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Pruning 101: How to Prune Pothos Step-by-Step

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How to Prune Pothos

Although pothos is known for being low maintenance, it still needs some attention from time to time. It is recommended to regularly eliminate withered and deceased leaves from the devil’s ivy. In order to control the growth of the plant, pruning with secateurs can be employed. The optimal time to trim the pothos is during the spring season, which allows for healthy regrowth. Typically, it is advised to trim back the shoots by two thirds.

In this article, you will find everything you need to know about pruning pothos. Follow this step-by-step guide to have a healthy and visually pleasing plant.

How to prune pothos – what tools do you need?

A few things are crucial for a successful pruning project.

  • A good pair of scissors can do the job. However, it’s a good idea to invest in a pair of pruning shears. Sharp pruning shears ensure clean cuts even when it comes to thicker stems of the plant.
  • Keep some rubbing alcohol in your arms’ reach for sterilizing your tools before and between any cuts. Alternatively, you can clean your pruning shears in boiling water.

And a pair of comfortable and well-fitted gardening gloves protect your hands from any damage.

How to prune pothos – a step-by-step guide

Pruning pothos for the first time? No worries, here is a simple step-by-step guide to follow!

  1. Get your tools ready. Rubbing alcohol works brilliantly for sterilizing them. And ensure they’re sharp – dull pruning shears can damage the plant.
  2. Start by identifying the stems you want to prune. Cut off any damaged or dead leaves and stems. Look out for yellowing leaves and weak leggy stems.
  3. Make your cuts at a 45-degree angle ¼ inch above a leaf stem.
  4. Trim excess growth. Selectively remove stems to achieve your desired size and shape.

When to prune pothos?


Although pothos can be pruned throughout the year, you want to avoid doing heavy pruning during winter when the growth slows. The optimal time for pruning is generally spring and summer when the plant is the most active. Trimming it during growth time allows the plant to recover quickly.

Additionally, give your plant a light trim when it becomes too leggy or overgrown – those signs indicate it’s time for pruning.

Caring after pruning

Remember to keep up with regular care after pruning your pothos plant to support recovery and encourage new growth.

While pothos can manage in low-light areas, they thrive in bright, indirect light. So, allow your freshly pruned plant to get some indirect sunlight.

Ensure that the potting mix you use for your plant is well-draining to help prevent too much moisture from building up. And, of course, don’t forget watering – however, you want to allow the soil to dry out in between the waterings.

Pothos benefit from regular fertilization. It’s a good idea to fertilize it after pruning to speed up the recovery.

Propagating photos after pruning

Now for some exciting news. Pruning pothos doesn’t just maintain the overall health and appearance of the plant – it gives you a brilliant opportunity to grow new pothos plants! So, how do you propagate pothos after pruning?

  1. Select healthy stem cuttings that you removed from your plant.
  2. Remove the lower leaves and trim the button part just below a node.
  3. Optional. Dip the end in the rooting hormone to encourage rooting.
  4. Place the cutting in a glass of water – you want to ensure the remaining leaves are above the water surface and the nodes in the water.
  5. Allow the cutting to grow roots.
  6. Transplant the cutting into well-draining soil.

Benefits of pruning pothos

You might question why pruning is necessary in the first place. There are many benefits!

  • Pruning promotes the growth of new leaves and stems. That results in a bushier appearance of the houseplant.
  • Regularly pruning damaged and overgrown parts of the plant allows the plant to use its energy for new healthy growth, leaving you with a healthy plant.
  • Air circulation and light penetration are enhanced after pruning – this helps prevent pests and diseases. 
  • Trimming your pothos helps to maintain your desired size and shape of the plant.

Mistakes to avoid

Pruning pothos is an easy peasy job when following proper guidelines. However, there are some things you want to avoid.

  • Over-pruning: The most common mistake that happens is over-pruning. Going over the top can’t be undone, so you want to avoid it in the first place. A thumb of rule that applies to most plants, including pothos, is to not trim more than a third of the plant at once.
  • Bad Timing: While there technically isn’t a wrong time for pruning pothos, you might want to avoid doing it during winter. As the plant is dormant over winter, new growth won’t appear until the new growing season.
  • Infected tools: It doesn’t matter whether you’re doing light or heavy pruning, use sharp and sterilized tools. Sharp tools ensure clean cuts, and cleaning your pruning shears or scissors between cuts prevents any spread of disease.

To sum it up

Pothos is easy to care for houseplant that adds character to every home. Thanks to its fast growth rate, it benefits from pruning now and then. Pruning the plant is pretty simple – especially when following our simple step-by-step guide. And the cuttings you’re left with can be used for propagating new plants!

Frequently Asked Questions

Where to cut pothos for pruning?

Before pruning pothos, you need to identify the nodes on the stem. Make your cut around ¼ inch above the node.

When to prune pothos?

Pothos can technically be pruned anytime in a year. Doing it during its growing period, from spring to early fall, is the best for encouraging new growth.

Where to trim pothos?

You can trim pothos from various parts of the plant, such as vining stems and stem tips. Ensure you make your cuts at a 45-degree angle and slightly above a node.

Do pothos leaves grow back?

Pothos has a fast growth rate, and trimming it now and then doesn’t damage the plant. As long as you prune your plant above the leaf nodes, new leaves will grow back from the nodes.

Does trimming pothos make it bushier?

Pruning can help you achieve the desired shape of your pothos plant. Trimming also helps your plant to appear bushier as it encourages new growth.