Philodendron Vs Pothos: Side By Side

These two plants are equally beautiful, though they do have a few differences that might make one or the other more suitable for your home. We’re going to look into Philodendron Vs Pothos, so you can decide which one you like the best and which one you should be growing.

What Is The Difference Between Pothos And Philodendron?

What Is The Difference Between Pothos And Philodendron?

Both strikingly beautiful, it can be easy to confuse these two plants if you don’t know what you’re looking for! Let’s work out how to tell them apart:

  • They are 2 separate genera, despite belonging to the same family. Philodendron is a Philodendron genus, while Pothos is an Epipremnum.
  • Philodendron has heart shaped leaves that are quite thin, with a soft texture, while Pothos has thicker, waxier leaves.
  • Pothos generally only has one aerial root, while Philodendron has several smaller ones, and can look a little more “wild” as a result.
  • The Petioles (stems that connect the leaves to the main stem) are indented on Pothos, while Philodendron’s are fully rounded.
  • Philodendron has cataphylls – small leaves that protect the new leaf while it is growing before drying out and dropping off – while Pothos does not.
  • Pothos likes to be kept brighter that Philodendron – both will tolerate low light, but Philodendron is better at dealing with it.
  • Pothos is better at tolerating drought than Philodendron. Neither of these plants like to be flooded, but they do still like to drink!

Hopefully this little guide will help you when you are trying to figure out the difference between Philodendron and Pothos.

If you like a visual, check out this video to help you spot the differences:

Is Pothos Or Philodendron Easier To Grow?

Whether a plant is easier or not to grow often depends on your own growing conditions. Do you have lots of light? Are you too keen with the watering can?

Pothos can be a little more demanding in its requirements that Philodendron. Both these plants are pretty easy going though, let’s be honest!

  • Although both can tolerate low light conditions, Pothos will need a little more sunshine than Philodendron.
  • Philodendron can also cope in colder conditions than Pothos, making it ideal for houses which are a little chillier.
  • Pothos wins the prize for coping better with drought conditions, so this one might be your best bet if you forget to water often!
  • Philodendron will still grow and be happy in low humidity, while Pothos often needs a little extra moisture in the air.

Which Is Better Philodendron Or Pothos?

Which Is Better Philodendron Or Pothos?

Please don’t make me answer this one, they’re both such lovely plants! It all comes down to personal choice – which do you prefer?

  • Philodendron and Pothos are very similar, it has to be said – they are both viney plants, with gorgeous green leaves.
  • Pothos can cope better with dry conditions and more light, while Philodendron is happiest with less sunlight and humidity.
  • If you are looking to propagate, bear in mind that Philodendron can be grown from its aerial roots, while Pothos cuttings need to be potted in order to survive.
  • Philodendron’s leaves tend to be a uniform, bright green color (assuming it is healthy) while Pothos can show some variegation.
  • Pothos leaves are a bit hardier than Philodendron, with leathery waxy leaves, while Philodendron’s are thin and delicate.
  • Philodendron’s leaves are attractively heart shaped at the base, while Pothos’ tend to be straighter at the base.
  • Both of these plants are similarly impressive in that they don’t tend to attract many pests, meaning either is a great choice if you have had problems with pests in the past.
  • All this being said, if you decide that you just can’t choose between Philodendron and Pothos, they grow very well together, so you can just grow both!

How Do You Identify A Philodendron?

It may surprise you to learn that there are around 450 different species of Philodendron, and they all come from tropical America.

Although there are, of course, many differences across these different members of the family. Philodendron all share some characteristics:

  • They are climbers. These plants are fascinating in the wild – they actually “climb” up tree trunks using their aerial roots!
  • Their leaves are green. There is a lot of variation, but generally the foliage is a lovely bright green – some types may have coppery or red in there too.
  • The leaf veins are generally either green or white, and there is little to no variegation on the leaves.
  • Philodendron like indirect light. These are not full sun plants, so they will need to be placed where they receive dappled or indirect light.
  • Many types have heart shaped leaves – in fact this is one of the things we love so much about this plant!

If you want more information, check out this article on all aspects of Philodendron or this article on identifying of houseplants in general.

Why Is Pothos Called Devil’s Ivy?

This charming name does not actually mean that this plant is the Antichrist, or that it has anything to do with religion!

Pothos gets this nickname because it is actually pretty hard to kill, despite its lists of growing conditions.

Not only this, it is pretty fast growing once established – and as it gets bigger and more established, it grows faster too.

It is pretty hardy, and can survive in many different conditions – obviously, it has its favorites, but it will still grow strong in other conditions.

Originating in French Polynesia, this tenacious plant has taken over a corner in pretty much the whole world, and has mastered living indoors.

Even though you can’t exactly recreate its native growing conditions, you will find that your Pothos is pretty resilient!

Both of these plants are stunningly beautiful and will thrive with the right care an attention. But which is better?

Now that you have all the information about them both, you can make up your own mind – or, just get one of each!

2 thoughts on “Philodendron Vs Pothos: Side By Side”

    • No, it gets this name because it is notoriously difficult to kill! That being said, this plant contains Calcium Oxalate crystals, which will seriously irritate the mouth and throat if it is ingested. To be on the safe side, keep it away from pets and toddlers.


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