Golden pothos (Epipremnum areum), also called devil’s ivy or pothos vine, can grow outdoors in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 11, but it is usually grown as a houseplant. If your golden pothos is not thriving, taking cuttings from a struggling plant will not save the parent plant, but it means you'll have new plants.
While taking cuttings will not save the original plant, it means you're growing new plants. Keep in mind that the new plants may die if you don't change the conditions that caused the problem with the parent plant. Take the cuttings about 1/2 inch above the leaf from the healthiest part of the plant. Check for pests before you take the cuttings or you may transfer them to the new plant. Golden pothos cuttings root well in water or planted in potting medium. Keep the potting medium damp, but not wet, until the cuttings have taken root.
If your golden pothos has limp or yellow leaves, the problem is most likely incorrect watering. If the leaves are limp, but still green, and the soil is dry, the plant probably needs water. If the leaves are yellow, you’ve probably over-watered the plant. Golden pothos does not like wet roots and needs the soil to dry out between waterings. Check the stems and roots for dark, soft spots. These are the beginnings of rot caused by too much water. If the damage is extensive, it may not be possible to save the plant. Remove any dead leaves and place the golden pothos in a bright spot and let the soil dry out completely. Water it lightly, allowing the soil to dry between waterings. Cut back stems that are badly damaged. Use only pots with drainage holes to prevent problems with rot.
While golden pothos isn't usually bothered by pests, aphids, mealybugs or mites may infest it. These pests are small and often hide underneath leaves, so turn the leaves over and look underneath. Sometimes getting rid of the pests on golden pothos is as simple as wiping the leaves with a damp paper towel. Repeat every three to five days until the bugs are gone. You can also put the plant in the shower or sink and spray the leaves.
Golden pothos prefers bright, diffused light. If the leaves become pale or start to lose their variegation, the pothos isn’t getting enough light. Move the plant to a spot with more light and it should recover. Strong sun and heat can cause the pothos' leaves to become brown and crispy. Moving the plant to a more sheltered area should allow it to thrive again. Remove any dead or brown leaves.
- University of Arkansas Extension: Plant of the Week Golden Pothos, Devil's Ivy
- How to Grow Fresh Air; Dr. B. C. Wolverton
- Wisconsin Horticulture Extension: Pothos
- University of Illinois Extension: Vegetative Propagation of Houseplants
- University of Florida IFAS Extension: Epipremnum Aureum: Golden Pothos
- Siri Stafford/Photodisc/Getty Images