How to Overcome Silly Failures While Rerooting Golden Pothos

Propagate houseplants with care and love

by Olivia Walters

I’m not Shrek or Mike Wazowski from Monsters, Inc. My thumb isn’t electric green, but I’m getting there.

Maybe being a green fictional movie character would have helped my houseplants, but it’s also just a fact of gardening life—

we kill plants before we learn how to grow them

If you want a houseplant in every room to zest up window sills and brighten lonely corner space, propagating is the healthiest and most inexpensive option.

Here’s how I made a hot mess of Golden Pothos trimmings and then found the right formula for propagating snippets of the majestic house vine. 

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Go ahead and head over to your mother Pothos. This empress needs a haircut and can provide plenty of new baby pots for rooms around the house. 

The right way to propagate

Cut at an angle above a joint, or node, where a leaf grows from one angle and the stem continues in another direction. It helps if the trimming has a couple of leaves growing off it, but you’ll need to get rid of the leaf closest to the end of the clipping so that the nodes can start to root. 

If you cut the trimming too short it will take longer to propagate. We want to encourage new growth. Try a 4-6 inch length. 

Full disclosure, propagating Golden Pothos is a tricky one to nail. There are two paths to take: water or soil propagation. I went the second route, using a gardening mix spread out among three pots that I thought would get the job done. 

Potted Golden Pothos cuttings painting by Robert Fiacco

According to Gardening Know How, Golden Pothos cuttings sprout best when planted into a soil mixture of peat moss and perlite sand. Wet the soil BEFORE putting the cuttings into the mix. They favor humidity because their roots take hold to moisture better than dry soil. 

I wasn’t a responsible houseplant parent. My cuttings shriveled up, turned brown, and passed on due to exhaustion. I think the perlite/sand mixture would have made a difference, but my absentmindedness also affected the survival of my Golden Pothos trimmings. 

Because of extremely dry conditions, the propagated cuttings attracted spider mites, an evil pest which sucks the nutrients from plants. You’ll notice them if a white, fuzzy texture appears under or between the leaves. 

Handle this situation now, or prepare for a full-blown pandemic.

Spider mites will ravage nearby plants if you don’t isolate the source. Go buy a pesticide spray ASAP and hose off the infected plant. You’ve got to suffocate the mites. 

The one pot that survived the whole ordeal was the most ignored and neglected of them all.

The bathroom pot started growing about three months after propagation. The low light and constant supply of humidity must have done the trick. 


  • Not using recommended peat moss/perlite sand soil combination
  • Dusty house conditions which attracted spider mites
  • Totally overlooking patience in the process
  • Propagating Golden Pothos + happy patience = new baby pothos

Get those green thumbs moving

Propagating your houseplants isn’t complicated, but to avoid potential obstacles, keep an eye out for humidity levels. Visit my Instagram for more houseplants in my boho wonderland. ■

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