Pothos and Philodendron are two commonly found houseplants that are often mistaken for each other. While both are easy to care for and can thrive in similar growing conditions, it is important to know the difference between the two in order to provide the right care for each plant.
In this article, we will explore the key features that distinguish Pothos from Philodendron, including leaf shape, variegation, and growth habits.
- Pothos and Philodendron plants can be easy to confuse with one another, but they belong to different genera.
- Key features for identification include variegation, leaf shape, and growth habits.
- Pothos and Philodendrons have different growing conditions, with Pothos being more adaptable to various environments.
- Labels from retailers can be misleading, so it’s important to know how to identify the plants on your own.
Despite their similarities, distinguishing between Pothos and Philodendron plants is crucial due to their distinct physical differences.
One of the key differences between these two plants is the shape and texture of their leaves. Pothos plants have thick, glossy leaves that are sometimes variegated and have a deeply grooved petiole.
In contrast, Heartleaf Philodendron leaves are more elongated, matte, and heart-shaped, with a smooth petiole.
Additionally, Pothos leaves have a well-defined, deep ridge down the center of the leaf due to their thick and ridged petiole, while Philodendron leaves lack this ridge and feature a more flat petiole.
Another distinguishing feature is the characteristics of their aerial roots. Pothos plants have solitary, stubby aerial roots that appear as thick black nubs, with only one per node. In contrast, Philodendron aerial roots are thinner and more stringy, occurring in clusters.
Both species have multiple variations of variegated cultivars, but Pothos variations are generally more abundant and have more variegation than Philodendrons.
Some common variegated cultivars of Pothos include Golden Pothos, Jade Pothos, and Marble Queen Pothos, which has a unique ‘shattered’ variegation.
In contrast, Philodendrons have less variegation but vary in leaf shape and growth habits, such as the Pink Princess Philodendron or the Ace of Spades Philodendron, which has a darker purple leaf color than the Heartleaf Philodendron.
Genus and Family
The two plants in question belong to the same family, Araceae, but do not share a genus. Pothos belongs to the genus Epipremnum, while Philodendron belongs to the genus Philodendron.
Despite their taxonomic differences, both plants share some similarities in their physical characteristics, such as their climbing habit, low-maintenance requirements, and ability to adapt to different growing conditions.
Understanding the taxonomy of Pothos and Philodendron can be useful for identifying and caring for these plants. While Pothos and Philodendron belong to the same family, they have different characteristics that separate them into distinct genera.
By recognizing these differences, plant owners can better understand the needs of their specific plants and provide the right growing conditions for optimal growth and health.
Optimal growing conditions for these plants can vary based on their specific needs, such as the amount of light they require. Philodendrons are better adapted for low light conditions, while Pothos can thrive in brighter settings, with some varieties even able to grow in water.
According to a study by the University of Florida, Pothos plants can survive up to 8 weeks without soil, as long as they are kept in water with nutrients and adequate light.
When it comes to watering frequency, both Pothos and Philodendrons prefer to dry out slightly between waterings. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other issues.
Indoor plants require less frequent watering than outdoor plants, especially during the winter months when the air is dryer.
It’s important to monitor the soil moisture and adjust watering accordingly to ensure the plants are getting the right amount of water for their specific needs.
One useful way to distinguish between Pothos and Philodendrons is by examining their aerial roots. Pothos plants have solitary, stubby roots, while Philodendrons have more stringy and clustered roots.
Additionally, Pothos leaves have a well-defined, deep ridge down the center of the leaf due to their thick and ridged petiole, while Philodendron leaves lack this ridge, featuring a more flat petiole.
These characteristics, along with variegation, leaf shape, and growth habits, can help in identifying the two plants correctly.
Common misconceptions include labeling Pothos as Philodendrons and vice versa, leading to incorrect growing conditions.
It is important to note that while both species do have multiple variations of variegated cultivars, Pothos variations are more abundant and can have more variegation than Philodendrons.
Popular cultivars of Pothos include Golden Pothos, Jade Pothos, and Marble Queen Pothos, which has a unique ‘shattered’ variegation.
On the other hand, Philodendrons have less variegation but vary in leaf shape and growth habits, such as the Pink Princess Philodendron and Ace of Spades Philodendron with darker leaf colors.
By understanding these key features and avoiding common misconceptions, plant owners can provide the right growing conditions for their Pothos or Philodendron.