Pothos vs Philodendron - Tips to quickly spot the differences

Pothos vs Philodendron – Tips to quickly spot the differences

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In this article, we will be discussing a comparison of Pothos vs Philodendron. If you are one of those who may see a problem identifying similar garden plants, then here we will be discussing a few quick tips to spot the differences between Pothos vs Philodendron.

Quick takeaways:

  • Although types of pothos and philodendrons are among the most popular indoor plants, they are sometimes confused with one another.
  • Despite having similar appearances and many of the same behaviors and growing requirements, they are individual plants with unique traits.

Generally, everyone is a nature lover. Green plants, fresh air, and long old trees are the beauty of this nature that no one can resist. Let us take an example of a gardener. No other person can love and observe nature than a gardener. But also it is not a fact that only a gardener can grow plants. People usually grow plants in their houses.

People get confused just by the appearance of some plants and they think both are similar. A very common example of this is Pothos and Philodendron.

In this article, we will clear all your doubts and discuss some easy tips that you can use to differentiate between these two species quickly. 

Pothos vs Philodendron: Tips to Quickly Spot the Differences

You may choose the plant that best fits your house and budget by knowing how pothos and philodendrons differ from one another. Here are some of the tips that you can keep in your mind and can easily differentiate between these two.

Scientific classification

Other names for pothos, or Epipremnum aureum, include the money plant and devil’s ivy and you need to water the plant. Southeast Asia is its natural environment, and it is a member of the arum family Araceae. Due to the similarities in appearance, it is frequently mistaken for a philodendron. The philodendron, another climbing plant, is a member of the Araceae family and is a member of the Philodendron genus. It lives in tropical America, where it begins as a vine and develops into an epiphyte that feeds on other plants.

Leaf Shape & Texture

The base of the leaf is curled and resembles the top of a heart, and philodendron plants are famous for their heart-shaped leaves. Pothos leaves, however, do not resemble hearts. Instead of being curled, the leaf’s bottom is straight. Pothos leaves have a waxy texture, whilst philodendron leaves are thinner and more fragile.


Petioles are the little stems that link each leaf to the main stem of the plant. Regarding the pothos and philodendrons, these are different. Philodendron petioles are spherical, but petioles on pothos are indented toward the main stem. Additionally, the petioles of philodendrons are narrower than those of pothos plants.

New leaf growth

On the philodendron, fresh leaf growth is characterized by the emergence of cataphylls. These are tiny leaves that develop around the developing leaf to provide protection. The cataphyll stays on the plant when the new leaf emerges until it dries and falls off. On the other hand, new leaves growing on pothos plants simply grow from the parent leaf and do not form within a cataphyll.

To know more about the plant world, you may also read related articles, Holy Basil vs Basil – What’s the actual difference?

Aerial Roots

The aerial roots that philodendron and pothos plants develop allow them to climb and vine. Although there will only be one aerial root per node, which is where the leaf and petiole affix to the stem, pothos’ aerial roots are dense. Aerial roots of the heartleaf philodendron, on the other hand, are thinner, and there are usually two or more at each node.

Favorable Growing Conditions

Both pothos and philodendrons are tolerant of low lighting conditions and are frequently seen growing beneath the leaf cover of their native habitat. Philodendrons like bright to medium-filtered light, whereas pothos prefers bright, indirect light. Each plant needs well-draining soil, and the soil requirements for each are essentially the same.

Both plants thrive on a mixture of potting soil, peat moss, and perlite. In addition, the soil has to be given time to dry out in between waterings. Temperature is the primary factor that distinguishes these plants when it comes to growth circumstances. The ideal temperature range for philodendrons, which enjoy warmer climates than pothos, is 65–80°F (18–27°C). In comparison, the pothos thrives in slightly lower temperatures between 50 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (10 and 24 degrees Celsius).

Pothos Variations

Both plants offer cultivars with different colors, but Pothos has a larger variety. Although the predominantly green Jade Pothos can contain cream spots, the most popular is the golden-hued Golden Pothos. The “shattered” variegation of the Marble Queen Pothos is stunning. To maintain their coloration, pothos require rather strong (indirect) illumination. In low light, they frequently switch back to having just green leaves. 

Philodendrons Variations

There are several cultivars of philodendrons as well, although there is less variation amongst them. The Ace of Spades is one of the most uncommon types; it has leaves with black undersides that are initially reddish-orange. It resembles a regular Pothos more than a typical Philodendron! Finally, variegated varieties of Philodendrons typically have more distinct markings and maintain their color better in low light than Pothos

Concluding lines 

I hope this post, although rather technical, has helped you understand the distinction between ordinary pothos and philodendron houseplants. It’s interesting how two plants that initially appear to be quite identical may suddenly be recognized by just a few distinctive characteristics.


Will Philodendron grow in low light?

Yes, it will grow in low-light conditions. Make sure the leaves do not fade with less light availability to the pothos plant

Which one is better?

It might be difficult to decide which plant is superior because pothos and philodendrons are so similar to one another. Size is the key distinction between these plants. The pothos is more compact and may be cultivated with ease in restricted areas. The option is perfect for a hanging basket. The philodendron, in contrast, has more leaves and needs a bit more space in pots or containers. Both plants are cared for simply and give the home a delightful tropical vibe, so the choice is yours.

Becky Decker

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