Pothos vs. Philodendron: What is the Distinction?


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If you need an straightforward care indoor plant that’s near-impossible to kill, a pothos or Philodendron plant may enchantment to you. Each can tolerate low mild ranges and each thrive in cooler or hotter climes. (When you’ve got pets or small youngsters, it’s additionally vital to say that they’re doubtlessly dangerous if ingested.) They give the impression of being alike, too. Whereas they share loads in frequent, they’re two completely different, if associated, home vegetation. It may be difficult to inform them aside—that’s, until you realize what to search for when analyzing a pothos vs. Philodendron.

The Bodily Variations Between Pothos and Philodendron

Many individuals usually mistake pothos for Philodendrons, significantly the Heartleaf Philodendron, and vice-versa, in line with plant knowledgeable at The Sill Paris Lalicata, although there are tells—like their foliage, for one—that make them distinguishable from each other.

As their identify implies, “Heartleaf Philodendrons have extra heart-shaped leaves in comparison with pothos,” says Lalicata, whereas the leaves of a pothos plant resemble “a folded pizza slice.” Caroline Copeland, a web-based design knowledgeable at Yardzen additionally mentions that Philodendrons function a outstanding arch on the level the place the leaf attaches to the stem (aka the petiole), in addition to a pointed tip, additional lending to its heart-shaped look. What pothos leaves have that Philodendron leaves don’t is an indented midrib, which is the road that runs down the middle of a leaf blade.

The vegetation’ foliage don’t simply look completely different, in addition they really feel completely different: “Philodendrons have thinner leaves which can be smoother in texture, whereas pothos have thicker, waxier leaves,” says Lalicata.

It’s also possible to distinguish between pothos and Philodendrons when the vegetation have new progress. “Philodendrons have these cataphylls, additionally referred to as sheaths,” says Lalicata. “Each time a brand new progress comes up, there’s all the time this little protecting sheath that covers the leaf till it unfurls after which begins to decay as soon as it doesn’t have a objective anymore, which is one thing that pothos don’t have in any respect.” She provides that at any time when Philodendrons put out new progress, it’s reddish in coloration earlier than turning inexperienced, whereas pothos’ new progress begins out pale inexperienced in coloration and deepens over time.

Lastly, whereas Pothos and Philodendrons each have aerial roots that offer moisture to the vegetation whereas permitting them to scale adjoining objects (like stakes or partitions), they give the impression of being completely different. In keeping with Lalicata, Philodendrons have skinny aerial roots which can be grouped collectively. Conversely, pothos have thick, stubby aerial roots that develop longer if they’re educated to climb. In different phrases: “Once you have a look at a the aerial roots on a pothos, you will note particular person little nubs or stubs, whereas while you see the aerial roots on a Philodendron, there are often two or 4 clustered collectively and [the roots] are actually skinny in comparison with the Pothos,” she says.

Pothos vs. Philodendron: Care and Upkeep

For all their bodily variations, pothos and philodendrons require related care. In actual fact, Lalicata says there’s little to no distinction in caring for both of the vegetation. “Each are thought-about low-maintenance vegetation, which suggests they’re versatile, and so they can tolerate decrease mild circumstances,” she says. Nevertheless, Lalicata and Copeland point out that they may sometimes desire brighter mild circumstances. Moreover, the 2 vegetation can stand up to regular room humidity for so long as the air isn’t too dry. Often, their watering necessities are related, too.

Copeland sometimes recommends watering them when the highest layer of the soil feels dry and dusty. Lalicata likewise recommends letting the soil dry out within the pot between waterings. If unsure about watering, Lalicata says you’ll be able to test the moisture of the soil utilizing your finger, a soil moisture meter, or a soil sleuth. “Some folks additionally use the chopstick methodology,” she says. “Put a chopstick in there and if it’s clear while you pull it out, which means the soil is dry and you’ll water your plant.” Each, nonetheless, are “tremendous resilient vegetation,” Copeland says. “Should you do find yourself forgetting to water them, there’s a powerful probability they may get well.”

All that’s to say, whether or not you’re caring for a pothos or a Philodendron, “they’d be in the identical class collectively so far as care and upkeep go,” says Lalicata.

Propagating Pothos and Philodendrons

Pothos and Philodendrons don’t have many variations in relation to propagating them both. Each vegetation will be propagated by reducing. For the uninitiated, “reducing is the strategy of taking a bit of a child plant from the mom plant and reproducing it, plant physician and advisor Maryah Greene beforehand advised Nicely+Good. Leafy vegetation, like pothos and Philodendrons, will be propagated in water, says Lalicata—and the method is straightforward. Utilizing sanitized pruners, clip a reducing from the node of your plant and place it in a vessel, like a Mason jar or a propagation vase, full of water. After two to a few weeks, or when the roots are about an inch lengthy, you’ll be able to switch the reducing in a pot of soil.

Alternatively, Lalicata says that you may depart pothos or Philodendron cuttings within the water indefinitely. “I’ve a number of vases of each Philodendron and pothos that I’ve had for a few years in water,” she says. “It’s another strategy to embellish your area with the [plants] and never in soil.”

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