I know this is supposed to be incredibly easy, but I have been trying to propagate various pothos varieties for years without success, and cannot figure out what I'm doing wrong.

I've tried with variegated, golden, silver and neon pothos. I've tried cutting and placing in a cup of water, planting the stem into soil and keeping it moist, and laying it on top of moist soil so the end isn't covered. I remove the bottom few leaves so there are a few inches of bare stem with root nodes. I make sure I replace the water so it doesn't get stagnant. If it's in soil, I make sure there's good drainage. I've tried rooting hormone.

No matter what I do, every single cutting rots. What on earth am I doing wrong?

3 Answers 3


How big are your cuttings? Best thing to do is just take one node and leaf, and let it root in water. Do it for all the node/leafs you have taken from the plant. Important factors are light and temperature, they need indirect light and warmth.

There is a nice video here on youtube, the first part is about propagation, the second part about the hydroculture this guy is using or selling. I like my plants in real soil, so that's not really my interest.

Hope it will work out for you soon.


I don't have any trouble rooting cuttings of these, but what I do is absolutely not the recommended procedure. I use a cutting about 6/7inches long, strip off the leaves except for the top two or three, then put it in a small bottle of ordinary tap water, like an empty, disposable small size bottle of mineral water, stand it on the windowsill (preferably not a sunny windowsill) and keep the water level topped up for as long as it takes. I never change the water, just top it up, making sure the bottom inch or so of the cutting is always submerged, and somewhere between 2-6 weeks, roots form, then I pot it up into new, good potting soil. They're usually quicker to root in spring than in fall, but they do still form roots eventually. I'm in the UK, though, and whether there's anything different with our tapwater compared to yours, I don't know, and that might make a difference, but it's worth trying.

I have never once failed with this method, even though its not supposed to be the way to do it according to the gardening books; luckily, though, plants can't read....

  • 1
    If you get problems with the water going green and stinky, try putting a copper coin in the jar. Copper is a natural fungicide, but it won't affect the plants. This was an old method of keeping cut flowers fresh, even when the water was heavily "polluted" by sap leaking from the cut ends of the stalks.
    – alephzero
    Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 3:29
  • @alephzero - nope, never happened - get a bit of algae at the bottom if it takes 6-8 weeks, but never gets stinky, and the algae doesn't deter rooting
    – Bamboo
    Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 10:17

I pretty much do the same thing as bamboo. We have it here in our office. I take care of the office plants. Typically, I end up cutting this stuff off about a 1/2" above a growth node and throwing it away, because we've filled tons of pots with it. It grows like crazy for this low light environment.

So, like Bamboo, I take a cutting, which is usually pretty long, and cut it into ~6" segments. I try to get three nodes. By node, I mead where a leaf comes off the main vine. Where the base of the leaf stem meets the main vine is where new growth comes from.

Something to keep in mind is that new growth comes from the center of the "Y", of the leaf-stem base and the vine. Typically, the vine droops and grows toward the floor, but the leaves turn up toward the light. Because of the way they're turned, it can get confusing when you're cutting it into segments. You may pull the bottom two leaves off that were turned up, only to realize they were actually the top two leaves. If you try to propagate this way, you won't have much success, because the new growth always tries to come out at the last node, closest to the end of the vine. So remember. The end that came from the pot is the bottom, and the end near the floor is the top. New growth comes from the last node, closest to the top.

Like I said, I try to get (3) nodes and I pull off the leaves of the bottom two nodes. You'll notice some scabby bumps and little black dots. These are potential roots. The bigger ones will produce roots first. They are quite large. Smaller roots will soon follow out of the small dots.

Typically, I try to do many of these at once. I usually have quite a lot of vine to work with. I'll pick an arbitrary length and cut the mother plant off here. I'll take the long vines and cut them into these (3) node segments. Typically, I cut about 1/2" above what I want to be the next top node. When you cut any plant, it will die back to the next good node, so you can save it the trouble and cut it back on the top. I do leave them long below the bottom node, because they will sprout roots.

As for potting, you have two options. One is to stick them in a jar of water. I like to use a clear jar, because it's cool to watch them root. Your other option is to stick them in potting soil. There are pros and cons to both. It's fun to watch and you get less die off in water. However, you need to pot them up soon after the roots form unless you plan to leave them in the water indefinitely, which you can if you change the water regularly or add an air stone. The reason is that once the roots grow, it's hard to pot without breaking them and they also don't like the change in environment. You get more die off when you just push the nodes into the soil, but it's a small percentage. For me, it's like 10% die off. You're doing a ton, though, and you can cut them off and keep propagating the pot as they grow too long. You need to keep the soil pretty wet till you see new growth, though. Then you can let it dry out a little. They prefer to be wet, but can dry out without a lot of damage. If you let them go too long, you'll loose a vine, but typically you loose just one if you start watering again. I've never had them all die off.

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