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Lower Light Houseplants

LOWER LIGHT HOUSEPLANTS: 
POTHOS and HEART-LEAF PHILODENDRON

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) and Heart-leaf Philodendron (P. cordatum) are some of the easiest and most useful of houseplants.  In the tropics, these climbers push their way up from the dark jungle floor into the light at the tops of the trees.  As houseplants, they are usually grown in a hanging basket, although they are also available climbing on a “totem pole.”  Golden Pothos or “Devil’s Ivy”, with green, yellow, and white variegation, is the most popular variety, but you will also find the white and green Marble Queen Pothos, the solid green Jade Pothos, and the yellow-leaved Neon Pothos.  All have thickish heart-shaped leaves on sturdy vines that will grow to 20’ or more.  Heart-leaf Philodendron has thinner heart-shaped leaves, is faster growing, and also grows very long vines.  When vines are allowed to dangle, the new leaves tend to get smaller and smaller, but if allowed to climb upward into the light, leaves can get very large.  In places like southern Florida, the leaves reaching the top of a telephone pole can be 3’ across or more.

Pothos (pronounced POH-thos) and Heart-leaf Philodendron are popular for their attractive foliage, as well as their ease of care.  They are tolerant of lower light levels and of dry indoor air.  Allow the soil to dry partially, and provide good drainage.  Prune back longer vines to promote fuller growth in the pot.  They are listed as toxic if ingested, so keep out of the reach of small children or chewing pets.