how to spot the differences? – A PUZZLE

Pothos and philodendron are the most popular indoor plants. These houseplants have strong similarities that confuse many homeowners in the United States of America.

The good news is that it is quite easy to tell the difference between philodendron and pothos. The article provides a detailed comparison between pothos and philodendron for you.

The main difference between pothos and philodendron is that the former has larger, thicker, waxy leaves while the latter has thinner, heart-shaped leaves.

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Comparison Table (Pothos Plants vs Philodendron)

Basic conditions pothos plant philodendron leaf heart
leaf shape Irregular shape with less pointed tip. More heart-shaped with a longer beak-shaped tip.
FIG leaf thicker and waxier finer and smoother surfaces
cataphyll Absent Present
new growth color Have a lighter tone Have a brown or pinkish tint.
petiole Groove ridge parallel to shank. Round and smooth with a brownish color
aerial roots They have limited, small and thick aerial roots. They have more extensive, finer and more thorny aerial roots.
races Gold Tone Gold Pothos Neon Pothos Queen Marble Pothos Heart Leaf Philodendron Philodendron ‘Lemon’ Philodendron ‘Brazil’
Light requirement: Tolerates very low light Experience long stems and small leaves in low light
need water More drought tolerant Less drought tolerant
flowers It has green, purple and yellow flowers. have green flowers
Length Longest size at around 65 feet Smallest in size at around 15 feet

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What are pothos plants?

pothos plant

Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) is a popular vine in many homes. The houseplant is grown in baskets and makes a nice addition to your home or office.

The western Pacific island is the natural habitat of the plant. The beautiful heart-shaped leaves are the origin of alternative names like golden pathos or devil’s ivy

The houseplant is characterized by its long stems with aerial roots to adhere to surfaces. The hanging tendrils make the houseplant the perfect choice for growing in the basket, plant stand, and shelf.

Pothos plants come in different varieties. Each type tends to be quite different from all types of philodendron plants. Some of the most common varieties are golden pothos, jade potsand pothos from brazil.

Growing all kinds of pothos in your home will set your interior space apart from others nearby. The different variations are very attractive.

Note that pothos thrive in bright, indirect light. Direct exposure to high intensity sunlight will promote browning and leaf drop.

Quick Tips for Pothos Plant Care

  • Requires bright indirect light. You should grow the plant indoors and ensure that the chosen space meets other requirements that are suitable for the houseplant.
  • Hanging baskets that can sit on a shelf are the best place to grow pothos. It’s a great option for growers who practice container gardening.
  • Always clean the leaves of the plant with cotton soaked in alcohol. Helps kill any presence of pathogenic parasites.
  • Get into the habit of repotting the plant as soon as the roots begin to invade the hanging basket.

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What are philodendron plants?

picture of philodendron

Philodendron (Philodendron selloum) is another popular houseplant. It belongs to the Araceae family and generally produces flowers like the pothos plant.

The natural habitat of this classic houseplant is the rainforests of the West Indies and other parts of America. Philodendron leaves are green with smooth surfaces.

The vine plant has a mottling of yellow stripes down the center and linden-like leaves. These attractive colors help enhance your home or office.

There are many types of philodendron plants† The amazing thing is that each variety tends to match any home decor.

Distinctive Features of Philodendrons

  • They have more extensive aerial roots.
  • It has glossy heart-shaped leaves.
  • They tend to produce flowers throughout the year.
  • It can reach a maximum length of around 5 to 6 feet.

You can also read: Why are my Pothos leaves turning yellow?

Differences Between Philodendron and Pothos Plants

leaf shape

Both houseplants have heart-shaped leaves. Leaf color is a distinguishing feature that helps differentiate pothos from philodendrons.

But the color of the indoor plant depends on the species. These houseplants tend to come in several varieties, which can confuse growers.

Silver pothos has silver markings along the leaf surface and golden pathos has shiny, yellow-streaked leaves.

Philodendrons have dull dark green leaves. But this may not be true for all types of philodendrons. Some varieties have thinner, softer leaves.

plant length

Plant length is another crucial factor that helps differentiate houseplants from philodendrons and pothos. Pothos are always larger than philodendrons.

The average height of adult pothos is about 10 feet, while that of philodendrons is about 6 feet. The good news is that these houseplants tend to grow faster in optimal conditions.

aerial roots

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between these houseplants based on the leaves. The aerial roots facilitate the differentiation between these climbing plants.

Pothos have broader, more obtuse aerial roots, while philodendrons have long, coiled aerial roots. You have to pay close attention to the roots to see the difference.


Every plant has a stem that connects the leaves to the stem. Pothos and Philodendrons are no exception.

Pothos have a slightly toothed petiole marked with a brown margin. In contrast, philodendrons have a more rounded and uniform petiole.

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Similarities Between Pothos and Philodendron Plants

  • They both need moist soil.
  • Both plants produce flowers.
  • They both have heart-shaped leaves.
  • They both bear a strong resemblance to the peace lily.
  • Both houseplants thrive in a tropical climate.
  • Both act as a living air purifier in your home or office.
  • Both houseplant varieties thrive in indirect full sun.
  • Both develop aerial roots to climb and absorb nutrients from the air.

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FAQ (Pothos vs. Philodendron)

Are pothos and philodendron the same?

Really no. These indoor plants are very different because they belong to different genera. Pothos belongs to genus Epipremnum while Philodendrons belong to genus Philodendron. But these indoor plants belong to the same Araceae family.

Which grows faster, pothos or philodendron?

Pothos tend to grow faster than philodendrons. Pothos species can withstand harsh weather conditions than their philodendron counterparts.

How Long Can a Pothos Plant Live?

The average pothos lifespan is about 10 years. But make sure that the plant is properly cared for according to its needs. The houseplant can be grown in a basket filled with water without soil.

Do pothos purify the air?

Absolute. The plant thrives indoors and can grow up to 8 feet tall. Research shows that pothos is an effective indoor air purifier. The houseplant helps remove many common airborne toxins.

How fast does the philodendron grow?

Philodendrons tend to grow fastest in their tropical habitat reaching heights of 15 feet. But the growth rate is a bit slow when grown indoors.

Can Pothos and Philodendron be planted together?

Absolute. These indoor plants have similar requirements. Remember to give each plant enough room to improve the climbing individually. These indoor plants tend to spice up and add great flavors to your space.

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comparative video


Pothos and philodendrons are spectacular plants to add to your indoor space. Bright colors help brighten up your living space.

The main difference between pothos and philodendrons is that: the former has larger, glossy leaves, while the latter has dull dark green leaves with smooth surfaces.

We hope the in-depth comparison helps you differentiate between philodendron species and pothos species. If we missed anything, let us know in the comment section.

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