grow. They will help the plant to expand, stabilize and search for food and water. I have only had this happen once my plant had established and my older pothos that are 5 years or more grow many aerial roots that I can turn into new plants.

Aerial roots that grow further down the stem towards the end can be difficult to see as they are only small. Look out for small, brown stumps or dots to start out with. These will grow larger as the stem grows.

If the aerial roots do not find water or soil they usually will not grow beyond a few mm, with 4-10mm being the norm.

Aerial roots will grow long after a few weeks.

Advantages of pothos having aerial roots

The advantage of aerial roots for pothos plants is that they have more opportunity to grow out, reach out for soil and water and to feed the plant. They will also help to hold the plant in place, stabilizing it in the pot and holding it safely in place.

The advantage of aerial roots on pothos for you is that the piece of stem with the aerial root can be trimmed off and turned into a new plant. Simply cut off the piece of stem below the aerial root point and place it in a clean jar of water.

In a few weeks you will have a new plant ready to plant out. You can also leave the stem in the water for 3-4 months if you like as a great alternative to cut flowers.

Do aerial roots go away on pothos?

Aerial roots will stay small on pothos if they do not reach soil or water. Small aerial roots are normal for pothos and they will cause no problem for the plant. Just leave them on their and they won’t grow any larger unless they have a reason to.

If you find that the aerial roots are getting long and you don’t like the look of them they can be trimmed. Using clean secateurs, trim the excess roots off, but be careful that you don’t trim too close to the stem and damage it.

It is best to leave a small amount of root on the plant rather than risk damaging the plant stem.

Will aerial roots help my pothos climb?

Pothos look great grown up a pole covered in coconut fiber. While aerial pothos roots won’t allow the plant climb by itself but they can help the plant to stabilize itself making it easier to attach them to the pole.

Why do pothos grow aerial roots? | Summary

Pothos will naturally grow aerial roots in search of water and nutrients. This will happen more often in humid conditions and it serves an important purpose to help the plant to stabilize. Use the aerial roots to your advantage and take stem cuttings to grow new pothos plants at home.

Happy gardening.