THE POTOS. PURIFYING HOUSEPLANT
We know that acquiring a home is currently becoming something of a legend, although there are still some who have a new home these days. If that is your case, it is very possible that you have been given one or more potos.
Potos are the indoor plants that are given when someone buys a new house. Now I begin to understand why 15 years ago in Spain there were so many potos! 😉 They are a classic. I have had one at home for over 25 years and there it is. Resistant, versatile and lush.
LET’S TALK A LITTLE ABOUT THIS FAMOUS CLIMBER
The potos . The classic of the classics. One of the climbing or hanging plants that we can find in any home. It could be said that there is no house in which if there are plants, there is no poto. Its scientific name is Epipremnum aureum, however, pothos are not of those plants that are known by the botanical name.
They belong to the great family of the Araceae (Araceae), a family more than 100 genera and 3,000 species. Within this large family we have the pothos and the one that is most cultivated indoors, which is the species with variegated leaves with cream-yellow areas.
As an indoor plant, there is no longer a corner in the world that remains unpopulated with this vine, but like all domesticated plants, it has an indigenous origin and habitat. In the case of the potos it is Southeast Asia.
ARE POTOS GOOD FOR INDOORS?
And why this question? Pothos have a double face.
THE BITTER FACE OF THE POTOS
The sap contains a high concentration of oxalates (salts of oxalic acid) that irritate the skin and mucous membranes producing dermatitis , therefore it can be considered toxic. Rest assured that no one has died from a poto at home, but beware of pets.
Do not let your cat or dog purge itself by eating poto leaves. They can have a very bad time. If you search the web, several cases of cat poisoning due to ingestion of potus leaf are mentioned to purge themselves. Therefore, it is advisable to have poto in high places as a hanging plant in these cases.
Pothos are a great air purifier according to several studies carried out for a few years now. NASA made one in the 1980s but there are more in less time.
The concentrations and harmful effects of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and the possibility of reducing the concentrations with plants have been studied. Experiments continue and studies that show that potos are plants that reduce the concentration of formaldehyde and benzene, among others, are confirmed.
I leave you the link of the article found in the scientific database SciVerse :
CARING FOR POTOS AT HOME
If something characterizes the potos it is their resistance . Perhaps it is one of the reasons why this plant is present in many homes, offices, offices, shopping centers … Even though it is easy to care for, we must not overlook certain aspects of its maintenance. Let’s see which ones.
It grows well at temperatures between 15 and 20 ºC approximately. The temperature of 20-21 ºC of a home is a temperature to which it adapts and grows very well and is also capable of withstanding temperatures of up to 10 ºC so we will not have to worry much in this regard. It may be a bit sensitive to drafts if they are very abundant.
As in the vast majority of indoor plants, we will need a high but filtered luminosity , without being direct since the plant will suffer.
As it is an indoor grow, it is important that there is light in the room.
Depending on the area you are in, it is good to spray with water from time to time, increasing the humidity. With this we prevent the leaves from drying out and their appearance and shine from being impoverished.
IRRIGATION AND SUBSCRIBER
Moderate. It tolerates the dryness of the substrate better than excessive humidity. The reference for watering will be that the substrate remains dry between waterings. With a waterlogged or constantly humid substrate, no matter how resistant it may be, its roots will not support it. In warm places you will appreciate some other spray of water on the leaves but it is not strictly necessary.
If desired, a universal liquid fertilizer or one specific for green plants can be added from May-June to September-October every 15 days. This plant is usually sensitive to iron chlorosis . The symptoms are too yellow leaves. We will have to add iron chelates to help assimilate this element.
And the rest of the nutrients? Depending on the size of the poto, it may require the contribution of fertilizers every 15 days, at least in spring and summer months.
There are fertilizers for green plants on the market . They usually have an NPK (nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium) concentration of 7-3-6 or similar, and include micronutrients.
From March to October: Pay once a week. From November to February: Pay once every two weeks.
The application rates for the fertilization of the potos is the following:
[alert style = »yellow»] Cap (10 ml) for every 10 liters of water (bucket practically full), or what is the same, 1 ml / liter of water. [/ alert]
The substrate must be draining . That it does not puddle when watering. For this we will add a third part of river sand to the substrate , for example. The other two-thirds can be peat, mulch, indoor substrate. There are several options.
Luckily, if we don’t want to get stuck with the mix, there are many commercial versions that meet these requirements.
What you do have to keep in mind is that all commercial substrates have one initial nutrients, which will be consumed by the plant. Then you have to replace them.
PRUNING AND MULTIPLICATION OF POTHOS
For the cultivation of potos in pots, in spring we can give a maintenance pruning, removing tips. In this way we stimulate the emergence of new stems and leaves with more force.
By doing so, we increase the foliar density, making it gain in foliage.
The best way to multiply this plant is based on the use of cuttings. We can do it at any time of the year, selecting strong stems and buds (where new stems and leaves emerge from here).
One trick is to soak the stem for a few days in water to stimulate the formation of aerial roots. Later, we transplant it to a pot with a humid substrate.
Let’s see a short video on how to multiply using cuttings:
SOME PROBLEMS RELATED TO THE MANAGEMENT OF POTHOS
Crispy yellow tips
Possibly the poto needs more humidity, both provided in irrigation and through spraying.
If the tips are dry, it is possible that the substrate has retained a lot of salts (excessive fertilizer? Brackish water?). We must wash the substrate with the contribution of a good amount of water, letting it come out through the holes in the pot.
It may be that the temperature is not ideal and it is cold. Try to keep it in a warm environment, at least above 10 ºC.
Leaves limp and weak to the touch
Large amount of direct sun when the plant is not used to it and overwatering.
PLAGUES AND DISEASES
When we have it grown at home, whether in a pot or another medium, it is normal to receive some plague than another in spring and summer, even if we live in the most luxurious villa on Madrid’s Gran Vía.
Most of these insects are flying or moving easily. As for fungi, the dispersion of their hyphae is very simple and they cover practically all plant surfaces.
The most common pests and diseases in the cultivation of pothos are the following:
- Red spider: especially in summer, in dry environments. Foliar spraying reduces its mobility and drives it away.
- Woodlouse; it is located in the nerves of the bundle of the pothos and has practically no mobility. Suck the sap.
- Phythopthora: stem rot associated with excess moisture in the irrigation supply.
[alert style = »yellow»] To combat all kinds of insects, a home remedy is to mix 2 cc / L of dish soap, 2 cc / L of hydrogen peroxide and apply immediately to the entire surface of the plant. [/ alert]
Soap softens the exoskeleton and hydrogen peroxide is very oxidizing. With this trick you will eliminate spider, mealybug, whitefly and aphid on all plants.
To prevent or control the advance of some pothos diseases , the use of copper is accepted in organic farming and some liquid solutions can be provided via irrigation.
LAST MINUTE TIPS
- Find the perfect location for your poto in a bright room without direct sun.
- Let the growing medium run out of moisture before watering.
- Spray once a week with water if the environment is very dry.
- Do not neglect the subscriber, at least in spring and summer.
- Prune at least 1 time in spring, removing long stems and controlling plant growth.