What is the difference between pothos and philodendrons?

I’m very passionate concerning taxonomy as well as plant identification! Among the most common blunders I see beginner plant parents make is conflating a heart fallen leave philodendron (organic name Philodendron hederaceum var. oxycardium) and also a pothos (Epipremnum aureum). So what is the difference between pothos and philodendrons?

The difference between pothos and philodendrons are 3 things. The leaf shape and texture. The pothos is waxier in feel and thicker. Philodendrons are shaped more like a heart. The way their new foliage is created. The colour of new leaves are very different with Pothos being a lighter shade of green, where as philodendron can be brownish. Finally the aerial roots on pothos are thicker and more pronounced.

What is the difference between pothos and philodendrons?

It’s real that they look similar upon initial glimpse, yet when you look a little closer, there are a globe of distinctions! It’s also real that both plants have relatively the very same care, although I locate the philodendron to be much less dry spell forgiving and also in need of even more brilliant light in order to grow well. Nonetheless, I intended to review the differences and also resemblances to ensure that you can be confident in your plant indentifcation. Expect extra in a collection of “Know Your Plants” messages!

First, allow’s consider just how the philodendron as well as pothos are comparable: Both P. hederaceum var. oxycardium as well as E. aureum remain in the same household Araceae and are both climbers in the wild. They will naturally mature the sides of trees and various other plants, buildings, telephone poles … whatever they can hold on to with their airborne roots and take a trip upwards on. In the house, they’re each frequently shown in hanging baskets and as trailing plants, despite the fact that many individuals give them trellises or moss poles to climb as well.

The philodendron and pothos both have eco-friendly, glossy leaves (with the exception of the variegated and also neon cultivars) that are a comparable heart form and have a tendency to expand concerning the same dimension in the house (generally around the dimension of a grownup’s palm). That’s concerning where the resemblances end, so allow’s breakdown exactly how to detect the all the differences between these two popular houseplants!


A few telltale distinctions between pothos as well as philodendrons are the total form and also structure of the fallen leaves. A pothos has entrusts a thicker, waxy feel and also somewhat raised/bumpy appearance to the leaves. There is likewise a clearly indented midrib and also the shape tends to look something like a gardening spade. A philodendron, on the other hand (base image), has thinner entrusts to a smooth texture – when you move your fingers across the leaf blade, you won’t really feel the appearance like you perform with a pothos. The philodendron leaf form is likewise much more heart-like, with a famous sinus (the room between both rounded wattles where the fallen leave satisfies the petiole) as well as a much more dramatically trailed peak (the point of the fallen leave). Pothos leaves can occasionally be a bit a lot more unbalanced than philodendron leaves, as well.


Other ways to identify the two plants are by considering how it expands (also known as development routine). A pothos leaf prolongs and also spreads out from a present fallen leave. A philodendron leaf expands on a little bit of creeping plant in a cataphyll, which is a slim, ceraceous, nontransparent sheath. A cataphyll is essentially a little, customized leaf and will remain to photosynthesize till it comes to be brownish as well as papery, and diminishes on it’s very own. Cataphylls are an unique feature of philodendrons, so if you’re having trouble discerning in between fallen leave forms that we talked about above, this is a go-to attribute to look for. I have actually also located that brand-new fallen leaves on a philodendron have a pink or brownish tint, and will dim to its real color with a bit of maturation. Pothos leaves unfurl simply a lighter shade than the remainder of the plant!


Due to the fact that I’m a very comprehensive and also careful person when it pertains to plants , I’m going to point out a couple of even more features to search for! Stems on pothos are thicker than that of a philodendron, as well as are reasonably the exact same shade as the fallen leaves. Philodendron stems are commonly a green-ish brownish, as well as fresh, extensive stems near the bottom are an orangey-brown. Pothos and also philodendrons both have airborne (air) roots that are utilized to climb and also soak up nutrients and dampness from the air. Pothos aerial roots are thick nubs, with simply one root expanding from a node. Philodendron aerial roots are can expand in groups (often 2 to 6) and are slim and spindly.

Okay, can you tell the difference currently ?! Can you see the unique different attributes? When identifying a plant, it’s finest to take a look at a wide view of the plant as a whole and afterwards “focus” to check out all the different parts as well as how they mesh. Once you understand how to ID a plant, it ends up being a snap!